Go See

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sometimes, a writer’s non-writing life gets crazy enough that writing becomes only a wish showing up in fervent dreams. The past couple months have been like that for me, with some big shifts on the job and love landscapes. All either for the best (former) or just plain good (latter); however, they’ve kept my mind-hamster rattling other wheels than this one.

Things are evening out now, or will shortly. But I am definitely going to poke a hole in my stupidly over-scheduled schedule for this:

Third Annual Sexuality Studies Lecture Series
Judith/Jack Halberstam
The Killer in Me is the Killer in You: Homosexuality and Fascism
8pm, Thursday March 17th
301 Azrieli on the Carleton campus

Judith Halberstam is a name that looms large in my queer hagiography. The cover of Female Masculinity is as burned into my brain as those of Gender Trouble and Sexy Bodies and Sex Changes.

I was taking lit and feminist theory courses in the late 90s, just around the same time that I figured out why I couldn't breathe when that girl with the green eyes talked to me. I was also dealing with some pretty massive internalized homophobia.

In my feminist theory course, we spent a lot of time discussing the political implications of the style in which the incredibly densely written and inaccessible texts we were studying were written. “What’s the point?” people asked. “Why should we bother?”

It’s totally a valid question, but not one I ever asked. These books – what I understood of them – gave me myself. Or rather, they gave me tools that lead me to a specific understanding of myself in the world.

The theorists who were tackling the queer identity politics back then seem to have shifted their focus slightly to embrace a more state-politics kind of politics. And my understanding of myself is calcified enough 15 years later that I can’t answer as to whether their work would be so personally changing for a 20-something picking it up today. But whatever Halberstam is writing – or speaking about – it’s bound to be challenging, interesting and good.

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