Thursday, April 23, 2009
The Red metaphysic hinges on a privileged Other (Jesus) transcending the Body. The Blue metaphysic hinges on a Body already disembodied. Blue physicality is mediated; the Self is already doubled by disembodied voices. The Blue relationship to Jesus is one partly based on commensurability— the Otherness of Jesus is a half-Otherness. Jesus is situated within a realm of workable discourse; his is a privileged, disembodied voice among other privileged voices. His bifurcation (body/discourse) becomes a token of commensurability rather than a manifestation of difference. What exalts Jesus in the Blue metaphysic is a perceived (and readily perceptible) singularity; a sense of resolved binaries manifested in effective (and affective) discourses. Jesus, as was recorded, masterfully orchestrated his own speech acts; engendered to be transcribed into print, then recuperated as more speech acts. This circle of speech acts around textuality gives Jesus discursive speed and fluidity in the Blue metaphysic. In the Blue, Jesus is within; in the Red, Jesus is above. Jesus is appropriated, in the manner of a commodity; yet his appropriation does not let him remain Other, as in the Red metaphysic. Red defends Jesus (who remains Other); Blue appropriates him (but locates him as within possessive circles.) Between defense and appropriation are shared characteristics— subjects compete for degrees of potency of defense or extent of possession-via-appropriation. Competitive ideologies immediately arise in the realm of interpretation (the realm in which defense and appropriation most readily manifest.) Pursuant to this, of course, Jesus is defended and appropriated for “America.” Jesus, more than a shibboleth, becomes “Jesus,” a linguistic sign for a sense of interiority that is bifurcated between Red and Blue. “Jesus” and “America” are, in fact, commensurate linguistic signs; both connect the personal (privatized in Bodies) and the transcendental (disembodied.) Yet “America” enjoys privileges that “Jesus” does not; the offering up of Bodies for instrumental use. In an important sense, “America” has greater currency than “Jesus”— that is why I have saved its discursive treatment until the end of this particular chapter.
“America,” as a signifier, is embodied by the Red and used by the Blue. What is personal for the Red is instrumental for the Blue— though it is a substantial irony that more instrumental use is made of Red Bodies than Blue. Where “America” and Otherness is concerned, Redness locates Otherness first in the entire non-American world; Blueness locates Otherness first in each other (Blueness engendering far greater diversity and thus more competition possibilities), then in Redness. The Red totalizes “America”; its material and economic status (though obviously faltering) is the way things should be (overdetermined, for the Red, by a preponderance of solid Bodies); the Blue is often profoundly indifferent to “America,” except in its value as a rhetorical weapon, as specific discursive circumstances necessitate. “America” is a linguistic sign-as-center; words around it, “liberty,” “freedom,” “justice,” sit in uneasy relation both to Red insistence and Blue indifference. Subtle discourses do not suit the aims of either the Red or the Blue— they point ineluctably to the hollowness of both Bodies and commodities. What is important is that America, as it is already lived around “America,” forces no pertinent engagements with its own bifurcated ethos and praxis. Engagements, if they occur, are kept on their sides, within their circles— the Other is often a distant-at-best reality. I am speaking of high discursive levels— the levels of discourse around political campaigns and within the purview of the mainstream media do not count here. Why should it? Extreme discursive crudity is equally Blue and Red— it is done often for profit, centered on Bodies, and thrives on an ethos of direct, destructive competitiveness on all levels. That is why an America around “America” needs a new context that the Internet (and IT) can provide. It is not entirely commodified (yet), it is disembodied, and it does not necessitate the employment of an ideology of competition. It is an unavoidable fact that Blue and Red ideologies share more in common than many suppose, under the aegis of humanity and the human— competition engenders an intense fear of Otherness, which is personalized, politicized, and totalized. This is visible at both personal and institutional levels— it is an agent of erosion.