Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Gervaisian Logic

Great comedy is often syllogistic. Or rather, enthymemic in structure.

Here's a syllogism: A = B and B = C so A = C

Here's an enthymeme: A = B so A = C

So with that one you have the fun of reverse engineering the B = C bit. That's the fun of an enthymemic joke: it has a zinger quality. It creeps up on you afterwards. Mark Twain was particularly awesome at it.

Which is what no one seems to have figured out yet vis a vis Ricky Gervais's joke about Caitlin Jenner.

If I may, the B = C is so obviously staring us in the face that it's a symptom of something a bit scary that no one to my knowledge has seen it yet in the mass media.

It's about how certain aspects of the pop culture mediation of trans discourse (he emphasized, in italics) does nothing for stereotypes of women and can in some instances be exclusionary of or even hostile to feminism. (The hook was the “women drivers” part and the Jennerian biographical link therein.)

The point being, and this is something my psychoanalyst mum, plus my and kickass feminist/queer theory friend Judith Roof's Ph.D. student genius Alanna is working on in an amazing dissertation on twentieth-century women photographers, some of this aspect of the mediation of the discourse (gingerly, let's put it that way) is just a patriarchy retweet, aka my body is a plastic surface of infinite malleability according to desire format specifications. Aka I can do anything to anything, because I'm the lizard king slash the Decider.

If you noticed, an awful lot of Gervais's shtick was about low status women and pay. It was a pretty pro-feminist shtick.

Actually existing feminists (for instance Germaine Greer) have recently been symbolically killed for entering this territory. Like by being banned from speaking at universities and mobbed by the Hitchcock tweeting birds.

Or my friend the Dutch philosopher Iris van der Tuin. Who can hardly say the word “woman” without being pounced on. In her feminist theory class. 

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