Sunday, September 03, 2006
Neocons Bash Decons
The image to my left is a tree beside a path beside a creek adorned by a sign explaining that one would be more than half in love with easeful death to drink from, play in, submerge in, or paddled upon that water. It has nothing to do with my topic, apparently.
Rhetoric is king. Structuralism is a con. Langue is a joke. Parole is fact.
It's hardly seasonable to worry about words. We have bigger marlins frying than the ancient anxiety of political correctness and hate speech. We have an executioner executive who has reduced all language to fiat. From "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is," we have gone to "I have never said there was a connection between al Qaeda and Saddam." We have gone from Clintonian gridlock to Bush league signing statements and the "I had my fingers crossed" [ed. Read that; really] of government and "I call take-backs!" of jurisprudence.
Crossing your fingers says you didn't mean it. The body with crossed fingers overrides the mind with its semantic freight. I said I would halp you fight the bully, but it's your fault you got clobbered, because you didn't look behind my back to see that my fingers were crossed. You cannot believe in the structure of meaning, the sentence or statement, we learn as children, for meaning is in the speaking moment alone -- meaning is in my fingers, my nasal whine, my narrowed eyes, the rock in my shoe, or in my hands. In fact, I might have been high, so why do you believe me?
I personally want to thank the Prednisent for making an eloquent argument against Jacques Derrida. The deconstructionists start with princess Ferdie and his General Linguistics. Distinguish twixt langue and parole. Know your diachronic and synchronic descriptions. Oh, but a word is a sign, and signs don't have any posts to stand on! They slip, the poor dears, and therefore it's dear season all year round. Long after Wittgenstein in Traction asked if a blue house is a blue house if it's read, we hear that it's whatever we want it to be, so long as the damn thing isn't blue.
A friend told me of a friend who said that deconstruction was like looking at a bridge over a polluted river under an electron microscope, seeing all the electrons bouncing about, and then announcing, "It's mostly empty space, this bridge, and therefore all who step on it will fall!" The point he was making, I assume, is that all that movement was between points in a very firm constellation, that the nodes (or modals or nucleii or bonds or monads or quiddities) were glued tightly together, even if there was some shifting of position, and one's foot is much, much larger than any space. In other words, langue was less mobile than any single component of it, and langue is a reliable human construction. Additionally, any given speaker is speaking in a moment that is singular, not diachronically active, and each speech act is entirely nailed down by its system in that moment.
So, how to Bush?
It's obvious, isn't it?
Neocons beat decons by crossing their fingers and showing conclusively that other langue determines the parole. The speech act means because there is more than one system involved. The one system that is always determinant is power. A word means whatever the man with the gun says it means. Spend some time in camp X-ray and you'll agree.
Better than that, see the freely floating signifiers of the GOP campaign strategy. What does "cuttenrun" mean? What is "Islamafashiz?" Better far, how is there "absolutely none" in re the connection between 9/11 and Iraq and yet "significant ties" between them? How can redeployment in Iraq be giving in to "terrists," if terrorists aren't trying to take Iraq? (They're not, you know. They can't. Terrorists are destroyers and destabilizers. They cannot rule anything.) (Wait. I'm not done. The IRA couldn't rule, so it became Sinn Fein and disavowed terror. Hezbollah and Hamas have the same problems. Triumph doesn't empower terrorists: it ends them.) (This is not to suggest that we should leave Iraq, but the idea that "the terrorists win" is linguistically and logically problematic, if you take some time to think.) In fact, how can we give them what they want in any case, if we don't know who they are and they don't know what they want? It doesn't matter: the statements are as meaningless as a Derridean critique, and they are as meaningful. You see, they have power through a reference that is absolute and not free floating at all. These phrases refer to the body, to emotions, to id, and to the unmistakable, unfurled, unreasoned, single finger the Prednisent is waving.
The single speech act is paradoxically the only meaningful thing because it is an act of will, desire, threat, fear, force, pity, and defiance. The isolated grunt of the Prednisent surpasseth all understanding, all constitutional restraint, because it is an act of power.