if you really liked the reading..

...you can join the Judith Butler is my Homegirl facebook group, or just print out the Judith Butler theory.org.uk trading card, which lists her "strengths" as: "groundbreaking, constructive critical skills" and "weaknesses" as "increasingly impenetrable writing style".
I thought the theory card was really funny and I know we've mentioned the facebook group in class, but I thought it was worth bringing up again. It's pretty surreal to me also that Judith Butler herself is on facebook; while I know it's silly, I'm actually very much not used to thinking about theorists whose work we read in class as actual, social, living people. It's very different, for instance, for Karl Marx to be the critical theorist hottie of the week than Judith Butler, simply because she's alive and reading the group, as evidenced by the fact that she's an officer. If anything, it's good to know that the ideas in what are really difficult critical theory works (Butler's) are making their way into a sphere of social exchange, even if only into a pretty academic corner of it.

I thought capt. haddock would post this anecdote, but he didn't, so I'll post it for him:

He heard a lecture of JB's in which she told a story about an LGBT poetry reading in San Francisco that she attended. One of the free verse poets finished their poem with the line, 'And FUCK YOU, Judith BUTLEEEER!' without knowing, obviously, that JB was chortling in the back row (incidentally, the reason JB chortled rather than got indignant and huffy is probably that she's used to hearing her radiator gurgle 'Fuck you, Judith Butler' all the time). So after the show, JB approached the poet and complimented him on his work and his reading, etc., talked to him for about half an hour, and then, by way of parting, was like, 'Nice to have met you - I'm Judith Butler,' which, by the way, totally Butlowned.

Actual, social, living person indeed.

--Guattari Hero

just because I prefer to take my own sweet time...

I saw Judith Butler speak in Cambridge last spring, as part of a series on gender. Catherine MacKinnon also appeared, and was probably the most lucid speaker I've ever seen--must be her background in law, she was riveting. Butler, on the other hand, spoke about as densely as she writes, with the notable exception of the aforementioned anecdote. Not coincidentally, the anecdote is the only thing I remember with any clarity from the event. Without any experience in either Butler or postmodern theory at that point, I fell off her train of thought the second it got rolling.

And yes, the anecdote totally brought down the house of Cambridge academics. Now that I've given the lecture more thought, I can safely say that the topic of the lecture actually aligns rather well with the reading for this week, specifically Butler's concern with the Althusserian episode of interpellation/hailing/subject creating in Psychic Life of Power. Though I have no recollection of how she treated the "And Fuck You, Judith Butler" address in light of interpellation, in light of the fact that the poet did not know that she (the gender got lost in the retelling--like telephone!) was actually addressing Judith Butler, in light of the sexual violence contained in "Fuck you", I thought I might put that out there as a jumping off point for further discussion.

For example, if I were to say, "Fuck you, Fredric Jameson!" unaware that Jameson was sitting next to me, what would that do to his subject status? I'll think on it, anyone else want to take a crack at it?

after a little searching, the lecture was titled: "Transgender and the 'Spirit of Revolt': Reflections on Melancholic Rage"

Revolt, rage--the LGBT poetry slam was the perfect segue into discussing these issues...