Re: Fleck Kristeva and conservativism

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Posted by Matt McCloud on April 25, 1997 at 21:42:12:

In Reply to: Fleck Kristeva and conservativism posted by Rainer Ganahl on November 23, 1996 at 13:23:03:

: : the second half of the book is, I think, much more ambiguous.
: : Kristeva reexamins Aragon, Sartre and Barthes to find possible points of
: : "revolt" in a posit-ideological world. In these pages, in fact, you find
: : very much remarks which are surprisingly conservative. It is like a big
: : preach about the decadence of the world since the sixties, which
: : anti-american statements and a lot of flat sentences about the media society
: : etc. At the beginning, I was surprised. But you have to relate this to some
: : openly reactionary statements of Jean Baudrillard about contemporary art and
: : culture, published earlier this year in the french newspapers "Liberation"
: : and "Le Monde". For Baudrillard, the case is more evident: he allways was a
: : conservative thinker, coming out of a "cultural criticism" which was a big
: : tradition in the german and french conservativism, and it was allways a big
: : misunderstanding to see Baudrillard as a thinker of modernity or
: : post-modernity in the eighties. In private circles, Baudrillard had allways
: : very conservative positions, in political terms, and the only difference
: : with his new reactionary statements on contemporary art is the he now
: : expresses openly what he allways had thought about contemporary art.
: : The new book of Julia Kristeva is part of the same evolution in
: : France, but more relativistic and less direct then the actual statements by
: : Baudrillard. The very conservative views expressed by Kristeva today, are
: : part of a shift which is typical for many authors of the so-called
: : "structuralist" period in France. Many intellectuals who were structuralists
: : in the sixties, then maoists in the seventies and "neo-baroque"-thinkers in
: : the eighties, became supporters of conservative parties in France at the
: : beginning of the nineties. You have to consider that Philippe Sollers, the
: : husband of Julia Kristeva whose novels and esthetic positions she subscribes
: : for several times in her new book, took part in the conservative election
: : campaign of Edouard Balladur (a kind of old styled conservative politician,
: : reprensenting "la vielle France" of the 18th century). Some aspects of
: : Kristevas new book are directly related to this ideological shift in the
: : intellectual circle of Sollers.
: :
: I do see your poins and unfortunately have to agree
: also in the interview I made I was confronted with
: a lot of "nouvelles formes du sacré" as opposed to
: a politically interested thinking which I can't read
: otherwise but along the line you said

: concerning baudriallard, I gave also a talk at Columbia
: where he confronted 1968 to be purely "reactionary"
: it is an interesting strategy by Baudrillard to
: denounce all the progressive moves that occured around
: 1968 and label it reactionary, i.e. to say the way he thinks
: now.. I was surprised that the public didn't show
: any reactoin... I talked to him afterwards about this
: with such an insistance that he walked away from me
: ..... with Baudrillard there is a kind of a bitterness
: and a disappointment involved that goes together
: with a general ignorance of the fact that the world
: keeps moving ahead also with le grands penseurs parisiens

: Julia Kristeva on the other hand really believes in
: what she says. there is no zynisism involed, no new trend...
: it is more the fact that she becomes absorbed by a tradition she keeps
: reading and quoting: St. Augustin and others....
: needless to say that for me, the "new forms of the sacred" turn
: into an irrational kind of metaphysics that doesn't
: help us to resolve problems or make "revolts"...
: In this sense, I guess we have to revolte against her...
: Since she represents a powerful segment of actual contemporary
: intellectual Europ

Maybe it was the very fact of your "instentence" that turned Baudrillard off. What type of instistence was this? What type of argument did you put forward beyond the space of the personal/ity? I am not saying Baudrillard can't be faulted with a certain sort of conservatism, but I don't understand what was inisted upon? That he problematized the revolution? Shouldn't that be problematized? What's wrong with questioning it? I don't really understand the focus on the person, the person at the conference, the person in the airplane, the person in interviews?

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