Monday 22 September 2008

At the Other end

Nice post by Mick Hartley here, discussing a programme I haven't seen. This does not distinguish it from all the other programmes that I haven't seen, am not at this moment seeing, and will probably not be seeing in the future. There is much on television that I do not see. Most of it in fact.

Having posited whales as The Other, the programme, it seems, went on to provide analogies to great white whales in the shapes of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

'Other' discourse tends to run along these lines:

The Other is a bit like the Sublime used to be (the whale used to be Sublime once), but enjoys a higher moral status because a person who regards another as The Other is invariably prejudiced and ill-intentioned. Otherness is a kind of imperial projection or projectile. Savages are the Other. Natives are the Other. The Other is the other end of the gun. But the real Other, that is when it is at home, not being any trouble to anyone and not being The Other, is a deeply decent, highly civilised being.In fact the Other is quite clearly nobler, cleverer, wiser, more courageous, and in every way better than you are, you swine.

The above is mostly Edward Said in porridge version. Porridge in: porridge out. You're not listening!

In gender terms The Other is woman (if you are a man). This does not mean, on the other (not Other) hand, that man is an Other if you are a woman. It's the moral shtick again. Is that clear, pigface?

Let me run through it again for you. The whale is at the other end of the harpoon. Since whales are nicer than harpoonists, it follows that Osama the Bin Man and the the late and deeply lamented Saddam Hussein are big noble whale-like manifestations that have suffered and continue to suffer our imperial projections and projectiles.

There. Be glad of the education. As for me, je est un autre, so watch your step and kindly stop pointing that thing at me.

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