[With thanks to Banished To A Pompous Land.]
It was a stark and doomy night; the rain fell in torrents – except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in Pointy Town that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
By the light of one such scanty flame, had we a view of the scene, we might have spotted, prancing along the windswept street, muffled in a stylish Piet Van Der Groot greatcoat, that titan among cultural theorists, Jean-Luc Git. Slung around his shoulder was a satchel, and in the satchel was a copy, hot off the press, of his latest book. Did I say book? It was not a word Git used. He called it a texte or a (dis)course, of course. On this stark and doomy night he was on his way through the gusty streets of Pointy Town to read selections from his texte or (dis)course to a tavern full of intoxicated intellectuals.
They were intoxicated both by booze and by ideas, and nobody had better ideas than Jean-Luc Git. So the tavern’s hubbub was stilled, and there was an expectant hush, as the cultural theorist came crashing through the door. Without removing his stylish greatcoat, he crossed to the low stage where a lectern had been placed. Next to the lectern was a table on which stood a small glass containing a spiritous liquor of vivid hue. Git swigged it, took his texte or (dis)course out of the satchel, opened it on the lectern, and began to declaim.
For half an hour or so, everything went tickety-boo. Git recited his clogged impenetrable prose and the intellectuals furrowed their brows, nodded sagely, and tugged at their goatees. But then the cultural theorist said:
“… and so, in what we might call the helix of disengagement, we interrogate notions of structure, unstructure, dis-structure, mis-structure, and ur-structure by way of an investigation, doubly incoherent, both formal and informal, of the punctum of jouissance …”
From somewhere in the audience, there was a titter, which turned to a chortle, and very soon became a guffaw. It was followed by a heckle, couched in language so unseemly it is not fit for family reading. Git was stopped in his tracks.
“I beg your pardon?” he shouted.
“You heard what I said,” replied the heckler.
“How dare you impugn my jouissance!” cried Git.
But it was as if the occasional violent gusts of winds which swept up the streets of Pointy Town had come blowing into the tavern, as if the torrents of rain on this stark and doomy night had come flooding in. In the tumult, the cultural theorist’s jouissance proved no defence. He was undone.
Discussion points for your reading group.
What is a just course of action if as a cultural theoretician one’s jouissance is impugned?.
List the personality defects of the kind of barbarian who would impugn the jouissance of a figure as titanic as Jean-Luc Git.
Using scissors and cardboard, make a paper dolly dressed in a Piet Van Der Groot greatcoat.
Which tavern in Pointy Town do you think would be so irresponsible as to allow entry to a barbarian so culturally depraved that they would heckle Jean-Luc Git?
Do you think the “scanty flame” from the lamps that struggle against the darkness is symbolic of Jean-Luc Git’s jouissance?
Sag’ mir, wo die Blumen sind?