Election Knight Rises - Stephen Colbert's Election Night Spe

Election Knight Rises - Stephen Colbert's Election Night Spe

Postby admin » Sun Nov 08, 2020 3:51 am

Election Knight Rises - Stephen Colbert's Election Night Special
November 6, 2020

[Joe Biden] Democracy Don't Die That Easy, Jack.

What are the possible implications for gender in a modular system in which the self can be substituted temporarily by a subjectivity of another gender? Some of these gender implications of Afro-Diasporic transcorporeality are evident in René Depestre’s novel Hadriana dans tous me rêves. In this, Hadriana—a white French woman living in Haiti— is turned into a zombi on her wedding day and becomes the leader of a Vodou community. Martin Munro sees in Hadriana’s whiteness “obvious traces of Depestre’s francophilia” (Munro 2007, 127). But he also concedes that there might be an element of resistance in Depestre’s idealizaton of Hadriana’s beauty by claiming that Hadriana might embody a “reversal of colonial eroticization of its tropical other” (Munro 2007, 127). Her aborted marriage begins a non-heteronormative characterization of Hadriana that continues throughout her spiritual evolution. At the outset of the text Hadriana is associated with Nana Buruku, a lwa that is often represented as embodying a primordial androgynous gender.

***[The people of Jacmel, unable to accept that a heart attack brought Nana down to the foot to of the altar, used their necrophilic imagination to reinsert their daughter into a fairy tale. Her body’s disappearance from the sepulcher was the catalyst for such a leap from the fear of death into fantasy.] (Depestre 1988, 99)

At the end of the novel, she is associated with a male deity of springs:

***[I was Simbi-the-Spring. The gods of Vodou ordered me take a handful of emigrants from Jacmel to Jamaica.] (Depestre 1988, 207)

The regendering seen in Hadriana’s transmutation into various deities is also evident in the powerful trance a Manbo experiences at another point in the text:

***[From the first notes of the dance, Saint James the Greater—the first in the family of the Oguns—mounted Brévica Losange as his horse. In that manner possessed, the Manbo improvised a song in harmony with the drums] (Depestre 1988, 77)

This female Vodou priestess’ identification with one of the most virile of lwas demonstrates how the substitution of the gwobonanj by the mèt tet of another gender can have as a result the Vodouisant’s corporeal regendering.

In addition to her association with Nana Buruku and Simbi-laSource, Hadriana is constantly associated with yet another lwa: Gede, whose domain is life and death. Although his demeanor is humorous, he is known for speaking harsh truths. His portrayal as an undertaker in enhanced by his top hat. His eyeglasses have only one lens, implying vision in this world and the next. His walking cane is a phallus, acquiring a transcorporeal aspect in the hands of his female devotees. Hadriana’s death is presented as the responsibility of this lwa:


***[A man with a resemblance to Baron-Samedi invited those Gede at his side to take the casket from the apostolic hands that were carrying it] (Depestre 1988, 92)

Hadriana’s inert body become the very representation of death, and therefore that of Gede:

***[Twenty meters around the spectacle, the musicians, in unison, imposed the general fever of the drum: the crowd stopped dancing to mimic the corpse-like ugliness of Hadriana Siloé, making the square a settlement of death’s kingdom.] (Depestre 1988, 68)

Hadriana’s identification with this mortuary and highly sexual deity is evident in a description of a Vodou ceremony that foregrounds Gede’s transgression of the binarisms of death/life, masculinity/femininity, terrestrial/celestial, sacred/profane:

***[On the contrary, drums and wind instruments changed Madame Losange’s song into a sunny season of the night: their musical fury alternates in each of the living death and birth, cries of agony and exclamations of orgasmic triumph. The musical volcano reduced to ashes the legendary obstacles between Thanatos and Eros, beyond the prohibitions against the sperm of black males and the eggs of white females. The explosion of Gedes, enlivened by the warm blood, put the souls and the bodies, the tumescent penises and the vaginas, in cosmic harmony with the crazy hope of rescuing Nana Siloé from death and lighting again, among us, the star of her life in her flesh.] (Depestre 1988, 79)

-- Transcorporeality in Voudou, by Roberto Strongman, University of California, Santa Barbara
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