Joss Whedon and Jean-Paul Sartre: the Wanker PhallosophersJuly 6, 2008
Above: Phallosopher contemplating his meaningless existence, and how deep his meaninglessness is.
Ok, so I’m currently thinking a lot about the episode of Firefly, Objects in Space. This was the last episode of the TV series before production was stopped. And as such it became one of the most important to the fans of the series. Now I did want to talk about the racism of this particular episode. And I will. I will be focusing particularly on the construction of lust, both in this episode, and in the series as a whole. But first I wanted to talk a little about male philosophy as Wank.
Joss Whedon really loves Wank. That is basically the moral of this episode Objects in Space. I will be referring to Joss Whedon as a Phallosopher throughout this entry. I envisage Phallosophers to encompass all the Great Male Phallosophers throughout the ages. From Aristotle to Camus to Sartre to Whedon. Phallosophy is characterised by self-obsession, misogyny, and a disturbing, yet relentless tendency to produce Wank. Phallosophers are generally Bores. Now, what is common to most Phallosophers is their acute susceptibility to Male Artist Syndrome, as theorized very superbly by Dissenter.
Male Artist Syndrome – a mental disorder commonly found in men who call themselves creative artists (artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers etc.) whereby the man in question is only capable of thinking and operating on the level of the foreground. His ‘art’ inevitably reproduces the values, ideas etc. of male-stream culture and the Phallic State, and is particularly characterised by misogyny, racism, the erasure of women, the erasure of radically Other ways of thinking/being/feeling, and thinly veiled egocentric self-portrayals. The work of Male Artists is highly prized by other Male Artists, and male supremacists in general, for its lack of thought, which is called ‘depth’ in a classic example of patriarchal reversal.
Male Artists are incapable of recognising women as creative beings, especially women who work and create in the Background and refuse to participate in the shallow narcissism and self-indulgent nihilism that passes for creativity in the foreground. The only acceptable role for women who exist creatively on a foreground level is to be the adoring disciples of Male Artists, always ready to listen to them, agree with them, champion them as brilliant, insightful etc., and support and reproduce their ideas. These women are forbidden to have ideas of their own, especially ideas that contradict the Male Artists, or to connect with creative women who have journeyed into the Background and rejected Male Artists and the Phallic State that supports and produces them.
Joss Whedon wrote the episode, Objects in Space, in order to explore his own Phallosophical relationship to the world and in particular to objects. He Wanks his Phallosophy onto the bodies of a Black man and a young woman, which is highly problematic of itself, but I’ll talk about that in another post.
In the commentary of the episode Objects in Space Whedon outlines why he wrote the episode and what the episode means to him. His discussion is as follows.
Now let’s go back in time to me when I was 16. It was at that age that I became old enough to realise that I had no faith and very soon after that I had, what I can very pretentiously describe as, an existential epiphany. And I had it, embarrassingly but somehow appropriately during a Spielburg movie. I was in London, by myself, during a school break, in the fall where I watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind and something in me kind of snapped. I started to think for the first time in an adult fashion about life, about time, about reality, about dying, about all of the thing that are right there in front of us every day but that as children and often as adults, we take for granted, or find some easy explanation for if we can. In my case, I was presented with the totality of things but with no coherent pattern to put them in, I just suddenly understood that real life was happening.
Friend of mine gave me the most important book I ever read which was Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre. Apart from that, and a little bit of The Myth of Sisyphus by Camus I really haven’t read extensively about existentialism or absurdism, I don’t want to paint myself as an intellectual, I really don’t know anything about philosophy. But I did know that this book spoke to what I believe more accurately and completely than anything I had ever read. And what it talked about was the pain of being aware of things and their existence outside of their meaning.
Hmm… the pain of being aware of things existing. Deep stuff here.
So I decided to read this Sartre dude since Joss seems to be so enamoured. Dissenter had a copy of Nausea and I grabbed it off her and dived in. Now the guy who wrote this book was fucked in the head. The protagonist is a complete narcissist who seems to have an obsession with men who sexually assault children. The protagonist also hates women, no big surprised there.
Here are some of the highlights from Nausea:
Since the Patron was there, I had to fuck her, but it was really out of politeness. She disgusts me slightly, she is too white and besides she smells like a new-born baby… I toyed absent-mindedly with her sex under the bedclothes… I let my arm move along the woman’s side and suddenly I saw a little garden with low, wide-spreading trees from which huge hairy leaves were hanging. Ants were running everywhere, centipedes and moths. There were some even more horrible animals: their bodies were made of slices of toast such as you put under roast pigeon; they were walking sideways with crab-like legs. The broad leaves were black with animals. Behind the cacti and the Barbary fig trees, the Velleda of the municipal park was pointing to her sex. “This park smells of vomit,” I shouted.
In the following passage the protagonist describes a man exposing himself to a little girl:
I… was fascinated by the little girl’s face. Her features were drawn with fear and her heart must have been beating madly: but on that rat-like face I could also distinguish something potent and evil. It was not curiosity but rather a sort of assured expectation. I felt helpless: I was outside, on the edge of the park, on the edge of their little drama; but they were riveted to each other by the obscure power of their desires, they formed a couple.
Fucked up shit. Little girls are evil and desperately want men to come up and expose their penises to them. They desire it, you know, ‘cause women and girls can never get enough of the Phallus Supremus.
There are many more disturbing things about the book Nausea but I am not going to list all of them. I just wanted to make the point that the book is sickeningly sexist. And Sartre, like Whedon, suffers from an acute case of Male Artist Syndrome.
But I’m not all that interested in Sartre. I am interested in the way that Joss Whedon responds to him. I don’t think it is all that surprising that Joss finds a misogynist like Sartre profound, after all, Joss himself is a profound misogynist.
But let’s go back to Whedon’s little existential epiphany. I would argue that straight, white, rich, Western men like Joss are the only ones who have the luxury of waiting until they are 16 in order to realise that they exist and that their existence is meaningless. Straight, white, rich, Western men are the only ones who have the luxury of realising this and calling it philosophy. So Joss shared his touching memory about realising that he existed and that life and death happened. He called his Wank an epiphany even, as he sat in his rich, white comfort, watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
So I’m going to share my own story. Though it was not an epiphany, nor was it an existential awakening, and it certainly wasn’t philosophy. When I was about 11 I was living in a two bedroom apartment, on the second floor, in Finland. There were five children and 2 adults living in this apartment, and my mother was pregnant and suffering deep depression. We, with our dark skin and hair, were outsiders in this white supremacist country, and we felt it. But that sets the scene.
The story is me, sitting on the ledge of the second storey balcony and wanting to jump. It is my belief that the only thing that stopped me was the knowledge that it wouldn’t kill me. So I was thinking of ways of making sure that I would die when I hit the ground. If I dived from the balcony head first that would break my neck, but no, there was still a chance I would survive and then everything would be even worse than before.
I did not have the luxury of waiting until I was 16 to have an epiphany about the fact that the world existed, that I existed and that I was meaningless. I did not have the luxury of realizing that death existed in an abstract fashion while sitting in a cinema. The knowledge of death, for me, was graphically represented by the thought of my body lying lifeless on the concrete. My knowledge of life and death, my struggle to exist as a multiracial female under white male supremacy has been a struggle since the day I was born.
There were never any easy answers. But this story is not one about an epiphany, this story did not make me who I am today. The only thing that I learnt from sitting on that balcony was the fact that I am too spineless to kill myself.
But men like Whedon and Sartre take one look at the fact that their lives are meaningless and their next step is to make books and TV shows about meaninglessness and they call it philosophy!!!. The nerve of these fucking morons.
My discussions with Dissenter have provided valuable insight into the reasons that men Wank and call it philosophy. “Men’s lives are an exercise in futility,” she says, “males are essentially pointless so they have to have all of this existential angst about their lives.” This is true. Men, being rather superfluous creatures, must excrete Phallosophical Wank and believe it to be meaningful.
For women, life is not about meaninglessness. For women, life is a struggle to create meaning. Women do not write books about being nauseated by our own existence. There is a whole world FULL of men out there who are already nauseated by our existence. Women write about the power and the meaningfulness of existence, of life, in its own right. This is powerful magic; the beauty of existing, the beauty of surviving.
Let’s take me for example. A whole world full of people told me that my existence was meaningless. My first meaningful act of resistance was to love my mother, to break one of the most solid rules of male supremacy. The second was to love my sisters, and to love myself. Books, the wonderful cuntspeaking of women, helped me, more than anything else, to survive. So I learnt to write. Because myth-making and storytelling have long been used against us by men, but women were the first storytellers, we were the first poets. Believe it. We are more powerful with words than they are. And words can change the world.
At eleven, I believed that my life had no meaning. Now my life is full of meaning. I know who I am. I love. I experience beauty. I write.
I am not a philosopher. I am a poet, I am a cuntspeaker. Cuntspeaking is simple and meaningful. Cuntspeak is powerful and direct. Cuntspeak means. Cuntspeaking was a word Jane Caputi discovered by reading the work of an Athena who called Andrea Dworkin a cuntspeaker as an insult. I think cuntspeak is powerful as an image and as an ideology. You can read Caputi’s essay on cuntspeak in Not For Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography.
In conclusion, Phallosophers suck majorly. Cuntspeakers rule!!!