Spirit is to Bone as War is to…

May 29, 2008

Rape.

I’m in a Parallax… reading group and yesterday we were talking about chapter three, in which Z riffs on Kurosawa’s Rashomon. The discussion took something of a negative turn when the issue of rape came up (the film’s premise centers around a rape and a murder), and I managed to stick my foot (I think it was the left one) in my mouth: after someone’s comment on the passage in question I said “Well, first, It happens” – refering to rape. Before I could get any further, someone said “you’ve totally just depoliticized rape!” I turned deep red and said “No I didn’t!” The intention behind my comment would have become clear (I think) had I been able to continue, but as they say, you’re responsible for what you say, not what you mean.

Where I wanted to go with “it happens” is that it’s perfectly valid to talk about rape. Perhaps even more so given the premise of Kurosawa’s film: Z’s take on the flick is that the drama played out between the three people involved in the murder/rape is a stand-in for the destruction of society that is going on around them. The film, Z argues, ends with the ‘explosion’ of feminine logic, of the not-all that lies behind any ‘world’ (in the Heideggerian/Badiou sense), any horizon of meaning. In addition, that which is one of the most ubiquitous (and ignored) aspects of war is taken to represent the whole. So, it seems to me this is an instance of what Z calls “Infinite Judgement” – if “Spirit is a bone”, then “War is a single instance of rape”.

G

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2 Responses to “Spirit is to Bone as War is to…”

  1. sonnyburnett said

    I think I see where you are going w/ your infinite judgment. If, as per fem not-all logic, ‘There is nothing that is not political’, rape could be considered that very ‘nothing’ that is ‘not political’, an immediacy that escapes or is not covered by that logic.

    I also relate to your social faux-pas. I recently said something to a group of people that I still insist was said in good faith. But to my horror, it was picked up by the group as an offensive remark. So I was obliged to apologize to the group for my words, admitting (largely to myself) that it must have been my TRUE intent to offend, even though in my personal experience of the event I still recall no intent to offend.

    The paradox is that by so apologizing, I was not being dishonest to my ‘true self’ or the others. I walked away from the situation with a ‘deeper’ understanding of (personal) responsibility. Reached a determinate reflection there, no doubt.

    Another reading group?

    I’m still in NY, doing nothing intellectual & feeling mighty guilty about it. But physical labor has its own rewards. Will be back in TO w/in a couple weeks.

  2. battleofthegiants said

    Word. We’ll have to all get together and watch a flick…

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