It’s not easy being an object of desire. I mean, it is easy actually, it’s effortless, but talking about it is hard. Well, not hard exactly, scary. But that’s my job as an artist, y’know: to talk about how much everyone wants to fuck me. To have these difficult and scary conversations.
You know the kind, they are chicken-hawks. They have a taste for chicken meat. it is a kind of cannibalism and it is horrible. It didn’t used to be, though. Cannibalism. We didn’t used to eat our own, you know. We used to eat something different. Or, we always ate the same thing but we used to be different. We’ve evolved, metamorphosed into this creature which is chicken when young and hawk, cannibal when adult.
The only thing worse than a chicken-hawk is a snake. A lizard. A reptile. They eat chickens before they’ve even had a chance to hatch. They steal the eggs from the nest. They don’t want to see feathers, since they only have scales of their own.
I thought all the reptiles, the snakes, the egg-eaters died out, long ago, in the ice-age? Some did, mostly. But there’re still some left, and these days hawks have taken to plucking themselves, filing their talons, warming themselves in full sunlight, and waiting for an unattended nest to raid.
“I’m an American girl and I’m the junk food queen. I still have a banana split almost every morning and I have french fries for dinner. I have the same tastes that I did when I was a little girl.”—Lana Del Rey, interviewed by Steve Bateman 2010
Aren’t simple desires dead yet? Are we still so obsessed with the hegemonic body? Why do scenes from 20 years ago or even 40 years ago playout just like scenes from 20 minutes ago? Why are we all so stuck talking about fagsex and leather and bodyhair and sweat like it’s a revolution? Why are things like pleasure and bodyfluid still so predominant in discussions about ecstasy and emotion and love and lust? Why is power so reduced to testosterone and money and the phallus? Where are the tricksters, and the sneaks, marked by illusion and deception and joy and glamour and transformation?
Without being too presumptuous, I think the reason certain tropes never seem to die is because they reinforce the personal narratives, identities and power of the guys who are privileged enough to decide what’s okay and what’s not okay, what’s hot and what’s not, and these are the same systems that define culture on a much bigger scale. White guys like to see themselves reified. Even and especially if we live in a world which is constantly validating certain bodies, white guys feel like it is our birthright to have this constant stream of validation 24/7, uninterrupted, and never critically examined.
I’m really into this idea of locating the erotics of the trickster, though. I’m constantly looking for a way of reconciling opposing ideas of desire and sex and lust, and have found an effective way of expressing this reconciliation (in like art or whatever) through ambivalence. I think it is a debatably believable pose, no less “authentic” than butchness, but I think it is, to an extent, a way of getting people to look critically at their desires. What does it mean to be with someone who might or might not be really into having sex with you? If you’re trying to connect with someone who is ambivalent about whether or not they want to connect with you, it necessarily forces you to ask whether or not you want someone who seems so ambivalent (Do I turn you on? What if I don’t care to hear the answer to that question, do I still turn you on?), and to identify with your own uncertainty, your dual impulses to both fuck and run (at the same time).