RIP Marshall Sahlins (1930 – 2021)

Death of Captain James Cook (1783) by George Carter. This image of the murder of James Cook reproduced here to illustrate the debate Sahlins was involved in. Did the natives consider Cook a god or not? Or was this a hineininterpretiering of Western imagination?

Marshall Sahlins was an American anthropologist.

What currently interests me in anthropology are a) accusations of eurocentrism; b) discussions on the nature of human nature (innate good or bad); and c) sexual anthropology. By sexual anthropology I mean a particular variant of it, which I call anthropologica, namely the prurient interest in sex which masquerades as anthropology.

There is no anthropologica in Sahlins, anthropologica is more the province of the 17th and 18th centuries.

I know not of discussion by Sahlins on the innate goodness or badness of man.

There are accusations of eurocentrism in Sahlins: see the Sahlins–Obeyesekere debate.

Sahlins co-authored the book On Kings (2017) with David Graeber, who died recently and of whom I’ve read the book on debt and the book on bullshit jobs.

David Graeber also wrote a foreword to a later edition of Stone Age Economics (1972).

RIP Gene Youngblood (1942 – 2021)

 Gene Youngblood is an American writer best known for his book Expanded Cinema (1970). The book is a typical product of 1960s counter-cultural utopianism.

Unidentified edition of ‘Expanded Cinema’.

Contrary to the usual 1960s utopianism, Youngblood’s utopianism is not focused on politics but on form.

Central to this book is the predicted advent of a new noosphere. Noosphere is a concept coined by Teilhard de Chardin (along with Vladimir Vernadsky).

RIP Patrick Juvet (1950 – 2021

“I Love America”

Patrick Juvet was a Swiss singer-songwriter who had a string of hit records in France (“Où sont les femmes?”) during the seventies.

He found international success with disco compositions such as “I Love America” (1978) which was his biggest record and was included on the compilation A Night at Studio 54 (1979).

Also in 1979, he wrote the soundtrack to Laura by David Hamilton.

By the early eighties, after the death of disco, his five minutes of fame were over.

Public domain images from ‘Male Fantasies’ (1977/78)

I recently purchased the two volumes of Male Fantasies (1977/78). It’s a weird work. It is a psychoanalytic portrait of the German Nazi soldier and a classic in the field of right-wing/fascist ideology. The book is full of illustrations. I decided to upload the ones that are in the public domain.

The books are profusely illustrated with material varying from Grandville to Poitevin, from Crumb to Hergé and Donald Duck and from Nazi propaganda to 18th century satirotica.

I bought this book following my reading of Langs de afgrond van Heumakers, Le sec et l’humide by Littell (for which Klaus Theweleit, the author of Male Fantasies wrote the afterword) and Radicaal-rechtse seks, a recent Dutch language study on alt-right sexual morality.

Also, a couple of plates from Une semaine de bonté and work by Lucien Coutaud.

RIP Nawal El Saadawi (1931 – 2021)

Nawal El Saadawi was an Egyptian feminist writer, activist, physician, and psychiatrist.

She wrote many books on the subject of women in Islam, paying particular attention to the practice of female genital mutilation in her society.

She described her mutilation in The Hidden Face of Eve (1977) in these words:

“Then suddenly the sharp metallic edge seemed to drop between my thighs and there cut off a piece of flesh from my body.”

[…]

“I did not know what they had cut off from my body, and I did not try to find out. I just wept, and called out to my mother for help. But the worst shock of all was when I looked around and found her standing by my side. Yes, it was her, I could not be mistaken, in flesh and blood, right in the midst of these strangers, talking to them and smiling at them, as though they had not participated in slaughtering her daughter just a few moments ago.”