October 25, 2009

SNN Recommends 10/25/09-"Hitting Hard"

Amazon.com customer rankings: 2 0f 2 customers gave it at leat 4 out of 5 stars
SNN Ranking: 4 stars

For over two decades, Michelangelo Signorile has been among the most outspoken and controversial critics of American politics and culture. As a gay activist and journalist, he earned acclaim as the father of the "outing" phenomenon. Today, he remains one of the most widely read and talked about gay muckrakers. In Hitting Hard (Signorile’s first new book since his national bestseller, Outing Yourself), the author tackles the most heated topics of debate among gay people and the political left.

Best known as the columnist who invented the practice of "outing"—exposing closeted public figures whose actions damage the gay community—Signorile pursues controversy with verve and pizzazz in this briskly penned collection of essays and columns, many of which originally appeared in Out or the Advocate. Memorable pieces describe same-sex couples in the South; the difficulties of the gay rights movement in Italy; the eventful lives of "good buddy" (gay male) truckers; and the tough-minded high school student in Fayetteville, Ark., who found support first from his family, and then from GLSTN, a national organization that helps protect gay people in schools. Other, more polemical, pieces raised hackles on first publication. In the late 1990s, Signorile denounced a trend toward "barebacking" (intentionally unprotected sex) and, later, he caught gay conservative Andrew Sullivan soliciting such sex through the Internet. Signorile attacks the new pope for his explicitly anti-gay stance, parses mixed reactions to the coming-out of former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey, and warns repeatedly that AIDS and HIV are by no means problems solved. Less consequential politically, but equally important to Signorile's persona, are his writings on gay celebrities: two columns on Rosie O'Donnell show Signorile's swing from hostility to celebration as O'Donnell's stance toward her own sexuality changed.

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