Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Queer Wars

I've been reading Paul Robinson's Queer Wars, the New Gay Right and Its Critics (University of Chicago Press, 2005). The book seems a little dated, in that it critiques gaycon literature from the late 90s and early 00s. The book is a very good read (if you like criticism).

Robinson examines the work of Bruce Bawer, Andrew Sullivan, Michelangelo Signorile, and Gabriel Rotello. He presents their conservative criticism of the gay scene. Robinson's book is remarkably evenhanded, well-written, but still has an interesting perspective of a gay radical, the very kind of radical that the subjects of his book criticize. He also carefully compares and contrasts the different conservative strains of his subjects (and notes, with a certain degree of relish, who despises whom).

The markers of politics, gender, and sexual conduct layout Robinson's critique of Bawer, Sullivan, Signorile, and Rotello. Where the subjects vehemently disagree with each other about their world views, Robinson makes the case that fundamentally these men present a conservative explanation about gay America.

The book is good read, and a short one. Pick it up, read it, weep. The gay experience, focused as it seems to be on marriage and the military is a far cry from the transformational experiences of Stonewall and Gay Liberation. What's scary is that a lot of what these men write is pretty close to mainstream at this point.

Robinson finishes his book with an epilogue that juxtaposes the cable series, Queer as Folk with the conservative strands in his book. It's a clever and engaging way to end his book. In Brian's character, maybe all of us gay bad boys will have our redemption. I sure hope so, because getting married and serving Uncle Sam seems like a pretty hollow experience for the gay life that I've had so far.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Iraq, 24/7

Every day, the news is worse. It's unrelenting, and I'm thinking it's bad, sitting here in Wheaton, rather than being hunkered down in Baghdad. I can't imagine how awful the war is for Iraqi civilians. The U.S. invasion really opened Pandora's Box, and our government and occupation can't even see what the end is. The news is heartbreaking, and I simply don't understand how people can kill people the way the violence is happening in that nation. We started it. We have a profound moral obligation to change the war, to bring these hostilities to an end as quickly as possible. Our nation's honor is stained with innocent blood.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Portuguese, Anyone?

Life seems to be moving swiftly in the direction of death, well, if you consider the length of my life against Geologic Time, I think it's a pretty factual statement, if not too dramatic.

What I really mean, is that time flies by when you reach a certain age, and I've certainly reached that age. Since my last post, the Democrats have kicked Bush's butt (long overdue), and I ordered my language software from RosettaStone. It wasn't European Portuguese, but Brazilian. I do the best that I can..., they'll just have to guess about the ghastly accent.

I've already bought some Portuguese guide books, and I'm planning to go in the spring of 2008, which should give me enough time to have a conversational vocabulary. I'm taking my sister with me, and she's said that she'll learn some Portuguese, too. While I don't think that we'll be the greatest linguists in Western Europe, I think it will get us closer to the untourist experience.

I just finished my putting my Spain travel journal on my website. I still need to fix and publish several hundred photos, but at least the narrative is finished. I love the travel, and I'm looking forward to doing a lot more of it.

In other things, Tim and I survived another Harpers Ferry Hoedown, or perhaps another hoedown survived us! It was a great fly-in this year, the best HFH I've attended. I had a fabulous time, especially acting like the village idiot at the Country Western dance. Well, somebody had to fill that role!

We're all getting ready for Thanksgiving - probably my favorite holiday. Of course, I'm doing a bird. I found the smallest turkey in the world, and will roast it lovingly. We're having over the usual suspects, but including a new guest this year, Justin. He didn't have anyone to spend the holiday with, so it seemed like a good idea to have him spend it with us. I'll write later about my fabulous menu, after I've figured out what it is.