Monday, November 7, 2011

Yes, I'm a beast (and I feast when I conquer)

Tonight I am hungry.

Tonight I wrote out of rage.
And love.
And fear.
And guilt.

I got out about 2 1/2 solid pages.
Beginning to clear the brush out of the way of my fire.
I will burn this shit down!
And I won't last on kindling.
I need cold, hard, wet boughs.
So much arrogant timbre to reduce to ash.

Still hungry.

(you gave me strength, gave me hope for a life time)

How could you let yourself down like this?
How did I help with that?
Why didn't I see beyond myself?
(I'm a bitch)
How could I not see beyond myself?

Tonight I tried to write a distance between my success and your failure.
(I can feel myself giving up)
I tried to project myself, into words, into a future where I write myself out of the pain of this attachment.
(this time...)
But, I have no taste for such efforts.

A hunger that begins to eat itself.
(Alone, all these riches...)

Where are you?
(I drove for miles)
Did I bury you?
In what?
the sloppy cement of expectations?
the moist soil of intimacy?
the ungiving steel of knowledge?
(I never was satisfied.)

Did I fuck you up?

No amount of pages write away this gnawing question.
No distance is global enough.
No pop song reassures.
A hunger that cannot be exorcised.

Here, then:
the pyre of my ambition.
(to find myself)
In the flames of a memorial?

Is it only possible to honor you in the form of a sacrifice?
(can't silence these voices in my head)
A past in need of redemption.
(('save me'))

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Today I found myself wishing I were in a public stall while I took a shit so I could imagine the Writer next to me, beating off to the obscene noises I was making.
A strange way to say you've been missing someone.
Reading Massumi and reading Arendt and reading Deleuze and reading Bifo. Fuuuuuck.
I miss my friends.
I feel like Reagan or something. That's what post-alpha means? Suturing the semi-automaton, half-a-person amputee status of life into the desire for completion. Still, always wondering: where is the rest of me?
How many of us are just bad actors, then?
Autistic, like.
I have to figure out a way to write a paper I feel I've read myself beyond. It feels like regression, an anachronistic in-folding to imagine myself writing it. SPITITOUT!!!
catches, snags, stickiness, chalky rustiness. A tear, a rip, a shlop or a creak. All betray the machine is running.
The ball as part-subject: the foot as transductor, the field and polarizing goals as inductors, the ball as catalyst: the play of the game... moves.
I wanted to hear more about the rules. Autistic as I am, I wanted to know more about the rules. Not because I'm, like, a queer negationist (the negative of my oppressor is my freedom, whatever that means), trapped in the logic of repression (transgression yields pleasure, pleasure is unruly, unruly is freedom), but because I'm one of these queer kids stuck and creaking, snagged and caught, between text and image, between new and old media, unable to quite yet synthesize a bridge--or better still, a logic--that would render rule-making fluid (again), playful (again), loose and easy (again?).
I like you to s.p.e.l.l.-i.t.-o.u.t. and then I like you to let me rewrite it back to you. to get the ball rolling. To begin a relational correspondence.
The conjunctive language of the body is often discovered as a "missed connection" ad. I read it too late. I'm looking for a connection. FASTER!
SLooooW down.
Slow down? I feel like a zombie. Like a classical zombie. Not a contemporary zombie, tweaking and speeding, ravenous, rabid. A pre post-alpha zombie: somewhat pathetic, slow, hungry, but not quite there. (the beauty of "Zombieland": classical zombies, contemporary post-political world.)
I was so obvious, it seems, in that class. She read me... (like a book?)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

the email that needs editing (story of my life?)

Dear XXX and XXX,
Thank you so much for your respective guidance! Unfortunately my computer crashed and I was (literally) disconnected until just recently. Please pardon my regrettably delayed reply!
This paper, in the mean time, has just been stewing in my head!

@XXX: thank you so much for the references! I actually found your deployment of Barthes' very helpful for my own project (i.e., his schematization of an affective, amorous "Image-Repertoire" in _LD_). I was also thinking of Genet--initially I was going to draw on Bersani's _Homos_ (reading his "Gay Daddy" against Genet's _Querelle_), but that is probably better-suited for a larger project. I'm am absolutely tickled that you sent me to Hocquenghem--he was the joint that led me to booting Deleuze/Guattari (as it were)--I'm in the thick of Massumi's _Parables for the Virtual_ (an excellent read!).

Before my computer crashed I'd been pursuing the historical link between Freidkin's film "Cruising" and a collection of interviews Foucault gave in the early 80s--one in particular conducted in concert with an "A. Wilson"--who, to be best of my ability to track this person down, seems to have also written a critical, Marxian-influenced review of Friedkin's "Cruising" (attached). It is in this context, I want to argue, that S/M becomes relevant for Foucault as a politically salient practice of the ethics of the care of the self as a modality of cultivating and "using" pleasure.

(This paper is also a first effort at pushing-back on the general assumption that there is an enigmatic schism between Foucault's 'early, political' work and his 'later, ethical' concerns--such an interpretation, I want to argue, is only sustainable to the extent that these 'gay' interviews are ignored.)

I'm keen on amplifying the role that institutions play for Foucault in these interviews--both the specific spaces of the gay leather/S&M scene (clubs, theaters, parks) as well as broader institutions like the family, the police/law, and even the 'public sphere' as a realm permeated with "sex" (in the way Warner/Berlant cast "sex in public"). I want to ultimately argue that Foucault's "ethical" concerns are misunderstood if not appreciated within the context of a political project that, as it were, is engaged in "queering" institutions rather than eliding their importance.

On a 'textual' level, this concern is dramatized in the film "Cruising": absent meaningful alterations in mass-mediated cultural circulations of 'gay desire' the relays that loop queer to criminal and criminal to (sexually) pathological and sexual perversion back to queer sexuality (etc.), the potential over-ripe in the rhizomatic nodes of S/M pleasure cannot actually constitute an enduring political challenge. These loops produce the killer, police brutality, and ultimately 'pervert' Pacino's 'gay desire' into the paradigm of the Repressive Hypothesis (i.e., prohibition and transgression, a dynamic animated by the affective experience of _punishment_). Crucially, these loops operate "within" the scene of cruising, 'infecting' the flow of (gay) desire by routing it through these nodes of affective intensity, and are not easily 'external' to them--they are, as it were, 'supplemental' (i.e., they 'haunt' but are not determinative of the scene--there is never any one differance).

Of course, Foucault is keen to resist the project of liberal assimilation--he demands the cultivation of new legally forceful protections at the same time he proposes the "inverting" or "queering" of pre-existing institutions (i.e., when he proposes inverted adoption as a recognized form of intimate relationality). That is, he is attentive to the important function hierarchical (sovereign) institutions play in the capillary circuits knitting together a micro-physic of power. Further, he is eager to figure S/M as a practice of pleasure that is _creative_: one does not 'punish' the desire for perverse pleasure in S/M (in which case S/M--to the extent that it is a performance of this desire for punishment and the satisfaction of this desire--is itself a perverse practice); instead one 'cultivates' pleasures--as if outside the rubric of prohibition/transgression. (On this front I'm influenced by Eve Sedgwick's introductory remarks to _Touching/Feeling_, esp. as she inveighs against a Lacanian figuration of desire and jouissance).

On a 'meta' level, then: the protests that, as it were, ''haunted'' the film's production (you can hear the protesters blowing whistles underneath the dialogue track, for instance), are symptomatic of a certain political _failure_ that, today, is couched theoretically as 'homonationalism'--the protests perform the refusal to publicly demand formal (legal) institutional protection of marginal and precarious subjects of desire, demonstrating through an identification with 'normal' (the politics of respectability) the desire to secret away 'shameful' members of the (gay) community. That is: the protesters approach the leather/S&M scene with the same set of I-R resonances as the police and the killer in Friedkin's film (i.e.: the loops that suture queer to criminal to pathological to sexually perverse to queer again).

I want to argue that it is in _this_ context, then, that Foucault's treatment of S/M becomes politically salient: rather than a politics that encourages the proliferation, and 'endurability,' of queer(ed) institutions, the (American) Gay Liberation project falters before the demands of the Law (to be 'acceptable,' 'recognizable,' 'patriotic,' 'non-threatening,' etc.). In other words, S/M is a strategic node of resistance for Foucault in these interviews to the extent that these practices, those who perform and enjoy them, and the spaces that enable them to complicatedly confront _both_ a hetero-normative imperative to "normalize" _and_ the political tendency amongst queers to respond to this demand, rather than to the potential to cultivate novel institutions "outside" the norm immanent to the practice of S/M.

I'm hoping this all holds together. Anyway, thanks again to both of you for your respective leads, advice, and simply for your responsivity--I greatly appreciate it! Perhaps once all is said and done I can send a draft along to you?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Gods Gifted (Poisoned) Me With a Wrath So Great, Its Power Unspeakable...

(...but it was only potent against that which I loved.)

I've been neglecting the medium I am attached to most: the written word. These dead letters, so many corpses of meaning, compiled and assorted, lining ditches cut by paragraphs, amassing around so many miscarried intentions, the significance of which is forever buried (while these ghastly bodies lay exposed and naked on the bare page).

I'm southbound to Marion, crafting my handwriting, a little bit funky, but over-laden with melancholy.

I am killing myself with the thick soup of nostalgia, spoonful by spoonful, choking on What-Could-Have-Been.

Good. I want to paint it black. I want to see it bleed. It. Me. That IT I can't bear to bare any more. Fuck me.

But IT is tethered to this cluster of events that wear your skin and bare your teeth when I see them seeming to smile. You would tear my face off. A cynical smile. You think it flashes love, but I see only the explosion of a muzzle. And that after I feel the tenderness of your insincerity rip through my chest. First the feeling, then the sight, then then sound.

It is deafening, the noise that floods the space between my desire and your dispassion. It is torrents of static and calamitous waves, hurling boulders. You don't hear it over the bubbling of your laughter. You can't feel it, so blithely leaping from foothold to foothold, the rush of wind against your thick, impenetrable hide. Those impermanent foundations are pouring out of my hemophilic body! Thin-skinned and paling, I can only watch your movements. You no longer fly into the wound you open, into this terrible space you've punched through my body. Away, and up--or down, no matter: still just away--your lurching body is frantic and harried, tired too, but hungry for escape.

How many scenes of your leaving must I die before IT dies, too? And trapped here in these miserable confines--these atrocious symbols! A, B, C, D, E, (F-this)--these scenes multiply and amplify and ricochet and intensify until... what? will they ever COLLAPSE?! What obscene power is this, animating this hateful form?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It Took Time (fine for now)

"Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral."--Threepenny Opera

But we, we are so gluttonous, over-full, over-ripe, bursting, so rotund, fleshy, massive, just so much of this excess! The sculptor's chisel is glistening, humming precision, fresh from the whetstone, ready to philosophize with a hammer!

(We're all faltering. How'd I help with that? If it's all or nothing, then let me go.)

To be so amorphous, massive, excessive. To be so ready for the striking imposition of form--to lust for such deprivation!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

On Being Boring and Stuff

I am deriving a cruel delight from being able to turn away from you.
Not only in those moments when I am solicited by you. But also in these moments when I am tempted by my own sentimentality, tempted, too, by the desire to turn against myself, turning toward you.
And so I turn away from this impulse, and turn toward the work before me. Which comes before me, and which will come after me, even if I turn away from it.
I'm not quite sure that I am turning toward myself, per se. But I am turning toward something that I can live with at least. It is workable.
And some how, being able to put you aside, for long enough to get on with what is in front of me, is a cruel pleasure. I'm being my own best Daddy.

Next week is going to be really crazy, and really stressful. Apply for jobs, looking for a place to live. Writing another paper (though this one will be much, much easier I am pleased to report. I am able, I think, to approach it with a more generous spirit of inquiry than I was before). I want to be a good standing member of my community, which sounds so cheesy to write out loud, but I suppose is true. I've been slow on this one, and it's been a mistake. I've nothing really pulling me so terribly strongly up here. I'm leaving, after all.

And it's strange, I suppose I'm ready to leave, too. Last night, for the first time with real fervor, I listened with resentment to the drunken gaiety of the 2am roamers making their ways from one bar to the next. I didn't like feeling it, and so I took it as a sign that I had brought myself to a place where I was ready to leave. Best to recognize it, and not make the matter moral. I'm still just very nervous about the whole thing. I think I stayed in Btown for as long as I have in part because I was afraid of having to make new friends and start that whole thing over again. But, seeing as I effectively ruined most friendships I had simply by making my relationship with J. disproportionately predominant, it is as though nothing really other than work and the allure of the nightlife keeps me here. And both are insufficient reasons.

I think I am going to be able to write something rather punch-up for my MA. It'll be nice to finally redress this issue.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Finders, Seekers, Merciless Cheaters

Right now, I want you. Your voice to answer mine when it calls, and your body to come when I arouse it.
An exercise in causality, the desire for something necessary. And familiar.
This paper is killing me. Coming in fits and bursts, a torturous delivery.
I saw you on a4a last night. You'd changed one of your pictures, and I stared at it longingly, wondering how many other boys were, too. Wondering which one you would have over, or were already entertaining.
You'd texted me earlier. "I just wish I could talk to you =("
I followed our pre-arranged script: I said nothing, I ignored you.
And then you texted me again, almost two hours later: "wanna have sex?"
And I again followed our pre-arranged script: "Fuck off, J. This sucks."
"ok sorry," you replied.
And then I saw you on a4a and I seethed with longing. A kettle full of evaporation, nothing but hot metal.
I did not hide that I was looking at you, I did not "delete the trace" of my cruise.
I did not want to hide my desire for you, from you.
And now, after being flaked out on three times--and after doing it twice over myself to other boys--I am desperate for you. Some one as desperate as me. Perhaps you'd even be desperate for me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Interior of a Dutch House

I wanted to call you twice tonight, and to text you 5 times through-out the day. I checked a4a 3x for you. I was on Grindr hourly, looking for the golden glow of the trace of your prowl. I never took my finger out of my Facebook newstream (even though I knew you wouldn't appear--I looked anyway, as if for a miracle, a glitch).

I didn't find you and I wouldn't let myself seek you out thoroughly enough. I'm writing this instead, so I don't obsess about what you were doing, while I was was staring at the green dot of your activity. Nonchalant chatting with another boy only made the murmur of my longing more insufferable. I was suddenly scrolling through an archive of what amassed more recorded fights than I thought even existed, and which made me cringe with embarrassment as I read them. You delete your chat history, as if by impulse. A willful forgetfulness, a will-power to healthfully swallowing-down and passing-out the past. But that mechanism is miscarrying somewhere because you sometimes get wicked sick and I've seen it, a ball of writhing snakes in the pit of your stomach.

The most awful part of my lapse into memory was how vividly I remembered the intensity of the particular feeling I was suffering, and yet also how relatively insignificant it seems in light of how melodramatic I was over it. At least now, reading back on it. This isn't what's awful though. No, what's awful is that I don't know if I am simply equivocating because I am feeling lonely and distracted and jealous (imagining you happier than me, more sufficiently selfish), or if I'm realizing that I was brash and impulsive.

But as I draw near to that possibility, my senses return, my clarity of purpose thrusts its way forward again, proud and insistent.

That's all.

And I hate getting haircuts. It's not that it's bad, it's just not what she said she would do. And now some of my plumage is shorn, not like a Samson, but like a peacock, I may be striding more imperiously.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I can't say no to you

... Say nothing.

Finally made some headway on the paper. I asked it to come.
Often I find this is the case with men I entertain, I have to ask them to cum.
I asked for it to come, so I could share it with the world. In a form fit for its appearance. We needed to work it out, and I was being a slut, giving pieces away here and there.
Why is writing like the great amassing of forces, as in a deep inhalation?
This, I think, has been my struggle: One of transitions, or translations, from one paradigm (the Dionysian) to another (the Apollonian)--these being crude dichotomies.
My desire is to explain corporeal experiences predicated on the loss of the ability for coherence.
And to defend these experiences, and those who practice them, against a morality that would cast them as evil and socially irresponsible, and with a blink from an evil eye, cast them into prisons, asylums, and reformatories: the criminal, the maniac, the sinner.
But to make these experiences somewhat comprehensible I must already efface them through their reductive subordination to language. Dionysian excess in Apollonian fetters?
We scholars of the linguistic turn, we love to lacerate ourselves for this compromise: we lament what is cleaved off of phenomena in its becoming-signified.
It's like the repetition compulsion only makes sense as writing. Language weaves its own labyrinth, perpetually deferring what is promised, namely something different (something other than the grammar of existence).
This may be Nietzsche's problem: he kept writing. But he writes around--around the curvature of a body of ideas that are never properly identified, they are never named. By remaining so, beyond the strictures of language--appearing only in their absence--this body of ideas, this cluster of affects, of regulating principles corporeally suffered, generates powerful desire. Nietzsche calls this, "Will-to-Power," and against the physiologists of his day who insist upon "self-preservation as the cardinal instinct of an organic being" he maintains: "A living thing seeks above all to discharge its strength - life itself is will to power; self-preservation is only one of the indirect and most frequent results." (BGE, #13) There is a yearning for cathartic release. The question is, then, how is this release suffered?
It is plausible that for Nietzsche this sort of release took the form of writing, that he composed himself through his body of works. This is in keeping with certain claims advanced by Nehamas and Conant. However, if what this composition orbits around is the unspoken affirmation of a will-power, then this is more a compost than a singing-and-dancing song, reeking of morality, of an ascetic resentment.
Which unspoken desire?
Must I say it?
Yes, of course, by disciplinary imperative.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Electric Counterpoints, or: Another Aborted Attempt (again)

I type, “I want to…” and thus already subvert this essay: the venture founders. “I-will” is a by-product of the metaphysical idea of “I-think,” which in turn posits an “I-am”: being. My language tightens what I attempt to sneak out from the grasp of… language ensnares—me? I am in a labyrinth.

This is Nietzsche’s problem: the limits of language, the limits of which circumscribe the arena of experience. Nietzsche longs to write, “the body…”—but this, too, is far too discrete. For the boundaries he wishes to dissolve are corporeal. We are no longer minds. We do not think, we feel. But what we feel cannot be isolated: affect pulses, races, wanders, drifts, surges and recedes, climaxes and builds, and always manically. Even in its depressive valleys this energy ricochets.

Every verb resonates with explosive possibility, every noun begs for eruption. This body quivers with anticipation. For innocence. Again.

YOU ARE, or: yet another aborted attempt.

This essay takes its starting point from the treatment of Nietzsche offered by Leo Bersani in his polemical work, The Culture of Redemption.[1] It is well known that Nietzsche’s project is ‘narcissistic’ in the pejorative sense; if truth is only a move in a game of (will-to-) power relations, then under Nietzsche’s regime of subjectivism, egoism, or radical relativism (‘perspectivism’) reduces everything to a violent play of force. Where narcissism is ascendant, Truth is lost. This is because narcissism is here figured as a reentrenchment of the self as a manifestation of a domineering will-power. Bersani, however, figures narcissism from a different slant, from a psychoanalytic lens. He writes, and I quote at length,

The narcissism pointed to in the first pages of Freud’s essay on narcissism is a self-jouissance that dissolves the person and thereby, at least temporarily, erases the sacrosanct value of selfhood, a value that may account for human beings’ extraordinary willingness to kill in order to protect the seriousness of their statements. The self is a practical convenience; promoted to the status of an ethical ideal, it is the sanction for violence. If sexuality is socially dysfunctional in that it brings people together only to plunge them into a self-shattering and solipsistic jouissance that drives them apart […], it can also be thought of as our primary, hygienic practice of nonviolence, and even as a kind of biological protection against our continuously renewed efforts to disguise and to exercise the tyranny of the self in the prestigious form of legitimate cultural authority. (CT, 4)

On this model, sex-negativity—as opposed to an embrace of self-dissolving sexual jouissance—is the moral standard. Evil are those who refuse to cum.

... back into the labyrinth. Fuck.

[1] Bersani, Leo. The Culture of Redemption (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990). Henceforth cited parenthetically as CR.

Pulses, or: many aborted running starts

Overcoming as Undoing: Vivifying the Body through Sexual Passion


One learns to wander because the earth itself is lovely.

On April 6th, 2011 World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan used the occasion of “World Health Day” to announce to the human populace of the earth the discovery of “drug-resistant bugs,” and with the announcement of this discovery, made in 2008 in the slums of New Dehli, ushered man into a “post-antibiotic era.” The implications of this announcement cannot be understated. In Dr. Chan’s own words, “The world is on the brink of losing these miracle cures.” Nearly half a million cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis were detected last year, along with cases of drug-resistant malaria. Even strains of HIV are emerging that are unresponsive to antiretroviral treatments. The global spread of these bugs is, simply, inevitable. Yet, the Director-General cannot affirm this conclusion. Instead, she sounds an alarm: “In the absence of urgent corrective and protective actions, the world is heading towards a post-antibiotic era, in which many common infections will no longer have a cure and, once again, kill unabated.”

This episode is only the most recent, yet for this reason no less terrible, of many moments comprising the history of Western metaphysics. It dramatizes a central contention of this essay, namely, the impossibility of Socratic rationality to therapeutically cure the ‘suffering’ of life itself. It further dramatizes the unwillingness of those steeped in a therapeutic culture of redemption to confront this impossibility; on display, by contrast, is the impulse to place one’s faith all the more in the very method of ruin that brought us to this point in world history. In order to develop this claim I look to Nietzsche, who first diagnosed this eerie compulsion in The Birth of Tragedy. Indeed, Nietzsche’s unrelenting mockery of the philosophical tradition’s prejudices, its faith in the corrective power of rationality, is a thread that weaves his corpus together in interesting and unexpected ways. In this paper I argue that Nietzsche was aware of the impossibility of turning, re-turning, or inverting the traditional conception of man as he is predicated on the Socratic, rational ideal. Nietzsche knew full well that each tact leaves in place the contested term, threatening to entrench it all the more securely as a necessary point of opposition. For this reason he sought to reach beyond the conceptual discourse available to him to describe human experience. This, however, is a project that, as many have observed, works itself up into a referential labyrinth of mythical epic heroes and spiraling snares of metaphysical cosmology.

This essay, then, does not attempt to untangle the knot of Ariadne’s thread so much as bring to bear upon it a critical edge. My blade is not a physician’s scalpel, nor a hero’s sword: it is a prostitute’s stiletto. This methodology does not “cut,” does not dissect and sever, separate or partition; it is penetrative. As it enters the corpus, it passes through many layers of text: it is archeological, and Nietzsche’s body is an “opus incertum”—laid with irregular, imbricating stones. The density of Nietzsche’s corpus, the resilience of his hide, makes this operation a pain-staking delight; the scholar becomes a seducer, soliciting the softest, most voluptuous and tender point of entry. The scholar masks a prostitute, a masked seducer, concealing also the mask of a murderer. He becomes alive as war. He delights in “how closely lust and cruelty are related.” (Venus in Furs, Sacher-Masoch.)

To penetrate Nietzsche’s text is to abandon the methodology of rhetoric sanctioned by Plato’s Socrates in the Phaedrus, where cleaving the ligaments of a text through dialectical slashes is supposed to reveal the truth of a given logos: the philosopher wounds, tortures, the truth into revealing itself. This is a divine moment of dismemberment, inspired by a god. The same god, Socrates says on his deathbed, inspiring philosophy (Phaedo, 69d).[1] And under the regime of this “true eroticist” we all know which member is banished first, condemned to exist as a free-floating signifier in the world of metaphysics: bodies without organs, organs without bodies; either way: “sensualists without spirit, specialists without heart.”[2] This is because the dialectic is the weapon of the metaphysician; a methodology predicated on lack, on negation—even on the negation of the negation. The dialectic sublimely careens towards death, towards nihilism, toward asceticism. This is because Socrates, the true eroticist, never actually loved, knowing only the absence of it—thus under his resentful gaze eros became this awareness, and the pathos of its affect. Socrates is moved: his hand lifts-up-and-away (aufhebung) what he wants: in his self-denial he is “spiritualized.”

[1] What? These cunning, jealous philosophers inspired by—Hera?

[2] In a preface to Barthes’s The Pleasure of the Text, Richard Howard remarks the notable absence of an amorous discourse in English, “we have either the course or the clinical.” I think this an admirable way of capturing the predicament.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

And if you complain once more...

... you'll meet an army of me.

My goodness what self-indulgent nonsense that was.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

all wake from their slumber to debut in the Bacchanal...

...come to the light, the invisible light

Tonight is Madonna-Rama at my favorite ever nightclub. It's increasingly a less and less safe space for me though. I find it haunted by the caresses, kisses, insinuations, overtures, gestures, moans--the entire repertoire of seduction--that J. has expended on boys other than me. It is becoming, in my mind, his space now. And I lament this loss as much as I rage against his conquest. This whole fucking neighborhood is. I can't wait to get the hell out. Leave it to him, a playground of decay. I hope he rots in it.

Last night, I learned, he managed to smuggle his 'friend' in. His fuck buddy. Who he fell in love with under my nose. Despite my pleadings and desperate ultimatums.

Oh and my rage is legion! I am a ball of ugliness and I can't even stand to give expression to all of it. To any of it. How cruel and miserable he is. How petty and indifferent. I buckle and break and then not enough of either because I still draw enough breath to feed this surging desire to rip out my hair or claw open my chest or bash my fists against metal rails until I can't feel knuckles splinter and fail.

I hate him.

I hate how I let myself become so crippled under his reign. How pathetic I've become, submitting to a promise of nothing but more lies, more secrecy, more half-speak. I hate how badly I still cling the fantasy that enough time will cure the ills that ruined us, or that the proper phrasing of my complaints will finally allow him to FEEL how I feel, or that my fists could beat his wandering desires out of him and the desire for me back into him.

I hate how he feeds these fantasies, like a pusher, stringing me out on false hope.

Oh and doesn't he smile so very sweetly when he kicks me out of his apartment, like it pains him?! He kicks me out to make space for his 'friends' visiting for the weekend, smuggled into what was once my favorite nightclub. With an air of moral self-righteousness that is unrivaled. I 'abuse' him with my complaint. He shall not stand to hear it! Get out! GET OUT! He smacks my face. (That I actually appreciate, he's touched me for the second time... I think of William Carlos Williams: a sweet caress)

My queer healer tells me to process, not to ruminate, but not to deny or disavow the feelings--"They have to go somewhere or they just cycle, right?" I agree, because of course he's right. I count myself very lucky to be able to turn to him for advice and to just spew my bile onto. Ugh. I need to love him more. Otherwise it's just exploitation. And then I'm just repeating cycles of trauma: transference, displacement, projection. Fuck.

Nietzsche writes in Zarathustra that we hurt with what hurts us. I think he's right. I don't think we mean to, obviously. But it's bullshit to exploit my friend so I can feel comfortable, to cast on to him my anxiety so I can feel more secure. Isn't that, after all, what J. did every time I attempted to confront him about what was going on? Always my fault, my failures, my short-comings, my 'heteronormativity,' or my jealousy...

So I finally agree with him: I am a failure at being with him in the way he says he needs me to be, and so I've stopped trying. I give in: I'm giving up. I hate my limits in this context. I hate that there is some Gordian Knot that I cannot loosen in my mind, and which I do not have a sword sharp enough to slice in half. But then, the one who could have supplied the whetstone was him, and he never bothered until it was too late, once the gesture was itself empty and pitiful. More often, he mocked me as a I hacked away at myself, encouraging me to think I couldn't do what I wanted so badly to accomplish, mocking my efforts at comprehension, fostering the sense of an inevitable fatality that I finally actualized, as if he wanted me to.

Unmoored, with bits that I'm left with from a past I can't rightly make any sense of, I just move on. To what, I suppose I'll discover. But back to basics. Back to being a good student, and back to spending time with friends. Back to matching my deeds to the words I offer up--which may be an incitement to a return to a practice of silence. Back to writing. And all of these (re)turns are just so many preparations for a new beginning:

"'Too bad! What? Isn't he going--back?'
Yes, but you understand him badly when you complain. He is going back like anybody who wants to attempt a big jump.--" (BGE, 280)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Teach to world to sing in perfect harmony...

(a symphonic blank stare--it's not designed to make you care!)

I had a dream last night that I was pulled aside by a professor who, having taken a number of courses with while an MA student, went on to give me good advice about something or other. I can't remember the details. The dream moved very quickly from one space to another: first in a college building, then outside in some strange sort of landscaped garden. I lost my phone in the manicured brush. He helped me find it, all the while scolding me for being so careless. It was a bizarre dream.

I find I am having more of them. Perhaps because I am drinking less. Or smoking less. I don't know. I had one about an orgy erupting in the locker room after ballet class. I haven't been back since. That was 3 weeks ago. "What are those men doing ing my head, having sex with me?" I asked a friend who I related the story to. How fucking pathetic. For all my talk about wanting to arouse the bodily pleasures the very idea, vivid and visceral, felt, makes me retreat.

J. never actually came to the club. I felt robbed of my chance to act and feel differently when confronted with an event that would stir powerful feelings of jealousy and inadequacy. I went home with my friends and we fucked instead. Wrestled in the hallway first, and then fucked. I wonder, though, if I just needed someone, anyone, to pull my ass out of the muck of disappointment that seeped up over not seeing him. Part of me thinks that those nearly 2 weeks of not seeing him were necessary--I almost long to have them back again, for the clarity of my position: I'm not with him anymore. Seeing him, sleeping with him--all of this was so much like what I wanted it to be, but not: it is not us getting back together, it is not us falling back in passionate love, it is not us making promises and compromises. Yet, I don't know what it is, and to the extent that all of the possibilities are not ruled out, I can't stop wanting to see him. I can't ask him for clarity, though: that would force the issue and I am afraid of what he would say. My cowardice on both sides presses me into a paraplegic listlessness.

In other news, my paper on Grindr is a go. I have departmental support for it. It is the paper I'm to present at the conference in Napoli. Professor "Just Dashing" thinks it's a great idea, and actually said I don't need to take the exam for his class since I'll be working on the paper. And he wants to me to work on it with the conference in mind, too. FINALLY! I am SO grateful that someone in my subfield is interested in one of my intellectual projects.

Of course, now I have to deliver, and a substantial part of me seriously doubts my abilities. I'm distracted and restless, my thoughts wandering so often to hover around the endlessly multiplying "what-if" questions that threaten to permanently shroud J. I don't know how to stop them except to muscle through. It took me almost 2 weeks of nearly insane flight-from-myself (fucking, drinking, dancing) to actually begin to feel like I didn't need to think about him all the time. I am like a freight train. It takes me almost forever to stop, and I can't turn on a dime. But fuck all, I can haul ass. I need, in such moments, to be my own saboteur. Ka-BOOM go the tracks, and crunch goes my "all steam ahead." Haha, I SO need a new paradigm!

And I have a meeting with my MA readers in about a month, which will be wonderful. I need to go and print out the fucking thing. Blah. 56 pages. But I managed to get them both to agree to meet, and considering the fact that I haven't been able to get that kind of response before, I'll take it. Now I just hope that the project holds and I don't walk into a meeting where the essay is drawn and quartered. If that happens, think I'll just scrap the damn thing and write a completely new project over the summer with professors who I will work with on a dissertation, using the MA as a chapter. I doubt that the meeting will go that way. But who knows. I just am SO sick of this essay at this point that if I had to devote serious attention to it again I wouldn't think it worth the effort.

(Prof. Just Darling accidentally called me "Gabriel" in class and when I showed-up at his office later was he mildly self-deprecating about the mistaken appellation, so I ran with it: "It must be my angelic face..." to which he says, "Your new haircut does show more of your cherubic face." I melted, putty in his hands...)

Anyway: he is SO prolific, and in part because, like me, he just gets BORED with a project if he has to dwell on it too long. I agree with him whole-heartedly: it starts to stagnate, putrefy, and become noxious to creative thought. He said to me, "Stop thinking about it, just start doing it." He's so right. And now I have someone to encourage me in that direction (i.e., productivity!) so I am super-excited. And goodness, he's just SO darling!

Future Plans:
1a) Nietzsche paper: letting Bersani and Nietzsche have at it, conceptualizing the Ubermensch as a 'post-human' subject viz., beyond notions of selfhood idealized by Enlightenment moral philosophy; refiguring ethics as relations of disinvestment of the unified subject: the role of pleasure, plurality, fragmentation (engaging: Arendt, Deleuze, Agamben, Berlant).
1b) Social Movements Paper: Anonymous as a social movement organization? Thinking through the implications of collective political action as mediated by technology, esp. internet. 2/3 of the paper=BORING lit. review of social science blah on social mov't organizations. Then: interesting stuff on new media and political desubjectivization (Gladwell v. Cheyfitz, Deleuze, Agamben).
2) Cigars w/ the Writer (remember him? he's now, more properly, the Psychologist, but I can't really bring myself to change his name...) He'll be in town mid-March and we will get to spend yet another St. Patrick's together, only this time hopefully with good gin and not crap bourbon. Two years ago we did this, too, but it was his birthday, and I was wildly in love with him. He read the Rimbaud's "The Stolen Heart" ("My sad heart slobbers at the poop..."). How could I resist?! Well, two years does wonders. Who knows, maybe all I need to do to get over J. is remember I got over the Writer. And that doesn't stop me from loving him, just from being incapacitated in my loving. (Of course, part of getting over the Writer entailed finding and falling for J.... haha how twisted these strands become!)
3) Dental insurance!
4) Visit Gramsy and get a tan!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'm not the percent you think survives

(I need sanctuary in the pages of this book).

The upcoming syllabus of the course on Hannah Arendt's THC has been quasi-leaked, and sports the following authors:
"Plato, C. Wright Mills, Allan Kaprow, Martin Heidegger, Herbet Marcuse, Roland Barthes, Arlie Hochschild, Karl Marx, Leo Strauss, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Aristotle, Tim Ingold, Thucydides, André Gorz, Steven Shapin and Simon Shaffer..."

It will be interesting to see how these thinkers are all woven together--or not. Sometimes the best courses are the frenetic ones, that sort of bounce all over the place. When what is experienced is the buoyancy and flightiness of thinking as an activity:

"It is like seeing two mountain climbers standing before a wild mountain stream that is tossing boulders along its course: one of them light-footedly leaps across it, using the rocks to cross, even though behind and beneath him they hurtle into the depths." (N. Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks)

Finally finished and sent out a nearly final draft of my MA thesis "Please/Forgive: On Natality in Arendt and Nietzsche". As I almost wrote to my readers, "I often wanted to scrap this essay and start from scratch, but since that impulse didn't prevail, here it is!" Well, I may have undersold it, especially since I think it is quite good at moments. But, as I also said, if I had to address the question of forgiveness again I would approach it from a totally different angle. I think there is an effort in the text to try and consolidate a heroic, no doubt melodramatic subject of superhuman 'overcoming.' To the extent that Nietzsche's incisive observation holds that every philosopher constructs his own system out of a moral prejudice, that essay was an autobiographical testament to the desire to get my shit together.

But I've recently been taken by the COST of such a project. In multiple sense of the word, but mostly in this regard: the projection of that kind of superhuman confidence is bullshit--that is, it is the occasion for a sort of hypocritical event, the closure of the gap between the plurality of experienced, felt selves: this leads to a hysterical overdetermination of subjectivity I think, of a reactive posture.

Lauren Berlant recently wrote about the "combover subject" and I love the figure! How would Nietzsche have felt had he started to bald?

Tonight will be an exercise in embracing, that is, restylizing, my combover. J. is going out w/ a boy he's met (i know, i know, old news by now--sorry for being so repetitively boring!) and it is inevitable that we will see one another out. Our mutual friend is gonna be there with a boy I no longer talk to because it got really out of hand so I don't have him to spend the night with, getting drunk at the bar, being distracted and reassured. And the boy I wanted to spend the night with just bailed on me, and made it sound like he isn't really that interested in seeing me again. Whatever. It's lame that boys get so stupid. <= see how I did that! As if I were now "Man" or "Girl" or "Woman" or wolf or bug or moon rock and not one of these stupid boys myself! hahaha...

My former boss--an amazing queer theorist and personal hero--tells me about this woman Catherine Millet who writes this amazingly torrid tell-all (The Sexual Life of Catherine M.) that rivals Sade's 120 Days of Sodom. This same fearless author finds out that her husband has been having an affair and is overcome by jealousy, and her next book, Jealousy is all about dealing with it. This queer-theorist friend of mine says, "Even I still feel jealous... X will say something about one of his dates and it hits a nerve!" and I am so relieved! I'd always felt like a failure for not being able to face my jealousy and dominate it into submission to my desire to be cool with an open-relationship. It was a terrible feeling: letting myself down was also letting J. down, who would then rip into me for being such a failure... People keep saying to me, "Maybe you just can't do it," and I say to myself, "My grandfather went into Catholic elementary school a lefty and graduated Catholic elementary school a righty: I believe in the utter plasticity and discipline-ability of the body." Foucault did, too. The gay Foucault--though, if he had lived longer he would have, I think, been quite pleased with the rise of queer theory--even felt we could begin to exercise these practices on ourselves: askesis baby: practices of pleasure! (Enter Bersani...)

Who knows. I'm confident that I will see someone cute to dance with, and who knows, go home with. (duh!) And I'm also confident that I will be cool with seeing J. out with this boy. That he's going out with someone else doesn't foreclose the possibility that I will see him again. I need to stop feeling like every time I see him will be the last. It over-loads our time together, blocks it up with an affect of inchoate disappointed expectation. Mostly, though, J. WANTS to see other people, and I should be happy for him that he is. (It isn't always easy...--duh...) But that it is easier to default to a position of wounded pride or an offended sense of propriety is no justification for the dominance of that posture in my repertoire of responses. When I was struggling with J.'s relationship with M. not too long ago I had to admit to myself that there was a part of me that was turned on by it, and so I couldn't really be angry or put off: I was pleased by the situation even as I was terrified by the possible implications of it all, and in my better moments I was able to amplify that feeling of pleasure, to take comfort in the pleasure that was somehow of a kind with the pleasure that was felt by J. and M.--that we were somehow doing something hot and caring together, and my role in it was to understand, to encourage, and to be strong enough not to feel threatened. (I failed on that front, which is why we aren't boyfriends... but, whatever...)

Ok, time to get the fuck onto a dance floor. Tomorrow I do my taxes, but will only file them if the government is giving ME money. Otherwise, I'm taking a page out of Henry's book and I'm gonna resist out of probity and principle... and rage.

Which leads me to my final thought of the night:


(Both charts are courtesy of Mother Jones.)

Friday, February 25, 2011

I press trigger, I don't press people button.. how I have 22--now ain't that something? (10 are for you, so who's gonna get the next dozen?)

Walking to the train this morning I was listening to Robyn, which isn't new: I've been succoring my emotional malaise with her eminently danceable tunes. There is a song, though, that makes me start to cry every time, even when I'm on the street walking to the train. So there I am, hurting with every heartbeat, choking down sobs, walking to the train. And I don't look back...

It is 7.30ish, by the way. So I am fraught, emotionally fried, physically exhausted. Cf. last post. Ugh. So fucked up.

Thankfully the song ends before I wheel around the corner into the Addison Red Line terminal, which is where, after slipping my CTA card though the turn-stile, I find my hand in Rahm Emanuel's. His smug little face is grinning back at mine. I wonder if he is enjoying his own reflection in the sheen of my knock-off Gucci shades.

"I think you're a prick," I say. It doesn't register at first I don't think because he says, "Thank you, sir."

But I don't let it go.

"No!" I yell as I make my way up the escalator: "You sold us out to private corporate and financial interests while you were in the White House and you will do it again as the Mayor. Fuck you!"

Now he has heard me, and he scoffs, smug prick that he is. A flare of rage flashes across his face, but another wave of commuters washes through the turn-stiles and he is distracted. And I risk getting arrested if I keep yelling, seeing the thugs with their ear-pieces and semi-auto side-arms getting a little too restless for my comfort. I shut up and let the escalator swoop me off. The people around me are shooting looks of puzzlement, disbelief, repugnance, curiosity... I turn up the volume on my headphones.

Well, what was this stunt anyway? A "thank-you" meet-and-greet for the rich, white population that got him elected. No thank you, I'm disidentifying from that crowd! The crowd that drives me off the road when I'm biking? Who sneer or blush when they see the dildos I sell through the windows when they walk by the place where I work? Yes, that crowd who moved into Lakeview because it was (finally) a perfectly bleached shade of boring--save those pesky faggots, but they are easily enough assimilated/co-opted/bought/priced-out... Oh, this crowd of yuppie fucks who descend on Wholefoods every Sunday with their wide-load strollers! How could I love this city if I gave myself over to the people who cannot tolerate the diversity that makes it interesting? 6% population decline in the city of Chicago, and we all know who's going, and why. (I love Arendt's rationale for executing Eichmann: It's because you had the audacity to attempt to determine who to share the world with, that is, that you offended against the plurality of the human race you forfeit the right to keep company with any of us.) Sometimes I wanna roll out my guillotine. Even if a mini one... for another of Rahm's fingers: let's really shut him the ____ up. hahaha...

I'm moving out of this neighborhood anyway. Not that I don't love it, but I've seen the lines shift: the gay men come here to play these days, while the rich white straight yuppies come here to live. I've seen the evolution of the neighborhood in Kit Kat as a microcosm of the phenomenon: what was once a cocktail bar for gay boys and girls to sing along with and lavish love upon the performers has become a tranny revue for bachelorette parties. Yuck!

A friend and I are talking seriously about being roommates, and I'm excited about it. I've never had a roommate in any real, meaningful sense. I'd always been dating someone, and so it was never two people sharing a space, it was a couple and a guy sharing a space, and that rarely works. In fact, in never did. But, the joy of spending so much time with J. and his roommate was seeing how they negotiated their relationship. It works, not always perfectly, but always 'lovingly.' It made me want to try. So I'm giving it a shake. Plus, saving some money is never a bad thing. Uptown, here I come!

Ok, back to the Rahmifications of my outburst. I was instantly struck with the ambivalence of my sentiments. My rage, mixed with my longing... what was 'legitimate' to feel? Did I lash out at a politician because I was listening to a song that made me miss J.? Is there just beneath or barely discernible within my desire a profound anger? That is: just how symptomatic was this event? I want to claim discrete affective states: longing evaporated with my prehension of Rahm, giving way to indignation. But I should know better, right? That's just a nice dream, right?

Well, either way I was productive today. I registered for classes. Only one, but at a ghastly hour of the morning. If it were anyone else, teaching anything other than Arendt's THC I would say fuck it. But I cannot say no to the class that, no joke, I have been yearning to take since 2006. It was, after all, the idea of being at this school, in a classroom with this professor, reading this book with him, that filled my youthful soul with just so many fantasies of the nobility of Academic pursuits. I feel oh so very disabused now. Perhaps I am hoping that this course will be redemptive, perhaps curative of whatever intellectual fatigue has been plaguing me.

I suppose it's that I lack the conviction that my intellectual efforts are actually meaningful in any substantial sense. Who the fuck will ever read what I write? Goodness knows that just getting someone to read a draft of my MA thesis has been dispiriting--nearly 3 months of silence, and from someone I wanted to work with no less. I never know with these things: I default to a personal inadequacy: if it was good, it would have been read, and I would have heard from her. But after the first 2 pages interest was lost, and so... blah blah blah. So for 3 months I say nothing either. Fortunately I was successfully laughed out of that way of thinking this afternoon by our department guru. Thank goodness for her!!! A million and one thanks!!!

Today was just a good day I guess. It all went smoothly, you could say. Except I keep getting snagged, hooked, caught, on J. I return again and again to thoughts of him, perhaps enjoying the feeling of running my mind over that jagged point. Obsessional neurosis as the psychic equivalent of cutting. I may be seeing him later tonight, and I'm exhausted. Tomorrow if I see him, I will be seeing him out with a date--a friend of his. He reproached me for calling them tricks. He described my language as 'tired'. I'm trying. I wonder if he appreciates how tiring it is to learn new languages: we exhaust one another when we speak. The last time I saw him out with another boy who he went home with I cried myself to sleep. I'd never actually done that before, and that night especially I thought it impossible because I was so tweaked out I didn't even think I could fall asleep, and then low and behold, I woke up the next morning. I don't know how long it took, but it was agonizing. Or was it? What, exactly, hurt about the crying? I'm not sure. Maybe it didn't hurt at all, maybe I'm just scared of crying--that other bodily experience of loss of control.

It's so funny to have been awake at this point for 12 hours--a full day! At this time 12 hours ago I was shouting down Rahm Emanuel! Hahaha, how ridiculous. Sometimes I just can't take myself seriously. It makes it hard to think anyone else does. But then, I suppose, if I didn't take myself seriously, I wouldn't have something? I don't know... maybe that was a reckless, rude, over-determined effort to prove my words mean something. Blah. I can't go on with this any more. Ok. Done.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

BGE #200

"Such human beings of late cultures and refracted lights will on the average be weaker human beings: their most profound desire is that the war they are should come to an end."

This is the mantra of the man I am: please, just some rest... from myself.

J., who no longer is mine--who never was, never will be mine!--demands of me a new relationality, one without fixity, no telos, no limits: no end.

I should be so ek-static. I am not. I am launched into myself. Horrified and lonely. Interiorized.

Deleuze: "If you put thought into contact with the exterior, it assumes an air of freedom, it gives birth to Dionysian laughter. When, as often happens, Nietzsche fiends himself confronted with something he feels is nauseating, ignoble, wretched, he laughs--and he wants to intensify it, if at all possible. He says: a bit more effort, it's not disgusting, it's a marvel, a masterpiece, a poisonous flower; finally, 'man begins to become interesting.'" (Nomad Thought)

Nietzsche continues: "But when the opposition and war in such a nature have the effect of one more charm and incentive of life--and if, moreover, in addition to his powerful and irreconcilable drives, a real mastery and subtlety in waging war against oneself, in other words, self-control, self-outwitting, has been inherited or cultivated, too--then those magical, incomprehensible, and unfathomable ones arise, those enigmatic men predestined for victory and seduction, whose most beautiful expression is found in Alcibiades and Caesar...."

The man that I am and the man I wish to (cunningly) become draw life from the same well-spring: a body that has in it "the heritage of multiple origins, that is, opposite, and often not merely opposite, drives and value standards that fight each other and rarely permit each other any rest."

To put to sleep, to bed, to knock-out--one way or the other--by hook or by crook!--let us try and give these drives what they so yearn for, at least for now: to finally give them... some rest.

Anti-Social? I'm all apologies...

Above the coffee station in the 7-11 there now hangs a huge flat screen TV running adverts for all the little toxic goodies you can buy for what one almost wants to say is cheap (until the actual cost of the destruction of your body is considered). And its loud. Bright and loud. And I'm like a mosquito or a fly with one of these things. It just becomes light and humming and I am sucked into the mind-zapper. I stood underneath that damn TV for like five minutes until I became self-conscious, afraid drool would start slipping out of the crease of my gaping, dumb-struck mouth. The TV is really scary. So is the Redbox station outside the 7-11. (When did 7-11 become purveyors of the most junky crap ever?).

When I finally peeled myself away from the TV I was offered a .50cent (BANG! BANG!) sausage biscuit. I giggled and politely declined, but really, how freakish! I say to the guy behind the counter, "You must hate these things! How long before you just wanna..." and I pantomime pump-loading a shotgun before desperately shooting the screens. He sorta lets a queasy smile flicker across his face, and I say, "Because it must play the same stuff again and again!" "And it's loud..." he mutters. "It IS loud!" I say. I break out my miming skills again but his smile doesn't get any less queasy. Now my smile is queasy, too. Or at least limp. So I thank him, sorta pissed at the whole fucking experience. And as I walked out there was the manager, not in uniform or anything, doing the books. He'd been hidden from sight behind a register, hunched over his invoices.

Well, that at least explained the poor bastard's queasy smile. "Please don't say you want to explode the bosses new TVs--he's RIGHT THERE!" That's what his smile was saying... hahaha how ridiculous. I can't imagine the boss really wanted those TVs either, though: they are loud. (Well, maybe he does, but not in order to play these fucking advert loops. Maybe a film or satellite-beamed TV show from home. It's funny to think that people wouldn't want to see a movie from another country in a 7-11--why not? How else would you see cinema from X country?) And I only stayed for part of the loop--I can't imagine how horrible it must be to listen to the damn thing again and again and again. It's a sort of neoliberal torture.

And that's why I when I finally put my headphones back on, as if to break the spell of the TV, I had to dance a bit, to get myself back into my body. And if I am always losing my body and needing to catch it. I suppose I am, in some strange sense, feeling my body escape me. But most of the time it feels like my body is being snatched away. I feel robbed. But that's silly, because it's like a seduction scene. An abduction! (Cf. Araki's "Mysterious Skin" for the ways trauma can manifest itself literally. Still--thinking of Delezue on Klein in "Nomad Thought": give me your intense, lived experiences, and i will translate them in to fantasy--the psychoanalytic contract, and why Freudianism is still a bourgeoisie ideology--even the great Klein, theorist of the partial object, succumbs.) Wickedly difficult to think through. Taxing. Unjustly so. I want to pantomime a shotgun and make the TV screen in my brain cower a bit. No such luck. I grimace, and then dance again, and greet the guy behind the counter with a smile, my coffee cup in hand. "Sausage biscuit for only .50cent more," he says to me.

(Has the light gone out for you? Because the light's gone out for me... It's the 21 century. It can follow you like a dog. It brought me to my knees.)

So I have less patience with those kids who start to shoot their mouths about us anti-social kids who sit on the train with their headphones on listening to music, totally zoned out. Like, what, paying attention to you is better?

I'm trying to learn a new style. Take this example as a case in point: At Irving Park and Clark there is no bus shelter, despite this being a major intersection. Even if it isn't a major intersection, its far more major than the bus stop half a block down the street--the one in front of the retirement home. So the geezers get a shelter while the rest of us freeze and get rained on or snowed on. But, of course, if you're gonna catch the Clark bus going south, you just walk down to this shelter to catch the bus there. This is the practical thing to do. I'm the sort, though, who will bitch about corrupt Aldermen and the undue influence the elderly exert on politics, especially at the expense of the (racialized) poor. But J. doesn't do this. He just writes "poop" in the snow in front of the shelter.

Kids these days! But what else were we to do? The thing is the way it is, and no amount of bitching would change it. So, here we were confronted with privilege, and we made it suffer our little spectacle. "Hey, Gramps! This is what we think of you getting a shelter when no one else does: POOP!" Not that anyone asked, and not that it will ultimately change something. But we laughed, and in the face of freezing and feeling like no one gives a shit about kids like us needing to get to a pervy public sex show, it was enough, and more than that, too.

I've been seeing J. more regularly again, and it's unsettling. I feel out of place with him. I need to find a new sense of familiarity with him. I think I've been confusing comfortability with familiarity. My dear friend turned 29 yesterday, and she is advancing admirably on her dissertation, working on Cicero. She's deep in "On Friendship." "You must read this!" she says to me, "because he is challenging the Platonic notion of desire as lack." It sounds promising. We will see. Still, the idea of loving what is common, or the same, is part of Bersani's project in Homos and I'm into it. He even went to the Phaedrus, which is the least Platonic account of desire Plato gives for precisely this reason: you fall in love with what is properly speaking your own in some weird way, and not what you lack. I think J. and I have been figuring out what it's like to be ourselves again, but there is a lack that compounds this: I miss him, and he misses me. It is not an intrinsic lack, of course, but it is hard to feel self-sufficient when these impulses confront and must negotiate the longing for companionship that he provided. But not well enough--that's the point, I suppose. I wasn't a friend enough to myself to be sensitive to the ways he was friendly. Still, in it's ideal rhythms, the temporal prioritization of self/other dissolves, and the boundary of I/You really is just a practical convenience.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We Carry On

(The taste of life. i can't describe. its choking up my mind...)

Over the summer--oh the summer, the heat, the passion, the comfort of his body (even when I ached over its absence!)--I ran into a professor randomly on the street walking w/ J. to the CVS. I was mortified, stoned as I was, afraid of making a fool of myself. She took one whiff of us and, laughingly, referred us to Araki's "Smiley Face" when I said we were getting snacks for our movie (it was Araki's "Totally Fucked Up"). Her suggestion was far more on point, which isn't surprising. I told her what books I was reading for the queer theory component of my Political Theory exam and she said, "oh Judy and the boys." I said, "well, you, too." I was just afraid of sounding like a sycophant, and so I left her out. On purpose. Leaving out the people who I actually care about. (...and heaven knows I'm miserable now.) It's some sort of bizarre haughtiness: "Well of course I care about you! I'm talking to you, aren't I?" But I also think it's a thing like this: it's very Gaga (a la Poker Face): I refuse to tip my hand, for fear of...

It's funny though, because a friend who is a colleague related a story where precisely this same professor found it rather hard to say, "Good job!" to him, yet did not hesitate to esteem his performance to his partner. My friend goes, "WTF?!" We laughed because of course it all makes sense: the erotics of pedagogy. And so too the psychical violences of erotics haunt the hallowed halls of the Academy. Duh: the institution is named with all the aspirational hopes of a civilization claiming a mantel (Plato as the founder of the cannon, as the adopted Father--an inverse relationship [how gay!], almost as if Plato were behind Socrates the Scribe)--a mantel it could never avow, could only every affirm in the manner of a disavowal. And this, still, a double disavowal: the influence of the East on Greece, and the homoerotics that fueled the cultural generation. (Nietzsche recovers both in the figure of Zarathustra.)

I was lying in bed the other night, really turned off by a friend's Facebook status, which somehow suggested that visiting Auschwitz was more enjoyable than whatever little petty drama he was engaged in. It prompted me to go off on the myopia of so many people, especially the so called intelligentsia. And then I paused, and said, I wonder what I do that is absolutely, ridiculously, obviously obnoxious, the thing I do which aggravates other people, but which I am blind to... and the boy lying next to me just says, "Breathe, it's ok." I laughed, because there it was: this horrific propensity to over-think everything. To follow a wormhole of insane speculation. Undisciplined thought, I suppose. Or just, under worked: My mind isn't being worked hard enough, and so it just hums incessantly rather than roaring into a project so it may rest and simply live. My brain is like my libido: it is must be relieved, or I am pitched into a dull hum: the low-burning expenditure of water-laden fire wood: lots of smoke, but little fire, little heat.

At least I was smart enough to listen to his advice, to shut the fuck up and close my eyes and fall asleep.

Today I deactivated my Facebook until the end of the quarter. I feel like something of a hypocrite given how much my own work wants to argue that social media is not detrimental to the soul. And, indeed, it isn't--I just think that there is a way in which, like all social spaces, cyber-sociality is an excellent distraction. Social spaces can be the dwelling place of the rabble (Nietzsche's contention), or they can be the figurative mountain peaks (what Nietzsche fails to fully appreciate as a social space). Facebook, I suppose, was becoming more like one of my speculative wormholes. And, it's precisely because I don't believe that Facebook is "creepy"--I think the idea of the profile is beautiful: it is a profile, an always already limited in dimensionality casting of a figure--I can turn away... so as to see with different eyes, as it were, and from a different perspective (because it isn't as if being "in-person" somehow gives a complete picture of the Other--perhaps more perspectives on the profile, but we always already view the face of the Other from an ANGLE).

I grow increasingly disgusted with the pretensions of Academia. Which is what I started this post with. No: I started with the joy over seeing my professor--my once professor. And the relief that even my heroes are capable of the sorts of things I am. But this made me think of the depths of the culture of negation, its pervasiveness and seeming naturalness. This same professor once said to me, "Nietzsche isn't right about everything, you know?" (I thought at the time: that can't be right... how naive and desperate for certainty!) But what I think he does get right is the pervasive force of the culture of negation. Reading Nietzsche with new eyes entails this: looking for what he himself denies, since he is embedded in this culture of denial as much as we are. (If she is, he is... as I am: resisting!)

It's like the boys at the Robyn concert last night (which was amazing!): they stand still, lip synching! I think to myself: I'm at a concert, I know these words and I love the way they work together with this beat, and how this couple seduces my body into movement, into rhythms and undulations! I say to one of them who gives me a particularly severely dour look, "Baby if the architect had wanted to put a pillar here, she would have, now DANCE!" That was easy enough, he laughed and was, as if by magic, released of the shame felt over dancing by the shame over not dancing: may he learn to dance for fun, and not for shame! But the boys dressed to the nines, looking like they feel off the cover of an album: these boys measured their devotion through lack of expressed enjoyment. I can't stand any of it. So I dance it, and quite quickly I am done standing anything anywhere: I am dancing, and transported. I look to the stage and Robyn is moving in this beautiful jerky, emphatically bouncy way, spinning and throwing her arms in the air (she and Thom Yorke dance alike). I danced WITH Robyn last night (I'm done with idols--this is their twilight--I want dancing partners!): and we had a great time! So did all these kids around me--trendy fags, sporty dykes, trixy bytches, hipster queers: we had a great time! (We dance to the beat...)

A professor writes to me: your prose is overwrought. I write back (but have yet to send this): you are absolutely right: I am out of shape. I'm afraid of admitting it, because that makes it true, and that makes it a mark against me (as if it weren't obvious: my prose is 'overwrought'--this is polite for 'barely coherent')... My prose needs to become choreographic again. Tight, fluid, poetic. This entry as a first essay...

Friday, January 21, 2011

... don't you forget, caught in a trap (it never ends: it's my life!)

"Quite generally, only music, placed beside the world, can give us an idea of what is meant by the justification of the world as an aesthetic phenomenon. The joy aroused by the tragic myth has the same origin as the joyous sensation of dissonance in music. The Dionysian, with its primordial joy experienced even in pain, is the common source of music and tragic myth." (B/T)

Ok. And doesn't S/M also have this queer blending of what Nietzsche calls 'dissonance'--of joy and pain combined to create a new force, or new forces, that is/are (a)rousing?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I'm back at my cliff, still throwing things off...

J. has a roll of photos on his iPhone that just go and go. They comprise little more than the various facial expressions he has managed to contort the muscles in his cheeks into fashioning, into pressing his lips and brow into the most delightful variations of Surprise! or Ponderous? or Excited... What is fascinating is just how many of this photos there are. It reflects, I think, the sheer joy he felt at the vivid capture of his own image, of his capacity to conjure and capture (fort/da) his own gloriously beautiful face, even when stretched to cast the most obscene and ludicrous visage. I love the nearly inexhaustible narcissism of the gay man, especially when in the throws of his own rapturous auto-transport.

I listened to Bjork's "unison" for the first time in a season. I forgot how formative it was. How reassuring, and how helpful to think about an anti-Christian, joyful, musical ethos ("one hand will love the other"). I'm reading Peter Sloterdijk's _Thinker on Stage: Nietzsche's Materialism_ and it is immensely helpful for through some of the hard knots in _Birth of Tragedy_. More to read tomorrow, but I'm enjoying it. Oh, the vexing question of the spirit of music!

J. and I cruised side by side for the night. We were supposed to see a movie, but instead we just sat next to one another watching, advising, joking, comparing, having fun. It was actually kinda reassuring. I get wildly anxious at idea of him with another guy, though, less so now. It used to be really bad. But it is never as bad as I think it will be. Which is to say: It isn't bad, except in the expectation of its badness. The power of human potentiality, I suppose, lies in precisely the ability to actualize what is imagined (duh, Aristotle says in the _Ethics_, but these days one will be charged with 'voluntarism'!), and this, Freud argues, is evidenced in the analytic setting of projection, transference, and counter-transference. Anyway, we had fun, and we totally have plans for the weekend.

Is ballet Apollonian or Dionysian?