Coming out of the closet


Apropos of Foucault, the Daily Show comes through with this story:

Open Carrier Discrimination

Part of the issue, from a Foucaultian perspective anyway, is that the rhetoric of these “open carriers” apes the older discourses about overcoming discrimination by expressing one’s lifestyle.  It is as if one cannot act politically or endeavor to enact social change without first locating this as part of one’s identity.  In this case, of course, the identity in question is not one’s sexuality, but one’s particular set of preferences regarding fire arms.  Yet there is, so to speak, the same tactic of power at work here: in this rhetoric, society “silences” gun owners, and they must challenge this silencing by becoming visible, by expressing who they really are.  There are, of course, a lot of really odd things going on here, but one obvious issue is the effort to position gun ownership as something integral to one’s identity, and further, to assume that the expression of that essential identity (or becoming it touch with what one truly is) is simultaneously an expression of freedom

In any case, Foucault might suggest that this logic has now become an integral part of our political vernacular.  We increasingly understand the articulation of an identity as–of expressing the essentially hidden secrets of who one is and rendering this identity visible–as the political act.


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