(Call Me By Your Name)
by Lil Nas X
LIL NAS X’s 2021 music video for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” challenges traditional categories. This multitemporal fantasy is divided into three acts representing the biblical book of Genesis, Græco-Roman mythology, and the Harrowing of Hell, retold with a queer, Black protagonist. Identities and spatiotemporal realities overlap, collide, and destabilize, fitting one of the possible meanings of “queer” posited by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick in Tendencies (1993) as “the open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps, dissonances, and resonances, lapses and excesses of meaning when the constituent elements of anyone’s gender, of anyone’s sexuality, aren’t made (or can’t be made) to signify monolithically.” The music video for “Montero” queers time, space, and identities.
Elan Justice Pavlinich is professor of English literature at Wabash College, Indiana.