From: Toby Litt <litt@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 1995 09:15:21 GMT
>>Paglia is a polemicist, so her points are sloppy, but isn't there a
>>difficulty here for gender-definitions that begin and end in discourse
Harrison Brace replied:
>I don't think that follows. Nietzsche is a polemicist, but he is not
>sloppy. Irresponsible, perhaps, but not sloppy.
Yes, you're right. Genre isn't an excuse for failure.
>her work is nothing
>but a conglomeration of the worst sort of inanities -- inanities that play
>well because we are desperately waiting for something new. But you don't
>get out of a cultural/intellectual crisis that way.
*Are* we desperately waiting for something new?
Are you against inanities just because they're simple or just because
they're bound to be wrong because other things aren't simple? (This is
probably a very British line to take: we are responsible for G.E.Moore.)
To get back to Foucault, Paglia's assault becomes most direct when it
becomes morally judgemental.
_This was a man of mutilated psyche: if what I have heard about his public
behaviour after he knew he had AIDS is true, then Foucault would deserve
the condemnation of every ethical person._
It's difficult to know here what exactly Paglia means by _condemnation_.
Elsewhere in the essay she encourages students not to read Foucault, Lacan,
Derrida. I think she's tempted by the idea of censorship, but would prefer
to do things quietly - by dropping texts off reading lists.
I'm really returning to the question of biographical readings of Foucault.
Don't his theories of the care of the self inevitably return us to
questions about how Foucault cared for his own self? One of the things I
liked about Miller's book (and I've read all three biographies) was the
underlying idea that Foucault managed to bring theory into his own life. It
became an ethic, of sorts.