Now listening to : Lost, Season 2, episode 8 "Collision"
Especially recommended : the part where locke's doing the crossword, and the answer's 'gilgamesh'
I have a paper to write this week. Last week, i would have said i had a paper to write this weekend, but i was a little unrealistic there in my phrasing. Technically, the paper's due on the 9th, so i'll just keep backing myself up until i say, "i have a paper to write this evening," at which point everything will feel familiar. Misery poker? Why yes, i'd love to play; what's the buy-in?
What i'd like to write about, when i write, is transgression. Specifically, it's position outside of (but not, hopefully, over and against, because i think that would ruin my project) systematic hierarchies. It's position, really, as play, which is an ideological position more than a hierarchical one, i would argue. You are going to tell me, just like Mr. Bruce Lincoln would probably tell me, that there is nothing not constituted by hierarchy, at least not in myth. Actually, Mr. Rene Girard would tell me that too, but i'm a little less in love with Rene than i am with Bruce, so it hurts less.
Lincoln theorizes myth as the compelling construction by an authoritative voice in dialogue with its intended audience of a hierarchy of values justified as natural. This can be inverted (Plato did it, German nationalists did it, postmodern jackasses do it all the time), but then it seems to just become its own dogmatic structure. I'm not all the way through the book (Theorizing Myth : Narrative, Ideology, and Scholarship) which will be my primary source, but it doesn't look like Lincoln is interested in those terms - sacrilage, play - that i'd want to introduce as possibly unaccounted for in a strictly structural schema. What happens when a dogmatic authority, immortalized in myth, is not the entirty of the tradition it envelopes and opens? What happens in Bakhtin's carnival? What happens with mystics who's entire system of communication relies on established hierarchies that break and dissolve and constitute only the absurd? (Or, really, the thing to ask a FIRST YEAR MASTERS STUDENT WHO IS POSSIBLY OUTGROWING THESE HERE BRITCHES is whether this ever actually happens at all.)
What's the mythological use of satire? If all you want to do is refute a system, why not just invert it or reconstitute it or someotherhow make a new orthodoxy? People who just play around with the pre-existing system instead, do they WANT to build a new orthodoxy, but just distrust that their audience will be receptive until the old orthodoxy seems ridiculous in comparison? Are satirists just too weak, too much inhabited by the existing hierarchy, to make the necessary radical move of inversion? Or is there something to Mark Twain's "Letters from the Earth" that isn't a shadow or a proto-philosophy but a supplement?
Will all these questions be answered once i just finish the goddamn book in question?
In other news, my feet are very, very cold. And i couldn't be happier. Because i know how to get them warm, and i'm just holding off on doing it because that part is too delicious to rush.