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“It is equally vain,” she thought, “for you to think you can protect me, or for me to think I can worship you. The light of truth beats upon us without shadow, and the light of truth is damnably unbecoming to us both.”

Virginia Woolf, Orlando

I can’t stop reading the news. I can’t stop reading the news.
It travels, I travel from my optic nerve, through unmoving vocal chords,
past the lump, gut deep.
Can’t stop reading the news and.
It wants to travel back out as vomit and rage.

Hillary tweets in Spanish.
Trump tweets in grunts.
I watch Father Obama while
I make a salad.
The wind is raging.

Think of his affect after Sandy Hook.
(I don’t want to think about it.)
(I can’t stop thinking about it.)

I know what’s coming, as a U.S.–Ameri-kan:

As Americans…
Brutal murder…
Massacre…
Pray for families…
Attack…
We know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate…
FBI…
All the facts…

No definitive judgment on the precise motivations of the killer…
As an act of terror…
What, if any…

Filled with hatred…
We will go wherever the facts lead us…
This could have been any one of our communities…

As a country…
Carnage…
Law enforcement…

Sacrifice, courage…

Especially heartbreaking for all of our friends, our fellow Americans who are

lesbian.
gay.
bisexual.
or transgender…

A nightclub…
Be with friends, to dance, to sing, to live…
More than a nightclub…
Solidarity, empowerment, awareness, civil rights…

Sobering reminder…

Attacks on any American…
regardless…
an attack on all of us…

Dignity, equality…

Country…
Hate…
Terror…
Values…

The most deadly shooting in American history…
Handgun…
Assault rifle…

Further reminder…

Weapon:
School, house of worship, movie theater, nightclub…

We have to decide…
To do nothing is a decision…

Victims…
Names…
Faces…

Who they were…
Joy to families, friends…

Difference to this world…
Prayer…
Prayer for family…
God…

Strength…
Bear the un-bearable…
Strength…
Strength and courage to change…

As a country…
Heroic, selfless…

Friends who helped friends…
Hate violence…
Love…

United as Americans, protect our people, defend our nation, take action against threats…
God…
Families…
God…
This country.

God, this country.

This fucked up
family.
Attack!

Living in ellipses:
“No definitive judgment…”

Living for ellipses:
“This could have been any one of our communities…”

Thinking of ellipses:
The only way to slow down,
what is said too fast,
what is said is not enough,
Also all wrong, too much.
Can’t speak out every meaning.

Thinking with ellipses:
Going in circles.
On a Sunday.

How is it supposed to make you feel?
Don’t care
How you feel.

Can you feel any other way than wrong?
Don’t care
How you feel.

What are you supposed to do?
Just you wait.

[For Lauren Berlant, “to live elliptically” is to ask a question rather than formulate an answer; a “shrug” is a rhetorical response to a non-rhetorical question of the body – an embodied letting go of future promises in favor of life in the durative present. Revisiting a conceptual grammar drawn from psychoanalysis, Berlant is using “dissociation” to understand it not as a symptom of an underlying abnormality but as a practice of attaching to life. Berlant is dialing back the multiple intersections of subjectivities and pondering what doesn’t add up in social worlds. She is thinking about the content of “being proximate” but not “in community.”

In “Culture@Large,” the Society for Cultural Anthropology’s signature event at the 2012 AAA meetings,  Berlant and her interlocutors thought through the sensorium which overcomes “affective stuckness” but does not jump immediately (as is our social science instinct) to discursive symbolization. For these scholars, this is work that is trained at scenes of social abandonment and lostness, the precariousness of life at large. Drawing from Claudia Rankine’s poem Don’t Let Me Be Lonely and the film based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel A Single Man, Berlant spoke of the way that quick and slow death by racism and homophobia inspires a sociality of not caring, of deciding to be stubborn.
––from http://production.culanth.org/fieldsights/32-walking-around-in-lauren-berlant-s-elliptical-life]

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Warning, I mixed this metaphor myself.

Cruising the OED, we find queer the strange and estranging, queer the perverse, queer the insult, and even queer the theoretical. But we also find a key to the sometimes begrudging currency of its meaning: Queer the counterfeit. Queer theory is also counterfeit theory. (It’s fucking FAKE, okay?) If only we can mimic all the security features, special inks, and supple papers of the real one––which is admittedly getting harder––it’ll circulate, enable exchanges.

Queer theory says, “There is value here.” But it holds none itself. Like any speculative currency, if it works to the fullest of its potential in the system it contaminates, it too becomes worthless.

In the mean time, it is shamefully worth less than the floating currency against which it is indexed: real theory. And so it makes a value out of shame. And we do have a laugh making it up. The offstrikes and the maladjusted colors. And how to imitate that new plastic Canadian currency with its transparent window?

Like any defiant, deviant concept, queer’s work is double: It is to be both the pathogen and the cure. As such, it always calls us to carefully examine the needle with which we, it’s acolytes and its proliferators, immunize ourselves against its putative successes.

There is, as yet, no cure.

Amazing interview with Prof. Richa Nagar, whose work I am just encountering for the first time; it arrives not a moment too soon for me, as I am in the final long lunges of a third draft of my dissertation proposal. This helps me get what I am doing!

Class War University

sangtin_community_mobilization Sangtin community mobilization (via)

Summary: Reflecting on her activist research with a people’s movement in India, Richa Nagar (Professor of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, co-author of Playing With Fire: Feminist Thought and Activism Through Seven Lives in India) shares stories about the importance of developing ethical relationships of trust and affect. Within and against the politics of NGOization and caste divisions, she highlights the roles of imagination, desiring, and translation in intersectional alliance work. From experiencing tensions between her positions as an activist and an academic, she notes common problems of institutionalization in both social movements and the university, and offers guidance for engaging with contradictions while maintaining some sense of security in the margins.

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