Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Back-and-forth-from-bleh-to-yeah links

So Susie Orbach, whose most recent book I called "breathtakingly heterosexist," is now lovers with Jeanette Winterson. They plan on a long lovely retirement together in Italy. Don't worry, though--neither one thinks of herself as a lesbian. Winterson is "beyond those descriptive constraints." Orbach is "post-heterosexual." Ecch. I mean, fine, sure, call yourself whatever you like or don't call yourself anything at all if you don't want to, but jeez I find this whole I'm-much-more-evolved-than-all-you-plain-old-dykes-and-your-oh-so-un-pomo-identities stance very annoying. Am I overreacting? Probably. Both these writers have done some good work, and Winterson especially has long been beloved by lesbian readers ... but so shouldn't they show a modicum of sensitivity at this juncture? Whatever. I hope they enjoy their sunset years in an Italian villa. My lesbian lover and I will be here, fighting for liberation, until we plotz.

It's enough to send me running into Tony Kushner's arms. I only recently heard of his new play with its great title: "The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures." It debuted last Spring at the Guthrie in Minneapolis, and he's now retooling it for an eventual New York run. Which I hope comes soon. It sounds fascinating. It sounds, dare I dream, like a meaty evening of social realism.

Back to the bleh side of things: here comes another "madness of the 60s" novel, updated for the aughts. Prepare for a deluge of rave reviews.

But then we return to hurraying, for there's this, just out from Norton and edited by Ray Gonzalez: Sudden Fiction Latino--Short-Shorts from the United States and Latin America. Featuring works, all 1500 words or less, by Sandra Cisneros, Julio Ortega, Gonzalez and others.

However, as Tayari Jones points out, Houghton Mifflin's 2010 lineup of Best American (short stories, etc.) books is notable for a "staggering lack of diversity" in editors. Over and over and over again the literary establishment thumbs its nose at the oppressed. This too just happened: Fred Viebahn, who is married to poet Rita Dove, wrote in an outraged open letter, "In the PSA [Poetry Society of America] vision of contemporary American poetry, African-American poets were simply invisible." He was reacting to an online feature of childhood photos of poets that included not a single photo of a Black poet. The society's Alice Quinn responded with a clueless 'but we have other stuff on Black poets here and there' letter, to which Viebahn replied, "I had hoped you'd be able to rise above the bunker mentality when your actions are challenged." You can read it all here.

Infuriated as we constantly find ourselves, where can we go to find comic relief? Why, Quirk Classics, of course, the fine folks who brought us Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, bless their perverse little hearts. Next up: Android Karenina. Yeah!