Mar. 25th, 2007

philthecow: (hitchcock)
Remember this?

(An edited version was just rejected by the Swarthmore literary magazine. I'm trying to stave off the crisis of self-confidence.)

At least people liked The Queer History of Swarthmore, except for the guy who didn't appreciate having to scroll past it to get to the sports section. If I had more time to write, it would definitely be more polished. But for what it is I'm proud of it.

I read a lot of old papers to write the article, and I love reading primary documents so much. There's a sense of immersion you get from being able to read an old newspaper, because it's this entire world laid out in front of you, but also a delightful sense of disjunction, because you never were the intended audience and there are things you never will understand.

For example, the best part of my article goes as follows:

"On November 1, 1985, The Phoenix published a story titled 'AIDS Series Continues' which contained the following paragraph: 'Perhaps the most bizarre thought to emerge from the lecture came in the question-answer session, when a student asked whether beating up gay people might be a way to catch AIDS. Supposedly, if one to were assault a gay person who happened to be infected, blood from the person could infect the attacker. Uitert concurred that this could indeed happen, especially if the attacking fists were scraped up, though repeated exposure is probably required for infection.'"

WHAT THE FUCK? What the hell kind of Swarthmore were people living in for that exchange to be possible? Who asked the question? Was some dumb jock thinking "Oh shit, I beat up a homo last week, I need to find out if I have AIDS"? Did the doctor's response make him stop beating up gay people? Or did he just use a baseball bat instead of his fists from then on? What did the rest of the audience think? Were the gay students happy about the doctor's response?

I'm never going to know the answers to any of these questions, but my life has been so enriched by being able to ask them, and in being able to share these crazy parts of the past with other people so that they can ask them too. This is the kind of stuff I thrive on, right?

(On that note, if Small Craft Warnings won't accept my story, I will read an even better version at the Clothesline Project rally. And I will make sure that we are handing out copies of everything read at the rally, so that people will be forced to confront something scary and dark and terrible, and Small Craft Warnings can keep printing one or two interesting pieces a semester, drowned out by a flood of pretentious poetry, and the texts that actually matter can be disseminated by superior means. I will stave this crisis off.)


philthecow: (Default)

December 2008

78 910111213

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 25th, 2017 01:25 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios