Sarah Schulman is prolific. She’s produced nine novels, five nonfiction works, four plays, and has won approximately a million awards. She worked at the first coffee shop in Tribeca, became an AIDS activist when half of America wanted people with AIDS quarantined, has contributed significantly to the development of America’s lesbian fiction (most notably with After Delores, Rat Bohemia, and The Sophie Horowitz Story), and has become a respected agitator and social historian, despite her often controversial opinions. Her latest nonfiction work, The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness To A Lost Imagination, is hybrid, blending memoir and historical analysis in an exploration of how the AIDS epidemic and the corresponding gentrification of many gay communities in New York compelled a homogenizing process that’s significantly impacted the city, the arts, and the way we conceive of change. Schulman is a Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at the College of Staten Island. Contributor Alex Ronan met Schulman at her home in the East Village and walked to a coffee shop down the block. The store next door was selling $4 cards that read “I hope you like this stupid card” in scripty gold. Ronan and Schulman talked about gentrification, the problem with MFAs, and the most dangerous force on Earth.
Alex Ronan, Wag’s Revue: Were you surprised by yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling?
SS: I wasn’t really, no. We now have more states with gay marriage than funded abortions. The only reason gay rights is moving forward is that it’s primarily men who are assimilationist. I thought it was really interesting that on the same day that the Supreme Court says that contraception is not health care Obama announces an order barring discrimination against trans employees.