Farts and Foucault

I’ve reached the stage of my life when a three beer night gives me magmatic diarrhea the next morning. I’m sitting down to write while spewing sulphuric clouds of microscope buffalo chicken pizza particles out of my ass, committed to my craft as my intestines turn to volcanic putrescence. If someone else was this disgusting around me right now, I’d shove them in the garbage disposal and turn it on; since it’s my own decaying guts suffusing the air, I am entertained. We are never as revolting to ourselves as we are to other people. Left alone we are free to chew with our mouths open, pick our noses, aggressively fart and burp, masturbate, and babble inchoately, all without shame, returned to the edenic garden of innocent indulgence. The judgment of God is transposed social disapproval. Our behavior is refined to suit other people, we develop a strong sense of what other people think and expect of us, and in turn our awareness of ourselves deepens.

The view from on high, the judgment of our value to the group burrows deeply into the body, creating the soul as watchman, as inhibitory self consciousness. Man’s inner life is the product of technologies of power, a vast, interconnected signifying social machine inscribing its codes of conduct on the body, torturing and searing disorganized flesh into a compliant functional unity. It begins with tattooing bearing directly on the body and evolves into social security numbers and bank accounts. Spatio temporal divisions are made to control movement, enclosures form to drill habits into the body. Institutions tend towards the same ideal structure even as they spread apart, differentiate themselves, and stratify the human elements of which they are composed. Thus the schema of the prison is expressed in the schools, the barracks, and the factory. Human subjects are formed through isolation, surveillance, and classification, processed through disciplinary machines that resemble each other. Threats of bodily harm give way to threats of incarceration, power is eventually internalized and threats are no longer necessary, subjects police themselves. Finally cybernetic systems modulate behavior by manipulating brain waves, programming the circuitry of humanity to automate itself, and power is diffused into a flat, infinite grid of electrical signals.

Anyway, I went out last night and had a decent time. Talked to a chubby Mexican future peace corp member. Tattoos, piercings, independent, feminist, loves DC; yet another person I have to pretend to get along with. Another person with a job in the nation’s capitol that makes absolutely no sense to me. The moment these people begin explaining their job, I hear the soothing hum of appliances, my ears are suddenly stuffed with gauze. “It’s a nonprofit outreach program”, “I work in public relations for an agency of a bureau in a department that downshifts revenue and drafts grants for funding experimental projects in education.” And they are always fresh off a stint in Americorps, headed for the Peace Corps, well traveled, humanitarian, progressive, principled, and obnoxious. What am I supposed to do with these people? No one else in the entire world moved to DC just to do drugs and write deranged reflections on modern life.

Author: The Empty Subject

Born curmudgeon

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