Maybe I’m the dumb one for not understanding what this lecture was supposed to be about. The description on the University of Texas at Austin’s website says:
In the wake of renewed attacks on Muslim and Muslim-adjacent communities, the hijab and turban continue to be enveloped as important material objects in the racialization of Muslim and Sikh bodies.
Okay, so far I think I understand. The sight of turbans and hijabs triggers racists (religionists?).
Analyzing contemporary visual culture as both testament and counter-archive to a geopolitical project of Islamophobia, “Sacred Wear, Endless War” moves to both assemble and update how we apprehend these unsettling figures.
Not sure what visual culture is, but I could certainly make something up that would likely be pretty accurate. That’s basically how I did so well earning my sociology degree in college way back in 2011. But I never did get around to taking a gender studies class.
Never-the-less, I think I can tap into my inner intelligentsia to interpret this. The professor wants to take stock of how people use visual cues to fuel their Islamaphobia. And apparently what she has found has unsettled her.
Comparative in scope, this talk looks at the racial, gendered, and queer configurations that the religious symbols and objects of hijab and turban provide.
Aaaand they lost me. What the hell is a racial, gendered, and queer configuration have to do with turbans and hijabs? Perhaps I would know if I went to the talk–or could find it on youtube. But I suspect that the lecture consisted of similar lunacy masked by an intelligent sounding–but incomprehensible–mashup of words.
It costs $35,000 a year for out of state students to attend the University of Texas at Austin.
I’m sure some people go there and devote themselves to engineering or pre-med.
But why on earth would you waste that kind of money on this garbage? Where does that get you? Does analyzing queer turbans pay well these days? Can understanding the gendered configuration of the hijab provide value to someone?
Look, if this professor wants to give a talk about how some people respond to visual cues like turbans and hijabs, fine. But why can’t she just say that in plain English? Does speaking in academic code add value, or is it a way of signaling intelligence, whether or not she actually has any?
This is how the intelligentsia operates when what they have to say is really not compelling, novel, or insightful. Often they have nothing to add but need to stay relevant, and this is what you get.
You also get outlandish theories that seem intended to shock rather than add a useful perspective to a conversation.
Was Jesus a Drag King?
But that hasn’t stopped the chair of New Testament Studies at Holy Cross, a Catholic University, from claiming so, and other nonsense. In Professor Liew’s essay Queering Closets and Perverting Desires: Cross-Examining John’s Engendering and Transgendering Word across Different Worlds, he writes:
If one follows the trajectory of the Wisdom/Word or Sophia/Jesus (con)figuration, what we have in John’s Jesus is not only a “king of Israel” (1:49; 12:13– 15) or “king of the [Jews]” (18:33, 39; 19:3, 14– 15, 19– 22), but also a drag king (6:15; 18:37; 19:12).
…John’s constant references to Jesus wanting water (4:7; 19:28), giving water (6:35), and leaking water (19:34) speak to Jesus’ gender indeterminacy and hence his cross-dressing and other queer desires…9
Or maybe he was thirsty. Oh silly me, how could I be so uncultured!? It takes a real academic to read between the lines of the Bible and find Jesus’ queer desires.
We have to rewrite history to include trans-religious leaders and insert erotic fantasies into a martyr’s execution.
…when Jesus’ body is being penetrated, his thoughts are on his Father. He is, in other words, imagining his passion experience as a (masochistic?) sexual relation with his own Father.11
Not sure which Bible Professor Liew is reading… but something tells me his interpretation has more to do with what is going on in his own head than what was written in the Bible.
The professor notes that he is not suggesting Jesus was actually a woman. He is more suggesting that Jesus was gender-fluid, or something.
Liew relies on indulgent readings of the text, where he seems to fill in a lot of information that is simply not there. For instance, he suggests the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant was actually a pederast with a boy sex slave. The evidence:
The centurion’s rhetoric about not being ‘worthy’ of a house visit by Jesus (8:8) may be the centurion’s way of avoiding an anticipated ‘usurpation’ of his current boylove on the part of his new patron…
What other explanation could there be? Besides the obvious fact that a Roman soldier was seeking spiritual healing from a political dissident…
If you want to really delve into the science and history of who Jesus was, fine. But this professor is simply throwing out suggestions based on a few random words in the Bible here and there. In short, he is making stuff up.
Why does everything have to be queered or read in the light of gender indeterminacy? These perspectives are largely irrelevant to most topics. But the intelligentsia is not satisfied with inserting these memes into contemporary popular culture. They have to weave them throughout history too.
Holy Cross costs almost $50,000 a year to attend. And Professor Liew teaches the general ed 101 class on the New Testament. So most students will be subjected to his ideas in freshman year.
College is dead. Don’t waste your time or money. They aren’t training people for careers, they aren’t even imparting a critical and scholarly view of the world. They are speaking nonsense and passing it off as academic.
This leaves students worse than unprepared. It warps their expectations for real life.