A Tumblr-inspired response to Let’s Not Beat Each Other to Death, by Jordan Tannahill
January 18, 2016
A gay hate crime on a New York City subway. 2013. YouTube screen grab.
Untitled, n.d. and Untitled (6 Panel of 6 Panel Series), 1982 by David Wojnarowicz.
A diptych on queer erasure.
A rash of gay bashings in New York City in 1990 precipitated the creation of The Pink Panther Patrol. In April of that year, responding to the 120% increase in violence against queers, Queer Nation climbed to the roof of Badlands, a Greenwich Village bar, and hung a 40-foot banner that read: “Dykes and Fags Bash Back!”
Yes, and the body has memory. The physical carriage hauls more than its weight. The body is the threshold across which each objectionable call passes into consciousness—all the unintimidated, unblinking, and unflappable resilience does not erase the moments lived through, even as we are eternally stupid or everlastingly optimistic, so ready to be inside, among, a part of the games.
Can’t stop, won’t stop.
The closing sequence of Terrance Davies’s film The Long Day Closes; in which the filmmaker meditates on the loneliness of his gay adolescence. Like in Legere’s Let’s Not Beat Each Other to Death, Davies’s film ends in a space of elegy. There are no false promises offered about what is to come next. For the time being the best we can do is share in the darkness together.
The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be, I think. It’s an extraordinary declaration, asserting that the unknown need not be turned into the known through false divination or the projection of grim political or ideological narratives; it’s a celebration of darkness, willing – as that “I think” indicates—to be uncertain even about its own assertion. Most people are afraid of the dark. Literally when it comes to children, while many adults fear, above all, the darkness that is the unknown, the unseeable, the obscure. And yet the night in which distinctions and definitions cannot be readily made is the same night in which love is made, in which things merge, change, become enchanted, aroused, impregnated, possessed, released, renewed.