Publication Year: 2010
“Scott Herring presents an exquisitely detailed road atlas of the complicated intersection between topography and destiny.”
Published by: NYU Press
List of Illustrations
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This book, by no means a life’s work, was nevertheless a life’s lot for several seasons. The main idea hit me as I trudged into the Foxhole Lounge during a personal winter of 2003. I later refined the thesis when I visited Mary’s in the spring of 2006, and I enhanced my arguments after...
Introduction: I Hate New York
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I hate New York. It’s not just the oppressive summer heat, or the dearth of affordable housing, or the lack of decent water pressure. It’s not simply the city’s awesome capacity to imagine itself as the be-all and the end-all of modern queer life (no small feat, mind you). What I really hate is the...
1. Autobiographies of the Ex-Urban Queer
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If Willa Cather, Charles Demuth, or James Weldon Johnson ever show up on a walking tour of lesbian and gay New York, know you’re being led down a blind alley. Recent promotions by lesbian and gay historical tour companies notwithstanding, none of these artists wholeheartedly endorsed the city’s pre-Stonewall queer urbanisms. They did, however, share...
2. Critical Rusticity
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At first glance, a rural farmhouse in Grinnell, Iowa (current pop., 9,205) seems an unlikely spot for a sustained campaign against the standardization of white urban gay male identity in the post-Stonewall United States. But consider this recollection...
3. Southern Backwardness
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Online or off, nothing rattles metronormative gays more than the sight of “white trash” southerners cloaked in Confederate flags. In fall 2002 New York City’s Nikolai Fine Art Gallery exhibited Michael Meads’s Eastaboga, a series of photographs that had previously been shown in Paris; Rotterdam; Ghent; Albany; New Orleans; LaGrange, Georgia; and at a Sotheby’s AIDS benefit. The title refers to a small, predominantly white,...
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We are each fashion’s victims. Take but two anecdotes from the previous decade. The first belongs to self-identified genderqueer crip activist Eli Clare who, in 1999, was “still learning the habits and manners of urban dykes” after she left her predominantly working-class hometown of Port Orford, Oregon, for the greener pastures of the Bay...
5. Queer Infrastructure
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Pennsyltucky: those sixty-odd counties that lie outside Pennsylvania’s largest two cities and their accompanying suburbs. If a lack of inspiration strikes, you could also refer to it as Pennsylbama. The entire state then becomes—so the tired joke goes—Pittsburgh on the West, Philadelphia on the East, with Kentucky or Alabama in between. The dismissive...
Coda: On the Borderlands of the Midwest
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Somewhere in a small town in the Midwest—let’s call it Plainville, USA—there is a mobile home park near an interstate exit. Among the many working-class whites, there is a trailer rented out by a young Mexican migrant from a town “two hours south from Mexico City. It’s a very, very small town. It’s not like the city. I’m not sure how many people, but it’s a very, very small town.” He lives with his friend and both work in a local service...
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About the Author
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2010