Skip to main content

Freaks Talk Back

Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity

Freaks Talk Back

Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity

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

Read an interview and excerpt.

304 pages | 7 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 1998

Gay and Lesbian Studies

Gender and Sexuality

Media Studies

Table of Contents

1. Why I Love Trash
2. The Monster with Two Heads
3. Truths Told in Lies
4. Sitting Ducks and Forbidden Fruits
5. I Want to Be Miss Understood
6. Flaunting It
7. The Tight Rope of Visibility
Appendix: Methods
Works Cited


Society for Cinema and Media Studies: Katherine Singer Kovacs Award

ASA Culture Section: Mary Douglas Prize

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press