Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Inappropriate

I really enjoy Zizek's discourse on shit; that the French are revolutionary with it (straight down the hole) that the English are empirical with it (let it float about and see what happens) and the Germans idealist in their scrutiny of it. I'm surprised I haven't found him (yet) dissecting national pornography in the same way; French porn seems to feature an unprecedented number of aristocrats and chauffeurs, English porn an unusually high percentage of housewives, German porn a seemingly unavoidable interest in grunting sodomy, and the Italians a way too peculiar fascination with nuns and Nazis. The Americans of course are just professional about it, that is until they get too wasted and commit suicide. This of course is the meat and potatoes of your critics existence, we must always compare the intrinsically unalike for clues. I found myself doing it yesterday after tracing a nagging quote of Chuck Klosterman's; that Van Halen's 'Cradle will Rock' is absolutely the most average of all metal tracks; that all others either slip below it or above it in the most dedicated of critical appraisals. Of course this is daft, but it kept me preoccupied, since recognising the absurdity of the effort somehow seemed to make it more rewarding.
Like comparing metal to architecture: Le Corbusier is of course Led Zeppelin, Mies is Metallica, David Chiperfield is a probably a Whitesnake. Robert Venturi is possibly the architectural equivalent of Kiss ('It's not about good taste, it's about what tastes good!'). Aalto would be Fleetwood Mac.
Of course all of this doesn't take too many long words but does take up a whole lot of energy in those muscles which make you smile.
Some will think it not serious enough to compare anything as high minded as architecture with shit, pornography or metal, to muse as to Gaudi's equivalence to Yes or even the total lack of redeeming features in Muse. It might be deemed 'inappropriate' like so many behaviours are suddenly being deemed. So much is made of this nebulous term 'inappropriate' as to rouse deep suspicion. I certainly don't know what it means, it is a newly employed and shifty term, and something, I think, that has it's genesis in e-mail and social networking, but a significance way beyond.
I might tentatively suggest our obsession with the appropriate is rather like your mothers instance you wear your Sunday best to church, whether or not there is any possibility of you believing in God. The nasty tag of behaving inappropriately seems to represent a  domestic equivalence of our vastly expanded border agency, it has to do with the fear that we are not in general behaving appropriately at all, or shall we say as Zizek might, rationally at all.


  1. Zaha as Tool? AHMM as Pantera? Jean Nouvel as Slayer? Keep going!

  2. Metallica is a poor choice for Mies - Lemmy would be a better reflection for pure bloody mindedness plus there is the Nazi thread in there. Ozzy may be a better choice for Le Corb although he may be better suited to Loos given Black Sabbaths reinterpretations of Holst. I think i'd avoid Chipperfield as another American export band and he would maybe fit well as NWOBHM - perhaps Judas Priest. Zaha has to be Muse - or otherwise Spinal Tap.