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RESPONSE TO "SEX AND SOCIAL CONTROL" Harry Vélez Quiñones University of Puget Sound I am struck by a series of coincidences and common themes concerning our business here during these couple of days. To start, as I am sure we all have noted, we meet in "the city of brotherly love", an auspicious yet troubling motto. As Barbara Weissberger was quick to notice, the erasure of "sisterly love" demands our attention. Quite possibly, the founding fathers of Philadelphia exhibited tendencies similar in kind to those our speakers traced in Queer Iberia about the chroniclers of the Albigensian Crusade, the pro-Isabelline propagandists , and the poets who wrote cantigas d'escarnho e de mal dizer. After all, homosocial bonds, like homophobic discourse, are invariably predicated on misogynist anxieties. There is more to this than meets the eye, since we can safely assume that the original loving brothers in Philadelphia's motto must have been white, Christian and well-off. The erasure ofwomen and queers, as our speakers have also noted, is linked to the fears surrounding those who occupy or are made to occupy liminal positions. Women, Jews, conversos, Moslems, moriscos, Italians and slaves, for example, were all seen as prone to womanish weaknesses and nefarious inclinations in both medieval and early modern Iberia. Our proceedings also take place at a moment in culture that is germane to those that Sara Lipton, Benjamin Liu, and Barbara Weissberger considered in their pieces for Queer Iberh. The Albigensian crusade saw opposing armies struggle in the Languedoc. The military campaigns waged by Alfonso el Sabio's father, Fernando III, extended the frontier ofthe Christian kingdom ofCastile farther south than ever before, creating a multitude of social and political tensions among people ofthree religions who would now have to live in closer contact. Finally, the civil war and Portuguese invasion of Castile that followed La corónica 30.1 (Fall, 2001): 231-35 232ForumLa corónica 30.1, 2001 Isabella's accession to the throne in 1474 was a delicate, if not disorderly , event. Today, October 20, 2001, we find ourselves involved in a war effort. The September 1 1 attacks have strained our convivencia. Religious and ethnic differences have fueled a series ofviolent expressions , both rhetorical and physical. Today our military is bombing a Muslim nation. Repeatedly referring to the Muslim foe as "cowardly", President Bush and his administration have launched what was initially advertised as a "crusade" under the name "Infinite Justice". In many quarters of the United States, anxiety, fear, and hate have emerged. According to CNN, two days after the September 1 1 attack, the Reverend Jerry Falwell made the following statement during a broadcast of the Christian television program "The 700 Club": I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen'. Falwell's ultra-orthodox Christian ideology manifests itself in a rhetorical strategy that aims to demonize the other by aligning it with nefarious people and their unholy sexual practices. The Muslim Arab terrorists come together in Falwell's speech with non-Christians, women of lascivious disposition, Pro-choice professionals, homosexuals, lesbians , progressive Jewish intellectuals, leftist activists, and others who do not fit into Falwell's nativist vision of America. But we find similar attempts to naturalize and neutralize these fears and anxieties by those who usually write from a radically different position. David Schmader, a talented queer writer and performer, wrote the following in his column , "Last Days", in the alternative Seattle weekly, The Stranger: Almost one month ago today, Islamic terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners, killing the flight crews before crashing the planes into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. We may never know what was going through the hijackers' minds as they executed the worst act of terrorism in American history. But today The Boston Globe revealed what was on the hijackers' minds before the attacks: hot, hot pussy. According to Boston authorities...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 231-235
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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