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Showing posts from March, 2011

The Conservative Artwork

Recently, I entered into one of those unwinnable and interminable Facebook debates with a friend of a friend on the other side of the world who I have never met. She was arguing that all great art was iconoclastic and innovative. Now I felt both positions were myth. The first, I am almost certain, is false (apart from anything else, if all great art is iconoclastic, then that begs the question of what exactly the eikon is?) The second is more plausible and defensible. In a weak sense, I think it actally is true, but in a quite uninformative and uninteresting sense based on the philosophical axiom that there is no absolute repetition. For time passes, modes fade, and at the very least we should expect art to respond to the present of its creation. Even those most apparently unoriginal of modes - say, translation or imitation - 'innovate' by interpreting a 'past' in light of a contemporary context which wasn't there before. Equally, we would never - by definition - a…

Feminism below the line

Just been reading an article by Lucy Mangan in the Guardian, on International Women's Day. Although a 'weekender' article in the life/style section (for a more seriously toned piece, see this), the comments section caught my eye because it embodies so many of the standard anti-feminist arguments: founded, I would argue, on a fairly tight and repetitious circuit of errors and fallacies. Yet precisely because of their pervasiveness, I think it is worth pouring over them, for they represent the 'common sense' reactions and positions which may seem intellectually convincing but are actually logically suspect.
So, given I've been discussing feminism on the Maynooth Moodle boards recently, here's a few comments:
1. Hit aStraw (Wo)man. There's plenty of examples in the comments thread, but perhaps the most prolific caricature is the contention that feminism is some kind of man-hatred. Claims like feminism desires outright female supremacy, that it wants to main…

Women and Truth

Just been reading Adrienne Rich's essay 'Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying', and she has some very interesting and perceptive remarks on the gendering of truth:Male honor also having something to do with killing: I could not love thee, Dear, so much/Lov’d I not Honour more (“To Lucasta, On Going to the Wars”). Women’s honor, something altogether else: virginity, chastity, fidelity to a husband. Honesty in women has not been considered important. We have been depicted as generally whimsical, deceitful, subtle, vacillating. A man's truth is inscribed in the value of 'his word'; a woman's truth in the socio-economic value of her body and its inviolability. As such, a man's truth is positive and involved in self-realisation, it is expansive and linguistic, whilst a woman's truth is involved in denial and holding in check. In the public sphere, a man is supposed to coincide with himself (his probity, his integrity); by contrast, a woman's social ro…