Wednesday, September 21, 2016

UCSD Fall 2016 | CAT 125 | I/EYEgasm Mutations of the Broadcasted Self in the Chaotic Digital Age of Sex & Race | Dr. William A. Nericcio

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CAT 125
Mutations of the Broadcasted Self 
in the Chaotic Digital Age of Sex & Race

Dr. William Anthony Nericcio
phone: 619.594.1524
Office Hours: Mondays & Wednesdays,
before class at The Loft, 11:30am to 12:40pm

“I couldn't decide whether I was writing the characters, or whether the characters were writing me, or whether we were all one and the same.”

--David Bowie, musing on the last night he
performed as Ziggy Stardust with the Spiders from Mars

our UCSD course catalogue refers to this class as “Public Rhetoric and Practical Communication” and, indeed, we will, in the course of the Fall quarter, explore the spheres of rhetoric, communication, and—brace for it—the joys of “writing a resume.” But we will also be embarked on other, related perhaps more profound missions!

Together, we will explore the following questions: What is “self” and what goes into its manufacture?  In order to answer those questions (and to keep our adventure timely and of value for undergraduates from across the disciplines) we will be grappling with contemporary debates that impact on our construction and “branding” of our self in worlds analog and digital.  Other questions we will work with this semester include: What is a memoir? What is a self-portrait? Why does it feel so good to have our pictures liked by unseen entities, the digitized shadows of others, connected to us by the bizarre electronic network that is the internet? What is the relationship of our Facebook page to our Self?  Are living through a paradigm shift?—a watershed epoch where something as basic as the “I” is totally being rewritten by our obsession with digitized eyes! 

In our class I will speak of hygiene’s cousin, “Eyegiene,” and of something I call “I/EYEgasm”—where the addictive hedonizing pleasure of the visually digitized world evolves into the virtual equivalent of crystal meth.  I/EYEgasm is a made-up word, a neologism, that attempts to speak to our common experiences with mass media today—is it possible that the mesh of our minds with technology, our daily ritural of touching/seeing screens (computer screens, smartphone screens, television screens) comes to infect/dominate our lives? Eyes wide open, so to speak, these screens become electric, naked mirrors, concealing nothing, revealing all.

The various works we encounter this term will teach us to rethink, rewrite, and reimagine what it is we call to consciousness when we picture the contours of the human mind--in the process, we will learn to tell stories of our selves, share representations of ourselves that just might move someone else (and get you a job, career, future!).

During the semester we will hang out with a wide-ranging and eclectic group of characters including Banksy, the epic #streetart maven cum moviemaker with Exit Through the Gift Shop; Frida Kahlo, who basically rewrites the notion of the self-portrait in oil painting and beyond; Nathanael West, American novelist and arch satirist cynic whose Miss Lonelyhearts will singe your existential synapses; and Dan Clowes, infamous graphic narrative guru whose Ghost World redefines notions of being for a 21st century audience—also making cameos? Marshall McLuhan, Siggy Freud, John Berger, and LA Playwright Oliver Mayer.

{Please note that you must have the old school PRINT version of the books for our class as electronic versions are to be avoided.}

Sections/Teaching Assistants
CAT 125A

click to enlarge

Required Books:

1. The Medium is the Massage 9th Edition by Marshall McLuhan  (Author), Quentin Fiore (Author), Shepard Fairey  (Illustrator)
Publisher: Gingko Press; 9th edition (August 1, 2001)
ISBN-10: 1584230703
ISBN-13: 978-1584230700

2. Freud for Beginners Paperback –by Richard Appignanesi  (Author), Oscar Zarate
Publisher: Pantheon (July 15, 2003)
ISBN-10: 037571460X
ISBN-13: 978-0375714603

3. Ways of Seeing: Based on the BBC Television Series Paperback – by John Berger  (Author)
Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (December 1, 1990)
ISBN-10: 0140135154
ISBN-13: 978-0140135152

4. Kahlo–by Andrea Kettenmann (Author)
Publisher: Taschen (September 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 383650085X
ISBN-13: 978-3836500852

5. Ghost World– by Daniel Clowes (Author)
Publisher: Fantagraphics (April 1, 2001)
ISBN-10: 1560974273
ISBN-13: 978-1560974277

6. Miss Lonelyhearts Paperback –by Nathanael West (Author), Harold Bloom (Introduction)
Publisher: New Directions; Reprint edition (July 17, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0811220931
ISBN-13: 978-0811220934

The Hurt Business: Oliver Mayer's Early Works [+] PLUS Paperback –
by Oliver Mayer, William Nericcio, Editor
Publisher: Hyperbole Books, San Diego State University Press; 1st edition
ISBN-10: 1879691841
ISBN-13: 978-1879691841

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Eyegasm Books | UCSD | Fall 2016

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The First Baby Steps Toward the New Eyegiene Exhibition

With any luck in the next year I will put the final touches on Eyegiene: Permutations of Subjectivity in the Televisual Age of Sex and Race--as I have done with Mextasy (the bastard child of Tex[t]-Mex), Eyegiene will have a traveling pop-up museum exhibition trailing in its wake.  Today, I found a centerpiece for that installation at the San Diego Vintage Flea Market in North Park.

Here they are off my Instagram account:

#sdvintagefleamarket score! First major artifact for the #eyegiene exhibition!

A photo posted by william anthony nericcio (@william.nericcio) on

and here, a 2nd shot showing other delights I saw but opted not to buy--I am too much of a hoarder (er, curator) as it is!

Great day at #sdvintagefleamarket

A photo posted by william anthony nericcio (@william.nericcio) on

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Checklist for #psychedelicmirrors Required Books | English 220 | Professor William Nericcio

Below appears a guide to the editions that are required for #psychedelicmirrors, fall 2016 @ SDSU with Professor Nericcio.  This appears here as a handy guide! YOU ARE NOT required to purchase these books using these links!!!!!

Note that the LAST TWO BOOKS that appear below are NOT REQUIRED and only appear here for reference.  TO REPEAT: MAUS and LA FRONTERA CRYSTAL, in Spanish, are NOT REQUIRED AT ALL FOR THE CLASS!!!!

NOTE ALSO: DO NOT buy the Magnum POP 60s book here from AMAZON--I negotiated you a much much cheaper special rate at the Aztec Bookstore!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Eyegiene: Permutations of Subjectivity in the Televisual Age of Sex and Race OR Further Visual Culture Adventures in a Optical Vein } repost 3/08

This originally appeared on March 2008 | updated November 2010! {source} | Reposted 4, October 2015.

Eyegiene is the working title of my next book now that I have just finished The Hurt Business: Oliver Mayer's Early Works [+] PLUS for Hyperbole Books, an imprint of San Diego State University Press--I hang my hat there as an editor when I am not slaving away on this blog, directing my beloved MALAS program, or shilling my book on the lecture trail.

In Eyegiene, I hope to weave together various and sundry visual cultural studies essays that have appeared here and there over the years (my Pee-wee Herman spectacle of masturbation essay; the artif[r]acture/graphic narrative piece that appeared in Mosaic, etc.)--plus others that have never seen the light of day ("Almost Like Laredo") and yet others to be pre-authored here on this blog.

The neologism "eyegiene," recently ripped off by a Euro toilet sanitation company (!), is a theoretical attempt to fuse together various interests and tendencies I have observed and written about with regard to late 20th- and early 21st-century culture. As I have tried to show in these pages, practicing proper eyegiene ("Lorenzo! Turn off the TV; Sofia! Get off that Gameboy) refers to a circuit of scenes, a matrix of spectacles wherein the logic and policing of seeing is meditated--imagine a cultural studies volume that fuses together an obsession for Michael Powell's Peeping Tom, a predilection for Man Ray's collaborations with Meret Oppenheim, dreams about Frida Kahlo's illustrated diary, and interrogations of Chris Ware's illustrated visions, and you begin to parse the myriad and electric bodies (both bodies of ink and bodies of light) that Eyegiene voyeuristically surveys.

For an example, let us take the case of a Pancho Villa votive candle I purchased at a H.E.B. grocery store in Laredo, Texas:

It is as if two spectral and spacial universes were conjoined in one artifact: first, and foremost, there is the universe of the votive candle in Mexican Catholic and Mexican spiritual culture--there, the shifting shapes of uncanny heated light moving through colored glass conjure the presence of saints, and God, and gods, and Jesuscristo for millions of believers; not for nothing are altars from Oaxaca to Monterrey, from East L.A. to Chicago, adorned with the colored lights of votive candles' orange tongues.

The other universe, also ubiquitous, also very "Mexican," is the cult of the revolutionary--the Patrón culture of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico is rife with tales of militant luminaries: cult figures with outsized personalities who through a combination of wit, savvy, strength, and luck, change the face of Mexico forever--Emiliano Zapata is one of these "saints," Pancho Villa, aka Doroteo Arango, another.

The syncretic fusion of Catholic spirituality with Mexican revolutionary iconography--not to mention the other "pagan" spiritual traditions of Mexico's rich cultural spaces--ends up on the shelf of a Laredo H.E.B. Proof positive that the gods have a rich sense of humor.

more soon...

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Blaxploitation Chapter in Eyegiene

A key bridge-chapter of Eyegiene delves into the blaxploitation rage in American cinema in the 70s epitomized by Super Fly in 1972 and  Mandingo in 1975--in any event, this is as good a time as any to archive here on the Eyegiene blog this priceless piece of graphic amazingness.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Hallucinating Mirrors Required Books, Fall 2015

Please do note that though my book Tex[t]-Mex is listed below--it is NOT a required book for the class; it is only recommended!  Cheers,

Bill Nericcio

Tuesday, April 21, 2015



#refer to page numbers in the NORTON CRITICAL EDITION


fancy (n.) Look up fancy at
mid-15c., fantsy "inclination, liking," contraction of fantasy. It took the older and longer word's sense of "inclination, whim, desire." Meaning "the productive imagination" is from 1580s. That of "a fanciful image or conception" is from 1660s. Meaning "fans of an amusement or sport, collectively" is attested by 1735, especially (though not originally) of the prize ring. The adjective is recorded from 1751 in the sense "fine, elegant, ornamental" (opposed to plain); later as "involving fancy, of a fanciful nature" (1800). Fancy man attested by 1811.
fancy (v.) Look up fancy at
"take a liking to," 1540s, a contraction of fantasien "to fantasize (about)," from fantasy (n.). Meaning "imagine" is from 1550s. Related: Fancied; fancies; fancying. Colloquial use in fancy that, etc. is recorded by 1813.
fantasy (n.) Look up fantasy at
early 14c., "illusory appearance," from Old French fantaisie, phantasie "vision, imagination" (14c.), from Latin phantasia, from Greek phantasia "power of imagination; appearance, image, perception," from phantazesthai "picture to oneself," from phantos "visible," from phainesthai "appear," in late Greek "to imagine, have visions," related to phaos, phos "light," phainein "to show, to bring to light" (see phantasm). Sense of "whimsical notion, illusion" is pre-1400, followed by that of "fantastic imagination," which is first attested 1530s. Sense of "day-dream based on desires" is from 1926. In early use in English also fantasie, phantasy, etc. As the name of a fiction genre, from 1949.

3. Hawthorne's goal in the novel.

5. Note the Narrator's tone--personable, talking to us!

5. House has a face.Faces and Pictures are motifs of the novel! 

7. Colonel Pyncheon vs Matthew Maule--the curse!!!!

9. Literature and Empire--note Hawthorne's goal in writing the novel; to create a mythology for the United States... nation = narration...  also note, Maule's son! builds the cursed house!

12-13: Keep your eye on the picture!!!!  the framed portrait...

 16-17: Not just the portrait, but now the mirror, and, in a few pages, the waters of Maule's well.... all are looking glasses embodying corruption!!!  a house of mirrors and portraits and more

mesmerism (n.) Look up mesmerism at
"hypnotism," 1802, from French mesmérisme, named for Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), Austrian physician who developed a theory of animal magnetism and a mysterious body fluid which allows one person to hypnotize another. Related: Mesmerist.


  A therapeutic doctrine or system, first popularized by Mesmer, according to which a trained practitioner can induce a hypnotic state in a patient by the exercise of a force (called by Mesmer animal magnetism); the process or practice of inducing such a state; the state so induced, or the force supposed to operate in inducing it.Mesmer's claims were not substantiated by a scientific commission established by Louis XVI in 1784 including Benjamin Franklin and Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier. His techniques, however, had great popular appeal and were variously developed by other practitioners in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, ultimately forming the basis of the modern practice of hypnosis.

 21. Maule's family as DREAM controllers!

23-24. Meeting Hepzibah!!!  Yes, you need to know how to spell her name!! Note the Narrator again--narrator as protagonist/ghost/presence.... Note also, the Daguerrotypist, Holgrave, Daguerrotypes/Like the camera in Boucicault's OCTOROON!!!!

25. Hepzibah's fetish object--the picture of Clifford Pyncheon!!!!!

29. in the 1800s, US like UK--class boundaries are barbedwired!!!! Thou shall not cross--Hepzibah's fall to shopkeeper epic!

35. Look up the old words--they matter


anathema, n.

View as: 
Pronunciation:  /əˈnæθɪmə/
Forms:  Pl. anathemas; also, in sense 3, anaˈthemata.
Etymology:  < Latin anathema an excommunicated person, also the curse of excommunication, < Greek ἀνάθεμα , originally ‘a thing devoted,’ but in later usage ‘a thing devoted to evil, an accursed thing’ (see Rom. ix. 3). Originally a variant of ἀνάθημα an offering, a thing set up (to the gods), n. of product < ἀνατιθέναι to set up, < ἀνά up + τιθέναι (stem θε- ) to place. Compare anathem n., and anatheme n.(Show Less)
 I. From ecclesiastical Greek and Latin.

 1. Anything accursed, or consigned to damnation. Also quasi-adj. Accursed, consigned to perdition.

1526   Bible (Tyndale) 1 Cor. xvi. 22   Yf eny man love not the lorde Jesus Christ, the same be anathema maranatha. [ Wyclif, Be he cursid, mara natha. 1611 Let him bee Anathema Maranatha. 1881 ( Revised) Let him be Anathema. Maranatha.]
1625   Bacon Ess. (new ed.) 71   He would wish to be an Anathema from Christ, for the Saluation of his Brethren.
1634   J. Canne Necessitie of Separation iii. 146   Delivered over unto Satan, proclaimed Publicans, Heathens, Anathema.
1765   A. Tucker Light of Nature II. 299   Saint Paul wished to become anathema himself, so he could thereby save his brethren.
 2. The formal act, or formula, of consigning to damnation.

 a. The curse of God.

a1631   J. Donne Βιαθανατος (1647) iii. iv. §10   Which Anathema..was utter damnation, as all Expositors say.
1756   E. Burke Vindic. Nat. Society 81   The Divine thunders out his Anathemas.
1877   J. B. Mozley Univ. Serm. ii. 37   To strike with His anathema those who made a gain of their virtues.

 b. The great curse of the church, cutting off a person from the communion of the church visible, and formally handing him over to Satan; or denouncing any doctrine or practice as damnable.

1590   H. Swinburne Briefe Treat. Test. 60   Vnlesse he be excommunicate with that great curse, which is called Anathema.
1642   T. Fuller Holy State v. xi. 404   The Donatists, whilest blessing themselves, cared not for the Churches Anathema's.
1726   J. Ayliffe Parergon Juris Canonici Anglicani 256   An Anathema..differs from an Excommunication only in respect of a greater kind of Solemnity.
1769   W. Robertson Hist. Charles V III. viii. 71   Against all who disclaimed the truth of these tenets, anathemas were denounced.
1844   W. E. Gladstone Gleanings V. xlv. 114   The Pope..has condemned the slave trade—but no more heed is paid to his anathema than to the passing wind.

 c. Any denunciation or imprecation of divine wrath against alleged impiety, heresy, etc.

1782   J. Priestley Inst. Relig. II. 80   The Mohammedans denounce anathemas against unbelievers.
1850   W. E. Gladstone Gleanings V. xiv. 182   To deliver over to anathema the memories of our forefathers in the Church.

 d. A curse or imprecation generally.(The weakening of the sense has accompanied the free use of anathemas as weapons of ecclesiastical rancour.)

 43. Note when we meet Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon, the narrator thinks of an encounter between him and a portrait maker--Hawthorne means for you to be thinking  of the portrait of the ancestor, Colonel Pycheon, and of the Colonel who died beneath his facsimile!

the play of facsimiles is at the heart of the THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES....

44. Narrator says that portrait painters capture the soul of the sitter!!!  Read THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY over the summer if you dig books that explore this idea!

49. Keep your EYES on Hawthorne's similes! the analogies he draws with the words AS and LIKE...  'like the teasing phantasms'

51. Names are important--Phoebe, one of the first titan daughters, associated with the moon, but also, with light... dark light, bringing light to dark, watch what Phoebe brings to THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES...

Phoebe (mythology)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Phoebe (disambiguation).
In ancient Greek religion, "radiant, bright, prophetic" Phoebe (/ˈfb/; Greek: Φοίβη Phoibe), was one of the original Titans, who were one set of sons and daughters of Uranus and Gaia.[1] She was traditionally associated with the moon (see Selene), as in Michael Drayton's Endimion and Phœbe, (1595), the first extended treatment of the Endymion myth in English. Her consort was her brother Coeus, with whom she had two daughters, Leto, who bore Apollo and Artemis, and Asteria, a star-goddess who bore an only daughter Hecate.[2] Given the meaning of her name and her association with the Delphic oracle, Phoebe was perhaps seen as the Titan goddess of prophecy and oracular intellect.

62. the "Hipster" Mr. Holgrave, hanging out with all kinds of progressive movements!!!!  also a mesmerist!!!! the idea that people that paint or take pictures are bound up with the occult--think here of the frieze that norbert loves, think here of gregor samsa's precious magazine picture of the lady with the muff, think here of theodore with his hot OS...  Holgrave is of the ilk that conjure these manifestations, these facsimiles of the human, that mesmerize!!!!

67.  Holgrave shows daguerreotype of Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon to Phoebe--she thinks it is the Colonel, Colonel Pyncheon... augury

68. Clifford's womanly face! + 78 79 82

69. the poison of Maule's well... do not drink/do not look!!!!

86/87: shape shifting judge pyncheon!!!!

88/89: Colonel/Judge both have misogyny issues... misogyny and male violence...

87 GABLES as treaty on Aesthetics/Beauty and the Ugly/Grotesque... poor Hepzibah!

110: Maule's Well as mirror!