Four Terrible Old Books About Homosexuality, Including 1962's Faggots to Burn
Each Friday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State basements, thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.
Gayness remains a thing that America freaks out over every couple of years when it can't find any real problems. This is not one of those times. Maybe it's because younger generations just don't find homosexuality offensive. Or perhaps it's that no forward-thinking state is currently doing something radical like trying to afford basic civil liberties to all citizens.
For whatever reason, even Republican presidential candidates are keeping mum about the occasional wedge issue that dare not speak its name. To remind us how far this country has come, your Crap Archivist presents this survey of terrible, wrongheaded books about homosexuality scored at California thrift stores. For brevity's sake, I have not included the books whose portrayals of gayness are the most shocking: Leviticus and DSMs I through III.
Author: Matt Bradley
Publisher: Art Enterprises Inc.
The Cover Promises: You know that the Britsish use "faggot" as a unit of measurement for stick bundles. Also: "Is the 'Third Sex' taking over Hollywood?"
Tone: Lurid, amused, at times empathetic, and even more often aroused, especially during the case studies, which include lots of spanking.
Chapter Titles: Sick, Sick City; What Is a Queer; A Lesbian Tells All; Odds and Ends
"Hollywood has, to express it succinctly, and to justify the phrase, 'faggots to burn.'" (12)
"A pervert has intercourse with animals, he exposes his genitals to small children, he mutilates helpless women while they are bound and gagged, he indulges in sexual relations with corpses, beats himself or begs to be beaten, even indulges in acts of cannibalism. ... In other words, perverts are nuts. Homosexuals are merely silly." (18 - 19)Unscientific Assertion:
"The statistics on table-model radio sets stolen from queens by one-night-stand lovers are not available, but must be shockingly high." (59)Attempt at Defining Terms:
"Your 'basket weaver,' one who likes to advertise his male attractions by wearing very tight pants, can do this to best advantage while casually cocking a leg over something, so that nearly all gay bars have what is called a 'cruising bar,' which is a narrow shelf, waist high, securely braced all around the empty walls." (120)Does the Book Allege a Conspiracy of Homosexuals? Surprisingly, no. From the chapter "Fact & Fiction":
"Rumor: Most homosexuals are trying to take over the world.The Low Down: Its title more an expression of plenitude than a call for conflagration, Faggots to Burn is in many ways typical of midcentury paperback originals that purport to expose some topic of a sexual nature. While taking pains to express occasional alarm over his topic, author Bradley mostly just revels in a fantasia details of gay life. ("Wigs, gaily coiffed and costing [thousands], are sported. It's a mad, mad night!") He carps that "by his very existence" the homosexual "offends the public taste" and "is no paragon of virtue by any standards," but then he offers this strange tribute: "Rape is the one crime he can never, never be accused of."
Truth: Most homosexuals are trying to hold on to the lease for their apartments."
Author: Dr. George A. Rekers
Publisher: Moody Press, Chicago
The Cover Promises: "Specific guidance to parents who want to keep their children from homosexuality."
The Cover Neglects to Mention: Rekers' penchant for hiring "rent boys" to accompany him on trips.
Tone: Aggrieved and touchy. Rekers resents "gay activists" and says so often. He also moans a lot about how resisting "impure temptation" is a great but necessary challenge, for "when we indulge in homosexuality we have 'exchanged the truth of God for a lie.'" Note the we.
Chapter Titles: Gay Liberation -- The Lure of a Deceptive Fantasy World; What Young People Should Know About Homosexual Temptations; "Such Were Some of You" -- True Liberation for Homosexuals
"Everything that the gay activists are working for stands diametrically opposed everything concerned parents stand for in seeking future family fulfillment for their children." (40)
"The destruction of the city of Sodom for unrestrained homosexual sin is God's example for the rest of us." (41).Unscientific Assertion That Is Also Pretty Unimpressive:
"Hundreds of individuals have overcome their homosexuality."Completely Unfair False-Choice Argument:
"Who should have the right to teach children sexual values -- homosexual activists or the children's own parents?" (83)Proof That No Sentence Containing the Word "Frankly" Is in Any Way Actually Frank:
"I had never talked with an admitted homosexual before, and, frankly, I was speechless." (14)Does the Book Allege a Conspiracy of Homosexuals? Yes, but only among "activists."
The Lowdown: Rekers' book reads differently today, a year after his rent-boy encounter. Some of it, though, sounds like things he might still be saying, especially this, pretty much any time the 'ol hypocrite walks into a room: "Do not ever joke about your friend's homosexual problem to him or to anyone else."