Serving 110% of that futuristic homosexual decadence, baby:
I discovered the late great Nomi via Kristine Langley Mahler’s March Fadness essay on Taco’s cover of “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. Nomi was a gay German countertenor who fused electronica and opera with space-age vaudeville effects. Sadly, he was one of the first known figures from the arts community to die of AIDS, in 1983. Here he is again in one of my favorite Bowie songs, “The Man Who Sold the World”.
This new Gucci ad starring Elliot Page, actress Julia Garner, and rapper ASAP Rocky as a happy throuple dispelled my last doubts about my upcoming top surgery.
LitHub reports on a recent open letter sent to the New York Times by 200+ contributors protesting the newspaper’s anti-transgender bias.
The letter, which presents a damning and deeply disquieting case against the Times‘ coverage, alleges that there has been “over 15,000 words of front-page Times coverage debating the propriety of medical care for trans children published in the last eight months alone.”
It goes on to reference several prominent Times op-eds and investigative features which have “treated gender diversity with an eerily familiar mix of pseudoscience and euphemistic, charged language, while publishing reporting on trans children that omits relevant information about its sources,” and which have actually been cited by Republican lawmakers in their efforts to pass anti-trans legislation.
Signees of the letter include dozens of prominent journalists and regular Times contributors, including Ed Yong, Lucy Sante, Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, Carmen Maria Machado, Alexander Chee, and Jia Tolentino.
Read and sign the letter here, especially if you are a NYT subscriber. The Hill reports that the NYT responded that they “will not tolerate” criticism from their own reporters. Free speech, amirite?
Parapraxis is a high-quality new online journal of essays about psychoanalysis from a leftist social justice perspective. In their first issue, I especially liked McKenzie Wark’s “Dear Cis Analysts: A call for reparations”, which describes the anti-trans assumptions in the field’s foundational theories, and Nathan Rochelle Duford’s “What Can Men Want?” Ever seen those tweets making fun of right-wing masculinity posts: “Fellas, is it gay to eat pussy?” Well, Junior Soprano would say yes, and Duford explains why. In hyper-macho ideology, the need for intimacy is feminizing in itself, regardless of the object’s gender.
When authoritarians admit of desire at all (including the presumably traditional desire for a genital sexual relationship between a man and a woman), they open up the radical possibility of a sexuality that includes potentially anyone and everyone, any and every bodily or psychic satisfaction from pleasure to pain and whatever lies between or outside them. This also breaks open the possibility of new forms of relationality, of intimacy, of friendship—it presents us with potentialities for social relations that are different or other than the regressive traditionalist fantasy that authoritarians hold of a normal family in which all desire can be fulfilled. As a result, fascism requires a set of seemingly confused norms surrounding gendered sexualities that begin to expand to include all elements of life, not just genital sexuality…
…As Lacan puts it, “man’s desire is the desire of the Other.” It isn’t only desire for the other, but desire of what the other desires—when one desires, one desires recognition in and through the other’s desire. From this provocation, we arrive at a doubling of lack and insufficiency. Admitting of desire, to want at all, is also admitting to insufficiency and an insufficiency we will never be capable of fulfilling for ourselves. We can see here the organic connection between the idea that having sex with women is gay and the idea that men should not masturbate. In each case, sexual desire, especially in its fulfillment, demonstrates the absence of completeness and the presence of need. This need for the other (even in fantasy) is a fundamental form of weakness because it’s possible that it won’t be fulfilled, showing the insufficiency of the person in need. In both cases, sleeping with women and masturbating (what you may think of as typical straight-guy activities) are demonstrations of a failure of self-control. This is a true failure for the authoritarian because if we have to desire, at the very least we should be in control of it, rather than guided by it. Each of these seemingly normal activities is actually an admission of failure…
…[F]for the fascist (or protofascist) man, sexuality is experienced more as an attack on sexuality itself rather than an expression of desire. The erotics of authoritarian desire are thus short-circuited, routed instead toward hatred for what is outside, destruction of the body of the other, and brutality toward difference. The rejection of a desire for difference, as a rejection of desire, full stop, can be read through all kinds of authoritarian urges to expel, exclude, or annihilate.
In Columbia’s alumni magazine, meanwhile, journalist Heather Radke explains why Nature likes big butts and cannot lie:
I hadn’t realized that we are the only animals that have butts—that this particular set of muscles is a uniquely human feature. I had always thought of humans as inferior runners and was taught that standing upright and using tools were the keys to human evolution. But Daniel Lieberman, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard and the go-to guy on butts, believes that the unique way that humans run was actually an important factor in our survival. Humans are slower runners than four-legged animals, but thanks to the butt, we have something they do not—endurance. The gluteal muscles are the largest muscle group in the human body, and their strength and positioning are what allowed humans to keep running and chasing prey when other animals had to stop. That endurance gave humans a competitive advantage that became crucial to how we were able to survive and acquire the calories necessary to maintain and develop our brains.
Radke’s cultural history of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s favorite body part, Butts: A Backstory, is available from Simon & Schuster.