[D-G] sex appeal pf the inorganic

Mark Crosby Crosby_M at rocketmail.com
Sun Oct 2 15:15:51 PDT 2005

Well Pretzel? after twisiting my mind into Borromean
knots all weekend trying to read Perniola's 1994 _The
Sex Appeal of the Inorganic: Philosophies of Desire in
the Modern World_ (translated by Massimo Verdicchio,
it's important to add - because nowhere in the English
translation do we learn that this book was originally
published in 1994 ;) I'll try to limit my notes
because I sense that Perniola or Verdicchio is often
communicating the opposite of what is intended! As I
said before, I find much greater consistency in
Perniola's 96-97 JEP interview with Sergio Contardi

Jumping from the middle into Mario Perniola's _The Sex
Appeal of the Inorganic_: "The transgression of
neutral sexuality ... is intimately and essentially
connected to a critical reflection, to a speculative
consideration of Kant's philosophy" (27 - WtF? Sorry,
I get off on fresher corpses, uh corpuses !) 

Why am I mocking the good doctor when he already has
realized that "Feeling implies the union between body
and spirit, mind and machine"? Which of the 3 bodies
of the trinity shall become "a remainder that is not
absorbed"? (6) To be fair, Perniola is abtusely
pointing out that Substance is Feeling: "something
opaque, indeterminate and open which is not
self-evident and is not a machine" (9 - is Felix,
nude, squirming in his grave? "Christian charity is a
doily over my death boner", Vic Chestnutt sings as

OK. Let's get serious and put on the gloves to see
what we can feel: "The body experienced by neutral
sexuality is not a machine, but clothing, a thing"
(10). "Instead of the swarming and turbid viscosity of
life, neuter sexuality opens up the timeless horizon
of the thing... the serene and eternal simplicity of
an inorganic world ... liberated from time and
suspended in an enchantment without expectation" (11).

I'm helped in appreciating this by Bruno Schulz's
"Treatise on Tailor's Dummies": "They waited with
attention and patience on the silent idol, which was
difficult to please" (p55 _The Street of Crocodiles_).
Father elaborates this Thing that "Deprived of all
initiative, indulgently acquiescent, pliable like a
woman, submissive to every impulse ... is a territory
outside any law ... There is no evil in reducing life
to other and newer forms"; but, Father insists: "There
is no dead matter. Lifelessness is only a disguise
behind which hide unknown forms of life" (ibid, 59-60,
and Perniola shimmers his plastic red cape for the
Demiurge of yore to gore ;) 

Inevitably, an esthetic based on "limit experiences"
(back to Perniola, p12) invites loss as well as
fulfillment. In short, "the mode of being of the
inorganic, the not living and not functioning" (13)
seems, the way Perniola paints it, to be a veneer that
must be applied intellectually and is easily cracked.
It involves not-living and not-functioning precisely
because it must be hidden away in cryptozoic places of
power. Thus, ch.6 speaks of "Exemplary Addiction"..

What baffles me is how it can be "always there, always
given, boundlessly available" yet "it breaks up
constantly the course of time and dislocates the
machine, introduces us into a movement without time
and without purpose, sufficient unto itself, which
asks only for its continuation" (17). Really, what
baffles me is only Perniola's insistance that "These
three modalities of sexual artificiality ...

["While in the organ without body, artificial
sexuality is constituted by the prosthetic effect and
in the body without organs it is provoked by the
displaced extension of the senses, in this third
modality, it arises from the simulation of a lack",

... cannot be practised by themselves, they are not
forms of masturbation. They require an interaction, a
feedback between intelligent and sensitive partners"
(35). Yet, somehow this "interaction" is a "passage
from relations of negotiations between autonomous and
independent individuals to relations of sexual
dependency" (23). 

That's as far as I can go with this right now! Part of
the problem may be that I, too, recently watched
Martin Scorsese's _No Direction Home: Bob Dylan_ (PBS
last Monday & Tuesday) and have been haunted by these
"Visions of Johanna"
(http://bobdylan.com/songs/visions.html) - as "the
ghost of 'lectricity howls in the bones of her face" -
while reading Perniola's descriptions of a "neutered
sexuality" that is supposedly essential for
philosophy. Nothing more "inorganic" than
"lectricity", right? 

Having released this 'orgasm' of text onto the
Internet 'we' can now relax, right mark?

--- NZ <pretzelworld at gmail.com> wrote:

> "The philosopher's task therefore is to
> proclaim the greatness and dignity of this lifeless,
> orgasmless sexuality", says ACH....
> "...without orgasm, without a climax, without any
> release of tension,
> without any return at the end to a satiated self."
> -Pinncchio Theory
> ---------------
> I have only read the discussion and the Pinnocchio
> review, but I don't
> see any reason to assume that this experience (sai)
> is "orgasmless".
> Does it not seem pretty clear that Perniola is
> talking about that
> gigantic mass orgasm of society - "culture". In a
> very broad sense, of
> course, culture, that act of creation, is a
> messiness that is all over
> the place - like the lost mandrake sperm of the
> hanged culprit
> (I-gloo).

> Even in pt.1 of the Dylan special on PBS, Scorsese
> made the really
> good point that Dylan's working class roots
> (capitalist alienation)
> inspired in him an eruption of identity that became
> part of our
> culture. Dylan undergoes a very philosophical
> experience, yet without
> any of the "holding back" of orgasmlessness. Anyone
> who studies
> popular music is aware of this class-specific
> alienation factor. Just
> a few simplified examples, Liverpool '59 - British
> Rock, Bronx '74 -
> Hip Hop, Kingston '56 - Ska, Detroit '85- techno,
> even Elvis's Memphis
> '53 (re: Griel Marcus's wonderful "Presleyiad"). The
> difference
> between say the Beatles and the Rolling Stones is
> quiet significant in
> this regard (re: Carducci's "Rock and the Pop
> Narcotic"). Scorsese's
> documentary also presented Pete Seegar's startling
> observation that
> the American Folk movement of the 60's arrived 10
> years late(!), due
> to the HUAC hearings. I don't think Seegar is trying
> to self-edify, I
> think he is just being really insightful about this
> social "orgasm" of
> culture and the preventive action (holding back) of
> right-wing
> conservatives. As I recall from that horrible
> "assemblege", HUAC,
> started out as means to remove then Secretary of
> Treasurey, Henry
> Morgenthau and his crusade against the BIS (and
> other banks like
> Chase) who had stepped up to the plate to fund
> Hitler's campaign.
> Aside from removing the communists, what it turned
> into was a "culture
> jam" that helped the industrialists gain control of
> american identity,
> thru culture . . . frorm "rhythm n' blues" to "Leave
> it to Beaver"...
> perhaps Koenigsberg can tell us more about Krishna's
> nightmare within
> a nightmare, what else could it be?

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