The new junk isn’t just what’s inside the body

Let us dare, then, to make the following hypothesis: the raw materials of today’s production process are excitation, erection, ejaculation, and pleasure and feelings of self-satisfaction, omnipotent control, and total destruction. The real stake of capitalism today is the pharmacopornographic control of subjectivity, whose products are serotonin, techno-blood and blood products, techno-sperm, antibiotics, estradiol, antacids, techno-milk, cortisone, alcohol and tobacco, morphine, insulin, cocaine, living human eggs, citrate of sildenafil (Viagra), and the entire material and virtual complex participating in the production of mental and psychosomatic states of excitation, relaxation and discharge, as well as those of omnipotence and total control.

This extract comes from Testo Junkie: sex, drugs, and biopolitics in the pharmacopornographic age, one that I absolutely endorse, that I couldn’t endorse more fully, and, to give it the most narcissistic & therefore highest compliment possible, which I wish I had written myself. To risk going overboard; this is the re-materialisation of immaterial labour, the re-affirmation of the biophysical basis of the semiosphere and semiocapitalist captures of its semioproductions. This extract is still early in Beatriz Precaido’s book…but should it continue in this vein I think I’ll be writing hymns to it like some write hymns to Das Kapital. Which is to say, I’m finding it very, very exciting.

What constitutes a “real” man or woman in the twenty-first century? Since birth control pills, erectile dysfunction remedies, and factory-made testosterone and estrogen were developed, biology is definitely no longer destiny.
In this penetrating analysis of gender, Beatriz Preciado shows the ways in which the synthesis of hormones since the 1950s has fundamentally changed how gender and sexual identity formulated, and how the pharmaceutical and pornography industries are in the business of creating desire. This riveting continuation of Foucault’s The History of Sexuality also includes Preciado’s diaristic account of her own use of testosterone every day for one year, and it’s mesmerizing impact on her body as well as her imagination.

Beatriz Preciado has become one of the leading thinkers in the study of gender and sexuality. A professor of Political History of the Body, Gender Theory, and History of Performance at Paris VIII, s/he is also the author of Manifiesto contrasexual, which has become a queer theory classic, and Pornotopía: Architecture and Sexuality in Playboy During the Cold War, which has been named a finalist for the Anagrama Essay Prize. S/he teaches political history of the body, gender theory and history of performance at Université Paris VIII and is the director of the Independent Studies Program of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelone.

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