Let’s as a moral achievement; it was, he

Let’s test a
more difficult position: Genet’s use of his culture’s dominant terms (especially
its ethical and sexual categories) are designed not to rework or to subvert
those terms, but to exploit their potential for erasing cultural relationality
itself (that is, the very preconditions for subversive repositionings and defiant

This erasure
cannot, however, be immediately effected. The process does include certain
reversals, or antithetical reformulations, of given categories. Betrayal, most notably,
instead of producing guilt, is embraced as a moral achievement; it was, he writes
in Funeral Rites, the most difficult step in the “particular ascesis”
that led him to evil (80). But even here the reversal of value obscures the
original term of the reversal, which is lost in what Genet insists, in Prisoner
of Love, is the ecstasy generated by betrayal. Betrayal’s place in an
ethical reflection disappears in the immediacy of an “erotic exaltation,” and
this categoric displacement saves Genet’s attraction to treachery from being
merely a transgressive relation to loyalty.

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For Genet,
homosexuality has to be implicated in betrayal once the latter is erotically
charged. It would be convenient to separate the two (to take the homosexuality without
the betrayal), but this reassuring move would miss Genet’s original and
disturbing notion that homosexuality is congenial to betrayal and, further,
that betrayal gives homosexuality its moral value.

If betrayal
is somehow crucial to the erotic specificity of homosexuality, and if
“incomparable” homosexuality is defined not only as male homosexuality but also
as, possibly, a certain relation of dominance and submission between a man and
a boy, then the moral argument for betrayal risks being dismissed as a perverse
sophistry. It is inferred, one might say, from a highly restrictive erotics,
and the very possibility of making such an inference would be enough to
discredit the sexuality in which it is grounded.