fun with stereotypes, gay people, gay pride, heterosexuality, homosexuality, we just don't care, you got a real purty mouth
I have a hard time getting my head around the idea of gay pride.
Wait, wait–before anybody gets his leather panties in a bunch and starts filling my mailbox with rainbow-hued death threats, let me do my best to explain–and please refrain from calling the tolerance cops in the meantime. For those individuals constantly on the lookout to take umbrage (and there are a lot of them these days), just keep walking–there’s nothing for you to see here. I’m by no means disparaging the notion of being proud of one’s homosexuality, just trying to understand it. Ultimately, I’m cool with anything that gives an individual a sense of identity, community and purpose if it’s not hurting anybody. Happy people make life better for everyone.
And it’s not like there aren’t people out there prouder of stranger things. There are men–grown men!–who are proud of things as ridiculous as toy trains, model soldiers or belt-buckles. In Alabama, many young married couples take great pride in choosing spouses from outside their immediate families. I can’t pretend that I understand these things, but I appreciate the very real happiness they bring to people who do.
For this reason, while I’m ‘for’ gay pride (in that I’m not against it; I am a study in ambivalence), I’m afraid I’ll never really understand it. I think this is because my only basis of comparison is my own heterosexuality, of which I am most definitely not proud. Quite the opposite, in fact–I’m actually a little ashamed of it, if I’m being honest. I mean, when I think back on the moments in my life of which I’m least proud–times when I was manipulative, dishonest or just plain stupid–if I examine them closely, I see that my heterosexuality was behind every one of them.
So maybe the gays* know something we don’t.
Carrie Rubin said:
I always love seeing what advertisement shows up after your last statement, as sometimes it’s eerily relevant. And today’s is no exception. After reading “…faster than a fart in church,” I saw the ad for a digestive-disrupting hot dog, laden with ketchup, mustard, relish, and some other squiggly things I can’t identify. Sometimes life just gives you a gift.
The squiggly things are Sauerkraut! Love, love, love the kraut- on the bratwurst, on the hot dog, or even all by itself!
Carrie Rubin said:
You can tell I don’t eat Sauerkraut. Or hot dogs, for that matter…
I don’t eat the filthy swine, so the only hot dogs I eat are Hebrew National.
Also, ladies, please use the term “grody rancid cabbage,” rather than s*********. Although the word’s origins are innocuous enough, it is now frequently used as an ugly slander against my heritage. Likewise, “Attilla the Raider.” It is also for this reason that children should no longer be named Jerry.
Carrie Rubin said:
Works for me.
Sometimes life just gives you a gift.
Doesn’t it? I go through my days thinking that.
William Miller said:
I have to give you credit, man, for being a reckless, fearless individual. One thing you have that many on both the Left and the Right lack these days is a sense of humor. Congrats on still believing in the right to be ironic here in the 21st century. May you live long and prosper.
Thanks, William–I’m glad you liked it. But, as a guy who DOESN’T hide behind a pseudonym, I’m sure you appreciate that it’s easier to be brave when you’re anonymous!
William Miller said:
Geez, Why didn’t I think of that before I got in this blogging thing over my head?
Carrie Rubin said:
I’m flapping my flippers in agreement.
El Guapo said:
I’m just waiting for the days where no one really cares and we can get on with the big issues.
MORE SKIN ON THE LOVE BOAT!!!
You had me at “SKIN,” my friend. Why aren’t you President of the United States yet? Is it ’cause you’re from the Northeast and therefore too “establishment?”
Hey, Don’t Worry About It. I’ve Been To Pride TWICE (once purely by accident, but that’s another story altogether) And I Still Don’t Understand It. I Had One Of Those Pride Stickers On My Previous Car… …And It Was Keyed FOUR (4) Different Times In TWO (2) Days. So Yeah, I Don’t Get It. I’ve Been Out Over A Decade, And I Still Cringe When I Hear Someone Mention Wanting To Go To The Pride Festivities In St. Louis Or Kansas City Or Chicago.
It Serves No Point, Honestly.
So Don’t Worry. There Are Plenty Of Gays Who Are On The Same Page You Are, Fo SHO. 🙂
Thanks, a lot Brad! Your comment means a lot to me, because while I love, love, love to make fun of things (seriously, I sometimes think it was what I was born to do), I don’t really like to hurt people’s feelings (as odd as that may sound). I’ve been gratified by the response to this post, because I was afraid that it would come off as hateful or anti-gay, which I think would have pulled the rug out from under the point I was trying to make.
You’re Very Welcome, My Friend.
You’re All Good With Me, Dude.
And dude, I can’t believe that some asshole would key your car. Not cool. I think the only time a person deserves to get their car keyed, is if they’ve got a “San Francisco Giants” bumper sticker.
Yeah, It Was A Real Bitch.
BUT, I Blew Up The Engine In That Car About 4 Months Later And THEN Ended Up Getting My Mustang 🙂 So It’s All Good In End 😉
Madame Weebles said:
I like that you’re enlightened enough to know that it shouldn’t have to be a big deal for anyone to be gay or not gay. It would be nice if it just weren’t an issue for anyone one way or another. I think El Guapo has the right idea about getting back to the really important. Like more skin. For everyone.
Right? I would have actually watched Loveboat if I thought I would see skin.
I just get frustrated because it seems like some aspects of society are fracturing into interest groups, where the whole of someone’s politics is defined by a single aspect of their character. And there’s an “us-against-the-world” attitude that I think may be necessary in the face of persecution, but is a hindrance at other times.
“We’re not going anywhere!”
“Didn’t you hear me? We’re not going anywhere!”
“What’s wrong with you, man?”
I agree with MW above. It’s not a big deal, T and you’re brave for posting this with the intention that everyone gets it. Gay or not gay, what’s the diff? Just be nice.
Thanks, Brigitte. And as I said to Brad a couple comments back, I was a little worried about how people would react to this, believing my purpose to be denigrating gay people or even the idea of gay pride (and I don’t think making fun and denigrating are necessarily the same animal). So far, people have seemed to get my intentions with the piece, and it’s always a nice surprise when people exceed your expectations.
Not sure why I called you T. Maybe I’ll call you T-Smak.
Maybe T for my middle name, “Tak.”
Smak Tak Ula.
Although T-Smak has a certain panache…
I think that was it. I think I’ll switch back and forth. T-Smak does have a certain je ne sais quoi to it.
I don’t care what people do behind their bedroom doors. Be gay or straight or furry. Do the wild thing with your late model crappy Chevy like this guy: http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/tv/my-strange-addiction/videos/my-car-is-my-lover.htm . I really don’t care. Or eat catfood if you want while you’re doing the horizontal mambo dressed like a furry. Just don’t try to convince me it’s “normal” or demand that I treat you any better than anyone else. That’s all I ask. Don’t make me feel guilty because I happened to be born straight.
The nice thing about sex outside the box (pun intended) is that it’s sort of Darwinian, as in, it doesn’t usually lead to procreation. In the instance of Mr. Gettin’ Busy With the ’05 Malibu, it’s probably good that he’s NOT breeding, eh? However, the underside of a car can get really, really hot- especially around the catalytic converter- so hopefully he lets his buddy Chase cool down first.
Wow–that dude does not love himself. You will never catch me humping anything less than than BMW.
Don’t make me feel guilty because I happened to be born straight.
Or American or whatever. Yeah, I believe in live and let live, but we tend to forget that “tolerate” doesn’t mean “embrace,” it means “put up with.”
your observation that gays don’t have the kind of sex that leads to children and therefore generally do not add to the gene pool, is something with which i agree completely. and as a gay, i would like to add to that observation.
basically if one is a multi-cellular animal, you are most likely a procreating machine. which is a very good thing. however when we become as complex as we humans are, requiring years to mature to self-sufficiency, the lives of the procreating members of the species are concerned mostly with child rearing. many anthropologist have suggested that our life spans have extended because human child rearing is so onerous that it requires a grand-parental generation to help out.
so with all that procreating and child rearing and insuring our species a place in the future going on; who had time to develop culture? you know, write books and plays, make art, science and medicine? which along with being bipedal and having those tool grasping opposable thumbs are some of the hallmarks of our species.
i don’t think it’s abstract in the least to say the non-procreating gays are the reason that we have culture at all. with no kids underfoot or mouths to feed, the gays were free to be the medicine men, the shaman, the poet, the artist, the proto-scientist and architect.
in the 21st century it is no longer a necessity to have gays for culture. culture is pervasive and more important; progeny is no longer an inevitable byproduct of heterosexuality.
we thankfully live in a time where modern science gives many heterosexuals a choice reproductively. they now can choose to contribute to culture and not the gene pool. human breeders are no longer chained to a life of birthing and raising babies.
and modern science also enables the human gays to reproduce without having to engage in any of that heterosex. and that’s why i agree also that no one should tell me (or insinuate) they’re better than i am, as a gay. that their straight genes are more important than my gay memes to humanity.
It’s a fair comment, Smaktakula. It isn’t your or my place to tell nice happy gay folk how to strut their stuff, but surely camp is kind of a dead end street? After four decades, the same queer motifs from the 1970s may still shock ’em into fits of Biblical rage and snake-handling in, say, Alabama. A pair of chaps ballooning into painted buttocks may make Intelligent Design cretins call on His Homophobiness in the sky for lightning and locusts. But to anyone with a consciousness, and this would be anyone whose lives have been marked by the past three or four decades of social progress, it’s all looking really tired, like a crazed bra-burning cult that never stopped. (“Until the ERA passes, our bonfire of Mr. Man’s womyn-hating devices shall continue!”). Pride parades are now as predictable as the Shriners, and, quite possibly, given the hat fetish, indistinguishable. I mean, weirdness as a proof of rebellion? Scientologists have their weird on to a greater extent than LGBT does. What would be truly rebellious is Tom Cruise in chaps leading his all-gay Thetan synchronized baton-twirling contingent around a giant phallic shaped rocket float called the L. Ron Do-Ron-Ron.
So my friendly message of concern is: come on, gay people. Haven’t you got any gayer shit than that?
“gayer shit than that?”
my answer as a gay… “probably not.”
ten percent. we’ve all heard the statistic, the gays are ten percent of the population. ten percent of everyone. ten percent of men and women. ten percent of africans, north and south americans, asians and europeans. ten percent of those with achondroplasia (dwarves), albinos and redheads. ten percent of rhodes scholars as well as retards. it’s not the ten percent as cream is to milk. no, it is a ten percent that constitutes a mean, normal average.
truth is that if one would want to see a sampling of the average human population; gay pride marches will show that in all it’s glory. and you may well lament on the predictable and now (to some’s jaded perceptions) boring quality of the spectacle but i think that may be a bit unfair, especially by comparison.
you may well say there is no comparative in the heterosexual world but to that i say, “ncaa televised bowl games!” a perfect example of heterosexuals out in force and on display for the world to see. of course, the gays are making up their ten percent but they’re all mirroring and invisible.
since this is a comparison of the entertainment quality (shits and giggles) to the observer. i will not compare the reasons for bowl games or pride marches (college sports and equal rights) just the superficial shit.
so let’s compare the lows and i think we can all agree that ballooning bare buttocks bulging from a pair of chaps and a bare beer belly sat upon by some hefty man titties painted in school colors would wash each other out.
on the other end, the highs; CHEERLEADERS! (even a gay appreciates them!) is cancelled out by the women that generally lead any pride event, DYKES ON BIKES!
the floats in a pride event are comparable to the half-time show (and we all know that the gays are well more than their general ten percent in helping out with that! drum majors and marching band thank you very much!)
in conclusion, i think it’s a fairly even match. after forty odd years the shit gets old. gayer shit. straighter shit. it’s all shit. and as boring as pride events (gay shit) may seem; at least they’re not nationally televised at prime time (like straight shit)! they can barely receive fifteen second coverage on the local news!
what might make it all more interesting is to combine all the shit in one great shit event! perhaps hold it in FLUSHING QUEENS NY and call it the MARCH TO THE TOILET BOWL! now that would be some queer shit to see!
what might make it all more interesting is to combine all the shit in one great shit event! perhaps hold it in FLUSHING QUEENS NY and call it the MARCH TO THE TOILET BOWL! now that would be some queer shit to see!
That is the coolest name for a Bowl Game that I still wouldn’t watch. So I think your gay/bowl game analogy works perfectly for me. Gay pride, bowl games–hey, I’m glad these things are out there for people to hold on to, but they’re not for me.
I think I see where you are coming from. Pride is there so people can stand up to the biggots and homophobes and say they are cool with who they are. Problem is, once all the morons catch up and don’t care so much, the pride will be gone and they will be as miserable about their sexuality and all that comes with it as the rest of us are. Is that it?
I have no pride about anything so I understand you completely. The movie Se7en scared me away from all the deadly sins. All parades in general stink. Whether it’s celebrating your sexuality, your country, or sport they all end up with some kid getting ran over and new laws in place.
Word. I’ve always thought it would be fun to ruin a perfectly normal word, say “Beekeeper,” by turning it into some intolerant term–say, making ‘Beekeper’ a derogatory term for polygamist. Before long, even actual beekeepers would have to refer to their profession as something non-offensive. Beautiful!
I’m curious – why attach the word gay, which used to popularly mean lively, to homosexuals when in fact a lot of them are more depressed, screwed up than most straights (this is mostly based on fictional statistics and some facts)?
I would never understand language. I couldn’t care less though, same with the “proud to be gay” themes. I’m not proud to be a hetero, it’s just one of the things that is. But maybe it’s because almost no one bashes you for being straight. Maybe it’s correct to say that discrimination begets pride. And maybe it’s correct to think Confucius just possessed me.
Maybe it’s correct to say that discrimination begets pride.
I think that’s the thing right there, and although I left that out of the piece, I can definitely understand that emotion up to a point.
Gay Pride is yet another topic in which the apathetic stand tall.
Us apathetic are taking over!
Well. We would, if we cared.
Which we don’t.
Let’s hear it for apathy! Hip, Hip…well, you know.
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Russel Ray Photos said:
As long as nations such as Australia, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Russia, and even the United States consider it acceptable to kill GLBTQ people, those of us who are out and proud must stand up and show that we have a life just like anyone else’s. We sleep, eat, brush our teeth, go to work, shop, pay our bills, even pay taxes! When it’s acceptable for me to walk down the street hand in hand with my same gender spouse of 18 years, then we won’t need gay pride anymore. When it’s acceptable for me to stand on the street corner and make out with my same gender spouse like so many heterosexuals do, then we won’t need gay pride anymore. Alas, it will never come to pass, just like civil rights is still being fought 150 years later, just like women’s suffrage is still being fought today, and on and on and on.
First of all Russel (I’m not sure if you’re a ‘Russ,’ but when in doubt, go long), thank you so much for your reply. Your comments are well-taken, and I’ll get back to them.
Normally, I’m quite happy to get angry anonymous comments about my posts, but with this one, I’ve been very pleased that people seem to at least understand where I’m coming from (not necessarily to agree), because if this is read simply as a bunch of gags about gay people, then it’s really worthless. And moreover, I’m pleased that you (and other bloggers whose work I read regularly) took the time (and maybe had enough trust in my intentions) to see that my intentions were, I believe, wholly positive. Although I know you principally from your beautiful photography and lovely reminiscences about your Wise Old Grandmother, because of these things its easy to see you as a distinct individual (as opposed to a random ‘face’ on the Internet). While I very much enjoy saying provocative things (although not necessarily for the sake of making noise; I try not to be gratuitous, if that makes sense) and don’t care if anonymous strangers misunderstand my intentions (in fact, sometimes the results are hilarious–check this and this out, the comments are what make ’em funny). But when I can see someone as a distinct individual, I very much don’t like to hurt them with careless words. I think most people are like that, which is why we have to fight wars from distances. Anyway, I’m long-winded, but I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
I also very much appreciate the reminder that every place is not America I might add to that (because this post was written BEFORE I read your post on commas, and found out about the thrice-used (?) gay panic defense; not that it would have made a difference in the content of the piece, but the more you’re aware of something, the more incisively you’re gonna be able to write about it) that not every place is Coastal California. It’s very easy to forget, particularly if you’re not part of the group whose members are suffering, that just because you have it good and it seems like people from that group (in this case, gay people) also have it good, that it’s that way the whole world over. Wish it were.
Australia? No kidding?
Russel Ray Photos said:
In response to happinessisnotadisease, perhaps gay people are more depressed and screwed up than most straights (they’re not, but let’s presume they are for this argument) because of the constant bashing by heterosexuals, even killing (Matthew Shepard); because of religion (all of them are homophobic); because of inequality in the laws (why is the government sanctioning marriage when, according to religious pundits, it’s a religious institution?), etc.
Gay Pride 2012!
Sharp Little Pencil said:
I’m married to a UCC pastor and have known what “gay” was since I was five. I supposed that, having grown up around gay and lesbian folks, it’s always been a non-issue for me. The concept of homophobia baffles me. My theory about men who are homophobic is this: “That guy is a gay man and he’s probably lusting after me because I’m JUST THAT HOT. So I’d better beat him up before he tries to make a pass at me.” Also there’s the plumbing thing…
I applaud your ambiguity! You are honest, you present it in a funny way, and I think that, if you really knew just how many LGBTQ folks you actually do know in your everyday life, you would get on board with marriage equality. Reason being: When people in an oppressed minority are your friends, you’re more likely to stick up for them. Stand up for them. Oh, you know what I mean! Here’s a poem about my daughter, who “came out” her senior year. Hope you like it. Peace, Amy
Your daughter is quite talented. I particularly liked the line about “lesbian” sounding to her like a foreign place.
Thanks for your kind words. I’m not sure where you got the idea I was against gay marriage (I should note that I think the term “marriage equality” is something of a canard, as we have always had marriage equality in that everyone has the right to marry someone of the opposite sex). I don’t really care who marries whom, honestly.
And I know quite a few gay folks (never counted exactly), but I’d say you’re most likely right that there are a lot more about whom I don’t know. And although I can never say for sure, I really don’t think the presence or absence of gay people in my life would really change my views at this point.
Thanks again for your comment.
gold price said:
Straight Pride =/= Gay Pride I’m tired of hearing straight people say things like “if there’s gay pride, we should have straight pride”. First off, no one is saying you can’t. But secondly and more importantly, it’s not the same thing. People who say these kinds of things claim that it’s the same thing, that it’s just “balance”, but it’s not. They’re created for different reasons. Gay pride is created out of discrimination and oppression. Straight pride is created as a reaction to gay pride. As they’re created for different reasons, they can’t be considered the “same thing”. That’s just my rant for the day. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Thoughts? Musings? Tell me!
You know, I’m reasonably sure this is spam (my spam filter says as much), but it’s so on-topic that I decided to let it stand.
kudos on your take here. first off, i am a gay. all my siblings are gay. born in los angeles, grew up in san francisco, and have resided in manhattan for three decades. so not only am i a gay, i know the gays and their ways. as a gay, when i consider all seven gay deadly sins, pride is the one i can never remember. besides it’s my gay lust and avarice are truly stellar to behold. but pride? pride days for me are all about a paper bag on my head and a t-shirt that reads GAY AND ASHAMED. i mean these pride marches were to let everyone know just how many of us there are. essentially it worked. we gays now have political clout. clout that we used to make sure that we can serve in the military and marry. frankly not having to serve in the military or having to marry were two of the best reasons to be happy about being a gay.
I missed this comment! Sorry for the late reply.
I love your take on this. Your gay lust sounds a lot like my heterosexual lust.
I can see why you as a straight person would not understand gay pride. How could you? You’re in the majority. Life’s doors are open to you without question. No one is going to whisper behind your back, “Tardsie is so nice, but you do “know” right? … Such a shame! Tch! If only!” That’s been said about me all my lesbian life by many a well-meaning straight parent that would vote “pro-LGBT” but still, in the core of their guts, they’re relieved that their son or daughter — whose choice of mate they may not really like as much as that LGBT person who seems an infinitely superior fit for their offspring — if only that otherwise perfect LGBT person had the perfect sexual preference like their child i.e., if only they were straight like you.
For me, the annual gathering of Pride here in NYC has much to do with the pent-up feelings of being so fed up with being seen as inferior, as second class, as less worthy than straight people and the urge to scream, “I”m here, I’m not going away, and I’m sick of having to pay taxes that give me less than you.” Whoop-dee-do, I can marry in NY State, but nationally, my marriage is not valid — not that I personally give a rat’s ass about getting married, but I do give a rat’s ass about being denied that basic human right. I felt the same way about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell — bigotry as law even though I never had an iota of intention to enlist. Yet, LGBT people willing to fight and die for this country are thanked by being discriminated against? Why was that needed except to oppress.
For me, Pride boils down to basic human rights that I think straight people take for granted simply because they’ve no reason to think about them since they’ve never been denied them. Who misses what they don’t know? I know things you could never possibly know, things that happened to me only because I’m gay — getting a switchblade pulled on me by a gang of nasty straight girls in Catholic high school because the ringleader wanted to slice a dyke (I talked my way out of that but was terrified); a bus driver locking a bus and unbuckling his pants to rape me after my soft butch date exited when I was 20 — he declared ominously, “I’m gonna straighten you out” (I escaped, kicked open that bus’s door and ran for my life); a creep co-worker loudly spewing anti-gay venom about AIDS in an approving corporate boss’s earshot and being forced to quietly listen to that disgusting rant because I needed that job and could not risk the consequences of outing myself; hiding anything that might reveal I’m a lesbian because I needed a repair in my apartment due to being unsure if that guy doing the repair might hate me and exact some revenge on me; buying an LGBT magazine at a newsstand only to be told by a stranger, “All you queers make me sick” and being spat at. All those incidents happened a long time ago but less than three weeks back in a bizarre incident on the subway into work a psycho woman used her oversized purse in an attempt to block me from entering the train, claiming, “You’re harrassing me!” Baffled, I said, “Huh? What are you talking about? I’m trying to get on just like you.” She growled, “You know what you are. You disgust me! I don’t want you near me!” Other passengers stood in stunned silence sniffing the acrid scent of her insane homophobia; they made sure I got on that train. This nutjob stood next to me glaring and gave me the finger all the way to 42nd Street. (It was both hilarious and disturbing.) How could you possibly know anything about that? Has anyone ever hated you solely for being what you are in a hostile way? Probably not.
Overall so much has changed since I came out to my parents in 1973, but I expect the stigma of being LGBT which is subsiding more and more thanks to the enlightened younger generation, people like you questioning the point of Pride because you know you’re accepting, to continue just as racism, sexism, anti-religion-ism (there’s probably a word for this that eludes me) will never completely disappear, either. People, unhappy with who they are, will always need someone to hate that they consider less worthy than themselves. Often, those people are LGBT. For me, that’s one of the many reasons that Pride matters. Coming out in droves is just a way of reminding the world that we exist, we’re not going away, we’re sick of being treated as second class, you might not like us but you need to show some humanity and accept us. Personally, it makes me feel really good to attend that parade, not because I relate very much to who walks it — I’m very low key to look at and for the most part I’ve blended in my entire life so I’d be the dullest of marchers — but because it is now overflowing with corporate sponsors and politicians wanting the LGBT vote. They want my vote, they want my purchasing power. That, for me, is a source of pride.
Thanks for following my blog. Sorry it’s taken me so long to check out yours.
First of all, thank you for your thorough and thoughtful reply. I was being tongue-in-cheek (although deliberately provocative), but since publication I’ve had a couple of very sincere comments like this one talking about how much gay pride meant to that individual. Let me say again (although I think you understood this point or you would likely not have spent your time writing that thoughtful response) that I am not AGAINST gay pride at all.
Secondly, the experiences you describe are horrific and wrong. It saddens and sickens me that anyone should have to go through that.
One point I’d like to make, however. when you say I’ve never had to go through these things because I’m straight, the fact is you don’t know. (Now in fairness, let me say that you’re largely correct in my case; I’m not trying to be argumentative so much as I am trying to make a point). Although the prejudice against gay people is far more widespread, this world is full of a great many prejudices. I have had people say “He’s a nice guy, if only he wasn’t ….” No, I don’t pretend that it’s happened NEARLY as much as it happens to gay people. But what if I were Muslim living in a little Southern town? Or a fundamentalist Christian living in West Hollywood.
Yes, these are extreme examples, and as I said, I haven’t encountered many of these problems in my own life, and I appreciate you sharing your experiences, because whether it sounds like it or not, those things do factor into my overall thinking about this issue. But there will ALWAYS be prejudices (you may have a few yourself–we’re all human). Someday I think polygamy will be legal in the United States, and when that happens there will be an adjustment period as people who have grown up thinking that was weird and wrong will have to readjust their thinking. We have to remember that society doesn’t work as quickly as we sometimes wish it would.
Thanks very much for taking the time to reply with such a thoughtful comment. I wanted to get to it earlier, but haven’t had the time to do it justice. I hope this response seems equally thoughtful, and does not seem combative, because that’s not my intention at all.
I don’t think your response is combative, but defensive, not because you’re a douche bag but because you’re sensitive. Most bloggers blog to entertain and for approval from fellow bloggers that tend to think like us, or at least respect the way we think. On many topics, I would not be surprised if we are in agreement, but on this issue, based on what you wrote in that post, we’re not. If you were a “Muslim living in a little Southern town … Or a fundamentalist Christian living in West Hollywood” that would not matter to me. I actually have friends that are Muslim, fundamentalist Christian, and Republican (and I don’t mean one high octane person that’s all three — my friends are a wide net of people that have open minds and I try to return the complement). No matter what you are or aren’t, I’d still find what you wrote in that post ignorant and offensive and I’d feel the same if you wrote that about Muslims or fundamentalist Christians, but since I’m neither, I would expect someone that is on their team to go to bat with you. My favorite bed-wetter, Sarah Silverman, can bleat outrageous platitudes in her act, and she’s often paid a price. I like her but do I always agree with her? No. I only agree with her 96.74621893% of the time, but in her case, I usually get the joke. When I don’t, I say, “Wow, she crossed the line!” In your case I found what you wrote provocative, but I just didn’t find it tongue-in-cheek funny at all. I thought you crossed the line. To me, it reflects positively on you that you take my comment seriously. I like that.
Thanks for not thinking me a douchebag. And I hadn’t thought about it, but I’ll grant you that I might be defensive, although perhaps not to the degree that you think. I don’t write the things I do for approval. As testimony to that, I’ve been writing this blog for over two years, and it’s only been in the past six months that I’ve begun to receive comments that weren’t anonymous diatribes talking about how hateful I was.
I’d feel the same if you wrote that about Muslims or fundamentalist Christians,
I’ve gotten them too. As well as the Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, the Amish and a whole bunch of others.
People talk a lot these days about “crossing the line.” What is that line that people are talking about? If you take ten people at random, you’re gonna find ten different lines. Because I have my own biases and dispositions, I see and hear things that are INCREDIBLY offensive to me–I can’t help my internal reaction. But I grin and bear it, because what’s offensive to me, is funny to someone else–and vice versa. I don’t mean that every comment is appropriate for every situation–there are times to just shut up. But I think if we worry to much about crossing the line, we won’t go anywhere. If we respect one line, we have to respect them all, otherwise it becomes a case of whose indignation is more worthy?
As I said in an earlier comment to someone else who also didn’t care for this piece, I don’t know if hearing responses like yours BEFORE I wrote the piece would have changed its content, but it’s difficult to say. My opinion has shifted somewhat on the issue, but I’m not sure that the piece (which is about heterosexuality as much as it is about homosexuality) would be fundamentally different. Hard to say, but worth thinking about.
At the risk of sounding like a simpleton, I think that crossing the line contributes to the problem, resisting the urge to cross it can lead to the solution, and rampant cynicism has gotten us here. Us meaning most everyone.
I don’t think you sound like a simpleton at all. I think that’s a well-reasoned approach. Having said that, I fundamentally disagree with it. I think resisting the urge to cross lines only muzzles us. It not only prevents us from joking about things, but also talking about them. For example I imagine that you would feel largely the same about this piece (and truthfully, it’s a little presumptuous to say how you would feel about anything, which is why I added imagine) if it hadn’t been snide, but had been forthright explanation of why I can’t get my head around gay pride. But if I can’t talk about that, how am I going to hear and (and this is crucial) THINK about alternate opinions?
I think eliminating the lines will open wounds, but will ultimately allow them to heal.
Obviously, we feel differently about this issue. One thing I’d like to assure you, however, is that your comments have not been by any means wasted. I don’t think there’s anything that can change my opinion on this issue, but when someone has something intelligent to say that can at the very least add nuance to my opinions, I make it a point to listen. Thank you for that, and I mean that sincerely.
And to a large degree my cynicism (in posts) is an affectation. I don’t know that I’d call myself an idealist, but I’m a minor league cynic at best.