We all live in extraordinary times. In 1997, the movie Ma Vie en Rose was out, but save for a few crusaders, this film was definitely not for the popcorn crowd. In much of the United States, it still isn't. The difference is, though, is that much of the transgender community is now knocking, knocking, incessantly knocking. Which is why it's so sad to see Transgender On Screen by John Phillips. I had hoped I would come back having read a thoughtful book. What I got, despite its dense read, was a decidedly unintelligent tome.
I will grant Phillips this: the book came out in 2008, giving him a bit of breathing room. However, when I consider Alain Berliner's masterwork. it's not easy to forgive Philipps. What he tries to do - unsuccessfully - is to slap Jacques Lacan's papers on it. And when did Lacan die? In 1981. Shit, I wasn't out of high school yet. I don't wish to go so far as some critics do by painting him with the 'cult of Lacan', but I do have to say that he was a man of his time - not ours.