The Future is Kid Stuff...


...Fuck the social order and the figural children paraded before us as its terroristic emblem; fuck Annie; fuck the waif from Les Miz; fuck the poor innocent kid on the 'Net; fuck Laws both with capital 'l's and with small; fuck the whole network of symbolic relations and the future that serves as its prop.


Such "self-evident" one-sidedness--the affirmation of a value so unquestioned, because so obviously unquestionable, as that of the child whose innocence solicits our defense--is precisely, of course, what distinguishes public service announcements from the partisan discourse of political argumentation. But it is also, I suggest, what makes such announcements so oppressively political--political not in the partisan terms implied by the media consultant, but political in a far more insidious way: political insofar as the fantasy subtending the image of the child invariably shapes the logic within which the political itself must be thought. That logic compels us, to the extent that we would register as politically responsible, to submit to the framing of political debate--and indeed of the political field--as defined by the terms of what this book describes as reproductive futurism: terms that impose an ideological limit on political discourse as such, preserving in the process the absolute privilege of heteronormativity by rendering unthinkable, by casting outside of the political domain, the possibility of a queer resistance to this organizing principle of communal relations. 2


For politics, however radical the means by which specific constituencies attempt to produce a more desirable social order remains, at its core, conservative insofar as it works to affirm a structure, to authenticate social order, which it then intends to transmit to the future in the form of its inner child. That Child remains the perpetual horizon of every acknowledged politics, the fantasmic beneficiary of every political intervention. 2–3


Indeed, at the heart of my polemical engagement with the cultural text of politics and the politics of cultural text lies a simple provocation: that queerness names the side of those not "fighting for the children," the side outside the consensus by which all politics confirms the absolute values of reproductive futurism. The ups and downs of political fortune may measure the social order's pulse, but queerness, by contrast, figures, outside and beyond its political symptoms, the place of the social order's death drive: a place, to be sure, of abjection expressed in the stigma, sometimes fatal, that follows from reading t6hat figure literally, and hence a place from which liberal politics strives--and strives quite reasonably, given its unlimited faith in reason--to disassociate the queer. More radically, though, as I argue here, queerness attains its ethical value precisely insofar as it accedes to that place, accepting its figural status as resistance to the viability of the social while insisting on the inextricability of such resistance from every social structure. 3


Truth, like queerness, irreducibly linked to the "aberrant or atypical," to what chafes against "normalization," finds its value not in a good susceptible to generalization, but only in the stubborn particularity that voids every notion of a general good. The embrace of queer negativity, then, can have no justification if justification requires it to reinforce some positive social value; its value, instead, resides in its challenge to value as defined by the social, and thus in its radical challenge to the very value of the social itself. 6




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