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The End of Gay: (and the death of heterosexuality) [Paperback]

Bert Archer
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 16 2000
Gay is a phase. Not something people go through in adolescence, but, like feminism, a cultural, historical movement, on the way to something bigger.

Through the prism of his own sexual past and present, with a wide array of references to pop culture, literature and history, Archer traces the rise and imminent fall of gay. Along the way, he cites historical examples of greater sexual liberation, embracing the lessons of these precedents as models for our own less inhibited times. Celebrating art that expresses love and passion unfettered by gender, Archer claims Shakespeare and Prince, Goethe and Madonna, as icons for a new, more open age of sex. Stimulating, engaging and entertaining, The End of Gay is a bold work that looks forward to the vast possibilities of love without labels.

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"The End of Gay is a wonderful début, infuriatingly smart and funny."
—Toronto Life

"Archer's voice is charming... His insights can be stunning."
—The Globe and Mail

“. . . The End of Gay is lively conversation about an intrinsically interesting issue, namely, sexual desires.”
—Quill & Quire
The End of Gay is a wonderful début, infuriatingly smart and funny.”
—Toronto Life

“Archer's voice is charming . . . His insights can be stunning.”
—The Globe and Mail

From the Back Cover

"The End of Gay is a wonderful début, infuriatingly smart and funny." --Toronto Life

"Archer's voice is charming... His insights can be stunning." --The Globe and Mail

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
GAY ENDED FOR ME on a late afternoon in March of 1991 in a men's residence in a small Catholic college in Toronto. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars don't like labels? July 25 2009
OK, so I don't agree with everything the guy says but he's got some real thought provoking arguments, so get ready to open your mind if it wasn't before you started this one. I'd highly recommend this one for anyone who is not at ease with identifying with groups of the same sexual orientation....Archer tells us to forget about labels of any through it, then discuss with friends, it's one that will spark interesting conversations, no doubt about it..
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Eclectic, yes. Structured, no. Oct. 7 2009
This is one of the most poorly-organized pieces of non-fiction I have ever read. The author purports to argue for "the end of gay", but in no means is his discussion coherent, clearly articulated, or organized. He flip-flops from historical Germany or USA to modern American television, from quoting authors to discussing science. He merely divides the book into parts, without chapters or meaningful sub-headings. If you're looking for a clear argument about why sexual orientation classfication as we know it is slowly being erased, you'll have to put together the pages--which are almost like mini-essays, but again, with not much coherency--like a jigsaw puzzle in order to make sense out of the disjointedness of this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A daring and revelatory book Nov. 14 2005
By Kim Arcadi Moon - Published on
Bert Archer treads on dangerous ground in this book. By laying bare the shaky and self-contradictory foundations upon which the modern gay and lesbian movements are laid, he threatens some very deeply-cherished and tightly-clung-to beliefs, such as the notion of homosexuality as a born and unchangeable trait, the necessity of dividing humanity into homosexual and heterosexual, and the importance of a gay culture.

I find myself disturbed, though, by his reliance on sex as a -- if not the -- central facet of our beings. In this he almost resembles Freud. Even as he argues against using the choice of one's sexual partners as a defining factor of identity, he seems to have no room in his thinking for the idea that people who don't base their identity on sex might exist. In this he talks almost like the worst of the Sexual Revolutionists, converting sexual expression from a birthright (which I will agree it is) to a normative obligation (I won't accept this).

That aside, though, I am proud that in a time that insists on rigid and rigouously patrolled boundaries between entrapping roles, Mr. Archer's voice has been raised to question those limitations. I call this book a must-read.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed views May 25 2005
By Michelle G. Heinrich - Published on
I had decidedly mixed feelings about Bert Archer's book. I agree with his assertion that we, as humans, do not possess a decidedly fixed sexuality. I can easily see his point that sexuality is not static, but instead has a more liquid. Maybe it is even part of a process. Archer is about polymorphous sexual desire and a complete lack of labels. On the surface, I agree, but on a deeper level, I feel that Archer ignores the deep human need for identity, love and possibly even monogamy.

Archer's ontology leaves little room for marriage or long-term commitment and he constructs a paradigm privileging desire over love. While I have no doubt that attraction is polymorphous and that we all experience differing levels of desire for different people (and types of people), I would like there to be something deeper. I am left with the feeling that, in Archer's universe, attraction is all there is. He ignores the fact that it may be within human nature to seek love (or that even some sort of transcendent love exists) and find happiness with a single individual (no matter what the gender of either person). As a supporter of gay marriage, I find Archer's arguments to be somewhat disturbing. Perhaps I am just overly romantic, but I believe that there is a deeper love, a higher purpose and something more than dating and/or serial monogamy.

Yes, I would love to live in a world without labels, but I am also aware of the intrinsic need to acceptance and identity. Making statements such as "I am African-American", "I am gay", "I am a football player", or "I am Jewish" brings us a sense of ourselves and a group with whom we can possibly identify. Ostensibly, removing such terms as "gay", "straight, "homosexual" and "heterosexual" from our vocabulary (and from society itself) would bring about acceptance. But it might also bring about a loss of identity to the gay community and an even further loss of some beautiful and necessary movements of advocacy and concern.

I am not reacting entirely negatively to Bert Archer's book. I found it funny, refreshing and a wonderful read, but I simply have a few concerns about his theories.
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A punchy, entertaining eye-opener April 10 2005
By zeffer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In twenty years' time, Bert Archer, along with guys like the British writer Mark Simpson (who first coined the term "metrosexual"), will be remembered as the first popular mainstream proponents of a whole new era of sexuality. "The End of Gay" describes the history of today's rigid world of "gays" and "straights" in a fascinating, easy-to-read style... as well as proposing a much funkier, groovier attitude towards sex.

If you've ever thought it's odd how football jocks shower together, oggle each other's nads, throw sexual innuendos at each other and then homophobically assert their absolute "straightness" (or if you've ever seen parallels between the hypocrisy/extremism of a gay pride parade, and that of an anti-gay family-values march) then this is the book to read. It's a social eye-opener that deconstructs and reconstructs the idea of the homosexual in a way that's funny, readable, and will make a damn lot of sense... whether you're gay, straight, or -- as this book would argue -- kinda neither.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars important thinking Feb. 28 2008
By Janet Hardy - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In a world where gender is not two binary extremes but a series of gradations, and where sex, love, domesticity and romance often occupy different niches in the life of one individual, "gay" and "straight" as descriptors of someone's sex life don't work any more (if they ever did). Archer lucidly and intelligently proposes a new set of categories based on culture and community, not the innately fluid and shifting nature of sexual attraction.

This book helped crystallize my thinking a great deal. Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Oct. 6 2014
By tony kirkland - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The depth and breath of this ground breaking work cannot be overstated!
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