Posted by: okathleen | November 19, 2008

Don’t be a Victim of your Crisis

An afternoon to be logged as virgin territory. A lecture in the faculty delivered by…. a guest! And a very engaging guest he was too. If you had asked me to have a stab at his name before it was revealed, I might have plumped for Graham, with Geoff in the running.

Geoff it was. Geoff Lancaster. A sand coloured suit, a la Martin Bell, and shiny orange striped tie. Eli would covet the tie. He came, he saw and he delivered an interesting talk about damage control and crisis management.

At the end the floor was open for questions. One lady with a shiny black bob asked MY question. How very dare she. How were the sales figures affected by the negative publicity generated following the Panorama episode? Geoff wasn’t sure. I found this rather difficult to swallow. He had been absolutely sure about everything else. I raised my hand to ask my alternative question.

‘Is your tie from Primark?’

Geoff looked at me, past me, and nodded to a chap with black rimmed spectacles. My question was never aired. Which was good, because I probably would have bottled it. Anyhow my superego wouldn’t have allowed it. The badness in me coming out, simmering, but never allowed to seep into the atmosphere by the controlling patrolman – superego.

I’m shattered. Up all night trying to get a handle on Lacan. The lack of Lacan. I got as far as the globular remains of the Aristophanes tale, and read a seminar about jouissance. Jesus Mercy, Mary Help. Sister Magdalen (my old headteacher) wouldn’t like this at all. Ironically, Lacan talks about Saint Theresa (see earlier blog – St Theresa, patron saint of headaches), as depicted in the statue below:


According to Lacan – “You need but go to Rome and see the statue by [Gianlorenzo] Bernini [the Ecstasy of St. Teresa] to immediately understand that she’s coming. There’s no doubt about it” (1998, pp. 73, 76).

St Theresa herself said:

“Beside me on the left appeared an angel in bodily form . . . He was not tall but short, and very beautiful; and his face was so aflame that he appeared to be one of the highest ranks of angels, who seem to be all on fire . . . In his hands I saw a great golden spear, and at the iron tip there appeared to be a point of fire. This he plunged into my heart several times so that it penetrated my entrails. When he pulled it out I felt that he took them with it, and left me utterly consumed by the great love of God. The pain was so severe that it made me utter several moans. The sweetness caused by this intense pain is so extreme that one can not possibly wish it to cease, nor is one’s soul content with anything but God. This is not a physical but a spiritual pain, though the body has some share in it — even a considerable share.”

Well, no wonder she had such awful headaches. And no wonder this wasn’t on our religious studies agenda at the Convent. I’m not sure the pleasure principle was on the curriculum. Although one or two of the madams of the religious order seemed to be driven by the pleasure in pain theory.

I am puzzled to what value this theme has currently in a zeitgeist of instant gratification. There is no lack. No suppression, no conscience. Anything goes. Lager is 22p a can, and knickers in Primark are 50p a pack. That’s if any of the St Theresas out there are wearing any.

Order the following:

Arguing about Art – Neill and Ridley, Routledge Companion to Aesthetics-2nd Ed, The Historicity of the Eye v The Pigeon within us All – Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Visual Studies, a Skeptical Intro – James Elkins, Visual Culture-Richard Howells, Study of Visual Culture-Margaret Mead, Looking into Pictures-Robert Schwartz, Perception-Barry Maund, Visual Cognition-Pinker, Thinking and writing about Philosophy-Bedau, The Art Therapies-Phil Jones,

And one for the psychos – Psychoanalysis and the Image-Griselda Pollock, found at


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