one or two ... no three ... things about Foucault

There was an annoying article in The Times (which I'm not even going to bother linking to but I did hack three sentences out of it) about how all kinds of unlikely people are referring to Foucault these days and making out like it's pretentious and/or you are a pseudo intellectuals if you do so. (Isn't it interesting how anti-intellectuals like to accuse people of being pseudo intellectual when it's real intellectuals that they actually hate?)

In these interesting times when there is a record of almost everything you do and don't do, what you read and what you buy, what you write and say to your friends, what you look for information about, and thus what you think, in short when every aspect of one's life is open to scrutiny 24/7, it's hardly surprising that people might think of Foucault, who died aged 57 ... in 1984! Ha. Of all the years to die in!

He suggested, in Discipline and Punish, that “we live in a disciplinary society, where our bodies and behaviour are modified in the face of surveillance, or perceived surveillance, by others — and that society can be a kind of large prison, a panopticon.” He would have been interested in the fact that the wardens in this prison are the richest and most successful companies in the world.

Also, in The Order of Things, “Foucault announced the 'death of man' and envisaged a society which is no longer based on the centrality of the human.” Such a prospect fills me with optimism and relief but it is not unthinkable that it could render you pessimistic, especially if you're a humanist.

Last but not least, in We ‘Other Victorians’, he chides “modern Europeans for thinking they are any more sexually liberated than their 19th-century forebears, trapped as they still are by censorious sexual mores and conventions.”

Recently I have been thinking about the extent to which these censorious sexual mores and conventions are built into the superego and the extent to which we can free ourselves of them through analysis/therapy — including the possibility that one could realise that sex isn't necessary at all and that sexual desire is in fact the result of ... oh wait ... this may have to be the subject of another separate rant ... 🙂

First let's go and hunt down some trans people or people who may or may not be part of a satanic pedophile network and teach them a lesson — for the good of the world you understand.