Some years ago, I saw an exhibit at Mass MoCA in North Adams, Mass. in which a male artist included an image of the Y chromosome. It’s much smaller than the X chromosome. And it’s been shrinking.
I couldn’t help but think of this on the death of Otto Warmbier, the young American imprisoned and apparently tortured for allegedly taking a propaganda poster off the wall of a North Korean hotel. Returned to his homeland in a coma, he died six days later on June 19.
Lost, however, in the geopolitical story – the barbarism of North Korea, the failure of the Chinese to contain it and the challenge this poses for America – is both the larger and deeper cultural and psychological story. It is a narrative that says simply no one does stupid like a stupid man. ...
As a writer of homoerotic fiction, I consider myself a collector and connoisseur of male/male romances. I began with the ancient Greeks, who practically invented homoerotic relationships – all those youths beloved by Apollo, whose depiction reached an apotheosis in the paintings of neoclassical Paris (see Abigail Solomon-Godeau’s provocative book “Male Trouble”); and the relationships of Alexander the Great with his right-hand man, Hephaestion, and eunuch Bagoas, portrayed so movingly in Mary Renault’s “Fire From Heaven” and “The Persian Boy,” respectively.
Then there’s Marguerite Yourcenar’s “Memoirs of Hadrian,” a model for all aspiring historical fiction writers, which tells the story of the titular Greek-loving Roman emperor and his love for the tragic Greek youth Antinous.
Moving on to our own (mostly) gay-friendly, postfeminist time, there’s Gus Van Sant’s ingenious “My Own Private Idaho,” based on “Henry IV,” and Annie Proulx’s hauntingly spare novella “Brokeback Mountain,” made into an equally worthy film by Ang Lee. ...
For me personally, I can say with Frank Sinatra, “It was a very good year.” I got to travel a great deal and I got a contract for my second novel, “The Penalty for Holding,” about a gay, biracial quarterback’s search for identity in the NFL. An excerpt from the book will be published in the Westchester Review, and an essay I wrote on love, sex and gender in the work of Colombian artist Federico Uribe will be part of a new monograph on him. For all this, I’m truly grateful.
I begin with an attitude of gratitude in this the month of Thanksgiving, because in other ways I’ve been disenchanted and disheartened as many of those I have loved have faltered. ...
The first time I saw the burkini – the controversial swimwear worn primarily by Muslim women, whose ban on French beaches was recently overturned by a French court – I thought, if I wasn’t often so hot, and not in a good way, I would definitely wear one.
Indeed, when I first hit the beach in Bali – the Hindu island of Muslim Indonesia, where everyone lets it all hang out – I was dressed in a one-piece and a sarong, accessorized by a beach umbrella.
I cannot have the sun beating down on my head – I take my daily constitutional with an umbrella or parasol in the warm-weather months – and I don’t want my skin overexposed to Mr. Sun either.
I’m not alone. British chef Nigela Lawson sports a burkini at the beach to shield her fair skin, and the swimsuit has been championed by members of both sexes and several major religions, along with lifeguards in Australia, where it was designed by Lebanese-born Aheda Zanetti. ...