On the Alleged Dearth of Materials to Study the Issue. By Alberto Moreiras.

The last thing I want is to sound supercilious, and yet I have to say something.  Addressed, of course, against no one.  I  once told a friend of mine he seemed to be smoking too much marihuana on a daily basis, and that he should cool it down a bit.  He replied to me that yes, he regretted so much smoking, but only because it was smoking, not because it was marihuana.  Since I was a fairly heavy tobacco smoker at the time, the point hit home, and I never raised the issue again.  In terms of infrapolitics, the complaint is usually the opposite: we are told we never publish enough on it, thus leaving people who want to figure it out deprived and anxious.  This is very nice of them.  Yes, of course, we are not publishing enough, and we should publish a lot more.  But let us put things in perspective.  We always thought and said it was going to take about ten years for the infrapolitical project to reach some kind of tipping point or point of saturation, and we have only been at it two years.  So I think we are on the right track, even if people do complain rightly.  I remember going to a Hispanic Studies conference in the summer of 1987, there was a mysterious panel on deconstruction (mysterious because it was so out of character in a provincial Hispanic Studies conference–even though, after all, it was already 1987, and deconstruction had been kicking around the States for about, what, fifteen years or so).  But those professors, bless their souls, proceeded to read papers where they declared Bugs Bunny to be a paradigm of deconstruction among other things: “Bugs Bunny IS deconstruction.”  (That was the funniest, not the phoniest)  So, they could have said, if contested, that there was not enough clear writing on deconstruction for them to have been able to figure it out rightly, so they made do.  But it would not have worked, not really.   In other words, what I am trying to say is that the demand for more clarity, more precision, more dissemination, more encyclopedia articles, more definitions, and more examples is all well and good, but it is also an infinite demand whose tendential fulfillment will never satisfy anyone–by the time there were enough materials on deconstruction, deconstruction was deemed worthy of the dustbin of history.  It is now kind of back, but that is something else entirely.  My point:  at this time there are about a thousand pages worth of talk on infrapolitics in this blog alone.  We have published two special issues, and I count about twenty published essays on it, I think.  And of course we have been discussing the issues at many professional venues–from MLA and LASA to ACLA, to mention only the more visible ones.  I think that is enough to prompt an idea of what it is we are up to, for better or for worse.  But it does require work, as all good things do except perhaps taking a nap.  I do not, however, want to sound sarcastic at all: yes, we take the point, a lot more needs to be done, we have been lazy!!  And yet one wonders whether, within the present coordinates in the field, where people become thoroughly acculturated to just a handful of themes to which they call Latinamericanism (say, culture, identity, subalternity, politics: you mix those things up in some way, and you develop a perfectly proper professional position), there is an ear to hear what infrapolitics has to say.  My own answer is: probably not.  I regret this.  Perhaps the problem is not that people cannot see the forest for the trees.  The real problem is that we have educated our students to believe that all trees are nice pine trees.  But there are other trees out there, some of them beautiful, with obscure shapes that you will only recognize if you develop the sight for them.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s