I’m from a generation when librarians raised a disapproving finger to their lips to shush even the quietest whispers. So it felt odd (but liberating) to sit with a group of some fifty people in the Amsterdam Public Library and be encouraged – by a teacher, no less – to raise our voices in a resounding chant. “Gender is like a banana! Gender is like a banana!” Continue reading
The auditorium is nearly full on a Friday afternoon as University of Amsterdam Pride kicks off its 2013 lecture series. The topic is the “unassuming word” queer, and its various conceptualizations and criticisms. It’s a long time since I was a student, and I’m unfamiliar with the latest academic jargon. I hope hegemony doesn’t pop up. I can never remember what that means. Likewise efficacy, post-structuralist and heteronormative. Almost immediately I’m in trouble.
As associate professor of Comparative Literature Murat Aydemir begins his talk, I feel myself sink beneath “another discursive horizon” (de Laurentis, 1991). I’m sitting too far from the exit to slink out unnoticed but I remember how to take notes, even if I don’t know what they mean. I smile and relax when the professor gets lost in one of his own sentences, and suddenly the fog begins to lift. I’m actually following the discussion. Continue reading
Early in 2012 author Edmund White was asked by The Browser to select five gay novels with beautiful writing. His top two choices: Jean Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers and A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood. He praised Genet for his sumptuous poetic style, Isherwood for his chaste simplicity. Polar opposites, some might say. And yet, true to my contrary nature, I find a certain confluence. Continue reading
Happy New Year! Happy New Blog!
As another year rolls around, some look back and some look forward. I’m doing a bit of both simply by beginning this project. I’m not sure how it will develop but as exciting as most of 2012 turned out to be, I woke up today with a good feeling about 2013. Permit me a brief glance back to late October and two brief defining moments. Continue reading