Let me start with a confession-I have no clue what the hell Judith Butler talks about. I tried to read her books long time ago, and remember it was written in a language I was not familiar with and I cannot say I understood much, after that I just could not be bothered to get back to those books. And here to mention that her “striking back” by saying that common sense is not revolutionary is just bullshiting. It might be not “common sense” and some stupid small city norm the reason why you should not write like that, but just ordinary care for your readers without presupposed educational, social, cultural capital for example. (And to add I am writing this in English and presuppose readers who are “enlightened”, at least some 10 of 700 who came lets say, and they do know English and the story about Butler, right. To drop the idea of free and available internet and to whom I am talking to, and I do not care if this is too long. If it is then just dont read it, and fuck you if you read Butler and this is too long for you, then just fuck off and go and read some more Butler) Not that it cannot be very smart what you say in these lines, right. But its like you do not give a fuck about the reader when you write like that. Which is especially funny when what you write about is some kind of care for others or something. But, luckily or unfortunately, I had enough opportunities to listen interpretations of her work in several occasions in my home country, Serbia, mostly by academic feminist. So, I learned that her ideas are important. Well, mainly for white, academic, educated, not poor, young, feminist dealing with gender issues and queer theory. So I learned some things. Gender is performed. Fine. Sex is performed. Fine. Now, there is also history of this thought, I read some things from history of feminism, for example Simon de Bovoar, also I read Austin on performative acts, they also had things to say. Also, I am sure there are other contemporaries of Butler who contributed to performativity theory. People from gender departments should know better then me, or not, I am not sure, since I realized that everything on gender departments concerning performativity is somehow someone’s interpretation of what Butler said. I am not that much interested in Butler’s theory or gender and queer stuff, and to add I can say I feel less of a feminist now then ever. That’s what I learned also in feminist circles. To consider women who call themselves feminist with skepticism.
So, whats wrong with Judith Butler? I would not know. But surely, I concluded, something is wrong. Reading some newspapers online i realized, my God, there were like 700 people who wanted to enter into the building to listen to her. Like, if Chomsky would visit, I am not sure that many people would come. On the other occasion more then 10 people had to present next to her, to say something about her work. My God, was this a conference, or the Last Supper! We will see that this holy notion seems to be permeating this event.
And the whole thing was on “How to Act together: From Collective Engagement to Protest”. I am not sure if there was some recent protest where 700 people actually appeared, especially 700 people who can read the work of Judith Butler. Me first, well, not that understand much of respected Judith Butler, but anyhow, I do not like protests. They bore me, and nobody cares, that’s how it seems to me. I am less activist now then ever. I learned that also in my country, protests are usually not very visited by activists, except the ones that are paid to organize them, they are poorly organized, usually with some stupid main idea, very superficial, they do not make much of attention, just people who think this is a good idea, like organizers and others, their friends, who at that time happen to have nothing to do, come, like students, stuff like that. This is very cynical view, and probably true one.
Now, Serbia is known for its strong activism during 90’s, but somehow its like only Women in Black remained from that period, it appears to me. Student protests are getting more and more politicized or simply for some stupid causes, with creepy leaders appearing, I fucked myself once going to the Pride event and risking my life, just to see how I served as a stupid person in a mass who gave legitimacy to leaders of this privatized and politicized event to take some power, even political position in the former party of Milosevic, so I think that was my last protest in Serbia, yes. And I am not a person who would mobilize people, and I am not paid to organize any, so I do not organize any. I do not go also on feminist events.
Not to mention feminist events (not that Pride was not feminist, but it was my impression that somehow it turned out to be the issue of gay, white , educated, not poor, gay men prevalently). Ok, lets mention them. Oh sister, they bore me to death. I haven’t seen recently some feminist even that moved me, that would leave some impression that feminism matters. Superficial sentences and playing with design, singing, dancing, coloring, talks about solidarity among the same women from year to year, similar in every important socioeconomic respect, for example, all together speaking about ideas of friendship and otherness and how it is important never to close our identity boundaries or what ever the fuck they were talking about by themselves among themselves, I stopped visiting since I did not want to give them legitimacy in a way, and simply because it was boring and also sectarian.
Now, actually, its not totally true, the ones who organize these events are another class, they are the ones with resources and the ones who are determining the agenda. That’s actually how it works. They decide who will talk and what about on these events about feminism, solidarity, freedom and what not. Not unfortunately that there are many competing speakers who have all this social and educational capital to be equipped to compete for places to speak about academic and theoretical stuff, ok, me included I guess.Dont think its about me not being called to talk or something. Its not about me, its about them, what they do and say, some “they”, my “feminist others” I suppose. So, there are some people there, going in circles, but that’s I think general issue. You get a lot of performativity topics for example, now it very fashionable to “perform” the ideas of performativity, to “queer things”, what the hell that means I would never understand really. Not that many of them actually live “queerness” so to say, for that matter in any for me significant way, except maybe how they cut their hair or fuck at the back of the gay and lesbian clubs or something. Not that gay and lesbian life is to be seen as not queer in some sense, sure. For sure it must be fuckn hard to be a gay and lesbian in bloody Serbia. But, still, I mainly meet some hetero, white, educated women speaking about this issues, pretty girls, fem, decent in a way, pleasurable to see, if you see them on the street, you would not have to say much about their queerness.
Now, this can be some corny criticism, no? But still, I noticed it. I think all queer people notice it, especially poor Roma queer people, for example, but they are just not there, ok. I guess even if they appear, they would probably just keep their mouth shout. Because that’s the only thing they would have. Its probably very lonely life being the queer of that type, so to say. I would not know. Presupposing some form of queerness not even known fully to myself, I say I am not queer myself. Would be nice to hear some stories from that kind of queer people for that matter. But queer as we somehow keep getting the message, is theoretical and practice, and my feeling is, practice can be what ever they want I guess, and anyhow it is delayed it seems, its like a promise or something, no, even better, it is in a process. We are all in process. But still, a lot of theory how I see it.
So, to get to that theory it takes a long way with bricks of social and educational capital that your mama and papa built for you I guess. Not that I am truly interested in queerness just to add and that I would rush to support what ever queers would do, I would probably stay at home and watch Boston Legal or something, ok. Or read some introductory philosophy in my 30s since I was not lucky enough to have a rabbi to give me lessons in this field earlier, or feminist community that would support me to learn it during my activist days in Serbia. Because I was activist then and that means usually street activist, going to bloody protests. Yeah, that’s like one more category of people who go on protests, people who are not very good with planning their future, and instead of investing in themselves and sitting and reading stuff, getting their degrees and publishing, they would just go on the streets, or like write blogs at the most. That’s my legacy from that time. I still write blogs. I reckon this is because I am still unable to put it in a proper academic form. Yet. Not that I have against people who protest, what ever makes you feel good, ok.
For myself I was thinking you know, if I spend my time, I should do it smartly. Write a fuckin paper, publish it, yeah. Name it “What’s wrong with Judith Butler”, and someone is surely going to publish it! I mean is Buttler. Butler Butler Butler, and there. Magic. Holy words. So, get some credit for your things and some social recognition, bloody hell, for the fuck sake, you have 30 and something years and not a single published paper or sold books or what ever. Look how these people around Zoran Todorivic, from ProArtORg did it. Yeah. They just grabbed things from the internet, put it in paper, and then sell it. They do not even let you know your blog post is going to be sold. Too bad they did not tell me, at least I would try to do better spelling and grammar for them, not to appear as illiterate, uneducated Gypsy women like the ones who were already among criticizers of Todorovic and whose feelings and arguments they eagerly rejected as illiterate, come on.
So, to get back on these events, you do get certain things, but not get a lot about racism for example. Or racism and class division among feminists, that’s just stupid, you are stupid if you think these things are going to be there. Not that bell huks and Audre Lorde are not cited. God forbid. Or some Roma women here and there coopted for example, its not hard to do that by the way. Oh, why can’t we all just overcome our differences. Oh why should we have boundaries and talk about our identities in any other way except how some people think Judith Butler thinks we should. We should never close ourselves, these people say, it’s a mantra. It’s the mantra of the same people saying it to themselves. Its sometimes like a dream. They have a dream. They have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all women are created equal”. So, we get to know all the details how it should look like, but there, its another world. Its just some possible world in which we would be able to be who we want to be. Its sad in a way. How we are determined by our social positions. Not that I am not. Probably the whole thing I wrote is just another proof of this. There is always trouble with the otherness, isn’t it? You are never satisfied Jelena. Are you a victim? Are you playing a victim? Is it good to be a victim? You can just shit on people for the contingent factors of their class, education and what not.
Sure. Its easy. They make it easy, so I am not bothered.
Now, I am in a way better off Roma women. Sitting where I am thanks to my papa Soros. God bless papa Soros. Where would I be without him. And all worse off people would be better without him, and still somehow I am better off with him, just because of him now. Is it eatable to sell me the story how the world would be better if papa Soros was not there. No. Now, I would probably be busting my ass working for some white, educated feminist or something, while swallowing the dick of feminist solidarity and “questioning performativity of my identity”. Thank you “sisters”.
Now, I should not be unfair. Since not much is known about my life by feminist about me, because they did not bother, let me tell you, my life is still precarious, its all imaginary you see. It might look to you that I am well off Roma, there, I am educated, well not like they are for sure, and not that they would not contest even the education I do have, you are never educated enough for white, feminist, academia, but see, last year I was considering leaving everything and just getting married. Just to solve my existential problems. I didn’t have where to live and to finish my studies. It was very difficult. So if there was no help from feminist women, I would just disappear, as many Roma women students do, just in front of their white, feminist, educated in Butler theory noses. So, feminism granted. Ok. But not all feminism you see. Old ladies feminism for myself showed as feminism with substance, with the real consequences in my life. Some old women asked me- Where are you, what are you doing? Not really performativity issues, not that there was not any use of it. Now, this help also does not exclude my pessimistic vision of dickacademiafeminism, anyway, we will see in future when I get my fucking MA in fuckin Philosophy, which I mainly took just to prove some point off course, how is it going to work and where will I found a job, no? I am putting my bets on papa Soros or some other papa, but we newer know. And everything is “fuckin” here since I am fuckin busting my ass to get this MA, with another international white, educated, well off people who tell me, when I ask for some clarifications of their language which presupposes educational and social capital which I do not have, these are not introductory classes and that I should manage on my own. Good thing they even accepted me without it I say. Thank you politics of identity and affirmative measure.
Now, what the hell is wrong with Judit Butler? – you say, or I say, I say, this is where I am making the agenda, no that any group of notoriously unscrupulous, self-centered ,white educated entrepreneurly oriented people would not be able to put this in some shity context and sell it, thank you for that lesson ProArtORg, vulture people around Zoran Todorovic. Well, I am puzzled by the amazement of people and this “Jesus Butler Christ coming to earth to bless us all” approach. I was honestly intrigued why is Stosic Rakic so excited like Jesus himself came? I was surprised by her reaction honestly. All these emotions. She almost cried. What does it mean? What is “performed” there to employ this overused word now. Is the change in people’s lives so huge that they are so tremendously humble and blessed by the visit of Judith Butler? How come – I was asking myself.What does her appearance there mean? Might be I do not understand this. Might be I am unable to. I am not queer, I am not theoretician, I am not an academic, I am not getting it, I am just not…and who are these people? I mean, sure, it is important event, I would also come, I came when Zizek was there also one year.
Ok, ok, Butler is like a world star, no, actually academic USA and Europe star, Zizek is more like a leftist Europen star, and he is also full of weird ticks and performaces, like his writings, its full of just… everything, and that puts him in a simply “bizzare” category by Horvat, and some others I guess. Like he is in itself some form of overperformativity or something, if that’s possible, not that I understand this theory much, so I am allowed to say this, (and fuck you what ever you think). So we had a chance to see one more cocky, white, educated, rude youngster like Horvat who thinks he can denigrate other people, even Zizek, on the event with Assange and Varufakis. Yeah, just to add another story can be – what’s wrong with Horvat also, I guess. And when I am on who is obnoxious and who is not, just to mention how I take Assange to be much more of a pervert, like hyperbolically pervert, for showing pleasure on his face for public shaming, there was no other thing I would argue, except public shaming after the video with Hillary, while at the same time people were arguing against sadistic righteousness, not that she does not deserve to be despised, like many other politicians. Ok, these might be two different categories of things, but still, its like sadism that was just there, on his face. I was wandering if he would be jerking off if Hilary would be lynched or better publicly humiliated, or even sexually assaulted in front of many people or something, and not that I care for her at all. I would say he is a bizzar character. I think he is so bizzar that he could not hold himself of publishing all that shit he published, no matter what, all this story about freedom of what ever is there, but man, just looking at that microexpression… Scary character.
But, for that matter I don’t know why the fuck would we also trust “fuck me, I am the man, and gentleman, I do not give anyone to fuck my wife” Varufakis. Something is wrong with that guy also. For that matter again the most decent and normal appear to be Zizek, even with his stupid joke about Varufakis’s wife. I am not even getting into the things they say, I have no clue about macropolitics, so I am just going to shut the fuck up about that. Anyhow, all are much much smarter then me and my teachers, alright. Still, I am pissed why Horvat has to be in that category somehow, I do not grant him easily that position, and why the fuck is there nobody else from that festival to be cashing it like he does, but there. Hat down for that youngster wearing leftism, I guess, being in a position to say Zizek when he thinks someone is more important then him and to shut up. What an obnoxious thing to do really. Well he got his FUCK YOU right from Zizek.
Now, this is just going to be unfinished post here. I have nothing to say about what Butler is saying. Just about the people whose reactions I find bizarre on her appearance. Zizek cannot approach the bizzarness of these people really, not because he is not the bizzare master, but because he, as it appears to me, but you never know here, but anyhow, because it appears to me, he fucking does not give a fuck about this practice people practice toward Butler or Assange, this godlike status they give them.
Now, on one event there were really like more then 10 people speaking about Butler’s work, with her in the middle. Is that overdoing it, or what? Who decided about this I do not know, but I can imagine the scenario, like who are we going to legitimize with this? And it’s a small pond full of crocodiles, so it looks like small people in a small village, they get easily offended. So you just cannot skip someone. Because that’s how things work. You just have to show people respect, you know. And now, look, there is Butler, that’s like huge cake I suppose, and we, or at least the chosen ones, can all share. So, its like more then 10 people will say at least 1 sentence, and we are all good. I don’t know was it like that, but it must have been or otherwise I have no clue how to explain this “The Last Dinner” posing. And its interesting to see Judith how she reacts and accepts this “gratitude” from her fans, trying not to be affected by it. Or she is affected in a bad way, I do not know. Its weird. It cannot be good to be treated like MTV star for sure, who ever you are. I am not sure you can stay sane and your perception of the world and yourself not distorted in a way.
Well, ok, I might as well say something about the things she said. It’s a mixture of many things. I found it kind off unsettling when she mentioned Roma people at the beginning really, then she presupposed that we can globally equalize worse off people without primary goods, and then presuppose that actually the ones who are assembling and protesting are those people. It can be true, but still, like, where the fuck Roma are protesting and assembling? Serbia has not seen that kind of protesting, assembling and obvious police brutality against Roma. No. They are not protesting, except in the case of Gazela maybe when some people went to ask for shelter basically. But, no. They are not politically organized, they are, how to say, too poor and too afraid to pretest, they actually do not have the status of citizens, literally and figuratively, to demand some citizens rights for the start. So I reckon, its also imaginary scenario in Roma case. Not even better off NGO Roma protest. They do not come to Butler and they do not organize or come to protests, how I see it. Things are much more complicated then that.
Police does not express their brutality in relation to assembly rights towards Roma. No. They do it differently. Molesting, overusing their powers, disrespectfully giving orders and kicking stuff of old, sick, poor and uneducated Roma man and women, as in concentration camps,who are selling some old stuff on the the streets or flee markets, for example. Treating Roma women as easy fuck when they come to ask for help in the police station. Stopping drivers who seem to be “more Gypsy” on the road and treating them as criminals for the color of their skin for another example etc. Roma do not assembly and protest. Their bodies are vulnerable for sure, but they do not have to assemble to become vulnerable.
And anyhow, I am kind off from the start not really kind when my “others” speak about vulnerability. And I am refereeing in this context to white educated privileged women, ok. I am very irritated how in general people think they can develop theories about the things other people actually live every day, and that one day they actually start believing, and people around them start believing, that they can have more knowledge to understand this. Sure, now there are some forms of vulnerability we know from experience and theory, its not that I am hard core empiricist so to say, but you should be very careful when you speak about vulnerability you actually did not experience. And its so God damn easy for white educated better off people to agree among themselves that some of them know things about the ones who are not like them, it is absurd. Its so absurd like Zaharijevic saying things like “and there are some academic circles that are closed” on the Gerusija youtube. That’s so funny and sad at the same time. It probably should be self referential also. Do I presuppose stuff about people, yeah I must be doing that. Still, it must be also less detrimental comparing positions of power in a way. And also, I am raised not to do that, and to watch on white people’s faces when they do not like what I say, that’s another thing. White people do not learn that, to read microexpressions of poor, uneducated, black etc. so diligently, they do not have to, so we can safely, I think, presuppose I do less harm then they do with this practice.
Now, Butler. Yes. Also, whats the thing with vulnerability. Like there are vulnerability studies and they are done like decades before. And they really say things that Butler said and also in a much more informative and thought provoking and educational manner for me. If, in my humble reasoning capacities, about which I was reminded as such from my others, I was able to understand: oh, we are all vulnerable, and that’s the source of our potential to be with others. Well, sure. I do not find anything new there. It might be my ignorance and inability to feel subtleness and understand philosophical ground, but it was just known, superficial and boring for me to hear this. Well, it might be referential for some accounts of feminism I guess, as Butler mentioned, but I am not really sure that people still do think like that. Do some feminist really reject vulnerability in such a harsh manner, to say – we do not want to be seen as vulnerable for such and such reason? I mean, they might, but I don’t know, its just boring to deal with these accounts for me. Or I am not so much in feminist circles so I do not really grasp the weight of these accounts, I do not know. I just feel like this is not some battlefield that’s really interesting for me. Yeah it might be important, but then I would need more argumentation and stuff. Might be she just gave some superficial overview from the new book, but still, boring.
And then we got back to the beginning and again bodies and performativity. Yes. Yes. We heard that. So not much I got from this lecture I think. I was thinking- ok, is some paradigm shift now going to happen, like, is there anyone who can do a decent critique of what Butler has to say? Or these gender departments just produce people who can reproduce what Butler said as God himself or herself, no, himself, has spoken. I wonder what Zizek would say on Butler event. Well from someone who is not much interested in queer and performativity and probably is not going to read her books after this, that is just what I concluded – something must be wrong with Judith Butler, but my God, that is not Butler, would it be too queer to try and argue from that point??? For the fuck sake, somebody, tell us what’s wrong with Judith Butler!