“is it because women want to make use of what is personal for them — to make it matter? to give the personal they’ve been confined and restricted to real currency and value?”—masha tupitsyn, "a sentimental education"
What’s missing? I catch a lot of shit because I don’t buy it. I felt like a broken record when I talked to anyone about teaching a 5/4 load. There goes the guy who teaches a 5/4 load haha, but I mean, really, it’s hilarious to remember the faces made by folks at a conference on labor when they were confronted by actual labor politics. But, like, that’s exactly what I think asymptomaticbanana was trying to get at. Something is missing. The vacuum is real. The vacuum of reality? Let’s not try to theorize our way out of everything. Forget the cul-de-sac—it looks more like a hula hoop to me.
i’m going to let most of this post go, but i will say: i love the idea of hula-hooping as a feminist method and if my face registered horror and sympathy when you told me about your teaching load it’s because that’s what i thought you wanted: affective labor definitely counts as “actual labor politics” at an explicitly queer and feminist conference and, come on, i saw you making a bunch of us put in way too much work at a party we were all too nice to call you on crashing.
“i like to work with what i’m given, and if there’s something a little troubling about a tune, i like to transform it.”—barbara browning, “having one’s cake and eating it too,” at the living labor conference
Because close reading—or reading into texts—is so bound up with the stance of empathetic witness, and because it always involves the projections of the critic, it cannot be detached from a project of rescue. Accounting for the other’s interiority always involves a certain violence, whether it is by the hard way of epistemological violence or the soft way of projective identification. It is also perhaps the case that such acts of ethical witness have as their ultimate ground the affective and ethical capacities of the witness, who bathes in the reflected warmth of the other’s suffering.
From what I’m reading today: Heather Love in “Safe”, p. 171, emphasis mine
I think Love might be striking a chord that explains to me a certain aversion to the interpretive project of literary studies. Accounting for the other’s interiority (and even my own internal alterity?) involves a certain violence, of two kinds which Love poses, but also a certain violence, the violence of certainty, of claiming to know and have mastered this interiority.
"goffman sacriﬁces the role of messianic witness in his work, choosing instead to position himself as a bystander."
“when i get confused about love, or other things in the world, thinking about spinozian definitions often helps me because of their clarity. spinoza defines love as the increase of our joy, that is, the increase of our power to act and think, with the recognition of an external cause. you can see why spinoza says self-love is a nonsense term, since it involves no external cause. love is thus necessarily collective and expansive in the sense that it increases our power and hence our joy. here’s one way of thinking about the transformative character of love: we always lose ourselves in love, but we lose ourselves in love in the way that has a duration, and is not simply rupture. to use a limited metaphor, if you think about love as muscles, they require a kind of training and increase with use. love as a social muscle has to involve a kind of askesis, a kind of training in order to increase its power, but this has to be done in cooperation with many.”—michael hardt, “no one is sovereign in love: a conversation between lauren berlant and michael hardt – heather davis & paige sarlin” (via repetition-is-holy) (via theanimalnamesofplants)
…I was pretty miserable through the whole process not because writing a dissertation is always already awful, although it can be, but rather I was trapped in a miserable cycle of using ideas I hated as a main pillar to cast my own ideas against. It was awful. Elizabeth Grosz pointed this all out to me by talking gently about how she writes and thinks. I was sitting in on a seminar she was teaching and she started talking about how she doesn’t respond to critiques anymore. She doesn’t not read them, but she doesn’t acknowledge them in her own work. She makes HER argument, she produces HER ideas on their own terms. She made Nietzsche and Deleuze make more sense in three weeks than I thought was humanly possible, but that’s where it came from for her. If you acknowledge the critique, if you build your entire idea as an answer to an opposing theory then you necessarily have to prove that theory, the one you disagree with or hate, as true in order to refute it. It was really simple and beautiful and changed the way that I write and think. It’s probably pretty frustrating to read because there is nothing to ground an argument in but the idea itself. I try to write productively, without the lack, the negative of an opposing view, because, quite frankly, I don’t want to be so fucking miserable all the time. Happiness is a real thing. Like Spinoza, I believe in joy.
I’ve been thinking all morning about intensity. Intensity is a measure of qualitative difference such that when divided in half it does not produce two equal parts. Changes in temperature, pressure, velocity—measured in intensity—are all qualitative differences. Intensity isn’t quantitative. Intensity is about states, not identities, not numbers. If you divided boiling water in half you wouldn’t get two half boiling temperature pots of water. When water reaches it’s most intense moment in the boiling process, when it passes a certain degree, the whole system shifts into water vapor. At its most intense water shifts into vapor. It doesn’t stay in that state indefinitely. Intensity doesn’t have maximums, intensity has limits at which things qualitatively change. Deleuze calls these moments of radical qualitative phase state shifts singularities. One of the big takeaways is that liquid water, has the potential of becoming vapor folded into its being. The folded, unseen potential for water to become vapor is the virtual. There is absolutely nothing symbolic about this process. It is actual. It is material. It is based in the laws of matter. Call it a realist ontology, call it thermo-dynamic philosophy, call it whatever you want, but it is definitely an articulation of living being, an ontology of difference. Such an ontology of difference wholly focuses on creation rather than elimination. There is no lack in this model, only making stuff of other stuff to make more new stuff. There are limits but no maximums…
ms: i should have gotten to this earlier but i need to know this. a) would you say that your work has a queer or gay sensibility? b) does that even exist? and c) what is it, if it does exist?
wk: a) yes, my work does have it. b) It exists in a thousand different forms in every decade, every country, and c) my kind of queer sensibility concerns more elements than i can ever begin to name. honestly. but you probably intuit some of these variables. the types of bodies that are desired. adamant specificity in enumerating erotic urges. love of performance and performers. themes of silence and sequestration and confinement, combined with themes of explosiveness and volcanic eruption. artificiality. privileging of aesthetics over utility.
—wayne koestenbaum in an interview with matt siegel at wag’s review
wk: brainy homos. aesthetes who feel exiled from a world that demands practicality. nonconformists. (whether stylistically or sexually.) someone with an appetite for the rarefied or the esoteric. someone who asks literature to satisfy wayward aesthetic and libidinal needs.
—wayne koestenbaum in an interview with matt siegel at wag’s review
"wayward aesthetic and libidinal needs" is such an accurate diagnosis. so many persecuted outsider feelings.
"anyone is a superstar—if a recording angel is present to frame and aestheticize those stations of the cross."
"my forthcoming book on harpo marx emerged from inner urgency. such projects begin with numinous fascination or absorption. a crush. at the beginning of the queen’s throat i refer to this sensation—you notice something arresting or irregular about a stranger, and you to want to see that trait again. it may be a feature that on the surface you find unattractive. but you recognize it; you want to revisit it. that process of obsessive revisitation is falling in love.”
"i eroticize; it’s part of my business."
“there was a layering process—my various métiers piled up, one aesthetic vocation stacked upon another.”
“for whatever historical reason, my desires are oriented towards profoundly theatrical women. theatrical in many ways. through reticence as well as through overkill, over-abundance of gesture.”
"being a recluse, and spending a lot of time by myself, as most writer / artist people do, i’m accustomed to developing an agenda, an itinerary and a vocabulary for navigating fantasy figures. it’s easy for a movie star or a singer to acquire the status of an artwork."
"i decided that i would rather die than continue to write in a more traditional academic fashion."
"i side with books that have a small or weird readership—non-commercial, experimental books, some of which accidentally reach a ‘wider’ audience. academic books are not the enemy. academic books, the interesting ones, are in the same boat as experimental essays or poetry.”
"academics, like artists, are involved in life quests. and yet an academic, unlike an artist, is rarely asked: why are you interested in this project? when did you become interested in it? what does it feel like physically when you’re writing or researching? when you’re writing, what are the moments that deeply excite or unnerve you? do you ever have dreams about your subject? put a dream in this chapter. stick a dream into the paragraph, right in the middle, without warning, and see what happens. some academics, shy, are dismissive of their own inner lives."
“my inner life is more interesting than my ideas. the most accurate morsels i can offer the world are autobiographical asides. when i’m writing, when i hit that material, i tend to believe in its necessity. i’m a natural divulger; i feel happy when i’m divulging. i don’t feel authentic when i’m framing things abstractly.”
“if you ever find yourself in the position of wanting to say accurately what you desire, and how you desire it, you’re going to get in trouble. whether it’s because you pray weirdly, or because you speak weirdly, or because you speak too slowly or too elaborately. the problem of being illegible remains a grave one. it doesn’t matter if there are queer characters on tv shows; if you’re gertrude stein you’re still going to get in trouble. you’ll be a fat jew who repeats herself.”