Was it worth it?
Yes and No.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Monday, May 6, 2013
Click here to check out my story for Firbolg Publishing's ongoing Rogues Gallery series, for which writers submit flash fiction pieces inspired by images from one of the tabloids of the late 1800s, The Illustrated Police News: a newspaper vendor in the nineteenth century could always ensure sales with the gruesome cry “Murder! ‘Orrible Murder!” Published around 1870, the Victorian tabloid The Illustrated Police News took this business angle to heart. It had the largest circulation of any periodical of that time and fed the public on a weekly diet of real-life horrors calculated to chill the strongest stomach and boost the next issue’s sales.
May's Image: Vultures, those big, bad birds of the scavenger set!
May's Image: Vultures, those big, bad birds of the scavenger set!
Sunday, March 24, 2013
In wine-infused fevers I call on what I’ve been taught to call God
with the connectivity-driven certainty of hearing back.
Doom, salvation, heaven, hell; seventy-two virgins, Virgil’s tale--
just not the Not-Knowingness of the gut-sick dawn that remains
when the fires and phantoms are gone.
No words of the prophets written on newly remodeled bathroom walls;
No blighted bushes in suburban lawns or super-saver miracles in shopping malls.
Just a rain-soaked dawn, only me and the birds and the grass and the trees and
whatever answers I receive in these.
Friday, March 8, 2013
Ides of March Coin, 44 BCE
I come to read from Verland, and to praise him.
What: a reading from my latest short story collection The Knife and the Wound it Deals; some soul-chilling vamp selections from Verland: The Transformation; plus other odd revelations and disturbing discussions
When: Thursday, March 21; 6:30 PM
Where: Wells & Verne
8315 SE 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97202
|Wells & Verne, a Neo Victorian Shoppe for Men and Women inspired by Goth, Industrial and Steampunk|
|Das Elterngrab (My Parents’ Grave)|
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Harvey Milk, there’s a scene in which Anne Kronenberg is appointed the new campaign manager of Milk’s 1977 San Francisco Board of Supervisors run. The reaction among the gay male staff is ambivalent at best—after all, "not only is she a woman, but she's a woman who likes other women, which is doubly worse." The scene is played for satiric laughs all around, and in the film (as in real life) Kronenberg more than proves herself both in the successful campaign and the larger LBGT rights movement. Yet at the end of the scene, Kronenberg’s character poses a more sincere question: “My girlfriend says you guys don't like women, I'm just asking: Is there a place for us in all this, or are you guys all scared of girls?” (On a no doubt unintentionally related note, while researching this blog I came across an article about Alison Pill, the actress who plays Anne Kronenberg, tellingly titled ‘The Lesbian in "Milk"’—The Lesbian—the only one!)
In the past decade, the gay rights movement has made astonishing gains not just in terms of equal rights but also in the more elusive, yet equally important goal of acceptance within mainstream society. However, the fact that mainstream society is still so often dominated and defined by all things male adds an unexpected addition to the question of whether or not there is “a place for us” in the gay rights movement—is there “a place for us” in its successes, as well--and just what kind of place?
A recent article in The New Yorker, Alex Ross’s “Love on the March: Reflections on the gay community’s political progress—and its future,” provides a few clues. The first half of the article is an insightful, thought-provoking exploration of the history of the gay rights movement and both the stunning advances and complex challenges it still faces. But about halfway through, I couldn’t help noticing that this exploration began to center almost entirely on issues of gay male identity. In some ways this makes sense: Ross is a gay male, and thus writing from that perspective. Perhaps more to the point, gay males are still one of the most maligned groups in American society; their complex relationship with rigid mainstream definitions of masculinity could fill entire books, let alone magazine articles. Nonetheless, I found it a bit disconcerting that an article ostensibly about the gay rights movement in general focused so heavily on gay males in particular. In fact, Ross devotes the most space to women when he’s considering the impact they have upon—you guessed it—gay male identity.
two women with poor posture
asking some poor schlep
to check if their deodorant
The nature of that impact reveals the deeply ingrained misogyny that often makes such male-dominant perspectives problematic in the first place. In discussing the increasing dogmatism of the early Christian era and its impact on attitudes toward homosexuality, Ross cites St. John Chrysostom’s conclusion that sodomy was worse than murder because “not only [hast thou] become a woman, but that thou hast lost thy manhood.” Ross then adds, “The problem with gay sex, in other words, is that it undermines the dominance of the male.” Indeed—and yet if gay males are in part so despised because they have “become a woman,” what does that say about our attitudes toward actual women?
Ross explores the trend of gay males defining themselves by “real man” standards, pointing out that by fleeing stereotypes, “gay men too often fall into a deeper conformity—the rigid choreography of the average male.” And if gay males are increasingly gaining acceptance and even validation from those same “average males,” where does that leave women within that rigid choreography? After all, exclusionary boys’ clubs are still exclusionary whatever the boys’ sexual preferences may be.
The enduring appeal of gay culture for some heterosexuals is in part due to what Ross describes as the “incipient feelings of dissimilarity from one’s peers” that shapes and determines gay identity, and the subsequent “willful resistance to the male-adolescent herd, a form of quasi-political dissidence.” For straight women who are equally dissimilar from their peers and the “herds” of both genders that validate them, gay culture’s defiance of gender stereotypes and insistence upon choices beyond the “real men” and the women who complete them has always been a life-saving detour off the seemingly endless highway of stifling mainstream gender roles. If what Ross acknowledges as the “price of assimilation” includes closing down those detours in favor of the same narrow straight-away we’ve been on for far too long already, then just what kind of acceptance are we fighting for, and toward what kind of destination?