New Essay on Cruising and the Common

I am so pleased that my essay, “The Art of the Consummate Cruise and the Essential Risk of the Common” has now been published (in two parts) by Feedback, a truly excellent online, open-access critical theory weblog/journal. Part I: The Ethics of the Pleasure. Part II: Cruising as Aesthetic Intuition of the Common.

Gay Cruising Pair Bathroom Stall

The essay originated as a paper that I presented at last year’s American Studies Association conference (Toronto, October 2015) on a panel organized by Ricky Varghese titled, “Sex, Misère, and the Redemptive: Barebacking and Historicity.” I want to thank Ricky for the invitation to participate in what was a very thoughtful, insightful and provocative discussion.

In the essay, I argue that we need to shift from a language of self and other towards one of co-exposed singularities, in order to think further about an ethics of pleasure that is not predicated upon sacrifice—either of the other or of the self. In addition, I call for the need to think sexual and other forms of risk and pleasure in terms of the common. Based upon recent work by Bill Haver, the common here is understood as always a sense of the common—including the aesthetic intuition of, and erotic inclination towards, the impossibility of the common.

I also want to thank “Joe,” the photographer of the image that I have reproduced here and that accompanies both parts of the essay, for kindly granting me the permission to reproduce his strikingly beautiful, evocative and downright sexy photograph.


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