August 28, 2011

Loose Lips...

I just finished reading A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski. It was an interesting book, if a bit over my head - he tried to cover a lot of broad social, political, and cultural movement in a small space, and sometimes I felt like he was just dropping in a quote from some book or journal, saying "yup, there were gay people at this time," and moving on without really tying all his ideas together. He said in the introduction that he was trying to avoid the "add one gay and stir" method of history, just elaborating on historical queer's biographies, which, while generally a cool idea, meant that he would drop names of famous historical figures as queer and not elaborate any further, leaving me wishing for all the scandalous details!

But overall, it was a good read, and there was one bit in particular I wanted to share with you...

During World War I, conservative British politician Noel Pemberton-Billings wrote an article called "The Cult of the Clitoris," claiming that "a legion of lesbian spies" led by actress Maud Allen were hurting the war effort. Quote: "In lesbian ecstasy the most sacred secrets of the state were betrayed." Because nothing quite turns the ladies on like state secrets, you know.

While it seems unlikely, I do think that his idea would make the best spy movie ever, and suggest that Hollywood get right on that.

2 comments:

amphibiman said...

It should be observed that using sex to gain secrets is a trick as old as the hills, and has no gender nor orientation exclusivity.

Katie Casey said...

Well, yeah. But panicky articles about lesbian sex espionage are fabulously unique.