Another thing that is interesting to notice with the idea of cloning, is that while Malkovich's mind is being occupied he is not really Malkovich but rather a visual replication but a fake him. This demonstrates that while things may appear to be the same from the outside, there can never be a true duplication.
-person who operates a puppet or puppets; spec. a person who manages or stages puppet shows. Also fig. and in fig. contexts: a person who controls or manipulates others
Craig's wife, Lottie, asks him to get a job. He takes a job working in a filing office where he stumbles upon the door to Malkovich. Craig can now take his hobby and apply it to his life; a dream he has always acted out but now gets to live. By puppeteering Malkovich, Craig is now able to live out the fantasy he always wanted. However, he involves Lottie, who becomes obsessed with puppeteering Malkovich too. Both Craig and Lottie use Malkovich to be with the woman they love, Maxine. By being in his head, each character pretends they are the representation of the person they have always wanted to be. But, as they interact through Malkovich's head, their outside selves become less defined and "real". The ability to control another person and act out their fantasies through him lead to a clearer reality. The representation becomes all-consuming, until they simply want to get rid of their self outside of Malkovich and become their "real" self inside him. Real life transforms into fakeness and the puppet Malkovich transforms into the reality Lottie and Craig have always wanted and strived for. Puppeteering, which is done by an outside force, becomes internal; it stops being pretend play and transforms into reality.
Perception is defined by the OED as "1. a. The process of becoming aware or conscious of a thing or things in general; the state of being aware; consciousness." I think this definition accuretely defines what the people who entered John Malkovich experienced. These people were conscious inside of his head (i.e. they still had their own sense of self; memories, ideas, etc.)
However, the definition gets muddy in terms of the film because the film seems to question ideas about perception by depicting one individual as being inside and controlling the actions of another individual, while still having his own sense of self. Craig demonstrates this when he begins to control Malkovich and chooses to live vicariously through him. Craig knows he is merely the puppeteer of Malkovich and he still is conscious of his own being. All this being said, the film really makes one think about his/her own consciousness. Is someone else implanting ideas and thoughts into our heads? How can we trust our perceptions?
Homosexuality as a reality completely intrudes on the world of fantasy. In doing so, it brings a shocking realization that a full turn to homosexuality would result in the end of legacy, permanance and futurity. The end of a name would destroy people’s fantasy of living on forever, and it is not logical to not want to live that fantasy; homosexuality can then be said to be a threat to the logic of thought and a abrupt destruction of fantasy.
Edelman utilizes the example of A Christmas Carol, with Scrooge and Tiny Tim to represent queer sinthomosexuality and child futurism. Edelman claims that, it is only through Scrooge's eventual evolution into Tiny Tim's "second father" and renouncing action of queerness that he promotes the "promise of futurity" and vanquishes the death drive through Tiny Tim's survival (46-47).
Regarding the death drive, Edelman claims that narcissism is the main theme of the death drive, in that it "constitutes the hallmark of the future-killing queer" without reproductive futurism through children (50).
Silas Marner is another example used by Edelman to show the pull to renounce queerness and embrace futurism through the security of children.
A final paradox Edelman brings up is that, despite homosexuality's negative label of "future-nagating sameness," it actually bears the difference that heterosexuality does not, in that heterosexuality refuses to acknowledge homosexuality as an existing difference in idea (60). This paradox applies to the idea that reproduction and sex, (which is a stand-in for heterosexuality), have become separated - not in need of eachother to exist within themselves. Therefore, futurism through reproduction does not have to be tied to a heterosexual act.
Overall, Edelman's examples illustrate a "Child + End of Queerness = Future + No Death.
Edelman takes on some seriously deep issues in Sinthomosexuality. He is in constant conversation with Lacan about the ideas and roles of fantasy, form, and the “sinthome,” which, according to Lacan, is an antiquated way of spelling “symptom” (35). Edelman seems to continually go back and forth on the possible intended meanings of the “Symbolic” and the “Imaginary” and the “Real” (35). Simply put, it seems like Edelman struggles to surmise what he thinks of reality and putting a precise name to it. He speaks of “naming” and how it will continue to survive or not (34). He says that “his name, that is, his surrogate, must take the subject’s place; it must survive, if only in fantasy, because fantasy names the only place where desiring subjects can live” (35). I find Edelman’s ideas to be extremely thought provoking but at times terribly confusing. His whole essay seems to be that of an equation. Fantasy + Desire = Survival. I found the Japanese game described on page 37 to be particularly helpful in trying to uncover Edelman’s thoughts. There is this idea of being able to disfigure something and undo something. If we are able to do these things then it does indeed exist. There is also this other thought that the water created the piece of paper’s image---it made it recognizable (37). It seems like Edelman says that the only way in which we survive is through fantasy. Yikes.
Oxford English Dictionary identifies "sheltering" as: Something that shelters, meaning "To screen from pursuit, attack, blows, etc.".
I like the way that Edelman uses this word "sheltering", letting us know that the sheltering aspect is there to set a frame-work for us to understand fantasy. That fantasy is meant to shock you a bit, however, by setting up the boundaries or "sheltering" within fantasy helps people feel connected to it. In our own lives, think of how parents attempt to "shelter" children from the real world so that they will learn the framework of a successful life so that when the eventually go out into the real world they will see what falls within the framework set up.
"jouis·sance: pleasure, sexual pleasure, orgasm"
While that sort of worked for the context, it didn't seem quite right. I moved on to Google after that, which led me to, as predicted, Wikipedia. There, I found out that the translation causes it to lose some of its connotations in English. It does mean pleasure, but Wikipedia says that it is pleasure that can be "too much to bear". As it is translated in English, it refers more to just sexual pleasure, but in French it has a more complex meaning. As the article states, "It is pleasure and pain together, a feeling of being at the edge. It can indicate a breaking of boundaries, a connection beyond the self. This can range from a mother feeling intense connection with a breast-feeding baby to meditative feelings of oneness with the universe." It goes even further into Lacan's definition, but after a few re-reads I still wasn't completely clear on its exact meaning, though what I found sufficed.
Edelman also discusses this term with homosexuality by means of cultural fantasy and how the homosexual population are often the recipients of violence.
To show the projection of violence and death, Edelman use's Dicken's character, Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. Scrooge demonstrates the idea of sinthome and "the real."
One could argue that this is a case of a cigar being, simply, a cigar. While Edelman takes special precaution to argue that Scrooge is not, in fact, bonertowns for his former business associate Jacob Marley, nor is Scrooge completely without merit as an asexual character. Edelman goes into such detail with every nuance of Scrooge's lifestyle that differs from, for example, his nephew's Fred (whose discussion of Christmas actually refers to Scrooge procreating, apparently), that his frantic display of correlations to his own theories seems almost forced. He gets to the point where he almost seems to be asking readers to consider Charles Dickens as a crusader for repressing the homosexual agenda.
The struggle that humanity faces with regard to their place in history is no small feat. Not only is it required that we surge beyond our predecessors to attain some semblance of temporary greatness, but for others, there is a great desire to ensure that the surge has some staying power within the annals of history. In the absence a great deed, there is one legacy that can be passed on, and that is the name. For heterosexual couples that are, in this sense, lucky enough to have sons, this legacy is easy to attain. For those with less conventional sexual lifestyles, this legacy becomes a challenge in it of itself. Man wants to live on, regardless of the knowledge that death is inevitable. The ability to live on, whether in name or action, is something that many seek, for some however, it is far easier than it is for others.
The author writes "...the cultural fantasy that conjures homosexuality, and with it the definitional importance of sex in our imagining of homosexuality, in intimate relation to a fatal, and even murderous jouissance" (39). The example is given of Andrew Cunanan, a serial killer of strictly gay men. Peter Jay called gay men "doomed," which they are (by society). It's a circular effect that relates back to the cultural relation of death with the end of reproduction, and therefore with homosexuals.
"Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves: will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone, and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved? "