I read Edelman's use of "queer" vs. "gay" as being very distinct, and because it's a pretty important split, I wanted to hear others' opinions about how you allz are reading this. My understanding of "Queer" draws heavily from my understanding of the Lacanian signifying/real space. I don't claim to have a very complete or deep understanding of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, but, I read the act of signifying as being necessarily incomplete, and producing this space of exclusion which is unspeakable and in part unthinkable.
Another idea I'd love to hear thoughts on is the connection between the condition of being as bare life and as Harraway's "blank surface" for inscription by power. In both cases, I read the situation as one in which a medium of separation between power and the rawest existence of human life seems to have been displaced.
I'm tempted to blame it more on how my experience of reading the book played out (a four and a half hour caffeine fueled rush) than on the material itself, but I felt more totally shocked and awed by the end of this book than any other we've read yet. Not that the material itself didn't play a decisive role as well: it hit a lot closer to home as being explicitly concerned with the most basic definitions of life itself, and the descriptions of Nazi experimentation on "VP"s were riveting in a completely horrifying car crash kind of way.
Even though in our reading I tend often to regard much of this theory as, whether it's intended to be so or not, having more to do with other theory than real life, ultimately one has to compare theoretical ideas with lived experience. It's always nice after all to be able to sort of have an idea of whether what you think someone is arguing squares with your impression of reality or not.
...you can join the Judith Butler is my Homegirl facebook group, or just print out the Judith Butler theory.org.uk trading card, which lists her "strengths" as: "groundbreaking, constructive critical skills" and "weaknesses" as "increasingly impenetrable writing style".
Zizek's critique of the Althusserian concept of ideology in light of the rise of cynicism was interesting to me. It is a pretty intense wrinkle in the seemingly never ending quest to unravel the question of if and how the means of production in our society reproduces itself. He discusses how cynicism looks like a "kind of perverted negation of the negation" (30), in which even though people are able to see the inconsistencies in problematic ideas, they somehow still refrain from acting.
Why someone would scan all of the book and post it is beyond me. It's also not a very good scan. However, I was so startled to see this that I thought I'd share. I guess it's always nice to have a searchable copy (providing you could OCR this).
Beginning D&G's Anti-Oedipus, I was struck by the invocation of orphans, atheists, and nomads as categories that gesture towards rhizomatic thinking and living, because it reminded me very much of Harraway's similar use of the language of seemingly 'disenfranchised', 'fringe' groups to open the discussion about the cyborg rupture. I-and judging by the last twelve hours on the blog I'm not alone in this- see strong parallels between rhizomatic thinking/being and cyborg epistemology/ontology. I see some differences, however, in the ways the becoming-processes for either.
I was left with a nagging question in the wake of today's class. Where does Foucault (and where should we) draw the line between the innate aspects of sexuality and constructed ones?
I was very intrigued by Foucault's "perpetual spirals of power and pleasure" (45). I read this section as an explanation of how in gaining a dominant control over the sexuality of individuals and populations, power repurposes basically erotic pleasures and uses them for its own means of control. I was unsure whether to read this as intentional or a side effect, maybe the only way to make these methods of power sustainable: by tying them back into basic human pleasures.