By Leo Bersani
Acclaimed for his complicated, incisive, and infrequently debatable explorations of artwork, literature, and society, Leo Bersani now addresses homosexuality in the United States. not often an afternoon is going via with out the media focusing a frequently sympathetic beam on homosexual life--and, with AIDS, on homosexual loss of life. homosexual performs on Broadway, significant e-book awards to authors writing on homosexual topics, Hollywood video clips with homosexual subject matters, homosexual and lesbian reviews at dozens of universities, overtly homosexual columnists or even editors at nationwide mainstream guides, political leaders conversing in prefer of homosexual rights: it sounds as if immediately the USA has eventually began to hear gay the United States. nonetheless, Bersani notes, not just has homophobia grown extra virulent, yet many homosexual males and lesbians themselves are reluctant to be pointed out as homosexuals. In Homos, he experiences the ancient, political, and philosophical grounds for the present mistrust, in the homosexual group, of self-identifying strikes, for the paradoxical wish to be invisibly obvious. whereas acknowledging the hazards of any form of staff identity (if you will be singled out, you may be disciplined), Bersani argues for a bolder presentation of what it skill to be homosexual. of their justifiable suspicion of labels, homosexual males and lesbians have approximately disappeared into their very own refined wisdom of ways they've been socially built. via downplaying their sexuality, gays danger self-immolation--they will soften into the stifling tradition they'd desired to contest. In his chapters on modern queer concept, on Foucault and psychoanalysis, at the politics of sadomasochism, and at the photo of "the homosexual outlaw" in works via Gide, Proust, and Genet, Bersani increases the interesting threat that same-sex wish by means of its very nature can disrupt oppressive social orders. His astonishing conception of "homo-ness" can be of curiosity to straights in addition to gays, for it designates a style of connecting to the realm embodied in, yet no longer reducible to, a sexual choice. The homosexual id Bersani advocates is extra of a force--as such, particularly cool to the modest aim of social tolerance for varied lifestyles--which may end up in a major redefining of sociality itself, and of what we'd count on from human groups.
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Extra info for Homos
Yet there may be no other way to resist the reduction of homosexuality to the system that 42 T H E G AY A B S E N C E would put it down. My argument is that by not accepting and radically reworking the different identity of sameness—by rejecting the whole concept of identity— we risk participating in the homophobic project that wants to annihilate us. Only an emphasis on the speciﬁcs of sameness can help us to avoid collaborating in the disciplinary tactics that would make us invisible. ” But in our anxiety to convince straight society that we are only some malevolent invention and that we can be, like you, good soldiers, good parents, and good citizens, we seem bent on suicide.
The drag queens certainly resigniﬁed the dominant culture, but in ways that could only fortify that culture’s dominance. The loving and loyal “families” they constituted could, I suppose, be thought of as an implicit critique of the frequent lack of love and loyalty in the heterosexually institutionalized family, but they remain tributes to the heterosexual ideal of the family itself. And even that critique was nothing more than the incidental side effect of what was meant to be a temporary holding position.
Dialectical thinking and dialogue seek to effect reconciliations between opposed terms, but these reconciliations may require the transcendence or even the annihilation of the differential terms. The straight mind thinks alone; as the history of philosophy demonstrates, the thinking of distinctions (that is, philosophical thought) performatively establishes the distinctness, and the distinction, of the thinker. Distinctiveness and distinction: the philosophical performance can’t help conferring value on itself, for that value is the very sign of its distinctness and its defense against an “outside” dominated by the assumption that the world, the real, can be an object of thought, can be described, measured, known.