Prophetic Dress Code

Some more Foucault soundbites,

Hippy Prophet

“If sex is repressed, that is, condemned to prohibition, non-existence, and silence, then the mere fact that one is speaking about it has the appearance of a deliberate transgression. A person who holds forth in such language places himself to a certain extent outside the reach of power; he upsets established law; he somehow anticipates the coming freedom.”
Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge (London, Penguin, 1998), 6

Foucault draws a fascinating line between the person who speaks about sex and denounces sexual repression and the Biblical prophet,

“Something that smacks of revolt, of promised freedom, of the coming age of a different law, slips easily into this discourse on sexual oppression. Some of the ancient features of prophecy are reactivated therein.”

“… revolution and happiness; or revolution and a different body, one that is newer and more beautiful; or indeed, revolution and pleasure.”

“… the revelation of truth, the overturning of global laws, the proclamation of a new day to come, and the promise of a certain felicity are linked together. Today it is sex that serves as a support for the ancient form – so familiar and important in the West – of preaching.”
Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge (London, Penguin, 1998), 7

John the BaptistThis amounts to a claim that the Sexual Revolution of the 60’s and 70’s was surrounded with an eschatological discourse. Strangely, the similarities don’t end with language. Most of these guys actually looked, dressed, and ate, basically the same as John the Baptist.
Funny|Weird as that is, it has a serious side.
The identity of an eschatological prophet is grounded in rejection of contemporary society, this obviously extends beyond ordinary language and into ‘body language’ (dress, grooming, as well as stance). But the commonality between John the Baptist and Hippie/Beatnik types, is not due to the fact that they are both seeking to be conformed to the Idea of an Eschatological Prophet (somewhere in the heavens). John helped to define a norm into which later prophets dipped in order to properly identify themselves. John himself is clearly modelled on earlier versions, going back at least to Elijah.
What we have then is a ‘prophetic subject’ to which individuals conform.

Even the rejection and denunciation of society requires a dress-code!

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