Mirror (as) Stage/Méconnaissance: Performing Gender Outside the Lines

We come to see ourselves differently as we catch sight of our images in the mirror of the machine.

Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen

The defining and distorting presence of the ‘mirror’ in these incidents is suggestive. Same and different; self and ‘other.’

Marjorie Garber,Vested Interests

However, it also raises the question of how man is supposed to articulate himself in a world where the meaning of these terms have been so dramatically questioned so as to become practically meaningless.

Jean-Paul Martinon, The End of Man

Only another question: is this the real one? In what sense real? What is the ‘truth’ or gender and sexuality that we try, in vain, to see, to see through, when what we are gazing at is the hall of mirrors?

Marjorie Garber, Vested Interests

In other words, the norm of sex takes hold to the extent that it is ‘cited’ as such a norm, but it also derives its power through the citations that it compels.

Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter

What is ‘normative’ about a norm hardly anyone meets? Are we to say the majority of men are unmasculine?

R. W. Connell, Masculinities

‘I’m a man,’ which at most can mean no more than, ‘I’m like the person who, in recognizing him to be a man, I constitute as someone who can recognize me as a man.’

Jacques Lacan, “Aggressiveness in Psychoanalysis”

This Machine Stares into the Abyss

“This Machine Stares into the Abyss”

It’s the phrase I intend to brand my basses with. Channelling Woody, Pete, and Friedrich. Evocative. But considering Thomas Ligotti’s The Conspiracy against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror (2010) it takes on new implications.

And o’erthrew them with prophesying

– Arthur O’Shaughnessy, Ode

The pieces are unusable, and display too much tendency toward uncertainty.

– René Daumal, Pataphysical Essays

It is the very delusion of the misanthropic beautiful soul, casting out onto the world the disorder that constitutes his being.

– Jacques Lacan, “Agressiveness in Psychoanalysis”

Someone, you or me, comes forward and says: I would like to learn to live finally.

– Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx

Florida Man Declares Life Malignantly Useless.

I get a lot of milage out of Florida Man. And while people down here have gained a reputation since hanging chads, there is a rather significant difference between Ligotti’s philosophy and the fact that he seems to live in Florida and “Florida Man Claims It’s His Constitutional Right To Rape A Donkey.” Have I already dodged the question with humor and coincidence?

from the text:

Whether you think consciousness to be a benefit or a horror, this is only what you think – and nothing else. But even though you cannot demonstrate the truth of what you think, you can at least put it on show and see what the audience thinks.

This is the tragedy: Consciousness has forced us into the paradoxical position of striving to be unself-conscious of what we are – hunks of spoiling flesh on disintegrating bones.

Best to immunize your consciousness from any thoughts that are startling and dreadful so that we can all go on conspiring to survive and reproduce as paradoxical beings – puppets that can walk and talk all by themselves.

It also reminds us that no one can make a case that every individual’s birth, or any individual’s birth, is a good in itself.

Even highly educated readers do no want to be told that their lives are an evolutionary contingency – and nothing else – and that meaning is not what people think it means.

He is content just to exist, and equally content not to exist.

Considering, then, is the machine the bass guitar or the man behind the strings? One wonders, one doubts. Which is of course part of the point. Because just as the optimists cannot convince or lay claim to the inherent value of life, the pessimists cannot guarantee meaninglessness. The abyss always smiles at me.

ex nihilo dubito.

Can machines doubt? Was Cripple Shu malignantly useless? How does one take a trip through a Zaphodian Infinite Perspective Vortex?

ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn

Sometimes, though, you just have to fly off in your invisible, noiseless, wing-shaped bomber singing “Oh well. What the hell.” with the other dead fictions.