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Michael Haneke: Filmmaker of Bad Faith

By Thom Donovan
angel of mercy, the pastor's son offers him a bird

angel of mercy, the pastor's son offers him a bird

This past weekend I saw Austrian director Michael Haneke’s newest film, The White Ribbon. Seeing any film by Haneke I go to it with a mild feeling of dread. His films are hard to watch; they often engage disturbing social circumstances and the threat of the unknown. Ultimately, if I had to say they were “about” anything, I would say they are about ressentiment—and specifically the bad faith of our quotidian lives. There is a moral consciousness at work in Haneke’s films, one that delves deep into the Austrian cultural imaginary. Looming behind the work is a legacy of social repression (one thinks of Freud, but also the performances of Viennese Actionists in the 60s and 70s). His films represent the way repression erupts privately and publicly, though mostly in private—within the scene of family/community.

Haneke leaves us with the problem of ressentiment in his 2005 film Caché. In Caché, a man of Algerian descent commits suicide after the recrudescence of a childhood trauma—the loss of his parents to the French occupation of Algeria. Confronting his would-be killer, the man’s son cites “bad faith” as the true reason for his father’s death. I was reminded of Caché’s conclusion watching The White Ribbon, where Haneke shows a town brought to its knees by social repression and unchecked sexual violence just before the beginning of WWI in Austria.

At the Wikipedia page for The White Ribbon, the page quotes Haneke about the film claiming that it concerns the origins of “terrorism,” whether politically or religiously motivated. Indeed the film is about terrorism, a terrorism that derives from the minor details of the way characters act and speak to one another. Haneke is best where he shows you a simple conversation turning bad, and then worse, and then unbearable. Such a conversation occurs between the doctor in the film and the midwife who is both his employee and lover, wherein the doctor explains the reasons why he no longer wants to be with her (her breath stinks from an ulcer) and she reveals that he is molesting his daughter.

I have always been squeamish about the films of Fassbinder, Bergman, and von Trier for their engagements with violence, and especially violence towards women. In their films violence seems histrionic, and often uncritically directed (though von Trier and Bergman apologists always claim to me that their films are critiquing patriarchy). Haneke, while often severe, recovers violence—the effective presentation of violence by cinema. And this, I think, is because Haneke is creating a genuinely empathic relationship among his characters and audience.

His films do not condescend as a von Trier or Bergman film do, but rather make one identify with the bad faith of its characters. How he does this is through the craft of a great storyteller and cinematographer. The flip-side of Haneke’s bad faith is a tenuous redemption Haneke proffers through his most humiliated characters. In The White Ribbon these characters—angels of mercy—are the pastor’s young son, who comes to his father bearing the gift of a caged bird after the pastor’s bird has been brutally executed, and in another scene bargains with his father to keep a pet frog. The baron’s wife is also such a character, explaining to her husband why she is leaving him: because the town over which he lords is filled with malice, and threatens the well-being of their son and the happiness of their marriage.

Through such characters perhaps speaks Haneke’s own wish for a force that will interrupt reactive forces, and allow a society to transcend its vicious circles. Although Haneke rarely gives in to this wish, as the apocalyptic conclusions to many of his other films attest (The Piano Teacher, The Seventh Continent, 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance).

Comments (51)

  • On January 6, 2010 at 9:33 pm Bhanu Kapil wrote:

    Thom, thus: Jelinek. Who wants to make a “meat blanket” out of a book. I’ve been haunted by the end of The Piano Teacher, when she pushes that knife into her shoulder/heart. I understood that violence as something that might counter-balance shame.

  • On January 6, 2010 at 10:31 pm thom donovan wrote:

    I love that film actually. It is really ethological, combing these two sexual personalities that just shld never get together. the masochist with the sadist in potentia (romance masking it). if any film of Haneke’s wld fall under the troubling Bergmanian/von-Trierian umbrella it wld be that one. but something recovers it. one feels so much for Huppert’s character–an affirmation of shame, indeed. let’s reennact! can you and I talk about reenactment practices “here” at some point?

    • On January 7, 2010 at 11:57 am Bhanu Kapil wrote:

      Re-enactment Practices. You have done my head in. I shall immediately put my ear muffs back on. What an incredible, frightening thought you have given me, Thom. And, by the way, I integrated/quoted you in the map/cartography talk I gave at a keynote three days ago — sentence/barbarism/expropriation — your remarks in the comment section after “thru.” Thank you so so much. I was really stalled and you helped me. Who are your interlocutors? Did I spell that right? You don’t have to answer, I guess, but it is good to hold the place of future conversations in this way. Perhaps I will never blog. Perhaps my interactions will appear exclusivly in this sub-space, but then how will I pay Comfort Dental?

      • On January 7, 2010 at 12:23 pm thom donovan wrote:

        I thot you were a reenactor for some reason Bhanu. anyway, I see a lot of potential for reenactment in your practice (especially work with documentary). I think that wld be great if we just posted thru comments boxes–very much keeping with your nickname, “ban”–to be on the peripheries of a forrest, yes? the comments boxes are the ban of blog–where the antinomians/rogues go to blog. I wld go there more often if the company were as consistently good as yours. thanks for mention in your talk, which I can only imagine was breathtaking. see you in the perlieus!

  • On January 7, 2010 at 12:24 am Cheryl Gilbert wrote:

    Interesting thoughts on Haneke, and ones I largely agree with. I haven’t seen The White Ribbon yet.

    I was curious about your use of the word “condescend” as it applies to Bergman and von Trier. Although I have issues with both of them (van Trier’s depictions of violence against women seem to go past histrionic and uncritical into sadistic, for me) I wouldn’t have chosen “condescend” to describe them. It’s not that I disagree as much as I don’t know what you mean.

    Nice article, all the same.

  • On January 7, 2010 at 11:27 am thom donovan wrote:

    better yet, they put their audience in a position to condescend. does that make more sense? what I mean to say is that the audience is not on an equal footing with their material, and that the position directors establish between audience and characters has something to with this. thanks for your comment Cheryl…

    • On January 8, 2010 at 10:27 am Bhanu Kapil wrote:

      “Thot”: more English that’s “cobra-detailed”, to quote Kim Gek Lin Short from “the bugging watch and other exhibits”…an unpublished book Christian Peet left in my pidgeon hole in the Haybarn corridor [still in Vermont]; an Indo-European mutation, this time. You don’t have to reply to this. (Today I am going to walk in a forest to look for a bear. The first poet I ever met in America was Gary Snyder; he read a story about a mother bear and two baby bears in the woods. I had no idea who he was. I went up to him after the reading, at Writers and Books in Rochester, and said: “Do you know the story of Sita, and her two sons Luv and Kush? Her secondary exile in the forests surrounding Ayodhya. And how her fugitive family could switch, in the blink of the eye, into a family of bears?” Gary Snyder and I had an extensive correspondence that culminated in his invitation to go trekking with him, and his son, in Ladakh. Our letters dropped off when I told him I was getting married. This functions as a BAN BLOG POST. But I am still not sure if this will pay for a tooth. Oh my god, I am on the verge of never writing a blog post. I am Fred Moten Number 2. Travis, can I do my blog posts here? I represent the sub-space. I want to write in the space below the space. In fact, I belong there. I set a candle in a bowl and float it in a cave. Yes? No? Please tick one.)

      • On January 8, 2010 at 11:34 am Arif Khan (the greek) wrote:

        I wrote a paper on Snyder that was dismissed by a gang of professors in my head. I felt like an interloper. Interloper, first recorded around 1590 in connection with the Muscovy Company, the earliest major English trading company (chartered in 1555). I’ll post a proper reply soon, as soon as I send you a proper letter. I have to go to chiropractor to get my back quacked. The gist of it was that Snyder’s work is intent on dissolving the premodern– whatever that is–into the modern through Buddhism. Buddhism does the work of colonialism. Your experience now makes me want to shut those professors in my head up and write a diatribe. Levi-Strauss, who ascended to Paramapadham, said something similar. Why do we celebrate colonialism? I feel bad about writing this article. I need to whip myself more. I need a hair shirt. I should really restrain myself.

      • On January 8, 2010 at 11:36 am Edwin Torres wrote:

        hello Bhanu…I live in that space below the space, very familiar with its non-distance…as being below the reading blog-wise would entail the blogger another space. A public sort of privacy, as Fred mentions, what could very well be my trip-notic fall. The great thing about having all thots smacked in the head for the herring to sort, is that now you have room for more to spunge out. Sub-space, indeed!

        • On January 8, 2010 at 12:27 pm Jill wrote:

          I think you should take on two personas–blogger and commenter. Like Beyonce and Sasha Fierce.

  • On January 8, 2010 at 10:44 am thom donovan wrote:

    don’t a*ban*don us Bhanu. who will “comment” on my posts if you leave? that’s really cool about Snyder, except the part where you stop corresponding. ugh! I had lunch with Snyder and Jonathan Skinner once in Bflo, which was like being a fly on the wall to this amazing exchange about ecology and poetry. my only contact, if that shld be called contact. when you are posting just close your eyes (I hope you can type with your eyes closed) and pretend you are at Was Jack Kerouac a Punjabi? recall, in other words, that you’ve already got a rhythm at your blog and you just need to transfer that over here…

    • On January 8, 2010 at 10:59 am Bhanu Kapil wrote:

      Thank you. You are so kind! Please tell your mother, or the person who was so much like a mother, that they did an enormously good job!! They fed you nourishing food and came to you when you cried, I’d bet. Again, I am semi-delirious from sleep-deprivation: drank tequila at a tapas bar last night with Susan Kim, Rogelio Martinez, John McManus and Douglas Martin. I normally do not drink tequila, and subsist instead upon things like mint tea. But I love playwrights. I love novelists. They say things like: “Bhanu, the thing playwrights don’t understand is that they’re writing blueprints. It’s never a play, it’s just design. It’s the thing someone else can work with, to put on a play.” (Rogelio). So, that is why I think you are very kind, how I can feel your warmth and open-ness to contemporary writing by women, by writers of color, by writers without a fixed place on the map, so vividly. Are you a Deleuzean feminist scholar or something? Please give my regards to Dorothea Lasky. In fact, would you give her this message? Sadly, I cannot come to New York in March after all; the money for the plane fare that I had reserved is going, boringly, to Comfort Dental! Okay, this is officially my last deranged comment. I feel as if I am writing just to you, but this is not right. I will smack myself around the head with a herring, and sort myself out. Prepare myself to step out of my accidental grave.

  • On January 8, 2010 at 5:16 pm Joelle Biele wrote:

    Thanks for the mini-review! I’ll have to keep on the look out for when it comes to town!

  • On January 8, 2010 at 6:06 pm pam lu wrote:

    U R all insane.

    I feel both intrigued and overwhelmed by the sub-space. Where the most nested forms of privacy are also the most public. Not unlike the project of literature in general, but way more immediate & sped up. I find it a seductive place to do one’s haunting, the almost fantasy-like control over instant appearance/disappearance, the fleeting and/or gradually sinking impressions. Soothing yet also volatile. Someone should conduct an investigation or write an analytical paper on this topic.

    This post makes me want to rent some earlier Haneke, whom I’ve never seen. Where should I begin? I have similar reservations about Von Trier (another example, David Lynch), though less with Bergman, maybe b/c he highlights so much the intersubjectivity between women, who exist as real beings separate from/in spite of men. But I think I have not seen the Bergman films that really go there in terms of violence. Keep having recurrent memories of that early film Monika which inverts the gender cliche of the wild, sexually irresistible cad.

    • On January 10, 2010 at 12:14 am Thom Donovan wrote:

      hey Pam, so good to see you here. I love your work!

      where to start in Haneke? it’s all good, tho I see a relationship between Cache, Code Unknown, and Time of the Wolf, all of which concern ethics–how one treats the neighbor/stranger. I have wanted to write an essay about these three films for some time that wld address ethical substitution a la Levinas…

      like I said, I get squeamish with Haneke. in fact have not been able to bring myself to watch Funny Games the original or remake.

      Benny’s Video is difficult to watch; so is the 7th Continent. 71 Fragments is one of my least favorites, tho its terrorisms dovetail with Benny’s Video and The White Ribbon…

      The Piano Teacher is one of my favs, tho it may suffer from similar problems to a Bergman or von Trier. always depictions of women as “mad” set me ill at ease. call it my Victorian streak…

      Haneke’s TV films are supposed to be pretty great too, tho they are all too rarely screened. I’ve only seen The Rebellion, which provides critique of Austrian society post-WWI. pretty brutal like all his stuff.

      • On January 10, 2010 at 4:24 pm pam lu wrote:

        Wow Thom, thanks! I’ll be adding some of these to my netflix queue. I see now that Haneke also made a TV adaptation of The Castle, could be interesting!

  • On January 9, 2010 at 2:27 pm Kent Johnson wrote:

    Bhanu,

    Here’s to hoping you stay downstairs in the messy subspace, with the kitchen help, the gardeners, and the temp tutors. If you blog upstairs, on the clean, well-appointed floors, dine where your name card has been placed, well, what will have changed on the lovely Estate, no matter what you say, or how brilliantly eccentric your conversation at high table might be? Say it all down here, and the echo from low quarters will rattle the Foundation’s chandeliers, and no one will ever forget the little music of it.

    And tell Thom Donovan and Craig Perez to stop being so Victorian, to flip the bird to the privileged light, and come down, too.

  • On January 9, 2010 at 4:25 pm Bhanu Kapil wrote:

    I officially feel as if I am in a kinky episode of Upstairs/Downstairs now, which is available on DVD at libraries all over the world, excepting those countries that don’t have libraries, which I have also lived in. You get obsessed, in those other places, with Anna Karenina and Alice Through The Looking Glass; I once read Dombey and Sons straight through, when it was left behind by a guest.

    • On January 9, 2010 at 6:03 pm Kent Johnson wrote:

      >Upstairs/Downstairs

      That was the in the back of my head.

      Maybe one could think of the Foundation as a kind of subcultural BBC: Harriet as a kind of subsub-Reality show, a big unscrolling double plot, with subplots crossing, up and down. There are castes within the cast. Big Names with payola, extras unpaid. Funny accents, high and low.

      And it’s the natural order of things, as we know. That’s how the world has always been, upstairs and downstairs, Colonial, Post-Colonial, Mainstream, and Post-Avant: Without bottoms in the bottoms, after all, you can’t have tops on top of tops. It’s what makes the Field of Poetic Production go round… And it’s kinky with a vengeance.

      That’s why every “natural” face in the house here is like really wild with the pleasure of it.

      Though I have no idea what any of that means because I just made it all up.

  • On January 9, 2010 at 4:35 pm Sina Queyras wrote:

    Sometimes one needs to be under. In order to get to know my current partner I did indeed move in under her. I stared up at her floor. Occasionally we both stuck our heads out of our windows and our eyes met. It was more a hovel than an actual apartment. I called it my piglet house, in fact. But it felt quite opulent given my imagination.

    • On January 9, 2010 at 4:45 pm Bhanu Kapil wrote:

      So beautiful…to see this. Imagine this. A lover, not yet a lover, walking across the floor. Thank you for telling this fragment of a story about piglet house. It made my day, which has almost ended as I write, an enormous darkness falling over the hollow…

  • On January 9, 2010 at 7:02 pm vanessa place wrote:

    Not about bad faith at all. But about faith itself, which cannot help but be bad. That is the origin of terrorism, fascism, Freud, and, the Father.

    • On January 10, 2010 at 4:36 pm pam lu wrote:

      Hi Vanessa,

      I think I see what you’re saying here, but is faith really to blame here, or is it faith’s evil cousin dogmatism?

  • On January 10, 2010 at 12:20 am Thom Donovan wrote:

    upstairs/downstairs… has anyone seen Altman’s Gosford Park? pretty great in terms of thinking these dynamics… interesting to think how flipped top and bottom are in this film, especially given the denouement

    • On January 10, 2010 at 2:05 am Matt wrote:

      yeah, i love it. it’s from the point of view of the downstairs people–there’s at least one of them in every scene.

    • On January 10, 2010 at 4:34 pm pam lu wrote:

      Flipped too in its roving camerawork, the restless swoops, up, down, turnarounds. Great for the omniscient eye, bad for vertigo sufferers. I liked how one of the downstairs characters turned out to be a Hollywood actor/hustler, appropos to the role-playing aspect of that whole milieu.

      • On January 10, 2010 at 6:09 pm Thom Donovan wrote:

        yeah Vanessa, I think I’m with Pam on this one. “faith,” to my mind, tends to be neutral, tho what one places their faith *in* and the consequences of this placing one’s faith in are not…

  • On January 10, 2010 at 8:44 pm vanessa place wrote:

    I think faith is not neutral, cannot be neutral, as its prerequisite is irrationality. Dogma is inseparable from faith. This may be one of the larger lessons of the 20th century. Whatever you stuff your faith with is irrelevant to its appearance as the fanatical, as it is wedded to the phantasy.

    • On January 11, 2010 at 3:05 pm Bhanu Kapil wrote:

      What do you stuff yours with, Vanessa? From LA MEDUSA, your words, some ideas/guesses: “Medusa (hurling a handful of popcorn) This new saint. Catherine. What do you care if they drop in a new objet d’avatar?”

      • On January 12, 2010 at 10:23 pm vanessa place wrote:

        Dear Bhanu:

        My faith is faithless. But salty/sweet snacks are always useful when dealing with the manifold and monstrous.

        As you know.

        yrs,
        VP

        • On January 13, 2010 at 8:46 am Bhanu Kapil wrote:

          Absolument. I’m thinking steel cut oats with baked apple for breakfast, and a slice of cheddar cheese. No, that sounds bad. I’ll figure it out by noon, I’m sure.

  • On January 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm Thom Donovan wrote:

    I tend to be a Jamesian (William) when it comes to faith. belief (aka faith) is a prerequisite for doing anything. abt 1% of it tilts into irrationality (nation, father, family, Freud, etc. etc.) yet we believe–we have ‘faith in’–the ground under our feet. what’s more we trust–or have faith in–people, and this trust can be noble. it is necessary if nothing else… cf. Alphonso Lingis

    • On January 11, 2010 at 2:05 pm vanessa place wrote:

      This conflation of empiricism with faith makes faith meaningless as a gesture of religion, yes?

  • On January 11, 2010 at 1:04 am Matt wrote:

    yeah, it would be hard to go through life if you didn’t have faith in people. you’d never be able to get in a car with someone else driving, for example, let alone a train or airplane or dirigible. i don’t believe in god. i do believe in pilots.

    my pilot is my co-pilot.

  • On January 11, 2010 at 2:07 pm Thom Donovan wrote:

    is faith merely a gesture?

    • On January 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm Bhanu Kapil wrote:

      Not when you’re pouring unpasteurized milk on the hood of a silver cobra at the Shiva temple…also I think of being at the Ganges last year, near Rishikesh, and how at the evening aarti, at the last syllable, everyone raises their arms in unison like gelatin pitchforks…

  • On January 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm pam lu wrote:

    I think faith (or belief, or trust, or the leap of the absurd, not necessarily & often not theistic) is like one those points of volatile singularity in chaos theory where the graph has the potential to go totally haywire, to shoot up or down towards a great high or low, depending on the trigger conditions. Add a good dose of extremism in temperament, a control freak tendency, and an addiction to assertions of power, and yes you will get a monstrous apparatus, one very difficult to stop. I wonder if this apparatus is one of those things that can simply be counteracted by virtue of its absence (is this nihilism as an ethic?), or if it requires the force of its non-dogmatic opposite to stop it. But the great lure & advantage of dogma is that it lets the individual off the hook by allowing them to transfer their volatile faith to the apparatus instead, thus many followers are attracted. Any non-dogmatic expression of faith (e.g. nonviolent protest) has at its base a faith in the power of the individual conscience, and is therefore subject to less addictive fervor and less surface unity. Is at a disadvantage in this respect.

    But I feel like interrupting this unpaid comment with a plug for a fantastic new book that’s just come out, the Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater, which I see hovering in the backdrop of a sibling commentbox here. This anthology, edited by Kevin Killian and David Brazil, compiles some 48 examples of poets plays from the period 1945-1985 and is sure to be a rich & valuable resource for poets, playwrights, sort-of-poets, sort-of-playwrights, scholars, actors, directors, producers, and just about anyone with an interest in the sociality and theatricality of language. Here’s a snippet from Fanny Howe’s memories of the Cambridge Poets Theatre, quoted in the editors’ introduction:

    >> There was a table for tickets on the left as you entered. There were all the bulbs and bars for the lighting overhead, a curtained backdrop, and often a stage set designed by an artist and lit by a student. Backstage did not offer much space for crouched actors waiting for their cues, so they galloped up and down the stairs into the smell of paste and face cream… The first play was “Try! Try!” by Frank O’Hara and was designed by Edward Gorey (long, morose, ironic, and damp). No one asked what good was poetry in such a brutal world. The Poets Theatre dedicated itself to the resonance of language as a counterpoint to a theater of intention. <<

    Many other previews and supplements can be found at http://www.kenningeditions.com/. And you can buy your very own copy from http://www.spdbooks.org/.

  • On January 11, 2010 at 2:53 pm Thom Donovan wrote:

    here is an interesting response to this post by James Wagner at Esther Press:

    http://estherpress.blogspot.com/2010/01/violenceevidence-i-have-read-review-of.html

    I don’t agree that I am “excising” cinematic violence nor being morally instructive, but what can you do…

  • On January 12, 2010 at 10:39 am vanessa place wrote:

    there is nothing “mere” about gestures.

    • On January 12, 2010 at 11:58 am Thom Donovan wrote:

      sometimes there is sometimes there isn’t, right Vanessa? certainly not in the case of “pouring unpasteurized milk on the hood of a silver cobra.” nor in the case of Ashura

  • On January 12, 2010 at 10:18 pm vanessa place wrote:

    No. If psychoanalysis teaches anything, it teaches that there are no mere gestures, but that all gestures mirror. One might also note that it is the very hallmark of fundamentalism to indicate that the problem is not faith in A but an insufficient degree of faith, or a misapprehended or misapplied faith, so that faith itself is never critiqued. This may also apply to poetry, but that is another discursion.

  • On January 13, 2010 at 7:12 am goo wrote:

    Vanessa Place, ladies and gentlemen.

  • On January 13, 2010 at 8:44 am Bhanu Kapil wrote:

    Fundamentalism as connected to, to shame. Disco shame. The boy dragged home from the disco by his long hair, by his dad, then grows up to flip and by eighteen has the whole bit: the black turban with the saffron headband underneath. By his mid-twenties, he moves in next door to his parents and knocks down the door in between. It’s an abrupt conversion, with sexual memory beneath it.

  • On January 13, 2010 at 10:56 am Don Share wrote:

    The OED, “gesture,” 4.b. a move or course of action undertaken as an expression of feeling or as a formality; esp. a demonstration of friendly feeling, usu. with the purpose of eliciting a favourable response from another.

  • On January 13, 2010 at 10:58 am Thom Donovan wrote:

    I guess that’s my problem with psychoanalysis. it becomes a prison-house of gestures taken for signs, thus hyper-rationalzied (I don’t doubt for all of its embrace of the “unconscious,” psychoanalysis is a hyper-rational discourse). tho what you are saying does remind me of an intersting observation in James’ *Principles of Psychology*. that crying (making one’s self cry) leads to a feeling of sadness. gestures precede “intentions,” effects causes. I can dig that. as Creeley once said (wrote?): I want to believe in belief (vs. faith in faithlessness).

    I am just as much interested in the monsters (in fact, definitley less so than you Vanessa) as with the angels (of mercy). what about those who break the cycle of shame in Hankeke’s films? or self-destruct (instead of directing the hate/shame outwards) like Huppert’s character in The Piano Teacher. instead of *suiciding* (Artaud), what if we raised these people up? (if only by a descent doubly great):

    “To come down by a movement in which gravity plays no part. {…} Gravity makes things come down, wings make them rise: what wings raised to the second power can make things come down without weight?” — Simone Weil

  • On January 13, 2010 at 2:48 pm pam lu wrote:

    Vanessa, how would you begin a critique of faith? From a rational materialist perspective? Where does it go from there?

    • On January 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm Thom Donovan wrote:

      good question Pam. and thanks for the Poets Theater shout. can’t wait to get my hands on that seminal anthology. great your mention of Fanny Howe too–who has wrestled with the angel of faith

  • On January 13, 2010 at 9:59 pm vanessa place wrote:

    Are we still below the fold? As I recall, angels are also monsters, at least in Christian iconography and legend. And rightly so, for the greater sin may be not the outward monstrosity, but encouraging the act of faith itself, which, as I’ve iterated to the point of seeming idiocy, is the monstrosity of faith. (It’s that old Brecht bank jab.) One thing I would critique here is the idea of critique here. I am not so much prescriptive or normative as descriptive, if not delighted. Perhaps the immanence of the disco boy is best left to be played by the boy and his creator, to the degree he may be either somewhat fictitious or just outwardly observed. I adore faith–it leads to excess, and I do believe in excess. Contrarily, and similarly, there is Stein’s story of the man dragging his father through the orchard. And, to triangulate our trinity (the triad being the new binary), there is the sweet boy with the bird, above, who has no faith but perhaps the faith of the nevertheless. The faith of St.Sisyphus.

    • On January 13, 2010 at 11:14 pm Bhanu Kapil wrote:

      Not below it anymore. In it.

  • On January 13, 2010 at 10:15 pm Thom Donovan wrote:

    yes, good angels and bad angels, low angels and high. Satan was supreme arch-angel, etc., but for his pride and *excessive* love of God

    I share your sense of the cycles Vanessa.

  • On January 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm pam lu wrote:

    “One thing I would critique here is the idea of critique here.”

    “the triad being the new binary”

    Yes.

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Posted in Uncategorized on Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 by Thom Donovan.