By Alexander Doty
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Doty, who teaches movie and homosexual and lesbian reviews at Lehigh college, is worried during this quantity with uncovering gay/lesbian/bisexual components in unforeseen locations in pop culture. He needs "to problem the politics of denotation and connotation" in conventional "heterocentric" serious perform. in a different way "heterocentric texts can include queer parts, and essentially heterosexual, straight-identifying humans can event queer moments," he writes, in particular if one knows "queer" as encompassing greater than simply sexual habit, yet, quite, more than a few cultural phenomena to boot. Doty deals cogent analyses of the interplay among queerness and auteurist movie concept, relatively as utilized to a homosexual director like George Cukor or a lesbian filmmaker like Dorothy Arzner; of the lesbian inflections of female-bonding sitcoms like Laverne and Shirley ; and of Pee-wee Herman and homosexual male misogyny. Doty is an incisive author, good versed in either pop and educational literature. His paintings is much less jargon-ridden than is common in severe conception books, and his offerings of material can assist develop the viewers for this provocative booklet.
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Extra resources for Making Things Perfectly Queer: Interpreting Mass Culture
This is the case in many Hollywood films, for example, which while being completely integrated into the system and the ideology end up by partially dismantling the system from •,i • 20 within. Viewed as Category " e " films, the works of many commercial direc tors, but even more those of queer directors such as Cukor and Arzner, might be "obliquely" examined by queer-positioned readers for textual signs that complicate or resist the coherent presentation of conventional straight ideology. Finally, feminist work with auteurism in the 1970s and 1980s pro vides queer spectators and critics with analytic models linking au teurist analysis to the articulation of certain theories and polemics.
The claims of authorship are both simplified and complicated when examining Arzner's and Cukor's films within the context of queer cul tural studies, as both directors were homosexual. While presenting papers about Arzner and Cukor and screening their films make obvi ous auteurist sense at a retrospective or at an academic symposium, does doing so in the context of a queer cultural event make as much self-evident sense? Why should queers bother with Cukor and Arzner? If career survival and success within the Hollywood system were the issue, why not focus on a Howard Hawks or an Alfred Hitch cock, whose bodies of work have the added advantage of containing more obvious queerly erotic and crypto-queer elements than are readily apparent in all the films of Cukor and Arzner—excepting, perhaps, Sylvia Scarlett.
Given this introduction, Christopher's W H O S E T E X T IS IT A N Y W A Y ? subsequent affair with Cynthia can be read queerly as critiquing tra ditional straight unions in marriage, based as they are on myths of sexual monogamy. For Mayne, the "critical attitude toward heterosexuality" in this film takes the form of inflections, of bits and pieces of tone and gesture and emphasis, as a result of which the conventions of heterosexual behavior become loosened up, shaken free of some of their identifications with the patriarchal status q u o .