Friday, July 23, 2010

Kierkegaard's twisted mind

This book has been added to my bibliographies on humor and philosophy and philosophical style:

Watson, Richard A. The Philosopher's Joke: Essays in Form and Content. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1990. (Frontiers of Philosophy)

For content irrespective of humor, the most important essay is "The Seducer and the Seduced," about Kierkegaard. Original publication: The Georgia Review, 39 (1985): 353-366.

Neither the Bible nor Kierkegaard comes off well in this philosophical exercise. Expulsion from the Garden of Eve, Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac, the tribulations of Job, Christ's despair on the cross--from all this Watson's daughter scornfully infers God's unfairness. Kierkegaard, too smart in spite of his rebuffs to reason, is haunted by victimage perpetrated by the Fuckwit Creator of the Universe. Watson retells the saga of Kierkegaard's "Diary of the Seducer" in Either/Or, which Watson characterizes as "one of the greatest masturbation fantasies in Western literature." The friction between the aesthetic and the ethical is never allowed to climax, however. In real life, Kierkegaard breaks his engagement to Regine Olsen and flees to Berlin for a whirlwind of creative writing activity. To Kierkegaard, God demands an exclusive relationship and women only get in the way.  There is also a vulgar disdain for sex and for its uncontrolled nature, with precedents in Christian theology. God is also a Fuckwit with man's sex drive. And women are only carnal, nothing spiritual about them. Mary and Jesus are sanctified as virgins. Did Kierkegaard secretly crave to be raped by God? Can God say in his defense: "Yeah, he wanted it!" -- ?

Any account of Kierkegaard shows him to be a hateful sadomasochistic prick at heart and his religion cynical and nasty.

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