On David Lynch

In chapter 15 of Seminar XI, Lacan introduces the mysterious notion of the “lamella”: the libido as an organ without body, the incorporeal and for that very reason indestructible life substance that persists beyond the circuit of generation and corruption. It is no accident that commentaries on this passage are rare (for all practical purposes non-existent); the Lacan with whom we are confronted in this passage does not have a lot in common with the[ …]

Deleuze and the Lacanian Real

Why is structuralism serious? For the serious to be truly serious, there must be the serial, which is made up of elements, of results, of configurations, of homologies, of repetitions. What is serious for Lacan is the logic of the signifier, that is to say the opposite of a philosophy, inasmuch as every philosophy rests on the appropriateness, transparency, agreement, harmony of thought with itself. There is always some part hidden, in a philosophy, an[ …]

Learning to Love Leni Riefenstahl

The life and work of Leni Riefenstahl, who died on Monday at age 101, seems to lend itself to a mapping of a devolution, progressing toward a dark conclusion. It began with the early “mountain films” of the 1920s that she starred in and later began directing as well, which celebrated heroism and bodily effort in the extreme conditions of mountain climbing. It went on to her notorious Nazi documentaries in the ‘30s, celebrating bodily[ …]

Love Without Mercy

[Appeared in Pli, Vol. 11 (2001), pp. 177-199 (pdf)] 1 Against the Digital Heresy In the Larry King debate between a rabbi, a Catholic priest and a Southern Baptist, broadcast in March 2000, both the rabbi and the priest expressed their hope that the unification of religions is feasible, since, irrespective of his or her official creed, a thoroughly good person can count on divine grace and redemption. Only the Baptist – a young, well-tanned[ …]

Kant and Sade: The ideal couple

Of all the couples in the history of modern thought (Freud and Lacan, Marx and Lenin…), Kant and Sade is perhaps the most problematic: the statement “Kant is Sade” is the “infinite judgement” of modern ethics, positing the sign of equation between the two radical opposites, i.e. asserting that the sublime disinterested ethical attitude is somehow identical to, or overlaps with, the unrestrained indulgence in pleasurable violence. A lot—everything, perhaps—is at stake here: is there[ …]