Archeology, History, and Mooninites

Header image: Wallpaper Abyss – Alpha Coders.

Cause We Are The Aqua Teens
Make the Homies Say “Ho”
Make the Girlies Wanna Scream

Aqua Teen Hunger Force is a surrealist comedy show that aired on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim in the 2000s. The show features a milkshake, a flying carton of French fries, and a meatball as its main characters. The plots, if you want to call them that, of each show range from the odd to ridiculous and sometimes episodes would forgo having a plot of any substance at all.

One night, when I was in college, it was late on a Saturday, I had been drinking cosmopolitans with friends all night and returned to my dorm room still buzzed and too energetic to go to sleep. I settled down in bed and turned on the television. The program currently on was Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I watched the show, coming in the middle of it, and attempted to make sense of the storyline. As the 11-minute episode progressed I grew only more and more confused. When it was over I was outraged at how little I had comprehended from the handful of minutes I had watched.

I got the same feeling as I sat, reading Foucault’s Archeology of Knowledge. My previous readings of Foucault equals to reading the first two pages of the introduction to Madness and Civilization in a bookstore, and my background in rhetoric and historical discourse is shaky at best. The resulting confusion and absolute eye-spinning, head scratching frustration that accompanied it cannot be overstated.

GHWTVideos. “Aqua Teen Hunger Force intro”. Online Video Clip. YouTube. June 23, 2011. Web. January 25, 2016.

There’s No “I” In Goal

What struck me as particularly interesting, as I waded into the white water rapids that is Foucault’s stream of writing, were the goals or, aims, as he calls them, in his introduction. Here they are, in my own words.

Aim: to uncover the way in which local knowledge and transformations are happening in the field of historical knowledge. Not only that, but why it occurs and how it occurs.

Aim: not to use worldviews and other polarizing methods to examine history, and by design, structural analysis.

Aim: to define a method which is free from the study of humans (anthropology), which has a relationship with the previous two aims. (Page 15)

This interests me due to the way I was taught history as a child and see it still being taught today.

History According To Salamanders

When I was a child I was taught that America was discovered in 1492 by Columbus. I learned how white settlers brought peace and civilization to the savage natives of Jamestown (and I grew up in Williamsburg, so it was always Jamestown). Now as a tour guide for the Historic Triangle I cringe when the Jamestown guide weaves the narrative of the great white conqueror to the visiting middle school children. My historical education occasionally touched on the struggles and viewpoints of the people of color who were raped, murdered, and driven off their land. But it quite confidently stuck with the idea that this was all collateral damage and part of what made America so darn great.

It wasn’t enough for textbooks to add a box with details about Pocahontas in it, far away from the “real” narrative of white men and their destruction. The history I was taught and found completely disinteresting was one built off of the precepts that Foucault looks to challenge and reexamine.

I think.

I’m pretty sure this is on the right path.

Jacksfilms. “WHITE HISTORY MONTH!”. Online Video Clip. YouTube. April 1, 2012. Web. January 25, 2016.

Accomplishing Your Dinner

So, does Foucault do what he planned to do in the book? Does the ferret massage the albatross with ham?

I dislike Foucault’s use of the term “you” to address the reader with accusations of exactly what they’ve been doing for the entire book. I haven’t been distancing myself from structuralism or attempting to show my new-found enlightenment. I’ve been barely keeping up, confused by everything, and pondering every life choice I ever made which led me to the point where I was supposed to be understanding this quiche.

As for Foucault’s conclusion, he asks entirely too many questions in his conclusion and leaves me wondering where I was for this entire book, since I clearly did not understand exactly what was going on the entire time. But I did like the final quote.

Discourse is not life; its time is not your time; in it, you will not be reconciled to death; you may have killed God beneath the weight of all that you have said; but don’t imagine that, with all that you are saying, you will make a man that will live longer than he. (Page 224)

I enjoy this sentence, not just for its use of semicolons, but because it looks as the subject matter as something which cannot become more than what is it, or be elevated to the point of a god.

I think.

Pretty sure that’s what he was after.

eirikrl. “Confused Corgi Puppies”. Online video clip. YouTube. October 27, 2010. Web. January 25, 2016.

Foucault Mind Map

Popplet Mind Map.

Works Cited

Foucault, M. (1989). The Archeology of knowledge. London: Routledge. Pages 15 and 224.

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