note on a scandal: a micro-political observation

“but all this talk of masks – you sound like oscar wilde conprehending hegel through the use of costume in shakespeare! we are what we are! isn’t that “mask,” as you call it, only an image of his own face? my friend, you have been caught up. his mask is more real than his face, because it is his face. you should be more concerned with his astrological sign, and whether that is really his, or not; whether or not he had zodiacal surgery in some past life? he coiuld easily be a virgo, having once been a scorpio. the stolen sign portends chaos in the highest spheres of the empire.”

if sex scandals, like the one adam giambrone is acting out, teach us anything it is that sexually speaking, we are the opposite of liberated. what we lack in sexual freedom we more than make up for in lassitude: even giambrone’s partner seems nonplussed by the infidelity.

what is the opposite of liberated? the term “repressed” seems inadequate because it ignores the mask we have worn since the “sexual revolution” in the sixties: the mask of sexual freedom and liberated desire. the paradox of “sexual freedom” lies in the fact that sexuality is in chains today: the bondage of choice, the tether of identity. sex itself is servitude to the body, if not the species. likewise, the paradox of “liberated desire” points to an injunction to “enjoy” rather than an aesthetic of enjoying; perhaps there is no escaping the non-spontaneity of satisfaction.

we see in analog with “sexual freedom” the success of the free market and the emergence of new liberal-permissive societies, all of which place “human rights” at the frontiers of their activities. both the economy and politics have always been arenas for our drives and desires. they are our public faces to the other, for the other, in our self.

after the end of history we achieve total liberation on all fronts, the private mask of sexuality has entered the most public of spheres. is not the rise of divorce an effect of donning the public mask in the private theater of cruelty that is sexuality?

pornography is also another site for the collapse of the private / public self. when will child lovers have a parade of their own? the most forbidden, novel, and obscure perversions are “freer” and more accessible to mass audiences than they ever have been before. the six-year-old war torn virgin amputee getting raped by masked soldiers is no longer something unimaginable (although i did just make it up), see it on YouTube.

liberated economy: unemployment, the freedom not to work.
political freedom: choice without rights, agency without power.
anarchic sexuality: pornography and divorce as prophylactics against intimacy.


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