About

What does “the idiot” in The Idiots Press?

In ancient Greece, “idiots” (ἰδιώτης) were those privileged enough to be part of the Polis yet refusing to partake in its realpolitik. Let us translate this in an intentionally anachronistic way into the here and now. “Idiots” are those officially capable of ruling yet not willing to do so. “Idiots” are neither ruling nor enslaved. “Idiots” are those inside the gates of a Polis yet not submitting to its identity politics. “Idiots” are barbarians from within. As such, they point out “their” civilisation’s barbarism. They don’t consider the civilisation they live in as theirs. They are labelled as intelligible enough to speak meaningful (not just “bar-bar”). But they use this label to speak meaningfully against and beyond the very labelling power of false legitimisations.

Hence, the figure of the “idiot” is very close to that which, in German, is called a “Nestbeschmutzer”: someone who fools the nest s/he was raised in; someone who criticises the ingroup s/he is part of; someone whose critique is not limited to “the other camp”. To criticise in ways not nepotistically curtailed, however, is regarded as something idiotic. And there we go. “Civilisation” has found ways to deal with its idiots: pathologisation helps. Idiotic voices sound unintelligible to sane ears. Idiots are disabled by the very ways ability and achievement are achieved. Yet, idiots do not believe in the rightfulness of “success” – which is a category defined by the historically succeeding. Since idiots also don’t believe in given canons, authorities or educational programmes, they may be said to become illiterate.

Precisely this kind of illiterate literature is what The Idiots Press is publishing.