By Michael Trask
Camp Sites considers key issues of postwar tradition, from the clash among functionality and authenticity to the increase of the meritocracy, during the lens of camp, the underground sensibility of pre-Stonewall homosexual existence. In so doing, it argues that our easy assumptions concerning the social type of the postwar milieu are deeply knowledgeable by way of convinced presuppositions approximately gay event and identification, and that those presuppositions stay stubbornly entrenched regardless of our post-Stonewall consciousness-raising.
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Additional info for Camp sites : sex, politics, and academic style in postwar America
1 The Schooling of America A Consensus of Make-Believe In the late 1940s, the federal government established a commission to puzzle through a dilemma that preoccupied the crafters of the national security state in the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the tendency of the atomic threat to induce either paralysis or panic. Presuming that the trauma inflicted by the idea of the bomb would prove no less disabling than the force from a detonation, Project East River (as the commission was named) encouraged citizensurvivors to maintain an open-minded skepticism with regard to the otherwise self-evident specter of annihilation.
36 But Fiedler was no Arnoldian. Like Niebuhr’s, his was a hermeneutics of suspicion. ”37 This narrow view would have come as a surprise to Charles Frankel, whose book The Democratic Prospect (1962) espies a far more ambitious research program on its titular horizon: “The man who would now understand all the facts that are politically relevant must proceed to acquaint himself with the bottom of the ocean, the inside of Yoknapatawpha County, and the other side of the moon. ”38 Though the compulsive desire to monitor the world through interpretation originated in the realm of higher education, its disciplines would colonize the vernacular during the early Cold War.
23 The most striking thing about this passage is Morgan’s insistence on the literary scholar’s “relevance,” to borrow a term from our own disciplinary moment. It would be difficult to find a contemporary critic who rivals Morgan in foregrounding the humanist’s sensibility in the advancement of the open society or endowing her credentials with the superheroic powers Morgan imagines for them. “It is not a mere figure of speech,” Morgan writes, summoning precisely a figure of speech, “to say that each master of a modern foreign language supplies the state with an extra pair of mental eyes, capable of looking into an enemy’s mind.