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Queering Paradigms II

Interrogating Agendas


Edited By Bee Scherer and Matthew Ball

This book offers a fundamental challenge to a variety of theoretical, social, and political paradigms, ranging from law and justice studies to popular culture, linguistics to political activism.
Developing the intellectual project initiated in Queering Paradigms, this volume extends queer theorizing in challenging new directions and uses queer insights to explore, trouble, and interrogate the social, political, and intellectual agendas that pervade (and are often taken for granted within) public discourses and academic disciplines.
The contributing authors include queer theorists, socio-linguists, sociologists, political activists, educators, social workers and criminologists. Together, they contribute not only to the ongoing process of theorizing queerly, but also to the critique and reformulation of their respective disciplines.


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Part I - Interrogating Queer -11


Part 1 Interrogating Queer Anita Brady “How Could it Hurt You When it Looks so Good?” Commodity Culture and Queer Authenticity Introduction In the opening performance of the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) it looked, for just a brief lip-locked second, as though mainstream youth culture had potentially of fered up an iconic performance of “queer.” The performance was a commemoration of Madonna’s performance of “Like a Virgin” at the first VMAs in 1984. It began with Britney Spears and Chris- tina Aguilera singing “Like a Virgin” in a “gyrating, writhing tribute” to Madonna, in attire erotically reminiscent of bridal wear (Moody 2003). Madonna, herself, then emerged from a replica wedding cake, clad in a black tuxedo, and performed her single “Hollywood” with Aguilera and Spears. Toward the end of the performance, the trio was joined by Missy Elliott, and performed parts of her track, “Work It,” before exiting to a standing ovation. The centerpiece of the performance, and the moment that dominated the extensive media coverage of the VMAs the following day, was what journalist Nekessa Moody described as the “openmouthed kiss” that Madonna exchanged first with Spears, and then with Aguilera. (Elliott appears immediately after the kisses between Madonna and Spears, and Madonna and Aguilera. The reasons why Elliot’s involvement is, in important respects, “after the event” is worthy of further examination). Moody describes the kisses as “two smooches” ranking at the top of “the shock meter” that is integral to the VMAs promotional tradition (2003). In...

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