After the Romance

One of my favorite moments in contemporary theory comes from Lee Edelman’s No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive:

Fuck the social order and the Child in whose name we’re collectively terrorized; fuck Annie; fuck the waif from Les Mis; fuck the poor, innocent child on the Net; fuck Laws both with capital ls and with small; fuck the whole network of symbolic relations and the future that serves as its prop. (29)

Quite apart from Edelman’s delightful pun on pedophilia (who else dares to pun on pedophilia?), the passage offers such a moment of psychic freedom, a resting place from the (necessary) constraints of hetero-sociability and hetero-placation.

Perhaps one of the most irritating of contemporary queer reactions to a celebratory homophobia (bring balloons and beer to the bashing!) has been an attempt to placate and mollify scared hets. No, really, queer people love each other; it’s not about sex. No, really, we don’t have anal sex, at least not most of us. No, really, our fantasies revolve around food and clothing, nothing bodily. We abjure lust to be accommodating.

We have accepted—or refused to challenge—the silliest propositions. A Kenyan psychologist, for instance, claims that anal and oral sex do not provide pleasure. Against such silliness, the (im)proper queer reaction should be to stage public exhibitions that demonstrate the joys of anal and oral sex.

Against the silliness that refuses queer life in the tired name of tradition, the oppressive name of religion, the confused state of masculinity, the absurd fear of sexual experimentation, the self-righteous justification of hetero-superiority (the list continues), the queer response should never stoop to self-justification.

Against the claim that queer men are stealing married men, we should challenge married women to become better in the bedroom, at the very least to install better security systems. Nail Your Husbands Down!

One should counter absurdity with its like: “I know my orgasms sure as hell are not building the nation. Tell me about yours.” In place of seriousness, queers might affirm the pleasurable irritation of tickling. One might risk appearing silly or frivolous.

Anything but apologetic.

To be continued . . .