We read here about a range of contemporary responses to the evaporation of the father. Some rely on « neo » claims, others are entirely legally based. Sometimes it is a question of leveraging a work, which has become a sinthome, or failing that, finding support in a symptom that takes over a failing limiting function. Other, more radical responses, aim at the extraction of the paternal regime without remainder and celebrate its farewell. But wanting to leave the patriarchy in this way also means leaving the tempered space of the half-said (mi-dire). Forced or wild exits whose paradoxical consequences obey a precise logic.
Starting from Lacan’s assertion that the pre-eminence of the masculine principle, specific to the paternalistic adventure of our culture, has occulted, in its reverse, the feminine principle, Vilma Coccoz invites us to make use of this topology in order to better grasp the subversion induced by the irruptions of the feminine throughout history. She thus distinguishes various types of patriarchies according to the permeability or rejection of the feminine principle that they conceal under the masculine ideal. It is also an invitation to question the neo-feminist recycling of old struggles, such as that of the Spanish artists known as the Sinsombreros in the 1920s. Coupled with the term neo, certain claims of continuity between the feminine struggles of the past and the present are not self-evident and are sometimes impregnated with an-historicism.
To the question of what use a subject can make of a father, Maela Michel-Spiesser answers
in a most original way, by showing the function of the graphic work of two well-known comic book authors. In The Arab of the Future, Riad Sattouf finds a way to reduce the most cumbersome aspect of the father’s hyper-present voice. Not without the experience of an analysis, for it is this that allows him to say the father’s fault. Blast is the name Manu Larcenet puts on the unbridled jouissance that seizes the main character of his comic book following the death of his father. The highly unique style, in which explosive moments alternate with insertions of cuts, allows the most insidious elements of his « bipolar » subjectivity to be put aside.
Mikel Arranz explores yet another solution for dealing with paternal failure in his return to a feminist (!) little Hans. By this he means the fact that the child takes support from the feminine elements within his reach, to try to construct a paternal metaphor. Between the duplication of the maternal function and the authority taken from the grandmother, little Hans picks up where he can to make up for what the father is not able to limit. But beyond the function of phobia, the author raises the question of what allows the parlêtres of our time to signify jouissance, and by this means, negativate it. Thus, he proposes to consider certain virulent denunciations of patriarchy as driven by that which, of this jouissance, remains outside significantisation, appearing then as pure violence without limits.
George Mitropoulos declines a range of passions, after the father, by indicating the disastrous consequences when these exits from patriarchy are synonymous with exits from the half-said (mi-dire) and the unsaid (non-dit) of the sexual relation. Forced exits from the space of the half-say (mi-dire), which are declined as contemporary forms of the passage à l’acte, with one’s own body and the body of another.
Finally, Leonardo Leonardi is concerned about the omnipresence of the legal Other as a response to the evaporation of the father. Bureaucracy, the authority of the judge, the quest for a distant and impersonal master, all figures that, in an attempt to fill this void, fail to consider the power of the word. The word as an act, but also as a mode of relation to the Other that summons the subject to answer for his responsibility, other than legal.
Having said that, all you have to do is open the fan that comes with this issue.
Translation: Ana-Marija Kroker
Proofreading: Benjamin Wimmer
Picture : © Simon Vansteenwinckel