A Birthday Slim Jim

Steven & Dagmar

Steven & Dagmar

Dear Steven,
I know. You don’t like to celebrate birthdays. That probably goes double for this year. So I won’t dwell on it. I’m thinking about another celebration: the Gay Pride Parade in New York City. Come to think of it, you aren’t big on parades either. But maybe today is different. Maybe falling on your birthday, this year’s parade might tempt you from your country home to join the jubilation. I imagine you there with Dagmar, an exotic rainbow on your shoulder, marching to your own drummer. Or maybe not.

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Queer Street and the Occasional Poet

Keith HaringThe 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