Browsing: Culture Wars 2.0

September – October, 2009

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FOR QUITE A FEW YEARS, the rallying cry of those attempting to prevent

marriage equality has been that allowing gay marriage will undermine

traditional family values. If this is true, traditional family values

should be showing substantially frayed edges in Massachusetts, where

gay marriages have been taking place for over five years. … It turns out that family values have not come apart at the seams since

same-sex marriage came to Massachusetts. Even more surprising and

intriguing is the fact that gay marriage and strong families actually

go statistically hand in hand.

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… the news that [Kate Clinton] had a book coming out this summer piqued my curiosity. I am older now and more comfortable in my skin; Clinton has built a terrific career and fan base that keep her in constant demand. Clearly her material has evolved over the years…

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Cheever lived a life of pretense-about his sexuality and his gentility. He discovered early on that words were the way to beguile readers, and maybe himself, into believing that his hoped-for world was possible. Blake Bailey’s biography demonstrates how close the connection was between Cheever’s life and his writing. It is a sad book, but if it sends readers back to this writer’s stories and novels, it will have done John Cheever a worthwhile service.

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NAIRNE HOLTZ WRITES like an old soul in a Generation-X body. Her tales of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender/genderqueer/label-free characters in various Canadian cities are both timeless and in touch with the Zeitgeist. The wit in her writing is so dry that the reader is likely to notice its pessimism before recognizing its sparkle.

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News of the queer and quirky

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QUEER THEORY has been criticized on a number of grounds, notably for its difficult language and abstruse categories; in Queer Optimism, Michael D. Snediker charges queer theory with a pervasive negativity and pessimism, a mood that causes its practitioners to focus most of their attention and analysis upon negative emotions rather than affirmative ones.

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THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE: scene of scintillating literary salons, endless nightlife, after-hours parties, and a lot of drinking, if Richard Bruce Nugent’s writing is any indication, but it was also a sweatshop of intellectual productivity. The Renaissance writers’ often confessional work was at times treated disdainfully during their lifetimes, labeled the “cabaret school” by some literary critics of their day.

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