No, Seriously. Fucking Kill Yourself.
Here’s the thing: I really, really hate to break it to you, honey, but I’m not your teacher. I’m the anonymous author of a blog you read on the Internet, a blog that’s about licking balls and how frustrating it is to get shit on your dick when a selfish bottom doesn’t bother to douche before coming over to sit on my dick. On the other hand, I do have almost 90 actual students this semester, whose teacher I am, and I have to spend an absurd amount of my precious, precious class time unteaching my brilliant but very young and very impressionable students the terrible, senseless lessons they learn from well-intentioned thinkers like you, who expect to have a “teaching moment” at the same time as they’re criticizing the very long-distance, virtual conditions under which they expect that teaching to take place. You want to have your cake and shove it up your ass at the same time. Well, sorry, babe, but it’s scopophilia OR interjection, you can’t have both.
The lessons I have to unteach are precisely the lessons of political correctness, of identity politics and identity bullshit. The reason I have to unteach these lessons is that while my students are as naive and well-meaning as they are smart and engaged, they are surrounded by less smart, less engaged, less well-meaning adults who teach them to think that clicking the “like” button on Facebook constitutes “political engagement.” Who teach them that hurting people’s feelings is much, much worse than being dishonest. Who teach my straight male students that it’s not ever OK to express their desires and sexual questions in terms of anxiety or frustration, even when I’m teaching a class about Hitchcock’s Vertigo and the entire fucking film is about a supposedly straight man’s inability to achieve an erection in presence of a beautiful woman.
I’m a homosexual male queer theorist who wrote a dissertation under two of the most important feminist theorists in America, one of whom is openly lesbian, and I’m giving a lecture on Irigaray at a conference next year, so yes, I understand about phallologoheterocisEuroethnocentrism and patriarchy and heteronormativity and discourse and truth/power and all of the rest of that bullshit you’ve learned by heart reading Judith Butler and Jasbir Puar without ever actually understanding Foucault, Deleuze, Marx, or Freud. But you know what? I have about as many feminist credentials as a cismale academic can have, and I’m still telling you that a 19-year-old is still a 19-year-old even when he’s straight, white, rich, and cismale, and maybe if there was less attention paid to who was allowed to say what and more attention paid to creating institutional spaces where confused and hormonal young students could honestly address their confused and hormonal question to a teacher who is extensively trained in the ethics, psychology, and sociology of sexual difference, my students wouldn’t feel the need to rape their girlfriends after class. So fuck you, too. Because the same liberal scum who look down on their Texan jock students are the ones who wring their hands the hardest when the institutions they teach at - which are run by people just like them - fail to actively persecute sexual violence on campus or to crack down on student drinking.
In keeping with my new “FUCK IT” approach, I’ll divulge a little more personal information than I’m used to. Maybe I’ll delete this later, but for now, you’ve pissed me off.
I’m a pretty muscular guy. I’m in good shape, I dress well and groom myself carefully, though really only by academic standards. I’m also very openly homosexual, I write about sex for a living, and I teach about psychoanalysis and sexuality even when I’m teaching classes on cinema. For the last few years, I’ve taught at an institution that draws high-achieving students from all over the country to the Tri-State Area, where they are consistently taught by snotty, well-meaning, self-absorbed, narcissistic East-Coast liberal intellectuals who look down on their students because they have a Texan drawl, because their parents vote Republican, and because they like to play football. Time after time, I’ve watched as straight-identified student athletes in my classes develop obvious crushes on me and promptly start aggressively courting the prettiest girl in the class, inevitably where I can see them. At an institution like the one I teach at, women often have to be smarter than men to make the cut among all the athletes, legacy kids, and straight white boys, so often the girls these athletes date are very smart as well as very pretty. And we all know how well drunk straight-identified jocks take sexual rejection from pretty, smart girls, especially when what they really want is a cock up their ass. And we wonder why even the most elite students at the most pricey educational institutions in the country express such a high incidence of sexual violence.
I don’t think these jock boys have crushes on me because I’m so hot or because I’m such an amazing teacher; I think it’s because they’re 19-year-olds from a square state who have never met a confident, openly gay man before who doesn’t conform to any stereotype they’ve ever heard except for the part where I prefer dick to pussy, who could probably wrestle them to the ground if I needed to, and onto whom they can project the kind of sexual fantasies about aggression and anger about which they can’t speak to anyone, not even their best friend or their girlfriend. I honestly think that these crushes aren’t even about me, or even about gay sex - I think most of these boys would recoil if I actually made a move on them, sexually. I think they have crushes on me because I says things in class like “Vertigo teaches us that everybody experiences anxiety, even straight white men, and that the consequences of that anxiety can be as dangerous and murderous as those of anybody else, so it’s worth talking about them.” THAT’S A FUCKING TEACHING MOMENT.
And you know what? I watch the disdain and neglect with which my upstanding, liberal, East Coast colleagues, all of whom went to Ivy-League schools, treat our students. I watch the way university classes are taught to some of this nation’s best and brightest, and I start to imagine what higher education in the humanities must look like in the middle of the country, and I want to fucking throw up because I can suddenly understand why red states fucking HATE blue states so much. I never, ever thought I would find myself saying something like that, but my students aren’t the only ones who learn in my classes, and I’ve learned from their fears and confusion and anxieties how to be a better teacher, and how to understand my students’ needs. And what my students need isn’t to be told sternly that saying “gay” instead of “stupid” and calling someone a “fag” is WRONG. What they need to is understand how complex and dynamic politics, sexuality, and identity are, and that everybody makes mistakes, and that everybody has anxiety and periods of low sexual performance, and that nothing is black and white, especially not race and ethnicity and the relation between the two.
I’m fucking sick of “adults” looking down on the confused political positions of an 18-year-old freshly arrived from Kansas while convincing themselves that they’re being “political” by posting a fucking 2-minute hack Photoshop job showing a picture of ONE Israeli rocket that HAPPENED do significant structural damage to a building in Gaza next to a picture of ONE Hamas rocket that HAPPENED to land in the middle of an empty road. If you’re worried about the decrease of “teaching moments” due to the complexities of technology, maybe that would be a better fucking place to start. Because if you think reducing the infinite complexity of a historically-contingent multi-ethnic struggle to a binary opposition between two random pictures you Photoshopped and then you have the FUCKING GALL not only to pat yourself on the back for “educating” people but to look down on your students for having confused and immature political opinions…well…fucking kill yourself. Go on. I’ll wait. I live in Washington Heights in Manhattan, BTW; if you want to meet me in front of the Starbucks on Broadway at 168th I’ll be happy to say it to your face.
I’m sorry to say this, but I don’t owe you anything. Not fuck all. I’m really happy you like my blog. I’m really happy that lots of people all over the world read it every day, and yes, I do get an ego boost when I sign on to Google Analytics and find out that people in Bangalore and Sydney and Kyoto care enough about what I think to come back week after week and read it. I’m really flattered, and very proud, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. But the thing is, teaching is a profession. I get PAID to teach. Do you know WHY I get paid to teach? Because if teaching was volunteer work, I wouldn’t have the privilege and the luxury of sitting on my ass between classes wondering how best to express the complexities of sexual difference to a group of 18-22-year-olds. THOSE ARE THE PURELY IMMANENT REALITIES OF “TEACHING MOMENTS.” “Teaching moments” have nothing to do with computers and whether saying “kill yourself” on the Internet hurt somebody’s feelings. They have to do with economics, with politics, with history, and, most of all, with the ethics of pedagogy, which matter so much fucking more than whether I called your fat lesbian friend a dumb cunt because she spilled her coffee on my shirt right before class. Teaching is a PROFESSION. If you care about it, stop jerking off writing passive-aggressive responses to Tumblr posts and spend your time writing letters to your fucking Congressman or supporting your local teachers’ union. And guess what? They don’t live in the fucking Gaza Strip, the Congressmen OR the union.
Naturally, an argument can be made that I’m writing this blog for my own pleasure and that blog posts aren’t really a marketable medium except in exceptional cases, so it’s not like I’m giving you for free something I could be charging you for. But you know what? That’s very, very untrue. Because my blog doesn’t just contain swearwords and insults and rants against people I don’t like. It also contains long, carefully-composed essays on complex philosophical issues, essays for which I CONSTANTLY get notes of appreciation, often from readers who are the same ages as my students. Essays, by the way, which are of publishable quality and which I will have a much harder time finding a publisher for now that they’re on the Web for anyone to read for free. But I don’t give a fuck, because it’s true, I do enjoy writing this blog. And these essays, which you read for free and profess to like, are written because I have had the time, the training, and the economic resources to read complex philosophical texts, to meditate on them, to discuss my ideas with colleagues and students, and to constantly refine my teaching practice by being PAID TO TEACH. You’re reaping the benefit of my hard work, you’re reaping the benefits of salaries paid to my by other people’s children, and you’re reaping the fruits of my generosity in transmitting that expertise to you for free, and you have the nerve to criticize, both in public AND indirectly, the words through which I choose to express myself? Kill yourself. And if you think I talk this way to my students, you’re fucking retarded. Kill yourself.
Do you know WHY I don’t talk this way to my students? That’s right. Because I get paid to teach them. See how it works? If you’re concerned about the ethics of pedagogy, spend less time on the Internet and more time making sure that every possible student whose life and fate you care about has the privilege and the opportunity to attend educational institutions taught by well-trained, well-paid teachers who are invested in their students and who have the time and the luxury to develop teaching practices that address the genuine lives and needs of those students. THAT’s what teaching is, THAT’s how ethics operates, and THAT’s how the fucking world works. That’s how fucking REALITY works and that’s how fucking PRIVILEGE works, and you need to wake up to that reality or…fucking kill yourself.
And yes, for the record - “critiquing” a post by adding a rant under a reblog isn’t “communicating,” “engaging,” or, “discussing”: it’s passive-aggressive bullshit. You think I have time to stroke my ego by going through all of the responses I get to every post, sometimes hundreds over a period of months or years, to see what you thought? If you have an issue, address me directly in a format you know I’ll see. Otherwise…you guessed it. Kill yourself. Do you know why I don’t have the time to read every passive-aggressive reblog? Because I have a stack of 90 mid-term papers I’m planning to grade this week. I spend 45-60 minutes on EVERY paper commenting, correcting, and helping my students improve their ability to express their beliefs and feelings, however heterocisphallonormative those beliefs and feelings might be. And still I find time to write these essays that you say you enjoy. So what the fuck are you complaining about? Kill yourself. Also, your Ask box is switched off, or I would have written you a polite message instead of a huge fucking rant.
And the thing is, it’s not just that, as the cliche states, I’m the one teaching your children. I’m actually the one teaching the children of the people who own your children, and who will own your children’s children, because that’s how American works. So instead of complaining about my language when you could be actually talking to me, thank whatever reactive deity you believe in that I’m out there teaching these kids that no, poor people aren’t unemployed because they’re lazy, and no, women aren’t underrepresented in the workforce because they prefer to be at home raising kids. If you look at the statistics about the demographic decline of mainstream American conservatism and the endless articles about how worried the Republican party is at their rapidly aging constituency, you’ll clearly see how vital it is that this new generation of, yes, yes, leaders and governors and CEOs leave institutions like the one I teach at not only with a clear understanding of the world around them but with a clear understanding of the way their desires and anxieties produce actions which might be born of immediate circumstances but might have long-term consequences in the real world. And that’s not what they learn when they get slapped on the wrist for calling someone a faggot, and that’s not what they learn when a course on the history of ciswomen’s political struggle in the United States has the shame to call itself Intro to Gender Studies or Intro to Feminist Theory.
If you’d taken the time to try, you would have discovered that whereas my blog persona is deliberately crude, rough, and aggressive - hence, “kill yourself” - as an actual fucking teacher I’m committed, devoted, and energetic. While people who write me dumb messages about how offended they were because I called someone a “total fucking retarded dead baby-licking faggot cunt-pussy” generally get more of a response than they bargained for, people who ask me questions or ask me for advice usually get long, detailed, and patient responses. I’ve had several ongoing and fruitful exchanges in private with younger blog readers who had a genuine question or wanted an actual teaching moment. But you - you’re the kind of person who rejects the opportunity to have a teaching moment when it’s staring you in the face and then complains to nobody because the author of a blog you like disagrees with you about something. Boo fucking hoo. Kill yourself.
The thing is, the logic of identification is the most pernicious, vile, hideously insulting logic ever invented. There is no deeper, greater, or more Nietzschean irony than the idea of “radical liberals” spouting the dogma of identification without realizing they’re reproducing the same vile logic by which Christianity kept an iron grip on their penises and vaginas for the last 2,000 years. “How would you feel?” “Imagine how they must feel being called a cunt!” “You can’t imagine what it feels like, so you’re not allowed to say that word.” Fuck every fucking last one of you politically correct bitches right up your ass, so that it can apply across the board where you have a cock, a cunt, or something else. You’re reproducing the Golden Rule, and the Kantian Categorical Imperative, AND YOU HAVE THE FUCKING GALL TO CALL YOURSELVES PROGRESSIVE OR FEMINIST OR RADICAL OR QUEER OR whatever the fuck you all like to call yourselves.
This is it. I’m issuing a clarion call against the reactive regime of political correctness, and I advise anyone who has a problem with it to do one of two things: kill yourself, read some Nietzsche, or go watch some old episodes of Russel Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam on HBO and MAYBE, just MAYBE, you’ll understand how much harm you’re doing by doing so much good. When I write these blog posts saying that people should watch black stand-up comedy or think seriously about the politics of South Park, a lot of my smarter-than-thou readers think I’m kidding or being ironic. You know what? I’m not. Wake the fuck up and step out of your fucking bubble. We all know you’re forcing yourself to watch every single hour of Fassbinder’s Berlin, Alexanderplatz. The problem with higher education in this country is that the best institutions in the nation are run by people who are not only blind to the incredible privilege they have, but somehow ALSO manage to feel like they’re constantly under siege by this amorphous monster of social normativity they’ve terrified themselves with. HOW EXACTLY DO YOU CONVINCE YOURSELF THAT YOU CAN HOLD A TENURED POSITION AT AN ELITE EAST COAST INSTITUTION AND BE RADICALLY NON-NORMATIVE IN ANY FUCKING WAY???
If you don’t understand the world you’re teaching about, the institutions you’re teaching in, and the students you’re teaching, you can’t do fuck all to teach anybody, not even yourself. If you’ve decided a priori which words your students will be allowed to say, what kind of opinions they should be allowed to express, and how certain topics have to be spoken about, you’re fucking retarded and you’ve closed off your mind to any possibility of an actual fucking teaching moment. Kill yourself.
FT out, bitches.