In the 2003 concert Cho Revolution, Korean American stand-up comedian Margaret Cho mounts a critique of US empire that focuses on the Asian sex worker as logistical support for the military troops of commodity capitalism. Combining a science and technology studies approach and a performance and literary studies method attentive to bodily rhetorics and patterns evident in assembled structures, I theorize Cho's praxis of peristaltic feminism. Inciting rhythmic waves of (commercial) terrorism that first register below the belt as belly-shaking laughter, the felt actions of the viscera intrude into the cognitive registers where apparent rationality does not rule as much as imperialist disavowal and contradiction. In short, Cho's lobbed pussy shout-outs wash over her audience like a peristaltic wave. This essay draws out the value of a peristaltic feminism for a queer critical racial studies project precisely through its roundabout technique — its refusing the straight path going directly to the point. As part of an ongoing development in embodiment studies to resituate the biological sciences as a resource for feminist and queer thinking, this essay further reflects on critical habits that implicitly prefer interpretive frameworks modeled on the machinic and defensive rather than on the organismal, connective, and miscegenated.
1 October 2014
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Rachel Lee; Pussy Ballistics and the Queer Appeal of Peristalsis, or Belly Dancing with Margaret Cho. GLQ 1 October 2014; 20 (4): 491–520. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-2721357
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