Unconscious Transmission: The Generation "Gap"
When Lacan says on Television, "I always tell the truth..." he means it. He's making this pronouncement on TV and insofar as any talking head, including Lacan's, can embody a voice, he speaks for television itself. This is an S1 talking.
In saying that he always tells the truth, Lacan assumes the position of the master. A master is someone who is open to both ridicule and admiration. Where he speaks now, there was once nothing. He initiates and his initiation is often clownish and absurd. Perhaps because silence is the midwife to the birth of the discourse of the master, where silence reigns, laughter is never far away.
Truth in Television
"I always speak the truth. Not the whole truth, because there's no way, to say it all. Saying it all is literally impossible: words fail. Yet it's through this very impossibility that the truth holds onto the real."1
Television wants to believe that it tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Television wants to refuse the limits of the Symbolic and so it tries to set up camp in the Imaginary with direct access to the Real. Television feels that it can overcome the inadequacy of Logos which Lacan addresses (les mots y manquent), because it can be "live," and therefore present in a way that the Symbolic can never be. But Television tries to account for the difficulty of the truth of the Real by producing its own built in self-critique module in the form of cynicism.2 In this way, it tries to cover its anxiety, which is, as Lacan has taught us, precisely the one affect which does not deceive.
1.Lacan, Television, New York and London: Norton & Co., 1981, p.3.
2.See Rhonda Lieberman in "The Art of Television Reception in the Age of Endo-Colonization" in Copyright 1.
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