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PERFORMING REALITY / REALLY GOING FORM IT
AN ESSAY BY QUEUE SPERANZA
We begin with the intimation of frame. Gilded narratives of masculinity and aggression bookend the twin gulfs of lack that saturate the screen: the absence of safely coded outlets through which one shores up the mud walls of 'manhood', as well as the unimpeachably present absence of female-coded sexual space into which one must eject the waste-product of maleness in order to seize the mantle of 'man'. This paradoxical shedding/accepting marks a curious case of modern groupthink, one that diverges from historical precedent as it relates to socio-seminal attitudes: because we are men, we cast off, we do not create.
Stephen, then, represents the late stage of this mayfly-like moment in masculinity. Presented with a castrating mother who removes not his testicles, his physical link to an outmoded conceptual identity, she removes his ability to access readily available self-confirming spaces of auto-articulation. This casts him into a cage of the family's making, unable to define himself in relationship to others, he must come up against the stone lips of origin. Denied reentry into the life-giving matrix from which he emerged, he is doomed to express displeasure through paroxysms of a kind of ghost dance, re-membering the fetal self.
Nothing says cardio like a poodle.