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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Vanity Fair Interview:Rob Pattinson 3-11

Most Rob fans don't like this interview but don't seem to know exactly why except for the fact that many redundant questions are asked.

Foucauldian thought looks at it from a different POV. In Foucault's 1974-75 Abnormal Lectures at the College de France he goes into great detail about the genealogy of confession beginning with the Inquisition. In Western Civilization the Roman Catholic Church began persecuting heretics in the 12th century continuing until the early 19th century.

Confession was afterward initiated to probe the minds of members of the church by their village priests and began to be incorporated into the hierarchy. Eventually confession landed on the psychoanalyst's couch where it continues today. The practice is widespread and completely accepted in our modern times. Confession is the accepted prevailing Discourse for the interview. The confession is to be extracted from the interviewed object by the interviewer subject. Extracted confession is the important term to be understood.

"...when I join the nosy chorus asking if his on screen love mirrors his relationship in real life," Pattinson says laughing, Are you asking me if I'm really a vampire?

"As I wait for an answer, Pattinson literally starts squirming, Yes. Um. No, not really, he says, It's pretty hard to...It's just very traumatic, he says cryptically."

The interviewer is asking whether he is fucking Kristen Stewart. Confession was initiated to probe sexuality to root out the heresies of Catharism and along with analysis sex continues to be of prime interest in interviews and on the couch. Vanity Fair's interviewer is extracting the confession, a Discourse that began in the 12th century. The interviewer is also torturing Pattinson as she waits for an answer while he squirms.

It is clear that she has made him uncomfortable and has no intention of doing otherwise.

Going back to his first response, Are you asking me if I'm really a vampire? he is expressing his feelings unconsciously. Switching from a Foucault reading to Lacan we can invert his sentence: I am asking you if you are really a vampire. Yes, Rob, you are telling the interviewer she is a vampire and the interviewer really is a vampire. That is exactly what you are saying. To extract a confession you must be pierced, crushed sometimes, and the confession pulled out, extracted, from the unwilling but complicit object that is being tortured, however politely and according to custom. An analyst trained in Lacanian listening will hear what he is saying. (Remember Bush 1 and his astonishment at the bar-code? Bar being the name his wife is known by. Read Diane Rubenstein for a long discussion on this.) But Rob is squirming because he has not heard what he really said and so instead of sitting calmly he is squirming.

And the bitch doesn't stop. "I mean, are you very intense about each other?" Oh, I don't know, "he says finally." She's really cool. Even before I knew her I thought she was a really good actress. Like, I saw Into the Wild, and I thought she was really good in that. ....And then he goes on to say that when all this is over things can go back to some sort of normality.

Baudrillard has interesting things to say about the interview situation, especially since he has given many of them. Essentially he says that what he has said about the hostage situation applies to the interview. The interviewer and the interviewee are in complicity.

Rob is complicit in this interview. He is allowing himself to be tortured. When asked the same kind of question by her recent Vogue interviewer, Kristen replied, That's not my job. She didn't squirm, she responded assertively, a tad aggressively in fact, as the interviewer had no right to be trying to extract a sexual confession out of her. Kristen is not complicit, so with her the hostage analogy does not apply in quite the same way.

Ramping up confession and torture please turn to my review of Inglourious Basterds Part 6 posted down on this blog. It's from the very first scene of IB, another masterpiece by Tarantino. An excerpt:

But back to the first scene of IB. Landa knows and he could just simply have his officers rape the farmer's daughters, torture them in front of him until he tells, shoot them all, whatever. But no, he sits down to drink a glass of fresh milk, chat a little over tobacco, and squeeze more fear into his victim. Because the farmer knows he knows but hopes he doesn't. His careful performance is perfection. His eyes get stony with protective cover. He sweats and Christoph Waltz watches with pleasure and he tightens his hold. They speak English, so the Jews underneath won't understand. He reaches a climax where he tells him ever so charmingly that he will take his family in for interrogation or he can just indicate with a nod where they are hiding. The French peasant is known for his astuteness, and this one needs no prodding. He knows what will happen to his young and beautiful daughters. He knows the Jews down below are doomed anyway. Now he is being asked to become a collaborator, to sully his soul, to do such a despicable act that he will forever torture himself afterward. (Think Sophie's Choice.) Now this is violence. He is asking him to be Judas. His reward is not 30 pieces of silver, but the safety of his daughters. He can berate himself the rest of his life by weighing the two alternatives and BTW Corrie Ten Boom had Jews hidden in her house walls and wouldn't tell and she and her family and all the Jews went to a camp. But that's another story.

So this nice polite well thought of interviewer for Vanity Fair is really in collusion with her more violent comrades in arms. She has performed an evil act. It is transparent and condoned and accepted by all and sundry. It is even published and paid for.