February 22nd, 2010

Paul Neyron rose 2

various bits and pieces

Talked to P. about driving practice, but it was 2:30 when I called her, and she was tired from cleaning her apartment all morning.  Got out of the house for grocery shopping.  Not very exciting, but I got cream for Kahlua and cream.  I listened to my iPod for most of the time I was in the store.

J. actually wanted three boxes of CDs to go into storage.  I went through them, but a large proportion of them were rap.  I was hoping for more blues, punk, and rock and roll.  He had a number of his Ramones CDs in there, so I took those.  I also got several CDs of Pop Will Eat Itself.  Their "Ich Bin Ein Auslander" is a favorite song of mine.  He had a couple of Pearl Jam CDs for storage, but not their well-known albums.  He has everything they ever recorded, so I'll have to get him to burn some CDs of their hit songs for me.  As for blues, I know he has The Complete Recordings of Robert Johnson.  I want to get some of those songs on my iPod, too, and some of the albums of other classic blues singers I know he has.  He had a couple of Jimi Hendrix CDs, and Tom Petty's Wildflowers, and Billie Holiday: Lady in Autumn.  He'd previously given me three mix CDs, of Nirvana, Bad Religion, and some punk and heavy metal songs.  I like early Black Sabbath.  I'm pretty sure J. has most of Pink Floyd's albums, too.

I did some iTunes shopping myself before I got to look at the boxes.  I got Richard Hell and the Voidoids' "Blank Generation," a couple of Blondie songs, some Clash, a couple of Led Zeppelin classics, and some earlier David Bowie.  None of what I got today was in the boxes of CDs, and I don't think he has much in the way of the other iTunes I've bought.  James, please recommend some good Goth songs for me to get.

I watched about a month of Verbotene Liebe, up through Christian's first boxing match and Olli being bashed.  Olli still remained proud of Christian coming out, even though Christian felt that Olli wouldn't have been bashed if Christian hadn't come out.  I'm still loving Olli.  He stands up for himself, he's got confidence in himself, but he's sweet-natured and just a genuinely nice person.

I read some of what Australian commentators had said about Johnny Weir.  When I saw a performance of Johnny's in which he vogued to a Lady Gaga song, I just assumed he was out.  Then I saw pictures of the costume with the pink-laced corset, and assumed he was really out.  I've heard since that he doesn't say one way or the other.  People commented a lot on the one article quoting the commentators.  It ranged from arguments that figure skating is a sport to the gamut of opinions about homosexuality.  Some commenters complained that Johnny was "shoving the gay agenda down their throats."  I'm a little unclear about how dressing flamboyantly particularly has to do with an agenda one way or another.  There were several "burn in hell" comments, and a number of the usual ignorant jokes.  There was rather a mix from women, between a fair amount of them calling some other commenters homophobic, and also other female commenters saying homophobic things themselves.  There were comments about Johnny "flaunting" his homosexuality, and how they wouldn't care if he kept quiet.  There were comments that "homophobia" wasn't the term to describe those who weren't afraid of gay people, but just didn't like them.  I agree there should be other terms, like "prejudiced" or "bigoted," or something that's the English equivalent of the Dutch word which sounds like "homo-hater."  Apparently in Dutch, as nearly as I can figure out, "homo" is the polite word.

I don't think the "flaunting" argument is particularly valid, either, at least a little bit because he isn't actually out -- officially.  Heterosexuals flaunt their "lifestyles," after all.  For all anyone besides Johnny and his lovers know, he's just a really flamboyant dresser who's deeply in touch with his feminine side and loves sparkle.  And let's not forget, a world-class skater.  Personally, I think some of the outfits do distract from a real appreciation of how graceful and athletic he is.  I don't argue with his right to wear the clothes he wants to.

I still feel just a little torn.  I'm the type who stays pretty quiet, myself, but I admire the courage of those who speak up and are counted.  I feel that people should have the freedom to act natural without being intimidated.  There certainly should be far less prejudice towards people who don't conform to gender stereotypes, which is really more of the issue here.  Of course, there's that major conflation between how closely one conforms to traditional gender roles, and that person's sexual orientation.  Those things aren't necessarily connected.  But it is the people who are really different from what's considered the norm who get noticed, whether they're playing it up or just have never been able to fit into a closet.  They draw the attention, good and bad.  One commenter said that the men's figure skating gold medal winner, Evan L., was just as gay as Johnny is, but no one said anything because he's quieter about it.  That person still assumed sexual orientation, but probably had a good point about the less flamboyant person drawing less speculation.  (Edited: It's since been rather suddenly all over the news that Evan has a girlfriend, and has had one in the past.  Apparently they're really working to make his image totally heterosexual, is my thought.)  I'm curious to see which superb athletes compete in the figure skating in the Gay Games, in Cologne.  There should be some world-class competition there.


Paul Neyron rose 2

entertainment and politics

It's actually kind of cool how some people who are m/m romance fans get into gay rights politics.  I'm sure a fair proportion were interested in gay rights before, but it seems like a certain number find entertainment from gay romance novels and follow the stories of gay characters on soap operas, then start to learn about the politics.  I complain often enough about some of the books being unrealistic, but if the author is good at characterization, he or she can make protagonists the reader cares about.  Then there's sometimes this transition from entertainment to caring about real-life issues.

Why "the personal is political" reflections?  Eskimo Kiss Project did a blog post this weekend about the situation in Uganda: http://eskimokissproject.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/what-is-this-fuckery-uganda/#more-217.  (Thanks for the heads-up, Lisabea.)  The Ugandan government may well pass an "anti-homosexual" bill that could make "repeat offenders" subject to the death sentence.  There are already laws there that jail LGBT people.  Aspects of this go back to formerly colonized nations rejecting "Western influence," as if there was no same-sex activity among Africans before the Europeans got there.  Blaming foreigners for bringing in sexual practices is very old.  The English blamed the French, and sodomy was called the Florentine vice because so many men in Florence were supposedly doing it.  Considering that for some decades, men in Florence weren't generally allowed to marry until they were in their thirties, and the women were kept very guarded, there's apparently more than a grain of truth involving the activities of the Florentine men.  Anyway, the European nations are way past that, and even in America, it's legal in all states to have same-sex relations.  It took until 2003, but it's legal now.

It doesn't really surprise me that Dennis Grabosch is political about gay rights, and I can understand why Ulrike Roseberg, who plays Annette, is also concerned about the issue.  It's good that they're asking for allies, and getting them.  I usually don't care for celebrities using their visibility to push their political views, but this doesn't feel like that.  It feels like much more of a human rights sort of thing.  Even the m/m romance Yahoo group has members who are political about gay rights, and post serious articles.  I'm happy there are these connections between people enjoying the romance and then making that jump to real life issues.