Tuesday, November 20, 2007

From Freud, on the ‘group mind’, a little something that struck me as funny and apt in this election time (although i don't necessarily agree with him at all):
‘A group is extraordinarily credulous and open to influence, it has no critical faculty, and the improbable does not exist for it. It thinks in images, which call one another up by association (just as they arise with individuals in states of free imagination), and whose agreement with reality is never checked by any reasonable function. The feelings of a group are always very simple and very exaggerated… Inclined as it itself is to all extremes, a group can only be excited by an excessive stimulus. Anyone who wishes to produce an effect upon it needs no logical adjustment in his arguments; he must paint in the most forcible colours, he must exaggerate, and he must repeat the same thing again and again’

Freud, Sigmund 1957, ‘Group psychology and the analysis of the ego’, in ed. John Rickman, A general selection of the works of Sigmund Freud, Doubleday Anchor Books, Garden City, pp. 169-209.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

lime sweater wrongness & Michael Ignatieff is ugly

Well friends, as I turn my fiery steed toward the beaten path to the law school, I have some good news for those of you who love a splash around the shallow end. Law school fashion reviews are coming back to blogland. I've had this one burning a whole in my mental pocket for a couple of weeks now and I hope i can do justice to it. Picture this: A young man who has that inimitable lumpy ugliness about his person that only spells one thing to me- Young Liberal Club. But worse, this young man wore khaki shorts to his knees and jammed on the ends of his stumpy little legs, the Worst Pair of Boat Shoes I Have Ever Seen. Big call i know. But these seemed to be made out of a particularly hideous shade of brown vinyl that was offensive in the way that only vinyl imitating leather really can be. That said, possibly they were in fact leather and wouldn't that just be worse- leather in the guise of vinyl pretending to be leather.

On his (rather long, possibly about to overbalance) top half, the Young Liberal wore a blue and white striped shirt. The kind with white collars and cuffs. And draped about his repulsive person, a lime coloured v-neck sweater. LIME my friends! Oh the guilty pleasure that I have wrung from this fleeting moment of standing beside this unfortunate person at the pedestrian crossing on Grattan st.

In other news, my love of Paul Gilroy, to whom I have only recently been introduced has been cemented by his comprehensive dissing of Michael Ignatieff. Our shared hatred cements my love for him. The irony of this oppositional identification really only exacerbates my determination to glean maximum joy from anyone and anything that hates on Michael Ignatieff. The fact that Ignatieff often looks like his neck is trying to make love to his chin is a bonus...

Friday, November 02, 2007

pain, embodiment, law

Here's something I just encountered, which fits well with the thinking about embodiment that has been a pleasurable tangent I've been pursuing this year. Maybe a good point to be at as I turn my face back toward the shiny law building and maybe time for me to try and work out what Kristeva is on about when she casually refers to the inherent masochism of women...

I might have been destined to live a life of submission to the noble law of reason, had not an unforeseen accident - the result of an inherent defect of my own - brought about its untimely destruction. Great pain, if the imagination meddles with it ever so little, urges action, the body of a woman being the only instrument she understands. The intense pain brought about by this grinding of the molar teeth galvanised me into an infraction of the laws. For shocking power to the body may indeed by transmitted by means of electricity, but not, by such methods, reason to the brain. However, in the writhings of extreme pain I obtained proof of the exciting nature of the exertion of the muscles, multiplying to such a degree the vivid pleasure of terror in the nerves that I felt at last in possession of a body whose capacity for the experience of sensation could now be determined. Pure sensation produces the most simple knowledge. Pain, if sufficiently severe, can never be alienated: these excruciating sensations were mine alone.

Anna Gibbs, The Contract, Australian Feminist Studies, vol. 12, no. 26, 1997, p. 208