Chapter 3 The Cunning Linguist of Agbabi's "The Kiss"
I argue that the protagonist of Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” assumes the role of a power bottom for the purpose of delivering audiences who identify with the power-bottom role from shame, which is personified by Satan in the music video. Lil Nas X’s texts, the lyrics plus the video, empower power bottoms, and in doing so, Lil Nas X defies a long tradition of shaming the receptive male partner—a shame that is rooted in medieval ideologies. Beginning with a close reading, I analyze sexual power dynamics in the song lyrics, then the music video, before explaining how these two modes complement a narrative about sexual liberation from shame, particularly regarding the receptive male partner in sodomitic relationships. Then, compared to medieval constructions of sodomy in Peter Damian’s Liber Gomorrhianus (The Book of Gomorrah) and the Pearl Poet’s Cleanness, “Montero” is identified as a liberatory text that challenges both sexual norms and pervasive ideologies that limit the spiritual and intellectual freedoms of people of color in Western Christian traditions. “Montero” is a medievalism informed by Black Theology and queer activism to present a queer Black power bottom offering salvation from destructive social structures.
KeywordsErotic, Sexualities, BDSM,Middle Ages, Beowulf, Chaucer,Santiago García
ISBN9781032232058, 9781032458748, 9781003278542
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Publication date and place2023