"Given the unbridled homophobia (among other phobias) demonstrated by the U.S. guards, it is indeed ironic, yet predictable, that the United States nonetheless emerges as sexually exceptional: less homophobic and more tolerant of homosexuality (and less tainted by misogyny and fundamentalism) than the repressed, modest, nudity-shy Middle East. Through feminist, queer, and even conservative reactions to the violence at Abu Ghraib, we have a clear view of the performative privileges of Foucault’s “speaker’s benefit”: an exemplar of sexual exceptionalism whereby those who are able to articulate sexual knowledge (especially of themselves) then appear to be freed, through the act of speech, from the space of repression. Foucault describes it thus: “There may be another reason that makes it so gratifying for us to define the relationship between sex and power in terms of repression: something that one might call the speaker’s benefit. If sex is repressed, that is, condemned to prohibition, nonexistence, and silence, then the mere fact that one is speaking about it has the appearance of a deliberate transgression.” As Sara Ahmed notes, this hierarchy between open (liberal democracy) and closed (fundamentalist) systems obscures “how the constitution of open cultures involves the projection of what is closed onto others, and hence the concealment of what is closed and contained ‘at home.’” Thus those who appear to have the speaker’s benefit not only reproduce, through a geopolitical mapping of homophobia and where it is most virulent (a mapping that mirrors open/closed, tolerant/repressed dichotomies), the hegemonic ideals of U.S. exceptionalism; the projection of homophobia onto other spaces enacts a clear disavowal of homophobia at “home."
— Jasbir Puar, “Abu Ghraib and U.S Sexual Exceptionalism” (via overnightbivouac)
"Another thing to distrust is the tendency to relate the question of homosexuality to the problem of “Who am I?” and “What is the secret of my desire?” Perhaps it would be better to ask oneself, “‘What relations, through homosexuality, can be established, invented, multiplied, and modulated?” The problem is not to discover in oneself the truth of one’s sex, but, rather, to use one’s sexuality henceforth to arrive at a multiplicity of relationships. And, no doubt, that’s the real reason why homosexuality is not a form of desire but something desirable. Therefore, we have to work at becoming homosexuals and not be obstinate in recognizing that we are. The development toward which the problem of homosexuality tends is the one of friendship."
Michel Foucault, Friendship as a Way of Life (via rhizombie)
"Are there no great radical ruptures, massive binary divisions, then? Occasionally, yes. But more often one is dealing with mobile and transitory points of resistance, producing cleavages in a society that shift about, fracturing unities and effecting regroupings, furrowing across individuals themselves, cutting them up and remolding them, marking off irreducible regions in them, in their bodies and minds. Just as the network of power relations ends by forming a dense web that passes through apparatuses and institutions, without being exactly localized in them, so too the swarm of points of resistance traverses social stratifications and individual unities. And it is doubtless the strategic codification of these points of resistance that makes a revolution possible, somewhat similar to the way in which the state relies on the institutional integration of power relationships."
— Foucault, History of Sexuality Vol. 1 (via spittingonhegel)
"Your question is: why am I so interested in politics? But if I were to answer you very simply, I would say this: why shouldn’t I be interested? That is to say, what blindness, what deafness, what density of ideology would have to weigh me down to prevent me from being interested in what is probably the most crucial subject to our existence, that is to say the society in which we live, the economic relations in which it functions, and the system of power which defines the regular forms and the regular permissions and prohibitions of our conduct. The essence of our life consists after all, of the political functioning of the society in which we find ourselves. So I can’t answer the question of why should I be interested; I could only answer it by asking why shouldn’t I be interested? Not to be interested in politics, thats what constitutes a problem. You should ask someone who is not interested in politics; “Why, damn it, are you not interested?"
and just like that foucault shows up to fuck with my attempts to stop saying things about things.