Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American Society

Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American Society

4.8 5
by Bruce Bawer
     
 

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Bruce Bawer exposes the heated controversy over gay rights and presents a passionate plea for the recognition of common values, "a place at the table" for everyone.

Overview

Bruce Bawer exposes the heated controversy over gay rights and presents a passionate plea for the recognition of common values, "a place at the table" for everyone.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Conservative cultural critic Bawer's canny appraisal of the gay rights movement calls for a more equitable place in American society for lesbians and gays. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Positing that negative stereotypes of homosexuals are the result of both right - wing propaganda and the high visibility of ``radical gay activists,'' Bawer, a self-proclaimed spokesperson for the ``silent majority of gays,'' attempts to absolve ``mainstream gays'' of responsibility by criticizing ``subculture-oriented gays,'' including but not limited to Donna Minkowitz, Paul Monette, Edmund White, members of ACTUP, and those involved in Gay Pride parades. This heartfelt if misguided meditation cum manifesto is provocative, but the author's self-righteous generalizations and misrepresentation of the ethnic, socio economic, and geographic diversity of American lesbians and gays, as well as the lack of either an index or citations for the many sources, undermine the divisive diatribe.-- James E. Van Buskirk, San Francisco P.L.
Ray Olson
In his third book this year (after "The Aspect of Eternity" , critical essays, and "Coast to Coast" , poems), one of the finest young American literary critics turns his lucid, fluent, and precise prose to what we've been told is the topic of the year, if not the decade--homosexuality. Homosexual himself, Bawer differs from the homosexual stereotype in that he is devoutly Christian, conservative, staunchly monogamous, and temperate. He believes that there are so many others like him that they constitute a virtual gay silent majority--silent both because temperamentally deferent and because the anti-homosexual religious right and the oppressive gay subculture, rife with sexual and political excess (not to mention, Bawer maintains, profound self-loathing), drown out all moderating voices. In the two meaty central chapters--more than half of the four-chapter book--Bawer first patiently, logically, and ethically critiques the attacks and refutes the charges of anti-gays and then analyzes the self-destructiveness of the gay subculture. Gays need civil rights, he concludes, particularly to have their domestic relationships recognized. This will remain a dream as long as the preponderance of gay spokespersons continue to taunt anti-gays and defend every excess of the most outre and rebellious elements of the homosexual community. Bawer will probably be roundly reviled and misrepresented in both conservative and gay media, but to read him is to confront a reasonable, moral, and personable man whose opinions and interpretations open-minded and moderate persons will find very compelling.
Kirkus Reviews
Bawer brings to the volatile public discussion of homosexuality the same moral reasoning and civilized demeanor evident in his cultural criticism (The Aspect of Eternity, p. 632). This passionate, persuasive book should be the starting point for all future debate. What separates Bawer's honest and accessible argument from other polemics on homosexuality—aside from its moral perspective—is its audience. Bawer treats the opposition with respect while never compromising his goal: the triumph of "reason over irrationality, acceptance over estrangement [and] love over loathing." He premises his work on the reasonable assumption that there's a vast disparity between the gay subculture and the reality of most gay life in America. The public debate has been shaped by highly vocal denizens of the urban gay ghettos, a group that has portrayed itself as sex-obsessed, irresponsible, and politically beyond the pale. Meanwhile, the conservative opposition too often frames its position in response to the subcultural stereotypes. That's no excuse, though, for right-wing homophobia and its buzzwords ("choice," "recruit," "advocate," "abnormal," "lifestyle," etc.), each of which Bawer eloquently addresses. Bawer's defense of the "silent majority" of gays is based in his own Christian faith and conservative values. He brilliantly exposes the social policy of denying domestic partnership rights as complicit with the sexually permissive underground of bathhouses and porno theaters. Moreover, not only does he address Bible-based anti-gay attitudes, but he defuses the anti-family posturing of both the gay radicals and their right-wing counterparts. At his best, Bawer depoliticizes a subjectovercharged with rhetoric, reminding us that there's really no reason for shock value. To call Bawer's subtle narrative "centrist" misses its truly post- ideological significance. Bawer artfully weaves autobiography into his eloquent defense of the common sense that exists somewhere between closeted denial and outrageous activism. This could be the crossover book many have been waiting for—plain and sane talk about a complex issue.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671795337
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
10/05/1993
Pages:
269
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.45(h) x (d)

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Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American Society 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am so glad that Bawer wrote this awesome book. I read it twice and I will buy my own copy. He speaks the truth in that book and I came to understand that being gay is not about circuit parties, crusing in bars, dressing in drag or being 'camp'. Much less not to get married and live a frustrating double life. Bawer is the best role model there is for every gay man in the world. A positive, God-fearing guy who strips away the lies of bigots for the truth of what it really means to be a gay man. Very outstanding.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a tremendous book, and written for all of society, making as it does more than just a superficial gay-pride-day cheer. It's beautifully written and straight folks ought to read it, too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome and real. I found a lot of truth in it about being gay and not really caring about the bars, circuit parties, and the people in them. I got to read this book 5 yrs after its first publication. I liked it very much. It was nice to hear from another gay guy who is out but who doesn't feel the need to cross dress or wear black leather. I related to it. I nodded in agreement many times while reading the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An introspective look into the world of homosexuality as an average, everyday american. As you see the flaiming homosexuals on TV, the cross-dressers on springer, and the 'newsworthy' transvestites that parade around under the rainbow flag of 'gay', there is a majority that dress in suits, shirts and coats, and walk, unnoticed under many other flags, while still not being 'in the closet'. This is a book that gives a glimpse for heterosexuals into a gay world, as well as an alternate path for recently-discovered gays to follow, between the paths of 'conservative, closeted'; and 'outspoken, flamboyant' that is so often percieved.