AN OPEN STREAM- OF- CONSCIOUSNESS “LETTER” TO LEE EDELMAN. BY STEVEN BENSON

Oh my God, Lee… I am giving you a chance: its always an exciting  stimulus to read something(very!) challenging: it really DOES make you think outside the box of all kinds of normativities/common-sense values; that is in itself good, but…
Queer(Theory)- I know I am not keen on the baggage of the queer bit!-but I subscribe to most of the theory/thinking.. I cannot quite make out whether it is you or me.. the discourse theory language(but I 2/3 “get” what u are getting at).. the Lacan.. or else there is a large(?)element of the devil’s advocate and even, dare I say it,(having been accused of it myself!)woolly thinking…

ok

1.You seem to be arguing that only by “negating” queer-the difference/the otherness/the subjectivity/the idiosyncrasy- can we TRULY and FULLY evacuate ourselves from the tyranny of all “dialectics”(you use Adorno “Negative Dialectics” as your starting point; this is self-evident:queer is all about breaking down EVERY binary, not just sexual orientation and gender binaries, so it IS beyond dialectics,{ even including synthesis}; but, my interpretation (my signified of the-undoubtedly-complex and amorphous signifier, queer),is that it is fundamentally about equality in difference…some sense of community in difference, with mutual respect of difference, as long as that difference doesnt impinge on the personal space or rights of others….

2. So, to counter that, you argue about the meaning of meaning… I know, everyone refers a signifier to their individually constucted(socio-psychologically/in their relationship to the hegemonic/nonhegemonic world)referrent(signified/meaning). Thus , for an lgbt person, family has different meanings/connotations than in (most of the)normativised straight world: it CAN be a blood family, but it can also be a family of friends(sometimes gay/queer)or a family of political allies… You are undermining even the different, creative, pre-figuratively(thanks, Jen, for that word!)woven central concepts of the (towards) utopia, non-hegemonic/normativized world.. the very foundations…OK, I WOULD be threatened:this blog is BUILT on these concepts, driven by ideas of “futurity”, which Edelman negates, INCLUDING queer(Utopian ) futurity…{I, at least, partly  agree with the negation of reproductive futurity he states queer theory embodies, but that is because I am outside-to an extent have CHOSEN to be outside that reproductive futurity[though i can occasionally get broody!]… but , overall, that suits me, as a (not too alienated)outsider.}.. In a nutshell, we better be going somewhere with this,Lee; the blurb promises jouissance…I hope that promise is actualised….

3. This point about a sort of kidnapping/appropriation of the true purpose by the social liberal/”liberal” movement/school of thought: eg when we “export” women’s or lgbt rights to countries with different cultures and religions, we are somehow undermining those very culture-specific identies. This again is obvious, to me: if the US/UK(particuarly bellicose colonial countries -now/still)invade or infiltrate these countries with non-Western values/cultures, they ARE somehow imposing liberal/western “democratic”/democratic values; well of course they are; but with the exception -and its a big one: a lot of countries where Muslim religions are predominant have an absolutely execrable history of (lack of ) rights for women and lgbt people;look at Uganda, Iran etc. Is it not common sense that we can differentiate between not colonising these countires and degrading them with (SOME of)our “democratic ” values, ie this is a BAD thing; and trying to influence the introduction of equality for these minority groups…OK, I am, perhaps, still not quite getting it!..I am on the teetering edge of my intellectual acumen here lol(I admit!). What these bankrupted western countries are doing is PRETENDING they are invading/influencing non-western countries/cultures in order to to give women and lgbt and minority ethnic groups(eg Kurds)rights; but really they are colonizing them with western-orientated values, dressed up as the ONE way of seeing the world…Ok, I really hope Judith Butler(“Frames of War”, 2009) and this book by Edelman(“No future:Queer theory and the Death-Drive”,2004)mean this; this meaning/distinction of thought I have just(in both senses!) teased out.

So, perhaps , the woolly thinking IS me, on this occasion; I OWN , I say it myself, on THIS occasion.

that was non-defensive…I mean I LIKE Eve Sedgwick Kosofsky… I even understand most of the little I have read.. I am CERTAINLY not against academic/discourse(preferably a non-normative one!)(though I do like a bit of freeform and mix and match of genres:Phttps://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/critical-thinking-in-the-form-of-a-poemthe-difference-between-sebalds-spectral-geographythe-abject-subject-and-utopian-gayqueer-geographies/)..perhaps Lee ISN’T being the devil’s advocate(though there still remains,as Leo Bersani says{on the back of “No future”}the slightly crucial question of “we could perhaps reproach (Edelman} for not spelling out the mode in which we might survive our necessary assent to this argument”.. do I detect dry humour there?!…

Its ok, folks, I am not having a nervous breakdown about the (lack/essential ambivalence and relativity) of meaning or the re-working of the multiform concept(s) that is/are queer…its still an exciting journey…I am , predominatly, irritated by my own inability to grasp parts of the argument(that obviously doesn’t make the argument,intrinsically,  wrong).. only time and more reading therein(Edelman) will tell….is his him or is me or a(nonbinary; lol) combo of both…

[watch this space]

[I am grateful to anyone who encouraged me to read these books and thus kick-started my attempt to think from first principles and make -additional–personal constructs!:)]

Omg, I need more espresso(but not too much)…….

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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)
This entry was posted in Birth of reader, gay, my poems, psychogeography, queer, queer theory, reader response theory, Self-actualisation, Utopia, working outside hegemonies. Bookmark the permalink.

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