Letters From An Alien: Major Pedagogue

Posted: April 22, 2011 in Letters From An Alien

‘1963 Derrida gives a lecture on Madness and Civilization, in which he describes Foucault’s reading of Descartes as a case of “structuralist totalitarianism.” These remarks lead to a major falling-out between Derrida and Foucault. In 1971 Foucault responds by calling deconstruction a “minor pedagogy.” The two men will not be reconciled until 1981′

I know. You want to be loved for your body, not your mind. But your body has no use for my body.  And my mind has found itself moulded by yours. That’s just a fact. I can’t undo what’s done. I can’t unsee what you have made me see. I almost look with your eyes at times. Especially on muscular, working boys. Sometimes I see two lads together, sitting on a wall, taking a tea break, their naked torsos wet with sweat. And I don’t want them for me. I want them, on your behalf, with the ache in your groin,  for each other. For themselves.  That sounds insane when I write it down.  I never said I wasn’t insane.

But I can go with your story if you want.  I expect you tell it to yourself enough for it to be true. I can pretend if you like, that we have fallen out, not over the specific content of our ideologies, or an inadequacy in our thesis, but because you’re a muscle man, a physical, real, living thing.

And Foucault, and Derrida, and this girl that eats your words and makes them hers, that sees with your eyes, and absorbs the spirit of your unintentional teachings, that considers you to be a major pedagogue in a life which has been sorely lacking in teachers, despite all her education, we are just ghosts of words left on the page. You screw us up like bits of paper, in your sinewed fist.

You have proven beyond all doubt to anyone who is mad enough to listen (me?), that the (male) body has won. The intellectuals have died. And you have kept yourself strong and lean, so that you would not die with them. I admire your sense of self-preservation. The way you have practised what you preach.

Pretty impressive for such a piece of pretty meat.

  1. Ah, so that’s what I am–a ghost of words left on the page. That explains a lot.

  2. you’re looking good on it though! I can see your muscles from here 😀

  3. this has reminded me (in no way due to its quality but more the themes) of Lady Lazarus by Plath.

    ‘and I eat men like air’ always haunts me.

  4. elissa says:

    You’ve got a bit of that thing, that Focault neg on Derrida – “terrorist obscurantism”. Especially when I drink some wine. And I don’t mean that in a derridasive way-:)

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