Browsing: January-February 2010

January-February 2010

Blog Posts

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IT WOULD SEEM self-evident to readers of this publication that the exclusion of gays or lesbians from a public association is a violation of basic civil rights. The Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) rejection of gays from membership seems like an obvious injustice, so perhaps a conservative analysis of the Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale case is necessary to explore the complex and fascinating stakes in this balance of rights.

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THE OTHERS is a trance-like excursion into contemporary Saudi Arabian life, where divisions between people inform every aspect of social behavior. Mysterious and commonplace, nationalist yet saturated with American popular culture, Saudi Arabia is a place that makes for a journey both sensuous and strange. And its exploration of lesbian sexuality places it instantly at odds with the extreme social conservatism of the Saudi regime.

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THE HOUR BETWEEN turned into several hours of guilty pleasure. Sebastian Stuart’s coming-of-age story, set in a private, residential high school, brings together Arthur and Katrina, the Will and Grace of secondary education. (He’s gay and she’s flighty.) Their maturing process is set against the battle of administrators at the school.

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On balance, the biggest difference between the two books is their readability. Hart’s memoir is lighter and easier going, a book that you want to read to the end. Agabian’s book, while well-written and insightful, could have ended forty pages before it did. Both are worthwhile contributions to the growing body of personal memoirs from everyday people with an exceptional past.

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