the trouble

[the queer movement] made itself alert to the invidiousness of any institution, like marriage, that is designed to reward those inside it and to punish those outside it: adulterers, prostitutes, divorcees, the promiscuous, single people, unwed parents, those below the age of consent—in short, all those who become, for the purposes of marriage law, queer. (89)

michael warner, the trouble with normal, 1999

(via npr)

adam phillips…

from adam phillips, monogamy

Infidelity is as much about the drama of truth-telling as it is about the drama of sexuality. It is only because of sexuality that we think about truth at all; that we find honesty and kindness at odds with each other. The successful lie creates an unnerving freedom. It shows us that it is possible for no one to know what we are doing. The poor lie—the wish to be found—reveals our fear about what we can do with words. Lying, in other words, is not so much a way of keeping our options open, but of finding out what they are. Fear of infidelity is fear of language.

what more could we want of ourselves

from Jacqueline Rose, "What more could we want of ourselves!," a review of The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg in London Review of Books 

For psychoanalysis, it is axiomatic that our conscious utterances betray us: something always escapes. There is a point, Freud wrote in The Interpretation of Dreams, where all dreams plunge irretrievably into the unknown. The only chance of even getting close is to let the mind drift where it will. ‘The dream-thoughts to which we are led by interpretation,’ he wrote, ‘cannot, from the nature of things, have any definite endings; they are bound to branch out in every direction into the intricate network of our world of thought.’ Like revolution or the mass strike, we might say. This is Luxemburg: ‘It flows now like a broad billow over the whole kingdom, and now divides into a gigantic network of narrow streams; now it bubbles forth from under the ground like a fresh spring and now is completely lost under the earth.’

Which is why Freud’s only instruction to patients – the sacrosanct but some would say increasingly neglected founding principle of analysis – was to free-associate, to say whatever, however strange and unpredictable, came into their heads. For Freud the ungraspable nature of the human mind summoned up the necessity of freedom. ‘The method of free association,’ Christopher Bollas writes, ‘subverts the psychoanalyst’s natural authoritarian tendencies.’ It is a new method of thinking, he continues, which unleashes the ‘disseminating possibilities that open to infinity’. Infinity as infinity (the universe with no centre). As with revolution, you have to risk lifting the lid. The world must be allowed to fall apart in order – perhaps – for it to recover itself. First horrified, appalled, almost broken by the vote for the war, Luxemburg then realised that in order to move further, ‘all of this will still have to disintegrate and come apart more.’ She was, of course, writing at the same time as Freud. Out of the unconscious, Luxemburg lifts something I would call an ethics of personal and political life.

‘A severe criminal stands before you, one condemned by the state,’ she announced in February 1914 to the protesters who had gathered outside the court in Frankfurt after her trial for inciting public disobedience against the imminent war: ‘a woman whom the prosecution has described as rootless’. She took pride in being, in the words of the prosecutor, ‘a creature without a home’. She couldn’t hide – and never wanted to. But the obliqueness of her position, her status as an outsider, also gave her a freedom to think the un-thought, to force the unthinkable into the language of politics. I have long believed this to be one of feminism’s supreme tasks, what it has to contribute to political understanding. I now realise that, without knowing it, I got the idea from Luxemburg.

I knew someone would say sooner or later that Harriet the Spy has made many a feminist what she is today.


In my third meeting with “my” women, the tone of the meeting shifted to the confessional. My observation, in these situations, is that when white feminists come face to face with their prejudices, they feel bad about them. They talk about their realizations as if their lives have already changed by the mere fact of their recognition. They tell stories to show each other how “bad” they have been, and are consoled by their peers, who describe similar mistakes. The meeting usually gets quite emotional, and it takes a lot of moderation to make sure that it doesn’t dissolve into a mass pity-fest about how bad making other people feel bad makes white women feel.

White Feminist Privilege in Organizations


 The notion of mental illness thus serves mainly to obscure the everyday fact that life for most people is a continuous struggle, not for biological survival, but for a “place in the sun,” “peace of mind,” or some other human value. For man aware of himself and of the world about him, once the needs for preserving the body (and perhaps the race) are more or less satisfied, the problem arises as to what he should do with himself.

Sustained adherence to the myth of mental illness allows people to avoid facing this problem, believing that mental health, conceived as the absence of mental illness, automatically insures the making of right and safe choices in one’s conduct of life. But the facts are all the other way. It is the making of good choices in life that others regard, retrospectively, as good mental health!

thomas szasz’s the medicalization of everyday life and the myth of mental illness [via  iwillnotshavemyvagina]

(Source: iwillnotshavemyvagina, via cocothinkshefancy)


” Although progressives are hesitant to acknowledge it, the fact remains that white women are not significantly more liberal on racial attitudes than white men, obviously complicating attempts to get them to think positively about a topic like affirmative action. According to survey data, white women’s racial attitudes are something of a mixed bag. While white women are more willing than white men to accept structural explanations for racial inequity and generally more accepting of affirmative action — so long as the issue isn’t presented as one of “preferences” — many of the racial attitudes of white women are no better and perhaps actually worse than those of white men. For example, when asked if the federal government should intervene to create jobs and opportunities for blacks, there is no statistically significant difference between the responses of white men and white women. Similarly, there is no gender gap between white men and white women in response to the question: “Would you be willing to send your child to a school where half the students were black?” When asked if they would be willing to send their child(ren) to a school in which the majority of students were black, white women are actually more likely to object than their male counterparts, and white women are more disapproving of interracial marriage between whites and blacks than are white men (Schuman, Steeh, Bobo and Krysan 1997, 235). “

Great follow up to the Aint I A Woman Panel from last night - 

i am told that there is nothing wrong with this kind of event.

i am told that there is nothing wrong with this kind of event.