Wednesday, December 11, 2013
A Thought on Sade, after reading Justine and Philosophy in the Bedroom
Like many thinkers who mistakenly think themselves 'radical,' the Marquis de Sade possesses a worldview stalled in the first moment of a deconstructive dialectic. He is stuck in the rut of moral inversion, revaluing evil as good and then moving on to revalue evil as good in another anecdote. This is his only trick, and like a mentally-challenged magician he performs it again and again and again... Sade simply inverts the traditional good/evil moral binary and then prematurely arrests the dialectic at this point, failing to appreciate the instability of the inversion and further failing to conclude that both the binary and its inversion depend upon and perpetuate an ideology that they serve to conceal, patriarchy. (In this way, Sade is very much like a fatuous academic feminist trapped in an intellectually moronic "women good, men bad" worldview. Lest you think this is a caricature, I can assure you that I have known more than one academic feminist who actually thinks this way.) Sade's texts can be easily deconstructed, but they fail to deconstruct themselves (in the way, for a contrasting example, that Paul de Man argued Rousseau's texts deconstruct themselves, obviating the need for Derrida). The Undivine Marquis's thought, in short, is facile and immature, his prose is mediocre, his artistry deficient. Finally, I can read him only as a silly satirist with a nastily misogynistic streak.