This is kind of in response to my previous post about Pop Diva’s and the queer community…and yeah, sorry guys but I just really love Top 40.
For those who haven’t heard this song you probably will in the next couple of months because I think it’s going to be her next single. She’s been filming the music video (which might have to lead to another debate depending on how it turns out). This is another example of the Pop Diva and her involvement with the queer community. HOWEVER, I don’t have much to debate here because she’s very honest in the song. Instead I just appreciate the melody and her sincerity. I would rather have you listen to the song instead of me explaining it. It’s like a little story. People take lyrics for granted in pop songs, or maybe just in music in general. I like the idea that someone stepped outside of the box and was real about something. It’s like a celebrity acknowledging their gay audience and embracing it, but still being true to themselves (instead of telling the world they’re “bi-curious”). She isn’t afraid of alienating herself. I’m just kind of surprised Rihanna, of all people, was the one to do it. I love her now.
Following our discussion on the relation between responsibility and pleasure, specifically that the two are often thought to be developmental stages and, to some extent, mutually exclusive (for instance, Freud argues that babies are narcissists while heterosexual adults have learned altruism), I am wondering about what feels like a responsibility to be outrageous. Perhaps another way to phrase it, not as an alternative, but as a think-along-with might be the responsibility to perform a particular kind of queerness (or something designated AS queerness).
While this “responsibility” shares something with the tokenism broached by AJ and suggested, albeit implicitly, by Connor, I am interested (or troubled) by how it functions to contain what might be radical, or perhaps a better word is rude or impolitic about a kind of queer presence, a queer embodidness. Here, the “image” of the queer as somehow “image”–well-dressed, fabulous, interesting, the “men” who “never age like other men”–serves hetero-masculinities and is, in some fundamental way, contained.
Might it be possible, then, to take Delaney as a point of departure to think of practices of pleasure and pleasantness, the “nice” and the “fun,” that are deeply crucial to queer survival? And I raise the specter, the ever-present specter, of survival because it seems so absent from the pleasure side of the pleasure-responsibility divide.
This is not to say that queerness, or certain versions of queerness, should not serve hetero-masculinities, but that such service should neither truncate certain queer versions and visions of pleasure and pleasantness, nor should it abstain from critiquing those forms of hetero-masculinities. (And the debate on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell raises really interesting points in the kinds of masculinities it seeks to protect and promote.)
More broadly, I am interested in the social function of pleasure and pleasantness. I have in mind a scene from Modern Family in which intimate pleasure is divorced from familial responsibility, in which to enjoy pleasure is to take a “vacation” from certain kinds of hetero-responsibilities. What might this vision of hetero-responsibilities truncate or otherwise make invisible? Might there be a way that Delaney’s advocacy of pleasantness and pleasure might help us to have a more holistic view of hetero-responsibilities (what might be called heterosexual adulthood)?
Queer/Race news this week:
· The Olympics started this week and there has been some discussion over the logo. “The 2010 Olympics logo is an altered version of traditional Arctic Inuit sculptures. This quasi-indigenous logo has been displayed in a barrage of Olympics branding. … With this Olympics logo, and other Olympics promotional messages, marketers have been portraying the 2010 Games as ‘indigenous’ Olympics. Indigenous references are foregrounded in mass produced Olympics marketing. The online Olympics store even sells “Authentic Aboriginal Products” (such as t-shirts and silk ties).” The article raises some interesting questions about how we should react to these images. This article links to dozens of other articles and images, if you have some extra time I suggest checking them out as well. (sociological images)
· On Saturday the 13th, the brilliant poet Lucille Clifton died. She was a Pulitzer Prize nominee and spent several years in Baltimore, Maryland. Many of her poems touched on issues of black femininity, feminism, and womanhood. To see and hear her read some of her poetry, click here.
· The Church of England may officially allow women to become bishops. If this happens, it may also open up the door for gay bishops. Christianity may be over 2000 years old, but that doesn’t mean it is not always changing. (washingtonpost Via) This whole story, I think, is especially interesting after last October’s message from the Vatican that “it would make it easier for Anglicans uncomfortable with their church’s acceptance of female priests and openly gay bishops to join the Roman Catholic Church while retaining many of their traditions” (nytimes)
I chose these articles because they were on or linked from blog sites that I read daily. I consider myself part of the Feminist Blogosphere because I regularly read and comment on a couple different feminist blogs. The news items that I highlight here are all, I believe, important however; they are also all stories that are easily missed by the mainstream media. Even though none of these stories are explicitly about notions of queerness, they do all touch on ideas of otherness. I think the changing ideas over who is allowed to be clergy within different religions and religious sects is the most obvious story about otherness. Ideas of who is qualified/worthy of being a representative of the religion (and of God) are always steeped in politics, power, and marginalization. The Olympics story is another interesting lens through which to look at issues of race and marginalization. By turning an “indigenous” icon into a logo and logoed merchandise, the Olympic Committee is commodifying racial ideals. A queer reading of the debate would be a great way to complicate the debate.