Monday, March 30, 2009

what's so normal about love anyways?

Sometimes love can only be shared between two people who are very much alike, even if that bond is the result of a terrible attack. In the case of the Pugach's, their love is just that - a bond shared from the lye that would blind the future Mrs. Pugach. As expressed in the trailer of the documentary, Crazy Love, Burt Pugach fell madly in love with Linda Riss, but when the lie of his already married status and the false promise of a divorce surfaced, she moved on to another. In an attempt to get her back, Burt tried everything to no avail and finally resorted to violence. He hired a man to hurt Linda's fiancé, but instead the man threw lye in her face, subsequently causing her to become bald and blind. In this attempt at gaining her attention back, he made her just like him: unattractive and increasingly eccentric.

Consequently, Burt employs what Michel Foucault states in Discipline and Punish as "the authorities exercising individual control" (553) and moreover, Burt "function[s] according to a double mode; that of binary division and branding" (553). Burt, functioning as the authority, made Linda "damaged goods" (Crazy Love), and in doing so she was unable to secure another companion. Her fiancé left her after she was out of the hospital, and another suitor, who wanted to marry her, backed out because she finally revealed her disfigured eyes. She did not want to be a victim of "exclusion" (554), like that of the lepers in Discipline and Punish, and yet Burt's exercise of control created for Linda a life that would consist of a "constant division between the normal and the abnormal" (554).

As irony would have it, the prison system Burt was in was Bentham's panoptic model that Foucault discusses; so maybe the system was inherently aware of the way society functions. The system knew Linda was unlikely to meet another who could look past her abnormal state because of the separation of binaries- they released Burton early because he was and would continue to give her monetary support. They are married to this day.

Work's Cited

Foucault, Michel. "Discipline and Punish." Ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Malden: Blackwell, 2004. 549-66.

1 comment:

Andrew Belinfante said...

This is so cool! I love the analysis.