Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Larry Rickels, Day 1

Larry Rickels taught a course entitled SCHAUER SCENES IN PSYCHOANALYSIS AND FILM. This course explored the genealogy of the "psycho" (and Psycho effect) in mediatic-analytic sessions.

The dominance of slasher/splatter films in the '80s is perhaps more indicative of trauma and therapeutic engagement with "The Shower Scene" but this Psycho effect is over.
  • there can be the interminability of both therapy and film; the late '80s seemed to be the end of the Psycho effect.
  • Benjamin's "surgical intervention" can be seen at Universal Studios where the shower scene is endlessly repeated such that the effect of that scene has been attenuated
  • this has led to a mass preparedness in anticipation of the disaster with its incumbent energy
Perhaps the most horrible moment in the genre is the underrepresented: we turn to the hitchhiker in Texas Chainsaw Massacre and we see nothing in that face.

Situating the Psycho
  1. within the horror genre
  2. within psychotherapy
With vampirism one encounters melancholic yearning, holding on to the dead, including unmournable deaths and being cut-off by the Oedipal

The Devil - the pre-Oedipal father or primitive Father - primarily this is a select-client relationship with the Devil. What does the client get from the Devil? They get the Father, but one becomes the child of an adopted, choice-marked Father.
  • We can see the Devil-father as an absolute authority, not triangulating with the mother and the root of sexual difference
  • The Devil is the only occult figure that doesn't grant immortal life (unlike the Vampire)
  • This is because he celebrates finitude, it presupposes that it will be uninhibited - not stuck on this existence or attached.
  • So the Client must substitute without stopping
  • The Client gets quality time with the knowledge of a certain deadline in future
Freddy Krueger, a demonic figure, comes about at the rise of DNA testing, where it was first utilized in paternity suits; it's key moment at that time was when it was utilized in a British court case to establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that the father had abused his daughter.
  • (The first use of DNA in this manner was proposed by Alec Jeffreys; Rickels has the story wrong: the first use of this technique was a paternity case, but there was no rape.)
The Psychopath is a completely tendentious term
  • everywhere we have a sense that the "psycho" is untreatable
  • the psychopath represents a failure of a whole tradition of interpretation that culminates in psychoanalysis
D.W. Winnicott has a reputation as being "psychoanalysis lite": being too agreeable
  • He has reconstructed the psyche based on a belief that the "psycho" state is easily possible
  • Early on he wouldn't treat adolescents, turning them over to incarceration, but he had a turning point wherein he noticed in antisocial children's behaviors a gesture for hope
  • We shouldn't dismiss these bad behaviors as only that, but these are attempts made by the children to communicate a point:
  • a signal of hope that illuminates the lost environment
What we have surrendered to the "psychopath" is precisely what the psychopath is looking for: ego-management, and this is cause for hope.

Quick etymology
  • Hope - indoeuropean, has roots in hunting language; refers to startled hesitation where one rethinks the next move; the word in German hunting language (Jägerspache) refers to this hesitation
  • Schauer - German; Horror, associated with the powerful storms from the North Sea
The horror genre has always this environment of survival, the best way to survive is to kill.
  • The survivor is part of the psychopathic environment
  • with each survivor, the scope of hope grows more and more
Delinquency as a Sign of Hope (Winnicott): to catch them as early as possible; the senselessness of the antisocial behaveior, pre-Winnicottian-intervention
  • There is a break in good parenting, leading to confusion. Sometimes the parent will spoil the child (not always useful)
  • from this antisocial behavior may appear and from this we can hope because the child is trying to find a way to reconcile
  • Winnicott privileges the psychotic because the psychotic has protected his authentic self; given this, therapy can be used to recover
Because we're all doomed, good enough mothering always falls short, we're all antisocial and potentially psychopathic. His group therapy sessions mean that we can have these revisitings and we can work through it together.

Psycho, A. Hitchcock.
  • There is something accusatory about the swooping camera in the beginning of the film.
  • That this scene is in such a heavy-named town (Phoenix), we can easily imagine a slashed town where violence is hard to contain.
  • She is the image of the mother turned around, to whom you show disrespect, "You make respectability sound disrespectful."
  • The "Shower Scene" itself: the violence of having been eradicated so completely and quickly.

Does film mummify its subject? The stuffed birds in the parlor
  • there is something about the film medium that destroys its subject in order to preserve it

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