Saturday, January 17, 2015

American Sniper- Anal ontology

I saw American Sniper last night. I think it's primary importance was ideological and re-writing the Iraq war as having a direct link to Al-Qaeda, but that doesn't interest me here. Rather, it's psychoanalytic importance is in a subject egoist's encounter with 'the butcher'.

The protagonist is the best sniper with the most kills and this locates him at the anal level of Being. Although, his main focus seems to be fighting against his double, Mustafa, a Syrian sniper who also has a family and is a crack shot, behind Mustafa is 'the butcher'. The butcher dismembers his enemies and is shown using a drill on a child's limbs. In the evacuated cities the butcher is the law and keeps the locals in fear. He doesn't have a position at the top of social hierarchy as a president or someone with official political or legal power, but represents a greater power behind this.

This is similar to Gangs of New York where there is a gangster, 'the butcher,' who similarly has such unofficial power and owns the police there.


In Game of Thrones, the structural equivalent is Tywin Lannister who is the true power behind the throne. When he is first introduced in season 1 he is butchering a deer.

I don't think it's coincidence that he loses his life while in the privy (on the toilet) and that he's killed by his son who is a dwarf which emphasizes him being much taller/greater.

I've discussed the importance of beheading as a form of death that is prominent in the anal electra complex. In the parallel oedipus complex at the anal stage dismemberment from 'the butcher' seems to be the corresponding type of death.

Additionally, at the anal electra complex I've mentioned female patients who only date black men (or the racial other that exists in their culture). These patients represent the men of the racial other as superlatively desiring them. Baines in The Piano is 'half-native' with his tribal facial tattoos and occupies this structure for Ada. In American Sniper the word 'savage' is used many times to talk about the Al-Qaeda butcher and the men who follow him. The same ontological, racial other is in evidence here.

Additionally, I've also indicated that in The Piano and in several patients there seems to be a displacement downward from above: the interest in beheading becomes an interest in the feet. Several OE patients have had a strong interest in shoes, finding feet disgusting, or have an interest in keeping their shoes as clean and shiny as possible. It seems that a similar logic may apply to the impulse of dismemberment. Instead of the loss of limbs there is a compensatory valorization of the torso:

The pic in the middle is from searching okcupid shirtless. I've head often about the cliche of men posting pictures of themselves without their shirts. Although one can take it as a being part of the OE libidinal position, I think this is wrong. Often subject egoist's try to impress women with 'mansplaining' or trying to show off their potency. This isn't the same as causing desire but rather assuming that to show that they are the best or most potent will see them win the woman as a trophy- causing desire is different. When Baines shows himself naked to Ada in The Piano he doesn't have a superlative body and neither are there other moments in the film in which he tries to establish his potency. A single act alone is hard to interpret but if you study the person's behavior over time in several types of relations (i.e. with peers, with superiors, romantically, etc.) then it's much easier to get a sense for it.

I've also pointed out several times before that erotogenic zones are shared in the masculine and feminine. Oedipus and bellerophon both involve the lion and blindness, electra and antigone both involved a representation of the self as brother and an attack on the parental couple. The classic active-passive distinction regarding id drives is at work here.

The dismemberment id drive is also found in Dionysus who I've linked to object altruism and together with subject egoism is 'the masculine' in the drives.

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