I’ve been enjoying the to-and-fro on Slate about the “end of gay culture” between June Thomas and a young, out lesbian living in Tennessee, Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart. I’ve always had mixed feelings on this issue, but tend to be more on Vanessa’s side of the argument (yes, I know, while living in uber-gay Ptown all summer).
The truth is: I’ve never really felt totally comfortable identifying with a whole lot of what’s called gay culture, which led one wag to note once that I love gay sex and can’t stand gay men. That’s not true, but it isn’t entirely untrue either. So, for example, I have a bit of a visceral reaction when watching this other Slate video about why the “gay community” loves Joan Rivers. Check it out:
I know many gay men do; I know there is a diva worship in many parts of gay culture; I don’t begrudge it an iota; but I really don’t share it, and when it’s presented with the words: “Today we pause to honor a single figure of particular importance to the gay community—the late, great Joan Rivers;” or “Joan was always one of our favorites;” I tend to have this response: Why you say “our”, homo? But then my first reaction upon seeing Mommy Dearest was to be horrified by child abuse – rather than titillated by the camp of it all.
I’ve learned gay culture over the years the way I once learned algebra. I kinda get it, but most of the time, I’m faking it.
I’m not the only one – and I guess one reason I’m happy that we are so much more integrated than in the past is that we increasingly cannot be lumped together as one BLT glob of stereotypes and clichés, or forced into some lockstep lefty orthodoxy if we don’t happen to share it. I have no issue with anyone being gay however they want. But the point of the gay rights movement is not to help people be gayer, but to help them be themselves. Vanessa is walking that walk in the South, where it matters. Best of luck to her.
Today, I coughed up some guilty indifference to Scottish independence – and realized I predicted this fifteen years ago. I worried about the rush to a new war in Iraq (as did Greenwald), and noted new Republican outreach to gays and to women. We aired the question of why women stay with men who abuse them; and announced the new Book Club selection – Sam Harris’ just published “Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion“. Buy it here and join the discussion! Oh, and we “grazed some dicks”. If you need more elaboration of that, click here. Oh, and a Dish day would not be complete without a whack at an unreconstructed neocon. Enjoy!
Many of today’s posts were updated with your emails – read them all here. You can always leave your unfiltered comments at our Facebook page and @sullydish. 24 more readers became subscribers today. You can join them here – and get access to all the readons and Deep Dish – for a little as $1.99 month. Gift subscriptions are available here. Dish t-shirts and polos are for sale here. A reader writes:
I am glad you are back with us! You remarked that traffic was high while you were gone, but in my case that was simply out of a sort of loyalty to you. In truth, if you had not come back, I would no longer subscribe! The blog began to slowly become a kind of melange – tasty, yet lacking the essential ingredient that gives it a focus: you!
So I do not think the blog would thrive without you (and I hope you are not thinking it should become some kind of institution, or that you would just become some sort of detached figurehead). As a Buddhist, I say, embrace impermanence! And while long may you live and flourish! May you live a hundred years or more! When you are gone, I hope you let the blog be gone too. It quite frankly IS you, regardless of how your team writes and works under your guidance (and they do so brilliantly).
I loved the way you were so reticent about Burning Man, by the way, with only those two lovely stories to give us a clue. Bacon and ukeleles. In the dust and under the stars. Probably would take a poet to write about all that.
My reader is too kind.
See you in the morning.
(Photo: me, and Chris and Patrick in the evening Cape Cod sun this past weekend.)