Contamination (#9): the immigrant, the clone, the porn star etc

by on Jun.13, 2011

I’m reading WJT Mitchell’s book on the War on Terror, and specifically the Abu Ghraib photographs. In the book he views those photos as a kind of coming-together of the war on terror and the war on cloning, which was the Republicans favorite cause (do you remember?) before 9/11 gave them enough cause to start invading nations etc. Anyway, here’s a great paragraph about the kind of anxiety that I was trying to define when I was talking about my idea of the immigrant as kitsch and why the immigrant seems to pose a threat, as well as connecting it to a number of other figures of similar “counterfeit” character:

“… It would be reassuring if Dolly the Sheep was a wolf in shee’s clothing. The idea of a sheep in sheep’s clothing is more disturbing, but why? Is this the lamb of god? Or an imposter? Doesn’t the Antichrist come as the double or clone of the true Christ? The fear of difference, of the stranger, the monster, the alien is what might be called a “rational” fear, or at the very least, a fear that has a determinate object or image. The racial or gendered other is (with the notable exception of homosexuality, wo twhich we will return) visibly marked as different and distinguishable. But the true terror arises when the different arrives masquerading as the same, threatening all differentiation and identification. The logic of identity itself is put in question by the clone.” (34)

Later on he does return to homosexuality, specifically the first gay porn star, whose artist name was actually “The Clone.”

It’s true. There he is.

1 comment for this entry:
  1. Adam Henne

    In the book he views those photos as a kind of coming-together of the war on terror and the war on cloning
    Doing a Lynndie” is relevant here, somehow, I’m sure.