Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics

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MIT Press, 2004 - Philosophy - 319 pages
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In Melancholia and Moralism, Douglas Crimp confronts the conservative gay politics that replaced the radical AIDS activism of the late 1980s and early 1990s. He shows that the cumulative losses from AIDS, including the waning of militant response, have resulted in melancholia as Freud defined it: gay men's dangerous identification with the moralistic repudiation of homosexuality by the wider society.With the 1993 march on Washington for lesbian and gay rights, it became clear that AIDS no longer determined the agenda of gay politics; it had been displaced by traditional rights issues such as gay marriage and the right to serve in the military. Journalist Andrew Sullivan, notorious for pronouncing the AIDS epidemic over, even claimed that once those few rights had been won, the gay rights movement would no longer have a reason to exist.Crimp challenges such complacency, arguing that not only is the AIDS epidemic far from over, but that its determining role in queer politics has never been greater. AIDS, he demonstrates, is the repressed, unconscious force that drives the destructive moralism of the new, anti-liberation gay politics expounded by such mainstream gay writers as Larry Kramer, Gabriel Rotello, and Michelangelo Signorile, as well as Sullivan. Crimp examines various cultural phenomena, including Randy Shilts's bestseller And the Band Played On, the Hollywood films "Silence of the Lambs" and "Philadelphia," and Magic Johnson's HIV infection and retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers. He also analyzes Robert Mapplethorpe's and Nicholas Nixon's photography, John Greyson's AIDS musical "Zero Patience," Gregg Bordowitz's video "Fast Trip, Long Drop," the Names Project Quilt, and the annual "Day without Art."


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Melancholia and moralism: essays on AIDS and queer politics

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The author of On the Museum's Ruins and editor of AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism, Crimp (visual and cultural studies, Univ. of Rochester) shores up the crumbling constructivist arguments ... Read full review


An Introduction
Cultural AnalysisCultural Activism 43 How To Have Promiscuity in an Epidemic
Portraits of People with AIDS
Good Ole Bad Boys
Randy Shiltss Miserable Failure P n HI T r HI T r L U N I C H I
Mourning and Militancy
The Boys in My Bedroom
The Spectacle of Mourning
Accommodating Magic
Dont Tell
Rosas Indulgence
DeMoralizing Representations of AIDS
Painful Pictures
Sex and Sensibility or Sense and Sexuality

A Day without Gertrude
1B9 Right On Girlfriend

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About the author (2004)

Gemma Calvert is a Wellcome Career Development Fellow and Head of the Multisensory Research Group at the Department of Physiology and Center for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain at Oxford University.

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