Sex Politics: What Turns On Bad Subjects
Issue Editors: Charlie Bertsch and Mike Mosher
In a summery season, when lazy afternoons and summer nights are better spent in lovemaking and conviviality, US President Bush again sees fit to pontificate upon who may marry and who may not. Though we'd rather be cooing and cavorting with loved ones, it's evidently time for Bad Subjects to interrogate the slippery interface of sex and politics. Bush chooses not to reflect upon the foul war in which he mired our nation and rent asunder another (undertaken in America's name under false pretenses), nor to admit that a gutted public sector fails to defend our land against natural disasters like hurricanes. Instead he pretends his bully pulpit makes him a stern Old Testament prophet, or a provincial and culture-bound pharisee, laying down the law.
Not much shocks Bad Subjects; Bush does. To Whitney Strub, the President's obscenity policy, both in terms of his justifying rhetoric and its extension of the normative “family values” sexual project, boils down to a distant and arbitrary Queen crying, of her subjects, Let Them Eat Porn. John Duncan finds Bush's war policies equally dangerous and dubious, but worries that progressives alienate their religious allies in his essay Understanding Religion and Estimating Justice in the Final Term of George II.
In Academic Whores and Publishing Pimps, Mark John Isola defends erotic web site Red Rose Stories as an affirmation of free speech, in the name of the silent majority of Americans, who appreciate erotic and pornographic material. The Ovarium: BioPorn Videodrama Just Across The Border moves Karen Jacobs to interview its principals Adam Zaretsky and Barbara Groves.
Vanessa Raney asks Is Trans-Gendering the New Homosexuality? after watching the televised story of Miles and Samantha, surgically altered from their original sexes, yet fallen in love. Their case raises issues of bodies radically changed to reflect a different gender while remaining fundamentally the original sex. In You Got a Friend: Two Tales of Post-Seventiessexuals, Patrick Hurono recounts figures from his past, one now deceased and one reinvented. Phil Tiemayer sees the ad campaign of Abercrombie & Fitch an example of Queer Capitalism, as the company unabashedly gloats to its conservative stockholders the link between sexy young men and profitability.
We also resume a feature of our older issues with this number, including "off-topic" articles as a counterpoint to its theme. Eminent political theorist Jodi Dean makes her debut in our pages with reflections on "theory blogs" that are content with a specialized, if diverse audience and the problems that confront them when hostile outsiders from other regions of the blogosphere stop by to provoke confrontation.
With delivery of this issue, Bad Subjects hopes you, dear reader, will love unrestrainedly, play safely, fight the power, negotiate and enjoy Sex Politics.
Feet in "Sex Politics" logo from a contemporary clothing ad. Tools from ads in Popular Science, 1974.