The problem of desegregating homosexuality from a private ghetto into a heterosexual world, that depends on homosexuality remaining invisible, encapsulates the problem faced everywhere in popular culture today by this frail phenomenon we call masculinity--the problem of looking, that is, bow to prevent the "deflation" of "manly visions" by the proximity of homosexuality.
Mark Simpson, Male Impersonation
You can leave your hat on.
Randy Newman, I Know What Love Is
Culture is a way of looking. When individuals succeed in externalizing their personal experiences through the creation of images, sounds, phrases, structures, and movement, the result is culture. In this context, culture is the collective aspect of individuated styles of expression. What sensibility is to the individual, culture is to the community--a distinctive voice. Because of the fragmentation of Western society, culture is not always cogent in the anthropological sense of the term "culture"--an entire way of life of a particular human society, transmitted from generation to generation. For me, Albert Camus perfectly defines the meaning of culture at the end of the twentieth century when he observes that culture is "the cry of men in face of their destiny."
It is Camus's dark statement about modern humankind's confrontation with destiny that provides a basis for a discussion of an idea as transient and elusive as "gay culture." If, in the twentieth century, des-