5.31.2010

Word of the Day

I traveled to New Orleans for The Ham's wedding, a.k.a. Squeenstock. The guest information book in my hotel room had a list of 10 things to do, and followed it with an eleventh tip dubbed a lagniappe. What a great word! On the flight home it popped up in the book I'm reading.

5.30.2010

Kurt Hummel

After the "Home" episode of Glee, I was surprised to read this reaction from Dennis Ayers: "Glee, please please drop this Kurt loves Finn thing. You're making an otherwise lovable gay character almost unbearable to watch."
His obsessive pursuit of heterosexual Finn is problematic. The fact that he's so stereotypically "gay" in other aspects could easily leave Middle America with the impression that it's also typical for gay boys to wander around hopelessly mooning over straight boys.

Sure, the standing-outside-the-window literal stalking and the plot to get the parents dating was over the top, but in its spirit, I thought it was completely true. I agreed with Tom and Lorenzo's take:

In addition, despite the fact that it made us squirm in our seats, the show once again skewered sacred cows by portraying The Gay One as shallow and selfish and inappropriate in his affections. Kurt's scheming to get Finn is, as we said, squirm-inducing, but it rang very true to us and we salute the show creators for not portraying the gay one as some sort of moral paragon that can teach a lesson to the rest of the cast. The pink version of The Magical Negro. It's a type of portrayal that's haunted gay characters for a couple decades now and we're thrilled to see someone say "Fuck that. Gays are just as dumb and fucked up as the rest of us."

I went to a high school with 500 people. Since we left, about one person in each class has come out, but no one was out then. Even at a larger school, even outside of Whippany or Lima, Ohio, the numbers would guarantee it. Middle America, the chance of a gay boy mooning over a straight boy is 100%.

I find some of the Kurt scenes painful to watch precisely because they make me remember those experiences. Liking straight guys, friends. Feeling isolated from your parents. (The scene with Kurt's dad in the "Laryngitis" episode "When you were a little baby in my arms..."? Loved it.) I never stood outside a window, but some late nights I drove around on routes designed to pass the house of whoever I was obsessed with that month. I'm not proud of that, reader. But it is part of the story.

The Gaga episode brought the crush to confrontation, and it was satisfying to see Finn call Kurt out. Maybe it will help Kurt move on more quickly. Maybe it was a message I needed to hear: this will never happen.

5.27.2010

Progress

House votes on amendment to allow repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Marie's Crisis

Yes, I love New York. Where else would you see this scrawled on the bathroom wall?



"Julie Andrews STILL Rules!"

5.24.2010

Speaking of Bridges

I enjoyed the weekend's Missed Connection because of the dress with the Throgs Neck Bridge on it.

5.22.2010

Bridge and Tunnel Update

The Holland, the Brooklyn, the Manhattan (by subway), the Verrazano.

5.20.2010

These Dreams Go On

I.

When I landed in New York, I did not in fact find gay magazines at the airport, but I did find:

Dunkin' Donuts

And when I got in the car, I heard, "The Beat of New York: 103.5 K-T-U!" They proceeded to play "Disturbia."

Bridges and Tunnels: on Day 1 I've crossed the Bayonne and the Goethals.

It's the little things.

II.

Later, I am in Legal Sea Foods (at the Mall at Short Hills), looking at a box of lemons in their kitchen, thinking about spheres of influence.

III.

City of hurried and sparkling waters! city of spires and masts!
City nested in bays! my city! --Walt Whitman

Yvonne and I wrote about the middle school French trip to the Metropolitan Museum. Maybe a third-tier reason for taking French (1. My dad was a Spanish teacher, 2. Yaniro > the MJS Spanish teacher) was that you knew you got to take a field trip to New York. I'd like to generalize that it is the dream of every Jersey child to end up in New York. ("When good Americans die, they go to Paris." When good New Jerseyans die...) Maybe that's not so. But for someone who grew up in New Jersey, son of a City Boy and a Jersey Girl, the dream of moving to New York and making a life there was in the DNA. It was fed by friends, by an older and cooler sister, by every movie and TV show you ever saw, by trips to the city. It got to the point that in my snobbery I found it hard to believe childhood NJ friends who didn't share the same longing.

Certainly the New York dream is not limited to Whippanites, but what I'm wondering about, just like my prejudices of other states (poor California), what are the dreams you grow up with when you come from somewhere else? What dreams are spun in the heads of the sons of Michigan?

5.19.2010

Reason to Love NY

I am going to NJ/NY for the weekend. I'm excited for...gay magazines at the airport!!!

5.11.2010

Brontë Sisters Power Dolls

Oh, I saw this via Rrz's Facebook page today and had to share. Delightful!

5.10.2010

Crisis of Confidence

Today was not a good day, dear hearts. While I should be loving life right now what with the chorus concerts and a much-needed upcoming trip to New York, work is sucking hardcore. Sorry, that is about all I can come up with right now.

5.08.2010

More Church Bell

Last week I took a mini-road trip to Colorado Springs with some DGMC friends to see Out Loud perform in concert. They performed at First Congregational Church, U.C.C., and the group actually began as an offshoot of the church choir. The Denver Gay Men’s Chorus rehearses at Christ Church United Methodist, and has concerts at Montview Presbyterian and St. Andrew UMC. Several chorus members are active in churches throughout the city, sing in their choirs, and even serve as choir directors. It is fascinating to me.

Last Sunday we had the opportunity to sing at St. Andrew at their worship service. St. Andrew recently voted to become a reconciling ministry, to the chagrin of some its church neighbors. I enjoyed the sermon, which talked about transforming your life through service, and “church” being a verb rather than a noun. We sang at two services. In both services, when it came time for communion, the pastor said, “This is not a St. Andrew’s table. This is not a Methodist table. This is God’s table: ALL are welcome.” For me, this was, in the words of our vice president, “a big fucking deal.” The church I was brought up in does not want people like me receiving communion. The church I was brought up in raised at least half a million dollars to prevent same-sex marriage from becoming law in Maine (including $10,000 from the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ and $1,000 from the Diocese of Colorado Springs---do you know where your church donations are going?). To be invited to sing and to be welcome at communion made for an emotional day.

[Sidenote: Nicholas Kristof has recently published columns that make an important distinction between the Catholic Church hierarchy with the in-the-trenches Catholic Church that does a lot of good in the world. The problem is it's hard to remember all the good when every week a member of the hierarchy is spewing hate, or craziness.]

5.07.2010

Today's Lesson

Anne Lamott wrote this in Bird by Bird about publishing, but I've found myself coming back to these words when I think about work, when I think about my weight (yes, if only I dropped a pants size then I'd be happy--recently reminded of this by Jenn's link to an MSNBC article), when I think about my clothes or other possessions (because if I were thinner then I could buy this fantastic shirt and everyone would love me)...in short I have found it applicable in lots of ways:
All that I know about the relationship between publication and mental health was summed up in one line of the movie Cool Runnings, which is about the first Jamaican bobsled team. The coach is a four-hundred-pound man who had won a gold in Olympic bobsledding twenty years before but has been a complete loser ever since. The men on his team are desperate to win an Olympic medal, just as half the people in my classes are desperate to get published. But the coach says, "If you're not good enough before the gold medal, you won't be enough with it."

5.05.2010

Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama

Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama is a campaign by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network featuring open letters to the President from people impacted by the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" law, urging his leadership to achieve repeal. I haven't had a chance to read all of the letters, but the ones I have read, like Captain Joan Darrah's story, have broken my heart.

If a person is willing to die to protect the values and freedom of the United States, then he/she/ze/zir/etc. should be able to live fully (openly, honestly) and freely in accordance with those values. How is there even disagreement on this?

5.03.2010

Note to Self

Seriously, the next time you go grocery shopping make a list. Otherwise you end up with ginger snaps and a basil plant.

Sunday

After dinner with the grad school kids at vegetarian hipster cafe City O' City, a stranger sidled up and asked, "Hey, do any of you guys need Vicodin?"

Erica confidently and swiftly responded, "No, thanks."

Then, out of consideration, she backpedaled:

"I'm sorry...I spoke for the group."

5.02.2010

Dear Bitchlog

Dear Bitchlog,

This is less of a complaint and more of a question: why do they make those fabric covers for umbrellas? After you open the umbrella, do you ever really put it back in its sheath? It seems like a waste. And owning that umbrella condom makes it somehow hard to justify throwing away, even if you know you'll never use it again. WTF?