The Queer Quantum Dispatch
Making your world a little less straight.
Darlings, how are you? Looking fabulous, as always.
I’ve had a good run, but that ‘Rona bitch finally caught up to me. With so much Covid-flavored alone time, I’ve done more than a bit of reading. So, today, I though I’d give you a juicy book recommendation.
Bad Gays: A Homosexual History
What is it?
The book comprises chronologically arranged profiles of a dozen or so historical figures, prominent and not so prominent, that we might today label as gay or queer. The authors, for each of their subjects, paint a picture of their general character and their influences, good and bad, on the world. More importantly, they delve into how those influences stem from their “gayness.” (Along with discussions into just what a gay identity might be then and now.)
Who they lavished favors on, who they promoted, who they sidelined, what they showed in public, what they did in private. How their deeds, and misdeeds, shaped the law of the land that applied to broad swaths of the populace at home and abroad. In their assessments, the authors don’t shy away from the troublesome, unsightly, and downright cruel aspects of these people’s characters and lives. They are absolutely bad gays—either through oversight, ignorance, misguided intentions, or just plain bad.
Why Did I Like It?
I found it an engrossing and enjoyable read—just the right amount of snark, intellectualizing, and readable prose. I love books that wander through history guided by an over-arching theme, and this is a great one. Yes we need heroes, yes we need a sense of “our” history. But the past and present are complicated affairs, admixtures of all kinds of things. We can’t just take what we like and ignore the rest. It’s lovely to have queer heroes of the past that we can admire and emulate, that can teach us about where we come from and who we are today. But there are also some not so heroic queers in the past, too. Can’t ignore them—they have just as much to teach us.
I often draw on historical, literary—even scientific—subjects for my work. That’s why I adore books like these that cover a lot of ground and involve a plethora of interesting figures. There’s lots to be learned from history no matter what what kinds of stories you’re telling or the medium you use to tell them—be they performance, painting, or comics.
What’s in it for you?
Get this book if you like snarky historical writing, complicated sentences, and challenging questions all in one tidy package. And you might have noticed the cover is rather—bold, shall we say. If you’re still amenable to print books, experiencing a cover like this on paper is a treat. And if you read in public, you can share that treat with everyone around. Expect looks, questions, and hopefully some stimulating conversation.