Project Description

The success of the religious

GERARDO BATTISTA

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Abstract

In this work we propose to outline responses to the success of some of the most popular series of the moment whose theme focuses on the religious.

For this purpose, first, we will inquire about the success of the serial form, and then guide this brief journey in The Triumph of Religion (Lacan, 2005) as stated by Jacques Lacan. Finally, we will return to focus on the series Unorthodox (Netflix: 2020), The Handmaid’s Tale (HBO: 2017-2019), The young pope (HBO: 2016) and Ride Upon the Storm (Netflix: 2017-2018); also, in the rise of evangelism on Catholicism in Brazil.

The success of the religions, circumscribed at the time of the fall of the father’s name, can be specified in two ways:

1- The triumph is no longer so much of the traditional religion but of the religious. We refer to those religious communities that enact at all costs with capitalism.

2- Traditional religions, such as Catholicism and Judaism, is «a return to tradition» increasingly radical and closed.

In both modalities we place a nominal religious thrust, which shape the social bond and regulate the relationship of the speaking being to his body, bordering on «being named for.» (Lacan, 1974) “Being named to” verifies that in the face of the decline of the paternal and the power of the word, it is imposed as an iron order, returning in the real the father of jouissance, that is, the foundation of the modern superego

We know the world we live in and will live in will be animated
by the frenzy of choice that extends today all the way to the
choosing of sex. We can grasp the heretical dynamics of the contemporary world.
Should we embrace it? In any case not without asking ourselves whether
the realm of choice will not be worse than the realm of the father, worse than
the common understanding of orthodoxy. Lacan asked himself this
question, which is what he meant by the mysterious title of his
Seminar …ou pire, father or worse. (Miller)

In this paper we propose to outline the responses to success of some of the most popular TV series at the moment whose themes revolve around religion. Firstly, we’ll look into the success of the ‘series’ format to then guide this brief journey onto The Triumph of Religion (Lacan, 1974 [2005]) as Jacques Lacan suggests. Finally, we’ll come back to focus on series such as Unorthodox (Netflix: 2020), The Handmaid’s tale (HBO: 2017-2019), The young pope (HBO: 2016), The Lord’s Ways (Netflix: 2017-2018); and the rise of Evangelism over Catholicism in Brazil so we can reflect on some
of the matters in that period

The success of TV series

Current streaming platforms generate audio-visual productions using big data to divide the audience into segments so they can offer specific products. That’s how success develops before the series by the interpretations obtained from each era. Google is the new ‘God’ to whom each user generates its questions to. Each inquiry transforms into data and each data produces content, that way God reduces the risk of resource failure. The creation of the provided content is shaped after specific audiences and its massive success it’s the result of aiming for a specific target. In her article ‘TV on demand: is a new narrative genre born?’, Laura Marajofsky suggests there’s a new paradigm on the production and consumption of TV that we now know as on demand.

Its model, instead of focusing on higher rotation products, introduces the idea that each audience has a specific interest to exploit, you just have to find it, and that’s precisely what executives at Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have figured out. Why focus on offering two or three series for a bigger audience in prime time if you can aim for different targets? (Marajofsky, 2016, s/p)

Alternatively, in his book ‘TV series, the world, crisis and women’ Gerard Wajcmam (2019) provides a series of four signifiers that he chooses to mate to draw conclusions from them. The author places a TV series success in its comparison to contemporary civilization. That’s why series are not just an open eye to the world, they are an eye-opening machine. His main hypothesis is that ‘the world on TV series portrays a world of crisis in series. The crisis is serial. The series on its form. The crisis is serial. But the world on itself its serial” (Wajcman, 2019, pp. 36-7).

Wajcman suggests that it’s the world structure that has changed and that’s a crucial fact to the understanding of the proliferation of TV series. We’ve gone through a closed world into an unlimited universe and ‘TV series introduce themselves into the limitless category’ (Wajcman, 2019, p. 68). His conclusion was that the series is not the one responsible for the fragmentation, but the fragmentation, the spreading and the blast of the world’s regime are the ones that find themselves shaped as series. In a world in which no limits are established, this is what draws attention to TV series, the logical form of the non-all, the infinite, the multiple. ‘Series and women are from the same world. Limitless. The series, a non-all form that testifies an elective affinity with all the non-alls in the non-all world” (Wajcman, 2019, p. 114).

The Triumph of Religion

In October 29, 1974 Jacques Lacan was doing a press conference in a French Cultural Centre in Rome where he was interviewed by Italian journalists interested in knowing his stance regarding science, philosophy, religion and psychoanalysis.

His fundamental warning was ‘as little as science contributes, reality will spread and religion will have even more motives to ease the hearts of the people’ (Lacan, 1974 [2005], p. 79). This is the reason Lacan is so interested in the bond between reality and religion, to warn that as long as reality continues to expand, so will religion in spite of every scientific and technological advance and every theory that could prove its falsity. Given the inescapable expansion of reality on the world, religion offers some relief: a sense of the reality of life, which you can’t possibly scape from, because it’s enjoyable. Miller (2010b), following Lacan’s plan about the triumph of religion suggests that

… the efficiency of scientific speech seemingly explains the present resurfacing of traditional speeches, such as the rise of Islam.[1] It’s a resource. Like Catholicism, on the other hand, which is also recovering. It happens that these traditions prescribe on what sexual intercourse should be, and this represents the root of their power, of their modern efficiency regarding the scientific speech. (p. 53)

From a perspective of private religion for each person, according to Miller (2010), Lacan argues that the fundamental phenomenon is the ‘horror towards femininity’. It is better to fear the father so that it’s not known that the fundamental horror is to womanhood. This observation allows us to understand that the more religious one is and the more devoted one is to one’s faith, the more one allows the Other, always evil, the ghost, to exist. Freud in Moses and Monotheism (1939 [1989]) matched neurosis with an independent religion.

Now, Lacan states that the relief of mankind is achieved particularly by the authentic religion, the Christian one at the expense, however, of repressing the symptom of modern civilization that is psychoanalysis. Lacan chooses another way to approach religion, not from the perspective of faith, but rather regarding the possibility of unveiling a reality that the religion itself in charge of guarding. As a result, Lacan ends his interview warning that «religion was thought for that purpose, to heal men, that is to say, so that they don’t realize what doesn’t work» (Lacan, 1974 [2005], p. 86).

His conclusion is quite pragmatic: Psychoanalysis will not triumph over religion, either it will survive or it will not.

If the world is the thing that works, one possible way out is through the symptom. ‘Using psychoanalysis as an instrument that exposes everything that’s hidden’ (Miller, 2012, p. 74). This is the reason psychoanalysts can only last as symptoms instead of the segregating speech of religion «and this will feed not only the true religion, but also a lot of false ones.» (Lacan, 1974 [2005], p. 80). In addition, Miller brings up that ‘in this day and age, we don’t talk about the return of religion/s but rather of the religious” (Miller, 2012, p. 67). The religious is part of religion but without any of the things that can support it as an institution, as an official authority, as an institutional stipend, with a group of speakers, writers and the media to help it.

 

The decline of authority, the rise of authoritarianism

The ‘father’ matter is directly connected to structured and historical determinations. That’s why the era and S1 are two variables that work together. Every time Lacan references Name-of-the-father, he talks about the Judaeo-Christian tradition that it stands for. “This link shows this is not something made up by psychoanalysis, but it’s rather a cultural inheritance” (Miller, 1992, p. 20).

One way of addressing the changes in the father’s role is the decline of authority. In the era of the non-existence of the Other, the rise of the object a highlights the degraded position of the master signifier. That threatens the purpose of Name-of-the-father and the influence of words. This goes against the role of the name-of-the-father and the power of words. For that reason, the one word that makes the exception becomes useless challenging the authority of enunciation and ruling over knowledge and science’s results. Eric Laurent suggests the contemporary man believes in everything and nothing at the same time. “Nowadays, there’s a certain weakening a mistrust, a negative shift towards master signifiers” (Laurent, 2004, pp. 24-25).

The main characteristic of contemporary democratic individualism is the unravelling of the relationship between the Other and its countenance, causing the role and place of the principle of authority to be affected.

Lacan (1971-72 [2012]) suggests that the capitalist speech rejects castration, and therefore things related to love. The new regime induces in the contemporary man a struggle to form and maintain romantic bonds, including their love for knowledge. The modern man takes part in a world where all knowledge is considered to be suspicious. It’s about a realm in which the ideal is to reduce words to a statement without any enunciation, in which the exception that allows legitimacy to be passed on is not recognized, and it’s at that point that one is left helpless and without the possibility of finding guidance in life and establishing social bonds. It is in this very moment that the religious aspect comes into play and triumphs.

The use of hatred is a modern type of grouping. That is to say, the current master understands perfectly that hatred can be a way of building up the Other. Nothing ensures that hatred will lead to knowledge, but its efficiency is quite clear. The passion for hatred can lead us to think about how bodies are assembled and ruled, just as E. Laurent explains, «the way our body connects to hatred is the same way our body connects to joy» (Laurent, 2019). For this reason, in the spirit of the ‘triumph of the religious’, these media figures who, in the name of a religion that is freed from everything that can maintain it as an institution, impose their own iron order. A clear example in Latin-America is the Brazilian president and the de facto president of Bolivia who, after invoking prayer to face the pandemic produced by COVID-19, refrained from adopting state initiatives for the good of the capital, Meritocracia dixit. Both presidents, however, used religion to implement

the present world-wide growth in power of dictatorial and authoritarian forces that use a religious speech, mainly monotheistic, to impose themselves. As Angelina Harari, president of the World Association of Psychoanalysis, said about the last elections
in Brazil: the «coming out of the reactionary man» is taking place. (Brousse, 2019, s/p)

Regarding the latter, Lacan on Television (1973 [2012]), a year before The Triumph of Religion  (1974 [2005]) predicted the return of racism and religious fundamentalism. We will dwell on how the evangelical movements in Brazil (like many other religions) impose themselves by violating and hampering the sanctioning of civic rights such as abortion, early pregnancies, sexual diversity, and marriage equality, among other issues. Lacan, in the mentioned text, asks himself:

To let the Other be in his own enjoyment could only be done if we don’t force ours down on him, if we didn’t consider him to be underdeveloped. And since this is where the precariousness of our form is included ― that from now on is only for the benefit of enjoyment, which is no longer expressed in any other way ― how can we expect the continuity of that humanitarian {humanitairie} way of doing things? God, by regaining his strength, would end up ex-sisting; this doesn’t promise anything but a return to his disastrous past. (Lacan, 1973 [2012], p. 560)

 

We can ask ourselves if racism and religious extremism have the same foundation, the hatred towards the enjoyment of the Other ― which is nothing more than the primal hatred towards the enjoyment that lives in us.

These religions are, like all established institutions, systems that shape the social bonds and regulate the way the individual interacts with their body.

 

They use the love of God in order to control the masses, in the name of the father or brother associated with the male. To get to the heart of the matter, religious speeches are the police of the bodies. They say what are the authorized forms of enjoyment in a given group at a given time. (Brousse, 2019, s/p)

 

In short, the religious is the religion at the time of the downfall of the father’s name. Strong identities and repression give way to a permissive horizon, perhaps as much or more regulated than the previous one but uncontrollable when something from reality is affected. “Today, interdictions meet difficulties. It’ s the interdictions that are forced to justify themselves” (Miller, 2012, p. 82), not the Hedonism of democratic individualism. In fact, in the face of the decline of authority of the S1, we are witnessing the rise of authoritarianism. In this way, we find a link between the religious and the liberalism of capital. The religious deprives the experience of private religion of each individual by imposing a massive form of enjoyment that blocks out and substitutes for the singular. Today, religion, belief, is considered in itself as a therapy, that is to say, it is less considered as something worthy of the truth that it would pass on than as something validated by its effects on well-being (Miller, 2012). Contemporary Hedonism, dixit. Perhaps there lies a way of understanding what Lacan proposes in The Triumph of Religion: «That is my way of translating ‘faith’. Faith is the fair. There are so many faiths, faiths that slip into the corners, that, in spite of everything, it is only well said in the forum, that is, the fair». (Lacan, 1974 [2005], p. 94)

The success of the religious series

In this section we’ll be working on some TV series involving religion to allow ourselves to discuss and generate an appropriate response to proliferation of social discomfort in the main screen. We will conclude by placing some key elements to process the advance of evangelism in Brazil and Latin-American.

 

The woman reduced to the mother of Judaism for utility purposes

 

Unorthodox (2020), in Spanish Poco ortodoxa, tells the story of an orthodox Jewish girl that ‘breaks up’ with her Hasidic community in Williamsburg, New York and starts a new life in Berlin. This Hasidic community[2] is formed by a very orthodox group of World War II survivors from Hungary, who believed the holocaust was a ‘punishment from God’. To avoid another ‘divine wrath’, the community migrated to Brooklyn where they founded a life style under a very strict interpretation on the Jewish law. This interpretation includes things such as arranged marriages, reducing intercourse to reproduction, families with an average eight kids, women shaving their heads as a sign of respect for their husbands, a daily study of the religious and rejection to most things regarding modernity.

Author of the Unorthodox book (that’s mainly inspired in her life), Deborah Feldman (2020) stated that these closed off communities in the middle of a hyperconnected world will become more isolated each passing year, but simultaneously people that were already on the brims of society will get pushed out. According to the author, some community’s life styles like Satmars are still surviving because even though their percentage of fugitives has increased by 10%, for each person that leaves there’s one that stays. And there’s also the fact they have so many children that even when some choose to leave, there’s still many members that stay. People that stay within the community have become even more extreme. The middle ground is fading, in both their world and ours.

The Zeitgeist is shaped by the polarization. In an interview Feldman (2020) states that very orthodox people have started to participate in politics even though they’re highly critiqued for not working and living out of subsidy. Ultraorthodox people are a big part of the Israel demographics that is constantly growing. Because they reproduce at a much higher rate than secular Jews, they will soon be in the majority and will form a hegemony in terms of political power. Then we will have the equivalent of Sharia (Islamic law) in Israel. Halacha (Jewish religious rules) will rule over everyone if we do not watch out, says the author of Unorthodox (Feldman, 2020).

Why does this story generate fascination and empathy with a culture that seems so foreign to ours? We could hypothesize that the somewhat conspicuous exaltation of the harshness and imprisonment of tradition that the Hasidic community entails, may have as its counterpart the praise of the neoliberal powers that currently use religious discourses to indoctrinate, as it is evident in some Latin-American countries.

On the one hand, the series shows the passage from the enclosure of religious tradition to the regime of contemporary hedonism of capitalism as represented in the city of Berlin, which is «seen» as the pinnacle of opportunities. The exaltation of the renunciation of this religious tradition can hide a glorification of the hedonism of capital. In short, in Unorthodox we can read that the Kakon that the West pretends to attribute to Williamsburg is revealed as an extimacy that the cultural and religious walls fail to stitch together. This way, the Hasidic community turns a bit Unheimlich for the Heim that West knows.

On the other hand, we are interested in emphasizing that, in the face of a world that is increasingly related to an open set that leads to the unlimited as a complement of the fall of the father’s name, the answers are more dictatorial and closed, both for the orthodox communities and for those that promulgate at all costs with capitalism.

In fact, neither orthodox of religion nor orthodox of capital. Heretics. Miller in «In Praise of the Heretics» (2017) affirms that the heretic is sustained in the logic of the non-all since he seeks to be unique, breaking down the dogma of the closed sets. The heretic is the one who makes his choice, for this reason he could be placed on the side of particular, of an experience.

We are interested in highlighting things from the series, to outline an answer on the success of religious TV programs, that it is Esty’s departure from his community what the viewer expects to find. Additionally, fiction works a series of themes that are juxtaposed having as a complement the fall of the name-of-the-father: the androgynous demeanour, at times, from the protagonist; the symptom of vaginismus and sexual pleasure; abortion; the role of women in religion making the sexual intercourse exist in the mother with the sense of populating the hole left by the Shoah; and exile: always feminine.

The interesting thing about this is that the series shows not only how the Orthodox Jewish community reduces women to the maternal, but that the pressure of conception turns a woman into a womb that gestates, upholding the religious descent. Bodies are bound and reduced to reproduction, but there is no law, however orthodox, that is valid in the face of pleasure, which is always heretical of tradition. This, returns in the symptom of vaginismus as the body rejects the master of procreation[3]. The series portrays the pressure to conceive in the manner of a «being named for»[4] (Lacan, 1974, s/p), since Judaism is a religion that is transmitted through mothers. In an era where multiculturalism is questioned, where women’s rights are not equal to those of men, female protagonists of the liberation from patriarchy foretell the success of the series, as it shows a space between the exit of religious orthodoxy and the intersection of post-politics and treatments of bodies. In this regard, Eric Laurent (2002) in Symptom and Nomination states that

…the limit is found as the necessary bar above the A. Thus, every society has its limit, which is defined by internal processes. The limit of the qualifying work of our civilization has a very specific name: human rights. (p. 111)

When the lead of the series has an ultrasound to monitor her pregnancy, the doctor lets her know that she can have an abortion, if that is what she wants. A woman’s right to decide over her body is present in the series. However, the main character’s response maintains her cultural background in her desire to continue with her pregnancy, despite questioning the traditions of indoctrination over her body. It also highlights the tension between a women’s struggle for legal, safe and free abortion and the current anti-abortion movement. These anti-abortion religions know that controlling «tiny lives comes in handy to control life itself. But this is always done in the same way: by the imperative of reducing women to mothers» (Brousse, 2019, s/p).

Within the community, women are reduced to motherhood, but in the series, we see different versions of playing this role.

We can find a contemporary variation of the «double mother» that Lacan (1956-57 [2008]) alludes to in relation to Juanito, Gide and Leonardo in the face of one of the names given to the fall of the symbolic role of the father, the paternal absence: Etsy’s mother and paternal grandmother. Although her grandmother represents and maintains the «common welfare» of the community, it was with her that she sang, a task that was forbidden in the presence of men. The ability to sing is what allows her to win a scholarship and make a name for herself. Her mother, who left the community ― because she fell in love with a woman ― in an attempt to uphold her motherhood and her status as a woman, lost legal custody of her daughter and moved to Berlin. Under Lacan we could say that a mother can desire as a man but love as a woman. In one of the few scenes shared between the main character and her mother, before their encounter in Berlin, the latter gives her a German passport. Although the young woman rejects it, she hides it from her grandmother in order to keep it. The passport symbolizes being part of a global logic that overlaps with her sense of local belonging to the community in which she clings to her grandmother, and through her to a model of womanhood. Every secret is a secret of bliss and, above all, feminine. Even if it is not yet revealed, the passport acts as a title in Esty’s pockets. We can think that given the decay of Oedipus and the symbolic role of the father, it is because of the feminine that resides in the mother that Esty found a way out of the confinement that was becoming fit in her community. n the female character «we can see the sudden turn of fear into endless courage, when one hits what should be respected» (Miller, 2010a, s/p) A separation act that occurs while she is pregnant, with the help of another woman, her piano teacher, with whom she secretly took lessons. She arrives in Berlin[5] in search of a woman; who becomes her mother after the family secret is revealed and, perhaps, a different version to inhabit her own female duality.

 

The woman purposefully reduced to a fertilizing body

Not only the woman/mother/womb as the core of a successful series appears as a theme with a Jewish Orthodox background, but also as the backbone of a future that is projected as a possible Christian transmutation.

The Handmaid’s Tale was written by Margaret Atwood in 1984. An adaptation of the book was made into a movie in 1990, with a script by Harol Pinter. However, it was at the present time that the series created by Bruce Miller (2017-) became a publishing and visual success. Why such a success after almost 32 years from the publication of the book? What relationship can we establish between this story and the movement of the so-called fourth wave of feminism and the rise of religiously oriented authoritarianism in our contemporary world?

On that subject, less than two years ago, M. Atwood, in a letter she sent to a local newspaper, asked: «What kind of country do you want to live in? This is a direct address to the abortion debate. The title of this text is blunt: «A State of slavery?» (Atwood, 2018, s/p). This is the way the 80-year-old Canadian author calls out a state that forces its women to continue with unwanted pregnancies. Weeks ago, she had already burst into the discussion with a message to former Vice President Gabriela Michetti «Don’t look away from the thousands of deaths each year from illegal abortions. Give argentine women the right to choose» (Atwood, 2018), she had asked through social media. Today she returns, but with a more extensive and insightful text: \»Women who cannot make the decision on whether or not to have babies are slaves, because the State claims their bodies as property and the right to dictate the use to which their bodies should be put under» (Atwood, 2018, s/p).

The series presents a new political system in the United States. It is presented as «a restoration of tradition» with religious foundations, but with strong rational and scientific arguments: it will guarantee a rising birth rate in a world that, as a result of scientific advances, but also of women’s achievements, has led to a fall in fertility. The series also features flashbacks in which, while describing the new system, we go back in time to those ‘hints’ that could have warned the main character, and humanity, about what was ‘developing’. In the Republic of Gilead, Offred’s body has lost all its rights and her mission in society is reduced to procreation, as imposed by the strict rules established by the biblically-inspired puritanical dictatorship built on the Old Testament that rules the country. Her fertility determines her social place, as well as those of the other castes who, because they are not fertile, are placed in another role. It is a holy trinity that has been updated to the issues of science.

Offred (Defred in Spanish) is the name assigned to the main character when she becomes a maid. The etymology of the term Of-Fred (from Fred) already directly implies the character of the woman as property of a man. In his case, Offred is the «maid» of Fred, the commander. The young woman lives in the house of Major Fred Waterford and his wife Serena Joy, who is sterile, with the sole purpose of conceiving a child for the marriage.

If Offred revolts or if, by reluctantly agreeing to collaborate, she is unable to conceive, death by public execution or exile awaits her in order to die in a colony where she will succumb to the pollution of toxic waste. Thus, the regime controls with an iron fist even the smallest details of women’s lives: their food, their clothing, even their sexual activity.

It is a fortuitous fact that the story told is that of Offred, Fred’s maid whose public role was created by his brilliant wife Serena Joy. The series explains in time flashes how, before the regime was installed, Serena herself was the intellectual author of the need for women to return to their homes to exercise the function of care and to focus on the divine gift: the fertility that she cannot bear. Two women and a man. A man with the power granted by a woman who creates it to stay in her shadow. A body banished from the possibility of pleasure, as a territory of desire of another woman under a man’s power. The question that today’s era raises is the subrogation of wombs in the ruthless horizon of global capitalism. Women pregnant by choice or out of necessity?

In Unorthodox the Jewish community encourages fertilization to sustain the religious lineage, so the practice of the maternal role of the pregnant woman is not excluded. Religion lies in the womb that will give a child to the community. In The Handmaid’s Tale, the maids are women reduced to a gestational womb. Motherhood is attached to the woman who accompanies a man in his power. Children appropriated[6] in the names of religion, morality and the state.

Brousse (2019), in the text we have already discussed, states that

To place the mother in the father’s position when the family is dying and she shows herself to be no more than a herd of slaves led by dictators, is paid for by sacrificing the feminine. This series shows that, by being subjected to the sacrifice of the maternal, the feminine persists, as a reality impossible to overcome (…) Evidently the feminine makes a comeback: sexual desire and love in the maids-reproducers. (s/p)

A common theme that we also find in Unorthodox, the benefit of the deprivation at stake of the symptom of vaginismus is a way of » going on strike » against the imposed role of the mother. At the same time, a woman’s freedom of choice over her own body still remains a crime.

Finally, the ratio of the spoken word for a woman, in the religious cloak of both series, will never be comparable to that of a man. Just as women cannot expose the sheen of their voice to a man within the Orthodox Jewish setting, the maids of the Republic of Gilead cannot access the written word. «The handmaids’ tales» are those breaches that give women back the possibility of telling their story and to make it reach Canada, a bordering country where the regime does not exist. Esty and Offred recover their bodies, in that voice that resonates in the voice of every woman who is deprived
of her own body.

 

Believer in a state of disbelief

The Young Pope (2016-), by the prestigious Italian scriptwriter and director Paolo Sorrentino, tells the story of the pontification of 44-year-old American Lenny Belardo, who comes to power in the Vatican under the cloak of moderation, at a time when the public’s credibility and faith in their Church are at a low point.

The young pope called himself Pius XIII, the election of Sorrentino was not accidental, as it was the name of Lucian Pulvermacher, a German Catholic priest who was considered an antipope, although not an historical one. He was elected pope by the True Catholic Church in October 1998. He resided in his papal seat in the United States (nationality of the young pope). He was the leading figure of the True Catholic Church, a small group of conclaves, who claimed that Pope John Paul II and his immediate predecessors were neither true Catholics nor true popes, and that a new, legitimate pope could be elected by the faithful remnant of the sedevacantist movement.

In the show, far from holding a modest position among the Orthodox and progressive members of his clergy, Pius XIII states that the Catholic Church has been trivialized, but he doesn’t understand the euphoria of the believers in his presence, nor the commercialization of his image. For that reason, he doesn’t give interviews or speeches in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, with the intention that it is the people who come closer to God and the Church and not the other way around. On the one hand, the pope is a strong believer in the ideals of Catholic Orthodoxy, asserting them before his clergy as well as the faithful. He speaks out against abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality and pedophilia, imposing his will in the form of an authority that embodies an inflexible way of enjoying life rather than a cause that is homogeneous with certain imperatives of the time. The Pope is very young but his ideas are very old and radical. He wants to reinstall the order of the Master’s discourse in its place but he produces instead is a fundamentalism that causes a deep disorientation, from which he is not exempt. The return of his accusatory crushing is the very unbelief in the faith that he proclaims. The pope is a believer in a state of disbelief.

This point seems to be the main focus of the series, Belardo comes to the place of God’s presence on earth, he makes the Other of the Other exist, The Father of the Church. It is in that very place that his torment bursts through: he doubts his belief. The series puts this tension, the non-sexual relationship and the existence of the Other, at the centre. On a more comprehensive level, the series teaches, not without wit, that no matter how successful the discourse of true religion may be in producing meaning in the face of the rampant social regime of non-all, it fails to cover it up. On its own, the drama of the young pope, the man, is going through the abandonment of his parents. The more he takes the place as Father of the Church, the more ferocious is the return of the emptiness caused by parental neglect.

The hole caused by abandonment is compounded by the hole caused by the non-existence of the Other, which the presence of God evokes in the Catholic discourse does not succeed in stitching together. The disagreement between the belief and the non-existence of the Other makes the course of a deeply reactionary papacy more and more authoritarian, grim and dark, with a medieval discourse that shapes a god far from the more approachable values of the New Testament.

The Pope’s restlessness and uncertainty is carried by Sister Mary, a nun who raised him as a son since he was abandoned. In a man’s world, Sister Mary obtains a position of responsibility in the curia, and becomes one of the most influential people in the Vatican government.

This is the overview up to the last few chapters, a turning point for the pope that brings about a turn in the plot. Spencer, his mentor, by way of interpretation, tells him to bury two empty drawers in Venice ― a pope haunted by the shadow of the object. His papacy changes course when it loses what never existed. In a conversation with Gutierrez, Lenny states that Sister Maria has completed her mission, the baby Pope has become a man, he no longer needs a motherly presence.

Finally, he appears for the first time before a crowd of believers in Venice, who receive \with great joy the Holy Father’s message of hope. An act that instils belief. Perhaps, belief is what transcends the act.

In the crowd, the pope with his eye on the slit of his binoculars, is looked at by the gaze of an older couple of hippies, he sees his parents again. They feel his presence and retreat, a real image that breaks through where the fictional false hole of parental neglect should be. A naked reality, the one that gave body to the belief, appears. BOOM! the confusion, a body event, knocks him down on the floor… The Other does not exist.

 

Riding the wave of the feminine

The Church of Denmark is the largest of the Christian churches in Denmark. Lutheranism is a Protestant Christian religious movement founded by the German monk Martin Luther. In the Church of Denmark, there are two main branches: Grundtvigianism and the Internal Mission, the former having greater influence in the Church of Denmark. The second is an ultra-conservative Danish Lutheran group, created at the end of the 19th century, whose main «mission» is to maintain the integrity of the faith within the frontiers of Denmark.

Herrens Veje (the most reliable translation would be The Lord’s Ways or Ride Upon the storm) or its Spanish translation, Los caminos del Señor, which in Argentina has been translated as Something to Believe In (2017-2018) is a Danish series that tells the story of a family with a long religious background of more than 250 years, led by the Lutheran pastor Johannes Krogh. Johannes is married to Elisabeth and is the father of two children: August, a military chaplain, recently married and preferred by his father, and Christian, the eldest son, who refused to continue the family tradition. The beginning of the series is centred on the debate for the election of the new bishop of Copenhagen. In the first instance, the exchange of postulants for bishop revolves around the core of the National Church versus atheism. The main character’s stance is that we must go out and conquer the atheists:

― What do they believe in (…) Let’s bring atheists into the national church to discuss the meaning of life (…) I believe in God. Saying that is more controversial than telling you in detail about my last intercourse (…) I believe in God, it’s something
that generates a sort of uneasiness (…) The modern man needs something to believe in. He needs to assign a thought or emotion to what he cannot quantify (…) I believe in God. I live by that. (Something to believe in, Netflix: 2017-2018, 1.1)

These lines of the main character’s speech demonstrate the reason why Lacan proposed that religion would triumph over science and psychoanalysis, since it allows to make sense of what escapes the quantifying push, the other side of which is the fact that the master no longer functions as a warrant for the exception. The absence of the exception of the father implies a non-quantification, a non-limitation of enjoyment. Its consequence is the epoch of the non-all, which is characterized, among other things, by the multiple. This is a topic that we will address when we discuss the multiple evangelisms in Brazil and on a global scale.

During the period in which the bishopric would be defined between two candidates, Monica (second in the statistics) and Johannes (first candidate), the latter has the following conversation with his wife, Elisabeth:

―Listen to this, love ―Johannes says to his wife. ― It is essential to stop the departure of the members of the National Church, but we cannot expect to reach the numbers we used to see.

― Don’t talk too much about the numbers.

― No, that’ s the lady’s area.

― Don’t call her ‘lady’. She’s the respected rival candidate or just Monica Ravn.

― How about ‘my asexual rival candidate’? That’s funny.

― Tonight is not about being funny. (Something to believe in, Netflix: 2017-2018, 1.1)

 

In the final debate, the two candidates face each other in a public debate. In which, both candidates explain the Church’s position on Islam.

Monica: It is a world religion. Dialogue is the only way forward. There is room for all of us.

Johannes: Yes. Plenty of dialogue. Without it, we let the extremists control the discourse (Something to believe in, Netflix: 2017-2018, 1.1).

She reminds him of a note he wrote for The Cristian Daily and adds

 

― Did you change your mind?

Johannes answers:

― In my article I pointed out that the symbolic books of the national church, which are 500 years old, say that we condemn the Muslims. Islam is an unfaithful religion if you are a Christian, period.

― Do you believe that Muslims are unfaithful?

― Yes. You do too.

― I never said or wrote that.

― Christianity and Islam are two monotheistic religions. They condemn us for separating God into the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

― I think people would like to know what this would mean if you became a bishop.

― Nothing! I simply recognize the symbolic books and will not cowardly bow to political correctness when if you talk about Islam you are labelled a racist.

― So, you’re a coward if you don’t believe that Muslims are unfaithful?

― That’s not what I said and that’s women’s political correctness.

― Female?

― I guess that’s the gender of my respected rival. You’re a woman, right? (Something to believe in, Netflix: 2017-2018, 1.1)

 

This debate shows that, in the face of the dichotomy between atheists and Christians, it can be pointed to the bond. Not so in the case of the Muslims, where he «ties himself» to the scriptures and exposes, at the same time, his misogyny as a response to the failure of his calculation that we find in the conversation with his wife, which is why he loses the possibility of being the first bishop of the family. We can see that the structure of the debate between Johannes and Monica is set out in what Hegel called a struggle for sheer prestige, which leads to a master and a slave. Miller in «Woman of Courage» (2010a) uses Hegelian dialogue to argue that it might seem that men come out as masters and women as submissive, but he claims that this is not the case. The man, although he may seem to be in charge, is the slave, the servant. He is so because, in a structural way, the one who comes out as a servant from that struggle is the one who must protect something, in this case the family religious lineage. But if the female subject has nothing to protect, Monica knows that she is not the favourite candidate to assume the bishopric, she is in the structural position of the master. The will without rules such as foolishness, whim, fearlessness, and courage are on the side of the woman; while the Name-of-the-Father is the authority, but as far as the rules go, they become slippery and shaky at the time of their fall. Miller points to a mismatch: the man, master-servant, fits into the master’s discourse. Man masters are always only masters of servants, they are false masters. Whereas female domination is derived from a hysterical discourse, that is to say, from a position of a master without rules who denounces the false master, servant of the rules. “She’s in charge now, he no longer rules.” (Lacan, 1969-70 [1992], p. 137)

This tension between the master servant of tradition and the will without rules/courage ― close to heresy ― is Ariadne’s thread that unfolds in each of the stories.

The loss of the longed-for bishopric sends him spiralling into alcohol and infidelity. Belief in traditional religion crosses the same crossroads, as in today’s Denmark it is in retreat and is replaced by new and curious forms of spirituality, a sign of the fall of the Name-of-the-Father.

In Herrens Veje the characters are faced not only with a crisis of faith, but also with the difficulty of living up to their beliefs. The crisis of faith is a meeting point with The young pope. If belief binds the subject to the Other to whom he is the custodian of faith, this series implies «the divorce from the ideal; one can do without the ideal and the people, one can do without the Other, the ideals and scenarios that he proposes by a short-circuit that directly releases the bonus of enjoyment» (Miller and Laurent, 2005, p. 312).

Johannes wants his children, with a fixation in the way of a «being named for», to carry the weight of their ancestors who must be honoured, of the sacrifice that must be made, of the duty that must be fulfilled, of the path that must be followed. Their gaze turns to his younger son so that he may reach the glory that has been denied him. August struggles, pushed by his father, between serving God in his country and serving God in the Middle East. He chooses the latter. His stay in the war becomes ominous after killing a Muslim woman and on his return, he suffers a clinical psychosis. Meanwhile, Christian is discovered by a professor and a lecturer for plagiarizing his doctoral thesis. On a trip to Tibet, he confesses to his best friend that he has slept with his wife. Abandoned by his friend, he takes refuge in a Buddhist monastery where he starts his journey so as not to submit to his father’s pressure. He returns to his hometown to become a Buddhist and then becomes a New Age preacher. Towards the end of the story, as an omen of destiny, he becomes a shepherd.

Elisabeth is the family’s backbone, the place where all the men in the family, to a greater or lesser extent, take shelter. We can say that Herrens Veje‘s aim lies in the balance between believing in her ― the expression of the Overself, and believing her ― more on the side of courage[7] (Lacan, 1975). Responses to the feminine that underlie different qualities of faith. Using the formulas of sexuation, we can locate a belief, on the side of the Whole and the exception, that tends towards the orthodoxy of the superego that brings the Other into existence. On the female side of the formulas, we can pose a belief that tends more to heresy, to the signifier of the Other that does not exist.

When Johannes breaks the particular agreement with his wife regarding the non-sexual intercourse, his world, disguised behind a shop window, is shaken. Elizabeth discovers his infidelities and starts a romantic relationship with a woman.

Its creator, Adam Price, presents from the beginning the crisis of two institutions in Danish society, family and religion. The common denominator of the crises is the presence of a woman. The woman who keeps the bishopric, the murdered Muslim woman who later leads to the psychotic outbreak of the heir of the religious caste, the woman who discovers the plagiarism of the thesis, the woman who produces the rupture of the bond between Christian and his best friend and, finally, the woman who makes Elisabeth fall in love. The correlate of the divorce from the Ideal dictates, on the one hand, the imperative of the figurative superego in The Woman, Surmoitié (Lacan, 1972 [2012b], p. 492).

On the other hand, a woman as a belief, in the emptiness of a tornado, who turns over all the symbolic structures to which a man clings, sees the birth of a future reality that is the rise of women.

«Women are more sensitive to the signifier of the Other that does not exist and their social interests are weaker when it comes to the ideal, to which they have less relation to than men» (Miller and Laurent, 2005, p. 108).

This series demonstrates that a woman can either embody the heresy of tradition or push forward an orthodox radicalism. For both extremes, the feminine is its foundation, the starting point of all fiction. It’s necessary to have something to believe in to ride upon the storm

The rise of the brotherhood in a father’s downfall

In this section we will work on the triumph of the evangelical movements in Brazil over true religion, as Lacan indicated in The Triumph of Religion (1974 [2005]).

Jacques-Alain Miller introduces as an era reading the Lacanian syntagma «the Other that does not exist». In his course An effort at poetry he suggests a religious return at the precise point of the non-existence of the Other, a return of the master in the era where the role of exception seems to not be playing the game by establishing «the new realm of non-all» (Miller and Laurent, 2005, p. 109), which has the characteristics of the multiple, the unlimited, the contingent and the relocated.

In the article «Observations on the Evangelical field in Brazil» the authors, Ari Pedro Oro and Marcelo Tadvald (2019), state that, in order to understand better the integration of the evangelical groups in the Brazilian religious field, it’s useful to consider some historical aspects in the religious formation of this society. Catholicism was established as the dominant religion in most Latin-American countries during the colonization stage. In Brazil, after the proclamation of the Republic in 1889 and the establishment of the laic principle of separation of Church and State sanctioned by the Constitution of 1891, Catholicism did not disappear as the religion of Brazilians. So much so that even a close relationship continued to exist between Catholicism and Brazilians. However, for some decades now, Catholicism has been losing its status as the dominant religion in the country. During the same time, the evangelical churches have not stopped gaining followers. In 1940 they represented only 2.7% of the population. In 1990 they were already 9%, in 2000 they reached 15.4% and in 2020 they climbed to 22.2%. The tendency has been accentuated in the last decade. According to a Datafolha survey released in early 2020 by Folha de S. Paulo, Catholics are now 50% and Evangelicals 31%. A ratio that 80 years ago was 1 evangelical for every 35 Catholics, has become 1 for every 1.6 (Mizrahi, 2020).

Regarding the evangelical presence in Brazil, it is important to point out that its beginnings, starting in the 19th century, were the result of the missionary action of foreign pastors, mainly European and American, as well as immigrants, especially from Germany. The first ones implanted the «mission evangelism» (through the installation of the Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Adventist churches) and the second ones ― the German immigrants that started arriving to the south of the country in 1824 ― brought with them the Lutheran church. All of these churches are considered the core of the «historic» evangelical churches. But while these services expanded little during the 19th and 20th centuries because of a social environment shaped by religious intolerance, the 20th century saw the arrival of another evangelical segment with the advent of Pentecostalism. According to Paul Freston (1994), the history of Pentecostalism in Brazil can be thought of through the metaphor of «three waves», separated and consecutive.

The first wave covers the time between 1910 and 1950, when the Assembly of God, Christian Congregation and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel were founded.

Ari Pedro Oro and Marcelo Tadvald (2019) claim that the «second wave» of Pentecostalism adds names that originated in Brazil between the 1950s and 1970s. It inaugurated a popular form of evangelism that began to occupy large public spaces and established the practice of evangelization in the media of radio and television, adopting a model created in the United States by the first televangelists. Among its ritual practices, healing stands out, which is why the temples of this wave are also known as «divine healing agencies».

Finally, in the 1970s, the neo-Pentecostalist wave was formed. The forerunner church of this new wave was the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, founded in 1977 by Edir Macedo. These churches of the third Pentecostal wave are known for their institutional centralism in the hands of their founders and their business-style management base.

Evangelism adjusts religion to the sensibility of the social and cultural territory in which they livein and thus creates a bond that Catholicism cannot achieve (this is well represented in The Young Pope, when the Pope suggests that the believers come closer to the Church and not the other way around): preachings, organizations and cultural products adapted to the most diverse social and cultural contexts arise in this way from these same areas, generated by individuals who take advantage of the omnipresence and grammar of Pentecostalism. The group of evangelical churches and especially the ones of Pentecostalism also forged different types of educational and sports groups, mutual services and, especially, institutions of mass cultural production such as publishing houses, music labels and those of theological formation that, while they facilitate proselytizing activity, they give the evangelical world some density by creating transversal common denominators. The «theology of prosperity» is an example of this practicality; these churches favour forms of popular re-communization over the state’s absences. Because it is a religion that is more inherent than transcendent, as is Catholicism, it communicates better with society and the current economic system.

In the last decades, the integration and the presence of the evangelical church in the political field have taken on different characteristics from Catholicism. Although the Catholic Church has participated in politics, it rejects the inclusion of members of its own clergy in the performance on political positions.

The evangelical presence in politics was at the beginning of the 1980s with the introduction of democracy. Ari Pedro Oro and Marcelo Tadvald (2019) claim that in the legislative poll for the 1986 Constituent Congress, many of the evangelical leaders adopted the slogan «Brother votes brother». In other words, the idea was to elect their own representatives in the Legislative Power so that they would defend the principles and values of their church. The evangelical party obtained 33 legislators. They were active in the administration of Lula da Silva, whose vice president, José Alencar, was an evangelist. They also participated in the government of Dilma Rousseff, but they drifted away and hopped off the boat after the economic crisis of 2015 and 2016. In the last Brazilian elections, in 2018, the protagonism of the evangelicals was not limited to the successful renovation of their representatives within the National Congress (the evangelical party has almost tripled in size since 1986), but it was also crucial in the election of the current president of the Republic, Jair Messias Bolsonaro. While still a presidential candidate, Bolsonaro obtained the explicit support of great leaders of Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal churches. The different polls showed that, in the face of the second round of elections held on October 28, 2018, the inclination in favor of Bolsonaro among evangelical voters reached 70%. Although Bolsonaro is of Catholic formation, he developed an intense bond with these religious sectors, which intensified in May 2016, when he was converted and baptized in the waters of the Jordan River by Everaldo Pereira, president of the Christian Social Party and pastor of the Assembly of God. Pentecostalism has produced conversions and crowds of believers all over the world. The movement has the great ability to link its message to local spiritualities, as well as to promote flexible, varied and easily appropriated forms of organization, theology and liturgy through which it’s spread among the most diverse groups of people in different national settings. Jacques-Alain Miller (2017) argues that what we witness today in religion itself is the potential rise of choice, of the practice of the choice of conversion. The rise of choice would be one of the reasons why evangelism succeeds over Catholicism. The election takes the form of conversion, and it’s especially the core of evangelical Protestantism, which is very strong in Brazil, where it’s gaining ground every day compared to Catholicism. There is a turning point in the practice of baptism. Traditionally it was given at birth, a sign of grace given to us as a heritage. In the evangelists, baptism is given after the choice of conversion and gives birth to a community founded on choice and not on inheritance.

The elective similarities between Bolsonaro and the evangelicals are based on the creation of an image of a moral candidate, willing to defend Christian values and the traditional family and positioned against corruption and gender ideology, especially in schools. As a person, his main weapon in this field is Damares Alves, Minister of Women, Family and Human Rights. She is a pastor of the Lagoinha Baptist Church and became one of the most controversial officials in the cabinet for some of her statements. Shortly after she took over, a video celebrating the beginning of a new era was viralized, in which «the boys wear blue and the girls pink» (Mizrahi, 2020). She later questioned whether the theory of evolution should be taught in schools and argued for a return to religious education. The more open and inclusive human rights become, the more radical the responses of some religions. The latest scandal came when she proposed sexual abstinence as a policy against teenage pregnancy. In a world with institutions and collective identities in crisis, it’s the religious that comes to set up an entrenched order. Lacan anticipated the return of racism and religious fundamentalism which, with the appearance of imposing order and civilization, is nothing more than the return to the heart of segregation, which is to annihilate, and reject the particular way in which the Other rejoices. That is to say, the successful return of this process. «Our future of common markets will find its counterbalance in the increasingly harsh spreading of the processes of segregation» (Lacan, 1967 [2012b], p. 276). In Brazil, there is a clear regression in terms of human rights.[8] Their success in gaining followers is mainly explained by the fact that they have a discourse more in line with the spirit of capitalism, unlike religions ― such as the Judaeo-Christian one ― which are still attached to traditions from another time.

At this time, different aspects of the evangelical experience may not only be attractive to politicians who invite them or to evangelicals who try to turn religious preaching into political power, but it outlines a project concerning the quest of society as a whole for Christian values. It is not a question of random values: in the historical context in which this strong political investment takes place, the evangelicals will emphasize opposition to equal marriage and to the legalization of the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, certain limitations to religious pluralism that should be exercised against sects and Afro-American religions and even, in some cases, the pursuit of a process of regulation of religious matters that would affect the independent expressions of Pentecostalism.

In fact, in his article «Who are they? Why do they grow up? What do they believe in? Pentecostalism and politics in Latin-America», Pablo Semán (2019) considers that the concrete progress and dissemination of gender and diversity rights agenda in the last decades in Latin-America, has brought about a reaction that neither analysts nor actors were able to foresee, let alone control. As these transformations progressed, often more rapidly than would have been imagined, in the State and in political parties, including those in the centre and the left, they have bred, in other areas of society and behind the back of the sense of undefined progress that attended the reformer groups, an underground buzz and opposition that was capitalized on to a great extent by the evangelicals.

Here we can specifically distinguish the evangelical operation in the contemporary wave of neoliberalism: not only do they represent the response against the gender and diversity agenda of their own religious bases, but their own growth shapes the political and psychological environment where the intensity of resistance to this emancipatory agenda is developed. Pentecostalism has a much stronger influence through the cultural transformation that its growth implies than through the directing of the believers’ votes. It goes without saying that all this occursin a much larger and more complex framework: the shift to the right or the persistence on the right in different Latin-American countries is due to numerous reasons.

In short, as Pablo Semán (2019) has stated, the case of evangelical expansion reveals the fragility of a certainty that we must question: it is difficult for secularization to function as the intervention of a wall capable of cancelling out approximately all exchanges between the world of religion and politics. Rather, what happens is that the modern capacity to understand the radical eventuality of our historical social world must be applied to the case of religions in order to comprehend that modernity, far from signifying the end of religions, is a mechanism that, while separately establishing the domain of religion, articulates transformations, permutations and exchanges which ensures that religions remain constantly changing and always re-emerging.

Final remarks

The world of the TV series shows the world of a serial crisis. We have worked on The Triumph of Religion (1974 [2005]) from the perspective of the non-all system that leads to the unlimited, the scattered and the multiple. «religion was thought for that purpose, to heal men, that is to say, so that they don’t realize what doesn’t work» (Lacan, 1974 [2005], p. 86). Lacan states that religion realized what its possibility is in the presence of science (linked to capitalism): meaning; where talking beings radically lose their temper, non-sexual relationship. Religions prescribe on what the sexual relationship should be, and this is the root of their power, of their contemporary efficiency regarding the discourse of science, states Miller. (2012)

The success of religions, limited to the era of the fall of the name-of-the-father, can be described in two ways:

1- The triumph is no longer so much of the traditional religion but of the religious, as we have already established. The religious is the religion that has been freed from everything that can support it as an institution, as an official power, as an institutional income, with a group of speakers, writers and members of the media who take over. We are referring to those religious communities that enact at any cost with capitalism. In fact, in the face of the decline of the authority of the S1, the dictatorial and authoritarian forces currently use religious discourse to impose themselves, as is evident in Brazil’s neo-Pentecostal evangelism and The Handmaid’s Tale. In that way, we read a successful link between the religious and the liberalism of capital.

2- In a world connected to an increasingly open system, the response of traditional religions, such as Catholicism and Judaism, is a «return to tradition» that is becoming more and more radical and closed. These religious communities are becoming more orthodox, turning in on themselves and becoming isolated, as Unorthodox, The Young Pope, and Herrens veje, show. Although these religions are losing their followers, they will know how to come up with something, as they have already done, to continue to perpetuate themselves over the centuries.

In both of these religious practices we can place a theoretical religious impulse ― which goes against the experience of private religion, shaping the social bond and regulating the speaker’s relationship to its body ― that surrounds the «being named for» (Lacan, 1974, s/p). It is an imperative nomination that clogs the subject into what the religious Other demands of it, plugging the space that separates it from such identification. Such as being, the urge to be a mother in Judaism, the reduction of women to a body that only gestates in The Handmaid’s Tale, the effort to the fate of inheritance in Herrens Veje. «Being named for» verifies that before the father’s downfall and the power of the spoken word, it establishes itself as an order of steel, bringing back to reality the father of bliss, that is to say, the foundation of the modern superego

Notes

[1] Islam wasn’t intimidated by the scientific speech, as Judaism and Christianity were, for Allah is not a father. Allah is the One. He is an absolute One through whom an individual, identified as a servant of Allah’s desire, becomes an agent of the will. Islam is especially suited to give a social form to non-sexual relationships. Miller sees it as a lifesaver for the disoriented modern man, giving him the possibility of a new alliance between identity and drive. Miller, J.-A. (2015) «In the direction of adolescence» in The Psychoanalysis 28. ELP: Madrid.

[2] About 75,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews live in Williamsburg, according to the latest statistics from the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), 2013. And like many ultra-Orthodox communities in Israel, Williamsburg is severely impoverished. The combination of a high birth rate and low household income gives the neighborhood poverty rates of 55% and near-poverty rates of 17%, according to the UJA.

[3] What Feldman said about it was, «Dreadful. Devastating. You feel like your body is suddenly out of your jurisdiction.»

[4] «That father’s name is substituted by a function that is none other than «naming for». To be appointed to  something is what stands out here in an order that effectively replaces the father’s name. To be appointed to something is to prefer what is related to the father’s name; an order that is made of iron is restored». (Lacan, 1973-4, Class of March 19, 1974, unpublished)

[5] When I saw this fragment of the series, I was reminded of the film «And Along Come Tourists» (Am Ende kommen Touristen, Germany: 2007)

[6] In her book, the author explains that she drew inspiration from the appropriation of children during the last civic-military dictatorship in Argentina.

[7] Lacan in the class of January 21, 1975, in «RSI» stated: «A woman in a man’s life is something he believes in (…) If she asks for our help, our assistance, it is because she believes that the symptom is capable of saying something and that it’s only necessary to decipher it. It’s the same with a woman, except that one might believe that she is actually saying something. That’s when she plays the game of the stopper- to believe in it, one must believe her. One believes what she says (…) The difference is however, between believing in (her), in the symptom, or believing her. It is what makes the difference between neurosis and psychosis».

[8] One example would be J. Butler, who at the end of 2017 couldn’t give a lecture in São Paulo because of a demonstration by Christians, homophobes and conservatives who gathered more than 300,000 signatures saying: «Judith Butler is not welcome» or #ForaButler, proving the political weight of fundamentalist groups under the cover of religion.

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