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Carbon Fibre Masculinity, Homosociality, Gendered Surfaces, & Idiot Academics

Written by William M Briggs

Tell you right up front that the only way to be sure of solving the crisis in higher education is to nuke universities from orbit and then salt the grounds once the ashes blow away. See if you don’t agree by the post’s end.

Title of the peer-reviewed paper is “Carbon Fibre Masculinity: Disability and Surfaces of Homosociality” by Anna Hickey-Moody in Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities.  carbon-fiber

By “carbon fibre” she means carbon fiber; actual fibers of carbon. She says, “Contemporary cultural economies of carbon fibre are, in part, a late capitalist (Jameson) technology of hegemonic (or dominant) masculinity”. It takes a man to make carbon fiber.

As a technology of hegemonic masculinity, carbon fibre extends the surfaces of bodies and produces masculinity on and across surfaces, male and female bodies…

I argue that carbon fibre can be a homosocial surface; that is, carbon fibre becomes both a surface extension of the self and a third-party mediator in homosocial relationships, a surface that facilitates intimacy between men in ways that devalue femininity in both male and female bodies.

There is no way to diagnose the magnificent errors here. It would be like trying to explain what is wrong with the proposition (this example is from David Stove) “In some previous state of our existence we knew the number three face-to-face, as it is in itself, and by some kind of union with it.” All one can do is stare, and hope that the proposition holder is not between us and the exit.

Sedgwick’s work shows how intimacy between men is facilitated across human–carbon-fibre-composite assemblages…, a homosocial relationship is an intimate friendship between two (or more) men, which is misogynist and which is based on the disavowal of the possibility of their sexual desire for one another.

Not desiring sodomy is misogynist?

The properties of carbon fibres, such as high stiffness, workable strength, low weight, high chemical resistance, high temperature tolerance and low thermal expansion (Zheng and Feldman), make the material very popular for building spacecraft, military equipment, and motorsports/formula one cars, civil engineering construction and accessories for competition sports…As a late modern phallic signifier, carbon fibre…

Like the many other signifiers of the phallus and the successful realization of male libido that occupy the global capitalist cultural imaginary and shape economies of relation in late capitalism, carbon fibre is the masculine prosthesis of the decade.

One source says, “A carbon fiber is a long, thin strand of material about 0.0002-0.0004 [inches] in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms” so we wonder what kind of men Hickey-Moody has been dating.

In The Logic of Sense Deleuze gives us a theoretical framework for reading surfaces as assemblages of different wholes that articulate together as a surface that makes “sense,” and that makes sex in a redistribution of libidinal desire.

By “surfaces” she means just what you think: surfaces. Thus “The cultural production of surfaces is a sexed and gendered politic that is naturalized and is a way of extending, or growing, sexism.” Also:

Secondly, Deleuze argues that surfaces can articulate redistributed libido, or, as he puts it, bodies can produce certain surfaces as a way of maintaining control of their sexual power; the de-sexualization or the sexualization of surfaces is a way in “which the sexual object is maintained” (Deleuze 274).

Anna Hickey-Moody is—see if you can guess first—“a Lecturer in Gender and Cultural Studies” at the University of Sydney. She is purposely put in front of Australia’s children and allowed to teach among others “GCST2609 – Masculinities“. “By way of introduction to this subject, we will also discuss the fact that men’s lives are very gendered…”

According to Wikipedia, the M-29, a.k.a. the “Davy Crockett“, is “one of the smallest nuclear weapon systems ever built.” Versions of it “weighed about 51 lb (23 kg), with a yield equivalent to somewhere between 10 and 20 tons of TNT.” Which is plenty to take out the University of Sydney. It would be charming to consider the weight of the Crockett’s casing could be reduced if it were re-engineered with carbon fiber.

Read more at wmbriggs.com