fashion week b&w

It strikes me that so much of what passes as a default setting for general agreement in the public is based on this manufactured “subject” — both collective and individual. This is seen in more and more obvious ways in mainstream cultural product.

In other words, there is a kitsch person who is the template for what being human means. This is the “subject” who is appealed to in all culture industry narrative. This subject, at least on one level, is a binary creation, a product of an essentialist logic.

stern girl lamp

In the culture industry there are manufactured identities: black teenager (criminal), arab man (terrorist), etc…these are obvious…but there is also another layer of manufactured identity, and this is the bourgeois white identity. It exists in another register in a sense by virtue of how pervasive it is. The white westerner remains the model for normal and healthy. All other identities are given in relation to the white male identity.

Nigel Van Wieck beach sumemr

This is also, though, how individuals identify and ‘read’ themselves. Because of the frightening saturation of image and manufactured (corporate) narrative today, everyone is ensnared in this web of essentialist thinking, in the white man narrative. Now…one of the problems encountered here is that resistance to this model often operates from its own false identity. Much feminism, gay rights, and anti racist activity is simply attacking ALL of something, rather than delineating the false manufactured narrative, the corporate state validated narrative. It often becomes a structural problem — a constructed identity that is posited, that is created, from within the enclosed master narrative. It becomes totalizing.

The logic of a totalized world view simply reproduces hierarchical models, and usually binary simplifications. The real enemy is obscured.


The logic of domination demands everyone has an identity. Or rather, a definable one dimensional identity. A marketable identity. And this identity is there in relation to the “normal”….and in TV and film this idea of the “normal” is pervasive. In the real world, the logic of domination and control is reflecting its globalized nature now. The security state almost has no borders on one level, and the sharing of surveillance and information between police and military operates outside all borders…at least at times. So there is a weird cross pollinating with the essentialist ideas of identity.

I often wonder how much the policing operations of various militaries ape the sense of identity they have learned from watching TV cop shows, or Hollywood films that depict this heroic military ridding the world of the dangerous “non normal”.

The impetus toward a leveling of perspective has been going on for forty years, and the marginalizing of dissenting viewpoints, and the pathologizing of dissenting individuals. This is the logic of the therapeutic, as well. The adjustment to this model of identity is described as health, and the oppositional as sick. What has gradually changed though is that resistance has become more and more contaminated by this model for the normal subject.

So there is a false resistance going on, too often. Those in opposition to the forces of control, are often mediated by the learned idea of “identity”. The recognition of male power too often fails to see the honorable masculine, the recognition of racism too often identifies with corporate products of resistance, with the pre-fabricated “rebel” product. The “youth” market is encouraged to engage the world from a position of snark and irony. One of the things Marcuse noted (in the 1960s) was that even conservative culture, art, had a critical role. Today, that conservative realm has become a totalized corporate anti-culture. The once (albeit few) curators and artistic directors of even big institutions, in the post WW2 period, had at least a sense of rigor and a set of critical judgments which served to open a space for discrimination to form into a dialogue. Today, those curators have ceded authority, have given off their role to being that of a Hollywood producer, or agent. So much more is now, at least in appearance, given over to market forces (sic). Today, what was once the possible imagining of a ‘different’ world has been swallowed by the hegemony of a manufactured sense of identity. The managerial class, the agent, the broker, is the new arbiter of taste.

The repetitions of false difference make everything into fashion (as Barthes pointed out). Politics is fashion, art is fashion, and all of it is predicated on a pre-fabricated subject. The “normal” serves as a backdrop for the marketing of abnormal, sick, criminal, addicted, and insane. And this binary sense of essentialism has the de-facto effect of limiting any areas of grey — you are either with us or against us. You are either sick or you are normal. And if sick, you must get to work getting “well” (normal). And if you are normal, then you are in fact, a snitch, an agent of the state, and a cooperating member of a system bent on ever further limiting autonomy.

To plug into the system means one actively participates in one’s own domination. Now, we all do this to some degree. But the basic thrust of being a “normal” and “healthy” member of society is that one has turned over almost all of one’s leisure time (the little that is left) to activities narrowly controlled by the system. The overriding sense of this culture now is that of the “Do Not Step on the Grass” signs posted in the psyche. The DO NOT sign is marketed as there for your own good. Credit checks are for your own good, surveillance is there for your own good, the prison gulag is there for your good, too. To actually carve out time for activities not connected to work or state bureaucracies is almost an act of resistance all by itself. This is why community gardens, and autonomous spaces of any kind are so quickly shut down. And where many actual acts of resistance (say, in the food movement, home gardens, etc) take place, they are quickly the targets of corporate takeover. This happens of course on a daily basis in culture.

The normal is happy. But nobody is happy. But if you admit you are not happy, you probably are sick and if you are sick you need medication and therapy that will help you be better able to pretend to be happy. To be always happy, to desire to be always happy, is infantile. It is childish.

Behind all these dynamics, though, is the rise of an ever more rigid sense of identity, and the narrowing of subjectivity. The structural form of identity is essentialist — binary and oppositional. Hierarchical.

Jonathan Jackson, courthouse rebellion, 1970 Marin County, CA

Jonathan Jackson, courthouse rebellion, 1970 Marin County, CA

The subject operates within an enclosed grammar, and a structural imperative that creates as simplified and easy to digest master narrative as possible. Debate is argument; and a sign of pathology (a difficult person). Conversations take place with strict codes of consensus. To debate, to object to received wisdom is guarantee you won’t be invited to many dinner parties. But even social life, dinner parties, is mediated by ideas of “purpose”, of utility. Its an extension of business. It is self branding, for one thing, it is a demonstration of lifestyle. One is what one drives. One is what one eats, what dietary regime fits best with a constructed identity. One is who one fucks, desire is regulated…or self regulated anyway. Entering into desire one enters into the final space, almost, where ambiguity cannot be washed away.

All institutions today contribute to enclosure. School, whether grade school or post graduate university, are there to create clear messages quite apart from the material studied — business school programs have waiting lists, and classics and philosophy programs are nearly empty… the subject is reflecting ‘personal choice’ by what he or she studies. What good is philosophy anyway? Now, there are big exceptions to this, but such aberrant activities are usually the province of youth. Immaturity. One thing I’ve noticed is that at the age of 61, if I am seen sitting and reading a philosophy text, or difficult literature, then its obvious quickly I should be treated as a ‘crazy eccentric’. Now I may be a crazy eccentric, but not because I read Wittgenstein.

Geschichte / Deutschland / 20. Jh. / Bundesrepublik Deutschland / Bevölkerung / Ausländer / Gastarbeiter / Türken

This all returns to the ‘subject’. The construction of identity. The learned messages of “identity”.

Within this construction, there is a dynamic that seems to erase appeals to fact. This week the Obama administration saw to it that the “Protect Monsanto” rider was attached to the agriculture bill. This is a fact. The bill limits almost all penalty to Monsanto if it turns out all that frankenfood gives people cancer or causes migraines or miscarriages or whatever. Monsanto is protected. Think about that for a second. Monsanto is apriori INNOCENT. How is this possibly even legal? How can a corporation be protected from future wrongdoing?

Or..a recent study came out which said that drone attacks killed 1.5% of their intended target — in other words, 98.5% of those killed by hellfire missiles, launched from air conditioned booths in the Nevada desert, were collateral damage, innocent. That is madness. That is barbarism. That is fact, but it is fact that has little to no traction in the mind of the vast majority of the citizens of the West. How does that happen? How does a system work to manufacture an identity in which wholesale murder is alright?

joel sternfeld dam

It is interesting in this respect to look at one of Marcuse’s contested positions: that in earlier forms of capitalist society, a degree of autonomous space was still possible in the privacy of one’s home (for example). The feminist critique would question, rightly, if women had any of that autonomy, or at least that what they may have had was deeply compromised. True…yet, Marcuse isn’t wrong either. He is right that a distance, a space, separated from the prevailing system of control, provided relief. It also provided space to reflect. Today, this space is electronically colonized, if not outright materially mediated. Surveillance exists so pervasively today, and the data footprints of the individual tracked so totally, that the ‘idea’ of desiring privacy has been made a weakness. The refusal to be searched is another sign of weakness ….’if you are innocent, you have nothing to fear’. Except that, anytime you are searched you are guilty — nothing may be found, you may be released, but you’re guilty. You are in a dynamic of acquiescence to authority. But the new ‘subject’ sees objection in almost all contexts as unreasonable. Its a sign of immaturity. A sign clearly bad for career. Cooperation has come to mean acceptance of domination. Real cooperation, in fact, seems a target for extinction. In a culture of snark, there is little room for cooperation. Career is the road to the normal, it is a moral catagory, now. Private reflective time has been co-opted.

Really, career is among the blighted and toxic concepts of the western capitalist world.

So, it strikes me again and again that people today both desire to flee identity, and are wracked with guilt because they desire it, and are more and more dependent on the process of narrowing that identity.

Master Mason 1926 by August Sander 1876-1964

One of the crucial things Lacan understood was that subjectivity is based on a lack. The post modern take on the subject, the critical take anyway, is that of a subject made up of signifiers — whereas Lacan additionally saw this subject, or anti subject, as alienated…alienated for failing to see himself or herself in the Real, in the symbolic order, and it is this failure, this space of signification, that sets in motion the contours of a not quite identity..and of surplus meaning. Without going deeply into Lacan right here, the point is really just that there is an indelible contradiction at the heart of the human — it exists within language and without, and so finally the project of domination reaches some kind of critical mass, for there is no consciousness to colonize after a certain point.

There are movements out there, anti capitalist, anarchist, the occupy folks as well as just radical reformers and dispirited liberals — and so the constant reproducing of the same narrative, the same story of normalcy and its constant restoration (after mild upsets), is, I think, finally experiencing the setting in of diminishing returns. However, the aesthetic resistance seems to lag behind. How does that work?

Now the principle of utility–mentioned above — extends, obviously, to desire as well. Its not hard to see the electronic porn world — the constant exhibitionism, the branding of oneself as sex-object, or sex process as expressions of a failed eros — for this releases little tension, and in fact just reproduces mechanisms of guilt, and anger. How this interfaces with the slowly growing awareness of surplus repression, the loss of traction that the narratives of the master discourse expect, has meant an intensifying of that narrative. So all coherent and unifed narrative must open themselves in a manner that negates the prevailing master discourse.


I was trying to think of a few people I often neglect, for various reasons, who are probably more deserving of attention.

Moses und Aaron, dr. Jean Marie Straub & Daniele Huillet, 1975

Moses und Aaron, dr. Jean Marie Straub & Daniele Huillet, 1975

Daniele Huillett and Jean Marie Straub

Daniele Huillett and Jean Marie Straub

Here is a bit of a discussion on Straub and Huillett…

Jean Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet made about twenty or so films between the 1970s and 2006. They were both fringe members of the French film community of the time, Straub working on films by Renoir and Bresson. They made films exclusively based on extant material….two of which were based on operas of Arnold Shoenberg, and held fast to an austere sense of form and anti-melodramatic narrative. It is interesting, I think, that their sense of the stationary camera, non professional actors, and direct sound still seems utterly resistant to co-option — the films of Straub and Huillet will likely never be sampled for chewing gum adverts.

It was Engles who early on recognized that the meaning was in the form. To expose the truth of material oppression was accomplished not by agit prop sermonizing but by the depth of the expression of what the artist saw as the truth of place and character and history. I suspect that its no accident that the culture industry, and the system of domination in general, has so emphasized “message” and “theme” over form.

-auerbach black

The insistence in corporate cultural product on ‘effect’ — either sentimental or realistic (meaning that which reinforces the narrow definition of the real) or of that which is ideologically effective; patriotism and heroism. I recently happened to see a sort of dystopian bit of kitsch on TV, “Revolution”, in which (in this future without electricity or power of any kind…..don’t ask) a resistance fighter says to his motley group, “We will make our stand here, we wont let them do to us what the Germans, the Russians and Al-Qaeda tried to do…if we die, we die fighting like Americans” (I paraphrase). Now, besides the obvious historical revisionism, this is the sort of sub literate appeal to some vague abstract notion of patriotism, a patriotism that has proven very effective since movies were invented. It posits the United States as, actually, the plucky under-dog fighting against all odds, and overcoming the bigger forces of *evil* (another abstraction, but one with theological overtones).

This brings us to Adorno again, from a sideways direction because in a sense this emphasis on effect…reality effects, sentimentality, etc, disolves the form, if what we mean by form is the sense of the shape of the whole. For the whole, the form that retains a logic of integrity with itself, is still made up of parts. But great artworks, for Adorno, were those in which the form was ascendant and no kistch cheap effect was there to disrupt it. This is tricky, because one must not confuse this with art’s other capacity to de-unify the totalitarian whole. For even with the fragmented work, a sense of integrity in form is possible, even likely in a sense, because it is rejecting the manufactured plot, with its reductive world, its kitsch cliched characters, and its borrowed image. For form that comes together as a whole is a rejection of the enclosed discourse of domination.

det cant wait

But the point here is that the constant repetition of this narrow model of normalcy is a presentation of a totalitarian society and that the resigned albeit anxious subject is the model of healthy normalcy. That validating of cowardice, of passivity, and of willfull ignorance of a factual material world, is the meaning of the never ending assembly line of police state TV franchises, heroic military films, and snarky comedy (and i must write about comedy more soon). The take over of Detroit….a shocking stunning bit of domestic neo imperialism (Detroit is now the colonies, the Haiti or El Salvador of the US) and yet little press addresses this, in the same way few people at any level of comfort really get upset by NDAA, or the increased police powers granted by the Obama justice department. The creation of this subject, the training of this subject, is however, additionally upping the tensions that come from the inability to hide the contradictions and lies of the state. This is why I continue to draw upon Lacan to some degree, for that sense of the split psyche, the imperfect self, will no matter how mediated by mass media, by propaganda and the culture industry, retains this recognition of a lack, of its own lack somehow. Our nightmares continue anyway, right alongside the material nightmare of the growing fascism of the US state.



  1. wondering what you mean here: The recognition of male power too often fails to see the honorable masculine…”

  2. According the Austin, Korn, et al. longitudinal studies of American college freshmen, in 1965 a top goal for roughly 80% of students was to “develop a meaningful philosophy of life.” Back then, only 40% of students listed a top goal as “being very well off financially.” However, by 2005 those numbers had reversed: 80% of students listed a top goal as “being very well off financially”, while only 40% listed “develop a meaningful philosophy of life.” My question is why the switch? Your post, of course, gets at this. Still, to put forth the devil’s argument: nostalgia aside, wasn’t the US just as materialistic, hegemonic, normalizing, etc. 50 years ago?

  3. John Steppling says:

    I put this sort of reductively but it relates to what I see happen with identity politics in a lot of different ways. The critique of male hegemony failed to differentiate (in some cases). I remember an argument i had with someone (actually , in krakow at the book store, so you know who Im talking about…..) and they were making fun of Bly and the men’s movement. And yeah, sure, all the iron john stuff was goofy and got goofier as it went on……but bly was a huge anti war voice during viet nam, organized protests with other poets, did benefits and readings and was an honorable guy. And he made legitimate points as well. But that ridicule was coming from a place of essentialist thinking itself….and often ended more in line with the status quo than those it was critiquing.

    and @george:
    look, sure, the US has always been materialistic….as a general statement thats true. But the nature of that materialism changed. First off, the relationship of the proprietorial class with the workforce changed, and the sense of normalizing I don’t believe was the same…..which was the point here, I guess. The disintegration of the unions, of even the pretense, let alone the reality (for there was some) of a middle class/working class that retained some dignity, and community, meant that an actual dialectic existed between management and the workers. Mike Davis has written a lot about this. —Lots of things happened….the financialization of capital for one thing…..automation, outsourcing, and the rise of globalization — etc etc. But more importantly, even, has been the rise of mass media, and all the effects of that….and in a sense, I suppose, thats been what Ive been writing about since I started this blog. The hegemony of this master narrative, the infantalizing of the culture, the ascension of marketing, a world of hyper branding, simulacra, and of material police power. Just the increase in the prison population speaks to radical changes.

    Now….one other thing…….the tricky thing regards all this (since we’re using the feminist critique here) is that a lot of crypto reactionaries like zizek, and the like…badiou, et al……critique the critique (as in a sense Im doing) but as a denial of it, in a sense……rather than an attempt to speak dialectically, as a way to see the forces of domination at work in the critique……they simply insist on a sort of second stage misogyny, couched in a lot of post modern jargon, and mis reading of lacan, and an inclusion of this de-facto racism in it as well. The waters get very muddy. The truth of the oppression of women in that discourse becomes abrogated……its like a weird granting of permission to be racist and misogynist.

  4. Joe Nava says:

    Hi John, warm wishes from L.A. I wish I could respond more to your posts, but I’ve been limiting my time online for the very reasons you mention above – the electronic surveillance and tracking. I send an email through Google and I get advertising directly related to my email. I make a post on Facebook about a film and the next day I see a link for Amazon where I can buy said film… I’m just sick of it.

    Anyway, this idea of normal is something that I’ve been grappling in relation to the “legalizing” of same-sex marriage. In the last five or six years, I’ve been mistrustful of this movement, not because I don’t think that gay men and women should have equal rights, but because this normalizing of gay couples by the mainstream and corporations seems suspicious to me. It’s sanitizing, it’s a way of fixing what they think is broken, of conforming to normal values of the status quo. Perhaps it’s all semantics, and in the end, it’s good for all marriages to have equal rights, but I can’t help but feel that it’s all phony, and in the end, we will have lost something of value. Am I delusional? You’ll probably see on Facebook people changing their photo a red equality sign. That’s what this movement feels like to me, a fashion statement. Superficial.

  5. John Steppling says:

    Interesting Joe, I had this debate twice already this week. The problem is that inequality is being bundled in with a very bourgeois institution, a pretty regressive one in many respects. Of course people deserve equal rights, but its as if you cant be granted equal rights without accepting this very bourgeois package that comes with it. And so the result is that lots of progressive sort of independent types are pimping for marriage suddenly. Waxing sentimental (!) about this pretty grotesque bit of property arrangement. Now…..the upside is yeah, gay couples get certain legal status and I understand thats important. But see, this is the normalizing trend again — suddenly lots of people forget their historic critique of marriage in the name of gay rights and in a way its a form of absorbing “gayness” (sic)……its a normalizing, making a homosexual relationship a facsimile of ozzie and harriet. I hate it actually, but im in a minority on this one.

    as for privacy…….its TOO LATE JOE…………forget and start reading and posting. Its all too late. They have all they need already. IF you use the internet, you are tracked. Period. Its all already happened.

  6. Great post John, thanks.

    Joe’s point is a good one re the seeming normalizing trend in the establishment toward gay marriage. Yes of course, it’s a worthy fight and a good one. Toobin in this week’s New Yorker says, aptly, that the shift to legalized gay marriage is inevitable and that, though there are still battles, the war is over. How long before we see a sanitized couple of men on a campbell’s soup commercial or a pretty, lesbian couple selling toothpaste? The difference that occurs to me, with this civil rights shift, compared to black civil rights in the 60s, is that the new normal won’t necessarily be portrayed by the establishment by those who fought. Black people had to be played by black actors. But the sparkling lesbian couple hawking toothpaste or soap can easily be played by straight actors, thus letting the corporations off the hook.

    And, yes, thank you: IT”S TOO LATE. Let’s all just smoke the pipe and take the trip. I spoke this argument to a friend who is an avid supporter of cultural shift to save the planet from global warming. I wasn’t very popular, but then, that kind of honesty isn’t always welcome.

  7. OK, thanks for the followup. I guess my next question is this (and it’s not meant to offend and, in fact, will probably only demonstrate that I’m missing the entire point of your blog), why even bother to critique the popular media or jokesters like Zizek? Why is it intellectually important to think about and respond to this dreck?

  8. “I often wonder how much the policing operations of various militaries ape the sense of identity they have learned from watching TV cop shows, or Hollywood films that depict this heroic military ridding the world of the dangerous “non normal”.”

    Remember Aiyana Jones – killed by cops who were being filmed.

    They were no doubt acting for the cameras.

    Before I respond more substantively – computer is just sloooooow and don’t know why – I have to remark that upper pic of the lady lamp reminds me of this joke about my bubbie Rivka who turned everything into a lamp and all were warned not to stand too still near her or she would shove a wire up your arse…


    ” Marcuse isn’t wrong either. He is right that a distance, a space, separated from the prevailing system of control, provided relief. It also provided space to reflect. Today, this space is electronically colonized, if not outright materially mediated. ”

    A lot of old debates are being recycled in loud exaggerated form around gay marriage. The bad influence of Foucault rather than the frankfurters is on display in this supposedly radical queer position that frets that the recognition of the civil right to marriage, to marry who you want (gays always could marry, just not their same sex bedfellows) is going to be a bad social engineering (towards some mythic traditionalism of married couples) that they would wish to see countered with the continutation of what is perceived as the good social engineering of the state barring some people from marrying eachother. It’s very perverse and misguided position and it suggests the depths to which the phenomenon you discuss here (“That validating of cowardice, of passivity, and of willfull ignorance of a factual material world”) have sunk into the core culture worker’s consciousness and made anything more mature and responsible in political thought than anecdotal fantasy thought experiment individualistic “theorising” impossible. This “queer outlaw” posture is separate from other positions of indifference to marriage equality or the judgement that it is trivial or a concern mainly of moneyed liberal couples. A minority of self styled radicals are opposing gay marriage claiming it as an injury to themselves according to this bizarre speculative anecdotal reasoning whereby they conclude from running a fantasy/pseudo history of the future through these comic book formulae that the space for “non traditional” families will somehow be narrowed if gays can marry their lovers. These predictions arise from gross fictionalizing, this kind of “sociology” that is practiced mainly by HBO and the generation of academics who have devoted themselves to describing its entertainment products.

  9. John Steppling says:

    I think I disagree molly. First off, Im certainly not against gay marriage………i just think the issue is being over-invested in a rather dramatic way…..its become a sort of cause (and hence distraction…because its useful to some for purely economic reasons, its not however in any way furthering anything about social change……now its not supposed to, I guess, but as drones murder families, and the US gulag grows, and mosanto is cleared ahead of time of wrong doing, I find nothing on blogs or fb or anywhere but ‘gay marriage’…..and I think Joe was basically right and you saying this is somehow a ‘queer outlaw’ posture is simply bad faith rhetoric…..for thats NOT what he said……). Its not a matter of being against it…….nobody Ive read here is against it. Fine….great……marriage for homosexuals……fine. But…….it does carry with it, and its willfully selective not to see this….a reactionary dimension. I think it validates bourgeois institutions in general. I find this over romanticizing suddenly of “gay love” pretty weird, given that the same people are highly critical of straight marraige often….and critical of sentimentalizing of anything. Now suddenly everyone is all dewy eyed at middle aged lesbians holding bouquets and kissing in church……I dont think those gay radicals you deride are neccessarily wrong. …..I dont really think its worth protesting, though. I think this has been part of an Obama stage managed bit of PR that allows him to corner the market on a specific demographic….its also been horribly contentious because its one of those litmus tests for “progressives”……to utter anything critical on the topic is to be met with scores of personal anecdotes about gay couples whom this helps. Jesus christ….yeah …I know some too, but so what. Its also true obama-care helps “some” people……but that doesnt mean its not worthy of critique.

  10. John Steppling says:

    also……..the gay rights activists who worked toward equality (not really marriage) but equality, did a lot of very good organizing for decades around issues of discrimination. But the media has pounced on this “gay marriage”….marriage equality… if its the consolidation of all gay rights issues. Id say, if anything,its a bit of way out of addressing other basic issues of discrimination. But as i say………i dont think its very important in the great scheme of things. If it helps someone get health insurance for their spouse, or collect inheritance or whatever else, property, taxes, etc……then great. Good. But its not anything more than that and its being marketed as a good deal more, and in the most craven and shamelessly sentimental and kitsch manner…..and thats the danger, you see. It means a culture that buys into marriage equality must at the same buy into this kitsch melodrama in which it is bundled.

  11. John Steppling says:

    @george……well. its important because it has influence on the world around us, on people’s consciousness, on the culture we live in. To ask that I think posits an imagined neutrality out there in which we evaluate philosophy — and sadly thats not the case. The reality is that we are all enclosed , in varying ways and to varying degrees, in this great mass culture spectacle, and the great political theatre that has arrived at the crisis seen now….daily. As for zizek i should let molly respond….but mostly because he is influential and his misreadings of everyone from Lacan to Mao is destructive, its harmful.

  12. “To ask that I think posits an imagined neutrality out there in which we evaluate philosophy” …good point. Thanks for the response.

  13. I agree with Joe and I wasn’t characterizing him as this “queer putlaw” posture: it is something that’s been expressed elsewhere, with a group who are insisting that if other people are not barred from marrying their same sex partners they themselves will have a harder time living in their chosen menages. Which is not a realistic projection. The overwhelming majority of peoploe who will have same sex marriages after its legal are people who are in or would choose legal domestic partnership. Married people aren’t more faithful or boring than others. Its true there is this neoVictorianism an,d pressure for respectability that some married gays will participate in, but the main force of this is straight people.

  14. On the other criticisms of the movement, I think Dean Spade has been very persuasive, but that posture overlooks that the funding for gay marriage is not coming from sources that would be funding or ever have funded more progressive things; funding comes from people with money. It might be diverting money from npr; perhaps planned parenthood is a bit impoverished by his campaign but i don’t know this.

  15. John Steppling says:

    yeah molly, thats a interesting point really. And i dont know the answer. (Funding)…..but i suspect you’re right. I think more interesting to me is the opportunistic use Obama and his posse have made of all this, without actually doing a fucking thing.

  16. yes the way it has been harnessed by Obama and as this wallpaper of decency and civilization over this fascist regime and culture is really what we need to see, but seeing it and fighting it doesn’t require denying anyone civil rights or barring anyone from marrying someone of the same sex.

  17. Vocalis Spiritum says:

    “I dont really think its worth protesting, though. I think this has been part of an Obama stage managed bit of PR that allows him to corner the market on a specific demographic”

    I agree that this is stage managed PR, but not for the reasons anyone is considering. This is a distraction, nothing more. In the debris field of pink plus signs on Facebook, we haven’t even bothered to notice what is happening in Cyprus or the fact that the US has now admitted that we are in a triple-dip recession (which is absurd- we have been in a depression since 2008). Tripe-dip recession, people. This is what the official line is and most people will buy it because it sounds better than depression. Meanwhile, we can all take solace in the fact that gay people are allowed to marry who they like. At least we have that! This is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. I’ve said this before- this is extend and pretend. Anyone who cares more about the gay marriage issue than they do about the fact that we are rapidly heading towards economic collapse either hasn’t been paying attention or is terminally retarded. History has shown this time and time again, and yet all I hear on Facebook is talk about equality, as if this actually exists in the human race. It doesn’t, and no amount of legislation is going to make it so.

  18. John Steppling says:

    Yeah, I really do find the little pink equality signs insulting. NOBODY who is at all sane doesnt support equality for homosexuals. Thats clear. Fine. And whatever helps that is good……and if as regressive a trope as “marriage” (the narrative that accompanies that) is useful, then even that is good. Gay rights activists have accomplished quite significant advances. However…….the marketed branding of this is insulting and when figures are released this week (or last) about birth defects in iraq, so horrible that they have no medical names for them….unprecedented deformities and countless miscarriages and new cancers (as was true in Serbia and the balkans) its hard to stomach the sentimentalizing of gay marriage. When the economy is tanking, detroit has been colonized (thats the most neglected story of all in my opinion, thats a bloodless coup in michigan….in an 80% black city…..) and when increasing reports surface about israeli duplicity, about CIA actions in Honduras and elsewhere, FBI entrapement cases — then I find the bundling of this issue insulting, and frankly, its in and of itself, not an important issue…..I mean look at the prison gulag…..the guys wasting away in super max, or the hunger strike at guantanamo……….i really think the stage managing and packaging of this is offensive …….but thats the thing….the marketing of it….the distraction factor……….and its a feel good story……oh, oh, sooooooo oo o o o o o o o o o cute…..that fat middle aged gay man kissing his new husband ………both such gruf bears…..and with flowers and ah, oh, I feel a tear welling up in the corner of my eye. I mean……look, equality for all………but equality for those in the gulag, for those homeless, for homosexuals and transgender and whateverthefuckeever……EVERYONE…..EQUALITY FOR EVERYONE……including those women who gave birth to monsters in iraq….for the dead from drone attack….equality for everyone.

  19. David Bauer says:

    Just to give props to your Philosophy acumen, when confronted with Site’s Comment Verification test ” ‘blank’ – three = 4 “, I answered ‘false’ in the blank – it didn’t work, so much for any Symbolic Logic I think I retain from college days…

    Just wanted to offer the best example of the positioning of the “gay marriage” issue I have encountered – when Hollande became Prime Minister of France, the Troika’s instructions were that he was allowed to advocate for the “gay marriage” but he better not mess with their €uro Austerity Policy. How much more institutionalized can it be?

  20. Hi,

    Thanks for using my pictures (the woman red dressed with blonde hair), can you add her details?
    “Marina” By Luca Palazzi – 2011 – Rome


    Luca Palazzi

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