Weren’t tomatoes originally banned in Europe, or considered suspect, when they were first introduced from the “New World”? They were thought to be entirely too sexy.
And, damn, I haven’t read the Bakhtan, so can’t participate in this discussion as I would like to. But I have delved into the abject through Kristeva, which isn’t quite the grotesque body, but the body of illness, that leaks, has pus, sores, smells. Not quite sexuality, mind you. Though in a piece of work I used those notions of the abject body when speaking about the baggy, bleeding post partum body, which sort of is sex taken to its fruit. Oh, my, my puns aren’t working today!
There are so many “bodies,” and ways of understanding the bode has shifted through history. Laqueur wrote a great book on gynaecological drawings for genital anatomy and showed how for long periods a woman’s vagina was considered an inversion of a penis. Now that would make a most interesting tomato!
It seems, from what you written, that Bakhtin was speaking perhaps more about a ‘sociological body’ than one, say, of private eroticism, or the body we cleanse in the bathroom. The body as it complies to social norms, both fulfulling social expectations and propogating those kinds of social constructions. It’s a complicated body for sure! As Teju mentions, that body is flayed about in the media with “sanitized sex and eroticized violence.”
My personal preference in “body talk” is the body, which we really can’t know, through the various ‘systems’ we have defined: circulatory, nerves, meridians, Chi, whatever, composed of billions of cells subject to electro-chemical processes that are pure wizardry. That the body is a transducer, a relay station, that sexual and erotic and social and violent and deathly impulses flash through it, through us. I love Braidotti on this, if I may include a lengthy quote:
With reference to molecular biology, genetics and neurology – to mention just a few – the body today can and should be described…also as a sensor; an integrated site of information networks….a messenger carrying thousands of communication systems: cardio-vascular, respiratory, visual, acoustic, tactile, olfactory, hormonal, psychic, emotional, erotics, etc. Coordinated by an inimitable circuit of information transmission, the body is a living recording system, capable of sorting and then retrieving the necessary information and to process it at such speed that it can react â€˜instinctively.’ Fundamentally prone to pleasure, the embodied subject tends towards the recollection and repetition of experiences which pleasure has â€˜fixed’ psychically and sensually upon the subject (to re-member, after all, is to re-peat and repetition tends to favour that which gave joy and not that which gave pain). The body is not only multi-functional but also in some ways multi-lingual: it speaks through temperature, motion, speed, emotions, excitement that affects the cardiac rhythm and the likes. “http://www.chairetmetal.com/cm06/braidotti-complet.htm
Genetically altered tomatoes anyone? :grins: