Monday, August 27, 2007

French philosophers, pedophilia and the Islamic Revolution

This is almost as funny as the item below. Michel Foucault besotted with Khomeini. It's based on a book called Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism, which, according to David Frum, is as much fun as it sounds. From Frum's summary.

Foucault, a man utterly devoid of religious feeling, a homosexual who reveled in the brutalities of San Francisco’s sado-masochistic bar scene, decided in 1978 that the Khomeini revolution offered mankind’s best hope for personal liberation.

Foucault perceptively perceived that communism was fading as a challenger to the western liberal order he despised. Perceptively (indeed presciently), he decided that radical Islam offered the only effective challenge to western liberalism. He welcomed this challenge and published more than a dozen essays celebrating the Iranian revolution, most of which have never been translated out of French.

Through his life, Foucault was fascinated by extreme experiences, experiences of torture, flagellation, mutilation and death...The spectacle of Shiite worshippers whipping themselves into religious frenzy on Ashura – or seeking death and martyrdom in hypnotic mass demonstrations – exquisitely appealed to Foucault, as blood, spittle, and delirium always did.

Afary and Anderson assign a deeper cause to Foucault’s persistent misreading of the Khomeini revolution: His deep disdain for women...Indeed, as Afary and Anderson point out, at the moment of his deepest engagement with the Iranian revolution, Foucault was at work upon the books he regarded as his masterwork, his History of Sexuality – a history that treats the emancipation of women in the later Graeco-Roman period as a catastrophe that put an end to the happy classical period when reproductive sex was regarded as an unpleasant duty, with pleasure to be sought between men and boys.

The Judaeo-Christian attempt to separate sex from cruelty was the poisoned apple in his Garden of Eden. He recognized that the Graeco-Roman world had departed forever. But some part of him seems to have hoped that the Islamic revolution might offer a return.

It's only true outsiders that can see the truth, isn't it?

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