PRINT October 1995


Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction

The Lost Object . . . must be therefore both adored and feared or despised, set apart. . . . “The most profound lost object” . . . is the immortality or perfection we imagine ourselves missing. . . . We invent gods and devils to measure up to it.

—Peter Canning, “The Regime of Misery and the System of Judgement”

FOR A WHILE THERE, as you may or may not remember, the abject was having its little moment on the intellectual catwalk, putting in its appearance as an esthetic-slash-ontological category. Confronted with the apparent impossibility of almost everything, we eagerly embraced the obvious Way Out—and became the losers we had always known we always were. But this time, with pride. Still, fashion is fashion, intellectual or otherwise, it can’t exist if it’s not fickle, and now the abject is well on its way to becoming abject itself. It’s looking more and more like last year’s glad rags,

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