I am an nt (or should I say normie?) boomer with an Autstic (type 1? - new to me) husband and son and any idiot in today’s world could figure out that Gorey was autistic. I’m only 15% done with the book and I literally could no longer stomach the author’s obsession with Gorey’s sexuality and the pretzeling of Gorey’s self (as defined by Gore) into some narrow, willingly ignorant idea of what humanity is. Gorey is so interesting that I will continue to read the book (and the review) but I needed to see some online outrage over this first.
It’s truly bad.
Thank you for all!!!!!!
I’ve continued to read the book - fyi no changes - but I did see somewhere an interview with Dery where I get the feeling he had experienced some backlash and was conceding “something”. Although it was so minor that I can’t even remember what it was. Of course he felt no compulsion to correct his book.
Anyway, I’ve read most of your review now and would love to become a bit more literate around gender identity and sexuality etc etc. My autistic husband and I have been married for 30 years and my autistic son is 23, so I’ve had plenty of time to think about asexuality and a fluid way “of being” - i.e. I don’t find any of this hard to get or accept - but I still would love a “primer” on the topic. Any advice on a good source? Maybe you should write it if not? You appear to be an excellent writer.
I still have yet to read the rest of your site, but will as I saw something about short stories which looks interesting and I’m just curious in general.
Finally, thanks again for speaking up about that biography. Nothing fires me up like people redefining others when the “other” has already defined themselves.
My first experience with this was almost 40 years ago around self-proclaimed Christians saying that Catholics and Mormons weren’t Christian. It might sound like a dopey comparison but it had the same feeling of scary and dangerous disrespect for others being tossed off as “just conversation”.
Dery’s disrespect of Gorey demonstrates a high level of arrogance that is most likely rooted in narcissism and of course, privilege. As innocent as the biography appears, Dery is actually choosing to hang out on the slippery slope where creating “otherness” lies…and everything that goes with it.
And I think you also saw that The Edward Gorey House is selling it? I I might have to write a letter….but right now I only feel confident about speaking to the autism piece…
I have also heard the Christian exclusion i.e. Catholics are not Christian, from Pentecostals. Unfortunately it seems to be a feature of human brains, as the contemporary queer community do it, too. (Asexual people are not queer; bi people are really just gay; trans people who haven't medically transitioned are not 'real' trans people...) You'd think these groups would cohere, wouldn't you.
Thank you for the compliment re. writing -- fortunately I've been saved the job of writing a non-fiction book on asexuality as it was recently done extremely well by Angela Chen. The book is called Ace (with a long subtitle I can't remember). Before that there was a great 2015 book which is really a total primer on the subject by long-time ace activist Julie Sondra Decker. It's called The Invisible Orientation. I'd go with the ace book. Or if you'd like to read both, read The Invisible Orientation first. (It's good as an audiobook in fact.)
Oh that's right, I put a larger collection of aroace resources in this blog post:
https://www.slaphappylarry.com/asexuali ... t-fiction/
Though YAL is always leading the charge with representation, I'm still waiting for a work of literary fiction/book club/contemporary fiction *for adults* to star an on-the-page asexual character but I believe there are many hiding in plain sight e.g. Kazuo Ishiguro's butler in Remains of the Day. Of course, these characters get decoded as gay/repressed, or anything other than exactly what they appear to be on the page.