Tuesday, July 1, 2008

does gay marriage debate hurt people?

I am super excited that gay people can marry in California. I think they should marry everywhere. I can't imagine anyone caring who gets married, who fucks whom, what any consenting adults do with themselves in private. Blah blah blah.

But my problem is this: the argument for gay marriage has focused, by necessity, on upholding the life-long monogomous couple ideal that is so limiting and deficient for so many people -- gay, straight, bi, trans, whatever. By emphasizing that gay couples, too, can sustain loving, life-long, monogomous relationships, the debate for marriage rests on a standard that straight people have failed to uphold and that is not the ideal for so many. What's missing is the "alternative lifestyle" argument, which allows for couples, singles, trios, whatever, in any arrangement, for people of any persuasion. Straight people need more models beyond the nuclear family, trans and bi people need any model. Gay people deserve equal rights, whether they choose to couple up and adopt kids and drive a Volvo, or whether they live in perpetual debauchery. It's interesting that a polygamy debate is going on at the same time. The problem with polygamy as practiced in this country is not that there is more than one spouse -- it's that the wives are often coerced and underage so that it is not truly consentual. But if 3 or 7 or 50 consenting adults want to mary each other, who cares??? I don't expect the super-sanitized, squeeky-clean gay rights movement to come out as pro-polygamy, because it would be political suicide at a tenuous time of shaky victories, but I hope that they do at some point, because the larger idea is that it's nobody's business who consenting adults marry.

I am really excited by the progress of gay marriage rights. And I wish that legislation would sweep all 50 states in a heartbeat so we can move on to a larger discussion about people having choices. Not "Will and Grace" snarky stereotypical kind of choices, but messy, challenging, re-inventing family or intimacy or companionship kind of choices.

On another point, I have been joking that if I were to run for political office, it would be on economic policy alone --- legalization of gay marriage, polygamy, marijuana, and prostitution. Taxes, regulation, cost-savings for law enforcement. Fiscal responsibility and smaller government. Sound familiar?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

a song called spaces

I am standing on the sidewalk cradling my cello and wondering why I'm wasting my time with Chaucer even though I was sure I hated my cello, but then why would I run into a burning building to get it back if I hate it. I love it. and I hate it. and I love it. in this obsessive abusive relationship kind of way, except that I don't know who's the abuser or the abused but I do know that I don't care if I ever finish Chaucer.

There was a casette, on the ledge above my kitchen sink, and on it was the one great recording of "spaces" which was the song that was going to change everything. except the tape melted and the lyrics burned and the timing was wrong and it was lost and is still lost and it's the thing I miss most of all.

Friday, January 18, 2008

reverse sexism

I don't want flight attendants and pilots to make jokes, I just want them to get us from A to B. Southwest Airlines flight attendants especially take pleasure in a captive audience to spread their own brand of toxic humor. Recent jokes I've heard:

"Those of you traveling with children, or people acting like children -- Ladies, they're called men..."

"Anyone traveling alone... men, I'm single, just pass your bank statements forward..."

and countless other jokes that are emasculating, tasteless, and smug... Why is it okay to talk about men this way? Why does everyone laugh at this?

Inevitably, I say something to the man sitting next to me, like "Looks like making fun of men still hasn't gone out of style" and he will just shrug as if he doesn't notice. Or occasionally he will even say "Oh, we deserve it." And if I say "No more than women do" he will glance at me like I have laid a trap he is too tired to step into.

Of course it speaks more to the character of the joke-teller than it does to the target of her jokes. But what does it say about us as a people that this doesn't seem to phase anybody? Or that women who have men in their lives that they adore, laugh anyway in that oh-don't-I-know-it way?