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"It Gets Better" video from Twin Cities Terrors Men's Roller Derby

I am proud to call these guys my friends. You guys are so great.

Open Thread Discussion: Arondekar


This space is to be used to respond to group members' engagements, and further engage with Anjali Arondekar's "Without a Trace: Sexuality and the Colonial Archive", and to also bring into discussion the Interrogating Complicities: Postcolonial, Queer, and the Threat of the Normative Conference.

Feel free to engage along with our group!

Sedgwick Diablog Open Thread


A discussion on Sedgwick's "How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay: The War on Effeminate Boys."

Please feel free to join in.

Capturing the Friedmans


I had mentioned the documentary, Capturing the Friedmans, on Twitter and in class today, so for those of you who have never heard of/never seen the movie, I've posted some clips links to some relevant clips -- in a dream world everyone would have time to watch it before our class on Thursday when we discuss Kincaid, but I realize that you all have lives and may not have time to watch the whole movie, but it is available to watch on Netflix Instant, or on YouTube in parts. Here's the Netflix description of the movie:

A family in crisis is "captured" through home video in this searing documentary about the Friedmans, an upper-middle-class family who found their world turned upside down when father and son were charged with child molestation in 1987. The media inundated the airwaves with coverage of the alleged crime, but some of the best footage -- seen here publicly for the first time -- was shot by the Friedman family members themselves.

I'm really annoyed with YouTube right now because it won't let me embed the section of this movie that I think may be the most pertinent to our discussion, but they would let me embed the first part. This clip familiarizes us with the Friedman family and provides some background information on Arnold Friedman before the scandal -- a back-story that is probably necessary to have in mind before viewing the subsequent clips anyway. The parts of the film that seem the most relevant to the Kincaid piece are when they talk about the game, "Leap Frog" -- which you can access here -- and when Jesse (one of the alleged criminals) describes the hyperbolic nature of the charges -- which you can access here. (The viewer comments on all of these are kind of interesting, too.)

from Kincaid:

"That we are compelled to say that molestation happens is an insistence that it must. Where would we be without it? Its material presence is guaranteed by our usual stories, stories of displacement and denial, stories that at to keep alive the images that guarantee the molesting itself or at least our belief in it." (12)

"... the molesting and the stories protesting the molesting walk the same line." (12)

"We are drawn to scandal by a hope to trip up the cultural censors, by a dream of escaping culture or transforming it. Compliance, we sense, will get us nowhere, great as the rewards for compliance may be." (13)

"...what draws us to scandal is the energy and promise of scandal itself, not the particulars of any one scandal. It is the offense that matter, that holds out promise, that gives hope." (14)

What does Kincaid mean by compliance (on page 13), and what might those rewards be exactly?

from Capturing the Friedmans (part 4 on YouTube, the "leap frog" clip linked above):

"But as far as the families were concerned, I don't want to use the word... like they were competitive with each other, I don't know if it's to that extent..."

"There is definitely an element when a community defines itself as a victimized community that if you're not victimized, you don't fit in to that community." -- Debbie Nathan.

Kincaid doesn't quite go here, but what can be made of victimization generating competition and fears of not "fitting in"?

On Queering the Queerness of Children


So, I got really excited about the readings for this week and wanted to post my notes (behind the cut) as an invitation for conversation and to encourage anyone else who has feelings about the readings for this week (love, hate, rage, distress, concern) to comment on this thread. Feel free to openly disagree with my arrangements here (I'm not particularly confident with my Stockton arrangement):

An open thread on today's class


Thanks to @pinstin for a great facilitation! I wanted to start an open thread on today's activities, the readings and class in general. But, what do I mean by an open thread? An open thread is an invitation for discussion about a topic. One person (me) posts a blog entry as a way to start (or continue) a discussion/engagement. Others (readers, particularly but not exclusively class members) post their responses/reactions/questions via comments.

So here we go.I really appreciated how @pinstin's facilitation enabled you all to connect with each other in ways that had not been possible before. As I was listening to your de-briefing, several questions came to mind. All of these questions connect (in some way) to the readings for this week--you know, the ones that we haven't had enough time to discuss? I'm hoping that this open thread can partly serve as a space for us to continue engaging with the readings/ideas.

1. @pinstin asked the class, "how many people feel comfortable with the reading?" Only 3 people raised their hands. This makes me wonder:

  • Why were you uncomfortable? Were you confused by the readings? Were there many parts of them that you didn't understand? Did you finish the readings? Were there too many readings? Are you still uncertain about the term/concept of "queer"? Are you afraid that you are wrong (whatever that means) or that you might have failed to understand?
Luhmann, in "Queering/Querying Pedagogy," discusses student resistance to knowledge and the value of examining how we come to know (or fail to come to know) and what that knowing or not knowing does to us as readers/students/subjects. Where does our resistance to texts (to reading them, to engaging and understanding them) come from? For Luhmann, queering pedagogy is not so much about what we learn but how we learn it and what that learning does to us. She asks us to think about the ways in which our reading/engaging implicates us and how we identify (or don't identify) with the texts. 

  • Should we feel comfortable? What does it mean to feel comfortable? Is it possible to be comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time?
This reminds me of our discussion of making and staying in trouble from Tuesday. Can/Should you be (in) trouble and still feel comfortable? 

Luhmann also discusses the importance of failing to know and the discomfort it generates. Citing Butler, she writes:

Something is potentially subversive when reading or understanding is rendered impossible. "Subversive practices have to overwhelm the capacity to read, challenge conventions of reading, and demand new possibilities of reading" (Butler, 1993, p. 20). Subversiveness, rather than being an easily identifiable counter-knowledge, lies in the very moment of unintelligibility, or in the absence of knowledge.
What do we do when we can't read/understand something? Does the discomfort/uncertainty/frustration that this generates shut us down or can it be productive, opening up new readings and understandings? 

2. @momentaryisle indicated that she was still trying to determine the relevance or irrelevance of personal identity for queering pedagogy. How does identity matter (or fail to matter) within queer theory, queering pedagogy, queering desire? 

I encourage you to post your comments/reactions/questions about my questions or about our class/readings today. Let's keep the conversation going!

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