By more than one standard of measurement, the biggest recent booster of Israeli culture, tourism, and even repatriation may be gay porn magnate Michael Lucas, whose DVD Men of Israel has been getting considerable attention not only in the gay press and porn blogosphere but also in the mass-media mainstream, all the way from Los Angeles to Jerusalem, ever since its release in July 2009. (1) It’s a DVD that tempts viewers to peer across the porn/non-porn audience divide precisely because it rivets attention to other kinds of boundaries—especially those that define the contemporary Middle East and the lives of its sexual minorities and of gay men in particular.

Around the world, the stakes of minority sexuality continue to be high, obviously, and, depending on how and where one lives, it’s often highly uncertain whether staying at home or venturing elsewhere would improve one’s chances for survival. For gay men from Oxnard to Riyadh and from Kampala to Bloomington, the gory proof of this uncertainty, in its many forms, is sometimes evident in the mass-media mainstream, but more often hidden and, in that way, excused.

But if we think of the right to exist as the right to be seen, then, for sexual minorities especially, pornography is a vital genre in the art of being seen. Pornography, that is, has everything to do with the comprehensive visibility politics of sexual expression as people around the world struggle to make their way toward and away from various possible homes. Michael Lucas has made a hardcore pornographic DVD about making his own way home to Israel. Indeed, he sometimes speaks as if he were called home to do so.

In Men of Israel, Lucas makes every effort—including on-location shooting from Haifa to the Dead Sea and interviews with the cast on the splendors of gay life in Tel Aviv—to spit-shine the country’s image. “They need me,” he brags. “The reality is that Israel has only one face to people on the street, and that’s the West Bank and Gaza. All people see in the media is a country of disaster. They get images of a blown-up bus.” (2)

In Men of Israel, naturally, the guys just get blown. They get blown at Ga’ash Beach, at Ein-Kerem, in Tel Aviv, by the Dead Sea, in the Dead Sea—you get the picture. Basically, the theme of the main feature is that Israel is a beautiful and welcoming place for men to have sex with one another. But the substantial DVD extras go much further, making explicit a highly reflexive plot: a Russian-Jewish pornographer from New York comes to Israel to make a triple-X film starring local talent and, in the process, helps gay Israelis discover their own country. Even before you watch it, the DVD’s considerable publicity and marketing may already have tipped you off to its sexual politics: this, its producers would have you know, is “the first gay adult production shot entirely on location in Israel with an all-Israeli cast. The film is a landmark in the history of Israel and in the evolution of adult entertainment.” (3) These claims, from the DVD’s Web site, are not exaggerated. Not only has there never before been an all-Jewish all-Israeli gay adult feature, but also rarely has a high-end porno so proudly refused to do what porn, conventionally, tries very hard to do. That is, it refuses to isolate genital stimulation and release from the political context of a more diffuse and complicated eroticism. And it refuses to do so, rather startlingly, in the name of the state of Israel.

“If you think about it,” Lucas explains in the DVD’s making-of featurette to a reporter from Yedioth Aharanot, Israel’s most widely circulated daily newspaper, “porn is the only way to get attention to Israel. Because media is doing very good job of turning people off from Israel, because, again, all they see is constant disaster. I want to show them what I see, Israel through my eyes, which is what Israel is.” Lucas wants us to see a diversity of Jewish men (“There are men with blond hair, you know, and blue eyes. And there are men with, of course, dark features”) thriving in a country that is more progressive on gay rights than the U.S.

But to see Lucas’s Israel, to see it the way he wants us to, means overlooking not just the continuing problems with homophobia and anti-gay violence it shares with the U.S., but also its appalling failure to protect human rights beyond the bounds of Jewish ethnicity. Indeed, any pleasure the DVD generates will be hard for many viewers to separate from Lucas’s own bigoted defense of capitalist tribalism—encapsulated in this rant from the “Meet the Men” featurette:

“This is my country. I am a Jewish man, and for every Jew Israel is home….The history of Jewish people is really terrible and bloody, and it’s full of tragedies. Media always portray Israel as a country of war. And that’s true of course. Israel is surrounded by the jungle of Muslim countries, which are incredibly brutal, uncivilised and have no freedom for their people and lots of oppression. And this is only a little, tiny island of democracy and Western values.”

On this tiny island, Lucas has found a commercial and political void, and he means to fill it. In his interview with Yedioth Aharanot, the reporter asks him: “In Israel, is there a sex/porn industry?” Lucas insists:

“No, there’s no adult industry. There are probably a couple of very underground companies, which obviously do not represent Israel. The company should be known, it should be a known brand, in order to bring the product to the market, in order to get interest. And companies should have power—financial power—to promote it.”

The product here is Israel’s benign self-image, and its medium of representation is porn. But it’s porn that has nothing to do with the disparaged “underground” companies Lucas concedes undoubtedly exist in Israel, but which may fail to register for him because, like the amateur porn Web site Parpar1.com, which specialises in Israeli-born Jews and Arabs having sex with one another and has been in operation since 2001, they don’t practice sexual apartheid. (4)

His own company, Lucas Entertainment, he implies, is aboveground, aboveboard, and above all financially powerful in the legitimate sphere of international commerce. Lucas has experienced some challenges to this legitimacy—chiefly in Canada and the U.S., where procedures for identifying and controlling the dissemination of sexually explicit and obscene material continue to be diffuse, inconsistent, and anxiously self-regarding. In contrast, Israel has, thus far at least, allowed Lucas to make unchallenged entrepreneurial headway precisely in that delicate place where pornography, migration, and state action meet at an international border.

Lucas is intimately familiar with this nexus. He was born in Moscow to Jewish parents in 1972 and took his degree from the Moscow State Law Academy in 1994. After pursuing various entrepreneurial opportunities (including hustling, and acting in adult films) in Russia, Germany, France, and the U.S., he founded a production company in New York in 1998. Since then he has produced at least three dozen films, becoming, along the way, CEO of one of the world’s largest gay adult film companies, and an American citizen. (5)

But he didn’t stop there. In addition to being the release-year of Men of Israel, 2009 was also the year Lucas took advantage of Israel’s Law of Return to make his aliyah, adding an Israeli passport to his growing collection. He explains why in the making-of featurette:

“I love it! It’s my homeland. It’s my country. My predecessors came from here. They all came from here. That’s where my people [are] from. And that’s why I’m getting citizenship here. Because if you’re a Jew by birth, if your parents are Jewish, then you automatically get here citizenship, which is great for people who do what they call ‘aliyah,’ which means ‘coming back.’ Not born here, but come back to the promised land.”

Lucas’s family ties to Russia, his impressive mobility as a young gay entrepreneur, his American rags-to-riches tale, his creation and leadership of a multimillion-dollar company with headquarters in New York and an international distribution network, and his serial citizenship all suggest that he has very successfully transcended what scholars Alex Weingrod and André Levy call the “static ‘homeland-diaspora’ model” of Jewish migration. (6) Anything but static, Lucas glides back and forth like a high-end emollient along the treasure-trails of transnational interests and identifications. And he makes no bones about his opportunism. Shortly after the release of Men of Israel, Lucas confided to a reporter his sense that “Israeli citizenship will enable him to keep working in Israel without interference.” (7) Since then, Lucas has proven himself right, not only with the follow-up DVD Inside Israel (2009), but also, most recently, by organising group tours of Israel, designed chiefly for gay Jewish men, for many of whom the fantasy of a promised land is powerfully compounded by sexual as well as religious or ethnic identifications. (8)

Historically, of course, Jewish migration has been far more often forced than voluntary. And this is one of the reasons why the liberality of Israel’s Law of Return is still held by many to make moral as well as demographic sense. Since its enactment in 1950 (and its further liberalisation in 1970), the law has functioned not only practically, to encourage immigration to a country where Jewish population growth is a high strategic priority, but also symbolically, to counteract the impression of permanent homelessness reinforced by millennia of expulsion and exile.

Yet attraction to Israel’s symbolic importance as the Jewish homeland is of course also often at odds with the dismay and despair over Israeli state action and policy. For some, exercising their right of return may intensify the discordance of affiliations and sympathies with multiple diasporas. For others, the dream of return may ironically be sustained, as a dream, by rejecting the option of an actual return, with its more direct implication in state-related politics and war-making.

Men of Israel is both a documentary narrative of Jewish Israeli identity-formation and a powerful fantasy of welcome and belonging in which state action is almost entirely displaced, or reduced to mere symbols: billowing Israeli flags, military dog-tags, and golden Star-of-David necklaces. The few encounters with authority are played for laughs. For example, in the making-of featurette, Lucas’s cinematographer displays the contents of one of her suitcases—several very large dildos, a massive vibrator, a set of Ben Wa balls, hundreds of condoms—and she and Lucas joke about how things must have appeared to the Israeli security agents who searched her suitcase at the airport. Lucas picks up the vibrator and wields it like a truncheon, observing that, yes, they would want to check it out, but that, ultimately, “Israeli security does not care about your sexual things.” The authority of the state is not confronted—there is no occasion for confrontation, Lucas implies, in this “tiny island of democracy and Western values.” Instead, the authority of the state is incorporated as a quasi-military fetish.

Like some recent work by Israeli photographers Adi Nes and Kobi Israel, Lucas’s film is a highly self-conscious, homoerotic stylisation of a particular image of Jewish masculinity: that of the Israeli soldier. Lucas openly supports the Israeli army both morally and financially, (9) and the actors in his film all look like they could be on furlough from checkpoint duty with the IDF—as, indeed, they could very well be, because military service is compulsory for all non-Arab Israeli citizens, and because homosexuals have been able to serve openly in the military since 1993. This is manhood portrayed simultaneously as a fulfillment of machismo and as a subversion of male heterosexual privilege. Consequently, Lucas is seen by some as having helped further to rescue the Jewish male body from the age-old stigmata of weakness, degeneracy, disease, shame, and effeminacy, while others see him as the man The New Republic magazine called “gay porn’s Neocon kingpin”—a purveyor of anti-feminine stereotypes and a dupe for militaristic Zionism. (10) Some have even gone so far as to link Lucas’s vehement advocacy of safe sex with a kind of vestigial Zionist loathing of diseased and degenerate Jews.

But Lucas’s overt hostility is largely reserved for Palestinians and their gay supporters. In Israeli director Eytan Fox’s 2006 film, The Bubble, a Jewish Israeli reserve soldier from Tel Aviv and a young Palestinian man from Nablus fall in love and pursue, through the film’s melodramatic, Romeo-and-Juliet machinery, a foredoomed bliss, which culminates in Fox’s highly stylised depiction of the suicide bombing in which they die together. The Bubble was a big hit: the winner of numerous festival prizes around the world, it was also nominated for three Israeli Academy Awards. Michael Lucas found it infuriating. He was by no means alone, but his reaction was characteristically vehement and well publicised, and it turned specifically on his perception of the film’s alignment of Palestinian terrorism, romantic pathos, and a logic of despair. He insisted that the film was treasonous and suggested that its Israeli makers be jailed accordingly. (11)

More recently, Lucas has directed his rage at a San-Francisco-based activist group called QUIT, which stands for “Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism,” and marches under the slogan “Queers for Palestine.” In October 2009, Lucas penned an editorial for the American gay news magazine, The Advocate, in which, in his blunt and often benighted way, he tried to point out what are, of course, real disparities between Israeli state policy on gay matters and conditions in Gaza and the West Bank. (12) The clash between Lucas and the members of QUIT, whose Web site contains some pretty benighted rhetoric of its own, may well be a kind of mise-en-abyme of self-loathing. It’s certainly a grotesque caricature of what could be a serious response—whether in genres pornographic, fictional, documentary, or whatever—to a situation that calls out for help and understanding: specifically, the plight of shifting, incommensurate affiliations and sympathies among Jews, Arabs, and queers.

This is painful and confusing terrain for any kind of cinema, not least because the business of cinema itself tends to wreak havoc with discrete, fixed concepts of homeland and diaspora. The 1996 film Chronicle of a Disappearance, for example, was directed by Elia Suleiman, a Nazareth-born Palestinian Israeli, who spent much of his early career as a filmmaker living in New York, before moving to Jerusalem to take up a teaching post at a university in the West Bank, while continuing to make films. In Chronicle of a Disappearance, Suleiman plays the role of himself: a Palestinian director returning to his homeland, after twelve years in New York, to make more films about the Palestinian experience. Chronicle is not a documentary, but a loosely linked sequence of vignettes and sketches, some of them quite surreal, about the absurdities and dislocations of life under occupation. It has elements of travelogue: Suleiman journeys at various points in the film from Nazareth to Galilee, to Tel Aviv, and to Jerusalem, but without the evident confidence to possess or even define Palestinian space cinematically as a stable, knowable thing. It’s a film about Palestine, and it’s a Palestinian film, but its producers were chiefly Western and Israeli, and this is one of the reasons why one of the late-20th-century’s most important Palestinian films was subjected to an Arab boycott and its director vilified as a collaborator. Suleiman was met with accusations of treason, in something of the same way that Eytan Fox was accused of treason by Michael Lucas—that is, for seeking to destabilise their respective audiences’ fantasies of national-tribalist unity and claims of regional priority. (13)

There are many ways in which Chronicle of a Disappearance—and Palestinian cinema generally—may resonate with other experiences of diaspora, even including queer diaspora, despite the obvious absence of well developed, positive portrayals of homosexuality in Palestinian cinema. But that absence is just one sign among many of the limits of analogy. Groups like San Francisco’s QUIT are not exactly wrong to point out the irony of gay Westerners flocking to Israel’s gay-friendly tourist destinations, while that same gay-positive Israeli government makes war on displaced and degraded others. Nor is Michael Lucas exactly wrong to point out the irony of gay Westerners calling for boycotts on Israeli tourism in solidarity with a Palestinian cause in which gay rights are anathema. And yet the dialectical embrace of these shrill enemies doesn’t do anything seriously to question the basis of the analogy “whereby the persecution of Palestinians by Israel is [understood to be] ‘like’ Palestinian persecution of queers”—an analogy that, as Jasbir Puar writes, does “a tremendous disservice to the incommensurate predicaments at stake and refuses any possible linkages between the two, indeed refuses that one form of oppression might sustain or even create the conditions of possibility for the other.” (14)

Few people could have a better appreciation of Puar’s point than the hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinian homosexuals from Gaza and the West Bank who have found a precarious place in one kind of queer diaspora by illegally emigrating to Israel. Their stories proliferated in the Western press throughout the Second Intifada, when any accounts of the Palestinian Authority’s persecution of its own people were easy to incorporate into pro-Israeli polemic. Not that the persecution wasn’t real, and not that it only began with the Second Intifada—but the plight of Palestinian homosexuals suddenly seemed a lot more sympathetic and newsworthy to Reuters and the BBC and the New Republic and the Cleveland Jewish News after the events of September 2000. (15) And it was the rare observer who openly drew any sort of connection between the brutality of the Israeli occupation and the escalation of domestic violence, including anti-gay violence, in Gaza and the West Bank. Moreover, all of this dubiously motivated sympathy for Palestinian homosexuals certainly didn’t prevent the Israeli government from stepping up its efforts to deport gay Palestinian refugees who had entered and had been living in Israel illegally—many of them for years, numbers of them working out of necessity as prostitutes. (16)

This necessity was largely the result of radically reduced employment options for Palestinians, both in Israel and in the occupied territories themselves, after 2000. Palestinian homosexuals pursuing sexual freedom as well as employment in Israel ended up, many of them, discovering not only a new kind of sexual servitude, but also a further diasporic displacement. If the conservative version of the Palestinian diasporic imaginary is a retrospective longing for an idealised Palestine before the Nakba, the “catastrophe” of 1948, the queer Palestinian diasporic imaginary is a retrospective on contradiction and ambivalence and the “violence of multiple uprootings, displacements, and exiles” (17)—a diasporic subjectivity that remembers and continues to experience anew its own violent displacement from the center of the Palestinian homeland idyll. And not only that, but also its further violent displacement from the sentimentalised gay homeland of modern Tel Aviv, so unctuously celebrated in Lucas’s Men of Israel.

One sees a very different Tel Aviv in Garden (Adi Barash and Ruthie Shatz, 2003). In a strict etymological sense, it’s a truer “pornography” (porne prostitute + graphein to write) than Lucas’s Men of Israel, because it’s a documentary about prostitution—specifically, Arab male prostitution in what was until recently a very seedy section of Tel Aviv known as the Gan, or Garden, which gives the film its name. It is a garden into which the curse of labor has already been introduced—and thus a reminder that what pornography depicts and reproduces isn’t just the subjectivity of sexual pleasure but also the objectivity of work and frequent economic exploitation, a reminder of the dependence of consumerist pleasure on what is—whether enacted aboveground or underground—the violence of the commodity system. It makes for a provocative juxtaposition with Lucas’s very different pornographic strategy for displacing the eroticism of violence.

The makers of Garden spent a year documenting the lives of two young prostitutes: one, Nino, is a Palestinian living illegally in Israel; the other, Dudu, is an Arab Israeli. In one of the film’s finest sequences, we see Nino with his mattress, which he refers to as his “kingdom,” on the move between an illegal squat and an empty apartment owned by a john who has offered him shelter in exchange for sex. As he wrestles his mattress-kingdom through the streets, Nino tells his migration story, which culminates in the display of hideous scars on Nino’s body and on that of an unnamed Arab friend.

The display of tortured bodies here is highly overdetermined. It creates the opportunity for both sympathy and outrage; it links the violence of occupation to the vulnerability of adolescent sexuality; it presents the scarified skin of victimised Arab male bodies as an inscription of both Arab and Israeli brutality; it reveals the suffering caused by homophobia while also evoking the homoerotic pathos of the pierced and penetrated boyish icon; it makes for an occasion of physical intimacy between two young men, while also pointing up the limits of comradeship under duress. One could go on, further characterising the excess of context upon which the power of the scene depends and that distinguishes it so dramatically from anything one could reasonably hope to find in Michael Lucas’s very different sort of migration story.

I began this essay by highlighting Men of Israel as an notable instance of pornography embracing, rather than effacing, its political context. And indeed it seems to be this embrace of context that has made the DVD both a sensational news item and a commercial hit. It certainly makes it a fascinating and distinctive artifact of mass circulation pornography. But Lucas does draw strict limits in order not to pose too steep a challenge to his viewers’ erotic comfort. His ambition here is to make an Israeli Big Guns (William Higgins, 1987), not an Israeli Salò (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975)

So, naturally, the scenes he stages bear no trace of Palestinian homosexuals being deported from Israel back to the occupied territories, only to be beaten or killed by their own families. No trace of Palestinian homosexuals being tortured, first by Israeli police then by Palestinian police, or forced by both sides to work as informants against other gay people. No trace of Shin Bet, the Israeli intelligence agency, bribing and coercing Palestinian homosexuals to work for them as spies as a way of avoiding deportation. No trace of exposed Palestinian homosexuals being coerced by Palestinian militants to carry out suicide bombings inside Israel in atonement for being gay. No trace of the fierce opposition from religious Jews and other Jewish and Arab Israelis, to the 2006 Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade. No trace of the stabbing the previous year of three gay parade marchers by an Ultra-Orthodox Jew, or of the murder just last year of two people at a Tel Aviv gay youth center by an unknown gunman.

But for some viewers these obscenities will do their stimulating work off-screen, as the consciously or unconsciously savored “elemental violence which,” as Georges Bataille reminds us, “kindles every manifestation of eroticism.” (18) The explicit militarism of Lucas’s pornographic vision—rock-hard 21st-century Maccabean warriors pounding themselves into bliss—may thus be at its most nakedly compelling, for another kind of viewer, as an unwitting parody of the perpetual violation of being in physical eroticism that the wished-for coherence and continuity of the film’s ethnonationalism is, on a different level, also fighting. The ballistic nature of the sex itself, while quite common in gay porn, may be anxiously prized in this film as a kind of symbolic displacement of the other weaponised bodies that also populate Lucas’s imagination: the Arab suicide bombers that he frequently invokes as synecdoches for the image of Israel in the world’s eye. But the figure he’s put in their place isn’t simply the militarised citizen, the “physically fit citizen-soldier” (19) of conventional Zionist cinema. It’s also a figure, a projection, a very broadly disseminable ideal of the full and welcomed repatriation of the homosexual subject, which is still by and large a fantasy—albeit for some of us a guilty fantasy—no matter where you call home.

This article has been peer reviewed

Endnotes

  1. See, for example, Wayne Hoffman, “Great Exxxpectations: Israeli Studs Make a New Kind of Porno,” Tablet, July 21, 2009, http://www.tabletmag.com/life-and-religion/10955/great-exxxpectations/ (accessed May 7, 2010); Patrick Goldstein, “ ‘Men of Israel’: The New Box-Office Stud?” Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2009, http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/the_big_picture/2009/07/men-of-israel-the-new-box-office-hottie.html (accessed May 7, 2010); Michael Kaminer, “Can Gay Porn Save Israel’s Image?” Haaretz, 22 September 2009, http://www.haaretz.com/news/can-gay-porn-save-israel-s-image-1.7471 (accessed May 7, 2010); David A. Graham, “Gay=Porn Mogul Hopes to Arouse Interest in Israel,” Newsweek, September 23, 2009, http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/wealthofnations/archive/2009/09/23/gay-porn-mogul-hopes-to-arouse-interest-in-israel.aspx (accessed May 7, 2010); David Kaufman “Battle of the Gay Israel Trips: It’s Holy War!” New York Observer, 26 March 2010, http://www.observer.com/2010/daily-transom/battle-gay-israel-trips-its-holy-war# (accessed May 7, 2010); and Yaniv Halily, “IDF Soldiers New Attraction for Gay Tourists,” Ynetnews.com, April 9, 2010, http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3871457,00.html (accessed May 7, 2010).
  2. Michael Kaminer, “Pornographic Stimulus Plan,” Forward, September 25, 2009, http://www.forward.com/articles/114183/ (accessed May 7, 2010).
  3. http://menofisraelxxx.com/ (accessed May 7, 2010).
  4. The performers at Parpar1.com are mostly straight but include Arab and Jewish gay men as well, in scenes of “No more war just fucking.” Indeed, the entire site operates under the banner (unfurled in an intro video clip that automatically plays when the homepage opens) of the sixties slogan “Make Love Not War.” This may seem like little more than nostalgia for the naïve dream of a non-commoditised radical politics, until one is reminded of the extent to which gay Jewish filmmakers, including mainstream directors like Eytan Fox, depend upon the strict ethnic circumscription of homoeroticism in their representations of gay Israeli soldiers.
  5. See Kaminer, “Pornographic”; James Kirchick, “Hard Right: Gay Porn’s Neocon Kingpin,” The New Republic, March 26, 2008, 18-20; William Van Meter, “The Lion of Chelsea,” New York Magazine, October 22, 2006, http://nymag.com/movies/features/23146/ (accessed May 7, 2010).
  6. Alex Weingrod and André Levy, “Paradoxes of Homecoming: The Jews and Their Diasporas,” Anthropological Quarterly 79.4 (2006), 694.
  7. Michael Kaminer, “Pornographic.”
  8. See “Michael Lucas Wants to Take You to the Promised Land,” The Advocate, April 2010, 43.
  9. Halily, “IDF Soldiers New Attraction for Gay Tourists.”
  10. James Kirchick, “Hard Right.”
  11. http://menofisraelxxx.com/index.php/reviews/gogay-co-il-translation/ (accessed May 7, 2010). For the original posting in Hebrew, see http://www.gogay.co.il/content/article.asp?id=8218 (accessed May 7, 2010).
  12. Michael Lucas, “Queers for Palestine?” The Advocate, October 5, 2009, http://www.advocate.com/Politics/Commentary/Michael_Lucas_on_Queers_for_Palestine_/ (accessed May 7, 2010).
  13. Nurith Gertz and George Khleifi, Palestinian Cinema: Landscape, Trauma, and Memory (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 41-42.
  14. Jasbir K. Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007), 17.
  15. See Yossi Klein Halevi, “Refugee Status,” The New Republic August 19 and 26, 2002, 12-14; Dan Williams, “Palestinian Gay Runaways Survive in Israeli Street,” Reuters, September 17, 2003, http://www.sodomylaws.org/world/palestine/psnews003.htm (accessed May 7, 2010); Dan Baron, “Palestinian gays seek safety in Israel,” Cleveland Jewish News, January 15, 2004.
  16. See Charity Crouse, “Out and Down and Living in Israel,” Gay and Lesbian Review 0.3 (2003), 24-26.
  17. Gayatri Gopinath, Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005), 4.
  18. Georges Bataille, Erotism: Death and Sensuality, trans. Mary Dalwood (San Francisco: City Lights, 1986), 16.
  19. Puar, Terrorist Assemblages, 157.

About The Author

Max Cavitch is Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of American Elegy: The Poetry of Mourning from the Puritans to Whitman (2007) and of articles on a variety of topics in literature and film, including a recent essay in Screen on sexuality and grief in the work of director François Ozon.