Working Like a Homosexual

Camp, Capital, Cinema

Working Like a Homosexual
Book Pages: 240 Illustrations: Published: March 2002

Author: Matthew Tinkcom

Subjects
Cultural Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Queer Theory, Media Studies > Film

What does camp have to do with capitalism? How have queer men created a philosophy of commodity culture? Why is cinema central to camp? With chapters on the films of Vincente Minnelli, Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger, and John Waters, Working Like a Homosexual responds to these questions by arguing that post–World War II gay male subcultures have fostered their own ways not only of consuming mass culture but of producing it as well.
With a special emphasis on the tensions between high and low forms of culture and between good and bad taste, Matthew Tinkcom offers a new vision of queer politics and aesthetics that is critically engaged with Marxist theories of capitalist production. He argues that camp—while embracing the cheap, the scorned, the gaudy, the tasteless, and what Warhol called “the leftovers” of artistic production—is a mode of intellectual production and a critical philosophy of modernity as much as it is an expression of a dissident sex/gender difference. From Minnelli’s musicals and the “everyday glamour” of Warhol’s films to Anger’s experimental films and Waters’s “trash aesthetic,” Tinkcom demonstrates how camp allowed these gay men to design their own relationship to labor and to history in a way that protected them from censure even as they struggled to forge a role for themselves within a system of “value” that failed to recognize them.

Praise

“Just when it was thought humanly impossible for anything truly new or revealing to be said of camp, [Tinkcom’s] book Working Like a Homosexual: Camp, Capital, Cinema appears and not only challenges received critical wisdom on the topic but into the bargain advances a powerful new model for thinking about camp and its place in contemporary culture.” — Brett Farmer , Genders

“Neither light nor always easy reading, Working Like a Homosexual is still a pleasure, not the least for the well-researched subject matter and the well-structured arguments. Tinkcom presents a subtle yet powerful view of the economic power not just of camp but its queer practitioners, which will make this an important contribution to understanding the inescapable capital value of the queer esthetic in mainstream culture.” — Christopher Byrne , Lesbian and Gay New York

"[A] thoughtful, well-written monograph that is beautifully structured and artfully, if academically, written. . . . Working Like a Homosexual is . . . a pleasure, not the least for the well-researched subject matter and the well-structured arguments. Tinkcom presents a subtle yet powerful view of the economic power not just of camp but its queer practitioners, which will make this an important contribution to understand the inescapable capital value of the queer esthetic in mainstream culture." — Christopher Byrne , LGNY: Lesbian and Gay New York Newspaper

"[An] elegantly-written book. . . ."

— Steven Maynard, Labour/Le Travail

"[Tinkcom’s] research is impeccable and his style is very readable. All in all, this is an important addition in the field of cinematic queer studies."

— W. A. Vincent , Choice

"Matthew Tinkcom's Working Like a Homosexual is a welcome, deliciously quirky, and much-needed addition to queer film studies, labor studies, and the interrogation of the uses of sexuality and its discontents within the system-in this case, the Hollywood machine and its marginalized orbits." — Erika Suderburg, Journal of the History of Sexuality

"Tinkcom deserves praise for daring, as he remarks at the outset, to '[take] camp seriously.' His deft reading of some 17 films offers insightful deconstruction of texts too often dismissed as fluff or trash." — Michael R. Schiavi , Quarterly Review of Film and Video

“A brilliant, innovative study of camp that exceeds the terms in which this topic traditionally has been conceived. The result is a reformulation of camp as queer industrial labor, from the perspective of the production as well as the reception of that work. Anyone working on camp will hereafter have to reckon with this book.” — Steven Cohan, author of Masked Men: Masculinity and the Movies in the Fifties


Buy


Availability: In stock
Price: $25.95
Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Matthew Tinkcom is Assistant Professor of English and of Communication, Culture, and Technology at Georgetown University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. Working like a Homosexual: Vincente Minnelli in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Freed Unit

2. Andy Warhol and the Crises of Value's Appearances

3. "A Physical Relation between Physical Things": The World of the Commodity according to Kenneth Anger

4. "Beyond the Critics' Reach": John Waters and the Trash Aesthetic

Afterword

Notes

Bibliography

Index
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2889-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2862-9
Publicity material

Top