excitable speech: don’t ask, don’t tell

Judith Bulter’s Excitable Speech was a great read over winter break, and I appreciated her understanding of the speech act “I’m gay” in the context of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the nefarious law signed in by Clinton to restrict openly non-heterosexual people from serving in the military (well, if they told anyone they were gay or acted on it).

Last weekend, Bill Clinton defended DODT again, claiming that members of the military “would be free to live their lives; as long as they didn’t go marching in gay rights parades or go to gay bars in uniform… In uniform… and talk about it on duty, they would be all right.” He then claims that it wasn’t until after Powell left that the anti-gay military folks started to insidiously root gay people out.

But what does it mean to be “all right“: Acceptable; agreeable; Correct; Uninjured; safe. How do we constitute bodies as “all right,” as “acceptable,” as “correct”?

“Free to live their lives…” with qualifications. I’m reminded of Derrida’s disdain for “tolerance” and “charity”…

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One Response to excitable speech: don’t ask, don’t tell

  1. joanna says:

    If you are being told by someone else how to be, then how can you ever clai to be free and autonomous? DADT is ridiculous.

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