Act now; die later!

I’ve indulgently speed read through the pages of E.M. Cioran’s Heights of Despair and George’s Batailles’ Story of the Eye over the last few days (the latter being consumed in one anxious sitting, retroactively as a symbol for the brisk yet ferocious innocence, of the novel’s antagonists). They offered me little really; I think I’ engaged them almost purely as a result of a warped drive towards an aesthetic of the awful rather than genuine will for the evil and abusive, and although I certainly intend to ontinue flooding myself with the visceral horror of texts like that (my goodreads’ want to read list is basically stained with blood and shit for summer beach reading) I have a haunting sense how of guilt whenever I stumble through the texts. Perhaps once I’ve conquered Pierre Guyotat’s Ouevre or engaged with the tomes of haigographical secondary literature that seems to be floating around in the strange shared space of old French theorists and masochistic young men of Internet forums, I will overcome the ‘innocence’ and ‘naivety’ that Cioran might accost m for having, but ultimately it seems th warfare of words that these writers engage in can never overcome mastubatory self-indulgence and awakened nihilism of proclamations and imperatives. For Batailles, Will Self’s Cock and Bull is gruesome enough for me, infinitely more fun and thematically interesting (yet of course I clearly haven’t peered deeply enough into the munched bull testicle or egg-based sodomy) and lacks the offputting air of importance, and although I enjoy reading about Cioran and watching the chilling, relentless documentary on his life, his writing fairs little better. 
No literature seems to escape th immediacy of its socio-historical context (perhaps? Haven’t quite got round to reading all of,literary theory yet) and although of course the early life suffering of Bataille, and the trauma of seeing his syphilltic father suffer in front of him, and of Cioran, and his clearly debilitating and painful bouts of insomnia and suicidal urges, are not to be dismissed as frivellous; the messages and demands of these works to my eyes just amount to pure stasis (no wonder Cioran and Beckett were friends!) and violent disorder, dyonisian without the productive qualities, that reveal more about the existential condition of white bookish males than the totality of humanity and offer nothing in way of emancipation, universal or personal. It seems this might precisely be the point, or I might be asking too much of artistic expression and reflection; furthermore the fundamental agony and contradiction of being might be all that awaits us once the facades of authenticity and religious spectre have been cast aside, but I hope not. 
‘Critical art is an art that aims to produce a new perception of the world, and therefore create a commitment to its transformation.’ I shall appeal to this beautiful sound bite quote of Jacques Ranciere, ironically utilising another white male academic who transcends the real struggles (just like me! Fuck you Susan Sontag!), to restate my distaste (not to be confused for dislike) for the aforementioned writers. Ultimately Ranciere has convinced me, or rather enriched my previously baseless view, that no aesthetic artefact or process is without political consequence or meaning; as aesthetics and politics are basically concerned with the ‘the distribution of the sensible’ (what appears self-evidently seeable, sayable, hearable etc; what is considered legitimate in society) and thus any thing like music, art or the topic of this piece, novels and books, has a place and relationship towards this distribution of the sensible. I might looks at eggs or eyes in a completely new way after reading Batailles or consider the necessity for sleep and socialising a bit after Cioran, but these themes do not fundamentally rupture the fixed set of legitimate ideas and identities that structure or social reality. Of course it seems I’m being chauvinistic in attacking their writing for lacking broader political utility when they have never declared to have one (or perhaps there is great political consequence in their work, but I have yet to really discover it) but following Ranciere’s theory (if I really understand it st all) it seems that works like these, not matter how they restructure our personal vision if the world and reality, they don’t agitate or being light upon the struggles beyond myself in any meaningful sense; my general lack of concern for ‘art for arts sake’ is clear here, and although I’ve recently enjoyed the films like those of Peter Greenway and it’s pure visual pleasure, more recently looking at something like the Laugh of Medusa by Helene Cixous seems infinitely more important, necessary and almost an imperative, for the demands it makes on society as a whole. 
Maybe that was clear? Batailles might have given us the beautiful work of Bjork, but something more is necessary. We can ruminate and interrogate death, sexuality and the pleasures one day (or for just parts of the day now, I’ll allow that!) but it’s necessary to act now, and die later. Vote Corbyn (or don’t, the government always gets in!), be involved in some direct action or discuss politics and write ironic blog posts like this. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s