I am not so foolish as to prescribe a mandatory reading list of Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Deleuze, Foucault, and Derrida for police training, though it would not hurt (their victims). But once the police started reading or knowing what they were doing, or whom they were representing and why, they would no longer be the police, the phantom index to which Benjamin’s argument pointed us. At the very least they would be, as readers, essentially detectives (and only essentially): those loners who, resisting group formation, sometimes have to turn in their badges or cross an ethicolegal line in order to investigate, piece together, read, and scour unconscious densities of meaning. It’s not a pretty job, and it’s generally managed according to a different time clock than that which the police regularly punches.
From Avital Ronell’s “TraumaTV” from Finitude’s Score: Essays for the End of the Millenium, p. 319
or Avital Ronell on why I like detective shows so much?
Kant becomes totally butch
Kant does end up prescribing that a true and good philosopher will be more or less a bad writer and will not indulge in certain forms of wordplay and joyous resignification. For Kant, this decision was an agony and a renunciation. He had to renounce being a beautiful writer, a femme writer, and he becomes totally butch.
From “Confessions of an Anacoluthon: Avital Ronell on Writing, Technology, Pedagogy, Politics”, interview by Diane Davis, p. 263
So much to get interested in here: Kant (the way Josh Gunn says it), Kant renouncing femininity; the alignment of play, beauty, femininity, and rhetorical skill; the allegory of lesbian genders for writing; the masculinizing of philosophy through this butching it up. And/so there’s a definitely a work of butch/er/ing and joyous resignification of “butch” to be done, too.
There are certain things that force your hand.
There are certain things that force your hand. You find yourself incontrovertibly obligated: something occurs prior to owing, and more fundamental still than that of which any trace of empirical guilt can give an account. This relation—to whom? to what?—is no more and no less than your liability—what you owe before you think, understand, or give; that is, what you owe from the very fact that you exist, before you can properly owe. You do not have to do anything about your liability, and most finitudes don’t. Still, it copilots your every move, planning your every flight, and it remains the place shadowed by the infinite singularity of your finitude.
From what I’m reading today: Avital Ronell’s Crack Wars: Addiction Literature Mania, p. 57
A pain in the ass
By the way, one of my motivating slogans is that a woman should be a pain in the ass.
From what I’m reading today: “Confessions of an Anacoluthon: Avital Ronell on Writing, Technology, Pedagogy, Politics”, interview by Diane Davis, p. 252
But I would also say, in a more general and gendered sense, that very often women who have a somewhat original bent are institutionally psychoticized and isolated. They tend to be structurally positioned as dangerous creatures, so there is always a SWAT team of academic proprietors closing in on them.
From what I’m reading today: “Confessions of an Anacoluthon: Avital Ronell on Writing, Technology, Pedagogy, Politics”, interview by Diane Davis, p. 248