[Publicity text for Miranda July's screening at Pleasure Dome.]




There is no desire in Miranda July's work, only fear. Her narratives do not proceed by means of an obstacle the protagonist means to surmount. Instead of desire traversing an obstacle, July proceeds through fear of a trauma that struggles to be named, but remains resolutely unnamable. This is not to say the work dramatizes a struggle to elucidate some particular primal scene as a kind of ur-trauma. July's trauma is an anti-libidinous blob that structures all subjectivity by being always present, yet completely unknowable. It is everywhere and nowhere. It is not God, but the ground from which God emerges. In Oprah's America God is an off-shoot of Trauma. It is not practical to direct one's prayers to God when guardian angels are apt to intervene more directly. But God is necessary so the old texts can still be used, and also as a diversionary tactic which leaves us free to continue the Sisyphean task of delineating our trauma. Satan has been replaced by the Serial Killer. The central tenet of our new belief system was stated most clearly by Roseanne (on Oprah, of course): all of us are divided into two groups, Victims of Satanic Ritual Abuse and Future Victims of Satanic Ritual Abuse. Because, after all, if we dig hard enough to uncover our hidden memories of suppressed childhood traumas, we could find anything. Only some of us live in Martha Stewart's America — the standards are fairly restrictive. But all of us live in Oprah's America — it is inescapable, everyone is included. Our only recourse: Multiple Personality Disorder.