By Anthony James Kubiak
From the earliest Puritan monitors of piety and rectitude to the present-day epidemic of staged tuition massacres, the historical past of the United States has been characterised by means of a twin impulse: to forged public occasion and personality as excessive drama, and to brush aside theater and theatricalization as un-American, even evil. This booklet rethinks American historical past as theater, and theater because the ethos and substance of yankee existence, sarcastically repudiated at each flip through the tradition it produces. starting with the writings of John Winthrop and others, during the Federalist and ''romantic'' phases of yankee cultural lifestyles, and into the fashionable and modern classes, Anthony Kubiak reveals an the USA now not frequently chanced on by means of conventional or materialist ways to historical past. He deploys the psychoanalytic conception of Jacques Lacan, the cultural thought of SlavojZizek, and the functionality concept of Herbert Blau in an unheard of reappraisal of dominant American id, tradition, and heritage. Anthony Kubiak is affiliate Professor of English, college of South Florida. he's additionally writer of levels of Terror: Terrorism, Ideology, and Coercion as Theatre historical past .
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Additional info for Agitated States: Performance in the American Theater of Cruelty
But there is a further sense or sensibility in the writing that Wigglesworth himself is the watcher in the shadows. He is the one from whom certain desires and lusts must be hidden. The very theatrical ontology that is developed is repressed-the uncon- scious as mise-en-scene. But who, finally, in the cells of the repressed, might the watcher's object of desire have been? On the first page of his diary, in the first sen- tence, in fact, Wigglesworth first names the "unnatural, filthy lust" that arises in him as a result of a conversation with his pupils, all of whom are male, of course, and all of whom are "unloving...
He utilizes, more than anything else, his memory of the day's events, and his memory turns those events into something like the fact of memory-identity. The diary thus represents the contents of memory, as well as what that memory could not contain. " And yet the memory that the diary represents also resists historicization, just as any personal memory resists histori- cization unless it is ratified by others who can verify what memory gives over. Memory demands witness, in other words, to move into the domain of the historical.
Thus dominant culture not only controls what is acceptable to think, but the possibilities of what can be thought. As Gramsci points out, the structuring of hegemonic forces is quite a bit messier than I have presented it here; what constitutes "dominant culture," for example, is, in this scheme, often left unspecified. " Does membership in this or that ideological camp constitute dominance over the individual by a culture? Does that dominance produce its own endocolonizations? Is there thus a dominant culture, then, or is all culture and subculture from the American middle class to cadres of Queer theorists-domi- nant and dominating to those who live within it?