Browsing: The Arc of History

March – April, 2009

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“THE MIDDLE WEST is nowhere; an abstract no-where. However earnestly writers proud of being natives of it may endeavor to give it form and character, it remains out of focus, amorphous, and a mystery,” wrote Glenway Wescott in the introductory essay to his collection of stories Goodbye, Wisconsin, originally published in 1928 and recently reissued in a beautiful edition by Borderland Books.

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MORE THAN half of the world’s remaining sodomy laws-laws that criminalize consensual homosexual conduct-are relics of British colonial rule. This is the conclusion of a major study by Human Rights Watch released late last year in a 66-page report titled “This Alien Legacy: …

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In 1873, when French poet Arthur Rimbaud was staying in London with his

more famous lover Paul Verlaine, the spark-striking and strategically

untruthful nineteen-year-old added two years to his age so that he

could pass through a set of doors normally closed to minors. …

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… Skin Lane, set in 1967 London, centers on Mr F, as the book calls him, a 46-year-old man who is a cutter at a furrier’s. His solitary, regimented life is disturbed by a recurring dream of a dead, dark-haired, white-skinned boy hanging in his bathtub.

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PRIOR TO moving to Lebanon, I’d joke with my friends, saying that I was traveling back in time to a world that resembles that of the late 1960’s in North America: a country that lacks openly gay public spaces and where the vast majority of homosexual men are closeted due to a strict patriarchal system. Unlike the Americans in the 60’s, however, these men have on-line chat sites, the most popular of which are Manjam.com and Gaydar.co.uk.

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Harvey Milk was working for an insurance company in New York City

before he became the flamboyant politician portrayed in Gus Van Sant’s

recently released movie, Milk; he lived on the Upper West Side, voted for Goldwater, and loved to go to the opera. …

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IN HIS INTRODUCTION to Big Trips, Raphael Kadushin-a senior editor for the book’s publisher, the University of Wisconsin Press-affirms his hope that the sixteen entries in this anthology will address two unfortunate tendencies in today’s travel writing.

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