28.8.05

cindy sheehan and narrative distortion

more and more i find myself wanting to talk about culture as the new novel..."culture"...with all its seams and fissures, its surfaces and depths, its articulations and distortions, its pathos, its greedy pig audience, its masterful authors, its schmuck authors, the "price" we pay for the book.

in the book of culture recently i've been at first amused by, later compelled by, and currently turned on by the cindy sheehan text.

lemme set this up AS text:

grieving mother (already we have intertextuality, heteroglossia, convergence of discourses, and politics...after all, WHO exactly owns the current definition of either of those words, or both of them together? this is where the current front is forming, have you noticed?) decides to go low rent camping at presidential vacation yee-ha ranch.

reason she is camping out: son, who was a soldier (here is the second front--the war for definitions, subjectivities, symbolic figures, place-holders of language and culture) is killed in the so-called Iraq War (this is where things get really hilarious or terrifying..."operation infinite justice," "operation enduring freedom," "the war on terror," "struggle against extremism," TALKING HEADS BLATHER AND SLIGHT OF HAND...but you have to give to those boys, those good ol boys, they know what to do with language to keep it out of the mouths of "progressives," yes?).

plot: grieving mother (see above) wants soldier son's death (see above) to "signify" so that we can stop the war (see above).

pathos: poor sad mother. oh wait, other mothers rise to action to "compete" with this grieving mother, to drown her out, to displace her, womb to womb.

complication: she doesn't really "engage" in the war at the front. she doesn't really accept the enemy sent to fight her. she just keeps saying over and over again in that flattened out mother voice with no make-up and saggy tits and big hips and tired eyes, mr. president, you lied.

antagonist: well i guess you know. shrub.

i guess i'd say this is quintessentially a postmodern novel, and i also think the "ending" will be determined through a power structure, not left to its language...open ended, the as-yet unfinished sentence, the woman cutting clean through rhetoric and logic and power and manhood to simply open her mouth.

i wouldn't call her a hero, though.

that word's been obliterated.

i just like this book.