THE WEIGHT OF QUEER EMPTINESS: The Politician and Twenty-First-Century Queerness

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Critics have described The Politician as “the Rosetta stone we need for [Ryan Murphy’s] work.” Indeed, the show’s aesthetic, themes, and sensibility bring together much of what Murphy is known for in television. In particular, the show’s use of queer identities and queerness is emblematic of his commentary on cultural life in the twenty-first century. Since The Politician’s release in 2019, reviews have been mixed on the effectiveness of the show’s commentary on politics and queerness. One common observation made by critics is that the show represents a certain “emptiness.” As a point of convergence emptiness stands for something that should be there but that is not. Emptiness is, though, never empty; rather than a vacuum, there is in fact meaningful space. What fills out and gives weight to this space, to The Politician’s queer emptiness is the show’s contrasting uses of LGBTQ+ identities (where sexual and gender identities define an individual) and post-queer lives (where identities are unremarked and irrelevant to one’s life) that occur at the intersections of authenticity, politics, and social class.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRyan Murphy’s Queer America
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781000575026
ISBN (Print)9780367772291
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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