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on 4 August 1998
Queer as used in this title means sexual conduct that deviates from established norms. It is not gender limited. The question then is who is afraid and how does that fear involve the planet? Those who fear, evidently, are those burdened with imposing the norms. The first essay in this anthology tells the story of Balboa's encounter with Panamanian "sodomy." The burden in that case fell upon political and religious figures. The next-to-last essay tells how the defeat of Quebec's bid for sovereignity was blamed on its tolerance of homosexuality, thus situating the burden in the domain of the general culture. The last essay recounts the "outing" in the US pop media of a female entertainer with attendant public anxieties, thus situating the locus in the general culture. But how does that make the fear planetary? The introduction, best read as a postscript, attempts to connect the theme with the planet through the device of Pioneer 10's spacecr! aft design. But the connection is superficia,l and the reader is left to find it in the issues raised by postmodernism, which heavily undergirds much of the volume's ponderosity. Eleven of its 15 contributors are teachers of English, with a lit-crit approach heavily freighted with fashionable structuralism-desctructuralism jargon; but the diligent reader can find a rich cornocupia for reflection here and food for thought; but he/she must look for the planatary connection (and it does exist, we have no doubt) in the areas of ontology and epistomology that postmodernism leaves us floundering in. Howard of Athens
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