Monday, February 02, 2009

Exhaustion and Hollywood

This is what we're doing in my class today:

and this:

It goes without saying that we're discussing Claudia Rankine's book Don't Let Me Be Lonely.

In that book Rankine describes The Wild Bunch shootout as an "orgasm," but I think that's note entirely correct - if by orgasm you mean an erotically satisfactory experience.

It's not satisfying or climactic. It's more like an exhaustion. But it also shows how exhaustion is a result of plotlessness, of a form that just keeps going and going, something beyond the human beings and psychology. It's more like the jouissance of repetition.

Claudia notes that these characters have "nowehere to get to... Theirs is not the Old Testament - no journey to take... For them life and death are simultaneously equal and present."

However, if the orgasm suggests something of the erotics of death (or "erotism" as Bataille's book has it), then perhaps it's like an orgasm.

And: "Once the orgasm is over we can just lie back, close our eyes and relax, though we are neither liberated nor fulfilled. They are dead, finished, no American fantasy can help them now."

If we're discussing exhaustion then we must invoke Bataille's notion of "expenditure" (see post below).

"You can never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough." (William Blake)


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