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- DescriptionThere are sons who grow up unhappily believing that matter what they do, they cant please their fathers. Often unable to shed their sense of lifelong failure, either they give up and suffer in a permanent sulk, or they try with all their might to prove they are worth something after all. These are the loser sons, a group of historical men as varied as President George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, and Mohammed Atta. Their names quickly illustrate that t only are their problems serious, but they also make serious problems for others, expanding to whole nations. When God is conceived and inculcated as an angry and impossible-to-please father, the problems can last for generations. In Loser Sons, Avital Ronell draws on current philosophy, literary history, and political events to confront the grim fact that divested boys become terrifying men. This would be old news if the problem didn't recur so often with such disastrous consequences. Looking beyond our current moment, she interrogates the problems of authority, paternal fantasy, and childhood as they have been explored and exemplified by Franz Kafka, Goethe's Faust, Benjamin Franklin, Jean-Fran\u00e7ois Lyotard, Hannah Arendt, Alexandre Koj\u00e8ve, and Immanuel Kant. Brilliantly weaving these threads into a polyvocal discourse, Ronell shows how, with their arrays of powerful symbols, ideologies of all sorts perpetuate the theme that while childhood represents incence, adulthood entails responsible cruelty. The need for suffering--preferably somebody else's--has become a widespread assumption, t only justifying abuses of authority, but justifying authority itself. Shockingly honest, Loser Sons recognizes that focusing on the spectacular catastrophes of modernity might make writer and reader feel they're engaged in something important, while in fact what they are engaged in is still only spectacle. To understand the implications of her insights, Ronell addresses them directly to her readers, challenging them to think through their own tions of authority and their responses to it.
- Author BiographyAvital Ronell is University Professor of the Humanities and a professor of German, English, and comparative literature at New York University, where she codirects the Trauma and Violence Transdisciplinary Studies program. She is also Jacques Derrida Professor of Media and Philosophy at the European Graduate School in Switzerland. She is the author of Dictations: On Haunted Writing; The Telephone Book; Crack Wars; Finitude's Score; Stupidity; The Test Drive; and Fighting Theory.
- Author(s)Avital Ronell
- PublisherUniversity of Illinois Press
- Date of Publication10/09/2013
- SubjectCommunication & Media
- Place of PublicationBaltimore
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintUniversity of Illinois Press
- Content Note1 black & white photograph
- Weight386 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine18 mm
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