The Misinterpellated Subject: Anarchist All the Way Down
In this book, I argued for a mode of reading wherein what are ordinarily per-
ceived as irrelevant, useless, or even awful characters can be reread as sub-
verters and conspirators, where the seemingly least agental figures in texts
and films— either because they seem to be ruled by compulsions they can’t
control, or a fatal mousiness or passivity— turn out to be the only actual
agents, the only “selves” in the repre sen ta tional worlds that they occupy.
This kind of reading flies in the face of the assertion that the authority who
interpellates really” knows the subject that she hails/creates. My conten-
tion is that interpellation inevitably gets it wrong; it renders subjects—in
all of their multiplicity and anarchic complexity— manifestly unknowable
by projecting onto them a single unitary self that, being false, offers noth-
ing to “know” at all. Reading in a more subversive vein is not so much a way
of switching things around—so that the losers are winners and the winners
are losers— but rather involves rethinking the very rules of the game, how
status is assigned, and how individuals are ranked and valued. As previously
noted, I think of this mode of reading as a “yet more minor lit er a ture”—a
nod to Deleuze and Guattari— another sign that reading can be a po litical
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