Friday, April 07, 2006

A little queer theory

Andy Medhurst, in his essay “Batman, Deviance, and Camp,” writes:

"And if I want Batman to be gay, then, for me, he is. After all, outside of the minds of his writers and readers, he doesn’t exist."

When I read Moby Dick, I thought that Ishmael and Queequeg had a homosexual relationship. After all, in Chapter 10, "A Bosom Friend," Ishmael gets in bed with Queequeg and says,

"How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends. Man and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning. Thus, then, in our hearts' honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg - a cosy, loving pair."

They grow even more comfortable and cosy and devoted together in bed in Chapter 11, "Nightgown." And then in Chapter 12, "Biographical,

"His story being ended with his pipe's last dying puff, Queequeg embraced me, pressed his forehead against mine, and blowing out the light, we rolled over from each other, this way and that, and very soon were sleeping."

And then, via The Consumerist, there's this:

"Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers’ hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules."

I defy anybody to stop me from interpreting Ishmael's relationship to Queequeg as homoerotic (I haven't even mentioned that they are a bunch of sailors chasing "Dick"). To deny the possibilities seems nothing short of heterocentrism.

There's really no limit to exploring the homosexual undercurrents of much of our low and high culture. To do so is not "reading into it," but exploring the full possibility.

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