reactionaryism

I am happily a "faggot foreigner"

This morning an angry white man in a Toyota raged at me on 94W/90W. I don’t understand Chicago drivers using the shoulder to aggro-pass traffic during rush hour. This guy attempted to force me to move a little into the middle lane to permit him a chance to use the small shoulder to pass on the right. I wasn’t paying attention, and I have to admit that I wouldn’t have moved into the other lane anyway. My window was down, and I was zoned into the traffic and talk radio. The sour guy forced his way into the middle lane and next to me. He rolled down his window, swung his car close to mine, and screamed at me.

I ignored him the best I could, and it didn’t take too long for him to realize he couldn’t provoke me. You all know what angry white guys do when they’re ignored by other white men, right? He called me an ignorant faggot. But he added to the typical abuse. He yelled, “Go home, you ignorant, faggot foreigner!” He screamed it several times: “faggot, you faggot foreigner!” In the US, boys and men expect homophobia to enter discourse when confronting other, angry men. It’s the hallmark of frustrated masculinity. I guess, this “foreigner” modified by “faggot” is supposed to be some sort of amplified insult. It’s very weak tea and not at all scary, unlike the Rav4 he was using as a weapon.

I don’t get the “foreigner” tag. I do get I’ve only been back home for three weeks. During this short span, I’ve noticed in public space and discourse that I’m sensitive and acutely tuned-in to white people talking about others as foreign(er). I hear it everywhere I go. This isn’t a US problem, by the way. The haters in France received an almost legitimizing 20% in this week’s elections. The right wing in nations where the white majority is slowly but steadily eroding has become a safe place for the racist rhetoric in white political discourse. Conservative white discourse has largely embraced impotent, reactionary political rhetoric.

My safe driving, a decision to follow traffic until my desired exit without risking accident, becomes an opportunity for an angry reactionary to insult me as “one of them”. This them, between two assumed straight white men, used to be homosexuals. Is it becoming simply to be other? After all, the other is a fluid category for those who cannot or who refuse to assimilate to the demands of white men and their business. (And it’s not really ironic, certainly not humorous, that conservative white men love to violently eroticize their slurs betraying their tea room and down-low behavior that is more often being discovered as surveilance provides more clues to what many of these men forcibly repress within reactionary and regressive white masculinity.)

Praise and I have noticed how diverse the US is. Korea is many things, but not diverse. But I still benefited from unearned privilege in Korea. In Korea, privileged foreigners are left alone as long as their labor is valuable and can leave when it no longer is valued (unlike the many oppressed foreigners who are brought to Korea to work in poor conditions and for little pay.) Korea might be the most vigorously-opposed-to-diversity place I’ve visited. The US is diverse. Upon returning, it’s impossible not see it. On the other hand, it’s also impossible to ignore the passive and aggressive inequalities that are insisted upon in public discourse and behavior by a frightened and frustrated, dwindling and conservative, white majority that enjoys illustrating itself as democratic and liberal, if not wholeheartedly progressive.

I will gladly remain a faggot foreigner if this is the case, thank you.

dagNotes: Ohio's legislature votes to defund Planned Parenthood

The problem with the United States isn’t that it’s a country full of ignorant, violent, women-hating, racist hicks. It’s most certainly not. The problem is that the US majority is so comfortable in its relative privileges that it consistently permits the ignorant, violent, women-hating, racist hicks to make all the important decisions.

(From Ohio)

I like digging at people and being a punk in the classroom or office. And throughout uni and grad school, one fun target for me was The Morrissey Fan. Confront your Smiths and Morrissey fan with the blatant white reactionaryism in Morrissey’s style (never mind what he’s actually said), and you’ll get all kinds of excuses. I really enjoyed reading this Quietus essay because the publication’s fanbase needs this bit of education. From the previously linked Quietus essay:

Cut to 2016. Against a background of post-Brexit tensions Morrissey has yet again invited contempt for his serial views regarding race and ethnicity. Last week, he said that London’s first Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan “eats Halal butchered beings and talks so quickly that people don’t understand him… and that suits the British media perfectly.” Pop’s own Prince Phillip is no stranger to such remarks, in the past speculating on whether the Chinese are a “sub-species” and complaining that “the gates are flooded and anybody can have access to England and join in.”. All of these are given as signs of the degeneration of a once-radical figure, but right from the outset, Morrissey and The Smiths represented a fatally reactionary moment in British pop culture - a severing of punk and post-punk’s honourable links with black musics. They were here to reject colour in every respect, be it the gaudy, neon-lit backdrop of Top Of The Pops against which Morrissey wanly cavorted, or the colourisation of indie afforded by its embrace of dance music and reggae. Their wistful cover artwork, harking back to popular icons of the 50s and early 60s, were redolent of a time when black people had a near-zero cultural imprint on the British consciousness, unless you counted the hugely, inexplicably popular The Black And White Minstrel Show. This was explicit, as well as implicit. Morrissey spoke of a conspiracy to promote black music in the British charts, while opining that reggae was “vile”.

The reactionaryism in this election highlights a rather keen American self-centeredness that fuels a harmful ignorance about the United States’ relationship with the world. Trump primarily represents a formless and racist nationalist interest. The interest is white, patriarchal, capitalist. The signified is mere affiliation. Unfortunately, investing in an affiliation leaves us without agency other than to identify. I believe this is why many of us feel so helpless right now, in spite of the social reality that the United States has been heading to this moment for some time. Being against is not organizing to offer something in place of the undesired. And being against Trump certainly wasn’t going to be enough to elect Clinton.

As I slip out this morning to grade essays, I am in awe of P and M. I’m kind of stumped with what to do and I feel like figuring things out and of course end up in the way. All the patriarchal urges well-taught to appear natural melt into air. No order to that other than a social urge to establish control. Their cooperation and love is something to watch, though nothing simple and easy. I am more than ever dumbfounded with *man’s* bullshit pragmatism and social organization that time and again leads us off the rails of progress. Think of all the bitter pointless yet hateful and damaging reactionaryism on behalf of white men these days. The reactionary is a reflex without attachment; when will they awake to the social reality there is nothing to go back towards. Trump and his narcissistic and misogynist capitalism is odious but a fine representation for what we’ve done to society.