Sunday, April 16, 2017
“To be clear, this was reality, not ‘SNL.’”
My title is a line in the Washington Post article about last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live. Clarity is good.
Getting to the clearing may be difficult for some sensibilities; e.g., seeing the unbearable uncanniness of one’s ordinariness (not to mention the unbearable persistence of viciousness, etc.)
In the clearing—which is hallmarked by living in a liminality of appearance and so-called “reality”—one may be often compelled by others to live as if there’s no clearing, i.e., as if appearance and “reality” are the same—which is to say (with such others): The difference isn’t open to question by others because proffered difference doesn’t make sense to others. “The” difference can’t be sensibly framed with others, in order to evaluate a phenomenon as invalid.
Of course, a possible difference is always an option (in principle, all would admit), even to those who deny the difference for situations at hand. So, such folks must enforce a “nonsense” of the question, as if questioning is an infidelity or disloyalty (or sin).
I love the liminality—the betweenness—of en-stancing (i.e., “setting up” as stance, as in rhetorical genuineness) and en-framing (or making questionable). Paradigmatic of this is finding everything worthy of being in quote marks—or a person living in wide-eyed nonchalance toward uncanniness or bizarreness of ordinary incomprehension—better yet: living in a hidden state of deadpan humor toward humorless ordinariness (what Nobelist Paul Krugman, thinking of some economists, likes to call The VSPs: the Very Serious People, as in: True Believers).
Heidegger knew what it was to live with being caricatured as “Heidegger” among literal-minded academics who had no idea that he considered himself to be living theater (which is what a rhetorical modality—basic to Heidegger’s teaching of teaching—implies, i.e., displaying events of appropriation in talk about such): “being” Heidegger in questions of being.
I’m confident that his sense of politics was such that he would have enjoyed Saturday Night Live in our authoritarian Moment.
Of course, if one played that way in Moscow—e.g., parodying Vladimir as gay—one could get jailed. Likewise, I suppose, in any locality of Germany in the 1930s, if one had Attitude toward brownshirts (or enjoyed Charlie Chaplin playing the little dictator—”Look at his hands!”).
People who flourish know how and when to keep their Attitude private.
By the way, technologization of humanity, where simulacrality becomes naturalized as What There Is (Twitter Nation, let’s say), is not basically characterized by there being enframing. Enframing is part of cognitivity. Rather, The Simulacrum is hallmarked by forgetting the difference (or, sinisterly: suppressing the difference) between validity (genuine phenomenality) and invalidity (phoniness).
And The Simulacrum forgets/suppresses the difference between self expression and situated stance (presence as actor—which pertains to all action! ). The Simulacrum erases enstancing and enframing in the world of Mister Natural.
In the world of Mister Natural, logos is reduced to ethos (i.e., the difference is “nonsense”: ethos is inflated to logos; the two are “the same”). And that Indifference conceals the improvisationality (poiesis) of there being phenomena taken for granted in their bearing.
So, voilà: I’ve troped a bridge between Saturday Night Live and Heidegger’s notion of Ge-stell.
Welcome to an interpersonal truth of “phenomenology” which Husserlian objectivism toward phenomena couldn’t make sense of: being with each other as resonance of there being enstancing (denied of oneself?) and enframing (prohibited?).
Further reading—from something “old,” I recall—in case you don’t have better things to do: “originary flow, conceptual design, and concerted cultivation.”