Thursday, December 29, 2005

Sad for them, but what about my bridal shower?


I'm not arrogant enough to list my top five or 10 posts of the year. Actually, I am, but I'm spent right now.

I'll keep the indulgence to a minimum, re-issuing, what I feel, was my best diatribe of the year. Is there anything as fulfilling as righteous indignation?

CONTEXT, PERSPECTIVE AND OTHER TRIVIALITIES


With few exceptions, I find myself at odds with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, particularly when they organize an awards show celebrating the very thing they are supposed to be aligned against. I recently watched that contradiction on the new LOGO cable channel, otherwise known as Lifetime for Gays (beware any creation that bears the MTV stamp).

Forgive the digression, but I'm so glad to see GLAAD stand up to the James Dobsons of the world and reaffirm our constitutional right to hold an awards show! Following that tone, minus the sarcasm, was Alan Cumming (writer and co-star "The Anniversary Party," a monument to cinematic self-importance), who sent my gag reflex into overdrive as I watched him bloviate against the "fascism" of the Bush adminstration upon recepit of an award for artistic courage, or lifetime achievement, or "Most Likely to Play the Great Gazoo" in the next "Flintstones" movie.

I watched Cumming employ the latest trend in artistic defiance, ignoring his alloted speech time (damn you, band conductor, I have something to say! Something so damn important it can only be said on an awards show!!) to berate the usual, predictable suspects in the usual, overstated style favored by many of today's "Access Hollywood" activists. (You know, just like Gandhi used to do!)

According to the alarmingly self-absorbed Mister Cumming, the world's biggest human rights struggle is underway --- not in Sudan or Syria --- but right here in the U.S. Beheadings are one thing, but when the government wont't grant you a piece of paper acknowledging your romance, then, well, it's time to fight, even if it means pissing off some unsuspecting awards show producer! (While in favor of across the board equality, I could really care less whether the government calls it domestic partnerships or marriage. I don't need a bureaucrat to confirm whether I'm in love. Conversely, I don't want to be punished for it, but there are far bigger fascists to fry).

In Iran, two teen boys accused of the "crime" of homosexuality were recently the featured attraction at a well-attended public hanging, intended to remind the citizenry that those 72 virgins awaiting young Muslim fundamentalists in the afterlife are indeed heterosexual. Of course, such events are commonplace in the Middle East, but lest we forget that Elton John can't get married in Utah.

Fortunately, Alan Cumming didn't let trivial matters such as ritual torture overshadow the bigger issue of our right to blow a bunch of money on an antiquated religious ceremony. What's the point of living if there's no hope of a bridal shower in your future?

Again, I'm certainly not opposed to gay marriage, although I always thought the restrictions against matriomny were one of the unintended benefits of homosexuality. Never having to pay alimony can't be all bad.

Regardless, all this goes to prove that the allegedly enlightened left is just as shortsighted and insulated as the caricatures on the right. We have no problem comparing Jerry Falwell to Hitler, but we're strangely silent on the sanctioned execution of homosexuals worldwide by alleged "mainstream" Muslim governments. Islam may not be our enemy, but, sadly, most of its practioners seem to be opposed to even the slightest of minority freedoms.

Gays and women should be leading the charge against the moral equivalency now popular on the left. (Instead, our lemming tendencies lead us to applaud when an "Evening at the Improv" luminary like Margaret Cho declares women are just as oppressed here as they are in Afghanistan. Her point: those "evil" corporations reinforce the beauty myth that thin is everything, and voluntary eating disorders are in fact a conspiracy just as diabolical as anything the Taliban might conjure up).

I'm reminded of George Carlin's take on anorexia, bulimia and what not: "Rich bitch don't want to eat ... Fuck 'em." Sorry, but my sensitivities and sympathies are elsewhere these days.

Likewise, to finish my meandering point, I offer Bill Maher's "defense" of Christian fundamentalism, in comparison with their Muslim counterparts: "Pat Robertson has never suggested we behead Richard Simmons."

But haven't context and perspective become irritating deterrents to our increasingly one-track minds, a thought process that requires thoughtless adherence to ideologies driven by well-funded interest groups? Might I suggest Alan Cumming take "Cabaret" on the road, with stops in Tehran, Cairo and all those other thriving cultural hot spots in the Middle East? And take Margaret Cho along, too, provided she can find a Lane Bryant that sells burkas. Seems that eating disorder didn't take.

There is a world outside of Hollywood, and it's a helluva lot more brutal and intolerant than anything John Ashcroft advocates. While there's no debating that the religious right in this country have organized to elevate Old Testament morality to issues of national consequence, that doesn't mean we, too, must lose all sense of context and perspective. Unfortunately, it seems the gay movement already has.

***Orignally posted 09/06/05

7 comments:

  1. Of course, there will always be choices in life. One has only so much energy to give a myriad of causes. In fact, one can grow overwhelmed and disheartened when considering how much worse others have it in some parts of the world.

    But this is a poor excuse for gay people to paint the Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Movement as misguided or ill timed or even silly. Let's be clear, the GLCRM follows the demands of gay people. There was not a great meeting at which some conspiratorial group of gays decided that gay marriage was now the issue for which to fight. It was gay families who individually said, "Yes this is important to us and we would like to fight for these marriage rights." These families acted on their own behalf. The GLCRM simply followed.

    Therefore, while it may seem absurd to some for gay people to be passionate about their lives and the rights of their families and the dangers to it without legal protections (especially given what transpires elsewhere in less democratic societies), to many gay people and their straight allies it seems absurd for any gay person to not have huge amounts of sympathy, compassion, understanding and support for these gay families fighting for rights and protections which will benefit all.

    While I understand that some public figures (with little power) can become overemotional perhaps when put in front of a microphone and allowed to speak freely, it is difficult for me to understand gay people who seemingly take advantage of others' no doubt sincere wish to effect change by ridiculing it as pretentious or unimportant or bizarre. As someone who also lives in the South and has experienced the irrational hatred bred by the hypocritical Fundamentalists, I have nothing but immense gratitude for anyone who stands up and speaks out for their gay friends and family.

    While I go about my daily endeavors it is with gratefulness that I acknowledge the freedoms and openness I now enjoy thanks to countless gay leaders and activists who stood up over the past five decades and demanded a place for me as a gay man at society's table. It cannot be doubted that most gay people don't seem to appreciate the work gay activists have done on their behalf over the years and, like me, sometimes take for granted too easily the ease with which they live out of the closet.

    And finally do not be mistaken, it is the GLCRM that fights on your behalf. There is no other movement. And the time is now for strong courageous gay people to stand up in be heard. When will a better time come? Are we waiting for the perfect moment? While many gay people are too fearful to stand up and demand to be heard as a fully human citizen without exception and others carelessly dismiss the whole movement as 'silly and annoying', other gay people know what's at stake and how important for us the stakes are.

    Suffragettes were dismissed as insane and unpatriotic when they demanded their right to vote during at time of war, Martin Luther Kink Jr. was told that his wasn't the right time to ask for Civil Rights for Blacks, and now Gays and Lesbians are told by many in power that the country just isn't ready for gay marriage or parents or soldiers or teachers or preachers. Well I say enough is enough. Now is the time.

    Spain, Canada, England, South Africa, Belgium, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and the California legislature are leading the way. I for one want to follow them. I for one don't want to be one of those on the side lines constantly finding fault in a noble purpose instead of finding ways to support it.

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  2. Your points are well-taken, but note you are reading a contrarian's viewpoint. I am as open about my life(style) as anyone, and resent anyone trying to infringe on my personal freedoms. That does not, however, excuse those of us in the West from forgetting that our queer brethren around the world have it MUCH worse. All I'm asking for is context and perspective (repetitive I know), but not pity. Nor do I wish to be patronized (not that you are). I do sincerely appreciate the time you took to respond, and if you disagree with half of what I say then I feel I'm doing my job.

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  3. Tammy Bruce, my favorite gun-toting Reagan-voting pro-choice Democrat, wrote an endorsement of Bush last year, noting that issues like gay marriage & abortion rights were luxuries in the broader war with militant Islam. Much of the gay marriage controversy comes from what seems to me quite self-centered homos: this is the only issue that matters, & anyone who disagrees with me is a hater, out to GET me. (See narcissism)

    Who is the GLCRM? All I know is, groups like HRC & NOW - whatever their original intent - are now nothing but shills for the Democratic party. I don't need GLAAD to tell me what's appropriate. A friend of mine wrote a screenplay about a group of gay men, & passed it to a friend in the industry. Pressure groups like GLAAD are very powerful in Hollywood. The script included a couple of lines where the characters made ethnic slurs - as people do. The insider told him he would have to remove those lines, because GLAAD wouldn't let it thru. In that respect, GLAAD is promoting a tyrannical view of gays as either paragons or victims, not complicated human beings.

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  4. Found this post through Beautiful Atrocities, which I in turn found through Little Green Footballs. Just had to say that I looooooove gay conservatives. Wish we had more of you guys on our side; the line about Margaret Cho's eating disorder failing to take is priceless. I generally hate to stereotype but you really can't beat an out-and-proud gay man for pure precious snark.

    As someone who counts himself conservative because he believes in smaller government, lower taxes, and aggressive defense, I wouldn't hesitate to trade the repulsive Pat Robertson and every single backwards intolerant member of the religious right for a few more vocal and articulate gays.

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  5. And to the Editor, whose points are indeed well-taken, I'll offer the following:

    The current political battle in the United States is between the Democrats and the Republicans. On the one hand, you have the Republicans doing their darnedest to thwart gay marriage. (Although the Democrats haven't exactly come out and trumpeted the cause either.) On the other hand, you have the Democrats doing their darnedest to thwart the battle against Islamic fundamentalism. Which is the graver threat to the cause? Which would be worse: going a few more years (or even a few more decades) without being given state sanction for your monogamous relationships, or seeing the spread of an ideology which literally wants your heads? Because make no mistake: the mainstream of the Democratic party has decided that it would prefer to see the battle against Islamic fundamentalism lost than to see the President get credit for victory.

    Don't fall for your own hype. Despite the vastly overblown rhetoric from the left, and despite the inordinate attention paid by the media to a few raving nutjobs on the right, nobody in this country wants to see gays hung, stoned, or beheaded. But plenty of people in other countries do. We're at war with some of them. Don't throw your lot in with those who seek your deaths.

    For the record, I do not want the state giving sanction to homosexual marriages. But I don't want the state giving sanction to heterosexual marriages either. I don't think it's any of the state's goddamned business who marries whom or what sort of contracts people voluntarily enter into.

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