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January 7th, 2013
Ten Movies I Hate
by Bruce |
I never make pointless New Year’s resolutions on the grounds that anything you notice that needs changing you really should start changing right then and there. And…it’s just another randomly designated special position in the Earth’s orbit. Solstice is actually something worth noting and celebrating; it’s when the days stop getting shorter and start getting longer again. But there are routines we all fall into around now, and most often it’s the annual cleaning out and sorting through last year’s Stuff to make room for this year’s Stuff.
While going through my word processor files I found this list I must have started work on to post here and didn’t for some reason. I’m guessing it was a reaction to all those damn Best Of lists you see around this time of year, but this is my all-time hated it list, not just last year’s hated it list. And it’s from a few years ago. If your eyes glaze over at all the lists this time of year, feel free to skip this one.
Anyway…in no particular order…
The Boys in the Band
A play for sympathy, that starts out with a quick shot of a gay bookstore employee casually shoplifting for a friend. Please don’t hate us…we can’t help ourselves. Have pity… Puke…puke…puke…puke… At the end of it the self absorbed and self loathing Daniel wishes gay people didn’t hate themselves so very much. They say now that it’s a period piece and reflective of the reality of gay men’s lives in that time. But so what. Picasso said art is a lie that makes us see the truth, not that it’s a truth that makes us believe a lie. You just know that a lot of homophobic bigots left the showings feeling entirely justified in their cheapshit prejudices, and lots of young gay men left feeling sorry for themselves and hating what they are. If Crowley really wanted gay people to stop hating themselves, so very much, then he might have told them they didn’t have to live in the ghetto of other people’s ignorant disgust.
Mad Max (aka The Road Warrior)
When I first learned to hate Mel Gibson movies. Dirtball toddler with a deadly boomerang kills cute teenage loverboy of evil bad guy lieutenant…proving once more that pretty boy faggots have it coming. But then even evil perverted bad guys can have hearts too, sort of, deep down inside of them, somewhere. “Be still my dog of war. I understand your pain. We’ve all lost someone we love.” Oh fuck that noise. When Gibson later came out in a Spanish newspaper as a homophobic nutcase (“they take it in the ass”) I couldn’t have been less surprised.
Lawrence of Arabia
A sexually ambiguous, self absorbed and manipulative British officer befriends two young beggars who, unaccountably, seem to regard him as some sort of deity. Rather liking their attention, he leads them into the desert where he gets one killed in a quicksand, and then later shoots the other. When shopping for a deity to follow, be sure to ask for references.
Loved the musical score and the photography. Hated the movie.
Frank Sinatra playing Frank Sinatra playing a hard boiled film noir detective…a loathsome self hating homosexual killer, who begs for pity on his confession tape… What’s not to like? Besides everything I mean. “I thought maybe just once more….maybe I could get it out of my system…” I get to feeling like a bit of murder myself just remembering William Windom’s pathetic gay confession scenes, and especially where his character takes a stroll through a gay cruising ground by the docks. The camera, followed around by some really cheesy background music, pans across the gay guys there who are all busy either making out or cruising, with such contempt and disgust you’d have thought they were filming a group of cannibals dismembering and eating bodies instead of…well…some guys cruising for sex…just like they do at all the heterosexuals singles bars all over town. The horror. The horror.
Advise and Consent
All American virtuous freshman senator is blackmailed by evil ex homosexual lover. All American virtuous freshman senator confronts evil ex homosexual lover in the bar from Hollywood stereotype hell. Vito Russo nailed it when he described the scene as a vilification of gays who accept what they are, while canonizing the All American virtuous secretly homosexual freshman senator for hating them. And being a virtuous homosexual, he goes back home and kills himself.
The gay bar scene, like the one in The Detective, is a hoot for all it’s piss elegant faggotry. The reality in those days was that gay bars were dank, seedy, hole in the wall places run by mobsters who couldn’t have cared less how the place looked, or what sort of swill they served to their customers. Gays endured them because there was simply no other place to go to socialize and meet other gays but places run by organized crime. In many cities back then, it was illegal for a bar or restraint to serve a known homosexual.
Man…Stanley Kubrick really hated the human race, didn’t he? Enough for it to show though even the Steven Spielberg treatment. Poor Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law were just stunning enacting non-human intelligences. You really believed they were machines trying to cope with self awareness. But the movie was just a depressing cloud of human self loathing and I really wished film explored more of the other side of the coin presented in the opening moments, where the lady tells Doctor Hobby that the question isn’t whether we can make a machine love us, but can we love them back. And…there was this really unforgivable missed opportunity here, to really dig into something these human/android stories can talk about. You see it when the executive of the company that makes the Davids pontificates that while God made man in His image, He didn’t make man God. Well…fine. We make our machines in our image…we have no choice about that. everything we create is in a sense a kind of art. Everything we make is an image of ourselves. What does it say about us? Could we love it back? Well Kubrick thought he knew those answers. I think better answers are out there waiting for a better storyteller.
Death In Venice.
If you just look at the pretty pictures, it’s a sultry visual treat. If you pay attention to what’s going on by the end of the movie you just want to smack them both.
The Business of Fancy Dancing.
Gay Native American has an identity crisis. And his utterly indifferent white guy boyfriend isn’t helping matters any. Whenever these two appear together on the screen (which isn’t very often) you just keep thinking “What the hell do these two see in each other?” There is not a shred of love shown between them. Well…except maybe here:
White Guy Boyfriend: “How can you make love to a white man?”
Seymour: “I just pretend you’re Custer.”
I loved Smoke Signals. I love reading Sherman Alexie. This film only made it to my ten most hated list because of Yet Another Shallow and Loveless Same Sex Relationship from a guy I would have thought, especially after all his gay media interviews, could have spared a few frames of insight and thoughtfulness and illumination about same sex couples. I mean…since he bothered to write one into the story. I still don’t think that straight male directors necessarily can’t do films about gay people, but…crap…Alexie shouldn’t have been more evidence against that.
…him and goddamned Oliver Stone. The only reason Stone’s Alexander isn’t on this list, with its DVD Director’s Cut that’s de-fagged even more then the theatrical release, is that I’m not going anywhere near it. Swear to god you’d think he could have shown a little backbone for the home video market. But the director of Platoon decided to cut and run.
Proof that big budget porn is still…well…porn. My straight high school buddies (we were all in college then) drug me to see this one. It’s why I am unimpressed whenever someone waves some sexually extreme behavior they’ve heard gays are into in my face. That one movie, made by heterosexuals, for the entertainment of heterosexuals, and the profit of the publisher of one of the nation’s biggest tit and ass magazines, gave me tons of stuff to wave back in Their faces. Not that this was worth the pain of sitting through it. Okay…I’m gay…but this movie made sex look cheesy and boring and gross and that’s unforgivable.
And speaking of which…
Self repressed gay man, a young doctor building a practice, who has a completely charming long time girl friend, suddenly takes a trip on the wild side with a handsome party boy, gets his heart broken, but finally comes to terms with his own sexuality. They called it groundbreaking when it first came out, because it was the first reasonably well budgeted film from a major studio with well known actors in it that portrayed same sex love in a positive light. But it only served to reinforce the notion that homosexuality is just about pure lust and that only heterosexual relationships are based on love. The first part of the film treats us to how wonderful the main character’s relationship with his girlfriend is. They seem to be such a sweet, caring, loving couple with so much in common, and who have so much fun together. The first glimpse we get of Mr. Repressed’s true sexuality is when he tries to pick up a guy at a gay cruising ground. All through the film we never see Mr. Repressed love another man, just desire them, and in particular one stereotypical self absorbed urban gay pickup artist. Sweet. At the end Mr. Repressed is seen finally settled down with another man, but we have no idea what the two of them saw in each other and the audience is left with the impression that he’s settling for a very distant second best because he’s a homosexual and can’t help himself and both him and the poor woman who was his soul mate are left to glance back wistfully at what might have been. The only love you saw in Making Love was between the man and the woman.
The mostly gay audience I sat watching it with laughed nearly all the way through it, while I just sat and squirmed.
November 28th, 2012
I Suppose Repacking The Bearing Greese Isn’t An Option…
by Bruce |
Walking up the front steps to Casa del Garrett I hear the familiar sound of my shoes crunching over spent shells from one of my bird feeders. Crunch, crunch, crunch…up the steps, then into the house. Once inside, I start up the steps to the second floor. I notice the crunching sound is still happening. I take the steps a little slower and listen carefully. Crunch, crunch, crunch…
The sound is coming from my right knee, which has been feeling a little stiff lately. Oh Foo.
November 23rd, 2012
Let’s Celebrate The Year End Holidays By Making Ourselves Miserable…
by Bruce |
…standing in long lines to get into shopping malls and stores for phantom bargains and dog piling on this year’s must-have gift, getting pissed off at everyone around us, cursing and maybe even take a few swings at complete strangers, driving through massive traffic jams, spending hours hunting for a parking space, tempting traffic accident fate on highways full of drivers too busy worrying about their shopping lists to pay attention to the traffic around them, generally raising blood pressure and sulking angrily at home because you couldn’t find what you were looking for Anywhere, because the holidays are a time of peace on earth good will toward all…
A piston engine…I looked Everywhere and they were all sold out..!
I started seeing people posting on Facebook and Twitter last night about the long lines in shopping malls. Are you people nuts? Never mind the relentless consumerism…how do you plan on enjoying the holiday season when you’re getting wound up tighter than a watch spring fighting crowds and traffic???
Buy your gifts online. That’s what I’ve done for years now because I decline to make myself miserable in holiday feeding frenzies. I Hate Crowds. And from what I’m reading, everyone else does too. So I have a question: why do all of you keep doing this to yourselves? This is Peace On Earth Goodwill Toward Everyone time, not Work Yourself Into A Frustrated Temper Tantrum time.
Relax. Kick back. It’s the end of the year. Time to reflect on life…all the things you have to be thankful for…and all the people you love. Sit down at your computer…we’ve all got one these days…and browse the online catalogs. There are tons. It’s nothing new, just a new twist on an old Christmas tradition…the wish catalog. When I was a boy there were these big phone book sized catalog things people ordered from by mail. And every year we got mail ordered stuff from relatives, along with the usual Christmas packages. What the magical wonderful computer does for us 21st century people is put all those catalogs right at our fingertips! Think of it…every catalog you ever wanted to browse…there. And you can fill out your order, specify gift wrapping and a nice card to go with it, pay and you’re done. All from the comfort an convenience of your own home! You can shop in your pajamas even! And things still come in the mail just like they did when you were a kid. Your loved ones will be just as delighted.
A little less traffic might make the holidays nicer….just saying. Seriously…this is a time of year to remember how good life is, and how wonderful that we are human beings, and not sharks all piled together in a feeding frenzy.
[Update...] Kevin Drum does a little digging and discovers the origin of the term “Black Friday” really is as dark as you’d expect from just hearing it and not knowing it’s supposed to mean the day retail sales go into the black (profitable) zone.
…all the evidence points in one direction. The term originated in Philadelphia in the 50s or earlier and wasn’t in common use in the rest of the country until decades later. And it did indeed refer to something unpleasant: the gigantic Army-Navy-post-Thanksgiving day crowds and traffic jams, which both retail workers and police officers dreaded. The retail industry originally loathed the term, and the whole “red to black” fairy tale was tacked on sometime in the 80s by an overcaffeinated flack trying to put lipstick on a pig that had gotten a little too embarrassing for America’s shopkeepers.
Another success in the annals of public relations…
July 22nd, 2012
Reasons Not To Procrastinate #22…Collect The Entire Series!
by Bruce |
Five years ago I noticed the bottom step on my backyard deck was getting loose. The builder whoever they were, really didn’t use the best wood screws on it and they started getting loose. I saw the problem the moment I noticed it, and understood the fix. Just tightening down the screws wouldn’t do it. It needed the right wood screws installed. But it was a minor thing and I always have things to do around the house, so for five years that step just kept getting looser and looser, and I adjusted to it by stepping carefully down on that one step.
Last week it finally came off. Annoyed with myself for putting such a simple fix off, I got out my tools and the right wood screws and did the job. Five minute fix. It’s very solidly on there now, but after five years my reflex going up and down those steps while doing yard work is to keep stepping carefully on that one step. That step is going to keep reminding me not to procrastinate on the simple stuff for years now, I just know it.
June 14th, 2012
Every Time I Try To Get Out, They Pull Me Back In.
by Bruce |
I figured I wouldn’t, because I just don’t see myself going back to Disney World as often in the coming year as I have in recent years (Hi Tico!). But then I did the nefarious Disney math.
They say if you do a couple weeks or more you’ve paid for your annual pass. But tickets to the Disney Parks are on a sliding scale and that’s taking into account the longer stay tickets. Base single day single park ticket is $89. Lets say you do a week, seven days, which (as of my writing this) is $41.14 a day or $287.98. Twice in a year that’s $575.96. The annual pass is $611.31, but if you’re renewing it’s only $574.00 so that’s a break even for returning guests. But that’s the standard ticket price and there are options.
The base ticket gets you into one park for one day. But let’s say you want to visit one park in the morning, and a different one in the afternoon. Then you need the Park Hopper option, which for one day is $35.00 or (again the sliding scale) $8.14 a day for seven days. That brings you up to $344.96 for seven days and if you do that twice it’s $689.92 for that year. When I first bought my annual pass I could add the park hopper option for a little more, but it seems now you have to get the Premium Annual Pass to get that (which I upgraded to last year to get the water park option…I’ll go into that in a bit…). The Premium Annual Pass is $744.44 or $649 to renew. That’s still close to break even for new purchasers, better then break even for renewers. But then there is one more option. The water parks and Disney Quest.
Disney Quest is an arcade like thing located in Downtown Disney. I don’t bother with it because it seems more a kid thing. But I like doing the water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Water park tickets are $55.38 a day and there is no sliding scale for those I can find apart from being an option on the park tickets. Let’s say you want to do a water park some afternoons and wander one or more of the parks others. Three days out of seven if you buy the tickets separately and it’s $166.14 you add to the bill. Or you can just add the water park option to a seven day park ticket and it’s $8.14 a day which is only another $56.98…just a tad more then a single day ticket. Of course you want to add the water park option.
Dizzy yet? Oh but there’s more!
Transportation to the Disney Parks is very well organized along bus routes into and out of and within the parks, and there are monorail routes you can use depending on where you stay and where you go. In theory you won’t be needing a car once you enter Disney World. But if you bring a car along like I do, and you’d rather keep to your own schedule then the bus schedule, then you will need to pay for parking. Parking is free for all annual pass holders of all types. Otherwise that’s $14 a day but it gets you parking at all the parks for that one price for that one day. So seven days of parking is another $98. Parking at the water parks is free, so it’s possible to just do one day or more at a water park for $55.38 a day and get fewer days on the park tickets otherwise. But that sliding scale means fewer consecutive days cost more each. And you can’t get by with saving some of the days on your ticket for a later visit. The tickets expire unless you add the “No Expiration Date” option. I am not even here going to go into that one, but it isn’t cheap. In fact it’s the only ticket option that gets more expensive per day the more days you buy. Otherwise the tickets expire 14 days after first use. You buy a seven day ticket, you have two weeks to use it all.
Now…add it all up (not counting the “no expiration” option) and you are looking at something like $499.94 just for one week if you do the park hopper option, the water parks option and the parking fees. Twice in a year and it’s very nearly a thousand bucks you’ve spent and that’s not even getting you the hotel and your food. Now the premium annual pass seems like an outright bargain. Plus, annual pass holders get discounts on in park hotels.
Now let’s cost out one measly three day weekend shall we? The base three day ticket is $80.67 a day or $242.01 total (notice how close that is to the cost of the seven day ticket). Add the park hopper for three days at $19 a day and it’s another $57 which brings us to $299.01. Add the water parks, also at $19 a day for three days and it’s $356.01. Add parking for three days and it’s $398.01. Do that long three day weekend twice in a year and you’ve spent $796.02.
Verses $649 to simply renew my pass for an entire year.
Okay…whatever…I renewed the pass. It’s actually cheaper to get the pass even if you don’t go that often. And of course, having a year of access to the Disney World Parks means I might just go more often then not…and spend more once I’m there. If I didn’t so thoroughly enjoy being in Disney World so much I might get a tad pissed at how expertly they manage to get my wallet to open up. But I do love being there, so…
Bear in mind the ticket price gets you not just into the park but also onto all the park rides and attractions (some special seasonal attractions, like the Halloween party in Magic Kingdom for instance, are extra however). You don’t buy separate tickets per ride like in the old days. Once you’re inside you just go get on all the rides you want, as often as you can, if that’s your thing (I did the new Star Tours ride in Hollywood Studios about a dozen times in a row one night). Should you question the ticket prices in spite of that I strongly recommend taking the backstage tour. Trust me, when you get even a small glimpse of how much goes into the operation and maintenance of Disney World, and it is a massive operation, absolutely massive, you will wonder that the tickets aren’t lots more costly then they are.
[Edited a tad...the renew price on my Premium Annual Pass was $649...the price I originally quoted $691.19 was the price plus Maryland state sales tax. All other prices come directly off the Disney World ticket pages.]
Not My Damn Peanut Butter Too!
by Bruce |
While at the grocery store this morning shopping for office snacks, I pick up what I think is a jar of “low fat” peanut butter. “50 percent less fat then regular peanut butter” says the label cheerfully. Peanut butter being a dietary staple, I give the matter some thought. Then I see a logo on the side of the jar that reads, “dry roasted peanut taste”. That ominous phrase “peanut taste” makes me look closer. I notice that nowhere on the jar does it actually say Peanut Butter. So what is this stuff? Ah…the fine print. Yes, it looks like peanut butter, it’s stacked on the shelves right next to the peanut butter, the label says “50 percent less fat then regular peanut butter”, but it is not peanut butter. It is peanut butter spread.
Sol was right…
Okay…you can turn my cheese into cheese food product, you can turn my lemonade into lemonade flavored drink mix, you can turn my potato chips into potato crisps, but this…This is a snack food abomination. What’ll it be next…chocolate flavored Hershey bars???
Oh shoot me now…
April 29th, 2012
Unamused Llama Is Still Unamused
by Bruce |
Do not seat these two together at the same table.
April 28th, 2012
Only Twelve More Years…
by Bruce |
Tasneem Raja reports on brogramming, “a term that seeks to recast the geek identity with a competitive frat-house flavor”
Oh what a perfect match…frat boys and the computer nerds they used to beat up in grade school. Why has no one thought of this before now I ask you?
…apparently it’s real enough for social-media analytics company Klout: The high-flying Silicon Valley startup came under fire last month for displaying a recruitment poster at a Stanford career fair that asked: “Want to bro down and crush code? Klout is hiring.”
That daydream of mine to retire to Key West someday, spend the trailing edge of life lounging by the shore, under the starry night sky, with a margarita, and a cigar, whilst enjoying a bonfire of burning computer books, is looking better and better every year.
April 26th, 2012
I’ll Bet This Isn’t Funny Either
by Bruce |
[New And Improved!]
April 25th, 2012
by Bruce |
I’ll endure a lot of things, but after I’ve worked so hard to earn a person’s trust a thin skin isn’t one of them.
January 4th, 2010
I Will Never Get Used To Wearing Glasses…(continued)
by Bruce |
I discovered last September, while visiting Disney World, that glasses fog when you leave your nice air conditioned hotel room and venture out into the humid Florida summer. Now it’s winter here in Charm City and I’m discovering that they also fog when you come inside from below freezing into your nice heated and properly humidified little rowhouse. Damn.
January 3rd, 2010
Department Of Random Complaining…
by Bruce |
Dear Consumer Reports;
Please stop bitching about where they put the cruse control stalk on a Mercedes-Benz. That’s where they’ve always put it. That’s where they’re probably always going to keep putting it. That’s where everyone who drives a Mercedes-Benz expects it to be.
PS: I notice you said the inside door panels flex when you open and close the doors on your top pick Cadillac CTS. And you gave that your top marks? Oh, and the reliability of the car is below average. Please advise: what the hell do you think a luxury car is?
PPS: Who the flying fuck mistakes a column mounted shift selector for the windshield wiper stalk?
Oh…Right…It’s Winter Isn’t It…
by Bruce |
What is this I come home from Florida and it’s 19 degrees outside stuff? I need a telecommute agreement that lets me work in Key West during the winter months…
July 13th, 2009
Editing As I Read…How To Cope With Living In A Heterosexual World…
by Bruce |
Once upon a time my diet of fiction was huge. In grade school I was a voracious reader of it, much to the annoyance of my teachers who often caught me at it in class when I should have been paying attention to them. Once a dour old history teacher of mine, a man who could make World War II seem boring, caught me reading a western behind my text book and berated me for a good ten minutes in front of the whole class. He demanded to know if my copy of Louis L’amour’s Flint was more important then history class. It was all I could do to keep from telling him no, just his history class.
But as I have grown older my diet of fiction has dropped severely off. Where I used to go through one or two fiction books a week, now I’m doing good if I read one or two a year. It isn’t that I’ve stopped reading altogether. Far from it. I read constantly. Between the web and the few magazines I still subscribe to, my eyes are constantly scanning words. And I always have a book I am digesting, sometimes several, on the side table in my office with bookmarks carefully inserted. But these are non-fiction titles. A history of German-English relations, Death of the German Cousin, by Peter Edgerly Firchow. A history of Walt Disney Word, Since The World Began, by Jeff Kurtti. A history of the anti-gay witch hunts of the 1950s, The Lavender Scare, by David K. Johnson. These are the sorts of books I read now.
I think I know why, and it’s why I don’t like watching movies all that much anymore, or TV shows that, once again, aren’t non-fictional. I can watch The Science Channel and The Discovery Channel and The History Channel for hours. But very little else. Fiction mostly bores me anymore.
At work, there is a little bookshelf in one corner of the cafeteria where staff can leave books they are finished with, for others to pick up and take home and read. It’s a kind of informal book exchange. When I first joined the Institute ten years ago (has it been that long?), it was just a small stack of books on a window ledge. One day someone had left a few there with a note saying anyone who wanted one could have it. Over the next few months some books disappeared and others were deposited to take their place. Eventually the stack outgrew its window ledge and a small bookshelf was installed.
I check it daily, and have even fed from it a time or two. But as I hardly read any fiction anymore my interest was mostly curiosity as to what my co-workers were reading. As you might expect, the mix is largely science-fiction and computer technology. There is an old Word Perfect manual there, and a Turbo-C manual, that have been waiting for a hand to lift them off the shelf and take them home now for almost as long as the exchange has been going. About half of it cycles quickly and the rest just sits and waits for the recycling bin to come along. But they’re like me there…loath to toss out a book that might possibly still be useful.
The other day someone left a small collection of science-fiction hardbacks, their dust covers looking almost like new. But it was older stuff…stuff from my kidhood, when I read it voraciously. I sorted through them and saw an interesting cover. It was of an older man sitting in a rocking chair his front porch, reading a book to a companion who stood nearby with a coffee cup in one hand. The man in the rocking chair seemed to be a farmer of some sort…you could see fields of wheat going off into the distance just off the porch. His companion was a grey skinned, pointy eared bug-eyed alien. The two of them were enjoying a restful moment looking over the book the farmer was reading.
I picked it up…it was by Clifford D. Simak titled, Way Station…I’ve never read him…and on a lark brought it home thinking I could always take it back if I got a few pages in and lost interest.
That’s been my pattern lately with fiction and I know why. Even back in my kidhood, most of what I read was very light on the romantic interest. My favorite authors, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Hal Clement, and others, seldom spoke of that baffling dating and mating game, which suited me fine then, and ironically enough still would, although for a very different reason. Action writer Alistair MacLean (of Ice Station Zebra and Guns of Navarone fame), whose books I devoured, once averred that the love interest just slowed down the action. I wondered since if he wasn’t simply, as Clarke was, a gay man who couldn’t bring himself to write about love as he knew it, and simply left it out of his writing altogether, but I read now that he was married twice and had three kids.
Clarke, let it be said, wrote one of the most touching same-sex love stories in science-fiction in Imperial Earth. But even then he had to make his main character bisexual, not gay and there is a female love interest too. I pretty much just glossed over those scenes, which were gratefully few. The scenes between the two male characters had real emotion to them. Or at least, they did for me.
That’s been my pattern. I pick up a book that looks interesting and as soon as it gets to the love interest I put it down. Okay…I get that I’m living in a heterosexual world. But it is the rare straight writer who can hold my interest while I’m reading about it. And come to think of it, those writers have all been women. And as more and more science-fiction writers became comfortable, insisting even, with writing about sex too, I just lost interest. I suppose I can appreciate that heterosexuals probably don’t want to read about gay sex either. But it would be nice if their gay neighbors had the same kind of depth to their fiction shelves. Mary Renault is dead. Mercedes Lackey only wrote one set of stories featuring a gay male lead. It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful. But then there was no more. The various gay authors I’ve read have been mostly one hit wonders, and there is no good gay science fiction to speak of. None. Most of what I read these days that is fiction, are yaoi manga from Japan. I have a bookshelf practically filled with those damn things.
So I picked up this Clifford D. Simak novel hoping that at least it was representative enough of its time that its love interest was minimal. I got about thirty pages into it when I stumbled upon The Mute Free Spirit Girl In The Woods and thought…yeah…here it comes. But then I did something, probably out of shear frustration, that I’ve always done when listening to pop music. I mentally switched around a few pronouns and read it as The Mute Free Spirit Guy In The Woods and kept on reading. What I found was I could empathize with the main character’s feelings once more, and my interest in the story perked up considerably. And thus the pages kept turning.
I do this all the time with pop music. It’s not always easy, particularly with rock songs that are über masculine male meets über feminine female. But it is do-able. Sometimes I need to substitute genderless pronouns to make the song make sense. But in years of doing this, it comes to me almost as second-nature now…
You are all the woman I need
And baby you know it
You can make this beggar a king
A clown or a poet
…runs through my mind as…
You are all the lover I need
And baby you know it
You can make this beggar a king
A clown or a poet
…so easily now I hardly think about it. This is how I cope with living in a world where 99 44/100 percent of the songs about love are songs about heterosexuals in love. Sometimes I wonder if this is why my imagination is so potent. I’m constantly re-imagining my pop culture environment to suit myself. But no…I’ve been a day dreamer since well before puberty. The imagination has kept me sane all these years. Or at least, pleasant company.
So I try this out on Way Station and find myself not putting the book down after all. It’s more difficult then with rock songs, as I have to buffer the images in my mind as the words create them, then re-build them with the new pronouns, before actually looking at them. I’m editing it on the fly and taking it in as I’m editing it.
It’s…do-able, but hard. With music it’s more the direct emotional content and the words are poetry and their images are meant to free-associate in your mind anyway. You’re not building any specific image in your mind. With a novel you are and re-casting an opposite sex love interest as a same-sex one is more mental gymnastics. And I don’t have the genderless pronoun out I do with rock songs, when explicitly switching gender won’t make any sense. On the other hand I don’t have to worry about how the words scan to a beat either.
It is not that much harder, really, then what I do for a living when I’m trying to visualize program flow from computer code. And I don’t have to do it everywhere in the novel, just when the love interest shows its face. It’s work…I think it’s cutting my reading speed in half…but as time goes on I’ll probably get mentally faster at it. As long as it doesn’t involve any actual sex scenes.
I have a confession to make. I do this all the time with favorite movies. Not in real time though…that’s more then even my hyperactive imagination can handle. But there are titles I could tell you about, some blockbusters, some just little niche films I happen to have liked a lot, that I have recast in my mind, mentally changing a pronoun as it were when the love interest appears, sometimes mentally re-writing huge sections of the plot, to satisfy my need for some reflection of my life and my own romantic desires in the pop culture. I daydream these rewrites constantly, refining them a little every time I replay them in my head. With the iPod, I can even daydream them to their actual background scores too. These are favorite movies, but if you look on my video shelves you won’t see any of them there because I have them all stored inside my head, just the way I want them.
They say gay folk are more creative. I think that’s more myth then fact, but if there is some truth to it, it’s because we need to be to survive. We live in a world that is hostile at worst, and uncaring at best. I wish there was more gay fiction out there. There are probably tons of good gay writers out there…but it isn’t gay folk who run most of the publishing houses, let alone the Hollywood film studios.
July 6th, 2009
Your Business Model Isn’t Working
by Bruce |
I saw the other day that Sirius/XM has an iPhone app. Neat, I thought. Until naturally I saw the details. It’s extra, on top of a subscription fee that I have been wondering for months now why I keep paying.
Oh I know…mostly. It’s for OutQ…the only gay radio station on the planet. Well…there’s a German one I found using Wunder Radio. But it only plays dance music. At least it doesn’t have the inane chit-chat programs that OutQ does. The only thing I ever listen do on OutQ these days is Signorile. And he’s the only reason I’d want Sirius on my iPhone. I have tons of other music and talk options on the iPhone. I don’t need Sirius for either one.
So to ask me to pay extra above and beyond the normal subscription price is more then too much to ask. When I first signed up Sirius had a lot of content I liked. They’ve systematically removed or destroyed most of it. Swing Street is gone. It became…somehow…the All Frank Sinatra All The Time station. When they bought XM they brought over its 40s station…but that seems to always play the very worst most saccharine stuff my parent’s generation ever listened to. I don’t think they’d even bother with it were they still alive. The Trance channel is only trance part-time these days. The "New Age" channel became the International Music channel and it really eats toxic waste. The classical stations never play anything worth listening to. The sixties channel seems to just play the same set of songs over and over. I scan the dial and I hear nothing, Nothing, that is worth my time. In the car these days, I mostly listen to my iPod/iPhone, or the CD player.
Why am I paying money for this? Well…because it’s still handy to have when I travel cross-country. But only barely. I can plug my iPhone into the car stereo and hit "shuffle" and hear more songs I like then I can on Sirius. For hours at a time now I am listening to the iPod while driving.
Hey Sirius…bring back Sunset Cruise and I might reconsider. I’d take that to mean you are taking your gay listeners seriously again. Sunset Cruise was this sweet little call-in show where gay folk would call and dedicate a song to the one they love. They ran it Sunday evenings and it was a perfect way to end the week. I used to listen to it while I was drawing the weekly political cartoon for my web site. It was just the thing I needed to remember why the struggle was worthwhile, and life was good after all. It’s DJ, Pat Marino, has set up his own Internet broadcast Here, called The Heartbeat Cafe’. If he was still doing Sunset Cruise on Sirius I wouldn’t hesitate to add that iPhone app to my subscription. But you seem to think the kind of raunchy talk you hear constantly on Derek and Romaine is all gay people want to listen to.
If there were no OutQ I wouldn’t even bother subscribing. But its programming is way too narrowly focused on an urban gay stereotype that isn’t most gay people. It had more bandwidth a few years ago. But then, your entire channel line-up had more variety then it does now. You are not competing with broadcast radio anymore. You are competing with the iPhone and iTunes and the Internet. And just like the newspapers, you are loosing because you are stuck in an old business model and you keep thinking you can drag your customers back into it somehow and you can’t.
Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com