This article postulates the “angry ethnic fag” as a figure of silenced queer of color dissent. Building on the work of artist Justin Chin, it explores how shame elucidates value economies that apprehend specific acts of indignity as having the currency to forward LGBTQ politics while rendering queer of color demands nonsensical. Efforts to recuperate shame often replicate consumption practices that feed on the racial other to nourish an unmarked queer body (politic). Wallowing in the rim of abjection, Chin’s oeuvre centers the queer Asian/American to consider that which circulates around but is not necessarily in the bottom. His essay “Currency” and poem “Lick My Butt” theorize the (peri-)bottom as an ambivalent positioning that taints celebratory claims about the subversive potentiality of bottomhood. Reanimating shame and the erotic through a poetics of sweet pain, Chin’s works show how “eating ass” opens up radical alternative relationalities for queer politics.
Apprehending the “Angry Ethnic Fag”: The Queer (Non) Sense of Shame in Justin Chin’s “Currency” and “Lick My Butt”
Chris A. Eng is assistant professor of English and the Emerson Faculty Fellow at Syracuse University. He is currently completing his book manuscript, “Extravagant Provisions: Constraint and Queer Conviviality in Asian American Camps.” His writings have appeared in such venues as American Quarterly, Journal of Asian American Studies, Lateral, MELUS, and Theatre Journal.
Chris A. Eng; Apprehending the “Angry Ethnic Fag”: The Queer (Non) Sense of Shame in Justin Chin’s “Currency” and “Lick My Butt”. GLQ 1 January 2020; 26 (1): 103–128. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-7929125
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