Friday, December 15, 2006

K-Punk and Sinthome: On Blogging Identities

(Something I have been thinking about)

K-Punk and I
by K-Punk

It doesn't strike me that, in this respect, blogging is different from any other type of published writing. As Borges established in his masterly micro-vignette on the irreducibly gothic character of writing, 'Borges and I', even if one writes in one's own name, writing itself produces a semblable, a doppelganger which both is and is not oneself. (This is quite different from what Steve describes: the deliberate assumption of a wholly invented persona in MOOs, etc.)

Perhaps writing - or more specifically, writing about oneself - only reveals the inherently split nature of the subject: the 'the other one, the one called Borges ... the one things happen to' in 'Borges and I' is the subject of the statement, the Borges who observes that 'I do not know which of us has written this page' is the subject of the enunciation. Any use of the pronoun 'I' will always exposes this split, this spaltung.

I make no special effort to conceal my surname online; the reason I do not use it is more because I dislike, even loathe it, than because I want to keep it a secret. I loathe my name because it is mine and also because it is not mine; it is at once too intimate and seems to have no connection with me. Perhaps because the name is quite common, it never seems to fit me, or fit me alone. Nevertheless, when I see the name, I always feel a peculiar sense of shame.

(I'm reminded here of the Tom Ripley of The Talented Mr Ripley. If 'Tom hated being Tom', it's in part because he has to use his own name again. Yet one of the surprises of the later Ripley novels is that Tom does not end up using another name, even it would be a straightforward task for a master forger and mimic like him to permanently assume someone else's identity. Tom makes a name for himself; but more significantly, he makes a - new, sophisticated, stylish, charming - self for his name.)

The pseudonym facilitates the escape from biography. I never chose the name 'Mark k-punk'; I started being called it for obvious reasons (the name of the site, plus the fact that I post here only under the name 'Mark'), but I embrace it and now use it because it seems more like my True Name than the name on my birth certificate ever will. It suggests a performance, but not one that is false. Someone wrote to me recently saying that they had seen a film and immediately asked themselves 'what would k-punk think?' Of course, I ask myself such questions.

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What's In a Name
by Sinthome
Larval Subjects

It seems to me that this reminder of the split status of the subject is crucial for discussions of virtual engagements. The standard story has it that the net allows us to playfully create our own identity however we like, without the usual constraints that attend our day to day subjectivity. However, this sort of split is already constitutive of subjectivity as such: I am perpetually split between my imaginary imago that functions as an ideal ego for an ego ideal (a particular gaze from which we see ourselves as lovable) and my unconscious desire. Indeed, Lacan describes the imago structuring the ego as not only a semblable, but as a frozen statue constitutive of frustration itself, as I am never able to coincide with this ideal image of what I'd like to be. Between the lived body that farts and belches and moves in a less than graceful way and the body-image constitutive of the ego, there is always a disadequation or gap such that the imaginary is itself split or fissured, generating frustration and a perpetual remainder. Are not our net personae precisely such statues?

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