“Language is made not to be believed…”

…but to be obeyed.” Whenever I find myself at a loss for words, one of my favourite French philosophers turns up with just the right ones. Allow me to share a couple of my favourite quotes. First, Deleuze & Guattari continue:

We see this in police or government announcements, which often have little plausbibiliy or truthfulness, but say very clearly what should be observed and retained. The indifference to any kind of credibility exhibited by these announcements often verges on provocation. This is proof that the issue lies elsewehere. [A Thousand Plateaus]

And then there’s Michel Foucault on what he described as “the grotesque” or “the Ubu-esque”:

the fact that, by virtue of their status, a discourse or an individual can have effects of power that their intrinsic qualities should disqualify them from having. […] Political power, at least in some societies, and anyway in our society, can give itself, and has actually given itself, the possibility of conveying its effects and, even more, of finding their source, in a place that is manifestly, explicitly, and readily discredited as odious, despicable, or ridiculous.[“Abnormal”]

Wow. Would Foucault make a great guest on the Daily Show right now, or what?

[Ok, so he’s long-winded and dead, but still…]

2 thoughts on ““Language is made not to be believed…””

  1. This is why I love Fox New’s blatant lie about M.Foley being a Democrat. It makes this all so very very clear.

    Trying to read 1000 Plateaus. Again. Its hard. I enjoy a lot of Deleuze’s latter work, & Badiou’s Deleuze Clamor of Being is one of my favorites, but 1000 Plateaus itself… well, sometimes its a bit odious climbing over each and every one of them.

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