Sunday, August 23, 2015

Foucault, o Santo Devasso do Pau Oco e Ereto

Artigo classico de Roger Kimball sobre Foucault, operador comunista do Collège de France, pervertido que assassinou inúmeros parceiros gays transmitindo AIDS: Foucault, who died of AIDS in June 1984 at the age of fifty-seven, has long been a darling of the same super-chic academic crowd that fell for deconstruction, Jacques Derrida, and other aging French imports. But where the deconstructionists specialize in the fruity idea that language refers only to itself (il n’y a pas de hors texte, in Derrida’s now-famous phrase), Foucault’s focus was Power. He came bearing the bad news in bad prose that every institution, no matter how benign it seems, is “really” a scene of unspeakable domination and subjugation; that efforts at enlightened reform—of asylums, of prisons, of society at large—have been little more than alibis for extending state power; that human relationships are, underneath it all, deadly struggles for mastery; that truth itself is merely a coefficient of coercion; &c., &c. “Is it surprising,” Foucault asked in Surveiller et punir (English translation: Discipline and Punish, 1977), “that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, which all resemble prisons?” Such “interrogations” were a terrific hit in the graduate seminar, of course. And Miller may well be right in claiming that by the time of his death Foucault was “perhaps the single most famous intellectual in the world”—famous, at least, in American universities, where hermetic arguments about sex and power are pursued with risible fecklessness by the hirsute and untidy. In all this, Foucault resembled his more talented rival and fellow left-wing activist, Jean-Paul Sartre, whose stunning career Foucault did everything he could to emulate, beginning with a stint in the French Communist Party in the early 1950s. He never quite managed it—he never wrote anything as original or philosophically significant as Being and Nothingness, never had the public authority that Sartre, alas, enjoyed in the postwar years. Yet he had eminent and devoted cheerleaders, including such well-known figures as the historian Paul Veyne, his colleague at the Collège de France, who declared Foucault “the most important event in the thought of our century.” 

Be that as it may, he remains an unlikely candidate for canonization. But the very title of this new biography—The Passion of Michel Foucault[1]—puts readers on notice that, in Mr. Miller’s opinion, anyway, his subject presents us with a life of such exemplary, self-sacrificing virtue that it bears comparison with the Passion of Jesus Christ. (...)

But as the French journalist Didier Eribon has shown in an earlier biography (and as Miller unwittingly shows in his own), arrogance and mystification were two hallmarks of Foucault’s character and writing.[2] Eribon notes that at school, where Goya’s horrific etchings of the victims of war decorated his walls, Foucault was “almost universally detested.” Schoolmates remember him as brilliant, but also aloof, sarcastic, and cruel. He several times attempted—and more often threatened—suicide. Self-destruction, in fact, was another of Foucault’s obsessions, and Miller is right to underscore Foucault’s fascination with death. In this, as in so much else, he followed the lead of the Marquis de Sade, who had long been one of his prime intellectual and moral heroes. (Though, as Miller notes, Foucault felt that Sade “had not gone far enough,” since, unaccountably, he continued to see the body as “strongly organic.”) Foucault came to enjoy imagining “suicide festivals” or “orgies” in which sex and death would mingle in the ultimate anonymous encounter. Those planning suicide, he mused, could look “for partners without names, for occasions to die liberated from every identity.”

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