How the Homosexuals Saved Civilization: The Time and Heroic Story of How Gay Men Shaped the Modern World

How the Homosexuals Saved Civilization: The Time and Heroic Story of How Gay Men Shaped the Modern World

by Cathy Crimmins
     
 

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A cultural history of the customs, fashions, and figures of gay life in the twentieth and the early twenty-first centuries-and how they have changed us for the better.

How the Homosexuals Saved Civilization presents a broad yet incisive look at how an unusual "immigrant" group, homosexual men, has influenced mainstream American society and has, in

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Overview

A cultural history of the customs, fashions, and figures of gay life in the twentieth and the early twenty-first centuries-and how they have changed us for the better.

How the Homosexuals Saved Civilization presents a broad yet incisive look at how an unusual "immigrant" group, homosexual men, has influenced mainstream American society and has, in many ways, become mainstream itself. From the way camp, irony, and the gay aesthetic have become part of our national sensibility to the undeniable effect the gay cognoscenti have had on media and the arts, Cathy Crimmins examines how gay men have changed the concepts of community, family, sex, and fashion.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this "work of love from a fag-hag author," humor writer Crimmins (Where Is the Mango Princess? etc.) considers gay men's multifarious contributions to society and celebrates the "golden age of `Global Queering.' " (Lesbians, she finds, have been too domestic to influence much.) In 10 brief chapters, she reflects on the culture of camp, the popularity of "gay expressions" ("butch," "breeder"), gay restaurants (they have "exotic ingredients and flamboyant presentations"), fashion designers, sex practices, Judy Garland musicals and 1960s game shows (with gay pioneers like Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly) and more. As Crimmins has it, gay men are responsible for the popularity of barbecue (James Beard, who was gay, popularized outdoor grilling) and Abercrombie & Fitch (fraternity boys sporting that brand are aping a gay lifestyle-without knowing it-by buying into photographer Bruce Weber's vision of male beauty). Friends, Frasier and Sex and the City had gay roots and gay writers, she says, and flaunted a code of gay allusion. Few would argue with the thesis that gay men have had a profound and positive cultural impact, but this volume may not be anyone's chosen proof. Crimmins's casual use of words like "fairy," "faggot," "homo" and "nelly" may prove a stumbling block to her readers, as might her persistent stereotyping. Agent, Susan Raihofer. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The audacious title notwithstanding, pop culture observer Crimmins (Where Is the Mango Princess?) here offers a laundry list of contributions gay men have made to modern American life as defined by popular culture. Divided into sections titled "Heart," "Body," and "Soul," this work shoots out short, sharp blasts of ideas followed by brief, sometimes superficial elucidation. Gay food? You bet. In 1956, the gay epicure James Beard introduced the straight American male to the joys of barbecuing. Gay television? Beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, game shows opened the doors to homosexual influence when wisecracking celebrities like Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Riley, and Rip Taylor catted about as panelists. The author paints with a rather broad brush and sometimes succumbs to her own worst stereotyping, but her conversational style and entertaining panache save the day. But instead of shaping the modern world, the most this title can claim is that gays have had a big impact on mainstream popular media-that television, film, and music that, for better or worse, defines contemporary American culture. Not terribly deep but entertaining nonetheless.-Jeff Ingram, Newport P.L., OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585424252
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/02/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.45(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Cathy Crimmins is the author of Where Is the Mango Princess?

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