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Daniel Williams
Daniel Williams

Subtitle Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit

So it was no surprise when--FOR NO REASON, mind you--a thoroughly '90s and thoroughly hilarious tribute to Sister Act 2 snuck its way into last night's episode. It was no surprise, but god damn, was it amazing. And Whoopi Goldberg got back in the habit!

subtitle Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit

The second fantasy, which corresponds to theword modernism in the subtitle and which always occurs in somerelation to the first, is linguistic: it involves the wish that wordscan become things by functioning"onomotopoetically" outside the in some sense arbitrarysystems of syntax and substitution which govern the way meaningis normally engendered. The pertinent textual analogs here areQuentin's qualifying "I said" in "I have committedincest I said" Benjy's habit of substituting wordsabout his sister for his actual, physical sister. Thus can Shegogbe said said to "twin" the fantasies in question when,having interpellating the congregation as "breddren andsistuhn," he insists in his sermon that the word of God becomesChrist's flesh.

Later on, back at the college, IM sees an opencopy of Freud's Totem and Taboo in Norton's room, and wecome closer to fully grasping the meta-critical, self-reflexivedimensions of Ellison's "argument about the nature ofAmerican reality." It now becomes clear how a subtitle like"Some Points of Agreement Between the Mental Lives ofSavages and Neurotics" has helped Ellison to script a scenein which an "uncivilized savage" and an ostensibly"civilized neurotic" exchange fantasies which are invarious ways "twinned." By locating the incest fantasyalong a racial axis, Ellison manages to suggest that black andwhite, like conscious and unconscious and like "savage"and "neurotic," are "twinned" concepts whichmust be brought and thought together, but the point all along hasbeen to bring nativism into the writerly consciousness; inletting the Truebloods continue endogamously, Ellison reproducesthe nativist symptom indeed, but only, I would contend, in orderto effect a homeopathic cure for a national-literary neurosisWalter Michaels may not have been the first to diagnose. 041b061a72




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