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Love and Money

Love and Money: Queers, Class, and Cultural Production

Lisa Henderson
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Love and Money
    Book Description:

    Love and Money argues that we can't understand contemporary queer cultures without looking through the lens of social class. Resisting old divisions between culture and economy, identity and privilege, left and queer, recognition and redistribution, Love and Money offers supple approaches to capturing class experience and class form in and around queerness.Contrary to familiar dismissals, not every queer television or movie character is like Will Truman on Will and Grace - rich, white, healthy, professional, detached from politics, community, and sex. Through ethnographic encounters with readers and cultural producers and such texts as Boys Don't Cry, Brokeback Mountain, By Hook or By Crook, and wedding announcements in the New York Times, Love and Money sees both queerness and class across a range of idioms and practices in everyday life. How, it asks, do readers of Dorothy Allison's novels use her work to find a queer class voice? How do gender and race broker queer class fantasy? How do independent filmmakers cross back and forth between industry and queer sectors, changing both places as they go and challenging queer ideas about bad commerce and bad taste?With an eye to the nuances and harms of class difference in queerness and a wish to use culture to forge queer and class affinities, Love and Money returns class and its politics to the study of queer life.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-9059-5
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction Love and Money, Queerness and Class
    (pp. 1-24)

    Love and Moneyis a book of cultural critique and exploration at the crossroads of queerness and class in the United States. Through field studies and comparative criticism, it asks what difference social class makes to queer subjectivity and representation, and what difference queerness makes to class hierarchy and value. I argue that we cannot see queer cultures clearly enough when we ignore class, nor can we see contemporary class outside the production of sexual difference. Sometimes the object of this argument is commercial popular culture, long the measure of queer defilement by radical standards. Other times, its objects are...

  5. 1 The Class Character of Boys Don’t Cry
    (pp. 25-30)

    What might be the value of readingBoys Don’t Cry(1999) as a social class narrative? More precisely, how might we interpret the film as a story of transgender becoming and punishment in a representational field whose class idioms are conspicuously coherent? I pose this question to explore popular discourses of transgender experience, the meanings of class belonging and difference in the commercial media, and the mediations of transgender embodiment and working-class life. The pattern I want to illustrate, which turns up again and again at the nexus of queerness and class, is the displacement of the trauma of one...

  6. 2 Queer Visibility and Social Class
    (pp. 31-59)

    In his beautiful essay “Intellectual Desire,” Allan Bérubé (1997) disentangles a lifetime of border living and territorial and symbolic migration. Growing up poor of French Canadian descent in the United States and surviving the shame and hostility rained down on his speech community, his family’s Catholic religiosity, and their position and culture in the working class, Bérubé came out as homosexual and intellectual in conditions that predicted neither but courted both. A consciously bookish kid, he read, and envisioned “a different world, full of poetry, literature, great music, philosophy, and art” (52) through the Encyclopedia Britannica volumes purchased from the...

  7. 3 Every Queer Thing We Know
    (pp. 60-69)

    How to live? Be soft, get by, go slow, open up, find others, try to be kind, funny if you have it in you. Get things done, think justly, create, learn your corner as best you can. There is nothing queer in this list as we know the term, but the gentle vertigo it releases—an unclinical venturesomeness in meeting parts of the world we don’t already understand—brings courage closer, buoys newness. I remember coming out as queer—neither buoyant nor soft, a little courageous maybe as I stepped off the future as I had known it. I remember...

  8. 4 Recognition: Queers, Class, and Dorothy Allison
    (pp. 70-100)

    Twenty years ago, shortly before Penn State University voted to include sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination policy, I crossed campus as a young faculty member, dressed in a suit and tie, wearing my hair short, dyed and spiky as befitted the moment, my mouth deeply tinted with red lipstick. A young white man walked past in the opposite direction, turned over his shoulder and scowled “genderbender . . .” Despite a crowded path and in classic Althusserian fashion, I recognized myself to be the one hailed by his contempt. I snorted back: “That’d beDoctorGender Bender to you,...

  9. 5 Queer Relay
    (pp. 101-128)

    In April 2006, at the Anthology Film Archives in New York, I ran into distinguished writer, artist, and cultural producer Sarah Schulman during the MIX-NY Queer Experimental Film and Video Festival. Schulman asked what had brought me to MIX, and I told her that I’d come to see a program of shorts that included writer-director Liza Johnson’s filmDesert Motel(2005). As fieldworker and script supervisor, I had joined Johnson’s crew onDesert Motelto write about queer filmmaking at the interstices of industry and independent resources and aesthetics. “Ah,” said Schulman, “crossover dreaming.” It was an instructive response, one...

  10. 6 Plausible Optimism
    (pp. 129-154)

    In a universe structured in hierarchy and represented through narratives of recovery and enfranchisement, what is the place of fantasy, and which fantasies do we trust? Those questions may seem suspect, coming from a critic, since critique leads us away from fantasy (as wishful thinking or flights of fancy) to attach futures to the long labor of ideological exposure and justice. A less romantic version of the question, one that respects a critic’s conventional expertise, might ask about culture’s role in making future worlds, including a world of queer solidarity across class lines.

    But something is lost as soon as...

  11. Conclusion: A Cultural Politics of Love and Solidarity
    (pp. 155-168)

    The period since World War II is very telling when it comes to the story of changes in cumulative income growth in the United States. According to Larry M. Bartels (2008), Princeton professor of public and international affairs, the postwar period is not one of uniform upward distribution, where growth is concentrated at the top of the heap; instead, from 1947 to 1974, incomes grew in the lowest (the 20th) percentile by 97.5 percent, in the 60th percentile by 97.6 percent, and in the 95th percentile by 89.1 percent. Contrast the similarity of these rates with those in the same...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 169-178)
    (pp. 179-186)
  14. FILMS
    (pp. 187-188)
    (pp. 189-190)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 191-200)
    (pp. 201-201)