"COURTNEY SHEBER IS AMERICA'S HOTTEST COLLEGE GIRL," the website Tempe12 declares boldly. But is she? A careful reading of the 19-photo gallery reveals not just the failure of language at the horizon of desire, but the destabilizing nature of desire itself.
How can we talk about desire? In what language can we understand the constitutive lack that gives desire its power? I would argue that "COURTNEY SHEBER IS AMERICA'S HOTTEST COLLEGE GIRL" playfully acknowledges its own inability to communicate through language the motiving force of its own existence: the only text that accompanies the gallery is "Courtney Sheber relaxing poolside in her itty bitty bikini." The unnamed author, understanding the irrationality of his or her desire, cannily refuses to make an argument for Sheber's status as America's hottest college girl. Desire belongs to the realm of faith, not argument, he or she seems to say: if it is describable, it is only tangentially, passingly, as though it were a shadow in one's peripheral vision.
But at the risk of overinterpretation, I wonder too if "COURTNEY SHEBER IS AMERICA'S HOTTEST COLLEGE GIRL" goes even further, subverting the very structures that allow its readers to engage with it in the first place. Appearing on a website intended for heterosexual college-aged men, celebrating their sexuality and the logocentrism that accompanies phallus-worship, "COURTNEY SHEBER IS AMERICA'S HOTTEST COLLEGE GIRL" nevertheless reveals, in its invitation to desire, the so-called "feminine" qualities present in those men: their irrationality, their passion, their capriciousness — and, of course, the void, that most "womanly" of spaces, the vacuum, the lack, the hole that animates desire, that is itself desire, and that, in its tracing of the boundaries of the self, is being entire.
Here, then, is the greatest success of "COURTNEY SHEBER IS AMERICA'S HOTTEST COLLEGE GIRL": it invites heterosexual masculinist desire, but in that very movement it also destabilizes it, opening a space that exists deep within us and uncovering the glorious, destructive weakness that gives life meaning. It is, in my opinion, a masterpiece.