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Chase Dimock

Writer, Editor, and Researcher in Comparative Literature and LGBT Studies

Month

March 2012

Removed from Society: The Prison System and the Geography of Nowhere

As the threat of Hurricane Irene loomed off the eastern coast last week, it was discovered mere hours before its arrival in New York that despite the city’s historic mandatory evacuation of hundreds of thousands of residents, there was no plan to evacuate the estimated 14,000 prisoners held on Rikers Island. With the swift and efficient evacuation of the free citizens of New York, Mayor Bloomberg and the city government were praised by the media for taking steps to avoid a possible Hurricane Katrina style catastrophe. Yet, by failing to evacuate the prisoners of Rikers Island, they set themselves up to the possibility of replicating one of the most egregious episodes of human rights abuses surrounding Hurricane Katrina: the abandonment of the prisoners of the Orleans Parish Prison. According to the ACLU, prisoners at the Orleans Parish Prison were left locked in their cells as the flood reached the prison and were left without food or water for days until they were evacuated.

(Full article available at As It Ought To Be)

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The Problem With Gay Capital

It seems as though every week in the world of LGBT activism there is a new company that comes out as an enemy of the community. We immediately speak of boycotts, launch anti-company X groups on Facebook, and launch into personal declarations of “I’ll never shop there again” and “product X sucks anyway, product Y is much better”. The most recent corporation to be placed in the position of company X is Chick-Fil-A, which was exposed as having sponsored the Pennsylvania Family Institute’s “Art of Marriage” conference. Chick-Fil-A is a particularly transparent and accessible target for LGBT activists because they have made relatively no attempt to conceal the conservative Christian values of their founder S. Truitt Cathy or the conservative causes to which they have donated funds. Other corporations that have recently been the talk of an LGBT boycott include Target, Coors, and Domino’s for their donations to conservative lobbying organizations and think tanks. Yet, as we compile and edit our lists of boycotted companies versus “gay friendly” companies, the specific reasons why they merited their positions becomes obscured and ultimately they retain only the mere label of being good or bad for gays under the broad assumption that one political stance could be in the equal interest of all LGBT identifying individuals.

(Full article available on As It Ought To Be)

Dispatch from West Hollywood: A Booklist on the Pre-History of Pride

June is GLBT Pride month, which means for most (including myself) festivals, parades, 18-dollar cosmopolitans, and picking glitter out of my hair until early August. At the West Hollywood Pride parade last weekend, the marching pageantry of floats and performers compressed the collective unconscious of gay culture into a one mile long rainbow yoking together sobering identity politics with unfettered bacchanalia under the all-encompassing banner of pride. We queue the Trevor Project volunteers and their solemn reminder of queer youth suicide a few slots after a float filled with go-go boys in Speedos and yet somehow neither disrespect the memory of those tragically never given the chance to join us nor completely kill the buzz of merriment and libido. Rather it reminds us of the broad spectrum of what we must fight for: the right to be subjects of our own desire. This is a desire that ranges from a teenager’s right to realize his or her gender and sexual identity without shame or persecution to an adult’s right to mould and sculpt their own body into the shape of their own desire.

(Full article available at As It Ought To Be)

What’s Queer About “The Trip” ?

To an American audience, I would not have to strain too desperately to prove that there is something gay about a movie featuring two British men touring gourmet restaurants in the English countryside while singing Abba and Kate Bush in the car. Yet, what’s queer about The Trip has nothing to do with any present or latent homosexuality (of which there is none in the film), but rather it is about how heterosexuality appropriates the discourse of homosexuality in order to repress or sublimate its own desires and sentiments. The increased visibility of male homosexuality in the public sphere over the past four decades via the modern gay rights movement changed the way in which heterosexual males view and speak of their relationships with one another. Centuries of male patriarchy that segregated the sexes, created legions of boys clubs among rich and poor alike, and reinforced the sexist idea that truly intellectually satisfying companionship could only come from another rational male mind suddenly became infused with a “homosexual panic”. Publicly visible homosexual emotional intimacy created the fear that others might read heterosexual emotional intimacy as sexual intimacy and thus the privileged bastions of masculinity such as the YMCA, the Boy Scouts, the Friars, and every cigar club this side of Vienna eventually seemed, well…gay. In The Trip, we see a turn in the way in which heterosexual friendship navigates the looming specter of gay discourse. Departing from decades of paranoid disavowal and overwrought displays of cliché gestures of straightness that seem only to parody heterosexuality, The Trip appropriates queer discourse as the two protagonists create a running joke about homosexual desire for one another throughout the film. But, neither of them is laughing. Rather, the unabashed and unashamed references to homosexuality cover up the real intimacy that they share with one another as friends which neither one wants to declare aloud.

(Full article available at The Qouch)

Robert McAlmon: A Lost Voice of the Lost Generation

A writer, publisher, and a connoisseur of the Parisian nightlife, Robert McAlmon was a fixture of the Lost Generation’s expatriate community in Paris in the 20s and 30s. McAlmon took Hemingway out to the bullfights in Spain that he would immortalize in The Sun Also Rises. He typed proofs of James Joyce’s monumental novel Ulysses, and due to the convoluted system of notes and addendums in Joyce’s manuscript, the voice of Molly Bloom that the first generation of readers received was actually McAlmon’s interpretation of Joyce’s. Through his publishing company Contact Editions, he was the first to publish works by such luminaries of the modernist movement as Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, William Carlos Williams, Djuna Barnes, H.D., and Nathanael West. Yet, his own reputation as a writer never reached the heights of those that he helped.

(Full Article at As It Ought To Be)

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