the porn-politics

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By RICARDO T. TRINCA*

The obscene politician takes pleasure in dominance, in the form of sleight of hand, something that can also be found in magicians.

A few years ago I had the privilege of talking to one of the great directors of Brazilian porn cinema. In this conversation, which was actually brief, I heard how his films had the characteristic of exploring explicit scenes in the form of Close, through closed angles, in a footage that showed the sexual act and its organs in long shots. I asked him about the reason for this type of filming, which in my opinion was so crude, and he replied curtly: “because I like it!”. I was very intrigued by the dissociation that seemed to exist in their reports between the sexual act and the person, and I thought it was a way of representing not only machismo and domination through sex, but also the lack of modesty, transmitted in an almost impersonal way, as if it were possible, through these scenes, to dissociate the person from the act itself.

More recently, another experience left its mark. I was at a children's party and a magician created incredible illusions, to the delight of his spectators. He was also enjoying his amazing magic when he offered me a can of tomatoes and an opener to open it with. I was intrigued by his proposal and started to open the can, a little embarrassed by the fact that I would become the focus of everyone watching the show at that moment. When I finished opening the can, I saw that my watch, an old and unusual model, was inside! Startled, I realized that it had been removed from my wrist at some point without my knowledge. I realized that while I was amusing myself with some other magic I did not observe the action of this true juggler, who happily returned my watch, but not my credulity.

There seems to be an insurmountable difference between the two events: while the magician – or conjurer – hides his true action by deceiving his spectator with some other that catches the eye, the director of the porn film seems solely and exclusively to dedicate himself to the totally explicit (albeit dissociated of subjectivity). I have, however, with me, that porn and magic are complementary in current politics.

To understand this statement, we must first observe how both magician and porn actively seek to capture the gaze through a kind of hypnotic induction. This hypnosis, far from being an absolute loss of consciousness, is a lowering of attention, which concentrates its focus on a specific exciting source and in an exaggerated way, preventing the full exercise of a freely floating attention. With that the details, true DNA of reality, are removed from the relationship with the rest. The result, allegorically speaking, is that a lion's tail ends up being understood as a feather duster, and unquestionably so. Both porn and magic capture attention by deliberately removing a huge amount of detail from the scene, while focusing on others that make up the exciting picture. The magician is the better the more skill he has in exercising this art. Thus, while in porn we do not see the subjectivity, emotion and sexual presence associated with emotional life, in magic we do not see the scenes that precede it, such as theft, and we remain with a desire to remain deluded.

However, the really obscene, that which shocks by its lack of decorum, its vulgarity and its cruelty, cannot be entirely attributed to pornography, much less to magic. I think this category fits more accurately with current politics. We are currently hypnotized, voraciously consuming political-pornography. We are daily captured by scenes and speeches of the rulers that shock by the complete lack of decorum, and also by the cruelty with which they are made. Such attitudes, spread across the four corners of the palace, seem to come from people who take pleasure in offending others' modesty, especially interested in directing attention to themselves. In this true library of obscenities, there is a continuous authorization to reveal debauchery, in an explicit collection of juxtaposed scenes, worthy of a School of Libertinage[I]. And as in a porn movie, the relationships or subjective impacts that each action has on the person who spoke are removed from the scene; and mainly about the person to whom the action is directed. I am referring to frankly racist, homophobic and indifference towards those killed by the new coronavirus, scandalously obscene and ill omen, which do not establish dialogue, intimacy or development of thinking.

We are, as spectators, nauseated by the indifference with which such members of the government utter their obscenities, hurting without guilt. This is because in porno-politics the other is a vehicle, a medium and an object. There is no otherness possible and much less concern, which is characterized by concern for the other through a sense of responsibility and care, since our action can often hurt or create damage.

The obscene politician takes pleasure in dominance, in the form of sleight of hand, something that can also be found in magicians. While creating immoral actions, without decorum and taking pleasure in carrying them out, he removes our watches without us noticing, since we remain excited with the “close up” of the obscene scene. This has already been understood before with an interesting name, diversionism. This word, which has fun in it, is characterized by being a stratagem whose objective is to prevent something from being discussed or approved, such as a law or a resolution, occupying all the time or attention of the participants to a different subject. what is being treated. Something magicians know well.

If the obscenity of this policy seems to reside, on the one hand, in the explicitness of a scene that shocks by its cruelty and lack of decorum, and on the other hand in the fact that it hides, in the same way as it excites, other scenes and emotional relationships, on the other hand it does not we managed to escape capture. And the political porn, like the magician, lets the cattle pass while we lose the ability to look around. The question that remains, therefore, is: what are we failing to see? What are we missing? In this regard, it is worth recalling an excerpt from Huxley (1946), from his preface to The Brave New World"Great is the truth, but even greater, from a practical point of view, is the silence surrounding the truth.”. It is known that a people devoid of truth becomes more easily controlled. But still the truth may reside somewhere, as beyond the walls of that country where it has been silenced, and be continually sought after.

In our time, the truth, in a different way, has become explicit, pornographic, so that we see nothing but the shock it causes. And, shocked, we are robbed of the truth. This is because the truth is made absolute, and not something that carries a becoming, a strangeness and an uncertainty. Truth, in this golden sense, is unstoppable, uncontrollable, and participates in an ever-failing symbolic order. It is mutable, articulated and its center inevitably remains elusive. Porno-political truth, on the other hand, is obscene because it steals the show. It systematically prevents any truth from actually appearing. In this kind of self-proclaimed truth, we are thrown against each other, in a disarticulation on common bases from which collective experiences are based, consisting of countless details and parts that compose them. Once these bases are removed, pornographic figuration of the occasion can be produced: it will always take place as a theater of repulsion or acceptance; and with him we do not leave the place, except pushing the other in the way, uttering agreements or disagreements through slogans and moral judgments.

It is in this sense that self-truth[ii] it imposes itself. The way it is said, obscene, if on the one hand it “seals”, on the other it interrupts the associative flow and the possibility of thinking. From this perspective, obscene truth is vulgar and shocking. His shock policy has nothing to do with the actual truth. And this is one of the biggest disasters going on right now. The collective, shocked, continues to watch this political pornography utter self-truths without realizing its high state of depression. And he feels that, in order not to fall into an even greater depression, he must continue in his process of consuming exciting political obscenities. However, emptied of nutritious truths, the feeling of tiredness and hopelessness only tends to increase, accentuated by the health and economic crises, catalysts of this collective depression.

We must fear for the future and for our children, who will have to deal with such complex problems, since this defibrillation of the truth, which is practically dead, will not be the task of a single generation; for it will be extremely arduous – collectively – to regenerate the experience of truth.

*Ricardo T. Trinca, a psychoanalyst, holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from USP. author of The visitation of the Real in psychoanalytic clinical facts (EDUSP).

[I] Sade's School of Debauchery.

[ii] I borrow the happy expression coined by Brum (2018).

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