STUPID UNDERGROUNDS - MANN
of critical theory. The only plants that grow there are fear and the ideal, twined gracelessly around one another. Everything is preceded by its negation, even negation itself. The desert is the atopic capitol of nomadology, the smooth space of the erasure of cultural space, the very ground of the zone. It is the parenthetical frame of every topology. It is unconquerable, the purest outside, and identified with a range of heroic colonial subjects (native-Americans, Africans, Arabs) with whom critical theory currently wishes to associate itself; it is also, by this very means, the incorporation and hence cancellation of every one of these figures. Its flatness, however mountainous, makes it the perfect modernist surface; its emptiness and marginality, the perfect postmodern one. As the deadest of lands, its sublimity is far more productive than the most picturesque Alpine declivity. It is sacred and empty, the illimitable locus where waste is inflated into a spiritual value; even God goes there to die. It is the expression, the sentence, of silence. A figural silence, first of all, but also the possibility of an actual cessation. All one's dreams of rigor run aground there. Everything dead goes there to die again. A place to write hysterical essays on the end of criticism. And a place for dead vows: nothing further obliges you to return to criticism. An end to it.
1 Derrida's crucial effort, from his earliest work, to deconstruct the facile relation between inside and outside reproduced in this cultural model has had no final effect: for the most part it has merely reinforced the model with a certain rhetoric: one can now make exactly the same assumptions in the very act of pretending one is criticizing them.
By the way, wanna write stupid-critical theory? Lesson One: Attach the prefix "hyper" to every third adjective or noun.
2 See Slavoj Zizek, Enjoy Your Symptom: Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out (New York: Routledge, 1992), 38-60, for an elaboration of the distinction between these two suicides.
3 We should also note trajectories that stop short of