christmas with Edelman

Edelman did an interesting critique of some very prominent films, but the critique of Scrooge and A Christmas Carol takes the cake for me. I don't know if Dickens was attempting to say anything that Edelman reads into, except for the idea that children are the key to the future. Honestly, I don't know enough about Dickens to know if he was attempting to depict salvation of the death drive through A Christmas Carol, but the setting does not seem right and it looks like by adding his critique unto it Edelman attempts to blur the line between "reality" and reality. He throws his world view onto a piece of work that was written in a different time with a different intention in order to achieve his own end. He creates a false reality, the world in which A Christmas Carol takes place, with his "reality" of twenty first century America. I think we have to take a look at some of his assumptions and beliefs before we can say with any certainty that his critique has merit.

On the top of page 57, Edelman is critiquing Silas Marner and is the midst of describing how Marner reaches salvation through mistaking a young girl's curly blond hair for gold on New Year's Eve. He makes the point that it seems like a the perfect storm for salvation; he change from all of his evil misery ways into the futurist he should be. I jokingly/sarcastically wrote in the margin "God does wonderful things" as the only "one" who could change such a man. In my mind I was referring to all those crazy people out there that think Jesus is the only salvation for homosexuality and how ridiculous that concept is. However, the next two paragraphs go onto explain how God was the one behind it all and that he takes the form of the girl to sake Marner. I thought the irony was beautiful. (I think his critique is biting with sarcasm or something along those lines when he explains it was "god's work")

"Its sources in history no less deep because not different from those of fascism, this force that acts on Benjamin, this unidentified "power," might well be seen as what I've called 'the fascism of the baby's face', which subjects us to its sovereign authority as the figure of politics itself…" (151) Edelman hates babies . I believe he places too much power in the figure of the baby or child. While they are definitely important and a focus in politics, to claim they are the sole reason behind every decision seems extremist to me. There are not absolutes in politics and if one day it becomes more important politically to champion elderly rights or middle age men's rights, then politicians will follow the winds of public opinion. He seems to expound on his thesis so much that it becomes overbearing and unbelievable. I let the book where I started: this guy has several interesting points, but is too out there to be taken seriously. He should follow the rules of politics if he wants to achieve anything and somehow maintain the child as an undertone of his critique if he wants to sway people to his belief. He should state the "unstateable" for him and equate the Child to the sithomosexual.

I understand your concern about the depths to which Edelman applies his argument, but before we throw the baby out with the bathwater (pun intended), I think Edelman would ask us to reconsider how it is we've read Child: not so much as a specific focus on babies or kids, per say, but on the image of Child as an iconic indicator of the ways in which our social order is formulated around the logic of reproduction. Withhold for a moment, your gut instinct to ask what would happen without reproduction (I certainly must while entertaining these ideas) and examine all of the ways our social reproduction is protected by the law: we are forced to where safety belts to we are not injured so will live to procreate/support our families, abortion is becoming increasingly more inaccessible suggesting we need new members of society at any expense, gay marriage is prohibited because it is seen as an inappropriate and ineffective structure for raising children. So it is not babies, that Edelman hates, but the ways in which our system of order defends itself at all costs, in the name of reproducability. I think it would take very little to connect the dots between decisions of national security, immigration, civil rights, climate change, what have you to this issue of Our Future. Whether or not we see his call for rhetorical queerness as extreme, Edelman does, I would argue, offer a useful and challenging critique of the normalized values that we have become naturalized within our social engagement.

You can use all the Stuart Hall jargon you want, but you're not following the (calcified, definite, divinely ordained, etc.) rules of politics, and therefore you won't achieve anything. Q.E.D.

I didn't mean want to say he "hates babies", its hard to be sarcastic in writing without being *sarcastic*. I think you read what he has to say perfectly; its not the child that is the focus of all politics but the reproduction of society as a means of its continuation. Anything that threatens its continuance is necessarily something to fear, at least thats what society feels. I just want to argue with that base assumption, namely that the future is more important than the present. I articulate in my opinion on my sensationalism post, so I won't repeat it, but basically I argue that many people are very much focused on the present and that can be just as effective in politics. I appreciate the response and I think you articulate your point very well anonymous.

I think a good quote to illustrate Anonymous' above point comes from page 45:

"the structural mandate that he who refuses the Child BE refused . . . "

It is in the unthinkable way that Scrooge wants everyone to "let [him] leave Chrismas alone, then" that we must forge past the image of the Child that is utterly dictated upon NOT leaving Christmas alone.

Its hard for me to understand why Edelman was criticized for having a marriage and a family. Through his work, he is not attempting to say that children are bad and that the desire for a family must be eliminated. I hardly think that Edelman would be in support of the end of procreation and thus the human race. Rather, he wants queerness to disengage itself from the conservative civil order. One must embrace the fact that raising a child in a homosexual setting goes against societal norms. I believe that Edelmen's admission to having his own family in fact reiterates his underlying arguments. His idea of a family is anything but conventional and this is what queers should strive for.