Reply to My Critics, Part Two (re: The Sexual is Political)

Two general observations about my numerous critics seem pertinent to me. First, the large majority of attacks on my text follow the rules of the tweet culture with short snaps, retorts, sarcastic or outraged remarks, and with no space for the multiple steps of a line of argumentation. One passage (a sentence, or even a part of it) is cut out and reacted to. For example, many critics countered my analysis of the anti-Semitic figure[ …]

A Reply to My Critics (re: The Sexual is Political)

Lately I am getting used to attacks that not only render my position in a totally wrong way but also practice slander pure and simple, so that, at this level, any minimally rational debate becomes meaningless. Among many examples, suffice it to mention Hamid Dabashi, who begins his book Can Non-Europeans Think? with: “‘Fuck you, Walter Mignolo!’ With those grandiloquent words and the gesture they must have occasioned and accompanied, the distinguished and renowned European[ …]

The Sexual is Political

Segregated toilet doors are today at the center of a big legal and ideological struggle. On March 29, 2016, a group of 80 predominantly Silicon Valley-based business executives, headlined by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook, signed a letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory denouncing a law that prohibits transgender people from using public facilities intended for the opposite sex. “We are disappointed in your decision to sign this discriminatory legislation[ …]

Hegel on Marriage

Far from providing the natural foundation of human lives, sexuality is the very terrain where humans detach themselves from nature: the idea of sexual perversion or of a deadly sexual passion is totally foreign to the animal universe. Here, Hegel fails with regard to his own standards. He only considers how, in the process of culture, the natural substance of sexuality is cultivated, sublated, mediated—we humans no longer just make love for procreation, we get[ …]

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[ …]

Avatar: Return of the natives

James Cameron’s Avatar tells the story of a disabled ex-marine, sent from earth to infiltrate a race of blue-skinned aboriginal people on a distant planet and persuade them to let his employer mine their homeland for natural resources. Through a complex biological manipulation, the hero’s mind gains control of his “avatar”, in the body of a young aborigine. These aborigines are deeply spiritual and live in harmony with nature (they can plug a cable that[ …]

The Ambiguous Legacy of ‘68

In 1968 Paris, one of the best-known graffiti messages on the city’s walls was “Structures do not walk on the streets!” In other words, the massive student and workers demonstrations of ‘68 could not be explained in the terms of structuralism, as determined by the structural changes in society, as in Saussurean structuralism. French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s response was that this, precisely, is what happened in ‘68: structures did descend onto the streets. The visible[ …]

Freud Lives!

In recent years, it’s often been said that psychoanalysis is dead. New advances in the brain sciences have finally put it where it belongs, alongside religious confessors and dream-readers in the lumber-room of pre-scientific obscurantist searches for hidden meaning. As Todd Dufresne put it, no figure in the history of human thought was more wrong about all the fundamentals – with the exception of Marx, some would add. The Black Book of Communism was followed[ …]

The Popes Failures

Pope John Paul II’s reaction to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ is well known. Immediately after seeing it, he murmured, “It is as it was!”—a statement that was then quickly withdrawn by Vatican officials. A glimpse into the Pope’s spontaneous reaction was thus replaced by the “official,” neutral stance, corrected so as not to hurt anyone. This withdrawal, and its nod toward liberal sensibility, betrayed what was best in the late pope, his[ …]

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[ …]