My excuse tonight is reading Stone Butch Blues for the 3rd time (at least).
The first few times, unable to concentrate on anything but what would happen to Jess, I read for the plot. The action part of the plot. Would Jess survive? What does survival mean? Now I am savoring the emotion. Feinberg’s writing isn’t the most eloquent, or original, but it gets me every time.
“Faggots!” some of our guys yelled at the strikebreakers. All the butches pulled back from the police barricades. The word seared like burning metal.
“Duffy,” I pulled his arm. “What’s this faggot shit.”
Duffy appeared torn in ten directions. “Alright,” he said. “Listen up you guys. Stop with the faggot stuff. They’re scabs.” The men looked confused.
A light bulb lit up over Walter’s head. “Aw, shit.” He extended his hand to me. “We didn’t mean you guys.”
I shook his hand. “Listen,” I said, “call them whatever you want, but don’t call them faggots.”
Walter nodded. “Agreed.”
“You cocksuckers! You motherfuckers!” they shouted instead.
I pushed forward at the barricade. “You fucking scabs,” I yelled. “You have sex with other men.”
The guys looked baffled. What’s she talking about?” Sammy wanted to know.
“You have intercourse with your own mother,” I screamed.
“That’s disgusting,” Walter said.