Gay Artists in Modern American Culture: An Imagined by Michael S. Sherry

By Michael S. Sherry

This day it truly is well known that homosexual males performed a sought after position in defining the tradition of mid-20th-century the United States, with such icons as Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Montgomery Clift, and Rock Hudson defining a lot of what appeared incredibly "American" at the level and monitor. even supposing few homosexual artists have been "out," their sexuality brought on major nervousness in the course of a time of rampant antihomosexual attitudes. Michael Sherry deals a worldly research of the strain among the nation's simultaneous dependence on and worry of the cultural impression of homosexual artists.

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Extra info for Gay Artists in Modern American Culture: An Imagined Conspiracy (Caravan Book)

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Although moral crusaders and advertisers restricted television networks, vaudeville and other traditions made ‘‘swish-comedy’’ seem tame, especially since viewers could see it as mocking queers or simply dismiss it as buffoonery. 33 discovery Hence outrageous tv characters emerged like comedian Ernie Kovacs’s Percy Dovetonsils later in the 1950s, a pansy whose lines included: When I was a little child everyone said I was manly I had a parakeet—a bicycle seat—and a dear little friend named Stanley.

Still, postwar indignation, though occasional, also was ugly, and it opened the way for more to come. It made claims about peril to American survival that had been absent in prewar commentary. ’’ 47 Meeting little resistance, attacks on homosexuals in the arts set a tone, especially because they emerged in other venues, such as the psychoanalytic ones discussed in the next chapter. There the attacks were more frequent and sustained, providing intellectual ballast, or at least its appearance, to assertions that homosexuals endangered not just the nation’s mental health and cultural creativity but even its survival.

None saw the New York stage, however, for when police arrested her for another of her productions, she scratched plans to bring The Drag to New York. Pushed by the Catholic Church, publisher William Randolph Hearst, and others, the state legislature banned plays ‘‘depicting or dealing with the subject of sex degeneracy, or sex perversion,’’ a ban later extended to nightclubs and echoed in Hollywood’s Production Code. 11 Language reflected an unsettled framework for argument about homosexuality and the arts.

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