Browsing: Culture Wars 2.0

September – October, 2009

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THE YEAR 1969 was when the straight brother of my high school girlfriend introduced me to the two gay men who would change my life forever. Savannah, like New York, had its own gay counter-culture that gathered in a Stonewall-like club known as the Basement, which was located in the basement of the neglected Armory Building that later became the home of the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why historians and academics, including many gay ones, refuse to believe that homosexuality has been pretty much the same since the beginning of human history, whether it was called homosexuality, sodomy, buggery, or had no name at all. Isn’t it time for us to put a stop to this nonsense …

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ANYONE who’s even casually acquainted with Tom of Finland’s work knows that, for Tom, size was everything. The frolicking gay men in his pictures are always well-muscled, often to absurd proportions. Invariably, they sport either impossibly large bulges in their pants or, better yet, titanic, tree-trunk-thick erections that defy the laws of physics. So it’s altogether fitting that the new Tom of Finland book just published by Taschen is as much a physical monument to the legendary gay artist as it is a study of his work.

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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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