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Eschatology? Please just say no.

Had coffee with Elisa Yon this afternoon. We talked about a bunch of things, including her great experiences so far at Emily Carr University of Art & Design. As we talked about individualism and society (among other things), I tried (but failed) to remember the name of a French psychoanalyst whose book had impressed me mightily a couple of decades ago.

I got home and – googling to the rescue – found the information I sought: I was recalling Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel. The book I read was Creativity and Perversion. I liked it.

Usually, I’d link to the Wikipedia page of someone like Chasseguet-Smirgel, but her page is such a hatchet job that I won’t bother. Seriously, Wiki people? You think her biggest accomplishment was pissing off leftist Lacanians and intellectual anarchists? Oh, come on…

Every once in a while, I lull myself into believing that we’re beyond that sort of bullying. But then I turn around and realize, “nuh-uh, we’re not.” The bullying I refer to is the Left vs. Right nonsense that partisan diehards like to dish out.

It seems Chasseguet-Smirgel called bullshit on masturbatory anarchism (or self-indulgent anarchism, choose your label), and for this Deleuze and Guattari of Anti-Oedipus fame gave her a smack-down. (Ok, here’s a link to her Wikipedia page.) Yes, I’m being harsh – but eschatologists who think that liberation lies in anarchy, or people who are so damn sure of the telos that they actually believe they know just what the future holds (excuse me while I gag): these people drive me crazy, and I include anyone of any political stripe in my no-go zone.

Co-incidentally, I happened to watch Steven Pinker‘s brilliant talk, A History of Violence (don’t have a direct-direct link – just click through on the second link and look for Pinker in the line-up: he’s the handsome curly-gray-haired guy with the bright green tie).

And somehow, what he had to say made me think that Anti-Oedipists and anarchists were off on a tangent and Chasseguet-Smirgel was more on track all along.

(To be continued.)


  1. Wait – aren’t *we* wiki people?

    Comment by Davin Greenwell — September 26, 2010 #

  2. We are. And then again, we’re not. We’re like quarks – there, and not there. 😉
    I know I could, but I’ve never edited a wikipedia page. (So, my bad.)
    The people who edit the psychoanalysis pages or the Situationist International pages or the Gilles Deleuze pages have a lot more skin in the game with respect to those topics than I do. When a partisan takes Chasseguet-Smirgel’s “contribution” only in relation to whether or not she was approved of (or loathed) by that partisan’s favorite person (eg. Deleuze), then I’ll call bullshit – even though I don’t have the inclination to get myself on Wikipedia to edit her page. It’s not my specialty – or, maybe in quark language: not my flavor. But I’ll call them out to say the page tastes wrong.
    So, yes, you’re right: we are the wiki people, …except when we’re not!

    Comment by Yule — September 26, 2010 #

  3. Interesting article, I certainly do think Wiki needs a good clean up now and again and it shouldn’t be relied on but it’s mostly a good reference point to start from…at times 🙂

    Comment by Ed Baxter — September 29, 2010 #

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