Monday, August 30, 2010

Afterthought-less-thoughts on Laura Mulvey and the Male gaze

Teaching Mulvey's Visual Pleasures and Narrative essay along with her "afterthoughts" essay this week in my grad seminar on Film Theory (. . . in Theory) by readings its textual unconscious symptomatically. The examples of Vertigo and Duel in the Sun both resist her account of them (she has no account of resistance or repetition compulsion in her putatively psychoanalytic account of the male gaze) and offer her material that could strongly support her account, material which she nevertheless omits. Mulvey is not a close reader, but even her account of the genre and narrative structure of the two films she chose are wildly off, and she does not explain why she has chosen these two films (which really do work well together). Mulvey, I will suggestion class, is an exemplary model of the (self-castrating) violence of all criticism irrespective of gender. It is telling that she avoids Lacan.

Watch your step son tradition

I've been teaching the Arden 2 and Arden 3 Hamlets (teaching all four Hamlets, the fourth being Jenkins' Arden 2 conflated text) and realized that Hamlet is in the "Watch your step son" tradition: on the one hand, the ghost tells his son Hamlet to watch his step; on the other Claudius says his stepson must not unwatched go. Meanwhile, Hamlet has to determine if the ghost is a faux pa(s).

Target De(ad)mographic

After I turned 55, I started getting letters from a funeral home with the words "Do you care enough to know?" written on the front. Of course, I don't want to know, and so I didn't open the envelopes. I also started getting pop ups from webpages trying to guilt-trip me into buying life insurance with pictures of a little girl kneeling in front of a gravestone (with no [your] name on it) asking "Who will take care of your family after you're gone?" I already have life insurance, so I ignore the pop ups. Nice to know I am in my special deadmographic. I thought the living were the ones were supposed to feel guilty about the (not so) soon to be dead, not vice versa. I'm not even getting letters about rest homes. Just straight to the funeral home for a "permarrest" in a grave.