Saturday, January 30, 2016

cruel optimism

"at the same time, it matters who speaks in this poem: a confident person.  he finds possibility in a moment of suspension and requires neither the logic of the market to secure his value nor the intimate recognition of anything municipally normal or domestic to assure that he has boundaries.  he can hold a nonspace without being meaningful.  this does not seem to threaten him.  thus the instance of optimism might or might not be a part of cruel optimism: we don't know.  the promise is everywhere, and the dissolution of the form of being that existed before the event is not cause for mourning or rejoicing: it is just a fact.  does the episodic nature of the interruption enable him, after the moment, to return to the suburbs refreshed? will they go to a high-end cafe and buy some intensified coffee supercharged by sugar and milk?  will they go get otherwise stimulated?  will they become different in a way on which they can build a world?  is the couple a stand-in for the collective that can now be awake for peace rather than somnambulant?  does the aesthetic moment of the different autonomy they get when they exist together in reverie become not a condition for detaching from the market but the condition of living in it, so that they can think that who they really are are people who can be lost in a moment?  habermas would perhaps note that the fantasy of the lovers' worlding power enables the speaker to disavow how otherwise he is constituted as a man of property and the market.  john ricco might argue that the men's outsideness and outsiderness demonstrates the potential resource of gayness to make a queer antinormativity that does not look back to domesticity wishfully.  it is impossible to say how deep the break is.  by the end, the speaker thinks he really lives now, in a moment of suspension.  he really is a lover, an intimate, no longer the user of gas and fertilizer and the delegator of labor to others.  that was in another life, or so it seems." -lauren berlant, cruel optimism