Rather than rejecting, with liberal discourse, the ascription of negativity to the queer, we might, as I argue, do better to consider accepting and even embracing it. Not in the hope of thereby forging some more perfect social order -- such a hope, after all, would only reproduce the constraining mandate of futurism, just as any such order would equally occasion the negativity of the queer -- but rather to refuse the insistence of hope itself as an affirmation, which is always an affirmation of an order whose refusal will register as unthinkable, irresponsible, inhumane. And the trump card of affirmation? Always the question: If not this, what? Always the demand to translate the insistence, the pulsive force, of negativity into some determinative stance or "position" whose determination would thus negate it: always the imperative to immure it in some stable and positive form. (p. 4)Huh?
I don't understand Edelman's take on futurism, affirmation, or hope. I've only just begun the book (spurred into finally reading it by our discussions here) ... but we do a lot of thinking about temporality at ITM, and have never imagined a future so impoverished or constrictive. Look at some of Eileen's earliest posts, about the long future and about encountering the past to think prospectively beyond the present in ways that don't simply re-implant the present at every temporal horizon. Or don't go back so far: look at this recent post by Eileen on the queer and the non-constraining mandate of futurism. It also seems to me that many queer theorists (Liz Grosz, for example) insist upon the necessary openness of the future in ways this paragraph can't acknowledge. I fear what is really being negated here is nuance. And possibly, also, the past.
I'm very early in my reading of No Future, and do have hope (even as I type that word I realize I'm not supposed to use it in relation to this book) that as I read into the argument's future it will open up and breathe a bit. I'll post more as I learn more. I have to add that the overwritten blurb raised a series of tough questions for me as well: Is a "scorching polemic" hot to the touch? Can I warm my coffee on it? What does "radically uncompromising" mean? As opposed to conventionally uncompromising? Conservatively uncompromising? Mildly uncompromising? I also worry about the last sentence of Leo Bersani's book jacket praise of the work: "Edelman's text is so extraordinary powerful that we could perhaps reproach him only for not spelling out the mode in which we might survive our necessary assent to his argument." Is it just me, or does that omission seem to anyone else not an "oops!" but a significant lacuna?