Sunday, June 24, 2007

Strangely now I'm feeling better about the whole thing, but I like the poetry of these earlier thoughts

I always forget how horrible Pride is, I mean no I don't forget how horrible it is. What I forget is how all-encompassing it becomes. I've only seen a few gay tourists so far, and I haven't been to anything remotely Pride-specific except film screenings, but I already feel like I'm supposed to be experiencing something.

Usually, I think of Thanksgiving as the worst holiday -- celebrating 300 years of genocide with miles of dead turkey, no turkey is what you eat these are dead turkeys. Then there's July Fourth and all of that hyper-patriotism and blasts of mineral-laden bright-skied fury fantasia -- oh no, that's right around the corner! Of course, Christmas is the religious consumer family nightmare (yes, whether you're crossing yourself or just crossing the street). But I actually think maybe Pride is worse than any of these, especially here in San Francisco where it's such a consumer spectacle -- I'm going to a movie later tonight and I’m already worried that it will feel like Pride, just shoot me up with a hundred cocktails and then I can swim!

That's the scary part -- wanting to hold my arms around someone like recognition, like exposition, like heavenly higher-than-the-sky extradition -- do you know what I mean? Oh, the lure the lure the lore the lure of that right-around-the-corner blast-off-and-never-come-down arms out mouth wide open take me, tell me, hold my eyelids open and then pour Budweiser in, drink me I’m nothing but a body waiting, a body waiting for the rest.


squidmafia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathleen Bradean said...

How do you feel about Arbor Day?

Pride is better than no Pride. I'm not into crowds, but every time I hear suburban blender gays complaining "Oh! the be-hav-ior. That's why 'we' can't get acceptance," I want to go scream and clap for the most outlandish exhibitionist in the parade. Maybe I should carry treats for the puppies and ponygirls too...

Alex Blaze said...

As always, stopping by Mattilda's blog late at night, lol. Although I don't think that it's all that late there on the west coast. Whatevs.

Yeah, you touch on a lot of things that I've been thinking about. Not really about Pride, but about this "gay leader" orthodoxy. Did you see all those articles in Seattle's The Stranger about a week ago about Pride? It was like "gay and lesbian rights movement through the years" with articles by the same old crew. (I was about to name names, but then again those are the people that I'm going to have to go to throughout the next few weeks to try to promote bilerico, lol.) But you know who I'm talking about, the same people who always nominate themselves to represent everything queer, and they've become a total power clique, always citing each other, blah blah blah.

Well, anyway, what I was commenting on earlier, is that it seems like there are only two "legit" crits of Pride (which were outlined recently in the NY Blade, but the columnist there said "just forget them for a day and let's all do Pride"... yeah, seriously): "It's too commercial" or "It's filled with freaks". Crazy enough, I just went to Indy Pride, and I found it wasn't all that commercial, but I did have another criticism of it: it's so boring! But it just seems that to make one of those two common criticisms (not to say that b/c they're common that they aren't valid... OK, the latter is invalid, lol) lumps someone in with the "haters", queers with issues, or negative nancies.

That's probably why I haven't posted much about Pride even though I went (yes it's several hours long in our neck of the woods). I'm just looking for something to say about it other than the fact that I met Bilerico contributor Candace Gingrich there, but it just seemed like a whole lot of nothing. The religious right didn't even turn out (although they did steal our pics of the event, so maybe they were protesting it Hoosier-style - from their living rooms).

I will say that it was good to see the queers and drag queens and Dykes on Bikes (now referred to officially by the Pride committee as "Women with Motorcycles") all out in public. That's a big step for a lot of people in Indiana.

This is my roundabout way of explaining why I'm soliciting guest posts from readers and people on several listserves I'm on about Pride. There is an orthodoxy that doesn't allow much criticism of such events and ideas. I'm hoping to bust free soon (maybe I'll post on that article about how the gay rights movement is making such progress on the "two most important" issues, marriage and DADT) but busting free actually takes time and energy, both of which i'm low on considering all the work we're doing for the relaunch.

Blah, this comment is long and convoluted and makes no sense b/c I'm holding back and because it wasn't really related to your post. I'm just feeling a little down lately because I'm getting more of a first-person look at how the gaystream power brokers work, how they silence dissent by defining the queer "center", how there really isn't so much a gay mafia but definitely a gay power clique. And that's probably why I'm posting over here instead of on the same post at Bilerico since it's that power clique that's going to help us out with the new format and promoting it and it's not going to do anyone any good if it doesn't get out there and this whole thing has me staying up late every night that I'm almost fed up with it. But the hardest part will be over soon, and the approach we're taking to the project - that the people who define and run it (me and Bil) aren't providing all the content - might help to change some of these things around. And I have no idea what this has to do with Pride other than the fact that the only thing I wanted to post about it was that it was boring but I didn't want to insult the people who set it up since they're actually really nice and "it's boring" isn't really a criticism, it's just being mean for no reason.

Or maybe I have no clue what I'm talking about. Actually, that sounds about right.

mattilda a.k.a. matt bernstein sycamore said...

Apple picking, that sounds lovely! Arbor Day I don't have any opinions of -- but yes the most outlandish exhibitionist behavior, the better -- I just wish it weren't to sell Budweiser/Botox/Finlandia/whatever else is being promoted.

And Alex, thanks for this lovely, long, thoughtful comment -- I would love to talk more about the gay powerbrokers and the way they work... I did not see the Stranger series of articles, though I will have to look them up. As for the two "legit" critiques of Pride you mention, well of course the consumerism is the one I would focus on since I always say the more freaks the better. But my larger critique would be about assimilation in general, and that does tie into the incredible and horrifying boredom you mention.

And I also think informed, thoughtful critique centering around accountability is perhaps one of the only things that can do some good... But perhaps we should chat on the phone sometime, one of these late nights -- just let me know!

Love --

Alex Blaze said...

Absolutely we should chat. I had a good time the last time we talked. But let's just say that we'll do that after the second of July, lol. And actually I'm feeling better about the whole thing today because I emailed about 20 more people to ask them to contribute and one said yes like 5 minutes after I emailed him and he seems like he'll be great, just great. But I've seriously spent the whole day in front of the computer, lol.

But the important thing is thoughtful, compassionate, and loving criticism, like you said. And I'm a bit complicit in this whole system whenever I bite my tongue. But I almost went overboard in the comments on the Hillary Clinton post today on that guy who said something about how we all have to "support the community" by voting for people who'll bring about gay marriage, as if that'll give everyone health care or something. But I'll just keep on posting news about it for now and leave most posts about marriage to Bil.

OMG, I'm using this blog like an IM chat session. Hey everyone!

You mentioned that Seattle Pride was better than SF pride on Bilerico. That's good to hear, even though I haven't been to either. Kentuckiana Pride looked interesting from Allen's guest post, lol. I've been to Burlington, VT, Pride, and that wasn't so bad, just really, really small and everyone seemed like they knew everyone else. I was kinda surprised by all the alcohol company sponsorship of Pride here in Indy though, like you mentioned, and I wonder why the religious right doesn't protest them like they protest everyone else who supports Pride or things like that.


I'll stop leaving crazy comments on your blog for a while, Mattilda. Party on!

mattilda a.k.a. matt bernstein sycamore said...

Hi Alex --

But I love crazy comments on my blog! And as for monsters like Hillary Clinton, I will have to check out that thread on bilerico... and, don't get me wrong -- every Pride I've been to has been terrible, it's just that Seattle in 1996 or '97 when I was there wasn't as terrible.

Now I just try to avoid Pride as much as possible, although I will admit that I liked walking through the Castro on Saturday before Pride -- I like the festive air of so many people in public space, even a space as terrible and exclusionary as the Castro.

Love --

Mariel said...

I went to Manhattan pride this year. It was my first time attending. I live on Staten Island, and I try to avoid the constant pull toward Manhattan, Manhattan, Manhattan. You can be out in Manhattan, fine. But what about everywhere else?

But I've been helping out local gay groups in-borough, including tabling at the Staten Island and Brooklyn pride fests, and I felt like seeing the big, historic Stonewall parade this year. And it left me rather cold. I was up on 52nd Street, and it was mostly pretty girls taking pictures of hardbodied guys, impossibly beautiful men, young straight couples, and a few mothers with children. There wasn't much of a sense of camaraderie. I pretty much felt invisible. I recently cut my hair, and damn if I didn't get called "sir" at the Parade just as I do over in suburban, right-wing Staten Island.

I'm not macho. I'm not trying to pass. I'm just a female with short hair and a slight build, who was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I guess that sort of thing is just as out of place at the parade as in a right-wing outer borough.

Maybe I would have felt more comfortable downtown. I don't know. But it didn't feel like I was celebrating something with the wider gay community, as I was hoping. I left with an empty feeling, and found myself worrying about the reaction if someone noticed I was female.

mattilda a.k.a. matt bernstein sycamore said...

Mariel, thanks for writing -- that all sounds like a nightmare, for sure! The problem with Pride is that emptiness, I mean we're supposed to find acceptance and community or something but truly it's the emptiness we're left with...

Love --