Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Your Questions, Answered. Or, What The @$%# Is a Panopticon?

Mark and now Mush have both asked what the hell the title of this blog means. Here's the short form.

The original "panopticon" (derived from the Greek for "a device in which everything can be seen") was a design for a model prison, created by the British philosopher Jeremy Bentham (whose theory of Utilitarianism kicked my ass freshman year).

Within the panopticon, prisoners could theoretically be seen at all times in all places by the guard/inspector, whom they could not see. (If you'd like to have a look at the design, and read more, this is a good place to begin.)

What I liked about this as a blog title was the idea that it could be taken two ways:
  1. By reading this, you've got me under surveillance. Anybody can see what I write in here, without me knowing they're reading it. (Hi, Mom.)

  2. At the same time, anyone who comes into my view may wind up on display without knowing it–the reverse of the above relationship. Fair is fair.
What I also like about this as a blog title was that it makes no references to "rants" or "musings." I try not to do those things in here.

Hearing me rant is the almost exclusive burden of the preternaturally patient C, whom I try to recompense in many and varied ways.

Hearing me muse is the almost exclusive privilege of the little blue man who lives in my head and often tells me to do wicked things.

He says that right now I should go eat a lot of sausage pizza.

25 comments:

Jon said...

Yummy! I love sausage pizza, with onions on it, of course. Unfortunately, I don't like Chicago style pizza...there's too much cheese.

leah said...

Have I mentioned lately how much I love reading you?

(mmm... sausage pizza with onions)

markknitz said...

oohhh, okay. i like it. although i don't like to think of you as a prisoner. like leah, i love to read you daily. have good pizza!

C said...

Burden, schmurden. You know I love your musings. Not to mention you give good rant.

goblinbox said...

I read you every day. Your little blue man feeds you well. Thank God you reward C... properly. And thank you especially for the definition! I feared that you *felt* like you were in a panoption (like, all the time), and that made me sad.

(Oh, and I'm just a rather inactive member of that Bootie Along blog; my real link is here.)

Felicia said...

I'm with Leah. I love your blog. I knew what a "panopticon" was the first time I caught your blog. I did look it up, just to make sure what I was thinking was what the true meaning of the word is.

I'd like to have a bunch of hot men in my own personal Panopticon.

I'll stop there. You really don't want to know the rest!

Don't go to prison. I've heard there are no Chinese buffets in prison. As soon as they start having a nightly buffet with Mongolian bbq, crab legs, kimchee, and sushi-- then I might go for my life of crime. I'd start by knocking off LYSs!

Lori Witzel said...

Found you, who knows how, but was tickled to see another Panopticon blossoming -- I've linked to one, a gent who has a rather dark (as in tonal range) photoblog.

And I really enjoy your writing style. You've almost gotten me considering knitting -- quite a feat!

Now, back for more browsing your site...

EUGEN K BEUGLER said...

Hi Franklin,

Just got introduced to your blogspot by a friend. Great reading. I was particularly impressed with your cartoons, and the one that really got my attention was the spiders mentioning Barbara Walker. As a seasoned lace knitter this cartoon has great meaning for me. I would like to see it on bags, T-shirts, and especially cards. A simple card with blank interior would be very saleable in my opinion. I'm up for at least 100! Gene B (laceknit@uoregon.edu)

Janet said...

Love the blog. But how can you not mention Foucault in your explanation? Must I send you my undergraduate literary theory paper on Foucault on the panopticon? Such good reading - really (mwah hah hah).... Or should I just mention that I've called my open office plan (NO cubicle walls for us!) the panopticon for some time now, and never do believe that people understand either my use of "surveil" OR "panopticon"... see how your blog might make one feel less alone???

Anonymous said...

hi franklin, i've been reading your pages today and they have really made me chuckle. it's nice to see someone else doing the knitting/spiritual/what's-it-all-about-alfie thing. if you ever want to look into my cell it's http://www.myspace.com/samantha_schmink until i move into a bigger, custom-made one soon hopefully. in any case i aspire to your chill outlook on life.
Samantha xx

rhowyn said...

found you by total random clicking started on ravelry--like how your mind works as evidenced by your words.

Mitzi said...

Love the title and the analogy. And I love sausage pizza! Anything with pork fat, is that sick, or what? LOL

ladywolf said...

A certain Time lord might mistake your blog for new from home.

Anonymous said...

Have you read The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks? If not, check it out on Amazon. Since you are interested in the Panopticon, I think you might find it fascinating.

K-Mac said...

TOO MUCH CHEESE? What the hell is too much cheese? Oh I would marry a Chicago pizza if I could.

KelleBelle said...

I teach first-year criminology and get a big giggle whenever a student says, "Yeah, I googled panopticon and I actually got some KNITTING website! WTF does knitting have to do with prison??"

The ensuing discussion is always interesting, and I love saying, "Oh yeah, that's Franklin, he rocks."

Dude, my blogger verification word: "facke". That's awesome.

Anonymous said...

I realize I'm late to this party, but will comment anyway. I thought I was overthinking it when I connected 'panopticon' to my literary theory classes. Happy to realize that such is not the case! I thoroughly enjoy your work. Thanks!

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Charles-Emmanuel reesink said...

Bentham was main influence on Tocqueville as in democracy in america, 1840
Tocqueville went to america to specifically inquire about the young republic's penitentiary system and came back to France with an expanded version on democracy: genealogy highly intriguing when you know that same Tocqueville entertained lifelong correspondence with Arthur de Gobineau who,in between arbitraging Fisheries Issue off Newfoundland (...) found time to report from Central Asia's on its religions and philosophies, especially Persia.

A French Lawrence of Arabia as it were,in that the metaphor works both ways: not England but France, not Arabia but Persia.

Your sweaters and kniting are phantastic...

so is your take on Toulouse Lautrec music hall.



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read you every day. Your little blue man feeds you well. Thank God you reward C... properly. And thank you especially for the definition! I feared that you *felt* like you were in a panoption (like, all the time)
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Gejala Penyakit said...

Found you, who knows how, but was tickled to see another Panopticon blossoming -- I've linked to one.

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