Question #1 - Can apocalypse be queer?

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Has any one seen the movie I Shot Andy Warhol? I don't know how famous it is in the US (it is a US movie), but in case you haven't heard of it, you might be able to guess what it is about. Yes, it is based on Valerie Solanas's story; but no, this isn't much of a great movie (in my opinion). At least I learned a few things about this enraged woman who would have liked to turn this world into total chaos but, too bad for her, hardly left a trace. I have to say the movie, at the time, made me want to slap Solanas hard in the face. Oh, how naïve is that, believing in the absolute superiority of women, believing that destroying the "male race" would benefit the rest of humanity, believing that enough woman-identified individuals were ready to stick their sharp 6-inch blades into men's guts (or other)? Her anger made me angry. Her feminism wasn't mine and more than that, it spoiled its meaning. Obviously, a lot of affect is involved in all of this, both on the part of Solanas and on the part of less radical feminists. One could say she had good reasons to be outraged: she was sexually abused by her father and was unlucky enough to come across a huge number of... male scum. So here are my questions on Third:

  • While strongly "counteridentifying" with the male sex, she seemed, however, to want to resort to a strategy which deployed means strangely similar to what she resented the male sex for. Are we really dealing with counteridentification here? What about counterdetermination? In her manifesto, she bases herself on theories previously elaborated by men: how can we understand this in relation to (counter)/(dis)identification?
  • Can we call feminist's (and maybe our own) refusal to consider Solanas as one of them (one of us) a counteridentification? Or shall we call it misrecognition? Didn't Solanas's extremism somehow work in favour (and not only at the expense) of the development of "legitimate" feminism? How could we (feminists who don't adhere to her means and aims) work out a disentification from her work?  
  • Finally, it would be interesting to discuss the fact that the madness of Solanas is often evoked in Third, as opposed to the mental health of the suicide bomber, which isn't referred to at all by Puar.
Of course, we need to refer to Muñoz's text to handle these notions of counter- and (dis)identification. These are very useful to understanding all of our Wednesday readings.
 
  • Muñoz gives several definitions of disentification; how would we define it now we've read his text?
  • How do narratives and discourses play into that (cf. his reading of Hidalgo's video or his discussion of the role of a song in Baldwin's Just above my Head)?
  • Can we speak of degrees of disidentification (with varying proportions of identification and counteridentification)? Does it have to be a conscious process to exist at all?
  • Are Muñoz's feelings of exhilaration and terror (p. 4) (in other words, his excitement and fear), when watching Capote's show, what triggers (what initiates) disidentification?
Linking Third, Muñoz and Puar, I also came up with the following:

  • Do we agree with Puar's (quoting Massumi) understanding of the affective, i.e.: "The primacy of the affective is marked by a gap between content and effect" (p.132)?
  • What makes someone opt for a certain political action instead of another? How does affect work in making such a decision? Can we call this a "decision"?
  • How do Puar's suicide bombers' target differ from Solanas's? What is their relation to the past, present and future? Can we tie this in with counterterrorist discourses (cf. use of the future tense)?
  • How to go beyond the American sexual exception of queerness? Is it possible to see any sort of phenomenon involving an assemblage (a Deleuzian assemblage, described by Puar) as "queer"? Does seeing queerness as an "assemblage" actually allows, as Puar suggests, to focus both on ontology and epistemology? Isn't Puar's definition of queerness a little too far-fetched?
  • Can the relationship between feminists and Solanas be, to a certain extent, compared to the relationship between people of colour living in America and terrorists? Can we speak about these in terms of counter-/(dis)identification?
  • How queer is Solanas's endeavour? Do you think she would have understood herself as "queer"?
Shall I also add this other (very general) question, namely: what are the differences and similarities between Puar's terrorists, Valerie Solanas and queer artists of colour in terms of  troublemaking?







2 Comments

So many questions! Great! I'm going to just pull out a few things, specifically regarding Solanas. I think that you raise an interesting questions:
"•Can the relationship between feminists and Solanas be, to a certain extent, compared to the relationship between people of colour living in America and terrorists? Can we speak about these in terms of counter-/(dis)identification?"

While I have no answer for this, this comparison is striking, and shows that these links have to be made with care--as we have seen others are not careful with their linking (Glenn Beck, anyone? I think there are some potential similarities here!).

Yes, I don't want to push Solanas outside of feminism, because she is a feminist, and she shows her rage. That alone is significant, though it comes out in a distrubing and not very productive way. I think it's possible to see her rage and use it for something. Perhaps she is that extreme that allows the less extreme feminists to be heard? (overly simple example: equal pay doesn't sound like such a high demand when the alternative is death). And yet, is she so ridiculous that she's totally unbelievable and therefore not a threat?

I admit that I am very unfamiliar with most of these theories and authors and so the ideas are all new to me, so maybe I am missing the point(s). Yet it seems to me that maybe an important point/distinction here is who is doing the identifying (or labeling, as the case may be) and whether that is similar or dissimilar to what the person might do to her/his own self. This also plays into the question Flolou raises of how much of this work is conscious and how much is unconscious. For instance, the disidentifications of which Munoz writes seem to be self initiated, although perhaps not always at the level of consciousness (although especially when we are talking about performance/novel, that intent question gets raised again, along with the question of how much your character is you). But labeling someone "terrorist" or "nation traitor" is often not a description that the person would put on the self. Or it might have a completely different meaning. Which then relates to Flolou's comment (which I love) that "Her feminism wasn't mine, and more than that, it spoiled its meaning." When do disindentifications or labels strike us the wrong way because they use different definitions than the ones we do?

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