Lillian G Lippold: The Text

My reading and research has revealed some pretty compelling points of similarity between the two fields I’m trying to merge in my project (Trans Studies and American SciFi writing). Most recently, I’ve been reading and rereading Sandy Stone’s famous essay, “The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto” and its surrounding literature by Donna Haraway alongside Deleuzian work on becoming and Moten and Harney’s great short essay “The University and the Undercommons: Seven Theses.” All these pieces together have led my research to cluster around this idea of the text, specifically the alien itself as a text, a book, an object/subject that behaves as texts do.

Sandy Stone impressively argues that transsexuals as a community and the transexual experience as an ontology can be thought of as a genre, rather than a class. She writes that one must think about transsexuals as “a set of embodied texts whose potential for productive disruption of structured sexualities and spectra of desire has yet to be explored” (Stone 14). Now, this moves away from an identity-politic-centered understanding of transness and its accompanying erotics and relationality. Rather than, for example, ignoring the feminine stereotypes bound up in the way a transwoman imagines she can “pass” is an insufficient understanding of transsexual experience. The transsexual is messy, a product of “mixture” as Stone writes (Stone 14). Dissonance and the problem of cultural intelligibility are core components for the constitution of a transsexual subject. This relates to Haraway in many ways — Stone actually names her as the single most important influence on this essay — draws upon the Deleuzian infinite and escape and the Moten-esque understanding of non-being and non-place. Again, I think of the work I undertook on the void and Blanchot last semester and am grateful for that thought.

On the SciFi side of things, I read a great book while on vacation last week called Semiosis by Sue Burke. Burke’s “alien” species is a large cluster of rainbow bamboo plants on a faraway post-Earth planet named Pax, and as the book progresses, the reader is actually given a couple of sections in the plant’s “voice.” Burke clearly asks many valuable questions concerning sentience, responsibility, and communication through/with/across the unknown in the text. I aim to integrate this into my final piece, but I do recommend this book to anyone looking for an engaging, emotionally complicated read.

Saw this street art the other day and had to snap a picture of it. My research into transsexual community continually makes demands on me, but most of all, it reminds me constantly of the importance of connection. We are implicated in each other! We are so implicated.
Made a day trip down to Monterey to visit my friend and former Gallatin student, Jordi. When the BeReal notification for the day arrived and thus when this picture was taken, we were standing at the wharf talking about our love for people like Timothy Morton and Sandy Stone, thinkers viewed as minoritarian from the standpoint of more “mainstream” capital-P Philosophy. It was wonderful to get to speak to my good friend about this and really renewed my energy after being a bit exhausted by the work ahead.