Cultural Fluff and the Death of Faggotry
Gay culture is ridiculous and you know it.
‘Plasticized android’ – those were the words used by cutthroat culture critic Camille Paglia to describe the hollow, sexless posturing of gay icon Lady Gaga.
Why is it that gay men roll around in such soulless cultural glitter? Are there are any faggots left or are we all show ponies now?
A gay mainstream has been created in the last few decades. Cultural institutions, from niche media to bars, have become propagators of gay identity.
Gone are the days of the queer intellectuals: Burroughs, Wilde, Turing and Ginsberg. A time where ones sexual difference was not celebrated in itself but considered part of a wider rebellion against sexual norms. The faggots of the past were not like the gays of today: they were rugged individualists composed of artists, activists and free thinkers.
Politics and victimhood have pushed us to identify as a group – and what a sick group we are. Despite gains in wider social acceptance, research demonstrates the bizarre pathology of gay male identity.
Focus on the superficial and bodily leads to a lowered self-esteem and widespread disinterest in qualities of character. Emphasis on flippancy and fun downplays responsibility – with rates of sexually transmitted infections remaining high (and climbing) whilst use of protection falls. Finally, a politicized identity has led to pity politics and increased minority stress – a crisis of perceptions where the ‘heteronormative’ is an amorphous threat projected on otherwise reasonable people.
This cultural enclave breeds insecurity, and provides the solution in soulless escapism: a cult of celebrity, passionless sex and camp pageantry.
Queer politics has a lot to be proud of: the freeing of gender expression and libertarian sex being its highest achievements.
But the death of depth in gay communities is something to be condemned. A cultural industry built on keeping gay men shallow, insecure and defined by their orientation is a perversion of the legacy of queer movements of the past.
It’s time to move beyond the cultural fluff of the gay mainstream and embrace the holistic individualism of the past.
It’s time to be faggots again.
© SophistInTraining 2012
JD student at Monash University. Blogs over at Sophist In Training on politics and philosophy.