from the gutter to the stars

Thesis 7 : Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.


such a simple statement. a grammatically perfect sentence: subject, verb, object. but the meaning, well the meaning…it’s complicated.

every relationship demands connection. every connection requires material properties. last post, i wrote in the voice of my identity: a letter. the letter is l. the l that i am is the material medium of my self in the internet. to get to l, you gotta hyperlink. you have to click on me.

hyperlinking is the moment when technological determinism fails. a simple [click], and reality has shifted. and it is very real. test yourself…

hit this [click].

where did you go? did you leave? or did another browser (no coincidence in terminology there) pop up? you can leave this page; you can go anywhere. no one is stopping you.

you can transgress. you can regress. you can profess. you can.

that is the hyperlink. it is the rupture between worlds, between consciousness,

a most respected mentor—and first reader of my master’s thesis—the Jacqueline Rhodes wrote a whole lotta something once, something that changed my life: “Homo origo : The queertext manifesto.” here is the beginning of it,

1. Textual conversations are human conversations; our textuality intersects our humanity at the point of our writing hands, our typing fingers, our seeing eyes.

2. There is nothing natural in text; there are, however, material considerations in text. The material of a queer text dances in the openness of the margin between Signifier (Sr) and Signified (Sd).

3. In this open margin, we subvert The Word.

4. Cyberspace and its avatar, the hyperlink, open further the text of our open margins; the hyperlink is eminently queer, not in where it starts or where it goes, but in its imminent possibility.

5. Hyperlinks subvert The Word.

if any text takes on the material function of hyperlinks, it is this. “The Word” signifies the oppressive nature of language. The Word embodies that which demands of us one specific, right way of speaking.

but hyperlinks be going right, left, across, inside, outside, wherever. they’re queer. they don’t position themselves as fixed. the only demanding they do is that they ask us to respond.

we respond with our bodies. a touch, a press, a slide of the fingers; there it is, the dance.

and, with that dance, hierarchy ain’t got no choice but to cower. a hypertext doesn’t need to know who you are, what you do, how much money you make, what name you go by.

in twitter, you can even decide who the hyperlinked you is. there is no discrimination.

but that don’t mean there isn’t oppression. there is. “The Word” wouldn’t be the Word if it didn’t fight subversion every step of the way.

14. In the Beginning was the Word.

15. The Word predates text, and its dominance informs the structural possibilities of

text. The Word is the first, most basic form of textual domination.

16. The Word extends its discipline through not only English-onlyism, but also

academicism, heterosexism, racism, capitalism, colonialism, sexism, classism,

and so on.

17. Words dominate our texts; a few Words dominate other words.1 They enact this

dominance through grammar.

queertext tells us how the Word controls all of our language. it dominates through structure. this means that anything that functions within a framework or in linear fashion, does so because the Word makes it.

that means that hypertext speaks in direct opposition; it is anything but linear.

hyperlinks don’t ideology. hyperlinks sext:

22. We can renounce The Word through our bodies, our senses, our words. Queertext

muscles against the constant weight of The Word.

23. We resist the call of The Word and instead celebrate the Eros of words.

24. We see the personal as already political, an insight drawn from radical feminists.

We further add: The personalpolitical is already sexual and textual.

25. The hyperlink is an erotic textual moment, when idea and action collide.

engaging with one another through queertext—hyperlinks—enacts a connection between bodies. our senses reach out, and click. and that number 25, that is where all meaning makes sense. the hyperlink is thinking. all it takes to subvert the Word, and to connect, is to think. from there, the rest is all touch.

do you know? do you know what it feels like?

36. Because it cannot speak queertext (only mimic its voice), The Word operates

always after knowledge is opened, after the light has burst and then died.

37. The Word kills liminal languages in order to survive; but queertext wants to live.

38. The Word feeds on death to construct grammar. Queertext does not bind itself to

dead grammars, seeing only disaster there.

39. We are disloyal to your grammar. Our allegiance is to our material-linguistic

space, our liminal status, our bodies—our senses, our muscles, our tears, our

orgasms, our resistance to The Word.

40. We’ll still play with you, but keep your grammar in your pants.

it feels like voice. that’s right: we collided the senses. queertext provides everything about us that the Word denies. it is sin. it is sex. it is the everything that isn’t.

hyperlinks are insertion. they bring, they give, to us what is not in our reach. they bring to us the voices we cannot hear, the image we cannot see, the light our screens go dark without.

(i’m just going to give you the whole end of this. because maybe then those who don’t see, will):

42. Until mutual recognition without control emerges, queertext and The Word cannot


43. We can all be queered. That means you, too.

44. We want you to see beyond the queer, the lesbigaytrans identity charm bracelet, to

embrace our sex/text.

45. We’re both inside The Word and outside it.

46. The division between The Word and queertext is unbridgeable.

47. We don’t want a bridge. We just want to be here.

48. And here.

49. And queer.

50. We are awake. We are everywhere and nowhere.

51. Queertext happens.

52. Queertext is never singular, never democratic, never collective, never solo. We

never speak for all queers, even now.

53. And not now.

54. And.

55. not.

56. now.

now l isn’t going to give you a where to click. l makes no demands. she’s been hyperlinked.


2 thoughts on “from the gutter to the stars

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