Sunday, October 10, 2010

QOTD: Donna Haraway and blasphemy as faith

(((Donna Haraway and "A Cyborg Manifesto;" cyborgs and blasphemy; religion, faith, and irony.)))

I came back to this today as part of a(n e-mail) conversation I was having about feminism and freedom (I am resisting the urge to put that word in quotation marks). There's a particularly great line about "the fathers of illegitimate offspring [like cyborgs]" being "inessential" that I remembered and wanted to grab. But in the course of doing so, I found myself once again for the first time in a long time re-reading parts of the essay. The opening is, well, lovely. It could go on a religion blog, like that other one I'm working on, but not before that blog has established a character and voice of its own that is not just this blog somewhere else. So I'll put it here for now, because (a) it fits, and (b) it's time to also revive this one and start posting again. But I do a lot with irony in my classes, and it occurs to me that they really probably should read this, as difficult as it is. Maybe not in 100 courses, but in 200 and up they should try to wrestle with it.

This chapter is an effort to build an ironic political myth faithful to feminism, socialism, and materialism. Perhaps more faithful as blasphemy is faithful, than as reverent worship and identification. Blasphemy has always seemed to require taking things very seriously. I know no better stance to adopt from within the secular-religious, evangelical traditions of United States politics, including the politics of socialist feminism. Blasphemy protects one from the moral majority within, while still insisting on the need for community. Blasphemy is not apostasy. Irony is about contradictions that do not resolve into larger wholes, even dialectically, about the tension of holding incompatible things together because both or all are necessary and true. Irony is about humour and serious play. It is also a rhetorical strategy and a political method, one I would like to see more honoured within socialist-feminism. At the centre of my ironic faith, my blasphemy, is the image of the cyborg.
It could be taken as a reading of Colbert before Congress, come to think of it . . .

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