Talk | Bobby Benedicto

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 6:00pm


Bobby Benedicto

Fatal Sex: On Gay Narcissism, Racial Violence, and the Death of Suicide

This paper begins with a reading of boyfriendtwinning (boyfriendtwin.tumblr.com)—the practice of gay men dating/fucking men
that look like themselves. Revisiting Bersani's account of suicidal ecstasy in gay penetrative sex, the papers asks: what happens when gay men want to be, at once, the object of annihilation and its agent, when self-annihilation is converted into a form of murder-suicide, in which the killing and the dying are enacted by what is, in effect, the same body? I suggest that the act of doubling is symptomatic of homosexuality’s accession to the order of survival. It is the conversion of what Bersani saw as the most threatening image of homosexuality—the man with his legs up in the air, willing his own violation—into an image of life: the couple form. Twinning in this form no longer signifies a challenge to the prohibition meant to protect life—the prohibition against incest—but rather the conversion of homosexuality’s tragic self-love into a relation, and of its attachment to self-annihilation into the familiar and familial dyad that undergirds the order of reproduction. The paper then sets this desire for sameness against the racialized consumption of difference, in particular through a reading of the case of Luka Magnotta, who killed, ate, and committed acts of necrophilia on Lin Jun, an Asian international student in Montreal.

Bobby Benedicto's research interests lie at the intersections of queer theory, critical race theory, urban studies, and theories of death and temporality. His first book, Under Bright Lights: Gay Manila and the Global Scene (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), received an Honorable Mention for the 2015 Ruth Benedict Prize for Queer Anthropology and was a finalist for the 2015 Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Studies. He is currently working on two book projects: Fatal Sex, a series of essays on the role of necro-aesthetics (the aesthetics of death) in 21st century gay-themed art and media, and Queer Afterlives, an ethnographic study of queer performances set in the decaying Brutalist buildings erected in Metropolitan Manila during the Marcos dictatorship (1965-1986).

Cinema Studies Program
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