The Embarrassing Position of Todays Homosexual


The homosexual is in the embarrassing position of being something of a teacher’s pet. My first day at a new job, my boss took me aside and told me that I could confide in him if anybody in the factory bullied me for being gay. In fact, I would have zero trouble with homophobia in the workplace. But by virtue of nothing but my sexual orientation, I was already being pulled in the direction of management.

Within the modern left, the LGBT community is the preferred substitute for the proletariat. Partly perhaps because gay men are more likely to attain college degrees, a great deal of theory and literature has been written on queerness and sexuality. Unlike Blacks and Natives, we don’t only get attention when we’re dying.

We are actively ushered into the world of culture and erudition, of progressive petty bourgeois circles and their institutions. We’re celebrated.

When we think of gay or queer culture, we think of Tom of Finland illustrations, drag shows, party drugs, and orgies. While the proletarian is viewed as a slave, an object of scorn, or even a regressive force, the image of the queer is one of pure iouissance that flouts all social convention. Moreover, he is marked as being one of the elect, as belonging to the class of sensitive, enlightened and benevolent people; his libertinism is bound up with his cultural insight.


The queer is a convenient receptacle for the mythic jouissance because he isn't a sexual rival, nor is he any real threat to the established order. Click to Tweet He is a puer aeternus, untouched by calculation or responsibility/ Seriousness is alien to him; utterly effete, his existence is reduced to an aesthetic experience.

This aesthetic experience is what’s supposed to be preserved by anti-assimilationism. The queer aesthetic is multifarious: it juxtaposes high and low culture, the holy and the profane, pleasure and pain, beauty and ugliness in a space that is registered as existing outside the world of social norms. The juxtaposition of these contraries results from and proves the queer’s knowledge, namely knowledge of the absolute nullity of cis-hetero society and the arbitrariness of its social forms. Its camp delivery is the queer’s final verdict on that world, a world which does not deserve to be taken seriously.

Queer, then, is the terminus of cultural edification, the last word on the drama of man. It is the ideal point at which the varied images, attitudes, and practices of a whole society are intermingled in their reduction to bare life.Click to Tweet

This is the truth of culture and of society: the Egyptian mysteries, the neoteric Romans, Rabelais’s humanism, Shelley, Mayakovsky-each is revealed in the last analysis to be drag, performativity, and therefore to be a waystation along the path to camp.

The queer delights in this destruction of social forms, and this is his invincibility. There is no queer project, no futurity, only the submergence in a floating present. As the bearer of jouissance, the queer negates his own split, which he enjoys no differently from that of the Other. There is nothing he won’t enjoy.

The filth which Divine champions is an integral component of queer aesthetic. The Yeatsian-Baudelairian romanticization of V poverty is always at work in the queer, particularly when he is in his”punk” drag. In his Bacchanalian reflection of modern society, reappropriates the gutter and the margins, building a nest out of all the assorted detritus.

The important thing seems not to be that he is punished for his jouissance, although this is doubtless the case, but rather that he perseveres in his enjoyment in spite of that punishment. Waste, violence, and abjection become instruments of pleasure for him. In his bondage exercises, punishment itself is eroticized, fortifying his sanctuary from the world of seriousness.

The queer therefore plays an important role in modern society. He is the consummate nihilist as well as the solution to nihilism. There are two moments here:

  1. He recognizes the futility and nothingness of all cultural artifacts and human projects.
  2. He is nonetheless impervious to nihilism insofar as he is utterly at home in and basks in it.

With the queer thus in place, modern society is free to pursue its usual course. The lingering threat of non-being has been neatly dealt with. The specially-constituted queer will bear all of this so that “we” don’t have to. He is equipped for the task.

Prostitution is the holy of holies in queer society. It is emphatically not a simple necessitv in moments of desperation-embodied in the queer, even such desperation must intimate some deep, chthonic agency and affirmation. From being a practical effect of ostracism, prostitution has become codified in the writ of queer where it is a core component of the aesthetic.

In prostitution, the queer demonstrates that he loves even being exploited, being objectified, being atomized and thrown away.

Nothing sounds more delightful to the john: his rentboy is there because he wants to be, because he enjoys the john’s company and the roles they’re playing. In the paradoxical state of exception which defines queer life, prostitution becomes sacred again: no longer a human institution defined by ugly words like “patriarchy” it is an archetypal expression of divinity, of Otherness, which confirms the role thrust onto the queer.

in 21st century society. As the AIDS crisis has waned in the US and much of the western world, (thanks to outfits like ACT UP), the liminality of queerness is challenged by the possibility that gays might attain recognition, humanity, respect-seriousness, maturity, responsibility, which would radicallv disrupt the religious-aesthetic function of the queer imaginary. Enter anti-assimilationism.

A whole “queer culture” has been established in reaction to the V threat of gay liberation, largely through use of the Internet. The archive is ransacked for semiotic elements: hankies, leather, argot, and so on, elements which are as foreign to young gays today as they are to anybody else. Queer society is a nation inhabited entirelv b historical tourists who are called upon to plav out the sacred rites which guarantee the slick functioning of a bourgeois superstructure.

As queer is not a future-oriented project, it has no goal other than its own self-perpetuation. It is not aimed at gay liberation; this would be its undoing. Neither does it take as its task the radical reconstruction of society. Queer exists in and for the modern society in which it forms one component which interlocks with the others. Its exceptionality, joussance, and liminality are absolutely, inextricably interwoven with the mode of production that seems to spurn it. A revolution would be deadly to queerness.

Anti-humanism secures the special status of queers: in rejecting our humanity, we simply confirm the bourgeois mythology of queer exceptionality. Behind the boastful accounts of “agency”, “difference” and so on. one detects the murmur of chain drives and air hissing, the automatic machinery which moves the whole queer structure, producing a sterile monoculture which must appear sublime within the external gaze of the alienated petty bourgeoisie. Any movement in the direction of gay liberation must therefore take as its starting point a commitment to gay iconoclasm, a rejection of the role allotted to us in bourgeois society. Our mythico-aesthetic function, which is prioritized well above our humanity and well-being, has got to be smashed to bits



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