Prometheus and Santorum’s war on sexuality(s)

ADDENDUM: Please see Mark Auslander’s recent post on Prometheus! To his, I would add this: not only is the film about white-ness as the antithesis of the gooey sex, but also about a technological crisis of the body. At a moment when the body is being rendered obsolete by its numerous technological extensions in a strange McLuhan-esque eschatology, discourses like that of AIDS (the focus of Dyer’s analysis of Alien) simultaneously racialize that sexuality and provide for a final hurrah of investing the body with meaning. The prevalence of body panics around sexuality — AIDS discourse marks an opposition between sexually active Black male bodies and promiscuous women, leaving the body of white men absent as per usual — masks the disappearance of the body, which masks the disappearance of the social if we follow the moral panics of ‘those kids and their damn cell phones.’ I think that is what makes Prometheus such a fascinating cultural text!


Today, I found a new structural homology as I was reading Dyer’s final chapter on White Death in his book _White_ – a book that argues, among other things, that sexuality is the ultimate un-white thing white people do, and the denial of its ‘dark force’ (yes, racial metaphor) and the resulting agony is the ultimate marker of white male identity. Dyer argues that

The horror at reproduction [in Aliens] is not just… male paranoiac recoil in the film’s undoubtedly ‘monstrous-feminine’ imagery of engulfment, dripping secretions, gaping holes and nauseating ejections. It is a specifically white, aghast perception of the unstoppable breeding of non-whites, that deep-seated suspicion that non-whites are beter at sex and reproduction than are whites, that, indeed, to be truly white and reproductively efficient are mutually incompatible and that, as a result, whites are going to be swamped and engulfed by the non-white multitudes (216).

The most common aetiology of AIDS in the popular imagination combines uncotrolled African heterosexual appetite with the ne plus ultra of white sexual decadence, namely queers: excessive reproductive drive wreaking havoc on the white world by using its most perversely non-reproductive members. This is the deliriously bleak vision of Aliens world. (216-217).

Little surprise we see the release of Ridley Scott’s _Prometheus_ at the same time that Rick Santorum has waged a reproductive war on women, a hate-filled war on LGBTQ rights, and a racist anti-welfare war on poor peoples of color.



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