Michael Bronski

While most of my political and cultural work since 1969 has been centered on queer (nee gay) and feminist issues I entered the Gay Liberation Movement from a background of doing leftist, anti-war and community organizing. Thirty years ago this was a common experience for gay politics -- now it is an anomaly. Most of my work has been as a journalist and cultural critic and I have written on topics including sex, AIDS, film, books, theater, children, consumerism, mainstream and grassroots organizing, and history for publications ranging from Z Magazine to The Village Voice to gay porn mags. Along with essays in thirty anthologies, I have also published two books -- Culture Clash: The Making of Gay Sensibility (South End Press, 1984) and The Pleasure Principle: Sex, Backlash, and the Struggle for Gay Freedom (St. Martin`s Press, 1998). If there is a basic principle, or politic behind my writing it is an attempt to explain to myself -- and anyone reading -- what I call the politics of pleasure. Why do I like something? Why does it makes me laugh, or cry, or turns me? A cultural criticism that doesn`t take into consideration the pleasure we receive from culture is missing something. I also try to figure out the "cultural click" behind certain popular media and political events: why were there three major Hollywood movies about women dying of cancer last year? Why is the mainstream media suddenly promoting the idea that people with AIDS are dangerous predators? These are all question that focus on the intersections between pleasure and consumerism, power and sex and politics, all of which seem to me to be the most interesting topics in the world.


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