Feb 222012
 
2012-02-22_083128

“The gay revolution began as a literary revolution,” Christopher Bram writes in Eminent Outlaws (Twelve), a cultural and social history of the queer writers who opened America’s eyes and minds to the homosexual experience and forever shaped the cultural landscape. From the first shots fired, in the 1950s and 60s by James Baldwin, Allen Ginsberg, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and Gore Vidal (“the godfather of gay literature”), to the era of Maupin, Wilson, Kushner, and Kramer, the book is a naughty nonstop gossipalooza, as well as a portrait of a community in love and at war.

Sterling Archer—cartoon stud, international man of mystery, and star of the animated TV show Archer on FX—shares a wealth of wisdom in How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails (It Books). Among the talking points: how to make a Molotov cocktail, prepare a good brunch (eggs and béchamel sauce), and get what you want from Thai prostitutes (beware: one in three is transgendered)—sage, if preemptive, advice for all the 13- to 17-year-old Archer fans out there living at home.

I don’t imagine that Hanne Blank’s Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality (Beacon Press), which states rather provocatively, “Heterosexuality is not a fact of nature,” will have a lot of crossover with the Archer set. However, he-manly history buffs will find it fascinating. Blank takes on the straight life from soup to nuts, delving into the invention of the term “heterosexuality” in 19th-century Germany, modern attitudes toward hetero/homosexual desire, love, and relationships, and the shifts in between which changed society. Not only that—attention, Archer fans—according to Blank, heterosexuality is not a gear we are stuck in forever.

Everyone loves a fine béchamel sauce.

Elissa Schappell

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