I'm not sure how I feel about Edelman's use of Baudrillard, especially the sentence "And all this [the human race slipping into the void] because (heterosexual) sex has "become extraneous, a useless function"" (65). First, I read Baudrillard as opposing two types of death: the death of the individual versus a second death, which is really more like deathlessness, that comes from identicality.
Agamben seems to hold out hope for a politics (if the term could still be used) that goes beyond the sovereign-bare life relationship, that is, the relationship of the ban. I get this mostly from sections in which Agamben talks about how hard it is to break with the structure of the ban:
Butler repeatedly asks how a subject could internalize lost attachment to an object prior to the constitution of interior/exterior distinctions. I guess I'm not sure about Butler's relationship to Freud: did Freud give melancholy its founding, originary role, or did he conceive of it as one possible psychic phenomenon among many? Is the paradox Butler seizes on inherent to Freud, or is it the result of her own understanding of melancholy as the founding turn of subjectivation?
Was anybody else surprised to hear that Althusser killed his wife?
I'd like to qualify my response to Anonymous. There seems to be way in which Zizek conceives of knowledge itself being destructive to ideology. Specifically, he seems to view understanding "the logic of enjoyment" (125) as antithetical to ideology, and, consequently, enjoyment. Earlier, Zizek writes that, "It is also clear why Facism was so terrified of psychoanalysis: psychonalysis enables us to locate an obscene enjoyment at work in this act of formal sacrifice" (82).
If D&G are affirming the rhizome over the root-tree, which, by the end of the intro to Thousand Plateaus it seems they are, I wonder if this is as subversive as they make it out to be. At times it sounds like 'stick it to power, become rhizome, don't let yourself get hierarchized.' Yet, apropos of the 'is the internet a rhizome?' thread, it seems to me everything is becoming rhizome anyway -- the internet, corporate organization, military organization, guerilla advertising, etc.
I'm having trouble figuring out how much of D&G's rhizome v. arborescence, map v. tracing distinction is simply an ontological description and how much is a an affirmation of the rhizome over arborescence, mapping over tracing.
One of the assumptions of the 'repressive hypothesis' is that sexual desire is inefficient, and threatens to unbalance the system of production and consumption if it is not channeled and repressed -- sexuality (as a discourse, as a set of power relations and taboos around sex) is an effect of economic relations, and consequently has an easily intelligible motivating force, the imperative to maximize production. Foucault's move is to place sexual and economic, as well as knowledge relationships, on a single level.
The artist I mentioned in class is J.S.G. Boggs. He draws, or finishes drawing, his currency in public places, waits for a crowd to gather and someone to say something along the lines of 'gee, that's quite a drawing you have there' before asking if they will accept it for the equal amount of goods. His work is one-sided and usually only of low denominations - the stated idea of the performance being to see whether or not someone will accept art instead of money.
I found Benhabib's attack on the tranquilizing effect of the 'end of history' thesis pretty unconvincing. The crux of her argument is that "the thesis occludes the epistemological interest in history and in historical narrative which accompany the aspirations of all struggling historical actors" (23). This seems to me empirically false.