No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Series Q)


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There will be other young men who have come face to face with the knowledge that their own lives are blighted and doomed. To the contrary, they allow us access to the very logic that drives that discourse: a logic not for June alone but truly for all seasons, and never more clearly visible than in the season in which, throughout the West, we are ordered, each and every one, to attend to the birth of the Child.

No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive / Edition 1

Very pleasant indeed. And more pleasant by half than remembering, instead, who made lame beggars lame and beggars and who made those blind men blind. And in light of all this, such critics might claim that Scrooge has need of a rainbow flag, not a Christmas tree, with which to spruce up his home. Rather, I want to attend to the potent effects of the cultural fantasy linking Scrooge to the fate of TinyTim as surely as the sinthome is linked to the historical consistency of the subject, or as queer sexuali- ties are linked to the conceptual coherence of heterosexual desire.

If this form of enjoyment effectively makes him seem nutty to those around him, the pleasure Scrooge takes, what turns him on, comes in part from refusing to use his nuts to drop acorns from the family tree. A frosty rimewas on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. The fire that burns is a mask, if I might put it this way, of the Real. The Real of it is to be looked for on the other side, the side of absolute zero. Such refusal to embrace the genealogical fantasy that braces the social order cannot, as A Christmas Carol makes clear, be a matter of public indifference. Neither nephew nor text can consent, however, to leave Scrooge alone to leave Christmas alone, for Christmas here stands in the place of the obligatory collective reproduction of the Child, the obligatory in- vestment in the social precisely as the order of the Child, which demands our collective assent to the truth that the Child exists tomakeflesh.

A Christmas Carol thus engages a truth about the nature of neighborly love far removed from the surfeit of communal goodwill its conclusion appears to endorse. Scrooge, the self-denying miser— living alone, and in darkness, on gruel— extends to his neighbors, however un- neighborly it no doubt makes him appear, the same self-denying enjoy- ment to which he readily submits as well. And faced with this sinthome, itself the limit of every analysis and be- yond interpretation, the subject, he proposed, must come at last to iden- tify with it.

Make no mistake, then-. TinyTim survives at our expense in a culture that always sustains itself on the threat that he might die. Might not the narrative of A Christmas Carol, with its scarification of Scrooge, serve as a sort of booster shot administered once a year? For Scrooge himself must not be Scrooge lest Tiny Tim should die. The not-yet-repentant Scrooge, there- fore, who identifies with his sinthome, must disappear at the end of the text only to reappear elsewhere in the ranks of Dickensian pedophobes.

One or the other of you is for ever in the way.

Reproductive Futurism and the Queerocolypse

How do I know what injury you have done my horses? This sec- ondary narcissism becomes the pervasive understanding of narcissism as such, against which Joan Copjec importantly recalls the Lacanian re- sponse-.

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Thus is narcissism the source of the malevolence with which the subject regards its image, the aggressivity it unleashes on all its own representations. By this I mean not only that the Other, conceptualized as the obstacle to our own coherence, seems always to occasion the narcissistic aggression around which the subject takes shape, but also that narcissism bespeaks the ascription to the ego of recognizable and defensible form only inso- far as narcissism is invested from the outset, which is to say, primally, in the nondifferentiation of ego and id, in the unsymbolizable Real of the drive that imperils the ego as object.

And from this there follows a second paradox: narcissism, construed as libidinal in- vestment in the formalized ego it cathects, by means of which the self attempts to assure its own preservation, comes nonetheless to designate a life-denying economy, a Scrooge-like self-containment, marked by a fatal rejection of the energies on which social survival depends. We see no white- winged angels now. If Marner, through the allegedly compassionate intervention of Eliot and Eppie combined, be- comes, in his meek and modest way, a pillar of the social order instead of the implicit counterinstance adduced in the text as a pillar of salt, it is only because the threat of that salt, with which Eliot has no beef, cures him.

But here is the nub of the matter. That the movement of life is forward? Old Mr. Narcissism, on the other hand, con- strued in terms of sterility and a nonproductive sameness, takes in and takes on, perhaps too well, the Other it loves to death, pushing beyond and against its own pleasure, driving instead toward the end of forms through the formalism of the drive. Only such stubborn disavowal can account for the imputation to the sinthomosexual of the fatality of the Same, a sameness at odds with the jouissance to which the sinthomosexual figures access, even though sin- sinthomosexuality 59 thomosexuality insists on the constancy of such an access, the persistent availabilityof this jouissance closed off by reproduction.

That is to say that it only reproduces thanks to missing what it wants to say, for what it wants to say ueut dire — namely, as French clearly states, its meaning sens — is its effective jouissance. And it is by missing that jouissance that it reproduces. But it does so beneath the banner of openness to the diff erence of the Other, ignoring the fact that it values such difference only to overcome it, to realize the regressive fantasy to which all futurism clings: the Imaginary vision of whatever it is that we think that we desire.

But a vortex of contradictions engulfs his use of these various terms, occasioning, or rather seeming to occasion, a transvaluation of values in accordancewith which theyappear to signifyagainst our expec- tations: "There is something occulted inside us: our deaths.

But some- thing else is hidden there, lying in wait for us within each of our cells: the forgetting of death. In our cells our immortality lies in wait for us.

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And we must struggle against the possibility that we will not die. At the slightest hesitation in the fight for death —a fight for divi- sion, for sex, for alterity, and so for death— living beings become once again indivisible, identical to one another— and immortal.


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The immortality for which he reproves it, then, threatens the human precisely with a death he would have us fight against. The resulting entity is no longer a copy of either one of the pair that engendered it; rather, it is a new and singular combination. There is a shift from pure and simple reproduction to procreation: the first two will die f or the first time, and the third f or the first time will be born. We reach the stage of beings that are sexed, differentiated, and mortal.

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The earlier order of the virus— of immortal beings— is perpetuated, but henceforward this world of deathless things is con- tained within the world of the mortals. In evolutionary terms, the vic- tory goes to beings that are mortal and distinct from one another: the victory goes to us. Unless, of course, such iterations ofthe same put an end to it instead. The second phase, which we are beginning to enter now, is the dissociation of reproduction from sex. First, sex was liberated from reproduction; today it is reproduction that is liberated from sex, through asexual, biotechnological modes of reproduction such as artificial insemina- tion or full body cloning.

This is also a liberation, though antithetical to the first.


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For the first time in history we face the possibility of a Perf ect Crime against language, an aphanisis of the symbolic function. Baudrillard, like Silas Marner and Scrooge, may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but with meaning as his shepherd he shall always want, desiring from morn- ing to morning the continuation of the reprieve by which he perpetuates the fantasy space essential to his desire.

Lammeter knows we value in the Eppies and Tiny Tims who embody reproductive futurism. For what keeps it alive, paradoxi- cally, is the futurism desperate to negate it, obedient in that to the force of a drive that is futurism's sinthome. From ruthless- ness to schadenfreude, its antonyms proliferate, but who would make his home in the sterile landscape they call forth? Aptly, therefore, the scene, unfolds on a stage that consists of lifeless rock endowed with human form, invoking the tension between the appeal of form— and hence of the formal identity by which the subject imag- ines itself— and the rock of the Real that resists whatever identity the subject imagines.

Carroll , announces to his colleagues that RogerThornhill will have to fend for himself. We created George Kaplan If we make the slightest move to suggest that there is no such agent as George Kaplan.

No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Series Q)

But shed no tears for Leonard. Such sinthomosexuals fall because they fail to fall in love, where love names the totalizing fantasy, always a fantasy of totalization, by which the subject defends againstthe disintegrative pulsion of the drive. Thus, what is prob- lematic is the existence of a sexualdrive toward the opposite sex. To take a person, a whole person as an object, is not the role of the drive, it leads us to introduce love. The future assured by, so as to assure, the continuity of sexed reproduction establishes the horizon of fantasy within which the subject aspires to the meaning that is always, like the object of desire, out of reach.

Sinthomosexuality, by contrast, af- firms a constant, eruptive jouissance that responds to the inarticulable Real, to the impossibility of sexual rapport or of ever being able to sig- nify the relation between the sexes. Scorning the reification that turns the sexed subject into a monolith, a petrified identity, in an effort to evade the impossi- bility, the Real, of sexual difference, sinthomosexuality breaks down the mortifying structures that give us ourselves os selves and does so with all the force of the Real that such forms must fail to signify.

And many of us have decided that we want to fill our time with something more mean- ingful than sit-ups, circuit parties and designer drugs. For me and my boyfriend, bringing up a child is a commitment to having a future. And considering what the last 15 years were like, perhaps that future is the ultimate status item for gay men.

Unable to save himself without plunging Eve into the void, unable to lift: her up without intervention from above, he calls out in anguish to Leonard, calling him back to the fated encounter from which, in possession of the precious figure at last, he was ready to move away.

At one mo- ment we play this note on them and get this reaction, and then we play that chord and they react that way. Enacting a scenario worthy of Sade, this cinema without need of a movie would deny any agency to its viewers, reducing them merely to some, and not to the sum, of their parts.

With this quasi -pornographic fantasy of manipulating people through electrical stimuli, Hitchcock, always eager to maximize directorial control, imagines a cinema of neuronal compulsion exempt from the burden of having to deal with subjectivity at all. Martin, whose response to a certain beggar who asked for his help on a cold winter's day was to cut his own warm cloak in two and give half to the man who had nothing. But perhaps over and above that need to be clothed, he was begging for something else, namely that Saint Martin either kill him or fuck him.

But Leonard, by going beyond transgression and so beyond the law, engages jouissance that is unconstrained by fantasy or desire. Sinthom- osexuality, by contrast, brings into visibility the force of enjoyment that desire desires to put off. Sinthomosexuality, in other words, finds something other in the words of the law, enforcing an awareness of something else, something that remains unaccounted for in the accounts we give of ourselves, by fig- uring an encounter with a force that loosens our hold on the meanings we cling to when, for example, we cry for help.

It thus makes him, not her, the figure of figure in the scene. This act of transference, in other words, reinterprets the metaphoric spiritualization of difference, the transformation of two into One, as the random slippage of metonymy into which every One must fall.

No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Series Q) No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Series Q)
No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Series Q) No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Series Q)
No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Series Q) No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Series Q)
No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Series Q) No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Series Q)
No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Series Q) No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Series Q)

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