Michael O'Rourke
A Rogue’s Benediction: The Rogue That Therefore I Am (More to Follow)

Wherever there are rogues, there is trouble brewing.

A rogue, a roué, is a delinquent, a little rascal, or in Derrida’s French a voyou.  Fittingly, for you are all here at the carnival bazaar of Bell’s Brewery, the original meaning of debauchery, a word in the freewheeling orbit of the rogue I am following, a certain worklessness, the interruption of labor and employment but also, and Derrida is playing with the word roué, it refers to the lustful, shameless, lewd, dissolute, licentious, libertine.  The rogue is never far from the scene of seduction or sexual difference, since debauchery is a kind of leading astray. To seduce means to lure one off the right or normal path, the straight track.  The voyou, the rogue, is a dévoyé, one who is led astray. Like the queer, as Michael Warner and Lauren Berlant describe it, the rogue prances about and squats on the academic stage, exuding some rut, always en rut. But the street is the privileged milieu of the roué, the path of the voyou, the paths and byways they most often travel or are apt to roam upon. 

The rogue theorist, the street theorist, the voyou is at the same time included and excluded, excluded from within the closely policed circle of respectable society.  If we track the freewheeling,  impossible and untranslatable French lexicon of the word  roué we discover that roué or more often rouelle was the name given to a little red and white wheel (another meaning of roué) , the ancestor of the yellow star, which Jews had to openly wear on their breasts at all times or else face severe punishment (Marty Schichtman/ Jerusalem).

This impossible word rogue/roué  actually shares no etymological relationship with rue but the voyou is always defined in relation to the normal path, to good conduct, to the right way. But the degenerate voyou (is it one word or more than one?) brings disorder into the street. No one ever says “I am a voyou” [Chris Piuma/I] because they are always scolded, denounced, judged, named as delinquents. Yet the proximity [voisinage] between the good citizen and the anti- or a- social voyou is always ambiguous, troubling.  The voyou is always excluded from democracy, the demos, always the other, always beyond [Jonathan Hsy/Beyond] the right thinking, calculating, judicial moral order. 

But if we were being a little bit roguish [rouerie in the Brewery] we could say, as Derrida does, that democracy is never far from voyoucracy. The unoccupied, workless, unemployed rogue is always occupying the streets either by doing nothing or doing what is not supposed to be done according to the law, established norms, the police order. The voyoucratic order corrupts; it is an illegal and outlaw power—albeit a weak force—of the street, a transgressive countersovereignty.

Where is the rogue to be found? [Alan Montroso/Found]. The voyou—rascal, hellion, playboy, good-for-nothing, ruffian, villain, crook, thug, gangster, shyster, scoundrel, miscreant, hoodlum, hooligan, gangbanger, suburban punk., pariah, outlaw— is at once unoccupied, if not unemployed, and actively occupied in occupying the streets, byways, either by roaming doing nothing, loitering, or by doing what is not supposed to be done, that is according to established norms, the police, laws.  The rogue is impossible, what society cannot tolerate [Laurie Finke/Tolerance]. 

The rogue is also a figure for im-possibility, for the unforeseeability of an event that is necessarily without horizon, the singular coming of the other, a weak force which exceeds the conditions and conventionally accepted authority of what is called the performative. This requires thinking of the event as unique, unforeseeable, unmasterable by any performativity, as that which names the coming of who or what comes to pass, namely the newly arrived whose irruption should not and cannot be limited by any conditional hospitality or calculability. In terms of speech act theory, the perhaps of an irreligious messianicity, an act of messianic faith, a fidelity to the to-come, to democracy, to the future, is a non-performative exposure to what comes, or to what can always not come or has already come; it is a letting come about (metaperformativity).
The rogue is who comes (or might come, or not come, or who has already come). Deconstruction is a Rogue Theory, and deconstruction is an experience of the impossible: it is what happens, what arrives or who arrives, it is the arrivant. The arrivant is the movement-rogue theory is never still[ Jeffrey Jerome Cohen/Still]--at which arrivance arrives without ever arriving. It arrives like an event: unforeseen, unforeseeable, impossible. What arrives is that for which one was not prepared and which arrives as impossible. For something or someone to arrive Derrida says, it, he or she must arrive as impossible.  It, he, or she: the rogue can be human, a plant, a wild animal, any outlaw which violates the customs and conventional practices of their own community [George Edmondson/Community; Anne Harris/ Collective] . The voyou/ voix you has many voices. 

The rogue is on the side of chance, on the side of the incalculable perhaps, and if there is a future to come for voyoucratic democracy it is only on the condition of thinking life otherwise, life and the force of life, who or what  breathes [Karen Overbey/Breathing] or survives [ Dan Remein/Survival]. The call for thinking of an event which is to-come lies beyond all chrono-anthropo-teleology and the salut of salvation but the rogue as arrivant is not foreign to the salut as the greeting of salutation of the other or the adieu, come or go in peace [Lowell Duckert/Peace].. Rogue theory is not foreign to justice; it is justice but a rebellious, heterogeneous justice irreducible to law, power, sovereignty.  

The rogue as promise, as impossible, announces itself.  Rogue Theory must have the structure of a promise that carries the future, the to-come, here and now, in its heart [Eileen Joy/Heart].  Rogue Theory is cardiac. 

So, rogues-that-therefore-we-are Fare well {salut]! 

-- Michael O’Rourke
Michael O’Rourke
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