Calvin Thomas (critical theorist)

American academic
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Calvin Thomas is an American academic who works in the fields of critical theory, modern and postmodern literature and culture.


Straight with a Twist (2000)Edit

Thomas, Calvin, ed. (2000). "Straight with a Twist", Straight with a Twist: Queer Theory and the Subject of Heterosexuality, University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252068130.

  • The terror of being mistaken for a queer dominates the straight mind because this terror constitutes the straight mind. It is precisely that culturally produced and reinforced horror of/fascination with abjected homosexuality that produces and maintains 'the straight mind' as such, governing not so much specific sexual practices between men and women (after all, these things happen) as the institution (arguably antisexual) of heteronormativity itself.
    • p. 27.
  • To quote D.A. Miller, the 'only necessary content of male heterosexuality is 'not a desire for women, but the negation of the desire for men.' As Miller continues, this necessary negation is such that 'straight men unabashedly need gay men, whome they forcibly recruit (as the object of their blows or, in better circles, their jokes) to enter into a polarization that exorcises the 'woman' in man through assigning it to a clas of man who may be considered to be no 'man' at all.
    • p. 27.
  • Homophobia entails not only the fear of those who are abjectly identified (and depended on) but also the fear of being abjectly identifiable onself: the fear, as the word most literally means, of being 'the same as'. This latter fear is arguably a much stronger component of homophobia than of, say, sexism or racism (despite the mechanisms of projection and abjection doubtless at work in those forms of hatred), because the sexist male or the racist white is in much less 'danger' of being 'mistaken' for a woman or a nonwhite than the straight is of being 'mistaken' for a queer.
    • p. 27.
  • It is possible, after all, to 'fake' the 'realest' possible 'evidence' of heterosexuality: man or woman, one can participate in heterosexual marriage and even help produce a brood of spawn and still 'turn out' to have been 'living a lie,' to have been 'really' gay or lesbian all along. Precisely because there is no final 'proof' of heterosexuality, heterosexuality must constantly set about trying to prove itself, assert itself, insist on itself. Indeed, as Butler argues, heterosexuality as hegemonic institution is finally nothing more than its own repetitive self-insistence, nothing other than 'a constant and repeated effort to imitate its own idealizations' (Bodies 125). Or, as Janet E. Halley puts it in regard to legalistic constructions of heterosexuality, normative heterosexuality 'is a highly unstable, default characterization for people who have not marked themselves or been marked by other as homosexual.' As Halley continues: 'The resulting class of heterosexuals is a default class, home to those who have not fallen out of it.'
    • p. 28.

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