News reached me that my cousin, my mother’s sister’s son, came out as gay at the age of 44 years old. He’s met a man that he is moving to the Carolinas for. I wonder how his journey went – what lead him to realizing he was gay; why couldn’t he say sooner; why didn’t he at least tell me? “Your cousin finally came out,” my mother had said, informing me. Was I oblivious, wrapped in egocentrism? Ex-boyfriends had told me that he was gay when they first met him, but I brushed their observations off with an aloof, “Okay.” I never felt obligated to care or take notice to welcome him into the tribe – or it appears him towards me.
Over the years, as I have embraced my uniqueness – shown self without a mask – I have found the term queer to better suit my identity. I never felt as if homosexual was my tribe. The punks and outsiders always felt like my people – the ones who believed normal was an insult. A sexual identity has never felt important to my survival – rather not being alone, having a sense of community, of empathy, is what I have been after. Continue reading “Queer Identity: Against Homonormatives”→
Wonder Woman, Diana Prince, with her powerful abilities, centuries of training and experienced at handling threats that range from petty crime to threats that are of a magical or supernatural nature, Diana is capable of competing with nearly any hero or villain. She’s concurrently the fiercest and most nurturing member of the Justice League, capable of making the hard decisions. Wonder Woman’s hard-decision making is derived from her backstory and characterization. In comic books and the DC Universe Wonder Woman’s nickname, The Amazon Princess, makes obvious the dichotomy inherent in the premiere super-heroine. As an Amazonian she is a trained warrior, powerful, strong-willed, and does not back-down from a battle. The princess aspect of the character places her in the political and diplomatic spheres, pursing peace without escalating conflicts. In both worlds Wonder Woman is a leader, who, unlike Superman and Batman, understands the ramifications globally and locally of her actions.
In the DC Trinity Superman is the admiral inspiring heroes to be their best; Batman is the general making the plans other heroes follow; Wonder Woman is the soldier shoulder to shoulder with the other heroes in the battle. Soldiers are the decisive faction in an army, and in an army of superheroes Wonder Woman is the hard-decision maker. Where Superman and Batman hold tightly to the superhero code, do not kill, Wonder Woman comes at solutions with more ambiguity. She is the decision maker who makes the difficult decisions, where killing is never completely off the table, such as when she kills Ares God of War by cleaving an axe through his skull (vol3, #33). There is also the infamous neck snap of telepathic villain Maxwell Lord to save Superman and by extension the planet. Maxwell Lord had taken control of Superman and used him to nearly kill Batman. A brutal battle ensues, Wonder Woman defends herself by slicing Superman’s throat with her tiara, and uses the Lasso of Truth on Lord to demand to know how to end his mental control over Superman, which he revealed was to kill him; if put in jail he’d just escape, regain mental dominance of Superman, and begin again. Seeing no other way to end the carnage an amoral Superman would cause, Wonder Woman snapped Maxwell Lord’s neck. While Wonder Woman’s actions are defendable, saving her friends and the planet, her decisiveness put her at odds with other heroes who ardently stand-by the superhero code.
[To Continue Reading the Brief Essay Open PDF Below]
Maintaining goals’ timeline is a tricky proposition, finding the balance between what is necessary for life (job, family and/or friend commitments) with the artistic (experiences, solitude, and time). The necessary seclusion to write runs contradictory to the desire to participate in humanity, providing new experiences to build upon. The self-reflection I have been doing is looking backwards, which removes from existing in the moment – allowing emotion to wash over and be felt. Those emotions provide an anchor to the everyday, dressing moments and interactions in person-specific contexts. Without personal experiences there is not shared humanity, isolating from loved ones and strangers, removing beautiful complexity from my world.
Every year I create a soundtrack that can be used to act as touchstone for that year; during the year, the playlist is a living breathing thing, its songs coming and going as I change throughout the year.
Secrets (feat. B.o.B.), Mary Lambert
Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time, Panic! At the Disco
ME: In today’s job market and society we have produced too many people with degrees that there is no longer a blue-collar work force, which is a factor in the shrinking middle class.
THEM: If the middle class and blue collar contingent disappears, who will be left to vote republican? Bible thumpers and assholes?
ME: Plenty of Bible thumpers and assholes vote Democrat. To believe that “the opposite” political party is made up of “deplorables” minimizes the needs of a large group of Americans – further pushing the polarized state of the country. Middle class and blue collar are often voting for, what can be loosely described, as “family values.” If you are attempting to refer to the large electoral college vote that Trump received, then it might be best to try and think “What has the country not done to support them?” The states that Trump won were “no collar” states, the miners and farmers, and those without college degrees and trade-skills, who – more than likely – saw a country that was increasingly looking beyond its borders and supporting foreign interests. Those that voter for Trump were more than likely attempting to vote for themselves, their families, and their neighbors, by voting for localized economic resurgence. What they saw was how others are getting more and more rights for very specific demographics, while their own was being maligned as “ignorant” or “racist,” which was largely probably not the case. Your statement also ignores recent NYT, LA Times, and Politico articles that are finding, in young America, a 2 party system no longer is viable. As well, there were the Bernie-die-hards that abstained from voting because Hillary wasn’t Bernie, which also cost her the election, and perhaps a more progressive government. Continue reading “A Political Discussion I Had Recently”→
Batman and Superman are aspects of the American experience in ways that Wonder Woman is not. Superman is the immigrant experience, constantly having to be better and stronger than the ideals – truth, justice, the American Way – he embodies because if he does not than all immigrants/aliens/heroes would be viewed as untrustworthy. Batman is the guilt wealth brings, fighting the shadows to right the wrongs upon which success is built upon. Wonder Woman though is not born of the American Dream – she does not come from guilt due to success, nor is she an immigrant who holds ideals of a culture. Wonder Woman, is a visitor to America; she is an emissary of foreign ideals that she hopes to impart. By her actions and adventures Wonder Woman inspires all peoples to possess physical and mental strength, values, and ethical and moral attributes, proving that not only American values need dominate the world stage. She is not looking to eclipse the core of American ideals, rather Wonder Woman’s goal is to symbolize that anyone can embody truth and justice. Wonder Woman normalizes that esteem for human life is a source of strength. This diminishes the American belief, which has vacillated through its history, that armed conflict leads to conflict resolution.
No matter what Rihanna is doing, or where she is appearing, she owns what is occurring. Rihanna has an agency over and openness about her sexuality, she has enormous grace and she’s immensely talented. Her own transformation and artistic control mirrors the metamorphosis of gay identity. Similar to how she felt controlled by the blueprint of Def Jam’s pop-princess homosexual and queer youth prescribe to labels and group mentality, dividing amongst terminology, titles, and descriptors. Applying to the homosexual and queer labels takes the idea of who one should be without the process of figuring out the subtleties of identity. As the queer identity enters the bigger world, either through college or independent living, a darker edge manifests itself, which can take the form of hard partying and sex to radical politicism. Regardless of the form that it takes, at this juncture the identity takes the antithesis of who they previously exhibited themselves to be. Rihanna reached this juncture in her own career when she released Good Girl Gone Bad, which was followed by Rated R where she, like queer identity, began separating from the molds and terminology that had been used in the construction of their identity. What followed for both Rihanna and queer identity was the investigating of other labels, while still safely staying within expectations. For Rihanna this changed with the release of Anti, when she had accumulated enough hit-maker cache to have control over how she presented her identity. Queer identity development has a similar moment, when life experiences add up to acceptance on the level that one is accepted for the labels they self-apply, and the ones they do not.
I am a living on a treadmill. Stationary is a synonym for sedentary. My life needs a rebranding, new experiences that will give me a potpourri of emotions, and not just the same safe ones of being home and being at work and exercising and reading. Instead I have created discord between my routine and my goals, breeding familiarity as a crutch, and not a platform for change has become exhausting. Structure is meant to create a safe framework where risks have not been taken. I am looking for change and am hoping new experiences will fall into my lap. I would prefer if the new does not lead to repeating past cycles of abandoning my own self for others’ interests, bending backwards to create a new personality that is more accommodating.
I have only had four relationships in my life, and they all began post-college years. My college years were high school. Opportunities to practice and flex my queer identity were hampered by the times, which is in stark contrast to the new freedoms of exploration allowed to youths currently. They are dating and expressing queerness at younger ages, which allows them to avoid the pain that currently creates paralysis within me.
For a brief moment Milo Yiannopoulos received attention for bullying, deflecting criticism hiding behind the U.S.’s First Amendment or (supposed) humor, but under the spotlight that 2017’s political climate brought he eventually got what every bully deserves: getting kicked off the playground. The blogosphere and news-outlets that gave particular attention to Milo’s special brand of rabble-rousing reported Milo’s quick and deserved decline, but then the opinion pieces came out that celebrated his fall. These celebrations have amounted more to their own version of bullying – throwing rocks at the bully as he’s forced off the playground – and it is time to stop.
The grave-dancing on Milo, should there be truth to his story of being sexually abused by a priest, demonstrates that others’ calls for help, either lashing-out, drugs, or self-harm, will be glossed-over in favor of the preferred narrative. Milo himself has gone back and forth if he was 14 or 17 at the time of abuse, and even took the blame for his own abuse. It is clear from Milo’s interview on ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ that he is just lashing-out because of his angry-pain, and is still dealing with ramifications rooted in the abuse he suffered.