You know that old definition of the NPC about lacking an internal monologue? I think we can go one step further with that
At the heart of the genre lies the discovery of the inner man —”one’s own self,” accessible not to passive self-observation but only through an active dialogic approach to one’s own self
Genres shaped races. Bakhtin names all sorts of canonical figures who wrote in the above genre. White people–at least many of them–have a double self.
I’m not sure if individuality emerged in any of the other ones. Maybe you could say more advanced subspecies like the Koreans, Iranians, etc. developed a “self and a half”. Collectivism is the planetary norm. The old definition of the NPC is exactly wrong- all collectivist peoples have ONLY a monologue. They have their society’s voice in their head. Many in the west have a split-consciousness where both society’s and one’s own voice are in their heads.
This is interpreted as “violent” discourse. Who interprets it that way? Society. I, an individual, am having a dialogue with it. Most whites seem like they only have a “self and a half” to me. I have a double self. Society speaks in my head (unfortunately) and I speak in my own head. If you find me violent then you are probably society and do not have true individuality. When you speak verbally to promote or defend our present society it is because that’s mostly the only voice speaking in your head, society’s. There’s not much “you” there. For some there’s no “you” at all.
Still on this idea of the carnival
In Rome, the many diverse varieties of satire and epigram were linked, and were designed to be linked, with the saturnalia; they were either written for saturnalia, or at least were created under cover of that legitimized carnival license enjoyed by the festival
Bakhtin says that even before Rome, Socratic dialogue and Menippean satire had their roots in the folk-carnival tradition. People’s roles were reversed and royalty was allowed to be made fun of. This is one of the old meanings of what we call “holidays”. He’s claiming that dialogue, this double self, and humor emerged from these holidays.
Bakhtin wrote this under the rule of the Bolsheviks – is he hinting?
Essentially every church holiday in the Middle Ages had its carnivalistic side
You don’t hear about this. He says himself that there wasn’t much scholarship on it in his day.
This is a bold claim
He says this “holiday” turned into the “everyday”. For him the renaissance was the height of the carnival spirit and it declined ever since. They got over three months of this a year in the middle ages, and we don’t even get one day. He characterizes the time as unrestrained, cynical, candid, and abusive. Yeah jokes can be abusive. I for one don’t have any qualms with abusing totalitarians.
Think of the paltry forms of carnival we have today. “Carnies” at the fair, cotton candy, Disney World, state-approved laughter in the movie theater, all simulacra. It used to be about parodying authority, and all the people laughing together.
Whoa, it really has been a copy of a copy, for centuries
The source of carnivalization was carnival itself. In addition, carnivalization had genre-shaping significance; that is, it determined not only the content but also the very generic foundations of a work. From the second half of the seventeenth century on, carnival almost completely ceases to be a direct source of carnivalization, ceding its place to the influence of already carnivalized literature
It really is a sad reality that people don’t want authority parodied because that authority guarantees them the freedom to be a dirt clod who is beyond reproach.
This is what he says many of the acts in the folk-carnivals contained
debates which did not permit thought to stop and congeal in one-sided seriousness
This has a presence in all real satire, and real satire doesn’t have a presence in our time. And these festivals, these holidays, were the origin of satire? This study is more profound than most.