"In a traditional German lavatory, the hole in which shit disappears after we flush water is way in front, so that shit is first laid out for us to sniff at and inspect for traces of illness; in the typical French toilet, on the contrary, the hole is in the back — that is, shit is supposed to disappear as soon as possible; finally, the Anglo-Saxon (English or American) lavatory presents a kind of synthesis, a mediation between these two opposed poles — the toilet basin is full of water, so that the shit floats in it — visible, but not to be inspected. No wonder that Erica Jong, in the famous discussion of different European lavatories at the beginning of her half-forgotten Fear of Flying, mockingly claims: ‘German toilets are really the key to the horror of the Third Reich. People who build toilets like this are capable of anything.’”
“The body is a pliable entity whose determinable form is provided
not simply by biology but through the interaction of modes of
psychical and physical inscription and the provision of a set
of limiting biological codes…. The body is not open to all the
whims, wishes, and hopes of the subject: the human body, for
example, cannot fly in the air…. On the other hand, while there
must be some kinds of biological limit or constraint, these
constraints are perpetually capable of being superseded, overcome,
through the human body’s capacity to open itself up to prosthetic
synthesis, to transform or rewrite its environment, to continually
augment its powers and capacities through the incorporation
into the body’s own spaces and modalities of objects that, while
external, are internalized, added to, supplementing and
supplemented by the “organic body” (or what culturally passes
for it), surpassing the body, not “beyond” nature but in collusion
with a “nature” that never really lived up to its name, that
represents always the most blatant cultural anxieties and
projections.”—Elizabeth Grosz, Volatile Bodies (1994)
Two questions for you, lovely girl:
I noticed from your other blog that you have a Ken Russell thing. Have you ever seen The Boyfriend?
Also, I'm curious as to what you're writing about for your doctorate.
I saw The Boyfriend years and years ago, having scouted down an ancient, scratchy, barely visible VHS at one of my uni libraries which sadly seems to have been since discarded (er, the VHS, not the library). From what I recall, Ken Russell in quintessentially high-camp mode does Busby Berkeley, sans the usual lysergic nun montages? I’d love to see it again, but haven’t been able to find it since - despite all of this paracinematic revivalism and subsequent availability of otherwise supposedly marginalised filmic trash/treasure, there doesn’t seem to be a huge obscure-archives-of-Ken-Russell-films-lost following, at least not in any kind of distribution-related capacity.
Oh dear, my doctorate. I should be writing that recently neglected thing now instead of fucking around here. I still have trouble articulating its actual purpose in 25 words or less, which doesn’t bode well. It’s about Bataillean transgression, scatology, divinity and the body, with a lot of John Waters (and to a lesser extent, Uncle Ken) chucked in for apparently masochistic pleasure. So when pressed as to what I’m researching, my tendency to reply with “Shit” is laden with an unfortunate gleeful literality.
"Keen on validating surrealism as a lifestyle choice"
I'm with you all the way.
"Dragging Bataille into everything"
Yes, yes! Maybe we should start a club.
Oooh, we can wear meat helmets and League of Gentlemen-esque prosthetics and re-enact Grand Guignol plays with the rather disturbing-looking Freud sock puppets I almost bought today and deliberate the alchemical properties of moustaches fashioned out of pastrami. And stuff. But let’s just not get too Bataillean and do it headless.
First part, not a question: I love your tumblr. Second part, with a question: what area of study are you doing your postgrad in?
Egads, sorry for my extreme tardiness - I only just noticed this now because Tumblr is being rather silly.
Thank you. :) I’m technically meant to be a cinema studies person, but my thesis/dissertation is somewhat more of an interdisciplinary hodgepodge these days and could be categorised as art history or cultural studies or even philosophy at a shove. You’re in a slightly different area, from the looks of it?
Bernard Herrmann - Vertigo:Suite/I. Prelude (via Bernard Herrmann:The Film Scores)
“As I scored it throughout, I found myself entirely in sympathy with what was going on the screen. The story was so original, so haunting, that I knew pretty much what was called for, and I dredged it from my subconscious.”
-Herrmann, quoted in Steven Smith’s A Heart at Fire’s Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann
“The masks and voices of carnival resist, exaggerate, and destabilize the distinctions and boundaries that mark and maintain high culture and organized society. It is as if the carnivalesque body politic had ingested the entire corpus of high culture and, in its bloated and irrepressible state, released in fits and starts in all manner of recombination, inversion, mockery, and degradation.”—Mary Russo, The Female Grotesque: Risk, Excess and Modernity (1995)