Monday, January 30, 2006

The Answers, Right Here

So what are the answers to all these questions I've been posing lately? Well, if I hadn't been studying around the clock - save some drinking binges here and there - for the last couple of weeks, then I probably would have thought about all of this and come back with something profound. Well, because that didn't happen, I'm just going to have to look at those topics and respond right now. Let's start with race and race-versus-class, and maybe I'll get to the other topics later this week.

Race, and Race vs. Class. Call me a Romanticist, but I do follow the notion that because the African American struggle for civil rights took centuries upon centuries, and because the oppression was completely and entirely incorrect and the extent to which science was bastardized and the U.S. Constitution and Christian Bible were blatantly and intentionally misread to justify the whole thing, and because the effects are faaaar from over, I think African Americans win the "most consistently and clearly oppressed for no good reason" label. Yeah, there have been longer-running off-and-on genocides, and I can think of White Christians trying to kill Jews and Muslims intermittently for millennia, and finally - with a stroke of evil genius - getting them to kill off each other in the last 60 years... but in the case of African Americans, you can't even say that here was this minority culture that the majority couldn't get along with and skirmishes occur and the level of oppression varies between places and times. You're talking about finding people who look nothing like you & your kids, bringing them halfway across the world, and using fakey science and immoral laws to make sure that you have an entire group of people considered their own "race" who could be identified on sight and treated like animals. And making sure that you set things up so that their kids will be born as second-class citizens WHO CAN NEVER HIDE OR CHANGE THEIR RACIAL STATUS. Yes, this is almost the same thing that has happened to other groups, but the consistency and the unambiguousness of the wrongs done to Blacks by Whites in this country has continued to make race The. Big. Issue. around.

The "good" news about race and class is that I do think we've made progress on race in the last few decades. It would be asinine to say that all the problems of racism are over, but it would be asinine to suggest that nothing has changed since the 1850s, 1920s, or 1960s. And I don't doubt that eventually - and this might take a couple hundred years - class will indeed trump race as the primary means of oppression in this country. Perhaps even now, we're already oppressing on class more than race. But that still means that when we've artificially put most African Americans in the lower social classes, we've found a way to fuck over a group of people twice, and besides, THE ISSUE OF RACISM IS UNAMBIGUOUSLY WRONG.

The distribution of wealth in this country leaves a lot to be desired, but - and my bourgeois roots come shining through here - I think we're in the upper 50% of post-bronze-age societies in terms of how the poor and middle-class live. There are probably those who are farther-left-wing than myself who would shreik out at my naivete here. But I don't think we're the most oppressive classist society on the face of the Earth. It's a weak argument logically and morally to say you're better than the worst. But Christ, you don't need to compare us to China or India or Russia. Just compare us to Mexico and the UK. Don't we beat both?

On top of all this, while the system IS unfair, it's not always clear what percentage of the poor and the working-class are where you'd expect them to be in a legitimate meritocracy. If you assume that some people WILL be poor, and you assume that those should be the people with neither good white-collar NOR blue-collar NOR musical NOR athletic skills (i.e. people who aren't going to be successful in many fields and/or don't have a lot of motivation)... what percentage of people in poverty are comprised of those people? Does low SES make people fit the description of that? Or do those people end up in the lower social classes because of that? Probably some of both. There's clearly wrongs occurring, but it's NOT clear exactly where, how, or how much. With the issue of racism, you know straight up that it's wrong and inexcusable at all costs. Classism is murkier.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Acting

So there's this idea out there that there is such a thing as a "straight-acting" gay guy and a "gay-acting" gay guy, as well as a "gay-acting" straight guy (and the term "metrosexual" took off for this one a couple years back) and a "straight-acting" straight guy.

First off, the fact that the term "acting" is involved suggests that most of how we put ourselves out there is a persona we've created, and that the same person could shape his persona in a number of ways. The very terms suggest that there's no one inherent way to behave based on your sexuality, but that you can act more like the norm for your group, or you can act more like the norm for the other group.

And it seems like, historically, both gay and straight men have been encouraged to act like the norm for straight men.

Maybe(???) gay men have been more supportive of each other for acting like the gay norms, as a sign of pride and/or self-acceptance and/or community-building. Conversely, there's probably been a lot of support among groups of gay men to act like the straight norms to prove that everyone CAN act the same and there are no differences between straights and gays other than whom they're attracted to.

Lately, at least in bourgier circles, straight women have been supporting straight men acting more toward the middle ground. The whol metrosexuality thing seems to be a push for a lot of (straight) women to get their (straight) men to have the best of both worlds. They want some chivalry without all the sexism (which itself might not really be feasible, but we'll move on). They don't want their men to act completely gay outside of the sex-with-women thing, but they also don't want them acting so traditionally straight in that they discount their opinions and ignore their own figures while scrutinizing the female figure. Ladies want gents to look as good as gents want ladies to look. Reciprocity.

So where do the gays stand on all this? Well, first off, I think I'm safe saying that gay men have never functioned as a unitary group outside of, say, foam parties. Not every Latin American immigrant in America has the same opinions on bilingual education, Catholicism, and U.S. foreign policy, and it would be asinine to assume that all gay men in America - hell, even all out urban gay men in America - have the same goals, ideas, etc. about what we want for ourselves and each other. And I don't think it's necessary for the 'mos to sit down at a table and agree on what we want. Women didn't sit down and decide they wanted men to be more sensitive; but yet, these opinions emerged over time and in a sort of quasi-social-Darwinism, the men who had abs started landing the best women.

But with the gays, we have a lot of pressures on our ideas about ourselves and each other that the straights don't have. First off, our personae are somewhat linked to our civil rights. Straights are the ones who ultimately decide legal rights for gays. Should we all act in ways that are different from straights, but the same as each other? This might score us points in the "they can't help it" and the "it's an innate difference that deserves legal rights" categories. Should we all try to blend in, yet be vocal about our gayness and our requests for rights? This seems to be the opinion of most politically-conscious gays (middle-left to far-right).

Beyond legal rights, the vast majority of us have to work in straight-run environments. Do we "act gay" and risk ostracism? Do we"hide" and risk getting "caught"?

Straight men & women can act - to a fairly large extent - in whatever way they think will get them laid. Gay men & lesbians have to moderate our "straight-acting"/"gay-acting"-ness based on the pressure from the straight world AND in ways that we think will get us laid (and keep our brother- and sister-hood intact in the L-G-sometimesB-rarely,letsbehonest-T community). What does all this mean? Please explain in comments.

(P.S. more to come in the future on gay/straight-acting as opposed to masc./un-masc. and how they aren't really the same thing at all. But that's the future... I need answers on this part now)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Knockin' Each Other Down & Building Each Other Up

'K kids, I need to take a momentary breather from the civil-rights blog-a-thon. More on race vs. class vs. race to come shortly. And if you're brave, comments are naturally welcome. I don't publicize this blog much and I tackle sensitive topics abrasively... so I understand that 0 comments doesn't mean 0 readers or 0 support. Comment if you want to and don't if you don't.

So let's switch topics to more of what I can churn out even more opinion on than race and class: gay men and our issues. Or at least my issues, and issues I see in people around me, that I think other gay men have too.

A couple years back, on the first (?) season of the Donald Trump reality show The Apprentice, one of the contestants, Omerossa (sp?) was a crazy bitch. Or at least she wanted attention and got a role on the show by acting like a crazy bitch. Or at the very least she acted like a crazy bitch enough for the show's editors to consistently portray her as one. So we'll take the risk of calling her a crazy bitch even though we don't know the crazy bitch. She was finally fired from the show, but in the final face-off (Bill vs. Kwame), all of the fired contestants came back to work on a project for the two final contenders. Kwame (who is Black) picked Omerossa (also Black) to be on his team, and she ended up sabotaging Kwame and catapulting Bill to his win and job with The Donald. My friend W., who went to a Historically Black College, told me that Omerossa had Lobster Syndrome. "When a bunch of lobsters are in a pot about to be cooked, and one tries to crawl out, the other lobsters will grab him by the tail and pull him back in. And they'll all die together. She's a lobster." I have no idea whether lobsters do this (since the nature channels bore me), or if this is even a common syndrome in minorities, but I do see lobster syndrome in my people.

Boys grow up being socialized into rigid gender roles. Whether you're Hemingway, and your mother dresses you like a girl till kindergarten, because that's what she wanted - or you're Ennis Del Mar from Brokeback Mountain and your dad shows you the gay guy he lynched to teach you how to be a man - you know what the roles are, and you don't need your parents to push them on you. Your peers will do that just fine, and the media won't hurt either. Frankly, I don't mind gender stereotyping per se as much as I think forcing people to act like the stereotypes is cruel and pointless. Transsexuals are a good case of Who Ought To Give A Fuck how other people prefer to live.

But as nice as it is to say that men (*and women... maybe that's its own post in the future) shouldn't have to live up to gender roles, when you're a gay man, you're told that you simply don't fit male gender roles, unless you're being told that you're a sexual predator who wants to rape straight men and boys. Or, conversely, if you do fit male gender roles, you're told you're not gay, or not really gay, or you're one of the good gays. And what's shocking is that gay men seem to do this AT LEAST as much as straights and lesbians. I think it's all the fucked-upness of feeling forced into gender roles (which sucks for all men) combined with the stress of being gay & coming out, and then on top of that being told that you either don't fit the roles or you don't fit your sexuality. God forbid you're comfortable with both.

So the lobsters who get on my nerves seem to cluster on both extremes of the spectrum: first, the hyper-effeminate types whose personae seem to be more about rebelling against gender roles than simply being themselves, who try to make you their girlfriend if they think you are "gay enough" OR praise you if they think you "act" "straight"... either pulling you back into the pot or pushing you out to worship you. Second, the hyper-macho guys who scrutinize every minute aspect of your behavior to try to tell you what a fag you are. It's really, really, really too bad in my book that (A) these guys are being at least as scrutinizing of themselves as they are of you, and they never enjoy being themselves because they want to be sure there's nothing "gay" about them (*cough* except the obvious fact that they sleep with men), and (B) that it's taken them till age 28 to act like the guys who beat them up when they were 14. It simply isn't impressive to me that, post-college, some gay men have finally learned how to act like junior-high bullies. Grow up. And honestly, some people's queeniness just isn't believably natural. I would assume that being a superqueen is a pre-emptive way to fend off being scrutinized for being gay - "you can't mock me, I mock myself! HA!" ...but that's just as annoying as the people who spend their whole lives trying to act super-male-gendered.

Let me clarify: it's not gay men acting super-masculine or super-un-masculine that bugs me. It's the fact that guys in both groups almost invariably want to use other gay men as props in their own bizarre reaction to gender roles. As a wise lady once told me, "you know, reacting extremely to conventions means you're still paying attention to those conventions, and it's still sad." She herself is delightfully unconventional in a non-cookie cutter way, and the point's a good one. Lobster syndrome needs to stop. And we can blame straights for creating gender roles, but I'm not even convinced that straight men created gender roles to oppress women, which is a point of near-orthodoxy for many feminists and liberals. Sometimes these things happen as a function of culture. Anthropology is filled with a number of such examples where things just happen and it's often not because of oppression. So let's not necessarily blame or not blame the majority for creating these roles; let's just try to relax them a little ourselves and REMEMBER THAT WE'RE NOT IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL ANYMORE. If you run with urbanites or cosmopolitan suburbanites - if you are in many, many white-collar or service-sector professions - it's simply not cool anymore for straight guys to pick on gay guys. So let's fucking stop replicating that shit ourselves, OK? Can we just be ourselves, and know that we're gonna be all over the place from stereotypically male to un-stereotypically male, and stop worrying about other people? You don't have to be sexually attracted to everyone's personality to just not be a dick about their personalities. No one's making you fuck the people whose masculinity level you dislike. You just don't have to worry about it so much.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Who's The Most Oppressed? Who? Who?

Clearly MTF (that's Male-To-Female, of course) transgenders & transsexuals, who often prefer to be called trans women. I can't state this for a fact, but I get the feeling that virtually all trans women experience extreme physical and verbal abuse - often starting with their own relatives - at the point of what should be considered hate crimes from childhood on. If you're born biologically male (or close enough to it), the minute you start acting like females in our culture act, everyone hates you for it. Not "doesn't understand" or "has issues with," but is physically disgusted with you. So chances are, if you make it through highschool, you go one of two routes: you become an oral/anal streetwalker and PRAY that no one realizes you were born male - or you'll probably be murdered by a john... or find a local coffeehouse to work at, since coffeehouses in liberal urban neighborhoods are just about the only businesses that seem to want to hire trans women. And let's not even talk about sex-change operations (AKA gender reassignment surgery). That shit is sooooooo expensive, and how are you going to pay for it when no one wants to hire you... OR they want to fire you if you start to do the live-as-a-woman thing that you're required to do before you start getting the surgeries? I really believe that the luckiest trans women are those that realize the cruelty of the world at an early age, marry women, save every penny they ever earn (and that's tough to do if you have a spouse), and get the surgery in their 30s. It's a better route to go than the living-in-fear-of-death high-HIV-risk streetwalker route. But sadly, it's a long way from perfect.

Until our society starts not giving a shit if a tiny percentage of our citizenry wants to be the other sex, trans women are going to have the most miserable, oppressed existences of any of us. Kind of makes all the issues of race, class, sex, sexual orientation, religion, culture, dis/ability, veteran status, etc. seem almost trivial in comparison.

But that's a cop-out too. It's easy for bleeding-heart liberals to go too far in one of two lines of thought: one is to over-assume that everyone is oppressed and it's those terrible majoritarian men (who probably make up what - 30% of our country, maybe) OR alternately, the enemy is the 1% of the country that holds a third of the wealth (which IS a huge problem) are to be hated, hated, hated, and the other 99% of us should whine all the time about everything.

The opposite way to go - which is also incorrect - is to go too far in trying to find the "most-oppressed" group and martyr-izing them. Oh, the most oppressed people are poor black transsexuals from X neighborhood who are also Jewish/Buddhist and are physically handicapped, blind, deaf, etc... and THAT"s whom we should defer everything to. Along the lines of this realm of thinking go Log Cabin Republicans and Black conservative-Christian pastors. People that have tunnel vision into their own group's oppression but relish fucking over other punching bags. Marco, the security guard at a job I used to have, was Afro-Brazilian, but he had all kinds of shit to talk about the Blacks. I'm sorry - I could try to apply a touchy-feely approach to understanding the pain and blaming the power structure for making him feel that he had to be like that, but on some level the guy was an opportunist and I greatly dislike his approach. What a dick.

So what, then? Does race trump class as the most-oppressed status? Does class trump race? To be honest, I can make an excellent case for each...

Race trumps class. It's tough, but if you are White trash, and you work your ass off (and have a little bit of luck), and have some seriously good parenting techniques, you can get your income up, get your kids' income up, and your grandkids can be born bourgeois. I'm not saying everyone can or should, or that those who don't are lazy. But it CAN physically be done, even if it's close to impossible. If you're Black, you might already be bourgeois, but a good number of White women will still clutch their purses when you walk by, and sadly, it's possible that your grandkids will experience the same thing, even if they are all brain surgeons. Money - and the trappings associated with it - pale when Whites (and some Blacks) assume the Black guy with the Mercedes is a coke dealer.

Class trumps race. Whether you are White or Black (or other races/combinations, etc.), you can buy shit online if you have money. Without money, and when you're living in a lead-filled house, you can't do shit and your kids will have all kinds of problems that rich people of all colors won't have. You'll be happier and live healthier. The problems associated with the African-American community (crack, teen pregnancy, unemployment, etc) are better statistically accounted for by poverty and near-poverty, across all races, than with racial status (White/Black). And as more Blacks move into the middle and upper classes (albeit slowly), everyone's going to notice this, and Blackophobia will drop as poverphobia increases. And of course, we'll blame the poor for their own problems.

Honestly, both problems are so huge that it's hard to put one over the other. AND AND AND let's not forget that putting race and class into a horse-race for our pity/attention is a good way to start fights between people who are already oppressed. As Bob Dylan pointed out in his 1964 song "Only A Pawn In Their Game," rich Southern Whites did an amazing job getting poor Whites to blame Blacks for all of their problems, when really everyone - Blacks and poor Whites together - should have turned on those plantation-owning whipcrackers and lynched 'em all. Well, Dylan didn't say that the rich Southern Whites of the time should be murdered with glee... he said that war profiteers should be lynched with glee and their deaths verified. But that was a whole different LP, and I'm digressing here.

So what are the solutions to all of this? Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"Mister X! What Can I Do? I Want To Help!"

I love Spike Lee. I've loved Spike Lee since I got to freshman year of college and started watching his movies. And of all of his great movies, there's one scene that he delivered that (I think) really delivers the appropriate mindfuck to the Whites in the audience.

If you've seen X, and you're a White liberal, you definitely remember this scene. It's the one where the earnest White girl comes up to Malcolm X on the college campus and says she really wants to help in the civil rights movement. 'What can a non-prejudiced White person DO for the movement?" she asks. "Nothing," he replies. "There's nothing you can do."

What a jarring scene for the open-minded SPF45 wearers. If you're like me, and you grew up in a left-wing household where Martin Luther King Day was bigger than St. Patrick's Day - but you can also trace your ancestry back to four distinct European countries, and if people's names got changed on Ellis Island, you know what their old names WERE... then it just bugs you. You want to help. You want to right a wrong and clean up the mess that your people contributed to. But you're not African American, and somewhere deep down inside, you've probably got some level of patronizing ideas about what it means to be Black.

So what ARE we tortured bleeding-heart Whites to do? Well, I think there are things we can do for civil rights, but they sure as hell aren't about "helping" African Americans. What does the know-it-all hipster think we ought to do?

1. Stop code switching. Those of you who know linguistics know what I'm talking about. I was at Wonderland a couple months ago with my friends Matt (White) and Brian (Black). A White guy walks past us, and says "excuse me" to Matt and "excuse me, bro" to Brian. For fuck's sake, people, STOP DOING THIS!!! I know it's totally hard to believe, but Black folks are actually capable of understanding such obscure English phrases as "excuse me" without the addition of the term "bro." And if you really think about it, isn't it more likely that a member of a minority group would have more exposure to majority-group-speak than vice versa? Do you really think that Whites know Black speech better than Blacks know White speech? Fuckin' think about it.

2. Recognize that not everything that African Americans do is caused by their racial identification. Buying shea butter lotion is one thing that might be "caused" by being Black. But when you analyze people's food preferences and clothing tastes in a racial context, you're being daft. Yes, African-American is a cultural identification (as is being White, even though you pretend it's not) and there are, on a statistical level, cultural differences between Whites & Blacks (& Latinos, etc., etc...), you need to do a simple test: if you don't assume that your friend Tiffany likes That '70s Show specifically because she is White, you oughtn't assume that your friend Brandy likes Bernie Mac by virtue of her Nubian Genetics.

3. Stop being so proud of yourself for listening to rap. It's a free country and no one's controlling your musical tastes. Some White people like country, some like hip-hop, some like both, and some like neither. This is also true for Black people. It's music. If you like it, you like it. And I believe that you genuinely like it, because I like hip-hop too. But I don't wear it like a Goddamn badge. I'm equally proud of my snobbery in music regardless of whether I think it gives me street cred. Again, here's a simple home test you can do. Grab a copy of People and look in the mirror. If you look more like Ashton Kutcher or Demi Moore than you do like Mekhi Phifer or Angela Bassett, it's likely that people will identify you as White on the street. Artificially cranking Nelly on your car radio will not change this identification. For fuck's sake, crank Nelly if you want to crank Nelly, but it doesn't make you Black, and I can guarantee you that no carload of random African Americans will drive by, roll down their windows, and hand you a Friend Of Colored People badge. Listen to music by Black artists if you like it, don't if you don't, and stop worrying about it.

4. Understand that smiling twice as wide for the Black girl at the cash register is not Affirmative Action. Fakey over-politeness to Black strangers looks amazingly like what it is. And, P.S., it still means you're differentially treating people based on race, which means you're thinking too hard. Yeah, she is statistically much more likely than you to have had lead in her drinking water, and 40 students in her kindergarten class. But you don't know this for a fact, and showing her all 32 teeth at once isn't going to change a thing. Put your teeth back in your mouth. Thank you.

5. You don't need to apologize for your Whiteness. This is an awfully ironic suggestion, since I appear to be doing just that in this post. And I can fully appreciate that I'm largely doing that here. But the bigger picture, in terms of "what can Whites do for civil rights?" is simply that we don't need to run around flagellating ourselves or acting paternalistically towards African Americans. What would be great is if we could just work on treating people equally. If you scowl at every White person you pass, it's not any more or less OK to scowl at every Black person you pass. This rule also applies to cutting people off on the freeway and under-tipping at restaurants.

So thus ends my official MLK-Day civil rights blogging, and commences my 364.25-day quotidian civil rights blogging. It's a daily thing people; we don't just recycle on Earth Day, right?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Musings On Civil Rights, "Race," And Genetics

In the words of Bob Marley, I've got so much things to say right now, I've got so much things to say. Civil rights is one of my favorite things to think about - and I'm not being self-serving here, I'm talking straight up about legal and factual rights in the African-American struggle for equality.

There are so many things that are right and so many things that are wrong in the world. And it's easy to look at Martin Luther King's [observed] birthday as a chance to address them all. How great that there's a single day where we can just pile on the liberal issues and scream about them. But what a misguided way to think about it. There are 364-1/4 other days a year where we should be addressing classism, homophobia, xenophobia, immigration, sexism & misogyny, and racism against a myriad of groups. What this country really, truly needs is a day set aside to remember one specific chapter of our past, present, and future. And that's the centuries-running struggle of a African Americans to have equal opportunities as other Americans. If a person is African-American, it usually means that he or she has ancestors who were brought here in chains. It also often means that some of their ancestors were the people doing the chaining, and in some cases, it means that some of their ancestors were people of other backgrounds who found love or lust with an African-American person.

History is such an amazing and powerful thing. I'm sure others have written much more eloquently about this, but let me take a stab at it, since I run this blog. To what extent does our ancestry affect things? Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, one of the Godfathers of Modern theater and male feminism, examined the idea of sons paying for the sins of their fathers in Ghosts. In Ghosts, poor Torvald has syphilis because his dad was a philanderer. Born with a congenital and (at the time) untreatable disease. In a way, we're all paying for the sins of our fathers, of course, whether or not we should. But in a different way than people often think.

Those who know genetics (and actually know what they're talking about, not just having an axe to grind) can tell you a few important things about the sins of our fathers and mothers. First off, the vast majority of our genes are between 10,000 and 50,000 years old. Genetic mutation is one of the slowest processes that we can even describe. More so, even, than the line at the Motor Vehicle Administration.

So, whatever genes that, say, "black" (i.e. certain skin tones, facial features, hair) people living in America today, are pretty much the same set of genes that were floating around in "black" people in Africa 10,000 years ago. And the genes floating around in "white" people in America today were floatin' around in "white" people in Europe 10,000 years ago.

If you remember your history, you'll remember that 10,000 years ago, African societies and European societies were functioning at varying levels, but neither look like contemporary Western society. The idea that, I believe, most Whites in America implicitly maintain today, that Blacks have a grossly different set of genes that imply various strengths and weaknesses than Whites, is virtually-to-completely untenable the way that they maintain it. Our individual genetic makeup has a strong bearing on our behaviors, personalities, etc. But the idea that you can look at Ghanian society and Spanish society in AD 1500, determine that the Spanish were more civilized (which of course means totally fucking ignoring the Inquisition), and think to yourself, "yeah, Whites have more intellectual genes than Blacks," is wrong. Sorry. Go to the back of the class. And yet this soft belief sits around unquestioned in the mind of the born-after-1968 White American. It's so comfortable when you're White to pity those poor Black folks. Sure, the White college-educated folks can say, the first Universities were in Africa a couple thousand years ago. Then, of course, after the lips stop moving, the internal dialogue continues with "but that was an abnormality for the jungle folk. I just know it. They've never really been civilized, but we can help them."

We Whites have done well for ourselves in a lot of ways. The Greeks were legitimately one of the most brilliant societies ever, charges of Eurocentrism aside. They were fuckin' amazing. Although the Christian era was terrible for us. There was a good millenium or so when we achieved nothing - NOTHING - as a people because we were controlled by the Roman Catholic Church. From about AD 325 till, I dunno, the printing press in the 1400s, we didn't do jack shit. The Arabs, while "white" in the sense of having more proximal ancestors with us sunburners than either of us with the South-of-the-Saharans, were keeping the Greek tradition alive. But we don't get to count them, because we've been trying to kill them for a couple thousand years. And when a few of them killed 2000 of us in NYC five years ago, we had to go back and kill more. No, we don't have the right to pride ourselves on Arabic genius. We sure as hell haven't earned that. We're also a violently genocidal people, having repeatedly tried to murder off the Jews - also considered "white" when we aren't trying to perform "medical research" on them, and when they are making hugely disproportionate contribuitions to science, literature, and the arts. Of course, White Gentiles have done a lot of amazing things, like develop the printing press, vaccinations for polio, and build the Eiffel Tower.

But all of our evils, and all of our goods, CANNOT be explained by magical EuroGenes. And Blacks' evils and goods ALSO cannot be explained for by magical AfroGenes. Because our genes are just too old to have explained these types of events that have shown up in recent centuries.

When White Europeans came to America, killed off the Americans, enslaved Africans and brought them here to work in chains, it wasn't our genes that made us do that. It was some fucked-up-shit in our culture. And when African-Americans perform lower on the SATs than White Americans, it sure as hell isn't their genes, either. No matter what you want to attribute differences in African Americans and White Americans to (in the example of the SATs, class size and lead poisoning in major cities come to mind, but so does anxiousness about confirming stereotypes and apathy towards the educational system)... if you find differences across "races" (an arbitrary distinction to begin with), it ain't due to genes.

Which means, people, we have a long, long ways to go.

Awright Kids, Party's At My Place This Wednesday

At Taint tonight, I found out that there will indeed be another Backroads this Wednesday. Backroads is smokin' hot. It's the alt-country queer event for 'mos who like music other than disco.

Best part is, Backroads will be at my neighborhood Compromise Bar, the Wonderland Ballroom. Wonderland is also smokin' hot. As mentioned in previous posts, it's the place to be if you want to mingle with people who aren't like yourself. We got it all in Da Heights - people of all ages, races, incomes, and sexual preferences get down at this joint. But Wednesday will be the night in which gay hipsters dance to Wilco and The Flying Burrito Brothers. Who ain't down wif dat, yo?

So, since I live two blocks from the venue, the pre-party's gonna be at my place on Wednesday. It's only a four-day workweek, and it'll be half over by then. So don't pretend like you need your beauty sleep. Show up at the house between 8 and 9, and we'll head over around 10 or so. You can shoot some pool here, and get a little booze-ahol in before we go somewhere that you'll have to pay for it.

You won't regret it, whether you're actually a fag, or you just hang out with us for the fashion advice. If you don't have an address, just shoot me an e-mail and I'll set you up. Be there, or be a derriere.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

You Made The Right Choice, Buddy

Buying frozen pizza for my dinner at Giant, I saw that the tabloids have confirmed it: Angelina Jolie is pregnant with Brad Pitt's kid. Of course, the media's going to be talking about how Jennifer Aniston refused to have his kids and he wanted to be a dad. I think there's more to it than that.

Jennifer Aniston was the star of Friends from the get-go. It was an ensemble cast, but she was the clear protagonist who left her million-dollar suburban wedding to be an urban Bohemian, and it was Rachel's discovery of the world of urban liberalism that fueled the show. Still, though, Friends appealed to people who weren't like me: heterosexuals who had led sheltered existences and were curious about life beyond marrying right out of college and having a cookie-cutter life. Being an urban snob from the get-go, Friends was still too bland for my taste. Jennifer Aniston - as Rachel or as herself - was still a pretty blonde with a perky haircut. Basically what straight American men are told they should have.

Brad Pitt started his movie career (to the best of my memory) playing dumb hunks, because that's what he looks like. However, after getting his foot in the door, he started playing institutionalized counter-culturists (like in Twelve Monkeys) and violent borderlines (like in Fight Club). Although these were just roles he played - like Jennifer Aniston's Rachel - I feel like most actors are character actors, and take roles that they are good at, because those roles are at least familiar enough to them that they can pull them off well. Or, perhaps they take roles that are exciting to them. Either way, you can probably tell something about an actor by their roles.

So Brad and Jennifer got together. They were two of the prettiest people in Hollywood and they had similar levels of fame and cash. Women wanted to have Jennifer's hair and men wanted to have Brad's torso.

But Brad had to have just gotten bored. It's nice to be banging one of the prettiest women* (*as traditionally defined by the media: attractive face, blonde, thin, White, under 35) in the country, but come on. After a while, you're just going to run out of things to do with Jennifer Aniston. You know Jen don't do the Cleveland Steamer, the Pink Enchillada, or the Dirty Sanchez, and she wouldn't let you toss her salad unless she hadn't eaten in a week and just got three enemas from a physician.

Angelina Jolie, on the other hand, has those dick' suckin' lips. She's made public statements about how woman-on-woman sex is smokin' hot, since women know how to please each other. The girl married her hottie costar from Hackers (Jonny Lee Miller, one of my biggest crushes of all time) and turned around a couple years later to marry a multiply-divorced redneck with issues. She kept a vial of his blood on a necklace-locket. The girl is kinky.

So Brad did what one of the hottest men in America was bound to do: got rid of that boring, pretty Barbie doll that he thought he was supposed to be with, and found him a nasty girl who knows what she likes. The kid thing is just icing on the cake.

After All This Time, I'm Finally In Love

He's really sexy, and full of energy. He's German, which I've always thought is hot, and he's 7 years old, which is the perfect age for me. Good thing he's a Jetta or I'd be going to jail.

I've never had a supafly car before. My first two cars in high school were VW Rabbits, which were quirky/cool, but since then practical, sensible cars have been the order of the day. My friends who didn't go to college always had really fast sports cars that they pimped out, and apartments with new furniture. On the other hand, I cut my own hair, ate vegetarian burritos at home for dinner most nights, and drove things like an '85 Olds Cutlass Ciera and an '89 Ford Taurus wagon, charcoal exterior with harvest red interior. I think the Taurus had a hole in the muffler for the longest time. After I got the hole in the muffler fixed, some girl pulled out in front of me and I got a low insurance payout. Guess the Kelley Blue Book value just wasn't that high for station wagons. Most of my cars were cars that my parents or siblings were getting rid of, and were close to death (which always happened on my watch. I've more or less buried every car I've ever owned, which is pretty sad).

So it's time. My two-decades-early mid-life-crisis was screaming for a red sports car with a muffler and a sunroof. And now I finally know what it's like to be one of those Car People who spend the weekend pimping their ride and polishing the dashboard. I figure I've earned that right.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Oops, Thought I Turned That Off

It's easy to sound awkward on the telephone. As a child, I think I was perfectly natural on the phone until middle school, at which point I started having to call friends on occasion for advice/clarification/etc. re: school assignments. One of those deals where it's the first time that you're calling peers who aren't your close friends, and you realize it, and maybe on top of it all, they have those obnoxious Midwestern Christian Overbearing Parents who have to screen your identity and announce it to the household before their Precious Baby Boy can pick up the phone. It can make you jumpy during those awkward years.

Anyway, that awkward phone phase passed and I think I was natural again by the time I started high school. But then, in college, I worked a job for a while where I had to phone-screen sick people for clinical trials of experimental medications, and when you ask people who are dying about their medical problems for 20 minutes on the phone, and then reject most of them for being too sick - they tend to scream at you. Worst of all, a number of frustrating people call in about medical studies anyway, and they are difficult to deal with from the get-go. So that was a job that taught me, for a second time in my life, to hate and fear the phone.

Well, I eventually got over that one too, because a couple years later I had a cell phone. So I was back to normal. Only, now I was becoming self-conscious on a new level, and realizing that I generally spoke too quickly on the phone (and otherwise) - and especially, a couple years later after that Big Gay Divorce... I decided that I had to sound hot on the phone. It's sad that this was decided upon consciously, but why have a blog if you can't admit your vanities in a semi-public sphere. Yes, I have a hot voice on the phone. Yes, it's probably not as hot as I think it is. Yes, it sounds more like Lauren Bacall pretending to be male. But leave it alone - it's my Hot Phone Voice.

The Hot Phone Voice has given me a level of confidence on the handy (as the EuroTrash like to call their cells) that goes above and beyond my normal level of confidence. With the H.P.V. (oh good GOD that's a bad acronym) I can cut ruthless business deals, get ballsy with service contractors, schedule appointments with important people, and seduce men to come over later. The only problem with the H.P.V. is when, say, my internet is down and I have to talk to the Landlord. I called him earlier and he called me back tonight. I answered his call like I was Barry White. "......heeeeeey, man."

After coughing, he just said, "Hello Hipster. I talked to Comcast and it should be up and running again."

Putting down the cell phone, I turned to Julia, who was cooking pasta on the stove. She goes "...heeeeeeey, man." All I could say was, "oops, I thought I turned that off."

It's Always One Or The Other

At times I have wondered if the male-on-male dating/fucking experience could be condensed to one simple maxim: if two guys are dating/fucking, and one's more of a catch than the other, the one who's less of a catch wants a relationship and the other one doesn't. If the guys are equally "valuable" in the relationship sense, they'll probably end up in a relationship.

I don't think this is necessarily true, though.

At other times, I have thought that maybe the rule is: if two guys are dating/fucking, they are probably good (enough?) for each other, and whether or not either or both of them wants a relationship is based on how long they've been single or how tired they are of being on the dating/casual sex scene. It's all about how much they want to be in a relationship and it's not so much about the other person at all.

Don't know if that's always the case, either.

A third theory I've been bouncing around is that one's desire to have a relationship with the person he's dating/fucking is based on his own perceptions of the other guy's interest in him. Suppose the person you're dating/fucking seems like they're a little too good for you, and they don't seem to want to commit. Mmmmmmm, yeah, isn't that hot? Now suppose that he gives you doe eyes while you're telling a story to some friends about crimes you committed in your youth. Doesn't that boner just turn into a vagina right there? Yep, there's nothing hotter than those who will have sex with us but don't want to learn our parents' names.

But that's a little cynical and simplistic, too.

Maybe all three factors play important roles: it's crucial that we think a guy is at our level, it's crucial that we actually want and are ready for a relationship, and it's crucial that they not seem too eager to dive into one. But all I know is that it's a Royal Pain In The Ass that half the time I want more, half the time they want more, and it never seems to work out just right. And I would even go so far as to consider myself lucky that it's about 50/50 these days, because if it were all the one way, I'd feel evil, guilty and whorish - and if it were all the other way, I'd feel pathetic, lonely, and dejected. So as is, it's "only" a pain in the ass when I turn around from rejection to reject and back to be rejected, and so on...

Most of this is probably true for other types of couples, too, but I reserve the right to be homocentric here. At any rate, what is it with us? Why are we like this? What's wrong with men? Life would be so easy if we just whored, or just had relationships, or what-not. But when the same person (let's say, me, for example) is capable of such oscillation - trying to keep one fuckbuddy from becoming a boyfriend, longing for another to become a boyfriend, ending up with neither, and then repeating the pattern all over again with a couple more guys - it just is baffling. How can the same person be a committer and a commitmentphobe all in one, and sometimes all in the same week? Men are so fucking weird.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Only Things You Truly Know About Yourself

Hello all, I'm back. Sorry for the hiatus; I was busy finishing my master's degree, celebrating Christmas, and getting laid.

It's always hard to really "know" yourself the way that other people know you. You can think that you're funny, or shy, or cute, or fat, or whatever... but so often you have warped ideas about what you are really like, at least in the sense that the rest of the planet thinks. So how do you really know anything about yourself, unfiltered by your own distorted sense of self?

Perhaps the only things we really can trust about ourselves are the things that every random person we sleep with tells us. But let's ignore "oh baby," "give it to me daddy," "can you feel it? can you feel it?," the generic "you are cute" that seems obligatory to tell someone during afterplay, etc. We'll ignore such comments because they don't shed light into our characters, and because they are the kind of thing that people would just say.

So reducing the comments of our sex partners to the things that they wouldn't say for no reason, I can conclude that there are four facts about myself:

1. I have really smooth skin.
2. My eyes are beautiful.
3. I have a nice bubble butt.
4. I give incredible handjobs.

It's unfortunate not to have verification that you are the world's greatest lover, or have the best genitalia, or what have you, but if there are just a few things that everyone tells you, at least you can sleep in peace at night knowing that there are a handful of things that you do right. And that's comforting.

It's also not rocket science: I use lotion, I work out on the glute machine, and I've been practicing manual-to-penile action on myself since the age of seven. The eyes are the only thing that came naturally from the Aryan parents.

Now, if only people would just be honest enough to give criticism about the things that everyone agrees you do wrong. That would be most helpful. I bet there are at least four things that all my sex partners would tell me to fix. If I could just start sleeping with brutally honest jerks...