Freaks Talk Back: Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity

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University of Chicago Press, Feb 13, 2009 - Social Science - 304 pages
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Using extensive interviews, hundreds of transcripts, focus-group discussions with viewers, and his own experiences as an audience member, Joshua Gamson argues that talk shows give much-needed, high-impact public visibility to sexual nonconformists while also exacerbating all sorts of political tensions among those becoming visible. With wit and passion, Freaks Talk Back illuminates the joys, dilemmas, and practicalities of media visibility.

"This entertaining, accessible, sobering discussion should make every viewer sit up and ponder the effects and possibilities of America's daily talk-fest with newly sharpened eyes."—Publishers Weekly

"Bold, witty. . . . There's a lot of empirical work behind this deceptively easy read, then, and it allows for the most sophisticated and complex analysis of talk shows yet."—Elayne Rapping, Women's Review of Books

"Funny, well-researched, fully theorized. . . . Engaged and humane scholarship. . . . A pretty inspiring example of what talking back to the mass media can be."—Jesse Berrett, Village Voice

"An extraordinarily well-researched volume, one of the most comprehensive studies of popular media to appear in this decade."—James Ledbetter, Newsday

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Freaks talk back: tabloid talk shows and sexual nonconformity

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Gamson's fascinating study explores the sex and gender nonconformity portrayed in just about every national, topic-driven American television talk show. His book is based on interviews with production ... Read full review


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About the author (2009)

Joshua Gamson is professor of sociology at the University of San Francisco. His research and teaching focus on the sociology of culture, with an emphasis on contemporary Western commercial culture and mass media; social movements, and on the history, theory, and sociology of sexuality. He lives in Oakland, California.

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