[PREV - SOCIAL_REGISTER] [TOP]
January 2, 2003
Rev: February 4, 2005
"The Madman" by Samuel R. Delany (1994):
The main theme of this book
is the ways people are
limited to seeing the things The main foreground action
they're ready to see. concerns casual promiscuous
male-male sex in New York,
Most often, this is shown just as AIDs is beginning
in the ways ways that text to become an issue.
depends on context.
Delany a fantasist turned
The whole plot of the story to social realism...
revolves around interpreting texts:
He wanted to record this
The main character is a gay male kind of experience because
philosophy grad student, who is the discussion of the AIDS
trying to understand the writings issue made it abundantly
of another gay male philosopher, clear that the world at
who was killed under mysterious large knew little about this
circumstances not too long ago. kind of life.
The student's advisor was pretty (E.g. 300 contacts a
clearly having some trouble year sounds like a lot
understanding some things in the to some, but 300 a
philosopher's personal papers, month is a slow period
maybe because he's a straight for someone living in
guy -- or maybe because he's that world.)
just too straight. E.g. there's
a piece of pornographic fiction
that he mistook for a personal
As the main character follows in the footsteps
of his subject, he finds out that his own
interpretations of the texts were unreliable
because he's post-Stonewall, and the author
was pre-Stonewall, and therefore closeted in
ways difficult to understand today.
Along the way the main character writes
some texts of his own, and the point is
made that these are also products of
their times -- pre-AIDS -- and perhaps
not so comprehensible to someone living
in the AIDS era.
The narrator often talks about
the "systems of the world".
Solving the mystery wasn't very His professors
difficult once you got yourself seem quite Mere students
into the right "system", amused by his are not supposed
i.e. after you've gotten to fondness for to indulge in
know the right kind of people the phrase. grandiose
(perhaps, after you've become abstractions like
the right kind of person?). the official
In addition to the texts/contexts: FALSE_CENTER
There's a scene where he's sucking the
cock of a bum on a park bench who
assures him that the other people in the
park won't even see him doing it. There
are cocksuckers and there are baseball
players, and the baseball players can't
see the cocksuckers.
These phrases are refrains that are
repeated throughout the book:
"Systems of the world" and
"cocksuckers and baseball players".
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