HP review

Anna Clare McDuff amcduff at math.sunysb.edu
Mon Jun 30 13:28:51 EDT 2003


On Sat, 28 Jun 2003, Charles Butler wrote:

> Yes that was good! Can a full-dress Bakhtinian analysis of "HP and the
> Carnivalesque" be far behind? I was particularly struck by the fact that the
> writer found it necessary to define for his (presumably literate) readers
> the non-sexual sense of 'queer', which I hadn't realised had fallen so far
> into disuse.

	Yes, it is a bit sad, isn't it? But to give a bit of context I'm
not overly familiar with the Boston Phoenix but I understand it to be a
specialist alternative-lifestyle newspaper so maybe Queer-as-gay is the
dominant usage for their readers?

 And also the idea that queerness of that kind (to say nothing
> of the other) might be seen as threatening by the mainstream. Is that a
> specifically American thing?

	I'm not sure if it's a specifically American thing, but it
certainly does seem to be common in America. Funnily enough just a few
weeks ago I was reading a very amusing book about the whole issue of
conformity in America. It's called Mental Hygiene, Classroom Films
1945-1970 by Ken Smith and if you go to amazon.com, (not uk) they have
lots of sample pages up. A lot of the book focuses on the great postwar
effort to get American kids to see fitting in with the crowd as the
highest pinnacle of life's possibilities and then the subsequent efforts
to stamp out the kinds of things kids often do when they are going along
with the crowd (drugs, sex, drink driving...). Very enlightening!

	Anna

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