A Killjoy Manifesto
A manifesto: a statement of principle, a mission statement. Manifesto: a dec-
laration of the intent of an individual or organization or group. How can one
write a manifesto around a figure, the killjoy, or an activity, killing joy?
A manifesto: to make manifest. Moynan King in her discussion of Val-
erie Solanas’s scum Manifesto addresses this sense of a manifesto as making
manifest. She writes, “As a manifesto, scum’s intention is to make manifest,
to render perceptible, a new order of ideas” (King 2013, n.p.). To render a new
order of ideas perceptible is simultaneously a disordering of ideas; manifestos
often enact what they call for in surprising and shocking ways given how they
expose the violence of an order. A feminist manifesto exposes the violence of
a patriarchal order, the violence of what I called in chapter 2 “the machinery
A manifesto not only causes a disturbance, it aims to cause this disturbance.
To make something manifest can be enough to cause a disturbance. This in-
timacy between manifestation and disturbance has implications for how we
write a killjoy manifesto. A killjoy manifesto must be grounded in an account
of what exists. Why is this important? It is about what we come up against.
Some of the worst abuses of power I have encountered in the academy have
been when individuals make use of an equality principle, as if to say, boundar-
ies and rules are about hierarchy, so we are “free to do what we want,” whereby
“free to do what we want” really still means “you doing what I want you to do,”
given that the we is made up of an I who has power and a you that is subordi-