USING CRITICAL THEORY TO JUMP-START YOUR OWN PERSONAL CONSTRUCTS.INCLUDING AN EXAMPLE :”QUEER” AND ALTERNATIVE NOMENCLATURES.BY STEVEN BENSON

I read four pages…ideas crowd into my mind..some contradictory… some tending towards an overall grasp..a synthesis…but, hell, they can live in parallel/counterpoint(lgbt/queer utopia versus a queer death drive!thats a test)…  can walk that tightrope…(sometimes)

But..this sounds arrogant…I hope its not.. its (largely)true: I begin to feel(albeit often in acute danger of being undermined) that I have got, at least the BEGINNINGS of this synthesis/(even) beyond dialectics, subliminally, already.. its patchy.. and, ok, I might need a spark(eg. reading an actual safer spaces-pragmatic-policy)or reading 4 pages of Edelmann; but then I (mainly) “get” it and lunge and run with it….

Someone just told me I am sometimes a woolly thinker… in fact, two people have said words to that effect this week..I  have to combat this..and remember I have like minds who think I am a reasonably good/cogent critical thinker; and, I am usually capable of believing that I am from WITHIN..

That was a rhizome.. diverted from my true(as in exact) line of thought…

For instance, Queer Theory:its exciting, its beautifully performative,it overarches all anti-hegemonic/anti-(hetero)normative  discourses, in its broader useage, in theory AND in practice…{see this post for its broader definition beyond surpassing the straight/gay and male/female binarieshttps://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/queerin-its-sense-of-not-solely-relating-to-sexual-orientationin-literature-a-creative-explorationclarification-of-what-it-means-to-me-by-steven-benson/ }.I LIKE it….

BUT,perhaps it would be more acknowledged and taken on board by that very normativising tendency we want to challenge,if we just changed the word “queer” to something else… this is controversial and complex: I  stress I am talking, solely,of the relationship between “queer” as a signifier(sign, here a word) and its relationship to the signified ONLY in the sense of an  lgbt person; and ONLY this particular signified,( because queer has multiple, often joyful, meanings and signifieds: difference, otherness, united against hegemony.. )

For a gay man of my generation(I am in my early 50s), queer was used solely as a pejorative term; and ,as such, carries MUCH baggage. Again, the Theory of Queer is wonderfully exciting and transgressive of boundaries and normativities; but, to someone of my age, and possibly of people some people younger,however much reclaiming we(?I) attempt of that particular signifier, I am still  left with a strong sense of the abject object, which has-sometimes- exactly the opposite affect to that intended by the newer coinage of the term(that is I feel other/different in a partly NEGATVE way…I think is important to recall that queer was used-sometimes still is- regardless of whether the recipient of the abusive remark was actually gay; it was the PERCEPTION as gay/homosexual/queer[unreclaimed!]. )

There is no excuse for homophobia; heternormativity and heterosexism need challenging and educative work which may or may not be successful; but some straight men(MEN, in particular) will struggle with it, BECAUSE it may have been pejoratively used of THEM, be they gay or not; as well as the societal homophobia thay are trying(hopefully) to overcome, they are then “presented”(as it seems to them) with the word queer; this would explain why some non lgbt people are more comfortable with lgbt rights/theory than Queer Theory(DESPITE the wonderful,wide-open, inclusive thinking of the latter)… Also some men and women will be struggling with their own inner demons in regard to sexual orientation identity because of societal, normativising pernicious pressures..

So, as Queer and Queer theory stands for (acceptance of) difference, otherness, inclusiveness, equality in difference, idiosyncrasy/quirkiness, why not call it Inclusivity(Theory)or Allowance of Difference (Theory!); all a bit clunky I know; can you think of anything more succinct?!Keep all the emancipatory, wonderful ideas but change the name, FOR PRAGMATIC ALLIANCE-BUILDING PURPOSES…. I know this is problematic… we have WORKED so hard for this word and its reclamation, and I stress that I am sure many are happy with re-claiming it,( as I am with the ideas that form its theoretical base).. but to grow an alliance/co-alition for radical politics, radical pedagogy, radical critical thinking,pragmatically. Perhaps its just me and my self-oppression around the nomenclature “queer” and my generation and its baggage; but recent events in my life are indicating its NOT just me..(and I am trying not to retreat into my usual academic safe enclave here, by trying to broaden it)

I am anxious now… so I want to stress that I am NEITHER:

1.attacking the absolutely necessary, worldwide( even more so, in some terribly homophobic countries)work of fighting for lgbt rights, nor the theory behind that fight; I am the most fervent proponent of all this!

NOR, 2.at all in the least unsympathetic to the doing-away-of-the-gay/straight-male/female-binary that Foucauldian theory posits(one of the foundations of Queer Theory); though at the same time accepting that in many parts of the world the lgbt RGHTS fight is the main priority

NOR, 3.  not seeing the need for the broad political/personal alliances around non ego-driven, non-competitive alternative means of living, which Queer theory, in its wider sense, encapsulates and propels. These, it goes without saying, are ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL to change this corrupt, twisted world.

Its MERELY the BAGGAGE of the word “queer”(at least for some people), not its joy and wonder and freeing theoretical framework..

I hope you get it, dear reader…its an attempt at a part of the dialogical process with the part of the (hetero)normative/hegemonic world that is prepared to listen… so please don’t take it as a personal attack on Queer theory; it isnt; its a burgeoning(even further) OUTWARDS of the massive groundwork Queer theory has already undertaken

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About decayetude

ENTHUSIASMS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, ESPECIALLY OBSCURE ROMANTIC COMPOSERS; BACH/HANDEL LITERATURE, ESPECIALLY THOUGHTFUL, WELL-WRITTEN(STYLISTICALLY)NOVELS W G SEBALD WALTER BENJAMIN THEODOR ADORNO(JUST BEGINNING!) AESTHETIC PHILOSOPHY GAY MEN'S WRITING;QUEER THEORY STIMULATING DISCUSSIONS(EMOTIONALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY) GOOD RICH THICK ESPRESSO MICHAEL PONTI SPRITUALITY/LIFE'S "AURA"(BENJAMIN), WHATEVER TRANSCENDENTAL THING YOU WANT TO CALL THIS MEMORY-the elusiveness thereof. LOST TIME AND AN ATTEMPT AT ITS REDEMPTION(NON THEISTICALLY/RELIGIOUSLY)
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