Discover more from From the Editors at Public Seminar
Horned and Beautiful and Fabulous
Queer-coded Disney villains, Communism in and out of the closet, and more
June 8, 2023
This week at Public Seminar: Daniel Fernandez reveals the pro-Nazi artist behind a local library’s iconic design, Manuel Betancourt and Madeleine Janz excavate diverse masculinities, and Claire Potter and Bettina Aptheker unpack the history of queer Communism.
Laws of Desire
“A lot of us are trying to rethink what it means to be a man, what it means to be masculine, and that those things may not always be synonymous and don’t need to be mutually exclusive with things like femininity, softness, tenderness, and gentleness.” Manuel Betancourt reflects on the fabulous villains, violent Almodóvar men, and playful new icons that populate his debut essay collection, The Male Gazed: On Hunks, Heartthrobs, and What Pop Culture Taught Me About (Desiring) Men (Catapult, 2023), in a conversation with Madeleine Janz. (June 5, 2023)
Read an excerpt from The Male Gazed on Ricky Martin’s evolving persona, courtesy of Manuel Betancourt and Catapult. “Early-nineties Ricky, the one I grew up with, was probably the furthest away from the swaggering, hip-swaying, thirst-trapping pop superstar we now know and love (and lust after).” (June 5, 2023)
“Communism is an old tradition among queer people, and if what remains of the Communist Party today were being honest, being queer is an old tradition among Communists.” In a new episode of Why Now?, Claire Potter chats with Bettina Aptheker about her new book, Communists in Closets: Queering the History, 1930s–1990s (June 7, 2023).
Art and Fascism
Daniel Fernandez examines the white supremacist beliefs of Carl Paul Jennewein, the artist who designed the Brooklyn Public Library’s iconic entrance reliefs. “In 1938, the Brooklyn Public Library commissioned Jennewein to sculpt reliefs on the two pylons at the entrance of its planned central branch. At the same time, Jennewein was participating in the Nazi exhibitions, though it is not known whether the library was aware of this.” (June 6, 2023)