July 05, 2005

ISAAC STOLZFUTS’ JOURNAL: A Blog about Art, Gay Male Sexuality, Culture, and Politics: Part III
I Compare My Blog to Other Gay Male Blogs


Emic Voices
I suppose that if I were to do a cultural “materialist study” of gays from the various Pennsylvania Dutch cultures, I would be personally creating both the etic and emic voices of the study, in and of itself an oxymoronic approach (Harris, 1968). So, how do I defend my position as serious? First, by looking at the voices of other bloggers as demonstrated above, I am looking at the individual voices from within the sub-culture, “gay men.” Secondly, I, Isaac, the Pennsylvania Dutch man, am the sub-cultural body performed that has allowed me to construct an epistemology of sexuality that places the heterosexual versus homosexual dichotomy within a reconceptualized field of sexual identities and that integrates the illusion of polarity between social construction and biological determinism within possible Modern and Postmodern understandings of sexual identity. As I write journal entries and answer e-mails written by viewer/readers of the blog, I have come to see that these two oppositions can be dismantled when considered in relation to a field of other considerations including: the poststructuralist theories that have proliferated around Michel Foucault’s reversal of the standard thesis about sex and sexuality (Sexuality is repressed in Western culture.). These include specific anthropological texts, feminist and queer theorists, brain research and genetic studies, and psychological research into sexuality (Foucault, 1978,1984,1985; Butler, 1990, 1993, Burr, 1996; Domer, 1975; Garnets, 1993; Gonsioreck, 1991; Hamer, 1993; Hooker, 1957; Johnson, 2004; Kinsey, 1948,). Thus, it is this seemingly schizophrenic approach that has enabled the destabilization of the heterosexual versus homosexual dichotomy, and the visualization of the diverse sexualities as a three-dimensional paradigm.
The following are example excerpts of Journal entries that address the issues listed above. Where possible I have coupled them with e-mails from readers that also address the same issues.

Isaac, April 22, 2004 –

“As I look back, I am pleased with what I have done with my life. So, I will continue to talk about that past life from time to time, dear journal. The past is terribly important to me because I don’t yet know what my future holds… … It would kill Ruth if I were discovered walking around WallMart as the silver man. Do you think I could get headlines in the Intelligencer Journal (local daily newspaper)? I may even release my own line of cosmetics and fragrances. ‘Eau d’ Reflection, the cologne for the man or woman who really isn’t there’…”


Commentary

The reflective, foil clad man symbolizes resistance to a cultural inscription of sexuality. He looks like a 1950’s B movie space alien or like a NASA astronaut whose suit deflects heat from itself and its cargo as he or she rotates in the vacuum of space. The foil creature is present at the daily routines of life. However, he is not capable of participating in life because metallic layers cover his appendages and sensory organs, and he is incapable of assuming a sexual or gendered identity. In Bodies that Matter and Gender Trouble, Judith Butler discusses the “performance” of sexuality and its limitations, and she claims that sexuality and gender are personal traits acquired from the culture in which one lives, the result of a process over which neither the individual nor society has much control. Additionally, I, performing the foil man project my frustration in this entry with the larger culture’s ageism as reflected in my daughter Ruth’s actions (she felt that my artwork showed me to be senile and mentally unbalanced, and she schemed with an art professor at a Pennsylvania university to have my studio (Sanctuary) and its contents moved to the university museum basement for safe keeping.)

“Anjiknut” (her on-line identity) was responding to Isaac’s entry in its entirety and to his anger. She stated the following.

“I expect you know this poem already. When you wrote, "walking around WallMart as the silver man,” I remembered it.”*

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit…


* Anjiknut (). A voir: When I am old I shall wear purple. E-mail note sent on May 1, 2004 at 9:02 AM. EST.

To be continued…

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