Former Jesuit priest Goss (an executive headhunter who's also a gay activist with a doctorate in comparative religion) starts this combative study by asking how gays and lesbians can be Christians. After explaining that Christ was ``queer,'' he concludes that gays and lesbians may be the only true Christians, and exhorts them to reclaim their Church. Drawing on the aggressive rhetoric of Act-Up and Queer Nation, the subtle logic of traditional Catholic theology, and the intellectual paradigms of Foucault, Goss creates out of ``subjugated knowledges'' a liberation theology—one that denies the universality and global theories of the institutional Church in favor of contextual theories, an ``inclusionary theology'' based on sociological, cultural, and historical change. Historically, the Church, the military, the legal system, and the medical profession stigmatized ``queers'' (Goss's word) as pathological, sinful, and deviant—and queers, the author says, responded with inhibition, shame, and internalized homophobia of their own, until the civil- rights movement, the women's movement, and the Stonewall Riots of 1969 helped empower them. Goss offers a ``transgressive'' theology to express the new gay freedom, proposing a Christ who manifests the erotic rather than denying it, who ``came out of the closet'' and became ``actively queer'' by his solidarity with the oppressed. Such theology requires a radical rereading of the Bible, of course- -a rejection of what Goss calls the ``Biblical terrorism'' that condemned homosexuality (a term Goss avoids because of its supposed ``medical'' connotations), identifying it with the heretical. Rather than exhorting gays to leave the Church, Goss calls for a reworking of Christian rituals such as baptism and the Eucharist to make them more relevant and inclusive, sacramentalizing ``queer'' experience. Identifying God with erotic power—with pleasure rather than denial—he envisions same-sex marriages, a queer clergy, and the assimilation of primitive religious concepts such as shamanism. Bold, wide-ranging, cerebral, cryptic (``God is HIV positive''), and utopian—with the charm of both prophecy and outrageousness.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)