Reading Questions Week 4

Gamson, excerpts from Freaks Talk Back: “Why I Love Trash” (2-27); “Truths Told in Lies” (66-105)

  • Gamson says he identifies with “the misfits, monsters, trash, and perverts.” Why does this make daytime TV talk shows an attractive subject for him?
  • How does Gamson’s discussion of queerness on TV talk shows complicate the idea that visibility in mainstream media = social progress for minorities?
  • How might TV talk shows “muddy the waters of normality,” in Gamson’s words?
  • Why might the talk show imperative to “be true to yourself” be incompatible with the ideas of gender and sexuality advanced by queer theory? How do talk shows disrupt the idea of a single, universal truth about gender and sexual identity?

Sender, “Queens for a Day” (131-151)

  • What does Sender say about debates around whether Queer Eye is good for gay visibility? What kinds of questions does Sender find more interesting?
  • How do changing economic conditions result in shifts in constructions of gender and sexuality, according to Sender?
  • How does camp function in Queer Eye? What identities and social categories might the show ironize and destabilize?
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