Intolerable Cruelty

Review of Uncanny X-Men #502 by Gilles Deleuze, citations taken from Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty & Venus in Furs.

Auteur: Matt Fraction
Artiste: Greg Land

Masochism is a story that relates how the superego was destroyed and by whom, and what was the sequel to this destruction.
The first is the hetaeric or Aphroditic era, born in the lustful chaos of primeval swamps: woman’s relations with man were many and fickle, the feminine principle was dominant and the father was “Nobody.” The second, or Demetrian era, dawned among the Amazons and established a strict gynocratic and agricultural order; the swamps were drained; the father or husband now acquired a certain status but he still remained under the domination of the woman. Finally the patriarchal or Apollinian system established itself, matriarchy surviving in degenerate Amazonian or even Dionysian forms.

How does the Greek ideal become transformed in the masochistic ideal? … Obviously through the catastrophe of the glacial epoch, which accounts for both the repression of sensuality and the triumphant rise of severity.
“Venus must hide herself in a vast fur lest she catch cold in our abstract northern clime, in the icy realm of Christianity.” Everything is suggestive of coldness: marble body, women of stone, Venus of Ice are favorite expressions of Masoch; his characters often serve their amorous apprenticeship with a cold statue, by the light of the moon.

The catastrophe of the Ice Age having engulfed the world of the Greeks and with it the type of the Grecian woman, both sexes found themselves impoverished. Man became coarse and sought a new dignity in the development of consciousness and thought; as a reaction to man’s heightened consciousness woman developed sentimentality, and toward his coarseness, severity. The glacial cold was wholly responsible for the transformation: sentimentality became the object of man’s thought, and cruelty the punishment for his coarseness. In the coldhearted alliance between man and woman, it is this cruelty and sentimentality in woman that compel man to thought and properly constitute the masochistic ideal.
The masochism of the sadistic hero makes its appearance at the outcome of his sadistic exercises; it is their climax, the crowning sanction of their glorious infamy. The libertine is not afraid of being treated in the way he treats others. The pain he suffers is an ultimate pleasure, not because it satisfies a need to expiate or a feeling of guilt, but because it confirms him in his inalienable power and gives him a supreme certitude. Through insults and humiliations, in the throes of pain, the libertine is not expiating, but in Sade’s words, “he rejoices in his inner heart that he has gone far enough to deserve such treatment.”
He ensures that he will be beaten; we have seen that what is beaten, humiliated and ridiculed in him is the image and the likeness of the father, and the possibility of the father’s aggressive return. It is not a child but a father that is being beaten.
Nature herself is cold, maternal and severe. The trinity of the masochistic dream is summed up in these words: cold – maternal – severe, icy – sentimental – cruel. These qualities point to the difference between the woman torturer and her “counterparts,” the hetaera and the sadist; their sensuality is replaced by her supersensuous sentimentality, their warmth and their fire by her icy coldness, their confusion by her rigorous order.

The torturess escapes from her own masochism by assuming the active role in the masochistic situation. It is a mistake to think that she is sadistic or even pretending to be so. We must not imagine that it is a matter of the masochist encountering a sadist by a stroke of luck. Each subject in the perversion only needs the “element” of the same perversion and not a subject of the other perversion.
Waiting and suspense are essential characteristics of the masochistic experience. The masochist is morose: but his moroseness should be related to the experience of waiting and delay. Formally speaking, masochism is a state of waiting; the masochist experiences waiting in its pure form.

2 Responses to “Intolerable Cruelty”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Wow you are a fucking idiot .. this is the worst shite ever created and no amount of pseudo- intelligent ranting can cover that up.

  2. darknessatnoon Says:

    Dear Maggot from Tulsa Oklahoma,I considered this issue an abomination, you worm. However, Deleuze’s insights have some bearing. He’s hardly a pseudo-intellectual. Go back to your World of Warcraft and your trading card collectibles and never visit this blog again.

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