Pro Se (Says Who?): Legal Ghostwriting, Impersonation, and Homophobia as Masquerade
by Corinne Blackmer — Southern Connecticut State University
April 04, 2010 – 23:36
This blog entry represents the first installment of what I plan as a multi-part critical analysis—combining episodes, theory, observation, and rhetorical close reading—on identity, sexuality, contract, legal representation and pro se representation, and heretofore unaddressed issues pertaining to what I will term “permissible fraud” as the motive for perpetuating homophobia. However, on an even “deeper” level, no one believes in homophobia anymore than anyone (except the delusionally deranged) believes in anti-Semitism. If my surmise is correct, I have what in legal parlance is called probable cause to allege that the absence of authentic and deep-seated belief that gay people are actually worse than other humans in any fashion particular to them—it is equally true that homophobia practices on the profound human inclination to believe in the love of others. I have seen gay people—who I shall usually have occasion to call queer creatures or queer foundlings—go to the most extravagant extremes to maintain their faith in the foundational social contract of love. And, indeed, at times queer creatures truly are loved. I have seen some queer creatures wrap to their hearts a moment or interval of love or beauty, and guard it like a priceless thing through years and years of arid silence, embarassment, marginalization, and heroic hope. However, the experience of betrayal being what it is—an annihilation of the grounds of trust in the evidence of one’s senses—it stands to reason that many queer creatures doubt their perceptions. Their handlers, who I suspect understand love as the anguished, clinging dependence of queer foundlings on meager scraps of tenderness, do not believe in the badness of queer creatures but, rather, practice upon their stubborn belief in love. It is so perilously easy to practice upon the fears of queer creatures, particularly since they stoop under exactions of exposure, invasion of privacy, odious cruelty to whose dimensions they cannot give credence and hope to maintain their wits. Homophobia is simply a term of art for a social game that is imbued with profound aesthetic signification and the capacity to understand the origins of the human heart. This game, which many Americans perceive as their democratic right to play to the very fullness of their desire, centers, quite simply, on playing tricks with the stubborn human belief in love. That is, for the purposes of this study, the major trajectory of homophobia.
What is the purpose of such twisted jests at the human heart, and, for that matter, in what consists this passion for manipulation and pretense called homophobia? It is not only a perpetual teasing, baiting, and frustrating of the human desire to believe in love, but also a way for tormentors to contemplate, intellectualize, and conduct experiments upon the operations and inclinations of their own hearts. They look upon their suborned and vulnerable queer creatures and can relish the moments when they empathize with them and extend signs of love that—careful!—need to be rationed so as to not give the creatures the sense that they have rights or, for that matter, the capacity to recover and make clear judgments. Then, they can feel the delicious pleasures of contemptuous pity for the illusions and frailties of their queer wards.