Monday, January 14, 2013

I don't know guys, I thought Jodie Foster's coming out speech was rather beautiful. Maybe that was because for me it was contextualized by Dorothy Surrenders' comparison to a lesbian coming out in front of her family and friends, awkwardly rambling through a very important point that she had to make. And I think people's negative response also comes from a deep lack of understanding of what Jodie Foster's life must have been, which I think also relates to people's intense denial about the anti-gay sentiment that has pervaded Hollywood throughout her whole career, and which continues to prevent scores of gay Hollywood actors from coming out. I mean, how can someone not sympathize what it must have been like to grow up on film, to begin to realize one's sexuality, and then to receive enormous amounts of pressure (surely both external and internal) not to reveal these truths to an American audience. To be taught that, "this is how it is done," compartmentalizing your personal and professional life, to maintain a public image of yourself that is vastly different from your reality. To be recognized by a small, aggressive minority community who sought to force you to stand up as an activist and be the first major female celebrity to come out of the closet in the history of film. Because for those of you who haven't read the film history, such luminaries as Greta Garbo and Barbara Stanwyck were queer, but never "came out," and to the end of her life Barbara Stanwyck refused to make a statement about her sexuality. When the gay community demanded that Foster be the first starlet to officially come out, such behavior was unheard of. How can we fault her for not being the one to develop the roadmap for the public "coming out"? Would you have been so brave? And then, to watch the world begin to change, as new generations embraced their ambiguous sexualities (because I must emphasize that to this day, Lindsay Lohan is the only woman playing romantic lead roles who has engaged in a homosexual relationship, and even that activity was weirdly not fully acknowledged by the public- probably because she too never made a statement). But anyway, Foster did watch the development of a language for publicly coming out, and from her last two awkward award speeches, it is clear how deeply she does wish to come out of the closet to the world. Which, is really beautiful, and speaks to the importance of acknowledging to the world who you truly are and how you live your life. Despite effectively maintaining her privacy for her entire life, Foster wants to be seen and loved for who she is. She even stated how lonely it was, and implied that her mother could not accept her sexuality. She referred to her publicist being upset at her making a statement, which may have seemed offhand but I'm sure actually characterized a deep pressure against revealing her lifestyle, and a behemoth effort on the part of a publicist to keep Foster's clearly homosexual life out of the tabloids. I mean, the woman raised two goddamn kids with the hyphenated name of her lesbian partner, somebody was working hard to keep that private. Anyway, now she is finally choosing to make a statement, and she is a bit defensive and defiant about waiting until now, which is the reason for her defensive tone and jabs at reality television. That is just her being human and honest, probably a bit too human and honest to be palatable, and of course I also wonder why she didn't prepare a more coherent speech. But that was her rambling, defensive, sad coming out speech, and to criticize it is like tearing apart that eighteen year old girl at the dinner table, struggling to identify herself to her family despite both her personal fears and the clear messages she has received about the unacceptable nature of being a lesbian. Times one million.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I must say, it is very confusing to me why China is constantly portrayed by international media as the aggressor in the Diaoyu/Senkaku conflict, and urged to curb its nationalist sentiment. There is something very strange going on regarding perception or discussion of Japanese agency right now, and I'm sure that it has something to do with our own history of allying with the Japanese. This is not to say that I agree with the way that the Chinese government seems to be participating in riling up the public's nationalist sentiment, as of course I think this is not only quite threatening to the Japanese citizens living in China (and possibly to other expats), but may also limit China's ability to pursue a nonviolent path in the future. But let's for a moment play devil's advocate and talk about this incident in the same manner as the majority of recent media coverage, but only discussing Japan's actions. We should be very worried about Japan right now. They have been manipulating the UN Law of the Sea, making specious claims to islands that will vastly increase their exclusive economic sovereignty in ocean territories. They have also allowed nationalist sentiment to influence their international policy, as in the case of the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, where the latest incident was incited by the conservative and bombastic governor of Tokyo, rather than a coherent policy decision. Both of these trends, aggressive expansionism and uncontrolled nationalism, are the most feared behaviors on the international stage. They may be particularly worrisome coming from a nation with a history of these types of behaviors. These trends need to change soon, and we need to be involved in ensuring that they change, rather than by tacitly supporting them as we currently do. The UN should be working to ensure that the law of the sea works as it is intended to, preventing disputes over ocean territory, but that territory should be related only to lands truly controlled by a country. And if we truly want to remain neutral on the Diaoyu/Senkaku issue, we should revoke our 1972 granting of administrative rights of the islands to Japan. It seems that the ocean is the space of a new imperialist era at the present, and ocean territories are being carved up like so many continents a couple of centuries ago. Let us try to fight this new trend by preventing the aggressive occupation of islands for the purpose of territorial expansion; the promise of international cooperation should not be undone by manipulation of legislative loopholes, and aggressive behavior should not be ignored simply because it comes from one's ally.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Uggggh. People that don't put any picture of themselves in their facebook profile. I'm sure that you're opposing the superficial, voyeuristic orientation of the contemporary world by single-handedly waging a war against our image-focused society, making you far superior to the rest of us. Simultaneously, of course you seem very insecure about your looks, because no matter how you frame it, we know that's the reason that you don't have any pictures up. It's similar to the people who aren't on facebook, ostensibly because they "have better things to do," but in fact, again, because they quite transparently have issues about their self-representation. To both of these annoying types of people, I would like to say, don't flatter yourself. Facebook is a very useful networking tool, so that I can add people I meet into my network of acquaintances before I forget them, making it acceptable to contact them in the future and ensuring that I remember their names. And freaking hell, the photograph is the way you make sure that they are the right person. No one's telling you to put up a million pictures of yourself getting wasted or hanging out with your loved one with whom you will shortly go through a messy breakup. I just want to know WHO YOU ARE.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

This might be the worst lede ever-

Dancing the Watusi made us “cool” at the clubs in the ’60s.

Now, it’s “Watsuing,” a new massage method, to keep us “warm” these days, along with other treatment indulgences at the hot spots of the new millennium: spas.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Retallack also presents an important textual discovery from the Stein scholar Ulla Dydo: Stein’s lover/wife, Alice B. Toklas, forced her to change the verb “may” to “can” throughout. (May Bookstaver was an early lover of Stein’s, and Toklas — who apparently had no trouble reading Stein — was enraged finding her name so many times in the manuscript of “Stanzas in Meditation.”)
(from the New York Times)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Oh man. I'm pretty sure that this ellen page video is post-ironic, but also she is so cute and setting my gaydar off like crazy. Just saying.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Okay, I now have almost 100 percent confidence in my gaydar.