Hello from the American Midwest,
The past few weeks have been filled with work that I would classify as meeting demands instead of engaging with my desire. I say this because it is midterm time, and a lot of the work I've been doing has been grading. I don't like grading. I think grades might be the most significant impediment to learning that has ever been created. I grade because it is a demand of the university where I work.
Engaging my desire would be deep thinking sorts of things like:
- Reading the work that students produce and then commenting on it in ways that result in students developing their thoughts, opinions, and analysis.
- Doing my reading, research, thinking, and producing text or audio.
Grades and grading kill desire... I could go on, but I'm going to assume you get my point.
Let's start the rambling.
The Inconsistency of "The Batman"
During all this meeting demand work I was doing, I decided to take a break and see The Batman. This was the first time I've gone to a movie theatre since the start of the Covid lockdown-ish stuff. I was excited. Unforchinatly, for me, the film was a major disappointment.
We hear Batman saying he can't be everywhere during the opening scene. Nonetheless, he wants to function as a sort of panoptic presence that always could be lurking in the shadows. The idea would be aggressors believe Batman might see what they are doing and then turn them from perpetrators of violence to victims of Batman's violent vengeance.
In short: Batman punishes those who would hurt people who are less powerful than they are. The character of Batman represents an adolescent power fantasy, but it functions consistently for a little over half the film. If someone is going to hurt someone else, Batman intervenes and helps the would-be victim by hurting the aggressor. Batman consistently tries to prevent others from being victimized or hurt.
As I wrote above, the consistency breaks down a little over the film's halfway point when Batman engages in a high-speed car chase with the Penguin. Near the end of the pursuit, Penguin causes a massive pile-up. A tanker truck carrying gasoline blows up, and lots of cars are destroyed in ways that make it impossible for me to believe that the innocent people driving the cars and trucks survived.
Of course, Batman emerges from the inferno and is able to capture Penguin. However, after questioning the Penguin about something, it becomes apparent that the Penguin does not have the info Batman needs. What does Batman do at this point? He lets the Penguin go! WTF! What happened to holding bad actors accountable?!
At this point, the consistency was broken, and, in my opinion, the film just fell totally apart. It was a total bummer.
To be clear: I know lots of people enjoy ragging on superhero films for being unrealistic. I don't need or even want my superhero films to be realistic. Superheroes are not realistic. They are unrealistic ultra-fun fantasy romps. I do, however, want my superhero films to have a level of internal consistency (i.e., logic) that they follow. The Batman did not do this.
Thinking & Writing:
I've been thinking a lot about the connection that exists (or perhaps does not exist) between psychoanalysis and the state.
What I want to write is a text that does the following:
- Claims civilization and the state are different things with similar but not identical aims.
- Then I want to describe the partnership between civilization and the state.
- After establishing a working definition for civilization and the state and describing how their aims overlap and where these aims diverge, I'll launch into a description of psychoanalysis. This description will focus on psychoanalysis as a set of knowledge and practice.
- Next, I want to describe the relationships psychoanalysis has with civilization and another relationship with the state.
I'm working on a presentation that I'll give to the Illinois Association of School Social Workers (IASSW) about the transference that mental health professionals can develop to the institutions they work in. The presentation will be in May, but I want to find a way to give it to members of [S][J][P] before then. I'm not sure how I'll do that (i.e., I need to figure out the timing and other logistics), so stay tuned for more info.
On 3/17, the reading seminar I facilitate will dive into the fifth paradigm of Jacques-Alain Miller's Six Paradigms of Jouissance. Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff (NLS, WAP, LCSW, AP) will present.
Future Course - An Intro to Lacanian Theory & Practice:
I'm planning to try to teach a course over Zoom this summer. Below is a rough draft 0f the syllabus. I'm planning to limit it to 12 students. The cost would be $200.00
(Also, this is the first time I'm doing this. I don't know how many people who read this will be interested. If you are interested, please let me know by sending me an email telling me you're that you're interested!
Course Description – This course will be a reading seminar that meets via Zoom bi-weekly (to allow enough time to read and prepare discussion questions). The text the group will be reading and working from will be Key Concepts of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, which is an anthology edited by Dany Nobus. Various supplemental "readings" will be supplied to students as .pdf or .epub files, .mp3 files (podcasts), and videos throughout the course.
This course has been designed for individuals with a low to mid-level familiarity with Lacanian theory and practice. The focus of the course will be to help students learn specific concepts (i.e., moments) that will help the student orient themselves as they attempt to navigate the whole of Lacan's teaching.
Course Format – The course will consist of eight sessions, which meet over 16 weeks.
Course Content – The topics discussed will be:
- An Exploration of Jouissance (Libido, Object, Jouisance)
- The Four Discourses (Master, University, Hysteric, & Analyst)
- Foreclosure and Psychosis (Neurotic Repression v. Psychosis Foreclosure)
- The Desire of the Analyst
- The Mirror Stage Revisited
- The Borromean Clinic (The Real, Symbolic, Imaginary Registers)
- The $ubject (The subject v. the unconscious, what's the difference?)
- The Fundamental Fantasy
I've got an interview lined up with Why Theory's Ryan Engley on 3/22. It will take some time to mix and edit that, so I'm working on getting something else out before then.
(It is seriously time-consuming to set up all the interviews, record them, mix/edit them, and then get them online!)
One more thing:
I plan to send out an announcement about the future of [S][J][P] soon. Watch your inboxes.
This thing is already too long, so I'm going to end it here. Till next time, make some glorious mistakes.