I insist on the forgetting as much as on the wolves and the genelycology because what we should not stint on here [foire l’iconomie de] is the economy of forgetting as repression, and some logic of the political unconscious which busies itself around all these proliferating productions and all these chasings after, panting after so many animal monsters, fantastic beasts, chimeras, and centaurs that the point, in chasing them, is to cause them to flee, to forget them, repress them, of course, but also (and it is not simply the contrary), on the contrary, to capture them, domesticate them, humanize them, anthropomorphize them, tame them, cultivate them, park them, which is possible only by animalizing man and letting so many symptoms show up on the surface of political and politological discourse.
by Jack Halberstam. Please have the accessibility coordinator at your school fill out this form.
Indeed, queerness limns Where the Wild Things Are and resides within the implicit critique of the family and in the marginalized spaces to which the wild things have been banished. The wild is not heaven, hell, or anything in between; the wild is the space that the child and adult share in their antipathy to one another.
Like an embodiment of the amoral, the wild things stand in opposition to what Nietzsche calls the “disgrace” of the domesticated human who must use morality and clichés to cover over their true feelings of anger, outrage, disappointment, and fear. presenting. Sendak refused the sentimentality that shrouds so much of children’s literature and offered his small antiheroes up to the darkness, to the monsters, to the wild. They are wild, they are angry, and they will not be tamed. Some forty years after its original publication, Sendak’s beloved book was turned into a film of the same name by Spike Jonze (2009). Coming from a longtime scholar of sexuality, the animal, desire, and anarchy, Jack Halberstam's, "[A] creative, discipline-smashing study exploring the human attraction to 'the wild.' Sendak’s Jewishness also played a role in his conjuring of the wild.
Rather the wild is the un/place where the people who are left outside of domesticity reside — small children, animals, and ruined adults, an anticommunity of wildness. The grotesque figures that make up the world of the wild, and the anger that propels the small protagonist to join them, along with the implication that there are worlds of rejected people just beyond the space of the domestic, go some way toward identifying both the disturbing quality of the book and the queerness that underlines its narrative.
Wild Things. Sendak introduces us to world threatened by a catastrophic conflict between mother and child, burdened by the phallic power of the absent father, and soaking in the child’s inevitable encounter with rejection and departure. Finally, the decision to use puppets rather than animate the wild things surely contributed to the film’s conjuring of a level of discomfort for the viewer. And, a critic for Publisher’s Weekly worried that “the plan and technique of the illustrations are superb. And so, in the story, the wild is a shifting landscape that depends on an odd geometry of human, child, and animal arrangements. Max, meanwhile, after a day of being bad and all dressed up in his wolf suit, inspires his mother’s wrath. In Where the Wild Things Are, a beautiful and seductive story of childhood rebellion and exploration, the child-animal-wild continuum names a set of relations that cordon off the home from the world, that situate love alongside violence, and that link mobility to freedom and sequestering to ruination. Max’s status, in his wolf costume, as half boy – half animal, as partially wild, confirms the unsettled arrangement of desire and embodiment that might constitute the precondition for queerness. “How does one learn about wildness?
Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire. © 2020 Duke University Press. All rights reserved.
“Where can the wild take you?
Lesbianism. Jack Halberstam. And let’s not forget the wolves. In one domestic space, the home, the child performs wildness in response to an adult; and in the realm of the wild things, Max presides over the wild things who threaten, in response, to eat him up.
Sendak, who died in 2012 at the age of eighty-three, was the child of Jewish-Polish immigrant parents who moved to Brooklyn in the 1920s; he was also gay.
Wildness, in this book, sometimes functions as a synonym for queerness, but at other times it names a mode of being that lies outside of the systems of classification that nest human bodies into clear and nonoverlapping categories.
Reprinted with permission from Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire by Jack Halberstam, published by Duke University Press (footnotes omitted). For a start, the puppet heads worn by the puppeteers in the film, and created by the Jim Hensen Company of Muppets fame, were literally too heavy and required some careful balancing by the puppeteers who wore them.
The Nietzschean “things” that Max meets are wild because they can never go home, because they no longer believe in the falsehoods of family and community, and because they refuse to disguise their wildness, their ruination, and their place in a violent order of things.
They would visit his house in Brooklyn when he was growing up (‘All crazy — crazy faces and wild eyes’) and pinch his cheeks until they were red.
The connection between Max and these survivors is their unvarnished view of the world, their understanding that the world is brutal and violent and that it will eat you if you do not threaten to eat it. -- Provided by publisher.
Where the Wild Things Are.
The “thing” in “wild things” surely distances being from subjecthood and conveys an object like status to the bodies of those who are ruled and rejected. with an electronic file for alternative access. But more than this, horrorism is violence that issues from the very people and institutions that claim to protect.