The Rise and Fall of Gay Culture

Daniel Harris, Author Hyperion Books $22.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6165-1
This book is filled with striking observations and it answers questions you've always been too apprehensive to ask (Why are gays mad for Joan Crawford?). Freelance journalist Harris unhinges scores of commonly held tenets of the modern male homosexual faith while examining gay culture before Stonewall and what it has become since. He takes the book trade to task for feeding gay audiences ""the literary equivalent of a warm glow,"" condemns modern drag for being ridiculous and berates the contemporary gay man for turning ""the aestheticism of art and culture into the aestheticism of products."" Gay culture and the ""aestheticism of maladjustment"" arose, Harris argues, from oppression; it is quickly falling, he concludes, as a result of consumerist assimilation. There is too much loose prose and thought for this book to be the groundbreaking treatise it might have been. So don't expect a treatise, but get your wry smiles ready for (intentionally?) hilarious discussions of Calvin Klein underpants as ""a pivotal moment in the history of fashion"" and the ""death of kink."" The well-turned phrases collected here in themselves make a book of aphorisms but are definitely not for the hopelessly heterosexual. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1997
Release date: 04/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-0-345-42672-7
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