woensdag 24 november 2021

the intellectual as a parasite


original image

“the journalistic policy of the new paper…be that of advocate and special pleader of the poor classes as against the whole plutocratic and aristocratic combinations, political, economic, and social.” (Spokane press 1909 spokane press)

The parasitic in the 1909 cartoon in the Spokane Press (by Johnny Gruelle?) is represented by the smooth talking intellectual who is an uninvited guest cheating himself into a seat at the table of the privileged, while the poor and the working class are the victimized guests, positioned behind  the table to fight for the leftovers.

Is the parasite taking a position at the expense of the excluded? Will its removal open up the table for all? What responsibilities come with this parasitic position? What choices does such a position offer? Does it require a special kind of ethical code?

In the Dutch cultural system, where only a very limited number of artists are able to live of their work, many full-time artists, if not already positioned with the mistreated guests behind the table, will inevitably find themselves in one or other parasitic position at the table.

Part of this parasite project entails thinking about what it would mean to state that the responsibility of the parasite at the table, in regard to its cultural heritage, is not to impose as a master, but instead to be transparent about its parasitism while maintaining its position at the table.

What parasitic strategies are used, and what are the affective constellations necessary to deal with the cognitive dissonance that comes with maintaining this position whilst having knowledge about the injustice. (without cognitive dissonance this position, that cannot be blind to the proces of exclusion (by the very nature of its para/inbetweenness), would also be a sociopathic position)

The ambiguity of a transparent parasitic position at the table would bring with it a necessity for an active and ongoing questioning and shaping of a parasite ethics. As well as a continuous effort to weaken the paranoia associated with the parasitic, so neither master nor guests fall into the trap of thinking that -instead of identifying with the parasite- the permanent removal of parasites will bring some kind of final resolution.