Americans, still one more Effort...
Josefina Ayerza

Fall, 1990

Author's Bio

Jacques-Alain Miller, the closing speaker at the 1989 meeting of the Paris-New York Psychoanalytic Workshop, stood and asked for still one more effort. Presumably we were tired and he was tired as well, and he said, "Let us say like Sade, still one more effort."
The title of Sade's book is Frenchmen! yet one more effort to be revolutionaries, and his title was not without consequences when "a few years later France gave itself to Napoleon Bonaparte and Napoleon Bonaparte threw Sade into prison."
Paraphrasing, denying suitability to his own words, Miller added, "I shall not say, Americans still one more effort to be Lacanians, because it was not a success. No! God forbid!"
I shall not say? How does saying not say? Can a voice be that silent? Americans, though not Lacanians, were nevertheless represented on the scene. There had even been a prophecy: "I was advised last night, when Lacan will triumph in America it, will be an Americanized Lacan already pre-packaged for supermarkets."
Early disqualification was not the case, nor its tremulous resolution.
...So I shall not say still one more effort to be Lacanian... I'll just say Americans still one more effort before going home — as a matter of fact, that could be the question — going home: Is sexual enjoyment located at home or not? Perhaps the negative of our question on Gender and Perversion.

The pervert in need of the Other to exist, stands in opposition to the obsessional neurotic who needs nobody. The obsessional neurotic, says Miller, thus finds great difficulty in opening up and spends a lot of time talking to himself. In contradistinction to intersubjectivity, this behavior Miller sees as intra-subjective,

...to exhibit one's genitals to the mirror has no interest. The obsessional neurotic eventually opens the door to show his genitals to the dead father... It is opening the door to just nobody, because the dead father doesn't materialize as he does in Hamlet.

However, the exhibitionist needs the Other:

To show one's genitals in front of women and try to produce shame in the Other, I would say the shame for not being the same... the exhibitionist tries to make women exist... woman does not exist for the exhibitionist.

Women seem to appreciate exhibitionists:

...Voyeurism is voyeurism, it is trying to see the woman as devoted to the jouissance of her own body and realizing that even in solitude she is looked at by another. 
Lacan's structure of exhibitionism, on voyeurism:

Exhibitionism is to make appear in the Other the gaze... he shows the organ, but to make sure the erection is on this side, on the side of the female gaze, and generally the true erection is on this side.

The voyeur, said Miller, brings in the gaze itself to obstruct the hole in the Other — he brings in the gaze to make the Other whole; the voyeur needs to make the Other exist to be an instrument of his jouissance. Sublimation which presupposes a non existent object, therefore opening the way to the creation of something, seemed a plausible salvation for perversion.
Woman as Other... is this a sudden drop? But she is central to perversion "not only the Other to the man, she is Other as such. And because she is Otherness ... what is normal is always only non-male..."
To conclude,...the pervert makes himself be objet petit a... We have to distinguish the analyst as objet petit a, from the pervert as objet petit a.



* Paris-New York Psychoanalytic Workshop, April 2, 1989. back to top

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