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Stupid Gurus - Page 26

[21] But this communion is not a matter of recognizing oneself in a fixed image, identifying with an ontologically consistent other: the body of the stupid guru, the cult leader, the rock star, the media fantasm, is itself a fractal deformation. That is to say, one must be careful not to reduce identification to any simple dialectic between stable and determinate entities, between isolable masters who are either true or false and slaves who are or are not about to become free. Kenneth Dean and Brian Massumi argue that the body of the leader (in their case the despot) is a "body without an image," and its "infinitization" is also its disintegration, its evacuation.16

Their claim is that one's relation to that image is not a matter of strict identification, since one attaches oneself to increasingly fragmented gestures, features, images, that never add up, never amount to a whole body, an identity, that are always partial arrangements of a social apparatus that is absolute without being singular. The stupid guru too is this one who is not one, and who stands for the one that is nothing, the constitutive nothing around which, according to a model we have already employed, the Symbolic is organized; who dissolves into a thousand points or pixels of light distributed across the screenscape of certain economies (subcultural economies that are themselves fractal homomorphs of larger symbolic economies), and serves as a loose network of junctions or terminals to which stupid disciples may attach themselves. In psychoanalytic terms, a Thing. As Zizek writes, "while it is true that any object can occupy the empty place of the Thing, it can do so only by means of the illusion that it was always already there, i.e., that it was not placed there by us but found there as an 'answer of the real'" (_LA_ 33). Not a body, then, but a sort of vapor catching the light of an oblique projection that conceives of itself as a mechanism of discovery. And it is no different for you: any cultural (political, philosophical, critical, artistic) activity orbits elliptically around such null points: one is a Freudian, a Marxian, a Derridean; a Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen scholar; one becomes a New Historicist not only for considered methdological reasons but because one has "already" recognized something of what one might call oneself, were it so conscious a recognition, in reading Greenblatt or McGann; one becomes a performance artist because, sitting in the audience during a performance, one saw without seeing (through a fundamental

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