TOO QUEER by Victoria A. Brownworth

TOO QUEER

Essays from a Radical Life
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A veteran journalist reflects on politics--queer, feminist, and global--with sporadic clarity, insight, and creativity. Brownworth (editor of the fiction collection Night Bites: Vampire Stories by Women, 1995), who has been a radical queer journalist for two decades, wrote most of these essays in 1995, a year that marks, she asserts, a turning point in human history, for reasons she does not explain clearly: The O.J. Simpson verdict and the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, she suggests, are emblematic of a unique ``fear and despair'' that is gripping the world. (One could, however, locate just such fear and despair in any grim series of events and in other years.) However, she expresses many of her other ideas far more lucidly. She argues against gay assimilation into straight culture and against trying to win entry to the two institutions that have come to symbolize such assimilation: marriage and the military. Why concentrate on the most oppressive aspects of mainstream culture, she asks; these traditions are not even healthy for straight people. In one particularly moving piece, she describes being sick in the hospital and wanting her girlfriend to stay with her, and having no guarantee that the doctor would accept her definition of ``kin.'' Her essay on the institutionalized celebration of the Stonewall riot is thoughtful; when we reduce history to a single moment, she points out, much gets lost--particularly a complex understanding of the politics and human experience involved in human rights struggles. Brownworth does fall into the clichÇs of queer political writing at times (breaking ``silences,'' etc.), as well as the clichÇs of queer personal writing (she always felt different growing up, etc.). Not always original, but for anyone trying to understand the political landscape of the late 20th century, Brownworth's observations are worth a look.

Pub Date: July 15th, 1996
ISBN: 1-56341-075-3
Page count: 256pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1996




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