Thursday, October 6, 2016

Sex, Shame, the South.

Really interesting piece about literature and the South. The Garth Greenwell novel, What Belongs to You, sounds good. I'm fascinated by the obliquitous but mostly invisible sphere of gay culture that sprang from homosexuality being illegal and dangerous for so long (and still in many places in the U.S.): cruising in parks, bathrooms, bus stations, etc.

I'm always drawn to subjects that people just do not want to talk about. If someone is ashamed to talk about something, you can bet it's good stuff.

I don't think there's necessarily anything "wrong" with the fact that we had to emphasize certain aspects of gay life (we fall in love and have lasting relationships) and deemphasize or even stigmatize other aspects (we cruise truck stops for anonymous sex) in order to gain rights. Sadly, privilege comes with fitting in. We got marriage rights by admitting, essentially, that we were awful and dirty and shameful but only because we were oppressed and really we just want to be like you if you'll let us.

Of course, there's no shortage of straight people having sex in public bathrooms. The difference is that they have always had more options. For gay men for a very long time, public bathrooms were an important site of their culture. I mean, seriously, where do you expect people to meet each other when their lives are literally illegal?

I know I'm conflating a lot of issues and speaking vaguely about different historical periods that had different laws, attitudes, pressures, etc.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Last night, I asked C, just sort of out of the blue, "Do you have hope for the future?" I think about this, about a time after I'm gone -- it's not like I'm likely to die tomorrow, but I'm at the age where the end of my life has begun to feel like an actual point on a timeline -- and my thoughts run to not just what the world will be like then but whether or not I care, or whether or not I even have standing to care.

C and I don't have children, but we have 4 nephews and one niece. It would be nice if the world waited to descend into chaos at least until after they've lived their lives.

C answered the question (it seemed to me somewhat tentatively), "Yes." I go back and forth. This election doesn't inspire optimism, but I would say I'm usually pretty hopeful when I'm not thinking too hard about things.

These kids are 11 and 12 years old. That's heartening.