Thursday, May 22, 2008

Oh, right -- full citizens!

Okay, but I can't help ranting for a moment about “full citizens,” because you know how all those gay marriage proponents must distinguish themselves from all those awful "half citizens," or -- gasp -- non-citizens! Not to mention citizens of other countries the US is bombing into oblivion -- forget about them, right? This is about the good old US of A, where white gay people with beach condos, country club memberships, and a few overgrown hedge funds that might just need trimming every now and then (oil futures, anyone? platinum mining?) are pushing pushing pushing to get away from the rest of us, right? Into the loving arms of the powers that have denied them their birthright because of who they like to fuck. It may be true -- for a few of the most privileged, the right to get gay married might be the last thing standing in the way of full citizenship, but there are certainly a lot of other impediments for the rest of us!

And let's step back for a moment and wonder why on earth anyone would want to be a "full citizen" of the most monstrous colonial power busy exploiting the world's resources and ensuring the downfall of the planet? Oh, right -- to exploit the world's resources and ensure the downfall of the planet -- that's right, of course -- break out the bridal registries...


Miss May said...

This is brilliant. BRILLIANT.

jessica hoffmann said...

o, mattilda, i just love you.
love love love this post.

Mark said...

y'know, you may dislike it, but same sex marriage rights are a legal step forward for all American citizens. By your logic you should be fighting a passionate fight against immigrant naturalization as well. But you are not doing that, cause you know that's stupid.

I also want to say that I am offended by your caricaturization of people who want to get married as being inane, asimillationist or solely bourgeois or ruling class. That's saying it as nice as I can. Your depiction may satisfy your own smugness, but it is not the truth. Yes the media reports the most ridiculous shit that people say. Yes the media portrays gay people mostly as cartoons with no identity beyond being gay. You don't have to accept and co-operate with their depictions, however.

Equal treatment under the law is something people deserve, need and have fought for. You can point to late 60s and 70s radical feminism as a contrary voice to the pro-marriage argument, but the truth is that most if not all of those people have crossed over and support marriage rights, if not marriage itself. Look at Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon! Most people don't give a flying fuck about radical feminism, anyway. Nor should they be expected to.

There's a guy who wrote this book called "Androphi11a - Rejecting Gay Identiity and Rec1aiming Masculinity". His name is Jack. It's a book with great (and non-original) ideas that are weighed down by "only the strong survive" bullcrap. I surmise that's what's going on, anyway. I don't actually grasp his thinking entirely. Social Darwinism is not in my DNA at all, and it is completely foreign to how I understand the world and think. Anyway, his book and your book sit right next to each other in most bookstores, and I find it ironically just, because you and he are diametrically opposed in viewpoints. However, you both often come up with the same conclusions and have similar (albeit differently nuanced) concerns. His book ends with a long, separate essay against gay marriage, for example.

Both of you are wrong. The legal struggle for marriage rights is not about all this social critique and idealogical bullshit that both of you want to bring to the discussion. It is very simple. It is about gaining equal treatment under that law. It is not the final be or end all step. It isn't anything more or less than it is.

I myself have a critique of marriage, but as of now that is how relationships gain protected status under the law, more or less. It doesn't make sense to me to work to change marriage laws unless everyone has access in the first place!

And yes, fuck Gavin Newsom! His marriage 'leadership' was nothing but self serving. Because of it he ran unopposed last election, and he didn't need to do what he did cause we had Massachusetts. So fuck that guy. It's tragic that he's going continue to gain politically from this.

Regardless of that douchebag, when the marriage thing was happening at city hall I went down a couple times to observe. All kinds of people were there. Many had their children in tow. Many had traveled from places like bum-fuck Kansas. Many had been together for decades. I cried. I honestly never thought I would see it happen in my lifetime. It was undeniably beautiful, for so many differnet reasons. And I don't even give a shit about marriage, per se.

Did you go down to City Hall? Do you think you could have said the sort of petulant venom that you spout about same sex marriage to those people and look them in the eye? With all of your self celebrated candor, how honest are you actually being with yourself?

As a man who has sex with men and affectional orientation for men, I get tired of all the voices constantly chattering on and on and on. Really tired. Beyond tired. Did I say that I was tired? I often feel that being homo-oriented and male means being under CONSTANT and ENDLESS scrutiny from all sides at all times. You are forced to carry EVERYONE's baggage everywhere all the time. Everyone has their fucking OPINION about your personal business. I'm beyond sick of it. Sometimes I want to die...Watching people get married at city hall was invigorating, and emotional. And it was real. It meant something real to the participants.

Instead of this sneering and looking down yr nose at yr less 'radical' inferiors, why don't you make an attempt to take a break from this stuck-in-the-90s-radical-partisanship that you are constantly working and get in touch with this real-ness and see what IT has to say...rather than acting like it's not there.

-I'm all weepy now...

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Stacey and Jessica, thank you thank you thank you! And thanks also for giving me some breathing room before the next comment...

And Mark, wow that's a lot to respond to -- I'll try a little bit...

First of all, my opposition to the "full citizens" rhetoric of gay marriage proponents is specifically because it leaves out those who don't have access to "full citizenship," especially undocumented immigrants/migrants, but also, I don't know... pretty much any person of color, trans person, poor person, homeless person, disabled person, child, and on and on and on...

Furthermore, I'm well aware that all sorts of people get married for all sorts of reasons, and acquire certain benefits due to asking the state to sanction their carnal coupling, and of course we all make horrible compromises in order to live in this monstrous world and yes, that's the only way to survive, but no, we should never consider this "progress."

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon are embarrassments for serving as poster-children for Gavin Newsom's agenda...

And that Androphilia book is a nightmare, you're right -- but yes, all sorts of people who are diametrically opposed in many ways (like anti-trans "feminists" for example") sometimes come to similar conclusions about marriage.

Love --

Mark said...

Honestly, the critique of the full-citizens rhetoric is sorta appreciated, but I'm a little suspicious about your sour-grapes-ness supposedly coming from caring oh so much about the poor and people of color and trans folks, etc...

There's definitely more to go. Obviously. There will always be more. I do, however, think it is perfectly acceptable to celebrate incremental victories. Marriage rights are a step toward equal treatment under the law. You can't get around that. Perhaps you don't like that cause you are an anarchist or something, I really don't know.

Like the guy who wrote Androphi11ia I really don't understand the 'macro' part of your trip either. You guys are two sides of the same coin. (Sometimes riding on BART I ponder which one of you is worse for gay people as far as your ideas and activism. I honestly can't decide. I then console my concerns with pretending that maybe you two cancel each other out, as if the existence of both of you were bringing balance to The Force.)

And really, how can you call Martin and Lyon embarrassments? How is it that you cannot find the empathy to understand why they might have wanted to be participants in that initial marriage event? How can you not see that they might have seen it as something bigger than Newsom, something that went beyond him. Something that was a culmination of their own work, their own struggle.

Seriously...must nowadays queer activism be completely ahistorical and narcissistic?

Those women worked like, what, 40-50 years? They put themselves out there when the environment was GRAVE for lesbians, not anything like it is now. All you have to say about them is that they are embarrassments? That analysis sucks, dude. It just fucking sucks.

Where is this 'love' of which you speak? Could you look Martin and Lyon in the eye and tell them what embarrassments you think they are? I mean come on!

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

I guess I'm an anarchist, or something.


gina said...

i was almost going to leave you a comment sort of in response to that guy but your last comment was so great we get to just leave it at that. or, should we edit it to say, "dude, i guess i'm an anarchist or something."
ok gotta run! i was just pouring some equal in my coffee!

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Gina, it's Equal with a capital E, don't forget that -- capital E because we're really equal!!!!!