Sunday, 8 July 2007

The construction of Thailand as a post-oedipal playground of transsexual kitsch

Read in combination, I believe the above pieces lay a pretty firm foundation for further research into the possible extent of the links between internet pornography, sex tourism, transgenderism/orientalism/posthumanism. Surely there have to be wider sociocultural factors at play than the pragmatic opportunism of some [male] sex tourists to Thailand seeking episodic encounters with kathoeys? i.e. something beyond having ready access to sex with little fear of complications such as expectations of marriage or children. Another aspect, less obvious, at least as presented in the above articles (although the novel "Platform" could easily have slotted into the piece), is the possible influence of the Orientalism I've listed as part of this syndrome. This seems to relate to the cliched simple equation: strong state + weak society = Asian country. Its effect may be a belief that life is less sacrosanct, and at this point, the boundaries between "naturalism" and "posthuman" sexuality are left to deconstruct themselves as the production of desire becomes indistinguishable from the productivist ethos of capitalism itself, and, indeed, of an artefactual "third sex", "clones", not subject to 'natural' laws of reproduction . As these are only thoughts in progress though, I close with a quotation along some of these lines from Robert Young's "Colonial Desire", when he critically foregrounds the significance of the orientalism featured in the writings of De Quincey.
By extension, sex tourism is thus constructed as a form of "desiring machine":

"the 'Orient is a workshop of peoples, better than the slave warehouse it is a factory where people are made, a vast machine of endless self-reproduction, of luxuriant or virulent productivity, of unlimited, ungovernable fertility'....Colonialism was a machine: a machine of war, of bureaucracy and administration, and above all, of power. But it was also a machine of fantasy, and of desire...This desiring machine, with its unlimited appetite for territorial expansion, for endless growth and self-reproduction, for making connections and disjunctions, continuously forced disparate territories, histories and peoples to be thrust together like foreign bodies in the night. In that sense it was itself the instrument that produced its own darkest fantasy - the unlimited and ungovernable fertility of 'unnatural' unions".

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