The world is full of lovers. We don’t need anymore

“Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love.”

Hamlet, William Shakespeare

You know that film… Revolutionary Road, with the unhappy American white, blonde couple, living the American dream, the good life, big house, beautiful garden, happy energetic children, corporatist husband getting a promotion? Nothing could go wrong, but then it does. The American dream not realised, but almost. All goes terribly wrong. Well, that’s what would have happened if Jack would not have died on the Titanic, but luckily he did, and then Rose had a nice romantic love story to tell. Marriage, house with a garden, kids, Lassy, grandkids, a few romantic trips to Paris, or Venice or Verona, they’re quite near to each other anyway, and actually who exactly cares? Both Italian cities starting with a V; a few sunsets on the beach and the annual kiss under the mistletoe, oh, love!

There’s nothing more beautiful than young love, isn’t it? Prince Charming arriving in his blue chevy nova, the young, innocent, Marylin Monroe wannabe, with her blonde wavy hair, red lips, and white dress sneaking out in the middle of the night. His dark eyes, her mysterious shy smile just in the corner of her lips, such a wonderful life awaits them. A great love never grows old, not even when there’s a pile of laundry above it, a house mortgage, dirty dishes, and an unemployed partner, a kid to be supported through college, old ill parents, no, love never dies, and guess what saves it? Yes, that cheesy Valentine dinner, and that pink heart-shaped Valentine card with a random quote about love “I love my life because it gave me you, and I love you because you are my life” – or something like that.

What would one do without the little love gifts? How would love survive when confronted with the ordinary little miseries of life? But does love make life better, or it just piles, even more, insecurity, fear and in the end misery on top of the house mortgage, student loans, stress and just daily worries?

I might sound like a cynic, but don’t worry, even cynics get struck by love at some point, sooner or later, because nobody can escape it. No one can escape the attraction, the desire, the crave, the lust, the disappointment, the suffering, the insecurity, and jealousy, the fear, because love is as Eva Illouz describes it her article Why We Don’t Celebrate Friendship With the Same Fervor as Lovedemocratic – good and bad people can feel it (almost everyone has felt love in their lives). And it’s the non-discriminatory feature of love that makes it universal, and its inevitability that makes it profitable, makes it commercial. Our whole lives are polarised around the notion of love. I need to get a degree, have a good job, find a man, fall in love, marry, have kids and be happy. Our whole world revolves around the things, situations, people that we want and hope to have in our lives, and once we have it (whatever that it might be), we are too afraid of letting it go even if it harms us, it suffocates us, it makes us deny our own freedom, our own soul.

And here my photographs come into the picture. Taken 3 years ago in the Little Paris, as Bucharest was called before the communist era, I considered them perfectly fitted to represent the cruelty of optimism, the cruelty of love, by the juxtaposition of the word love (followed by a whole palette of meaning) with something as trivial as a garbage bin. It is almost ironical how Paris is the city of love, and then Bucharest, its smaller sibling, after a “short” encounter with communism, and of course with its family values and abortion banning, decided to throw love into the garbage bin. And the second one… is just the outcome of a love that ended differently than how it was supposed to end. It’s the American dream gone wrong, the Prince Charming who went to work, had an affair with the secretary, the unhappy Marylin Monroe trapped in a dreadful marriage, but too comfortable, and too afraid to leave. It’s the norms, the rules, the “you must”-s and “you have”-s in a relationship failing, the Valentines cards and fancy dinners that won’t play their magic anymore. It’s the optimism of a happy ending, of the dream of the good life, meeting reality, it’s the ugly side of love. And this ugly side of love only appears when love is made the highest expectation, and not love in general but a certain kind of love, the monogamous, heterosexual, based on a sexual relationship kind of love. We idealise love so much, and at the same time advertise it so much, that it became one of the most common and trivial feelings. It is a must, but then it is an ideal too. The perfect lover, the soulmate, the other half is hard to fine, but then, why are you single? You should never let the loved one go, you should fight for it, but then, that loved one might at some point be the exact reason that you’re suffering. Love has been turned into a paradox and the “love” and the garbage bin is the image of this ironically and sad charade.

Why Love Hurts, Eva Illouz

Introduction: The Misery of Love

  • If anything, our contemporary sense of appropriateness would command us to follow the dictates of our heart, not of our social milieu.
  • Second, a battery of experts would now be likely to come to the rescue of a hesitant Catherine (Wuthering Heights) and of Emma’s (Madame Bovary) passionless marriage: psychological counseling, couple therapy, divorce lawyers, mediation specialists, would massively appropriate and adjudicate over the private dilemmas of prospective or bored wives. In the absence of (or in conjunction with) experts’ help, their modern counterparts would have shared the secret of their love with others, most likely female friends, or, at the very least, occasional anonymous friends found on the Internet, thus considerably diminishing the solitude of their passion. Between their desire and their despair, there would have been a thick flow of words, self-analysis, and friendly or expert advice

Continue reading “Why Love Hurts, Eva Illouz”

GRAHAM GREENE’S LACANIAN ENCORE: THE END OF THE AFFAIR

[T]he sexual relationship cannot be written (ne peut pas s’écrire). Everything that is written stems from the fact that it will forever be impossible to write, as such, the sexual relationship. It is on that basis that there is a certain eVect of discourse, which is called writing

Lacan, Encore

  • Graham Greene’s late modernist novel The End of the AVair (1951) is a Lacanian text par excellence, a literary avatar of Lacan’s Encore: On Feminine Sexuality/The Limits of Love and Knowledge
  • This “inhuman love” would seem to be what Saint Teresa, as represented by Bernini’s statue in Rome, experiences but does not know
  • Lacan’s reasoning behind his notion of the impossibility of human Love will be laid out: Ž rst, in terms of his three orders of Love and in particular the gap between the love object and the objet a, or cause of desire, that dwells deceptively in the love object; and second, in terms of his idea of sexuation and the gap between the man and /the Woman.
  • Tying the unfeasibility of Love to the collapse of the sexual relation, which by no means detracts from desire, Lacan asserts that “love is impossible and the sexual relationship drops into the abyss of nonsense, which doesn’t in any way diminish the interest we must take in the Other”

Continue reading “GRAHAM GREENE’S LACANIAN ENCORE: THE END OF THE AFFAIR”

Transnational Subjectivity – week 2

Mail order bride??? – A mailorder bride is a woman who lists herself in catalogs and is selected by a man for marriage. (I know about the dating, more than dating sites, but never heard of this); you can order your bride online like you’d order a new set of kitchen knives and exchange money for an “exotic” woman.

Love happens on, through, thanks to or because of a screen.

But what is love?

an emotion, care, desire, passion, rely on someone, acceptance (I really like this one), empathy, respect and trust (these 2 as well), affect, romance, responsibility, power

but can also have a “dark” side: narcissism, love of power, of money, of position; remember passion crimes?

  • the romantic commodities – begins with the novel (I just started reading Wuthering Heights)

Is love universal, essential?

it might, the emotion is universal, but its expression is different; essential? I think yes, e.g. mother love, and the effect its lack have on the child (even on animals)

What structures, social institutions shape love?

family, marriage, church, school, the media (songs, films, series, books)

Love is a market strategy. Novelesque love is not real but it seems the only kind of love we know. The image of love is running into the lilac sunset hands in hands with you soul mate, but where is love for the human being, for breathing creatures? Venus Hottentot never seemed to find it, because she was different, and more, she was a slave. One can not possibly love a slave, it would be like loving a horseshoe.

West <-> East – defined through contrasts: educated west, barbaric east, developed west, undeveloped east, civilized west, barbaric east => orientalist discourse (shaped by media)

Tasks:

  1. group meeting, discussion about the components of the case study – checked
  2. comment the visceral, embodied, auditory sensorial, affective and tactile forms of knowledge (Writing Desire)
  3. how has colonialism shaped your subjectivity? are you the colonizer or the colonized? how has your culture represented “the other”? how can you articulate your subjectivity through postcolonial theories?