Response to Hobson Review of Downs & Stewart-Winter Books

Ian Rocksborough-Smith's picture

I appreciate the review of my book. While I am certainly willing to admit that I have made mistakes, readers of Emily Hobson's review would be led astray based on the following errors in her review.

First, Hobson notes that I did not include lesbian and feminist responses or analysis to the pedophilia controversy that ensued over an article that the Body Politic published in 1978. I did, in fact, include their contribution. Please see pages 136-138. She also claims I did not include lesbian perspectives in terms of early Marxist analysis. I did as well on p. 94 and p. 111. (Not for nothing, but that's not even the point of the chapter let alone the book and she over-emphasizes it at the expense of the actual content of the book.) I also explain in various parts of the book how gay men learned from lesbian feminism.  See my discussion of Audre Lorde's response to the clone p. 182-86 as well as gay men's adoption of lesbian-feminists' critique of patriarchy on pp. 173-177.

Second, Hobson accuses me of having "gaps of knowledge" and points to my failure to note Nan Boyd's discussion of 1960s Council on Religion and the Homosexual.  I do note Boyd's work in Chapter 2, endnote 6. She then chides me for referring to an organization as "national" not as a local group. Thats not an example of a "gaps of knowledge" thats a typo. She also accuses me of not engaging Regina Kunzel's scholarship, which I do in great length. See p. 238, endnotes 62 and 65. 

I am not sure how she missed these facts in the main text and in the notes, but given the amount of time that I put into the research, I thought it was only fair to point out her errors. 

Finally, Hobson argues that I use the 2005 documentary, "Gay Sex and the 1970s" as a straw man for my argument. That's a fair criticism, but she never mentions the word HIV or AIDS throughout the entire review, which is the reason why I focused on gay man. My whole argument is about how the epidemic turned the 1970s into a period about just gay male sex and my point was to re-think the hypersexual representation of gay men.  Readers can determine if that's a worthwhile endeavor, but Hobson ought to consider the discursive power of HIV before accusing me of only focusing on men.

Jim Downs