[Marxism] An odd affinity

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed May 26 14:15:51 MDT 2004

Remember the Mapplethorpe controversy, folks? It was touring all over 
the country, we were told we couldn't stop it from being seen, we were 
told that people wanted to go see it, they should see it, that this was 
art and we were in no position to judge? Remember Piss Christ? The 
crucifix in a jar of urine and how that was funded by the NEA and that 
we were told we must endeavor to try to understand? Remember Karen 
Finley, who appeared nude on stage as part of an NEA grant with 
chocolate slathered all over herself, we were told that was art, we must 
understand it. Don't misunderstand me. What I'm saying here is that, to 
me, this is still being exploited as a political opportunity. I am not 
saying that what's in these pictures is harmless. I'm not saying what's 
in these pictures is not bad.

--Rush Limbaugh



Under Saddam, the accent was on direct infliction of pain, while the 
American soldiers focused on psychological humiliation. Further, 
recording the humiliation with a camera, with the perpetrators included 
in the picture, their faces stupidly smiling beside the twisted naked 
bodies of the prisoners, was an integral part of the process, in stark 
contrast with the secrecy of the Saddam tortures. The very positions and 
costumes of the prisoners suggest a theatrical staging, a kind of 
tableau vivant, which brings to mind American performance art, “theatre 
of cruelty,” the photos of Mapplethorpe or the unnerving scenes in David 
Lynch’s films.

--Slavoj Zizek



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