Death, Alexander McQueen, Judas and Martin Luther King

Was Judas a friend or foe of Jesus Chris?

Such is an ongoing theological debate: that those who attended – in Christ’s presence – the gospel passover, must do what Christ says, is it not therefore telling that Christ tells Judas that he is the one who must betray him. What is revealing in Judas’ subservient answer “Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said” (Matthew 26:25)?

What exactly are the co-ordinates of doing betrayal to someone who has asked, and that you follow their every command? A peculiar anomaly.

Slavoj Zizek has used this as an example of the vanishing mediator in his book The Puppet and the Dwarf precisely because Judas – rather than being any sort of anti-Christ, worse than the other disciples – is the invisible debtor to Christianity’s history, success. For Christianity to follow on as usual, Christ needed to have a follower do betrayal of him.

Zizek explains that Freud did this with Judaism, but also a weird Freudian slip informed us of the vanishing mediator at work in the case of Martin Luther King. At an event set to commemorate King, the people of Lauderville, Florida, invited actor James Earl Jones to do a speech in 2002, even going as far as presenting Jones with a plaque as a way of thanks. Unfortunately however they presented him with a plaque which stated the name James Earl Ray – the man who shot and killed Martin Luther King – and thanked him for keeping the dream alive.

Zizek in his inimitable way calls this a Freudian slip, but surely it is just a fuck-up. Not so, a Freudian slip implies there is an element of truth, kept under wraps so to speak, about a statement. Zizek goes on to explain that Martin Luther King, weeks before he was shot, engaged in workers rallies and championed the proletarian cause with both white and black workers. If this had been any more established King would’ve been written in history as a activist of workers rights, and not part of the civil rights movement – a position that is fully congruent with American ideology – proven today by the presidency of Barack Obama.

So in this sense, James Earl Ray having killed King at the right time has meant that the dream has been kept alive – and not obscured in the ether of workers’ movements in America.

Love, in the case of Judas, is betrayal. With James Earl Ray, he is the man with whom to thank for Martin Luther King’s dream being woven in to the fabric of the American soul.

Unfortunately, with our proximity to the situation – with our fixedness in time – we are unable to prescribe what a vanishing mediator will be to a certain situation. As with all notions of cause and effect, who can tell what the effect will be when we are situationally only a part of the cause, and who can tell what the cause is of ourselves – ourselves being, itself, a cause. Maybe this is why Alexander McQueen has died? Perhaps the death of his Mother provided the grounds with whichn to pursue another new fashion epoch? Or better still, can this model show that fashion has “glimpse[d its …] own mortality” – to misquote the wisdom of the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Linlithgow and Falkirk East in the 2005 General Election.

Maybe not.


3 Responses to Death, Alexander McQueen, Judas and Martin Luther King

  1. Pingback: James Earl Ray, the vanishing mediator? « Though Cowards Flinch

  2. Scott Thong says:

    IMH conjecture, if Judas hadn’t done it, Simon the Zealot would have been the one, in order to force Jesus to overthrow the Romans as Jesus Christ: Superstar portrayed (and as per Zealot ideology). In fact, Judas and Simon were paired to go town to town.

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