Browsing: November-December 2010

November-December 2010

Blog Posts

A Human Eye: Essays on Art in Society, 1997-2008 by Adrienne Rich
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THE ESSAYS in this collection cover a variety of subjects, from the difficulties of translating Iraqi poetry to a reflection on James Baldwin. Each topic, however, demonstrates Adrienne Rich’s remarkable intellect and critical faculty.

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THE PROBLEM with biographies of Somerset Maugham is that the last ten years of his life have always overwhelmed what went before them. Indeed, the man Maugham chose as his literary executor allowed Ted Morgan to write his excellent biography in 1980 in order to dispel the myths that had built up over Maugham’s “final tragic years” in his villa in the south of France.

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Takes on the news of the day.

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U.S. CITIZENS or permanent residents currently have the right to petition for their heterosexual spouse to immigrate legally into the country. Same-sex unions confer no such rights. As of January 2010, there were over 36,000 binational couples in the U.S. living in the fear that a partner might be deported. Provisions in our current immigration reform are especially important for glbt families as this is the only chance they have of being treated fairly and having the same rights and protections as heterosexual families.

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AT NOON on Wednesday, March 28, 1894, thirty-year-old Guy T. Olmstead shot William L. Clifford in the back four times—once in his “loins” and three times in the back of his head—as Clifford walked north on Clark Street, approaching Madison Avenue in Chicago’s Loop. When the shots rang out and Clifford fell, a lunch-hour crowd burst out of local restaurants and swarmed Olmstead, who made no effort to run away. They yelled, “‘Lynch him!’” as Olmstead waved his pistol, swore, “‘I’ll never be taken alive!’” and yelled at the top of his voice, “‘Don’t take my gun; let me finish what I have to do.’”

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Perhaps what’s most striking about Flinsch’s work is its very existence. At a time when most gay artists were masking their sexuality and trying to fly under the radar, Flinsch was defiantly and brazenly homoerotic in his work.

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The following article provides an update to a “Guest Opinion” piece that I contributed to the January–February 2006 issue of this magazine. It is also my addition to the series of articles published under the heading “Gay Rights in the Age of Obama” in the March–April 2010 issue.

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EVERYONE’S ACCOUNT of high school is different. For the jocks, it’s a time of tiny triumphs, of touchdowns, and cheerleaders. For punks and goths, it’s the age of rebellion, while for nerds and other pariahs, high school is a penitentiary of social embarrassment. “High school is a caste system,” declares cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (played by Emmy-winner Jane Lynch) on Glee, the hit television series now in its second season on Fox.

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AT A SMALL but select Walt Whitman exhibition mounted by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in 2006, a tender photograph of Whitman with his partner Peter Doyle was matter-of-factly labeled as such; and my jaw dropped. It was the first time I’d ever seen an American museum correctly name this relationship, announcing in effect that Whitman, arguably our greatest poet, was emotionally involved with another man.

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