Friday, October 01, 2004
Encouragingly, CBS radio ran a pole in which a comfortable majority of viewers named Kerry the "winner." And they also announced that young people, who seem to be for Kerry 6 to 4, are registering to vote in huge numbers this year.
The U.S. House yesterday followed the Senate's lead in voting down the anti-gay marriage amendment to the Constitution--a significant loss for Bush and the right wing. And VERY well deserved.
I hosted the gay book club Tuesday night with major and very vocal participation from my cat, who was specifically mentioned in a couple of the thank you emails I got from the guys the next day. They loved the house which is the work of a scene designer who has spent a lifetime absorbed in Moroccan art and architecture specifically, and Asian art in general. The Book was Douglas Shand-Tucci's "The Crimson Letter: Harvard, Homosexuality, and the Shaping of American Culture."
The author is an historian who has made a specialty of Boston's rich past, particularly its gay
intellectual, cultural and civic life. He lives in the Hotel Vendome, the same hotel where Oscar Wilde stayed on his fabled trips to Boston. He tells a fascinating story of the gay lives of our founding literary fathers (Longfellow, Emerson, Henry James), the towering figure Walt Whitman, and Wilde's assurances to Whitman that his work, particularly "Leaves of Grass" was idolized at all the great British universities (not the quality of the poetic writing, that the English found suspect, but Whitman's boldly announced vision of an earthy, strongly masculine, what we would today call "out" homosexual whose love for men surpassed in spiritual value the love of men for women).
From Whitman and Wilde, the two most influential figures on Boston's idea of the homosexual male (the warrior-athlete and the artist-aesthete as S-T defines them), the author branches out with a fascinating ride through the city's history, touching base on an astounding number of gay men and the female cultural icons who supported their work and gave them validity in the eyes of the larger public. The book can be a bit thorny to read as sentences that defy commonly accepted English grammar and syntax pop up with some frequency in S-T's normally clear prose. But he tells a fascinating tale and I am told by the guys that his earlier books, "Boston Bohemia" (bohemia and bohemian being code words for everything gay in 19th century Boston) and "The Art of Scandal, The Life and Times of Isabells Stuart Gardner" (the wealthiest, most outrageous and most influential fag hag in Boston history) are even better.