Historical Documents – 1973 ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Faggot’

Historical Documents – Portrait of the Artist as a Young Faggot

By Jay Gorney
May 15, 1973, Oberlin Review

[JPG of original article – 252K]

  • “This town we’re in is a sealed tuna sandwich.”
    Frank Zappa, 200 Motels
  • My friend Eddie and I want to get an apartment with a fireplace so that on rainy days we can sit around and say, “Men! Who needs them?”
  • What Oberlin lacks is elegance.
  • If you’ve ever been to a Phi Beta Kappa initiation banquet, rest assured it’s a remnant of 19th century college life, complete with speeches about academic excellence, secret handshakes, and individual servings of lime jello.
  • Lesbianism exists.
  • “I never wanted to be a painter. I wanted to be a tap dancer.”
    –Andy Warhol
  • Miss Vespre Putiak Beauty Hint #1: “Halter-top dresses are in, especially if you have a very hairy back.”
  • “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”
    — The Wizard of Oz
  • Homosexuality is not a Conservatory affair. The Con, however, does encourage the attitude of gay-man-as-Punchinello: He can camp, but not too much. He should be out enough to be amusing, but never really proud, open. The Con is afraid of strong, free gays, and closeted students in both the Con and the College lack models of together gays.
  • “I want to hear the sound of the calliope! I want to hear the sound of the calliope!”
    — Jackie Curtis,
    Americka Cleopatra
  • Oberlin homophobia is worse than that at Ohio State. It’s a hell of a lot easier to deal with honest bigots than with a bunch of patronizing liberals.
  • Enter Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan.
  • I actually heard an Oberlin man say the following: I’m overtly straight. There’s not a gay bone in my body.
  • Nice students don’t get V.D.; they get coughs, sore throats, and split ends.
  • Hi-C celebrated Earth Day by serving its special picnic dinner in plastic bags, with paper napkins and plastic utensils, all contained in waxed-paper buckets.
  • Hey! Hey! Good is gay!
    Try it once the other way!
    — Gay Activists Alliance chant
  • It’s facile to say that “Oberlin marriages” are built of weaknesses and not strengths, dependence and inertia and not pride. It’s also true.
  • Miss Vespre Beauty Hint #2: “The best way of applying facial sequins is with Elmer’s Glue, used in small dabs.”
  • On Male Lesbianism: If men in general (and male egos in particular) become more repulsive, I swear I’ll start sleeping with women, which would make me not straight, but a male radical lesbian.
  • “I feel as if I’ve been chewing small dead animals all night.”
    –Anne Daro of the Meaning of Life Club
  • Oberlin women at lesbian conference: “Although I’ve never really had physical contact with another woman, I…like think that sisterhood is powerful.”
  • “But darling, it’s all images.”
    — Alexis del Lago,
    Dietrich-impersonator
  • I honestly expect to see Dorothy Lamour swinging from the trees in Harkness Lounge.
  • “It took more than one man to change my name to…Shanghai Lily.”
    — Marlene Dietrich
    Shanghai Express
  • About academics: The less said, the better.
  • To Paul, Steve, Michael: Even Oberlin can’t demolish gay love.