Infinite Swoon

I am obsessed with gazing at this wall of animated GIFs of the VAMPIRE DIARIES’ Steven R. McQueen. It’s like the distillation of everything I find appealing about teenage dramas where everybody looks like airbrushed candy.

I love tumblr because so often, as Kate Zambreno and Kate Durbin have noted, it feels so much like looking at a teenager’s bedroom wall. I love animated GIFs because although tumblr has made them quite contemporary and “relevant,” and at the same time, they are really such an antiquated technology, and I find appealing many things that are anachronistic and kitsch.

What I love about animated GIFS is how they decontextualize and delinearize and make recursive and infinite images from linear narratives. And these Steven R McQueen GIFs are like extra good, because the affect they produce, through the sheer quantity of fetishized Stevens, and through the Stevens’ attention on the viewer — looking back at me over and over and over again — is total swoon.

Infinite, recursive swoon is a neverending state of ecstatic anticipation. The most stimulating and pleasurable experience of unrequited longing. It’s like feeling like a teenager, forever and ever and ever and ever. Like: Someday, my prince will come, but right now, I am already coming. Or I am on the threshold of coming. Or smack dab in the middle of the first shudder. (That never, ever ends).

When I was a teenager, I would look at adult men and wonder whether I wanted to touch them or be them, and now that I am an adult man, I sometimes look at teenagers and wonder the same in reverse.

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