It might almost go without saying that we still belong within the cul-
ture of scandal. As much as ever, scandal today provides copious oppor-
tunities for making news out of sex, and for heating up the news by link-
ing it to sex. The elusive language of scandal continues both to demarcate
and to violate the realm of the unspeakable, to indicate what should not
be spoken by giving it a hearing. Yet since literary writing has waned as
the principal mode of bourgeois cultural expression over the past cen-
tury, it can no longer be accounted the main beneficiary of the rhetori-
cal quarry that is scandal. Other, now dominant, forms of mass cultural
production-the television talk show, for example, and the interna-
tionally broadcast courtroom drama -partake of scandal, both for their
plots and for the means by which they engross their audiences. The cus-
tomary forms of engagement with scandal that I have explored also per-
sist. Such reactions range from hand-wringing over others' prurience to
claims for deterrence, from vindictive pleasure-taking to sanctimonious
disavowal, from recognizing new possibilities to suave indifference.
If it seems gratuitous to stress contemporary culture's ongOing thrall-
dom to scandal, we must nonetheless emphaSize that the conditions for
scandals, which in the nineteenth century facilitated the formation of
sexual identities, have not abated. Present-day scandals persevere in both
censuring and making visible the defining deviance of sexual minori-
ties, frequently lesbians and gay men. Like those induced by Victorian
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