Friday, November 21, 2008

Are You Homosocial?

Here is the audio piece entitled: Are You Homosocial?
Click here to listen to it.

This is a piece I created for the purpose of expounding the concepts of homosociality, homoeroticism, and identity.

As always, there are many literary references, much music, and many more pop culture things.

I re-discovered Michael Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh just the other day. Let me quote from it. It goes well with my premise.

"I did not consider myself, as a rule."

Graph via previous post on female DJ's. Find here.


Dana said...

The distinction between these terms is important, indeed. The Chabon quote does go well with the active interest in resisting essentialist identit(ies).

Nicki said...

I love this photog.
I like the audio bit more. I suppose we're all aware of homosociality. Many are not actively versed in it so education helps. The last word I heard was 'bromance' and if that's not homosocial, I don't know what is. thanks.

Will said...

Yes, I am.
And comfortable in it. Not homoerotic, though. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. :-)

B.R. said...

totally active. but active like this. i loved this. thx.

tina said...

"I did not consider myself, as a rule."
I like this.
Using literature to elucidate sth helps. Esp. those of us who always saw such a thing as relevant. thx.

tina said...

"I did not consider myself, as a rule."
I like this.
Using literature to elucidate sth helps. Esp. those of us who always saw such a thing as relevant. thx.

Turco said...

Just read "Gentlemen of the Road" - the only one I have read by Chabon. Good book, combines Jewish identity and gendered reading - to appropriate two terms from Bri repertoire - and good old-fashioned adventure. BTW, the Wiki entry for Wonder Boys novel is just a stub - can't think of a better person than Bri to expand it - you know public good and all that.

B.R. said...

Initial comment was re: your comment. I liked the Seinfeldian reference there.
Glad you're done with "Gentlemen of the Road."
Right, wikipedia does not have a healthy section on Wonder Boys. As you know I firmly believe in the public humanities and will see about contributing to that.
As always, you got it.
Re: Chabon, give "Mysteries of Pittsburgh" a try.

Nicki said...

And the root 'homo' has a different in 2008 than it did in previous uninformed times. Every person is homosocial 'by virtue of spending time with members of the same acquired gender', right?

jenny said...

all the way with Turco on this. if anyone can expand on gendered reading, it's Bri. Not schmoozing just stating the truth as i know.
ich vermisse die 'das ist ja so gendered' comments which we'll resume in but a few days, ja?
cheers till then

Anonymous said...

I do think that true equality of genders and equality of identities will be reached when we can associate without cerebral care with all kinds at all times.
I believe that.

Eva said...

btw, i am digging Michael Chabon. The next in line will be your crush, J. M. Coetze.
Is he as gendered as Chabon?

Mar said...

I find myself in a more heightened state of awareness when in homosocial settings.
Coming from a practicing heterosexual, this is quite a statement.
Even though something tells me you'll say that practices have nothing much to do with this.

Mary said...

And to be forced to pick one identity over others is the hardest thing to deal with.
For me, at least.

Mary said...

And to be forced to pick one identity over others is the hardest thing to deal with.
For me, at least.

Sra said...

I had to listen to this one a couple times, and I'm still not sure I've got it. But I will listen to it some more later.

Some thoughts:

If there's a homosocial, I assume there is also heterosocial, yes? How about bisocial? :)

It is interesting to me, your resistance to categories. I mean, I understand the desire not to be labeled, pigeonholed, stereotyped, and categorized. I think all of us want to be understood as the complex people that we are, and those complexities don't really work well with labels. But to me, the human mind is oriented toward labels as a means of simplifying complexity. It's not that we can't comprehend complexity, but that it is easier not to, at least on a daily basis for every individual that crosses our paths. Simply put, in my mind, generalizations are tools that assist in understanding. We are fools if we expect people to fit the molds we categorize them in to a T, but when getting to know people, I find you can't help but form an impression of someone based on generalizations.

What about your idea of clothing as text? This idea is about how our style speaks about us and invites others to make assumptions on who we are, is it not? That to me is labeling. We cannot help but read people and apply labels accordingly. They key is to force ourselves to reexamine those labels as new information comes in. In short, to be open minded.

Your thoughts on this?

Candace said...

I'd like you to address some of Sra's questions too even though I think I have an inkling as to how you view these things. But I might just be too confident :)

jj said...

Looking at Chabon's Mysteries of Pittsburgh this break. There's something so great about his style....

B.R. said...

1. -'That is so gendered' is a high-frequency sentence for some, well for many, definitely. Just a while back an associate pointed out that, well, isn't all marked for gender? That has given me much food for thought and the podcast that iTunes is broadcasting this Friday I will deal with just that.
2. -J.M. Coetzee does address gender too, however, he doesn't have the natural fluidity Chabon has. In 'Disgrace' Coetzee's treatment of gender 'politics' is brilliant. The David Lurie/Lucy relationship says much of significance.
3. -I don't resist categories. Most certainly, not philosophically. The piece is a theory-informed 'reading' of cultural expressions of gender and gendered identities. One of the key philosophical ideas I subscribe to, for the most part, is the Butler-engendered notion of gender performativity and that - the following is a paraphrasing of Butler's work - coherence of sex, gender, and overall sexuality is culturally constructed through the repetition of stylized acts in time. The key word being 'imitation' i.e., the more you 'perform' one identity, the more natural it becomes for/to you.
Another core idea I maintain is that a person can occupy a myriad of identities at the same time sans privileging one over the other. Many identities are socially constructed and, I would submit, circumstantially engendered and modified.
The idea that clothing is text depicts, if nothing else, the ability, the naturally ability of the individual, to represent core and marginal clues/Signs about one's self via the seemingly inconsequential choice of clothes-picking. I happen to think that clothing, other than it having played an active role in much of the literary canon, is, a revealing sign of many colors and kinds. As Joanna over at Zeitgeistboheme has observed, it's not trivial to consider why Roland Barthes tried to "make a semiotics of fashion."

Sra said...

Thanks for the response, it's elucidating. As to gender performativity a la Butler, does this mean that you believe all genderized stereotypes are a result of environment and cultural expectation, or do you think some of gender is attributable to nature? My own feeling is that it's a little of both.

Finally, what Chabon would you most recommend reading? I will put him on my list.

B.R. said...

When I do 'readings' of texts in a Gender Theory-informed fashion I am relying on the research to decode the text as 'closely' as possible in an effort to maintain as much objectivity as possible.
I try to maintain the same modus operandi when I do my audio work.
Personally, I think that much of gender is acquired and that gender is a beautifully rich and complex social construct. Hence its fecundity in so many of our texts....
Re: Chabon, yes, I am glad you have an interest in reading him.
Let me take this opportunity to out myself as a bona fide Chabon fan. I cannot think of another modern novelist whose work I respect more.
Try reading his The Mysteries of Pittsburgh first. If the novel won't make you think twice about gender and gendered behavior, I will be very surprised.
Then, read his Wonder Boys. Couple that with Curtis Hanson's filmic adaptation by the same name.
Then move to his Pulizer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.
After that, pick anything else by him. He won't disappoint.

Sra said...

Thanks for indulging my questions :D I'm no expert in gender theory (only have my own experiences to go by), but I seek to understand.

I have added The Mysteries of Pittsburgh to my library hold list, and will get to it and the other Chabon titles in due turn.