- Toward a Methexic Queer Media
It is not just predictable folly when gay critics join hands to sing praise songs for defunct sitcoms like Will and Grace or The New Normal, because they contend that such shows transmit (white) gay male memory to future generations of viewers. This is not to suggest that certain modalities of emancipated queer spectatorship might not help us achieve new senses of the world from the reworked stuff of phobic or exclusionary popular entertainments; I myself have made such arguments that I stand behind. But trifling with mainstream culture is futile unless such efforts are in the service of constructing a queer media that ushers in new realities. It is not enough to be on the lookout for the moments when some potentially useful granule of gay knowledge slips through. Let’s instead insist on a media that is queer in its refusal to conform to anticipatable forms. It is imperative to think beyond the simply representational and instead imagine a queer media that is methetic in nature. Methexis is the aesthetic term that describes how the particular participates in a larger form; in Greek tragedy it literally means group sharing, accounting for the way in which an audience takes part in a drama, adding to it, augmenting it. Queer media must call for participation, vivification, and an expanded sense of a queer commons that is not quite present but altogether attainable. It is urgent that the lulling sound of the laugh track be put aside so we can engage in the production of a vitally methetic queer media that is equally turbulent and productive. [End Page 564]
José Esteban Muñoz is professor of performance studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. His books include Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics (1999), Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (2009), and the forthcoming The Sense of Brown. His edited collections include the volumes Pop Out: Queer Warhol with Jennifer Doyle and Jonathan Flatley (1996) and Everynight Life: Culture and Dance in Latin/o America with Celeste Fraser Delgado (1997). He co-edits the book series Sexual Cultures for NYU Press with Ann Pellegrini.