Poseur Alert

“Actually, there was one time I had graduate students participate with the inmates in a joint reading of Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. I got permission from the prison administration to have fifteen students come, and the prisoners prepared punch and cookies for our meeting, and we just sat down together and talked Foucault. We had also read Goffman’s Asylums and one other book in that vein, and the interesting thing was that in discussing each of those books, the Foucault in particular, the inmates were very upset about the construction of subjectivity, the way in which institutions create a subjectivity,” – Michael Hardt.

Poseur Alert

“As a friend put it to me: A tattoo isn’t the Word made flesh, but the flesh made word. It may strike old-fashioned types as pedestrian narcissism and adolescent conformity, and sometimes it surely is. But in a deeper and more troubling way, it is canny and subversive artifice, spiced with a moralistic claim to personal liberation. A tattoo is a personal statement but also an anthropological position that accords with the prevailing transvaluations of our time. It’s a wholly successful one, too, judging from the entertainment and sports worlds, and youth culture. With the mainstreaming of tattoos, another factor in the natural order falls away, yet one more inversion of nature and culture, natural law and human desire. That’s not an outcome the rationalizer’s regret. It’s precisely the point,” – Mark Bauerlein.

Poseur Alert

‘”The Mockingbird Next Door’ conjured mostly sad images in my mind. Ms. Lee has a regular booth at McDonald’s, where she goes for coffee. She eats takeout salads from Burger King on movie night. When she fishes, she uses wieners for bait. She feeds the town ducks daily, with seed corn from a plastic Cool Whip Free container, calling “Woo-hoo-HOO! Woo-hoo-HOO!” Somehow learning all this is worse than it would be to learn that she steals money from a local orphanage,” – Dwight Garner, NYT.

(Hat tip: the wonderful Michelle Dean)

Poseur Alert

“At the start of every dance, my heart would lift again, noting some marvelous feature of Bolshoi style. The communicative generosity of manner! The thick-cream legato flow and keen dynamic sense! The juicy red-meat richness of texture! The unaffectedly erect posture of the torsos and their gorgeous pliancy! The easy amplitude of line! The powerful sweep through space! Yet nothing availed. Each dance soon grew monotonous,” – Alastair Macaulay, NYT.


Update from a reader:

There are plenty of pretentious twits out there to go after but your condemnation of Macaulay’s Bolshoi review is unfair.  This is a DANCE review and Macaulay was using ballet aesthetic terminology to describe the performance, which to non-dance fans sounds ridiculous.  You might say the same about a medical journal written for fellow doctors.  Are they poseurs?


Poseur Alert

“I have no axe to grind about the ban on smoking in public places, nor do I resist the shift in social mores that nowadays makes it, oftentimes, a solecism to light up in a private home. Nonetheless I miss smoke; it draped a decent veil across interior vulgarities, while softening our loved ones’ hateful features. Moreover, it was something to look at: its chiffon convolutions and tulle thunderheads made perfectly dull places seem excitingly mysterious. I don’t think the NHS’s smoking cessation schemes make enough of this: what we smokers need to help us kick this obnoxious addiction is a portable son et lumière, not a packet of nicotine gum. Nicotine gum is in fact the spatial inversion of smoking: the gum-chewer, instead of looking out, as the smoker does, on a roiling boiling atmosphere, has his attention driven entirely inward to a dark and claustrophobic space where giant teeth clash and clash again,” – Will Self.

Poseur Alert

“69 confronts us with an unfortunate truth: it is a distinctly capitalistic, efficiency-emphasizing endeavor that erases the unique personhood of each participant by relying on a crude approximation of how human bodies fit together if human bodies are conceived of as identical, two-dimensional figures like the numbers of its name. … The position also echoes the service economy in its demand (mainly on women) of a convincing performance of pleasure. It’s not enough to simply be present and to competently do the job that’s asked of you by your lover, you must also appear to simultaneously enjoy said lover’s ministrations, regardless of the delicate balancing requiring to keep from suffocating him or breaking his nose. This is a form of emotional labor like that demanded from baristas, servers, and sex workers; not only do you have to do a good job, you have to like it,” – Susan Elizabeth Shepard and Charlotte Shane

Dan Savage suspects the piece is a parody. But several of his commenters are taking it seriously.

I don’t think it’s parody so much as whimsy. This paragraph convinces me:

We will be silenced by your sexual hubris no longer. There can be no freedom without an end to the tyrannical mediocrity of 69. Let us commit to a new world where this vision can be realized. Working together – but not at exactly the same time – we can achieve it.

I would call this “tongue-in-cheek” in any context less charged.