Thursday, September 11, 2008
Butterworth, Trevor. "Prevarication Nation." BOOKFORUM (September-November 2008).
Rabaté, Jean-Michel. The Ethics of the Lie. New York: Other, 2008. Jean-Michel Rabaté, Vartan Gregorian Professor in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania, bookends The Ethics of the Lie with Jacques Lacan, the French psychiatrist who connected the anxieties of poststructuralism to those of psychoanalysis. At the beginning, we have the proposition, apropos Monica Lewinsky, that Bill Clinton may have been “the world’s first Lacanian president” because, as Lacan saw it, “there is no such thing as a sexual relationship” (and as Clinton tried to explain to a mortified nation, oral sex should be thought of as an aperitif rather than an entrée). At the end, and apropos Pinocchio’s nose, we are told that from a Lacanian point of view, “the lie always keeps something of the structure of the phallus, because the phallus is always like a joke, partakes [sic] of its mythical origins with the ludicrously inflated prosthesis carried on the stage in Aristophanes’ theater.” . . . Read the rest here: http://www.bookforum.com/inprint/015_03/2755. See also for the author's perspective on his book: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/home/SASFrontiers/rabate.html.