recently = at least as time is measured in the universe of scholarly publishing
critical inquiry= Never mind that many of the things that happen to us are those that we least understand.
false class consciousness = yes, I still believe there can be false consciousness
Critical rigor = this is exactly what I thought was missing from the film, a rigorous analysis of the discourses it employed.
Thought = “Here it is a question of a critical relationship to the language of the human sciences and a question of a critical responsibility of the discourse. It is a question of putting expressly and systematically the problem of the status of a discourse which borrows from a heritage the resources necessary for the deconstruction of that heritage itself. A problem of economy and strategy.”
core concerns = In this reading, Riggs and his collaborator Essex Hemphill are fully intentional subjects, and any critique of the film must reflect the racism of the writer rather than, say, the limits of identity politics.
Tongues Untied — This film hardly needed to be rescued from the critical obscurity into which my critique had allegedly flung it. It was hardly as if Jesse Helms was going to side with me in protest against the film’s demonization of gay s/m.
Teaching English in Tunisia — I once asked my Tunisian students if they thought I was racist. Their response: “A little bit.” At the time, I felt this was an appropriate enough response, given that I cannot claim for myself the privileged position of the fully intentioned marginal.
Excuse = Does work on Italian Jewish culture count as evidence of taking “the lives and experiences of people of color” as “core concerns”? The Near and Middle East, Spain, Libya — these are just some of the places from which Italian Jews hail. Judith Butler’s work on Palestine?
(non) student = For, as a grad student at Pitt, my interactions with Gayatri consisted primarily of attending departmental meetings together, hearing her give public lectures, and saying hello in the elevator. I have always wondered if she might not in fact be mortified by the way I ventriloquize her in the context of queer theory.
AIDS = Believe it or not, I played cocktail piano for GMHC’s very first ever safer sex workshop. The organizers wanted something soothing to accompany people’s arrival, something to put the attendees at ease. I must have played “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” from Pal Joey, as it was one of my favorite songs at the time.
self-serving liberal etc. One of the many ironies of this tussle is that the very critics who were arguing in favor of experience were utterly discounting mine. Specifically, I wrote about something I had actually witnessed, a talk given by Essex Hemphill, a talk at which none of the critics who chastised me had in fact been present. So apparently their color insured that my report of the talk was wrong, and mine insured that my experience of the talk was deeply flawed.