martes, 19 de enero de 2010

Childporn @ Church

In this lecture Zizek extends his diagnosis of the supplementary unwritten content supporting an official ideology to the relationship between pedophilia and Catholic Church's ideology. Zizek proposes that it is not only a matter of individual pathology, but an integral, albeit unwritten, part of ideological seduction, such that even individuals who were not previously pedophiles would be transformed through their experience in Catholic priesthood. The analogy is thus made to his earlier example about Nazi ideology: officially it's about revolution and collective emancipation (class struggle, National identification...), but implicitly it's just an excuse to dodge the true subversion against capitalism, keeping it operative in a reactionary fashion, with the racial scapegoat of racial hatred to abuse the Jews as a virtual screen. So the conversion to spirituality would be analogous to the conversion to National Socialism in that both use their explicit message to finally indulge in their obscene desire.

But here I see quite serious problems in the argumentation advanced by Zizek. Why would the development of previously heterosexual males into pedophilia through their involvement with the Church be a matter of 'unwritten rules' and not of an involuntary and non-coveted biological change? We can indeed fathom the case of a heterosexual developing pedophilia as the result of his alienation from women; but this is still not sufficient to assign pedophilia as part of the content of Catholic ideology. Farmers develop zoophilia just like prison inmates homosexuality, not because their institutions have an obscene undertext which reads '...and you can have sex with animals" or "...and you can become a homosexual!".

The analogy with the Nazi example is in this respect badlyl grounded; since that is reasoned by acknowledging pre-existing disposition to abuse of the Jews, and its realization to consummate the seduction proper to a subject who already, albeit silently, was an anti-Semite. The case of heterosexuals turning into pedophiles being analogous would presuppose a similar pre-existing disposition to engage in acts of pedophilia, rendering the argument incoherent since we presupposed heterosexuals were converted into pedophilia by the seduction of Catholic discourse. It would be absurd to contemplate a genuinely heterosexual individual freely aspiring to convert to pedophilia, consciously or unconsciously, unless he was already pedophile. The same absurdity would apply to jail inmates or farmers. Zizek must rather presuppose that even in the cases where it was reported that 'normal heterosexuals' had been seduced into pedophilia this was the result of an unspoken (perhaps frustrated) pre-existing disposition to engage in acts of pedophilia.

But this doesn't quite work to fulfill Zizek's pretences either, since then it is really only a matter of those individuals involved, entering the institution for those purposes, and not of the tacit content of the institution seducing one into doing it. So, we either have an involuntary development without predisposition (not even tacit), or the contingent disposition of individuals and not of the obscene undertext of Catholic ideology. Either way, Zizek's attempt to extend the argument of the obscene Real supplementing the official symbolic discourse is seen to supervene ultimately on a prior disposition, which returns plausibility to the standard diagnosis of these being cases concerning individuals and not some general content of the institution or its ideological spooks. Now, it is very much possible that cases with pre-existing dispositions towards pedophilia may have been unconscious or consciously present in an individual; in quite different forms too.

For example, an individual may not want to accept to himself that he is a pedophile, but ultimately may use spiritual conversion as an excuse to engage in acts of pedophilia. Imagine an individual being horrified at the prospect of engaging in such acts but nonetheless infested by the desire to do it. This person may ultimately project explicitly the shift to priesthood to himself as a genuine act of spirituality, in order to provide a virtual screen to render bearable the implicit approach to a space to satisfy his pedophilic acts. In this succession, the symbolic texture of the explicit goal of the message ('I do this to obtain spiritual realization') is indeed supplemented by a Real undertext which is the drive's true aim ('I can have fun with kids'). But even in such a case, we are still far from Zizek's projected generalization. The individual in question would be effectively seduced by the Catholic institution as an opportunity to engage in acts of pedophilia, but it couldn't be said that the institution as such seduces one into pedophilia as part of its unwritten text, since this additional content is necessarily supplied by the pre-existing disposition of the individual who seeks satisfaction.