Dear Ickaprick (September 2, 2009)
NOTES: Origins and Context | See Also
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Origins of this content
In this 2009 blog post, I respond to the comments that Ickaprick wrote on my article "The Increasingly Unproductive Fake," which I had published online at no more potlucks in July. As opposed to the paper version (which will come out in 2011 in an anthology on revisiting New Queer Cinema), the digital publication allowed me to interact with readers (in public), make new connections, and quickly further (and question) the ideas I had set forth.
Transgender studies looks at "behaviors, bodies, and subjective identities which contest common Eurocentric notions of gender has a history stretching back at least to the early 20th century ... By mid-century, feminist scholars had appropriated scientific paradigms that posited a distinction between bodily sex and psychosocial gender, and deployed them in politically radical ways that envisioned greater equality between genders. In the closing years of the last century, an upstart generation of queer theorists further disarticulated the presumed coherence of heteronormative personhood to create a broader awareness of just how diverse gendered identity can be."[cit]

"The Real, (Lacan): The state of nature from which we have been forever severed by our entrance into language. Only as neo-natal children were we close to this state of nature, a state in which there is nothing but need ... As far as humans are concerned, however, 'the real is impossible,' as Lacan was fond of saying. It is impossible insofar as we cannot express it in language because the very entrance into language marks our irrevocable separation from the real."[cit]

The word cyberspace was coined by the science fiction author William Gibson when he sought a name to describe his vision of a global computer network, linking all people, machines and sources of information in the world, and through which one could move or "navigate" as through a virtual space. [cit]

One of my ten founding terms for this project is pedagogy. Also understood as a matter of access, it is always necessary to consider who is taught to be a mediamaker and with what orientation, skills, and values; and who is taught to be critical of the media, as well.

One of my three founding calls for this project is working collaboratively: benefiting from the diversity of our approaches, training, experience, and positions leads to the best media praxis. We need to be brave enough to teach each other and work past specialization, in the variety of languages in which we are comfortable and trained.
So the Internet and Web 2.0 allows you and me to connect, talk, and learn together, creating new communions and opportunities for weirdness (YouTube shares but does not OWN this). Hi and thanks. It's really great to meet you. Your response is really provocative and I am loathe to try to sum up my thoughts quickly, but here goes:

Undoubtedly and wonderfully, YouTube allows participants (viewers and makers) hitherto-unimagined opportunities to see themselves and the world. But as rpdc80 comments on your blog, that does not mean they are doing so critically. This is not to say everyone needs a Ph.D., but rather, if we don't also grow other opportunities for radical user-generated expression/inquiry (pedagogy, literacy, theories of media and politics, queer theory, etc.) along with access to media-making tools, what is mostly produced occurs without the power of histories and theories of art, politics, the body, sexuality, etc., and it tends then to primarily refer to what people already know, corporate media, which is most often paltry, mediocre, isolating, and ungiving.

I love your idea that the parody and muddle can produce clarity and introspection. That does make sense to me. When I watched Footballbob's video for my class, and he told me on later discussion that it was actually REAL, that rocked my world. Again, given that we now watch so quickly, and with such callous disregard, I would ask what else is needed within (or around) a video to push the viewer to this moment of introspection? Is it the dialogue you have with your friend Ryan, for example? I find that sort of communion impossible on YouTube (but possible on blogs and in real life). I have written in other places about why conversation is so puerile on YouTube, and here I blame the corporation that denies us community on the site to keep us searching, moving eyeballs to advertisements ...

Doom-and-gloom? I suppose. I'm sorry. I do love Miranda, and the pregnant girls too, but in another article about queer representation on YouTube I suggest that movements (and people) need more than isolated blips of feeling. We need things to be connected through shared ideas and goals. It is hard for me to understand either of these stand-alone videos in that light. Now, on your blog, that's another matter. They are linked, repurposed, focused, and used toward your (personal and political) ends.