Big Mouth, Little Fascisms

There are few abscesses in the tumultuous history of television and cinema as irredeemably vapid as the new genre of the Netflix Original.  It turns out (surprise, surprise) that blending algorithmic selection, uber-funded focus groups, and the gaudy sheen of a hundred-billion-dollar Silicon Valley enterprise does not yield meaningful (or even enjoyable) art.  There have been a few exceptions – Bojack Horseman and Tuca and Bertie are both truly revolutions in form and content, Roma was one of the best movies of the past decade, many of their documentaries are truly insightful – but in 2018 alone, Netflix released 850 original titles.  To have only about a dozen actually creative initiatives in such an avalanche of content seems to confirm Theodore Adorno’s despairing overreaction to Walter Benjamin’s Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: that the mass-produced art of the modern era can engender only “the worst bourgeois sadism.”[1]  Yet this cacophonous banality has served as a launching point for at least one truly momentous accomplishment: Nick Kroll’s animated sitcom Big Mouth, which released its third season last week.

Big Mouth (created by Kroll with Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett) tells the story of suburban middle schoolers grappling with their respective puberties, which embodied in enormous, furry, and utterly deranged Hormone Monsters.  The show relishes the unwatchably obscene, with revoltingly spectacular body horror rendered adorable via cartoon animation: a porn-infused Apocalypse Now heart of darkness where the waterfalls are old men’s urine, a pillow who becomes pregnant in her masturbatory romance with a teenager, a multitude of talking genitals, well-crafted musical numbers with everything from advice on shellfish-induced diarrhea to “touching parts where we pee.”  Through the haze of utterly disorienting profanity, rapid mood shifts, cheekily self-aware postmodernism, however, comes a compassionate and sincere portrait of six kids scrambling for something to hold onto through what the luckiest among us can recall as the worst years of our lives, in which we are cursed by the sudden capacity to feel everything and the complete inability to maintain a semblance of perspective.  Big Mouth not only shatters the boundaries of what revolting nonsense we are willing to sit through, it makes that revolting nonsense an integral part of tender storytelling in what is ultimately a very sweet, character driven show.

Because Big Mouth is a show about sexuality, it also a show about politics – and, at least superficially, a fairly decent one.  When Jessi slut-shames another girl, she worries she “looks like Mitch McConnell”; when Andrew assumes he is entitled to the affection of his crush, Missy, he finds himself on a dark and pathetic path that culminates in losing his hair and accidentally attending a neo-Nazi meeting; in the latest season, a teacher who demands a conservative dress code to protect boys from “distraction” is revealed to have predatory relationships with his students.  Normally, the political takeaways are mixed disarmingly with the scatological humor – in season two, only one episode (the surprisingly lazy “Planned Parenthood Episode”) crossed the line into potentially tedious preaching, and even the characters seemed aware of having failed to entertain.  In almost every case, the show delivers a political message without sacrificing either the finesse of the characters or the density and rhythm of the jokes.  The politics are at times slightly wrongheaded, but the mechanism that communicates them is a true work of genius.  The third season carries this project forward beautifully, examining the life of the ghost of Duke Ellington, navigating both Jessi’s depression and Andrew’s flirtation with hardcore misogyny, and continuing one of the most humane portrayals of a gay teenager (Andrew Rannells’s Matthew) anywhere on television.

Except, that is, for the gender episode.

In the eighth episode of the third season (“Rankings”), Kroll and company succumbed to a tragically typical Netflix Original strategy: try to increase the number of identities represented to increase marketability and topicality, even if it means resorting shallow and dehumanizing characters and barely-thought-through plotlines.  In this case, Big Mouth, which has had neither an Asian character nor a discussion of gender binaries and the lack thereof, decided to kill two birds with one stone without even going through the trouble of thinking of a new name.  Ali Wong plays Ali, the cool new girl in school whose first line is an announcement to her classmates: “I play soccer, I’m a Ravenclaw, and, not to make all you normies shit your Old Navy undies, but I am pansexual.”  When her classmates ask what she means (and how pansexuality differs from bisexuality), Ali responds that “bisexuality is so binary” and then leaps into a culinary metaphor.  “It’s like, some of you borings like tacos, and some of you like burritos, and if you’re bisexual, you like tacos and burritos.  But I’m saying, I like tacos, and burritos, and I could be into a taco that was born a burrito, sure, k, or a burrito that’s transitioning into a taco, comprende?  And honey, anything else on the fucking menu.”

A clumsy one-episode arc follows in which Ali is objectified by the boys in her class, who rank her the number one hottest girl in school while fantasizing about pansexual girls who literally have no faces.  But nobody objectifies Ali more than the show’s writers, who seemed to have conjured her simply so that they could announce “We understand what pansexual means!” before completely casting her aside (her only screentime for the rest of the season is one line pointing out how the school musical objectifies Asians).  And to make matters worse, as an immediate online backlash rightly pointed out,[2] they proved that they in fact do not understand what pansexual (or bisexual, or transgender) means.  In suggesting that a bisexual would not be attracted to a “taco that was born a burrito,” Ali made two errors in the lexicon she was invented to signal: a) she implied that the difference between bisexuals and pansexuals is some non-attraction bi people have for trans people and b) she implied that since bi people would not be attracted to a “taco that was born as a burrito” but would be interested in either categories “taco” or “burrito,” a “taco that was born as a burrito” is not fully a taco.  This is not just an innocuous mistake.  The writers’ true understanding bled through: a bi person could be attracted to a man or a woman, but only a pan person could be attracted to a transman or transwoman, which implies a transman is not really a man, and a transwoman is not really a woman.

Such a misunderstanding is commonplace, and, in isolated circles, understandable – but the fact that Big Mouth’s creators went out of their way to advertise their own understanding and still failed is less excusable.  Still, it is easy to imagine their thought process.  In the increasingly esoteric language surrounding gender and sexuality, it is legitimate for anyone to wonder “What is the difference between bisexual and pansexual, and how does gender fit into sexuality more generally?”  And it is very legitimate for a show that bills itself as an X-rated sex ed class to try to answer those questions – in fact, somewhat odd that it took them three seasons to get there!  But it is here that the true question of politics and power come in.  Though Big Mouth is a profoundly great show, and a near-perfect aesthetic accomplishment, it has never exerted a politics truly willing to challenge power.  Therefore, it is completely unequipped to probe the subjective identities of gender and sexuality under the rule of a society defined by totalizing regimes of coercive force.

Had Kroll et al taken the time to examine the rudimentary literature (or, God forbid, just asked somebody) before assuming they were qualified to act as educators, Ali’s explanation would have been a little different.  She would have told her class that bisexual and pansexual are terms of self-identity, that the only category either term refers to exists only in the mind of the mind of identifier who by can only accurately identify themself, that the difference between David Bowie telling Playboy he was bisexual in 1976 and Janelle Monáe telling Rolling Stone she is pansexual in 2018 is a socio-political-commercial dynamic, that both terms are purely subjective and the only criteria required to be bisexual or pansexual is to identify yourself thusly.  She would not have mentioned tacos or burritos at all because the very distinction between taco and burrito is, like the distinction between men and women, a leaky distinction – and more importantly, because a person who self-identifies as gay, straight, bi, or pan has no right to assign a category of identity to the objects of their attraction (just because I might identify as gay, for example, does not mean everyone I am attracted is required to identify themselves as a man).  If she had truly wanted to be accurate, she would have pointed out that while everybody finds themselves laced into the limitations extending from a burrito/taco ideal, neither the concept of burrito nor of taco (or man or woman) is ever in fact materially attainable.

By this point of course the flow of the comedy would have been shattered, because it is much easier to pretend tacos and burritos carry some essential definition than to concede that what is called a burrito in New York City is called a taco in Puebla, Mexico, that the categories that words describe are always by definition invented by those words, that in the objective world distinctions almost always leak into one another in ways that defy the very premise of empirical logic.  To accurately address the problem of gender in the twenty-first century is to realize that every element of our subjective capacity to self-identify is shaped by an alien force limiting our ability conceive; as Judith Butler puts it, “no individual becomes a subject without first being subjected.”[3]  Gender, as Butler argued in her masterwork Gender Trouble, is the constant that does not exist.  It constitutes our every conscious decision and “congeals over time” into the weak physical dimorphism of our species then “compels our belief in its necessity and naturalness,” it “is a fantasy instituted and inscribed on the surface of bodies…neither true nor false,” it “is performativity constituted by the very ‘expressions’ that are said to be its results.”[4]  Though reactionaries and empiricists hiss that Butler’s discursive theory of gender is just a convoluted postmodern trend, and pout that they could never be asked to understand it, it has been a full seventy years since Simone de Beauvoir wrote in her classic The Second Sex,

One is not born, but rather becomes, woman.   No biological, psychic, or economic destiny defines the figure that the human female takes on in society; it is civilization as a whole that elaborates this intermediary product between the male and the eunuch that is called feminine.  Only the mediation of another establishes can constitute an individual as an Other.  Inasmuch as he exists for himself, the child would not grasp himself as sexually differentiated.[5]

Gender is only tangentially related to chromosomes and genitals or the physical, material circumstances of a body whatsoever.  It emerges instead as a psycho-social effect of millennia’s discursive practice dividing humanity into two (leaky) categories, the first to rule, the second to serve – the immense network of personal feelings, interactive relationships, and designated labors that constitute gender are always (for every person, whatever their personal stance on feminism may be) a consequence of the organized subjection of one half of our species to the other – to borrow a phrase from Andrea Long Chu, “All gender is internalized misogyny.”[6]  Crucially, this means gender is not, what someone is, but what someone does beyond their conscious control.  It is also something we do to one another, constantly, as our own capacity to desire, enjoy, and experience rearranges itself around the expectations of others – Chu has recently made a dramatic and compelling intervention into queer theory arguing that “the self’s gentle suicide in the name of someone else’s desires…What makes gender gender – the substance of gender as it were, is that it expresses, in every case, the desires of another.”[7]  This concept, the blurred line between being and doing, between self and other, between the actor and the acted upon, is existentially intimidating to the archaeology of knowledge that draws a firm line between subject and object (the imagined duality referred to by de Beauvoir, “He is Subject, he is Absolute.  She is other”[8]; or Ursula K. Le Guinn more explicitly, “Civilized man says…I am that I am, and the rest is women and the wilderness”[9]; the most remarkable accomplishment of the past century of feminist theory has been the discovery that subjectivity itself is a process of organized marginalization of the other).

A few works of art in the history of television have been able to successfully probe the impossibility and ultimate breakdown of life under gender, particularly in the medium of animation which already stretches the limits of what is ontologically concrete – from the Dadaist wisdom of Looney Tunes to the boisterous and everyday queerness of Bob’s BurgersBig Mouth, disappointingly, has chosen a more comforting strain of gender politics, one commonplace among bourgeois suburban liberals (like the show’s characters) committed to both inclusivity and the hard-walled nuclear family: these are the politics of pseudo-scientific essentialism, which argue that gender and sexuality refer to categories that do, naturally and essentially, exist.

These are the politics of geneticists who hunt with a eugenic fervor for the potential strand of DNA that will explain variance in human sexuality – when I began studying queer sexuality as a teenager, scientists always claimed to be on the cusp of finding “the gay gene”; mercifully, such investigations have gone out of vogue since the largest ever study on the topic (with half a million subjects) found that no one gene predicts sexual behavior.[10]  They are the politics of Jeffrey Epstein, who forged friendships with noted evolutionary psychologists Steven Pinker and Robert Trivers, and who believed his pedophilia was a genetic quirk (like their vision of homosexuality), rather than a psycho-social side effect of his power and status[11] – how lucky he must have felt that all the wealthy and powerful men he sold access to child sex slaves shared his rare biological predilection!  They are the politics of Joe Biden in the recent viral video where he tells a questioner there are “at least three” genders.  They are the politics of mainstream, corporate-funded LGBT advocacy organizations, which offer helpful guides to what they promise are “scientific classifications” of sexualities based on bizarre taxonomical splits based on (among other things) a person’s hormone levels.

Of course, a biologically essentialist take should perhaps not surprise us from a show where the vast matrix of factors and interpellations that complicate adolescent desire convalesce into horned and horny demons literally called Hormone Monsters.  Still, Big Mouth had always born an optimistically queer streak – not only complex and personal plotlines involving gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters, but through the equal-opportunity devastation of attraction in their conception of puberty.  Even the grotesquely straight Andrew wants to fuck Dwayne Johnson as Paul Bunyan; his Hormone Monster goes wild for everything from a plump tomato to the severed head of Garrison Keillor.  When the overly sensitive Nick got a female Hormone Monster at the end of season two, it was widely predicted he would soon turn trans – and many queer people (myself included) expected the show to navigate the possibility of his looming gender dysphoria with brutal honesty and tender finesse.  But there was absolutely finessed about the song in season three reducing celebrity ghosts to their specific place in a dizzying and exhausting gender-sexuality taxonomy: Prince is a “gender-normative gynophile,”[12] David Bowie is a “polysexual gender non-conformist, textbook case,” Whitney Houston a “classic closeted bisexual,” Duke Ellington a “philandering cisgen male.”

This is precisely the opposite of the point of a truly queer project!  We must here follow the classic argument of Bruno Latour and point out that all categories in language emerge from specific material-political circumstances, and specific points in time.  The terms we colloquially ascribe to sexualities and genders can not apply to the sexualities and genders of the past, because those organizations of desire emerged from circumstances entirely different from the ones that produced the contemporary queer lexicon.  The terms we use to identify individuals’ gender and sexuality are as fluid as those genders and sexualities must also be.  Thus, while we constantly and brutally ascribe identities to everyone we interact with (whether or not we intend to), the only accurate identification of the gender and sexuality an individual experiences is the one provided by that individual.  The real reasons Ali is pan, and Jay is bi, and Matthew is gay, and Andrew is straight are not differences in their innate capacities for attraction – the differences are Ali calls herself pan, Jay calls himself bi, Matthew calls himself gay, and Andrew calls himself straight.  Gore Vidal was pansexual despite, by all accounts, a lifelong preference for the sexual company of men, because he insisted he was so.  Or take the scene from Tony Kushner’s Angels in America when the ultra-conservative lawyer and servant to power, Roy Cohn, is told he has AIDS.  Roy responds to his doctor:

I want you to understand.  This is not sophistry.  And this is not hypocrisy.  This is reality.  I have sex with men.  But unlike nearly every other man of whom this is true, I bring the guy I’m screwing to the White House and President Reagan smiles at us and shakes his hand.  Because what I am is entirely defined by who I am.  Roy Cohn is not a homosexual.  Roy Cohn is a heterosexual man, Henry, who fucks around with guys…AIDS is what homosexuals have.  I have liver cancer.[13]

What Roy grasps here is a central tenet not of postmodern gender studies seminars or millennial identity politics, but of modernism itself.  It is an ideal first articulated by none other than Friedrich Nietzsche in On The Genealogy of Morals in 1887: “there is no ‘being’ behind doing, effecting, becoming; ‘the doer’ is merely a fiction added to the deed – the deed is everything.”[14]  It is not the inconsequential details of his personal attractions (the intricacies of his being) that let Roy Cohn live as a straight man, but the doing of his life in accordance with the true social rules of heterosexuality.  This is an error Big Mouth makes in every arena, not only gender: it is not the tyranny of his hormones that makes Andrew a “perv” who masturbates to an older girl’s empty swimsuit while demanding compliments for his skin care routine, it is no facet of biology fulfilling reproductive imperative; it is the doing of a social process of associations (not with reproduction but with conventions of popularity and affirmation) which leave erotically charged by an inanimate piece of fabric, which he wishes would compliment his skin-care routine.  To the multitudes of liberals and conservatives who still stubbornly refuse to heed the lessons of Nietzsche and accept that their selfhood is an empty and floating signifier, it is soothing to imagine a self which contains a roguish biological shoulder-devil in the form of a Hormone Monster – this is a pre-modern form of theological storytelling, dating back to Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and the even earlier concept of a guardian angel.  This is ultimately a lazy and shallow trick to avoid the challenge of postmodern storytelling: how to artfully convey the reality that the self is constituted only through interaction with the social, and that both realities of social and self are constantly in a state of implosion not due to meddling demons or hormones, but due to their own impossibility.

Does Big Mouth have to offer a crash course in the philosophy of queer theory when no other show on television will?  Of course not, even in its occasional political clumsiness, it remains a brilliant and enjoyable work of art – but it is a good enough show to deserve serious engagement with its implications.  Chu, who as well as being our generation’s greatest theorist is also our best television critic, wrote after the last season that, “The paradox of the show is its ability to (successfully!) extract a nuanced, politically liberal portrayal of adolescence from a deeply essentialist, at times fascistic, understanding of male puberty.”[15]  On the aesthetic level, that paradox is an incredible plot mechanism and a remarkable artistic accomplishment.  But on the political level, that paradox is mask for an unsettling underlying unity.  By treating both Ali’s pansexuality and the genders of dead celebrities as monolithic (if diverse) and concrete categories, Big Mouth unmasks the limitations of the sudden rush to inclusivity by the liberal bourgeoisie.  They want inclusivity on their terms, inclusivity that adheres to a possessive compulsion to classify born in the place where liberalism and fascism meet.

Just as the mass appeal of the global populist far right leaves well-funded neoliberal think tanks scratching their heads today, the meteoric rise and enormous popularity of fascist governments that culminated in World War II posed existential questions to those who would consider themselves opposed to fascism – as Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari note in their discussion of Wilhelm Reich, “the masses were not innocent dupes; at a certain point, under a certain set of conditions, they wanted fascism, and this perversion of the desire of the masses needs to be accounted for.”[16]  Two great twentieth-century works answered that question.  Adorno’s immense sociological study, The Authoritarian Personality, which found that family dynamics under capitalism rewarded a “potentially fascistic individual” who is “at the same time enlightened and superstitious, proud to be an individualist and in constant fear of not being like the others, jealous of his independence and inclined to submit blindly to power and authority”[17] – the first trait of this authoritarian personality is an enjoyment of conventionality.  And Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus described how capitalism’s need for smooth functionalism became a “desiring machine” that led millions of people to crave order and conformity at a sexual level.  In both cases, fascism as a political regime is the ultimate aggregation of individual fascistic proclivities, compiled through the regular mechanisms of society and the regular mappings of desire over decades – Natasha Lennard, in her recent book on non-fascist life, distinguishes between “ur-fascism” and the “micro-fascism” that engenders it.[18]

It is crucial to understand that the compulsion to identify, categorize, and group other people (to territorialize, in Deleuze and Guattari’s terms) is fundamentally a micro-fascist tendency, emergent in the seventeenth century along with advent of commodity plantation economics that demanded ecocide, slavery, and the strict curtailment of always-fluid, always-sensuous, always-leaky metabolism of nature.  It is frequently a comforting impulse – it unquestionably makes day-to-day life easier, both for the comforted and the afflicted, to map the lives of others onto categories we understand and can predict.  It can have political benefits in the short-to-medium term: the concept of gender and sexual essentialism, the idea in the heterosexual imaginary that there is something essential about those people that makes them gay just like there must be something essential about us that makes us straight, allowed liberals in recent decades to welcome serious advances in queer people’s quality of life without seeing them as existential threats (at least on the surface).  But behind those advances, the micro-fascist logic locks arms with ur-fascists in the wings.

This week offered a horrifying example in the halls of the Supreme Court, which has begun hearings to decide whether or not the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects Americans from discrimination on the basis of their sexuality, gender identity, or gender presentation.  In the past twenty years, lower courts rulings have consistently held that employers discriminating against their workers for same-sex relationships, or for breaking gender stereotypes, are guilty of discrimination on the basis of sex, which the Civil Rights Act explicitly forbids – no law passed by Congress or interpreted by the Supreme Court has ever uniformly and explicitly protected all queer people from workplace discrimination in the United States.  But the case of Aimee Stephens, a woman who was fired from her six years of employed at a Detroit funeral home for being transgender, could transform all precedent.  Stephens’s former employer, Thomas Rost, claims he fired her because “sex is an immutable gift from God” and “a male should look like a particular individual, like a man.”[19]  Rost’s attorneys argue that, while their client is cavalierly discriminating against Stephens for being trans, this is not sex discrimination, since Rost would be just as willing to fire a transman.  As long as both sexes are discriminated against equally, they claim, the protections of Title VII do not apply.  The conservative-majority Court has yet to announce its verdict, with all hopes for both sides hinging on the only potential swing vote, Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch, and his potential act of mercy depends on his strict belief in textual analysis, not his respect for Aimee Stephens’s dignity and livelihood.

Rost is charging through a perverse loophole left by liberal policymakers’ desperate commitment to gender as something that can be categorized from the outside.  For more than a decade now, the political apparatus has been willing to shelter queer people under the flimsy umbrella of sex discrimination – they are willing to concede that a man should not be fired for dating a man if a woman also should not be fired for dating man, they are willing to concede even that a transwoman should not be fired for behaving as feminine as a ciswoman.  But they refused to contest the eternal legal categories of gender itself.  Though Obama’s Department of Justice argued that in practice, queer and trans people should be covered by sex discrimination protections, the administration never pushed for a federal law allowing people to identify their own gender.  The thin protections of Title VII have brought much needed security to queer people who would be otherwise completely at the mercy of their employers – but by conceding that gender a matter of innate characteristics rather than self-identification, Obama’s interpretation of the Civil Rights Act left a clear logical path of micro-fascism for ur-fascists to walk down.  It is cruel, intrusive, needless, cynical and evil for reactionaries to argue for equal opportunity discrimination – but it is not logically fallacious, and it may prove legally sound.

If Gorsuch sides with his conservative colleagues, they would shatter fifty years of slow legal process and issue in a totalitarian right-wing fantasy in which capital enjoys the right to completely police the genders of anyone unfortunate enough to need to work for a living.  Melissa Gira Grant explains,

if an employer fired a cisgender woman for not being stereotypically feminine, they could argue it’s not discrimination on the basis of sex if they would fire a cisgender man for not being stereotypically masculine.  Should the Court decide in favor of Harris Funeral Homes, the employment protections under Title VII would no longer protect anybody’s gender nonconformity.  The most retrograde gender norms could again rule the American work place.

I hope against hope that the legal team assembled by the ACLU can sway Gorsuch (I think that if anybody could, it is Chase Strangio) and that the rumblings of collective action could stir Congress into enacting some level of democracy over gendered life – but the fascist undercurrents in American desire are not going anywhere.  To combat them we must make battle first and foremost with the fascist who hiding in our mind.  “Kill the cop inside your head,” writes Lennard, “the individualized and detached self, the over-codings of family-unit normativity, the authoritarian tendency of careerism – all of them paranoiac states of micro-fascism in need of anti-fascist care.”[20]  We must struggle constantly to identify the internal enemy who strives to limit our imagination, who pushes us to limit those we encounter with our own conceptions, who calls out seductively that we should submit to the tyranny of the easiest answer.  We must reject an essentialist conception of our bodies and our minds, and instead try to reabsorb our integrated selves into the all-encompassing commons of the future that could be.  Kill the cop inside your head – and while we’re at it, someone kill the cop inside of Netflix’s head so we can finally enjoy a great show about talking genitals without shaking the devil’s hand.

[1] Theodore Adorno, “Letters to Walter Benjamin,” in Aesthetics and Politics (New York: Verso, 2007), 123.

[2] Not only did many queer people take to social media to protest, the LGBT outlets Advocate and Pink News leapt on the story, prompting Big Mouth co-creator Andrew Goldberg to apologize on Twitter and promised to “[delve] into all of this in future seasons.”

[3] Judith Butler, The Psychic Life of Power (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997) 11.

[4] Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 2006), 45, 190, 186, 35.

[5] Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, trans. Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier (New York: Vintage Books, 2011), 283.

[6] Andrea Long Chu, Females (New York: Verso, 2019), 35.  I have not had a chance to read this book, which is coming out next week, but given literally every other text Chu has publicly released, I can not wait.

[7] Ibid, 35-36.

[8] De Beauvoir, 6.

[9] Ursula K. Le Guin, “Women/Wilderness,” in Against Civilization, ed. John Zerzan (Port Townshend: Feral House, 2005), 147.

[10] Andrea Ganna et al, “Large-scale GWAS reveals insights into the genetic architecture of same-sex sexual behavior,” Science 365, issue 6456 (2019).

[11] For a truly incredible investigation into Epstein’s relationship with the evolutionary psychiatry movement, see Alexandra Walling, “Why Jeffrey Epstein loved evolutionary psychiatry,” The Outline, September 19, 2019.

[12] Here again Big Mouth fails on its own terms, unless I misinterpret the jargon (which is very possible).  Was Prince not the precise opposite of what we now call gender normative?

[13] Tony Kushner, Angels In America: Revised and Complete Editions (New York: Theater Communications Group, 2013), 47.

[14] Friedrich Nietzche, On The Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo, trans. and ed. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), 45.

[15] Chu, “Reveal Your Meat,” Paper View, October 15, 2018.

[16] Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (New York: Penguin Books, 2009), 29.

[17] Max Horkheimer, “Preface,” Theodore Adorno et al, The Authoritarian Personality (New York: Verso, 2019), lxxi.

[18] Natasha Lennard, Being Numerous: Essays On Non-Fascist Life (New York: Verso, 2019), 23.

[19] Quoted in Melissa Gira Grant, “A Critical Threat To Sex Discrimination Protections,” New Republic, September 19, 2019.

[20] Lennard, 16-17.

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