Synopses & Reviews
Davin Allen Grindstaff, through a series of close textual analyses examining public discourse, uncovers the rhetorical modes of persuasion surrounding the construction of gay male sexual identity. In Part One, Grindstaff establishes his notion of the andquot;rhetorical secretandquot; central to constructions of gay male identity: the practice of sexual identity as a secret, its promise of a coherent sexual self, and the perpetuation of secrecy as a product and strategy of heteronormative discourse.and#160;Grindstaff continues in Part Two to examine major issues related to contemporary conceptions of gay male identity: overturning sodomy laws; public debates over same-sex marriages; medical and social responses to the HIV/AIDS crisis; the rhetorical power of hyper-masculine body images and homoeroticism to creative communities; and, finally, what Grindstaff considers to be the most mysterious and significant rhetorical practice of all: coming out of the closet.and#160;By investigating the public discourse--texts and images that circulate, produce knowledge, and become means of persuasion--surrounding the constructions of sexual identity, Grindstaff challenges heteronormative concepts of sexuality itself, thus creating new maps of social power and new paths of resistance.and#160;
andquot;Grindstaff is both passionate about his topic and well versed in the queer theory of the past three decades.andrdquo; andmdash;GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies
andldquo;Grindstaffandrsquo;s book is not only for those interested in learning about the rhetorical construction of gay male identity. Rhetorical Secrets also endeavors to explain how that identity is discursively produced by and among those who both deny and promote homophilia. . . . Rhetorical Secrets is a book that explicates one of the central interests of rhetoric, the formation and maintenance of a public and its subjects, but this explication is unique because it describes this process as a sensual, desire-charged, and desire-producing dynamic.andrdquo; andmdash;Review of Communication
"Grindstaff (speech communication, Georgia State Univ.) has produced a thought-provoking study that is reminiscent (in scope) of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's The Epistemology of the Closet
(1990) and Tendencies
(1993). The author makes effective use of some of the same rhetorical methods he employed in 'The Corpus of Daniel Pearl'--his collaboration with Kevin Michael DeLuca published in Critical Studies in Media Education
(21/4, 2004)--which considers the use of the human body as a rhetorical device. The first part of the present title deals with 'the rhetorical secret' as it relates to the creation of gay identity. The second part considers landmarks on the path to gay acceptance in the US: overturning sodomy laws, calls for same-sex marriage, public exhibitions of gay pride, changing attitudes about HIV/AIDS, and the growth of flourishing gay communities and subcultures in urban areas. But though Grindstaff's comments on coming out of the closet are certainly relevant, he hobbles his discussion of this important topic with abstruse prose. Accordingly, the book will be appropriate only for those accustomed to the jargon of critical theory.and#160;Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty, and professionals."
and#147;Grindstaff is both passionate about his topic and well versed in the queer theory of the past three decades.and#8221; and#151;GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies
Gay male identity as a product of rhetoric and public discourse in modern America.
About the Author
Davin Allen Grindstaff is a senior lecturer and director of the Basic Speech course at Georgia State University. and#160; and#160;