Sunday, August 22, 2010

the mighty multinationals have monopolized the O2//so it's as easy as breathing 4 us all 2 participate...

It's been somewhat confusing to me, as a student of an archive wherein futurity is precisely the stakes of politics, to encounter in contemporary queer theory a regular de-meaning of the future. The bizarre title of Edelman's "No Future" alone strikes me as slightly obscene. (I know, I know: how homonormative of me, to attempt to regulate obscenity in the name of the future!) I think, however, that there is a strikingly shallow (not superficial) understanding of futurity, one which acquiesces to dominant configurations of the temporal horizon (Christian Millennialism, liberalism's perpetual deferral of meaningful change in the name of "progress," fin de siecle messianism ... ect) and therefore can only strike a reactionary, which is to say, profoundly unimaginative and limited, posture.

LB is right to note how Reaganite conservatism (which, ironically, does not exempt the Gore's or MacKinnon/Dworkin) perverted concepts of citizenship into one of an infantile or "fetal" comportment to the hegemonic images of a "present tense" so thoroughly corrupted that it must be battled against in the name of a pristine new beginning. The fetus, the peripheral character of a farcical culture wars waged by pro-life antagonists and pro-choice protagonists, is the perfect symbol for the vulnerability of being marked by subaltern critique as bearing a particular corpo-reality (on the one hand), while also quite literally serving as a (not-so-free-)floating signifier of purity, possibility, ideality. Of course, the paradox is evident: the fetal symbol cannot stand as a signifier of pure possibility precisely because it is meant to be the symbol of a "freed" possibility, namely freedom from particularity, a freedom to return to the comfort of universality, the privilege of supposed neutrality--as evidenced by conservative outrage that now-Justice Sonia Sotomayor dare speak from a position of particularity (the "wise Latina"), rather than don the fantastic position of "objectivity" (i.e., White, male, heterosexual, wealthy, ect...). The fetus as symbol of "jouissance"--the lost pleasure that can never be regained because it was never possessed (which is what makes Lacanian critique a useful intellectual tactic of exposure: the sought for and sincerely mourned lost past, the Eden of pleasure, is an ideological edifice just like any other, and the power of the critique is to illuminate the methodology of unconscious dis-ease as it flattens the contradictions generated by desire).

Further, by investing the fetal symbol with such redemptive power (which, in the service of preserving, preparing the way for, or defending against external, cold, metallic, unfeeling invasion authorizes a host of brutalities against difference) the present tense can be negated in the name of the future. It is not surprising, then, that the idealized subject position is one of ontological muteness, life-less constancy, and hypostasized imaging. Thus, the fetus is spoken-for (in the metaphors of slavery, patriotism, ect...); the fetus is radically and unendingly dependent on a mother--no longer a "woman" whose unruly feminine cupidity threatens the sanctity of the uterine sac; and the fetus is captured and frozen in the photographic optics of the sonogram. Again, a paradox, a political parallax: it is the "silent scream," the stages of development, and the cinematic documentation thereof which give life (and thus value) to the fetus: the unmoved mover of American political discourse, indeed.

But if an inversion of this temperamental domineering of the temporal stakes of political action is all that can be mustered by queers then perhaps the future is foreclosed in a profoundly disappointing sense. I write with a certain optimism--I can afford disappointment, not despair--because, in part, there is "no future" for the sorts of reductive reading of futurity that has become so posh. This does not imply, however, an absence of attributable responsibility for the consequences of what is written, what is authorialized by queer exemplars, and what is legitimated by sheer circulation in discursive relays (scholarly, activist, and most importantly, colloquially, among young queers succored on the accepted wisdom of the transmitters of culture, tradition, and style; in other words, what Arendt refers to as the physiognomical recognizability of norms spanning generations). Simply put: while wrong-headed, and in my opinion politically irresponsible, what is written cannot simply be ignored (mainly motivated by the conviction that denigrating the human capacity to inaugurate new beginnings presents itself an offense against the common world which, politically speaking, is temporally structured by an anticipatory orientation towards the future. Unless traumatically imposed and symptomatically sustained over-determinations of the past interrupt and make stammer the articulation(s) of a sought after future the present is the stage of most serious play; the moment of the present tense has the 'greatest weight' of the accursed and blessed voluntarism of freedom.

Futurity requires, then, courage and cupidity: desire and boldness; love shares with politics a certain blindness: what is most precious, most terrible (in the sense Rilke continues to confound me with) is what is most obscured, gazing at objet a, the moment of parallax. (Isn't this the point of queer/ning politics?) Politics, then, shares with sex, too, a marked abandonment, a release to the pleasure of futurity, or again the delight and dread at discovering who one is (to become in the face of who one was). Quite the contrary to a denial of future, the strictures of a present tense organized around a negation of this release are precisely those the stultifying regimes of identitarian culture wars. Perhaps it is wholly disingenuous to assert that the catalyst of action, the "cause" of desire, is a denial of futurity; perhaps, too, it is reductive to claim thereby that a desire to negate the demands of the future has as its negative wounded attachments to a present tense compulsively structured around repetition of a traumatic past; and, while a truism, no doubt the dyspeptic inability to "get over it" is indicative of a socialized normalcy inclined to hyperbolize the mole-hills of the trivial (the inanities and vulgarities of tabloid print media, hysterical news broadcasts, remedial establishments like the New York Times (policing through enactment the borders of what is fit to print), or Disney sitcom culture. "It" (where ever I'll be next, there is was--the question isn't one of time, so much as what and how to perform once catching up to the trace) renders desire untimely, rendering the pursuit disjointed, anachronistic--my genealogy is so narcissistic, so unerringly true to itself that time comes to slip into a counter cosmology of an eternal return of the same: a curiosity re-coded/re-corded by an age-old story-teller: queers fancying themselves the originators of the democracy like they were characters in an old Gregg Araki film about a pomo Harmodius and Aristogeiton.... the greeks got anti-social, or something... whatever.

This is the story of how the notion of time in "queer politics" gives the lie to both the purported and so repetitively proclaimed 'queer' commitments (yes: queers have commitments... you just won't know what they are before hand, that's the fucking point, prick!), and the pretensions to politics. Without risking what is ultimately the undecidability of the future, political action dis-appears. Here emerges an overt imbrication of the logics of sex and the logics of politics: risking having to rise to the occasion, to stand attentively, of opening to the persuasive influences of others; to venture exposure, vulnerability, pain; to express in the musculature of unrelenting moans the joys of asymmetry, of being fucked or of fucking; to defy the putative gaze and gossipy whisper of the State apparatus of police, snitches, 'private interests,' and worst still: do-gooders; and more: to get over it by getting on it, to ride it, to play power-bottom and cum, or piss, all over its face. (You're shoot will miss: IT has already been gone; that's the fucking point: politics, like pleasure, never exists in the present tense of the symbolic realm, nor in the ideality of the imaginary, but rather in the refusal to iron out the differences between them when encountering the generative contradictions of their intimacy; politics is not about pursuing the real of jouissance (that's death, stasis, immobility, reification, 'recognition'--that's why it's called a 'death drive'): politics is about anticipating the orgasm and so risking the cruise.

Desire takes place in the present tense: it is the 'real' of the complications arising from the unconscious in motion; but for this reason it is only ever what is returned to, once politics is done; when Aristotle said there are deeds done for their own sake he lists flute playing, and all manner of performing arts, but he would have been equally well-served by simply citing: queer sex. Desire thus appears as an affective 'reactivation' of movement, of anticipation. This is why desire seems to have the bizarre characteristic of longing for what is seemingly remembered (jouissance?). "In the beginning was the deed..." (or at least the anticipation, which dare not speak its name... "wanna go for a drive? need a lift? what are you doing? you free? can i buy you a drink? a/s/l? #boi4u2nite?)

JT walks out, into his living room where I am currently looking like a character out of a Bruce la Bruce slasher porno: zombie-fag! He would laugh at this, but he's exhausted and pissed at me for not getting the sleep I need. And he's jealous of my time, of my body, and selfishly keeps me tightly bound: my soul is an inverted comet, full of nooks and crannys, crooks and fairies.

No comments: