After the Orgy: Toward a Politics of Exhaustion by Dominic Pettman

By Dominic Pettman

Employing Jean Baudrillard’s query ’What are you doing after the orgy?’ to the postmillennial weather that informs our modern cultural second, this booklet argues that the mind's eye of apocalyptic endings has been an obsessive topic in post-Enlightenment tradition. Dominic Pettman identifies and examines the dynamic tensions of varied apocalyptic discourses, from the fin-de-siècle decadents of the Nineties to the fin-de-millènnium cyberpunks of the Nineteen Nineties, as a way to spotlight the complicated constellation of exhaustion, anticipation, panic, and ecstasy in modern tradition. via analyses of rapturous cults, cyberpunk literature, post-apocalyptic cinema, techno-paganism, demise model, and the Y2K prophecy, After the Orgy explores why the 20 th century swung so violently among the poles of anticipation and anticlimax. within the method, the booklet increases urgent questions in regards to the relevance of such rules in our new millennium and issues out choices to the monotonous horror of conventional narratives.

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19: 2) The sexual subject matter here makes explicit the usually obscured erotic subtext of eschatological fables. The word apocalypse derives from the Greek apokalupsis and apo-calyptein, meaning to “uncover,” “unveil,” or “reveal”: hence Revelation. In this sense the breaking of the Seven Seals anticipates a hymeneutic dance of the Seven Veils, choreographed around the deferred promise of disclosure. In his essay on “An Apocalyptic Tone Recently Adopted in Philosophy,” Derrida teases out the libidinous logic of Armageddon: “Apokalupto, I disclose, I uncover, I unveil, I reveal the thing that can be a part of the body, the head or the eyes, a secret part, the sex or whatever might be hidden .

After the Orgy 13 the Beaubourg Centre [aka, the Pompidou Center in Paris] showing the countdown in millions of seconds is the perfect symbol. It illustrates the reversal of the whole of our modernity’s relation to time. Time is no longer counted progressively, by addition, starting from an origin, but by subtraction, starting from the end. This is what happens with rocket launches or time bombs. (1997) As Paglia has implied, the orgasmic model of history enjoys a profound hold over the Western imagination.

The Rapture of Rupture 39 On the face of it, transgression and transcendence are diametrically opposed. For if the transgressive engages actively with the physical world (through symbolic inversion), the transcendent is comparatively passive in relating to the physical world only through symbolic aversion. Quintessential examples would contrast Sade’s libertine in blood-drenched ecstasy with the evangelist’s rapturous believer ascending to heaven. Both, however, are ecstatic moments, incorporating a sense of vertigo experienced as psychic hemorrhage.

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