Saturday, March 26, 2011


Conservative nationalism as an end in itself often seems a supplanting of concern with the body, as literally the most original and earliest felt habitation, the most original partisan divide. The body in political discourse is brought up in matters of health, life expectancy, mortality rates, population, FDA and other food-authority issues (of trust, violation, standards), all seemingly celebrating it only as a vehicle of ego, which is to say of the American experience, and a weapon, by design, against threat. Bodily health will better allow you to conform to other standards of living that will be rewarding for reasons beyond the body (of which there are actually, of course, none), and which will benefit the nation, which is your newer, nobler, more real body.

A man is not a city, but the body is. It is a resonant chamber of activity we have access to in a way image cannot (as it can with the myth of a city) exactly satisfy. We might think the idea of The Body is inseparable from an ontology of "health", the strategy and ethics of survival. I don't think so. The body is whatever happens to it, comes out, goes in. It's as much the ailment as the cure, neither's gotten out of. Vacations from the body, like vacations generally, are illusory. We shape the body only so much before damaging, and the shape in mind is anything, part of what the body has produced for itself. The body is a system but also a model that, unlike a city plan preserved within whatever city, moves about within, constitutes the political system it models for. If America is a model democracy, it is not through action within the systems being modeled for, but in America the body is this. It is not a reference.

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