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Gay is a phase. As gay culture becomes more mainstream, gay identity will become less important, and heterosexuality will become correspondingly less relevant. Canadian Bert Archer's lively polemic takes in popular culture, literature, history, and personal experience, with references to Dawson's Creek, Saturday Night Live, Howard Stern, Shakespeare, Madonna, Calvin Klein, and much more. The End of Gay looks forward to the vast pos-sibilities of love without labels in a century when categories of human sexuality ...
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Gay is a phase. As gay culture becomes more mainstream, gay identity will become less important, and heterosexuality will become correspondingly less relevant. Canadian Bert Archer's lively polemic takes in popular culture, literature, history, and personal experience, with references to Dawson's Creek, Saturday Night Live, Howard Stern, Shakespeare, Madonna, Calvin Klein, and much more. The End of Gay looks forward to the vast pos-sibilities of love without labels in a century when categories of human sexuality are more fluid than ever.
Sex, sexuality, sexual identity. All very big and very different issues. And whether they've become trite before their time through too much too cursory discussion, or still only tiptoed around for whatever reasons our still antisexual society tiptoes around such things, there have been a pile of books and magazine articles and talk shows and public television documentaries about them all.
And so, as I stumble into the same muddy territory, I've chosen to overlook those bits of it I figure we've all seen enough (or too much) of. I'm not going to talk too much about AIDS here, for example, or about the generations that still seem to figure they invented sex in the sixties and seventies. I do look at history, but gloss over Greece and Rome in favour of, say, Renaissance England or the eighteenth century in Holland or — and this came as a surprise to me as I was reading through everything I read through — World War Two. (I'd always thought the First World War had been the big one, the war to begin all sexual identity wars.)
Something else I didn't do is polling and mass interviews. Though I frequently find myself convinced by arguments when I have numbers pushed under my nose — 82 percent of people like their mothers more than their fathers, 14 percent vote strategically rather than directly — I think it's becoming increasingly obvious that such numbers serve whatever purpose they're put to. And so, though I toyed with the idea of talking to 500 people thirty and under to be able to provide numbers to back up the central questions in this book, I figured it would be fudging, even if it was more convincing. Human behaviour, especially sexual behaviour, doesn't take well to quantification. So there'll be none of that.
The End of Gay is also not a self-help book; it will not tell you what to do or how to act. It is, in fact, the opposite of a self-help book. The End of Gay is a tool to be used to redefine the role sex plays in our lives and in our sense of ourselves. Though we generally may be said to progress as a society in our understandings of ourselves, our place in the world, and the various workings of that world, in matters of sex and sexuality, for a whole host of reasons, but mostly because of religion, we have not. In sexual matters, we have taken paths with dead ends, doubled back, gone long distances in interesting directions only to run into roadblocks, and in general it may not be said of any society in any time that it has been sexually liberated or progressive. Though there have been opportunities from time to time — England immediately before Cromwell, for example, or Canada and the States from, say, 1967 to 1972 or so. This book suggests that we are now in the middle of another such opportunity.
The End of Gay provides no conclusive evidence to breed absolute assurance. It demands introspection rather than providing definitive exposition. And it asks you to accept sex as one of the parts of life, along with love, leisure time, family, and friendship that, if indulged expansively and intensively without boundaries set by anyone other than yourself, lead most directly to life's ultimate end, which is happiness.
|The End of Gay||22|
|The End of the Beginning||77|
|Meanwhile, Back in Germany ...||81|
|World War Two and the Great Decommissioning||96|
|Start Spreading the News||106|
|Science and Surveys and Sex||126|
|The Consumption of Gay Identity||146|
|One False Move||153|
|Monkeys on Each Other's Backs||214|
|The Stories We Tell Ourselves||217|