EQUAL(SAME SEX) MARRIAGE; AND WHAT I THINK LEE EDELMAN IS SAYING(HITHERT0), IN “NO FUTURE:QUEER THEORY AND THE DEATH-DRIVE”(2004)

I thought I would try and connect this current, turbulent passage through the two houses of the Uk government of the Equal Marriage Act with the arguments Edelman is making in his book(currently near end of first chapter, “the Future is Kid Stuff”) to help give myself, and hopefully others, some clarity. I think Edelman is arguing:

1.The system of (heteronormative) “reproductive futurism” is one which upholds the “Imaginary” stage in the schema of Lacan’s psychic development. In other words, it puts forward the Child( a figure, in the form of a trope{a trope changes the meaning of a word depending on context and tone used, here by capitalizing and emblemizing it})as the signifier/word pointing to the (referred to ) signifier/meaning of a future beyond the death of the current generation: it is all we have to approximitate to immortality.

2.He says the Conservative/conservative Right, heteronormative lobby actually REALIZES this, be it consciously or unconsciously; and that, cannily but disingenuously(because it is not often overt in what it is doing, sometimes even to ITSELF)it attempts to undermine all  movement towards lgbt equal legal and social rights-in especial, in regard to adoption and same-sex civil/church marriage(it has  won the latter)-in order to perpetuate that very system of “reproductive futurism”(Edelman’s phrase), with the (Imaginary) CHILD as its emblem.Thus, Sir Gerald Howarth, Tory MP, in the debate two days ago on Equal Marriage refered to the “aggressive homosexual community”; and him and, for example, Norman Tebbit,uttered purported harbingers of doom as to what the introduction of this legislation, which is merely about legal  equality and choice for lgbt people(long overdue; and whatever you think of marriage as an institution, lgbt people should at least have the CHOICE to buy into it, I strongly believe),would allegedly bring, usually very vague stuff, though Tebbit mentioned next he would be allowed to marry his own son!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

3. Edelman says that this is because the Right sees (more so than social liberals) the “threat”(as they disingenuously perceive/receive and transmit it) to the traditional blood family and “reproductive futurism”, as symbolised by the figure of The Child, by the establishing of the right for lgbt people to, for example, adopt children and marry.

4. Edelman seems to be strongly implying- and I agree with this point-that their ability to discern this threat emanates from their OWN insecurities about their sexual orientation(though some of it is protection of white, middle/upper class privilege as well)

5. I think Edelman is saying that the Right, so vociferously opposed to the legal and social establishment of these lgbt(HUMAN) rights, especially adoption and marriage, is, at least partly, composed of people stuck at the Imaginary Stage of (lacanian) self-development; this is evidenced by their paranoid protectionism around “what about the children”.

6.I certainly agree with Edelman that they are threatened(or, disingenuously PRETEND to be so), in some way or other,by any perceived challenge to the symbol /figure the Child represents(Think of “figure” as the discourses, the epistemologies they are choosing to use, usually hegemonic ones, in a Foucauldian sense- for control and keeping heterosexual/normative privilege; so the figure is a  DELIBERATELY distorting discourse-of “knowledge”; and manifests itself in pejorative, attack-defensive language)

7.WHATEVER the the conscious/unconscious motivating factors of this right-wing “discourse”, the end-effect is a reverse TRANSLATIO(a strangeness or distortion from ordinary speech, cf Sebald’s hyper-real, disassociated “parlous loftiness”{his own phrase} of Austerlitz, and, even more so,Austerlitz’s narrator; something I shall pursue seperately rather than , rhizomically in the extreme, now!}; reverse because the human rights(nothing else/more  but equal human rights to heterosexuals)asked/fought for by lgbt people(especialy where there is a connexion with the figure of the Imaginary Child) are DISTORTED  into a “discourse”, where lgbt people are actually perceived or DISINGENUOUSLY “perceived” as a wholly nebulous threat- to what? where could this lead to/ they are often very non-specific or give risible examples of incest etc, where there is absolutely NO logical progression.

{Ok, a rhizome:QUEER TRNSLATIO,I would posit, adds in a POSITIVE, strange(in a good way), quirky, alternative anti-hegemonic discourse; wherby everything is unsettled, up in the air, including the heteronormativized nuclear family; ie it ALL has to be re-negotiated: this would include the establishment of queer families as well as non-nuclear heterosexual families(queer families, as in the {UK}groundbreaking 1999 TV series “Queer as Folk”, where the family can be a blood one {Vince and his mum}; reproduction, with artificial insemination, outside heterosexuality{the lesbian parent and Stuart as gay father} ; or a family of {queer-in broadest sense of the two meanings that I use}friends, who support each other emotionally). These are all markers of equality via difference that Queer family enunciates(but which I fear Edelman is about to undermine!)}

8. Finally,Edelman-and you can now see the above rhizome is not wholly tangential!-argues that queerness, in either sexual orientation or its broadest sense, is EVEN MORE of a (perceived) threat, because it is outside the sexual orientation binary of straight/gay AND outside ALL hetero-normative, and indeed NORMATIVE constructs. So queer takes the putative “threat” one stage further in their minds and they see its potential to rip open the whole social/religious/cultural hegemonic fabric; which , in a good way, it CAN!So they are onto us!

This is all coming to an unpleasant and distressing head in the debate on the Equal Marriage Act in the UK. I hope David Cameron doesn’t read this(unlikley:P)because he might panic and renege on his commitment to push equal marriage through… and the Lords, especially full of “swivel-eyed loons”, is next….

{to be continued, possibly rhizomically!}

Advertisements

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 gay, queer, queer geography, queer theory, safer spaces(guidelines), Self-actualisation, Utopia, working outside hegemonies. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to EQUAL(SAME SEX) MARRIAGE; AND WHAT I THINK LEE EDELMAN IS SAYING(HITHERT0), IN “NO FUTURE:QUEER THEORY AND THE DEATH-DRIVE”(2004)

  1. Michael says:

    [gay marriage] is merely about legal equality and choice for lgbt people(long overdue; and whatever you think of marriage as an institution, lgbt people should at least have the CHOICE to buy into it, I strongly believe)

    It seems the interesting question is where this choice (to marry or not) fits in relation to Edelman’s own logic about the lack of an alternative, a negation of the heteronormative: To marry or not to marry, is this really the question queer people should be asking?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s