Monday, April 28, 2008

The Nearest Book

When the other Phil tagged me for this meme, I had just finished cleaning off the table upone which I dissertate. So I went for the first book to catch my eye when I looked over the nearest bookshelf.
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

The result is a blast from the past: Michael Warner's anthology Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory. The meme directs me to a passage from Steven Seidman's essay "Identity Politics in a 'Postmodern' Gay Culture: Some Historical and Conceptual Notes."
In these debates, the privileging of sexual object-choice for defining sexual identity and the notion of a unitary gay identity came under assault. These battles varied somewhat between the lesbian and gay male communities. In the lesbian context, protest was aimed at the ideological prominence of lesbian feminism and its cultural-feminist variant.

Tag, you're it! Yes, you.

This passage, and the essay from which it comes, is not particularly interesting. But I have a tremendous amount of affection for the Warner anthology. I've blogged before that 1990s queer theory is the theoretical repertoire that feels most authentic to my sensibility. I love the stuff, in all of its occasionally-problematic-but-always-passionate glory, and this collection perfectly encapsulates the moment. All the usual suspects are there: Eve Sedgwick ("How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay"), Cindy Patton ("Tremble, Hetero Swine"), Douglas Crimp, Philip Harper, Andrew Parker, and so on and so forth.

I think I bought my copy of Fear of a Queer Planet when I was a junior or so in college. After a year of experiencing the omnipresent rejection of the job market, it's both pleasant and poignant to remember that time, when I was choosing to embark upon this whole thing in the first place.

In other news, I just cannot handle Serena in Gossip Girl these days. I'm about ready to start wishing Dan would get together with Vanessa.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OK, the first book I grabbed (Saving the Family Cottage: A Guide to Succession Planning) only has four sentences on p.123. Now what do I do?

In other news, I'd be happy to get together with Vanessa. But who is she?

Uncle Dan