Saturday, February 16, 2008

From Barthes's prefatory material to Tricks

Homosexuality shocks less, but continues to be interesting; it is still at that stage of excitation where it provokes what might be called feats of discourse. Speaking of homosexuality permits those who "aren't" to show how open, liberal and modern they are; and those who "are" to bear witness, to assume responsibility, to militate. Everyone gets busy, in different ways, whipping it up.

Yet to proclaim yourself something is always to speak at the behest of a vengeful Other, to enter into his discourse, to argue with him, to seek from him a scrap of identity: "You are..." "Yes, I am..." Ultimately, the attribute is of no importance; what society will not tolerate is that I should be... nothing, or to be more exact, that the something that I am should be openly expressed as provisional, revocable, insignificant, inessential, in a word: irrelevant. Just say "I am," and you will be socially saved.

Barthes, Roland. Preface. Tricks. 1981.

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