Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Free From All the Shame And Then I'll Hide

I read an essay by Sandor Ferenczi, a Hungarian contemporary and compatriot of Freud's, on the "Nosology of the Male Homosexual (Homoeroticism)". The Old Man sent me a collection of his essays, with the suggestion that I check out his work on introjection, but I have a tendency to gravitate towards these psychoanalysts' work on homosexuality first because I find that what they say in regard to that realm of psychic life usually is indicative of what they say in other contexts as well. Perhaps it is because I was introduced to Freud as a queer theorist, and my entree to his work was through a Foucaultdian/Butlerian lens, that I find many other theorists flat-footed when it comes to theorizing sexuality, which is a problem as psychoanalysis makes the libido (Eros) the animating drive of life. Klein and Lacan, especially, are miserable when it comes to homosexuality--their theories reek of heteronormativity. This stands in marked contrast to Freud, who gave a surprising amount of due diligence to the complexities and nuances of homosexuality.

The one advantage to Ferenczi's reading of homosexuality is that it diverges at the close of the essay from a "nosology" or classification of "types" of homosexuality--a rather mortifying attempt, to be frank, that simply rehashes tired notions of the "Third Sex"-- to a critique of society's response to homoeroticism. He writes:

"In modern European cultures, however, and in those dependent on them, not only is actual homoeroticism lacking, but also its sublimation, which appeared so obvious to the people of antiquity, the enthusiastic and devoted friendship between men. It is, in fact, astounding to what an extent present-day men have lost the capacity for mutual affection and amiability. Instead there prevails among men decided rudeness, resistance and rivalry. Since it is unthinkable that those tender affects which were so strongly pronounced in childhood could have disappeared without leaving a trace, one has to regard these signs of resistance as reaction-formations, as defense symptoms erected against affections for the same sex....
"A part of the unsatisfied homoeroticism remains 'free floating', and demands to be appeased; since this is impossible under the conditions of present-day civilization, this quantity of libido has to undergo a displacement, namely, on to feelings for and relationships with the opposite sex. I quite seriously believe that the men of today are one and all compulsively heterosexual as the result of this affective displacement; in order to free themselves from men, they become the slaves of women. This may be the explanation of the 'chivalry' and the exaggerated, often visibly affected, adoration of woman that has dominated the male world since the Middle Ages; it may also possibly be the explanation of Don-Juanism, the obsessive and yet never fully satisfied pursuit of continually new heterosexual adventures....
"In a brief summary, therefore...: the exaggerated repression of the homoerotic instinct component in present-day society has resulted in a rather obsessive reinforcement of heteroeroticism in men." (Ferenczi--"The Nosology of Male Homosexuality (Homoeroticism)")

(This line of thinking anticipates the arguments of Gayle Rubin and Judith Butler that heterosexuality, especially the incest taboo, presupposes a prior, less articulated taboo: the taboo against homosexuality. Ferenczi, however, positions the prevalence of this taboo not in some so called Freudian primordial horde or Hobbesian "state of nature," but with the rise and spread of Christianity--a move Foucault, too, will chart in his History of Sexuality: 1.)
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Today my electricity was turned off, which blows something awful. It's finally a hot day in Chicago and I don't have a fan, nor a fridge to keep beer cold in. LAME! Worse still: My whole paycheck will be sucked into paying this fucking bill--apparently the only way to get your electricity turned back on is to pay the full amount you owe, which, for me, ranges in the hundreds. So much for being able to take J. out for a nice dinner. The upshot--and there is an upshot, I think--is that I won't have to worry about my electric bill again for a while. hahaha... this was, after all, a years worth of failure to pay. So, yeah, there's that. Still, the timing sucks. But, it could be worse.
The good news: I have a job, a wonderful, understanding boyfriend, and hopefully some money left over so I am not wholly destitute for the next two weeks.
In the meantime, I suppose I'll be leeching power from Caribou, work, and whomever else.
Things could be worse, but they're not. And, for this, I'm happy.
Day six of not smoking, but I'll be honest: I've been chomping on this gum in utter frustration, and only now am I starting to cool off a bit.
Oh, quick funny story about bad timing: I call my Gramsy to see if I can solicit some funds from her, but before I can launch into my sob story she tells me she's sad because it's her dead husband's birthday today. So much for trying to get a sympathy check. Hahaha, Fate: you can be so fickle some times--how can I do anything other than love your humor!?

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