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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review: Viewing Eclipse Through A Foucauldian Genealogy of Sexuality

Foucault and Lightbulb
Well, what my wandering mind dredged up to shimmer on the surface was Foucault's History of Sexuality, and, this is where the lightbulb went onOMG! Eclipse is a visual genealogy of sexuality! It's all there!

An object does not exist unless and until it is observed. - William Burroughs

Since my mind was and is interfaced with FoucaultEclipse drifted into it. The lightbulb went on. I had seen Avatar the previous January and thought of writing about it from its deep meaning on Foucault's take on Nietzsche's Inscription of the Body.

The previous nine months I had spent 24/7 reading and thinking about everything Michel Foucault had written that I had so far read. Lots of books, internet articles, interviews (hard because his French accent makes him difficult to understand in English on youtube) and nothing else, and nothing criticizing him until I felt grounded in his work. Reading him is like getting the inside of your head cleaned out with steel wool.

So I immediately went back to see it again. And again and again, until I felt I really understood it from a genealogical reading.

As Foucault has said, the method of genealogy is a tool, not a theory. Genealogy is not chronology. Genealogy is not linear, not progressive, not Hegelian, not historical. 

Genealogical "cuts" can be synchronous in time, occurring at the same moment in time, they are  "cuts" into the Dominating Discourse of history, psychology, language, economics, and the arts. A "cut" into all human behavior, knowledge and thinking and feeling, ideology and concepts.

Knowledge is not for knowing. Knowledge is made for "cutting". - Michel Foucault (The Archeology of Knowledge)
Foucault's Spiraling Powerful Prose Scouring Your Mind

Sexuality in Eclipse:

Courtly Love: Passion Love. - Cortezia - A ritual of sexuality originating in the 12th century in Western Europe, Southern France, the Languedoc region, in Eleanor of Aquitaine's court. Married and divorced from Louis VII, her court traveled to the British Isles when she married Henry II.  She took her troubadours with her. This is the romance of Edward and Bella that is based on Tristan and Iseult, true love, non- consummation, (chastity or abstinence), and unity in death.

Rape: This is James, present in Twilight, who is absent but present - in Eclipse -  through his avenging mate, Victoria.

Blood Lust: These are the newborns who fit perfectly into ancient warrior hordes who killed with lust. And raped of course as spoils of war. Caesar describes all this in his victorious campaigns if you have translated or read him. 

The newborns also are descriptive of Melanie Klein's work on orality which she divides into two stages: passive sucking orality and active, biting orality. As the infant 's teeth come in it bites the mother's breasts and blood is sometimes or often mixed with the milk. The unconscious phantasies of the infant are to devour all the goodness from the mother, leaving only a shell. Here we recognize Renesmee. Klein insists that the mother must remain with the infant after nursing, not just plunk it down to go to sleep.  It is required that the mother remain with the infant for the "period of "reparation", "restoration" so the mother can be seen as whole in spite of the oral aggressive, destructive phantasies. That feelings and phantasies are not real, and the mother is still intact. She will also go into the good and bad mother imagos.

The Stone Age infant confronts its 20th century mother. - R.D. Laing

Makes you wonder about the present and historical fascination with vampires, eh. 

Conjugal Sex: This is seen in the relationships within the Cullen family - Carlisle, Esme, Jasper, Alice, Emmett and Rosalie. Outside of  the Cullens in the parents of Bella's friends in Forks, the Quileutes, etc. Nothing much is explicit, although we are told in BD about voracious vampire sex between vampires, but we neither read nor see of any evidence of it. An example of normal, family sex from which undying passion is absent, as there is constant availability and consummation. Desire is inseparable from Lack  - in a matrix with lack. Lacan.

Homoerotic Sex: Only implied between Edward and Jacob in their triangular relationship with Bella. Discussed in Freud's case studies on male paranoia. We also see it in the Tribal relationship of the wolves. Again only implied. This cut in sexuality is unconscious in the Twilight Saga.

All of these "cuts" are synchronous in time, occurring at the same moment in time. "Cuts" are not chronological; therefore, not linear, progressive or historical. The modern temptation is to attribute levels of  consciousness to the different types of sexuality, but Foucault dispenses with the idea of consciousness and its raising. When you read him and he finishes with an idea or concept, it is time to give it up.

Eclipse is a film, and the film much more so than the book, makes the genealogy of sexuality explicit, and is a gem in elucidating "CAMP" and an aspect of post - modern theory. It is an introduction to Foucault's tool chest as he calls it.

Great "CAMP" Scene

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