October 26, 2012

Public Secrets


"Truth is not a matter of exposure which destroys the secret, but a revelation that does justice to it." At the beginning of Sharon Daniel’s web text, Public Secrets, she already states her disclaimer that the key to living with public secrets is to know what not to know. Acknowledge that it is going to be there but do not think about those things; the injustices of the war on drugs, the criminal justice system, and the Prison Industrial Complex.

“There are secrets that are kept from the public and then there are ‘public secrets’ - secrets that the public chooses to keep safe from itself, like the troubling ‘don't ask, don't tell.’” One of the public secrets that Daniels’ goes into further detail is on the prison industrial complex. What goes on inside a prison that we as human beings, who are true to our words and laws, not see inside?

The possibilities are endless, along with the amount of secrets they hold. Prison is what is left of the old ruthless type of government. In the sense of, the abuse, the elitist quality that the guards have, and the caveman actions of being locked up with no access to any sort of technology. It is almost as if these prisoners live in a different era, one of which there is no light only darkness. However, these restrictions are what reserve the public secrets.

Sharon Daniel has a way with wanting to find a truth to any given subject. Sharon wants to show her audience a voice, however, cannot be heard due to prison restrictions. She shows her audience a voice by attending a Women’s Correctional Facility on a continued basis. “For these women our conversations are acts of ethical and political testimony - testimony that challenges the underlying principles of distributive justice and the dehumanizing mechanisms of the prison system.” Combining all of the evidence she constructed the countless times she has visited this facility, Daniel takes all of her notes and forms this essay, “Public Secrets.”

From the Bedford Glossary, it goes into detail about langue and how those of us who speak the language are plugged into the same system. The principal theory of semiotics is that signs, like words, are not significant in themselves but instead have meaning only in relation to other signs and the entire system of signs (langue). Sharon Daniel comprises her essay with multiple voices that came from the women's correctional facility. Her langue is formed from there points of views on prison. These voices, these women, live constantly, in a public secret. Bahktin refers to the plurality of voices present in a literary work, which is called heteroglossia. The connection between Bahktin and Daniel is what Bahktin describes in his theory of all novels are somewhat polyphonic, since the speech ideology and discourse of certain characters will inevitably compete against the authorial voice. When thinking of Millers' essay, I initially did not think of this web text as a medium, when in fact it is one. A web text is a medium where discourse is being executed but it is one sided. Multiple voices are being expressed in Sharon Daniel's "Public Secrets" and it is receiving responses.

She describes public secrets as an aporia. She describes it as an “irresolvable internal contradiction, between power and knowledge, between information and denial, between the masks of politics and the goals of an open society.” Daniel created three main branches for “Public Secrets,” first being the aporia, then the ins and outs and human life and bare life, lastly, public secrets and its utopia. “Together they explore the space of the prison - physical, economic, political and ideological - and how the space of the prison acts back on the space outside to disrupt and, in effect, undermine the very forms of legality, security and freedom that the prison system purportedly protects.”


1 comment:

ca depend said...

"What goes on inside a prison that we as human beings, who are true to our words and laws, not see inside?":

"See, people don't commit crimes because that was just on their list of things to do, you know.":

Are you saying being true to our words and laws will keep one from the prison system? What is outside of the "system" that encourages us to remain and embrace that behavior? Freedom?

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