Thursday, March 18, 2010

DiSaronno Blog Gay Korner/Interview Corner: Michel Foucault Interviews Karl Lagerfeld

Michel Foucault: In a society such as ours, where the devices of power are so numerous, its rituals so visible, and its instruments ultimately so reliable, in this society that has been more imaginative, probably than any other in creating devious and supple mechanisms of power, what explains this tendency not to recognize the latter except in the negative and emaciated form of prohibition?

Karl Lagerfeld: I like to know everything; I like to be informed. I am not pretentious. I can speak several languages. I can read in every language.

MF: Why is this juridical notion of power, involving as it does the neglect of everything that makes for its productive effectiveness, its strategic resourcefulness, its positivity, so readily accepted?

KL: I had an interview once with some German journalist—some horrible, ugly woman. It was in the early days after the communists—maybe a week after—and she wore a yellow sweater that was kind of see-through. She had huge tits and a huge black bra, and she said to me, “It’s impolite; remove your glasses.” I said, “Do I ask you to remove your bra?”

MF: What is an author?

KL: She has a great education and speaks many languages. She’s perfect for the job of first lady. I even photographed her naked.

MF: Since man was constituted at a time when language was doomed to dispersion, will he not be dispersed when language regains its unity?

KL: I personally only like high-class escorts. I don’t like sleeping with people I really love. I don’t want to sleep with them because sex cannot last, but affection can last forever. I think this is healthy. And for the way the rich live, this is possible. But the other world, I think they need porn. I also think it’s much more difficult to perform in porn than to fake some emotion on the face as an actor.

MF: But do we know what the relations of exegesis and formalization are? Are we capable of controlling and mastering them?

KL: No. There was a famous man who had written about flies and insects, and I’m like the one who watches the insects. I prefer to see how drugs work on others. And I cannot smoke cigarettes. I need my hands for something else. When I was 14 I wanted to smoke because my mother smoked like mad. I wanted to smoke to look grown-up. But my mother said, “You shouldn’t smoke. Your hands are not that beautiful and that shows when you smoke.”

MF: But how then do we analyze what has occurred in recent history with regard to this thing--seemingly one of the most forbidden areas of our lives and bodies--that is sex?

KL: When I was a child I asked my mother what homosexuality was about and she said—and this was 100 years ago in Germany and she was very open-minded—“It’s like hair color. It’s nothing. Some people are blond and some people have dark hair. It’s not a subject.” This was a very healthy attitude.

MF: How, if not by way of prohibition and blockage, does power gain access to sex?

KL: Spinoza said, and I have to translate it into English, “Every decision is a final refusal.” I live with this.


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