Two posts in a row will expose my afternoon spent combing the archives of I Blame the Patriarchy. Not such a bad way to spend a doldrum of a work day... and I didn't even know the Twisty Morsel Institute was in there. Mind the meat if you click over, though you will certainly be rewarded with genius prose such as:
Packagers of hamburger buns are tools of the patriarchy. They conspire against the single gal on the go. What's with the 8-packs? How many hamburgers can a person realistically be expected to eat before the rest of the buns rot on the counter? You know what that says to me? It says: you are nothing without a huge, unsustainable family.
Accompanying meatwich photo censored for your safety. I could spend hours going though these pages... and probably will.
In a year where millions of dollars (and a couple of careers) were made telling stories about queers, don't you think a few more people could have said the word "gay?" I know "lesbian" is scary, but gay? Happy's not scary... For a show that celebrated "tolerance" with so many ham-fisted, self-congratulatory blurbs, how this happen? (gay cowboys montage was decidedly tepid) And how much of Dolly Parton's body is actually made of flesh?
Philip Seymour Hoffman won best actor for playing gay... and thanked his mom. Queers were invisible (yeah a sound guy thanked his "life partner" but that tame, tame coded language isn't good enough anymore) or crammed into ill-fitting dresses (I'm talking to you Latifa). How many closet cases were there working the Tab Hunter shtick?
George Clooney broke the veil of public relations every so politely and said a few worlds about his pride in being out of touch with mainstream America, which was nice. He then resurrecting the AIDS shout out (I don't think AIDS is a particularly apt codeword for queers now that it's killing millions of heterosexuals in the developing world) which made for a wet noodle of a political rant.
Speaking of AIDS code, I'll thank the academy for their "tolerance" montage that kindly threw "come out" in the race, race, race tolerance mix, but then bait-and-switched another AIDS reference. (Yes, I'm happy to see race discussed so openly, but Guess Who's Coming to Dinner was made almost 40 years ago. This is no longer news) No, Philadelphia was not a ground breaking gay movie, because they killed the fag off in the end for the crime of anonymous gay sex. Gave me quite a complex to learn that gay men have to die for their sex. (though wow, it really did motivate me towards safer sex).
Why expect more? Because they tricked me. All these queer movies - where the queers were either human (Brokeback) or the queerness was merely incidental (Capote) - they tricked me. From the Oscar broadcast alone, you could be forgiven for thinking it were 1976. This group of people was supposedly honoring some great post-proud, certainly out subject matter, yet they couldn't lean away from queerness more.
It was fear that did this. Fear of the phantom homophobe zeitgeist. A fear of a spun reality, where the man at the controls (who knows better) is aiming to please a target he's got wrong - he thinks America is more homophobic than it is because of a very loud, politically engaged (and frighteningly successful) minority - bigots. Brokeback demonstrated that there are plenty of Americans who are quite ready to deal with queerness. Even Dolly's preaching real tolerance (though I'm not sure how Jesus helps trans folks while they're travelin' thu anywhere...). At the very least I would have expected the man to learn a lesson from these movies he's acknowledging.
Instead Crash won best picture for it's deeply superficial, audience-bludgeoning message of tolerance. I'm not mad that Brokeback didn't win best picture. I'm sure there was another film made this year that was better. Crash wasn't. It was just safer - watered down - and safely preachy. It embodied "political correctness." Everyone's the same, we're all prejudiced, it's ok. We just need to be nicer. Well, no. Other films actually broke down those prejudices and demonstrated how they work. They showed crapped on people as human and sympathetic. And that was transcendent. That was worthy of accolade.
I've learned a lesson though - one not so unintended. Reduced expectations. Homos in the back - quiet and don't fuss. Sorry for the melodrama - next time I'll read a book instead.
This isn't the way I wanted to mark Coretta Scott King's passing. She was a kick-ass activist who, instead of playing safe in the face of her husband's hero-ification (sorry, can't use "lionize" twice in one day), put their collectively well-earned prominence at risk by continuing to speak out about what she felt was wrong with America. She spoke out against apartheid, capital punishment, the Iraq war, and of course, gay rights, so what better way could she be eulogized than by once again bringing these topics to the forefront of the national dialog. It would be an insult to do any less, yet people are still up in faux arms at the polly talk at her funeral.
There is no perfect way for a public ceremony to encapsulate any individual's life, but this to me feels to me like a fitting way to remember an activist. She knew plenty of controversy in her time and I would guess that she would want her words, opinions and politics to live on after her life.
Dan Savage efficiently skewers the wingnut reaction to Chad Allen playing straight in "End of the Spear." It's a stupid protest that won't get much traction, but they won't get Dan's point about Allen playing straight either. They're so invested in their lie that gay folk can choose to live straight that they don't understand that exgays are just playing a role - living a straight lie as queers have for generations. The exgay movement is just a polite program to lead homos back into the closet - a place that was so profoundly brought to live in Brokeback:
That's precisely what Jack and Ennis attempt to do in "Brokeback
Mountain" ...These gay cowboys try, as best they can, to quit one another.
They marry women, start families. But their wives are crushed when they
realize their husbands don't, and can't, ever really love them.
"Brokeback Mountain" makes clear that it would have been better for all
concerned if Jack and Ennis had lived in a world where they could
simply be together.
Savage jokes about not seeing either flick (really, a forgivable offense considering the painful hype), but millions are seeing the movie - and a pretty honest (if completely farcical) representation of the closeted mind. I've known queers like Ennis and Jack. They weren't as well accessorized, but they lived within limits they themselves made, and this is what is so viscerally communicated to moviegoers. Brokeback brings this to life as none before has, and I agree with Savage that it's dangerous to the huge PR campaign that is exgay. Once the myth of choice leaves the equation, it's hard to justify institutional homophobia (at least) or really the personal persecution of queers. This is how culture change happens - widely-held cultural beliefs subtly evolve as individuals' beliefs are challenged through cultural touchstones like this. This commercially-driven film has taught a lesson to millions, and if I were working for the AFA I'd be up in arms too.
For all the discouraging setbacks queers face, I think back to the
absolutely despicable way black people were treated only a few
generations ago for perspective. Early civil rights activists paved the way for so
many movements to follow; they endured the worst, tested the courts and
really set up so many of the minority-protecting rights we enjoy today.
I am personally grateful to these heroes for the vastly improved condition of
the American queer, and I look to Martin Luther King specifically not only because of his prominence, but for his lasting legacy of non-violence. (all the more poignant in our seemingly increasingly violent times)
I don't have a lot of memories from elementary school (no, I have a much better excuse for memory loss than what you're thinking of) but one of the strongest, most lasting memories is the biography of Martin Luther King Junior I read in third grade. My small sheltered suburban world was absolutely rocked by the injustice and inhumanity of the story. I had never even watched a violent movie, so to read stories about protesters being hosed and attacked by police dogs absolutely horrified me and etched the images in my mind (I might venture that the book was a bit to violent for me, but it left such a positive impression on me I'll forgive the nightmares I had at the time).
Years later I still feel a visceral horror at the inhumanity of segregation, and the violent reaction to the Black Civil Rights Movement. Change is always hard, but these changes brought out the very worst in the white people who fought so hard to maintain such obviously unjust conditions. It's important to keep talking about the shameful moments of our past. We both need to avoid the cliche of repeating the past and we need to remember how far we've come.
There is no other American historical figure who deserves the honor of a holiday so much as Martin Luther King, so take a moment and read his famous speech below. Personal dirt has been unearthed to try to defame his work,
but for me this just humanizes the hero, and makes all that he
accomplished that much more. It resonates through today, and really touches off nostalgia for a more idealistic time.
I'm sure they spent hours looking, but the NY Times found some asshole who wouldn't acknowledge yesterday's Rosa Parks tribute:
Some riders on the same bus continued to sit in the front seat, even when they knew why it was supposed to remain empty.
Joanne Satalino, who is white and from Queens, said: “Oh, no, I ain’t giving mine up. There’s no place left to sit.”
When it was pointed out that there were empty seats nearby, Ms.
Satalino said she would surrender the seat to a rider with a cane.
For non-NYer's, Queens has a bit of a history with race issues. There's a reason Archie Bunker lived there... But Gawker's take was funner:
Which is actually the greatest tribute to Parks’s legacy: Why should an
outerborough white ethnic be forced to give up her bus seat for a dead
black woman’s memory? It’s unfair. It’s unjust. It’s un-American. Ms.
Satalino will overcome!
New York City transit (and others) will honor Rosa Parks today by keeping their bus headlights on and leaving the front-most seat empty for her. It's a simple and beautiful tribute for one of our country's proudest moments. More on her real story here.
New York City honored one of the most important founders of the modern queer rights movement this weekend, when it named a street corner after Sylvia Ray Rivera:
Rivera was one of the first protesters to throw a bottle at the police as they raided the Stonewall Inn bar on June 28, 1969. She understood the significance of the moment, calling it a "turning point" for LGBT rights. The next year, Rivera joined the Gay Activists Alliance in an effort to pass a gay rights bill in New York City -- going as so far as to crash a meeting on the bill by scaling City Hall walls in a dress and high heels.
Riki Wilchins, executive director of the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GPAC), described Rivera's final moments in an article for the Village Voice.
"She was hooked up to monitors, IVs, and a morphine pump last Sunday when local gay leaders stopped by the intensive care unit to ask her advice. Mortally ill, she held back the night long enough to give them hell one last time for not being inclusive enough. She died only hours later, at just 50 years old: a unique lady for a unique time."
Dan Savage (my, ahhh is there some word for hero, but a step less strong? He's not perfect, but he's the closest thing I have to a homo role model, you know...) has an op-ed in the NY Times arguing for a constitutional amendment securing our right to privacy, and it's hard to knock. After recounting recent tea leaf-reading of supreme court nominees obfuscated opinions on the question of constitutional guarantee to privacy, he responds:
...if the right to privacy is so difficult for some people to
locate in the Constitution, why don't we just stick it in there?
Wouldn't that make it easier to find?
If the Republicans can
propose a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, why can't the
Democrats propose a right to privacy amendment? Making this implicit
right explicit would forever end the debate about whether there is a
right to privacy. And the debate over the bill would force Republicans
who opposed it to explain why they don't think Americans deserve a
right to privacy - which would alienate not only moderates, but also
those libertarian, small-government conservatives who survive only in
isolated pockets on the Eastern Seaboard and the American West.
It's kind of disgusting that we have a firm right to own a gun, but only a nebulous promise from the government to respect our privacy... if it's convenient or public. He also points out that it would be a great issue for Democrats, who desperately need to actually do something to demonstrate that they are still alive and kicking. Who wants to go on record as anti-privacy? Only a bastard like Cheney whose public love for torture may have something to do with his 19% approval... or else he figured he had no love to lose. via feministe