QUOTE: “Texts are now spread open like thighs, reading for the triumph of the misreader, as the life of study is reinvented as something remarkably resembling rape. A deconstructed text is tantamount to a forgery.” Philip Rieff

Pablo-Picasso-Paintings-8

“According to Rieff, the first world is pagan, obsessed with gods, whether the Olympian deities of ancient Greece or the aboriginal spirits of Australia’s outback. The second world is monotheistic; in its realm, the Living God authoritatively issues prohibitive commandments. The third world is obsessed with erasure,2 determined to destroy the second culture, indeed, culture itself, and usher in an “age without moralities and religions.”3

Instead of commandments, it favors the ever-shifting phenomena of “values.”4 While the first world had taboos and the second had divine “interdicts,” the third world starts with “remissives” (excuses and exceptions) and ends in “transgressives,” where once-condemned sins are now celebrated.5

The move from first to third worlds is a transition from fate to faith to fiction. One is finally left in a place where “there is no truth, only rhetorics of self-interest.”6 Where once there was a “Way,” a via (“verticality in authority”), and “the sacred,”7 now there is only human vanity and license, a world where relativistic multi-culturalism is actually anti-culturalism.8 Having thrown off a master, man is now “mastered only by his desires.”

Schools teaching “self-esteem therapy are preparatory schools” for third world “scourges,” driven by “an ideology of anger and hatred,” bent on destroying “white males, patriarchy, biological constraints on sexuality, the ruling class, capitalism, pet ownership, law: any restraint that keeps a man or woman from becoming the world.”Such “[t]hird world education is a matter of indoctrination into the fictive culture of the primacy of possibility”10—a universe with no limits.

In Rieff’s terms, the acts of those committed to this downward spiral are “deathworks,” and its “negational artists” are legion: the American poet Wallace Stevens (“Notes toward a Supreme Fiction”);11 the Irish writer James Joyce (Finnegans Wake);12 American novelist Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness);13 Viennese psychiatrist Sigmund Freud (Moses and Monotheism);14 German tyrant Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf);15 Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (Les Demoiselles d’Avignon);16 French artist Marcel Duchamp (Etant donnés);17 British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (Philosophical Investigations);18 American broadcaster Bryant Gumbel (adversarial interview of the Reverend Ralph Abernathy on NBC’s Today Show);19 U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun (the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade); 20  American filmmaker Martin Scorcese (Goodfellas);21 American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (Self-Portrait);22 and French philosopher Michel Foucault (The Archaeology of Knowledge). 23

 

Excerpted from the Kairos Journal

For more:

THE GUARDIAN INTERVIEW: PHILIP RIEFF

What do you think about deathworks and culture?

Lose a Battle, Rape Some Girls

She deserved it.

She deserved it.

“The next morning as they were breaking camp they were attacked by a war party of Cheyennes led by Chief Medicine Water. John and Lydia German, their son Stephen, and daughters Rebecca Jane and Joanna were killed and scalped. The Indians then took any goods they deemed usable and set the wagon afire. Captured and eventually taken into the Texas Panhandle were Catherine, age seventeen; Sophia, twelve; Julia, seven; and Addie, five. The Germans were victims of the Cheyennes’ retaliation for their losses at the second battle of Adobe Walls on June 27.

After a scouting party from Fort Wallace came upon the scene of the massacre a few days later, the military campaigns against hostile Indians in the Panhandle were intensified. In the meantime, the German girls were subjected to exposure, malnutrition, and occasional maltreatment as their captors traveled southward. Catherine, in particular, recalled instances of gang rape by young “dog soldiers” and indignities at the hands of Cheyenne women, particularly Medicine Water’s obnoxious wife, Mochi (Buffalo Calf Woman). Eventually Julia and Addie were traded to Grey Beard‘s band, who for the most part neglected them. Grey Beard steered his following down the east side of the Llano Estacado, while Medicine Water joined with other groups and moved down the west side, probably crossing at several points into eastern New Mexico.

Is it fun to gang rape?

Is it fun to gang rape?

By November 1874 Grey Beard had set up camp north of McClellan Creek, about ten miles south of the site of present-day Pampa. On the morning of November 8, Lt. Frank D. Baldwin‘s column charged the Indian encampment. So complete was the surprise that the Cheyennes abandoned the village and left most of their property intact. Riding through the deserted camp, William (Billy) Dixon and other army scouts noticed movement in a pile of buffalo hides; they were astonished to find Julia and Addie German, both emaciated and near starvation. Dixon later recalled how hardened scouts and soldiers turned aside to hide their emotions as the little girls sobbed out their story.”