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    « Wingnuts and Moonbats and Gender… Oh, My! | Main | What God Taught Me About Gender. »

    January 24, 2012


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    Justin Lippi

    I like this and where it's going, but I think a couple things:
    I think we are always hooked into seeing the world in certain terms. We have language and cognitive schemas and we aren't and shouldn't get rid of those. That being said, we can approach others lovingly or arrogantly, we can be open or closed.
    We can be so disciplined and rigid that we never let anyone in or ever change. I think that's the dangerous binary thinking and it is more than a historical concept, it comes from violence in our society and what it takes to become part of the fraternity.
    I also think that our desires often have social meanings and while it's important to liberate desire, it's also important to avoid enacting the belief that desire is not created through oppressive powers (i and many gay men are attracted to men who represent a certain ideal that is imbued with lots of hierarchy. many women allow themselves to be demeaned because it has become what is sexy through social processes). I think a politic of desire needs to go there.

    Kate Bornstein

    Thanks, Justin. What I'm reading you say is that there's a natural balance to... well, everything... that I didn't to into in enough detail. If that's right, then yup, I agree with that, and I'll take it into account on the next draft. If that's NOT what you meant, I still like what I got out of reading your post, and I'll fine tooth comb it later. Thank you. Very useful. xo K

    Kate Bornstein


    Just wanna say that you'll read the phrase, "That’s why were here at the flocking conference...:" That's my dictation software (Dragon Dictate for Mac, AMAZING) just doesn't like the work fuck, and I do say it a lot, and I just missed it on my one pass edit. Hope it gave you a chuckle, and not a furrowed brow over the idea of flocking conferences. I shudder at the thought. xo Kate

    Justin Lippi

    Welcome. Loved reading it :)

    Enoch Root

    I think politics of desire is a bit like the one rule in 'Hello, Cruel World:' Don't be mean. Get something or git some, but don't be mean.

    Essentially the question to ask is: How do I get what I want without destroying people? This is applicable to both desire and power. I think our society needs a larger metaphor for dealing with this question in terms of power, and our culture needs a better story for dealing with it in terms of desire.

    Binaries are easy to understand. If not one then the other. Simple. Not much thinking involved, so easily reflexive. They are, however, models, and not realities, so just as all problems are nails if you only have a hammer, all people become A or B and nothing else if your brain has been invaded by the binary. Because it's easy.

    So what's needed is an easy alternative. An easy alternative is to take a step back and say: Sure, there's a binary here, but it only applies in some ways. I'm a 'man,' but not in the way you think. I'm a 'liberal,' but that doesn't mean I hate America, you brainwashed conservative. (note irony.) The point being that even if we manage to liberate ourselves from our own models day and night, and somehow remain mindful at all moments, there's simply no way to teach someone else if they don't think they need it, so they must be coaxed down a convenient path.

    This is why these stories must be cultural (rather than individual), and must stretch the boundaries rather than destroying them. Those boundaries create an illusion of safety regardless, and that helps people.

    For instance, the It Gets Better project is something that people just kinda know about regardless of their position on gay rights or whatever. It's not just a movement, it's a story that's being told over and over with a great degree of potency. It's simple to understand, and it's an easy story to tell. It's easy to convince people that suicide is bad, and from there it's easy to say that we should convince suicidal people that they should stick around. That they happen to be LGBT is the 'stretchy' part, but is completely non-controversial in this context. That the whole project is life-affirming in every way imaginable is the astonishingly beautiful outcome.

    So: What's the simplest story you can tell about compassionate, mindful desire that could enter the cultural lexicon? This is a question to ask your readers, if I may be so bold. :-)

    Micah Schneider

    Can we link to this post from the TBC blog and website? I figure the answer will be yes, but it's polite to ask. :-)

    Kate Bornstein

    Hey, Micah. By all means, please do link to TBC blog and website. Thank you for the courtesy of askin' , you polite thing, you. And please give my love to all the steering committee. kiss kiss, Kate

    Kate Bornstein

    Enoch Root makes the point that binary-generated responses become culturally recognizable and asks the intriguing question:

    "What's the simplest story you can tell about compassionate, mindful desire that could enter the cultural lexicon?"

    I know I'm going to have to think about that one, and I'd love to see thoughts from other readers. Thanks, Enoch. xo K

    A Facebook User

    This is jumping to a slightly different topic, but: I think it would be fascinating to read your deconstruction/re-telling/analysis of the Sodom and Gomorrah narrative following the Genesis creation myth. This story is interwoven in U.S. political discourse in a terribly melodramatic way which further instantiates the dichotomy of good and evil by demanding that the good are rewarded and the evil are punished (and all of our political decisions are somehow supposed to uphold that ideal). Comparing the complexities of the desires (for hospitality) found S & G myth with the melodramatic demands of political discourse in America today might be interesting to play with when connecting imagined archetypal desire with political life-on-the-ground.

    anonym 21 1/2

    it is a good reading!!! i would agree with some of the views up there.

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