Thursday, March 19, 2009

Myxomatosis (I twitch and I salivate)




Introduced in the UK and Australia to decimate indigenous rabbit populations in the early 50's, the Myxoma Virus is generally fatal, sporting such symptoms as: "lumps (myxomata) and puffiness around the head and genitals, then acute conjunctivitis and possibly blindness... The rabbits become listless, lose appetite, and develop a fever. Secondary bacterial infections occur in most cases which cause pneumonia and purulent inflammation of the lungs. In typical cases where the rabbit has no resistance, death takes an average of 13 days." (Thanks, Wikipedia!)




There is something perversely wonderful about the idea of humans introducing a virulent, cancer-causing virus into the world for purposes of "population control" fresh on the heels of the ghastly effort known as the Final Solution. Brecht said, "Grub first, then ethics." I suppose... but his was a sardonic quip, no?

The other day I was in a foul mood, which happens less and less frequently--which yielded a particularly concentrated cathexis. The topic of conversation was (specifically) the sorts of people one wishes to be around and (implicitly) whether or not one ought to aspire to inhuman(e?) virtues of hardness, distance, coldness, flight.
Though it is true, I was terrible, I also refuse to cede the capacity to drawn myself apart. In flattering language, this amounts to a willingness to call-out people like Fred Phelps of "g-d hates fags," or G.W.Bush for being a fascist, or Ratzinger for being an anti-Semite, ect. ect. No one balks at this ability, nor this practice, when it is directed at "safe" targets--those people "we all agree" are "bad/evil/ugly/ect" people.
My friend Paula and I occasionally return to the use of Foucault for politics. We agree, "sloppy scholarship, generally poorly developed arguments, and incendiary pronouncements for the sake of celebrity." But, we both agree with Frank (our mutual former professor) that once you read him, you wear his glasses, as it were, and can't see events/history/politics the same way again. Perhaps the onslaught of Myxomatosis.
What Foucault allows me, I can say, is the ability to read the commonly accepted as intimately bound-up, even to the point of perpetuating, the same power relations fought-against in insidiously new guises.
A point in case: gay marriage. Faggots and Dykes are not liberating themselves with this campaign. Rather, they are further enmeshing themselves in the fabric of a state, medical, and moral straight-jacket... Equality here amounts to the leveling of difference. (You hear this, too, in the counter-argument, supposedly "pomo": "we are destroying the difference between straight and gay partnership by demanding marriage.") What is lost, I fear, is the specificity of the queer figure, and the styles of life that color that experience. A friend works on gentrification, and we must learn to see culture--more strongly: our psyches--as threatened by the advances of everything the "nuclear family" represents.
That is, I refuse to cede difference, my own, my virtues. This came out poorly in conversation, mostly because I was exhausted, and in a foul mood--which happens less and less frequently. And yet, it's true: I would let the majority tear each other apart, a terror-stricken look in my eyes, but an ironic smirk on my lips.

It's about, I think, the courage to accept the vast out-put of socio-political jargon so many haplessly regurgitate without a moments pause is just so much poison, and to literally cut all ties, sever the umbilical cord that feeds us narcotic platitudes, and danger the brutal atmospheres of critique--that is, thinking from great heights without banisters.

I write this because often I topple from these heights, an Icarus who swoops too high, and I sound vulgar. I apologize for my vulgarity, and my exhaustion, and my foul mood.

Also, Track 12 off "Hail To the Thief," Radiohead's 6th studio album--subtitled, "Judge, Jury, & Executioner".

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