Making Things Perfectly Queer

Alexander Doty | Making Things Perfectly Queer: Interpreting Mass Culture

Doty, who teaches film and gay and lesbian studies at Lehigh University, is concerned in this volume with uncovering gay/lesbian/bisexual elements in unexpected places in popular culture. He wishes “to challenge the politics of denotation and connotation” in traditional “heterocentric” critical practice. Otherwise “heterocentric texts can contain queer elements, and basically heterosexual, straight-identifying people can experience queer moments,” he writes, especially if one understands “queer” as encompassing more than just sexual behavior, but, rather, a range of cultural phenomena as well. Doty offers cogent analyses of the interaction between queerness and auteurist film theory, particularly as applied to a gay 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 gay male misogyny. Doty is an incisive writer, well versed in both pop and academic literature. His work is less jargon-ridden than is usual in critical theory books, and his choices of subject matter should help broaden the audience for this provocative book.

 

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