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STUPID UNDERGROUNDS - MANN
Desert - Page 60

masocritically, as critical observer, that will make a mockery of a critical distance that still claims to possess its object, its other. As this distance collapsed in contact with the stupid underground, so here we are left entirely behind; and it is this constitutive loss that we desire most of all. Worse and more seductive than the angry contempt of the punk is his no-show at a later date, once performance no longer interests him, once he conceives recuperation and its stupid parodies more severely, once he cedes his critical intelligence and offers us absolutely nothing. In not appearing he thereby restages his appearance as the Thing, if you will, the strange attractor of a now luminously empty Real, the ruinous telos of our critical game, a perfect lure for the exposure of our symptomatology, a frustrating goad that draws out the humanist's humiliating aggression, a truth that is true so long as it fails to appear, and even if it did appear, even if it were possible to track it down and drag it out into the light, could only fail us and give way to another. What we ourselves stage here is a certain paranoic autoaggression, the disaster of discourse, a speech act on one hand calling into being the exteriority of discourse and on the other sealing it off from our own intrusion. A ghostly other who remains other and eternally returns by never appearing. The inaudible and commanding echo of discourse's repellant law. Let us claim this secret other as our founding secret, a passage to which none of us holds the key because we ourselves destroyed it long before we ever conceived the door.

Desert

[45] Why so much stupid-critical fascination with the desert? Foucault dropping acid in Death Valley is the perfect journalistic figure of the final cause, if you will, of theory itself. You go out into the desert to escape the social world, have visions, go native, clear a space to begin again, look into whatever abyss, encounter gods, escape in order to be able to return, die in order to be reborn, fast, find yourself, find the secret government installations that indicate the truth of power, wait for UFOs, make art that is immune, for a few seconds, to galleries, write a book about America to sell back in France. The desert is at one and the same time the national park or disneyworld of the stupid underground, and the sublime landscape

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It is on along the sleepy Anacostia River in the District of Columbia, USA.