Sep 8, 2022Liked by laughlyn (johan eddebo)

I had begun a response to Steppling's latest post related to this. The removal of the father, especially, as you've pointed out, seems critical to this reorientation of the development of the social self.

A youtuber I listen to who comments hilariously on celebrity culture was breaking down the most recent DISNEY installment of the Star Wars saga on Obi Wan Kenobi and a child Princess Leia. Apparently the entire saga has a thread of children being separated from parents to be trained as Jedi warriors. What's interesting in this person's take is how the quasi-pedophilic of the story line in this "pre-quel" might easily lead to the "confusion" of desire that takes place in the first three blockbusters (where Leia and Luke - sister and brother separated at birth - are attracted to each other in a manner that turns out to be incestuous). If the patriarch hasn't been completely dismantled by the 50s TV shows, as Steppling notes, Star Wars will perform the next stage of demolition, normalizing the multipolarity of desire in the service of the state. And, as Steppling and others have noted before, Disney films are chock full of orphans.

This seems to me related to a quotation Steppling includes from Frank Kermode on beginnings/endings, with the development of the self/psychoanalysis as an essential narrative scheme.

"It is worth remembering that the rise of what we call literary fiction happened at a time when the revealed, authenticated account of the beginning was losing its authority. Now that changes in things as they are change beginnings to make them fit, beginnings have lost their mythical rigidity. There are, it is true, modern attempts to restore this rigidity. But on the whole there is a correlation between subtlety and variety in our fictions and remoteness and doubtfulness about ends and origins. There is a necessary relation between the fictions by which we order our world and the increasing complexity of what we take to be the ‘real’ history of that world.”

Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending)

"Remoteness" and "doubtfulness" have to be replaced by an increased "subtlety and variety" when we remove the original mythical rigidity of the father. Absolutely fascinating stuff. I'm especially intrigued by how we've gotten to the point where gender reassignment has been normalized for children under the age of 18. This is REALLY happening.

Thanks for your addition to parsing out some of the most disturbing themes in this horrifying cultural moment.

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Sep 8, 2022Liked by laughlyn (johan eddebo)

A while back, I noticed adults talking about "superpowers", in all seriousness, or maybe better put--in relation to the kind of eternal job seeking mode we're all supposed to be in (and some have to be in) since the gig economy took over--which has become sort of internalized and unconscious, I think--there is no longer a state of being at rest--you're either working or looking for something better, or you're homeless...at least here in the US.

So I would hear grownups saying things like:"my superpower is getting the job done even if I have to work 19 hours straight. " or something absurd. "tenacity," "I'm a workaholic", etc. It seemed a further reification of that question they used to put on job applications--describe your strengths and weaknesses or whatever. Not only are you being asked to commodify an aspect of yourself, or pretend to, but then in a way you also have to take on that commodification and reduce yourself to that aspect. So yawning at work would mean you had misrepresented your very self.

And of course, wrt: superpowers--that's also a further infantilization of the whole reificaction, because now,, being merely a human who can type 90wpm or whatever and wants to go home at 5 is not enough. This, I think, also has something to do with guilt--in the US, guilt over lack of money, or maybe it's shame--is rampant.

The gig economy was also sold as "freedom." I think David Graeber talked a lot about that, too.

(Hi Tamara!)

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