Book Review: Sherry Wolf, Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics, and Theory of LGBT Liberation.
YOU ARE SEVENTEEN, you enjoy sex with members of your gender, and you have a growing interest in radical politics. What should you believe, what should you do? The socialist position seems practically indistinguishable from mainstream liberalism: support for same-sex marriage, hate crime laws, and a trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). There seems to be a more radical option, however. Against the (allegedly) reformist, assimilationist, and legalistic orientation of actually existing gay politics, self-described “queers” demand a politics of radical sexual difference; a politics that seeks, somehow, to go beyond equality.
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STUDY THE STALLS OF A SEMINARY BATHROOM and chances are you will find the following scrawled out in ballpoint: “Nietzsche: God is Dead. God: Nietzsche is dead.” The quip relies on a misreading—God, for Nietzsche, did not die like your grandmother or pet turtle might die. God died like a language might die. In a secular world, belief becomes unbelievable. But the bathroom graffiti retains a bit of truth. Nietzsche, writing in 1882, recognized the collapse of religion. Today, the situation has changed: God is undead.
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IN 1926, HISTORIAN CARTER WOODSON inaugurated “Negro History Week.” Negro History Week bred Black History Month, and Black History Month bred the many diverse “Heritage” months of our American calendar: Women’s History Month, Asian Pacific Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and American Indian Heritage Month, to pick just a few. But along the way, the justification for studying history changed.
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