Browsing: Back to the Future

March – April, 2005

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THE MALE NUDE has been a staple of photography since shortly after the invention of cameras and film over a century and a half ago, although for much of that time it was an underground staple owing to various conservative, sexophobic and homophobic cultural forces unwilling to view it as anything but pornography. …

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All these temporary critics have masters degrees with the exception of Merrill, whose reading was nevertheless extensive enough to make his essays on Cavafy, Dante, Ponge, and Bishop more than exercises in pure appreciation.

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GILGAMESH IS the first significant work of literature in history-not Western history, but all of history-an epic that was first written down (ca. 2100 BCE) over a thousand years before The Iliad and The Odyssey or the Bible. …

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… Gay activist Vladislav Topchev echoed Nahorna’s pessimism. “The presentation of us in the media is to satisfy heterosexual interest. Even if journalists are gay-friendly, information tends to be distorted.” He has heard about physical attacks everywhere in Ukraine. Homophobia is rampant both in the industrial, largely Russian-speaking east, and in the Europe-turning, Catholic west, he told me. “There is no difference in the level of homophobia.” …

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… At any rate, psychologist Tripp did most vigorously barge into the realm of history. What the historians didn’t fully grasp, I think, is that Tripp was barging in with the sex-research perspective front and center. They must have known to some degree, because, after all, Tripp had published Matrix and had worked for Kinsey. …

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FOR THE MILLIONS of Americans, including most gays and lesbians, who awoke on November 3, 2004, aghast to find maps of the United States awash in Bush Red, Thomas Frank offers a witty yet incisive study of how conservatives swept the American heartland. …

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The following is the Preface from the recently published book by C. A. Tripp, The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln (Free Press, 2005).

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DIARIES ARE curious things. They are private records, but when they document the lives of public figures, those divisions become murky. In the case of Anglo-American writer Christopher Isherwood (1904-86), whose diaries exceed a million words-hundreds of thousands of which have already been published-they can be downright damning. …

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IN THE LATE 1930’s, Alfred Kinsey had what he thought was a rather simple idea: given that no one had the slightest idea what people really did and did not do sexually, and given-as he discovered from a questionnaire he distributed to his students-that a lack of simple information about sex was causing massive confusion and heartache, why not do a survey that would provide some hard information about people’s sexual practices? Why not discuss the unmentionable and replace ignorance and myths about sex with information and education?

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AMONG THE WRITERS whose names are associated with the Beat Generation-Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and the rest-perhaps only Paul Bowles is destined to transcend that association and secure his own place as an artist of the late 20th century. …

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