Gay Bombs / Sketches / Part 6

6 Managing Output

The State of (the exceptional) Queer

The Gay Bomb hinges upon the queer as non-normative—a queerness that has avoided heteronormative subsumption. Thus, the effectiveness of proliferations of Gay Bombs requires that queerness remain a dynamic non-normativeness of never-being-the-sameness. Any questions regarding the management of output pushes toward the concern: is queerness at a point of total absorption into heteronormativity?

In her discussion of homonationalism, Jasbir Puar writes that queerness cannot fit into a “tiny vessel.”[1] Yet, culture appears to have produced a queerness that bottles itself within this tiny vessel. The queer eye of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy produces a queer visuality—a queer way of looking and being seen—that results in a homonormative perspectivalism. The vessels of Gay Pride parades become tax-deductible expenses for multinationals, where the banner of the company and the rainbow flag exist as one. The collapse of queerness, capitalism, and heteronormativity suggests an emptiness of the word “queer.” This emptying out leaves homonormativity in its place, what Puar defines “as a formation complicit with and incited into the biopolitical valorization of life in its habitation and reproduction of heteronormative norms.”[2] Conversely, a queerness as exceptional—exclusive of homonormativity—risks regulation. Building upon Agamben’s theories of the state of exception, Puar urges that a queerness that locates itself as a cultural exception becomes regulated by power: “Queerness here is the modality through which ‘freedom from norms’ becomes a regulatory queer ideal that demarcates the ideal queer.”[3]

Queer homonormativity, queer exceptionalism—both not mutually exclusive—contest every fiber of queerness. The location of queerness is the position of possibility. That said, where does queerness as dynamic non-normativeness of never-being-the-sameness locate itself? Has the word “queer” emptied out beyond reconstitution? Is the mobilization of the nameless a tactic to embrace? How would this mobilization execute without reducing to sexual difference? Are the localizations of power within technology adequate points of possibility to acquire a form of agency that is not homonormative, that is not sexual exceptionalism?

Is the Gay Bomb a “tiny vessel,” even though it is constructed by a materialism of everything?


The Gay Bomb is a weapon and, while at war, wages the dangers of direct appropriation. Asking if the Gay Bomb’s representation might impode on itself asks what is the violence of the Gay Bomb, how erratic is this violence, and does this violence ultimately defend and create? Hardt and Negri state that “democratic violence can only defend society, not create it.”[4] Looking back toward Alan Liu’s concepts of destructive creativity and viral aesthetics, we must virulently debate the creative possibilities of destruction. If we entertain the idea that the Gay Bomb defends and creates, what does weaponry offer our future?

“We need to create weapons that are not merely destructive but are themselves forms of constituent power.”[5] Perhaps the weapon in times of war returns to a question of use. Yet use seems unable to determine—qualify—the violence of the Gay Bomb, for what is enacted after use—the explosion—is the true risk of potential. Just as the violence of the word queer now defends a homo/hetero-normativity, the violence of the words Gay Bomb promise the risk of a historical violence—a violence of the gay bomb before the Gay Bomb. Once again, that which is nameless returns: are the promises of a weapon that alludes representation by no name fruitful? When Galloway and Thacker describe the defacement of enmity as that which is faceless, would a faceless, nameless weapon offer the most constructive violence, a constructive destruction? As they postulate in “The Politics of Nonexistence,” Galloway and Thacker situate love as that which is nonrepresentable. Shall new weaponry of theSoftQueerBody offer the violence of nonexistence? Not through a negative destruction but a willful rendering to a fundamental deletion of being. A deletion of being that reconstructs society at the fulcrum of never-being-the-sameness. This is a question of love. Instead of The Smiths’ lyric “If it’s not love then it’s the bomb that will bring us together,” the bomb will bring love. Specifically, the Gay Bomb will bring love as a positive nonexistence, deleting representations of the queer face and name, generating new unknown materialities, somewhere between bomb and body.


The final questions: how does the act of bombing network love to theSoftQueerBody? Does a bomb of nonexistence provide the fullest access to queer technical agency and technotopias or are there other tactics of weaponry, beyond nonexistence, that build the components of agency in more democratic ways? Can the tactic of bombing ever be democratic? What is the promise of explosion? What is the threat of annihilation? Will the bomb ultimately destroy everything if we continue to use it and do not push past its history and semiotics? Was the Gay Bomb fundamentally flawed from the beginning, and if so, how much does this matter now?

This manual, meta-Gay Bomb, has now exploded in your hands.

[1] Puar. Terrorist Assemblages, xv.

[2] Ibid., 9.

[3] Ibid., 22.

[4] Hardt and Negri. Multitude, 344.

[5] Ibid., 347.