The Accursed Sovereign

Excess and expulsion

Posted in Criticism, Kibble, Philosophical Anthropology by bradishn on April 19, 2010

A friend of mine recently related to me a hangover cure of his from college.  After a night of heavy drinking, one individual wakes their drinking buddy (preferably with kicking, slapping, whatever expedites the process) for a morning run.  Hungover and bleary-eyed, the pair go running until both end up vomiting.  This friend of mine insists it’s one of the best hangover tactics he ever employed.

After reflection I noted a distinct difference in mentality at the core of this tactic: where other methods answer the problem of overconsumption with more consumption, my friend’s tactic employs an expulsion, an unconsuming.

In the living situation I find myself in, overconsumption is typically dealt with by the ingestion of other materials, be it ibuprofen, coffee, a heavy breakfast, some hair from the dog, etc.  On some level, even the ingestion of large amounts of water itself is a consumptive response (even though it is clearly a good idea).

Expulsion through vomiting, however, deals with overconsumption from a different perspective.  While the consumptive processes exert a control or logic, an intervention, the explosive, expulsive technique remains unplanned.  One runs until vomiting, no matter how long it takes.  The energies accumulated in the previous night leave the economic body in an enervated activity that climaxes in an even greater loss.  The individual’s  head, bowed to the ground, resembles that of the pious in prayer.  The individual then rises, having expelled and sweated those excessive energies, in an almost baptismal state, born afresh, made whole through their loss.

Returning to the primary act, the process of heavy drinking itself is an excessive, often unplanned consumption of energies towards an economically unproductive end.  The aforementioned ‘typical’ cures for such overconsumption take the overconsumption as a rupture to be smoothed over and bridged.  However, an expulsion-based tactic would take this overconsumption as the consolidation of energies that it is.  The overconsumed substances, aggregated in the individual’s economic body, resemble the potlatch waiting to be dispersed.  Rather than silent incorporation of these energies, the expulsion technique disperses these energies from the body economy.

It should also be pointed out that the consumptive responses themselves fit into a larger economic matrix of consumption.  One takes generic, store-brand ibuprofen, or coffee, be it fair-trade or generic Coffee-brand Coffee; eggs, bacon, potatoes, and vegetables from the supermarket; McCormick’s brand whiskey from it’s cheap, plastic 1.75 liter container mixed in the aforementioned coffee.  To the best of my knowledge, no major corporation has tried to patent vomit.

Related, Andre Masson’s “Acephalé”, an image used by Georges Bataille for his publication and society of the same name:



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