September 06, 2005

Reading Notes

Paragraph by paragraph summary of the editor's note explaining the cover of the new issue of Fence magazine.

1) I am a feminist; I am using tits to sell stuff.

2) Fence Volume 6, number 2, Fall/Winter 2003 was a good issue.

3) It didn't sell...

4) ...because the cover art was too artsy.

5) Tits are a very successful strategy for selling stuff. They succeed in signifying abstract satisfactions. Our naked model may breastfeed some day.

6) Tits are in fact only about breastfeeding (which I am doing). My baby has an unconflicted relation to this. Why not give people what they want?

7) Yeay for the tits on the cover!

One notes that the crucial logical pivot (and I invoke logic as the note is entirely in the rhetoric of reasoned argument) happens within graf 5, wherein the empirical fact that tits are used, successfully it would seem, to sell commodities somehow leads both to the idea that tits stand in for good desires which deserve to be satisfied and that, somehow (this is the perplexing part) tits thus should be used to sell things. That these desires are not in fact satisfied by buying the things sold with tits goes elided.

The deeper presumption is that marketing a purely pragmatic category, no matter how much it appeals rhetorically to psychoanalytic or anthropological concepts can be measured regarding abstract categories such as aesthetics or ethics. This is absurd on the face of it. However, it is perhaps the nature of the measure that's more troubling than its futile application. The formula for measurement is: if it's economically successful, it's good. While I certainly recognize that claim, it is not a defense of the wonders of the female breast; it's the market formulation of the idea "might makes right."

Posted by jane at September 6, 2005 08:14 AM | TrackBack