Re: attack me please

sorry to deny your more pressing request for punishment, but i just
don't know you that well...

i am interested in the cunanan case too, though not for academic
reasons, and did follow the t.v. coverage as it seems that this kind of
spectacle has now become the important t.v. genre along with coverage of
floods, trials, and presidential blowjobs etc...i may be a bit pedantic
(you can imagine the trappings of detention, severe tweeds and worse
looks, pointer and pensum in hand if you like) -- but i do feel that you
neglect a significant historical aspect of foucault's argument when you
fail to notice that the diagnositic tool "taint" eg. "of tainted family"
was widely applied to homosexuals and with it comes a mid-19thc
criminalisation of homosexuality in "medicine." obviously before
lombroso, kraft-ebbing and nordau and a host of sexologists/alienists
etc who used the notion of taint in their practices, sodomy had been
criminalised in england for quite some time and if you look at the
language of the statute of this capital offense you will find that it
was conceived as a crime against the person of the sovereign. my point
is simply that psychoanalysis did not invent the criminalisation of
homosexuality nor does psychoanalysis authorise a popular belief nor do
i think that journalists, who framed the cunanan story as the tale of a
"gay serial killer", were invoking psychoanalytic notions of
homosexuality. in the 19thc in europe it was the precursors of
psychoanalysis that were responsible for translating a
moral/theological/national pathology into a medical and sociological
one. i don't know as much as i should about the american transmutation
of freud into ego-psychology, but i think i can say with certainty that
freud never proscribed electro-shock as a cure for homosexuality. that
said, it is endlessly appalling to me to find whenever i pick up a major
medical journal of so-called psychoanalysis in america articles about
alleged cures of homosexuality.

as for the question about attributing causes, it does seem possible to
me to argue, and again this would require a closer reading of foucault
perhaps of *the order of things*, that a "mythic" episteme reigns in
the media. it would seem that the break with rationalism is a necessary
precondition for the kind of attributive error you find. and i do think
it is present in all forms of media reporting that i am exposed to on
t.v. old news people complain about a lack of 'fact checking' and
'objective standards', but basically the news seems like an incoherent
ideological free-for-all(none). this could only be an appearance and
doubtless someone will do the work of showing an ordering system. the
only one i can see is, rationalism proving inadequate to the demands of
the media market, the old saws have a new life and the very narratives
of the implantation of sexuality can now be deployed as primordial
fairytales. i can only be suggestive rather than really argue the point
as i don't dwell on this much.


Mark Cenite wrote:
> I know how you fans of Foucault hate that normalizing universalizing
> totalizing fascistic positivist psychology, but . . .
> I'm studying press coverage of the Cunanan case as part of a dissertation
> on the popularization and vulgarization of psychoanalytic discourses.
> Using a critique you may recognize from the _History of Sexuality, Vol. 1_,
> I'm observing how Cunanan's sexuality was cast as causal principle for his
> actions (or at least as somehow causally informing those actions). A
> scholar who has used attribution theory (from experimental psychology) in
> his media research has pointed out that one could make the case that
> journalists/audiences made what is referred to as the fundamental
> attribution error: a tendency to attribute behavior, especially negative
> behavior, to a disposition (e.g., homosexuality, or something about it)
> rather than to circumstances (e.g., Cunanan was in a fight with an early
> victim over something mundane like money, then fled and needed a different
> car, etc. etc.).
> What do you think of my hypothesis that now that "perverse" sexuality has
> been "implanted" in the subject (History I, pp. 36ff) and is viewed as a
> causal principle with general and diffuse effects (e.g., History I, p. 65),
> there is a tendency to make "the fundamental attribution error"--to
> attribute behavior (inappropriately) to (homo)sexuality?
> Be merciless--
> -m.

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