Friday, 15 November 2013

The Bland Leading the Bland: A Critique of Contemporary Queer Culture

Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press was revolutionary, it proclaimed the inauguration of seditious mass communication; the Stonewall Riots were a similarly rebellious and revolutionary moment for the queer community.

But half a millenia after the materialisation of moveable type, and half a century after the Christopher Street commotion, the queer printing presses are all wrapped up in fapping out frivolity, boy-band-bland, an A to Z of celeb, dicks per inch off the charts.

Queer politics, unless they’re the politics of the white, middle-class poofocracy, are nowhere to be seen on this scene. Peter Tatchell, gawd bless ‘im, a lone ranger, and one of few to eschew this slew of shlock, takes on causes whose distance from Soho means they barely register on the political gaydar. Africa, the Commonwealth, Eastern Europe, Russia, Peter covers them all on a budget which should blush the faces of those working for the ludicrously named London charidee Stonewall, ‘Fighting for the rights of middle-class white guys living inside Zone 2 since 1989’ - pulling down its pinkwashing pants for a cool £4 million of corporate cash. So it flows.

It’s this kind of corporate cash which keeps the queer press in check while it dishes out its diet of drivel to carefree consumers. Fagburn, a writer and blogger, challenges this moronic mainstream, irreverently flicking ash at Peter Tatchell in the process, perhaps a little too cynical, possibly intentionally so, but nonetheless a refreshing and impudent blower-of-smoke in all the right faces. On the rare occasions he is published in the queer press Soho shrieks and squeals, unable to comprehend someone critiquing its culture.

Sadly solidarity, for most queers, doesn’t extend much beyond the rights of themselves. Trans*? Tragic! Bi? Bye! No black/Asian. Just Caucasian.

But like Fagburn and Peter there is another rare exception: Chelsea Manning, a trans* whistleblowing wonder whose haul of State Department cables, war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Collateral Murder video caused uproar. But read the queer press and there’s nary a chance you’d know of this Chelsea who has just begun a 35 year stint in Fort Leavenworth cell for hoping those docs would start a debate about farcial foreign policy.

Stonewall rebellions are now long gone, but pockets of contemptorary queer protest do exist: Queer Strike, Queers Against Cuts, Queer Friends+ of Chelsea Manning, the squatting group House of Brag, and Queer Resistance all representing a rejection of the bland, no doubt a few carry torches for the '69 Stonewallers whose three days defending their bar against out-of-control cops mark one of the cornerstones of radical queer politics. People like Peter, Fagburn, and Chelsea follow no one but themselves, their hearts, and exceptional political philosophies.

Please, no more tin-canned bland.


Oliver Shykles.

I was sent this by Ollie - from Queer+ Friends Of Chelsea Manning. 
And publish it without comment.
Apart from saying I've published it without comment, obvs.

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