Thursday, June 5, 2014


Remember a few years ago when the GOP nominated a Mormon and a Bible-thumping compulsive liar for president and lots of so-called sane Republicans started hinting that things had gone too far with catering to the glossolaling yahoos, and the GOP lost the election, and then youtube videos of conservative politicians tearfully professing their support of same-sex marriage began to appear in a trickle and then a stream and it was all so heartwarming, and then, oh my god, the attorneys fighting Prop 8 in California turned out to be Republicans big-as-life telling us that marriage is the civil rights issue of our time, and we were all like, "Yay!" and we were certain it was only a matter of time until we'd see a huge political realignment in which the GOP shed their lunatic Evangelicals, splitting the party in two, and then liberals win every election!

It looks like we'll get our realignment. But it won't be the realignment we dreamed of -- in fact, it looks more like our worst nightmare.

No longer will it be a liability for Republicans to pander to Evangelicals. They can drop their homophobic dog-whistling. "Family values" will no longer mean "We hate fags." And all the conservative white middle- and upper-class gays and lesbians will no longer feel compelled to vote for Democrats whose agenda, besides the gay stuff, they probably never really supported anyway.

When queer people can safely return to the churches that rejected them, there's no reason -- well, except maybe a conscience -- they can't safely return to all the other causes dear to that crowd: guns, wars, subjugation of women and the poor, union-busting, EPA-bashing, slut-shaming, what have you.

Or, to put it more simply: more queer Republicans = more Republicans. Doh!

Progressive struggles are all connected. Unfortunately, gay rights is soon to be no longer a progressive struggle. We might want to be a little more careful next time we're considering turning our whole movement over to an agenda articulated by Andrew Sullivan.

I'm not one to say I told you so, but ...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Further Glory.

Portland Center Stage's production of LIZZIE opened last Friday. The Oregonian, Portland's major daily paper, gave it a rave the next day, and that made us all feel pretty good, as you might imagine.

A little later in the day, Broadway World (a fan site) weighed in with, well, not a rave. More like a grumble, or a grouse. This guy seriously hated the show. So of course we broadcast the Oregonian review to the four corners of the earth and bury the other one in that special place in the pit of our souls where we keep all the other voices that say "You suck, you're ugly, everybody hates you."

I felt weird ignoring it. The older I get the more ruthlessly honest I try to be. I don't have room in my brain for secrets, and self-mortification can be soothing in a strange way. Still, you don't necessarily want to call attention to bad reviews when you're trying to sell tickets. So ... I was very glad this morning to see the first comment to the Broadway World review:

I think you missed so much of what this show was about - caught in an old paradigm. I saw this show on preview and worried that the older audience would have difficulty adjusting its expectations. I don't know your age, but your opinions smack of someone stuck in yesterday. This was the most glorious and strenuous and artfully crafted sample of women's rage I have ever seen- in music or otherwise. I hope folks can see its beauty and promote it to further glory.

Not only does this neat (and, I should say, coherent) take-down put the negative review in context, it places it within the conversation about audiences that every theater institution in the U.S. is having now: old/new, old/young, fans of pop-rock/fans of whatever that other thing is, etc.

To further glory.