- surpassingtheloveoftexts posted this
In Lauren Berlant’s piece “Queer Nationality” from her book The Queen of America goes to Washington City” I think I’ve found my historical gay/queer activism moment. I love the bitter, sharp humour and “infection” of both advertising spaces and “straight” spaces. I love the appropriation and queering of images and phrases. Of course, this piece is very American, and Queer Nation’s nationhood as a nation of not only queers but of American queers in integral to Berlant’s argument, and, inevitably, I feel a little left out.
Their queering of advertisements makes me think of the artist collective General Idea and their pieces in which they infect famous pieces of art and hearkening to their historical moment of AIDS. Pictured above is their famous infected Mondrian- infected through the use of green (a colour despised by Mondrian for being too natural). The appropriation/ infection of images to serve a dramatically different, dramatically political purpose in certainly visible in both of these actions.There is seriousness to these actions, but more so, a cheekiness, an inherent indignant humour which draws me in.
The use of mall actions to “exploit the utopian function of the mall” (Berlant, 161) is also an extraordinarily interesting concept to me. “The inscription of metropolitan sexuality in a safe space for suburban-style sexual repression” (Berlant, 160) has always appealed to me. Just last Friday I had a brush with suburban repression/ homophobia and unwittingly took part in such an invasion. My girlfriend and I went to see the movie J. Edgar at the Yorkdale Cineplex. We went for the repressed gay action, and certainly got what we came for. However, the viewing experience was marred in a way I have never personally experienced in a movie theatre. Any time something “gay” happened and were tickled and we giggled or sighed at the tragedy of J. Edgar’s closeted existence, it was accompanied by actual yelling from elsewhere in the theatre- When the only gay, what you could call, kiss happened- “What the fuck is this!?”- when J. Edgar’s mother tells him she’d rather have a dead son than a gay one- “Damn right!”. Needless to say the experience was not altogether pleasant, and a little terrifying, to be honest. As the movie finished we hightailed it out of there, and my girlfriend said afterwards that as we were leaving the theatre people were giving us dirty looks.
Anyways, I guess I’m just mentioning this because it’s on my mind and because it just happened last Friday. Reading this article made me think that Yorkdale needs a kiss-in, badly. Queer Canadian Nation, let’s get on this.