Sunday, February 3

Random Acts of Thought

Here it is Super (Stupor) Bowl Sunday (the Monday following will be a national holiday before I see the grave, I promise you). Seems like the kind of day to catch up on thoughts that can't quite take up a full space but need expressing nonetheless. Here we go:

Journalist Hostages. I can't think of anything since 9/11 that has shaken me as much as this. For decades journalists covering wars, disasters, etc., have been given a kind of "seen and endured" indulgence by even the most hard hearted. They have been shielded observers and recorders; the means of a record of action. Daniel Pearl's kidnapping and possible murder just brings home how different the world is post 9/11.


Inland Living. I've probably written too much so far about acclimating to life in Reno. It recently dawned on me, however, just why this has been so far front brain: I've never lived "inland." Except for one brief and memory-less year on the east coast, I have lived on a coast, albeit 40 miles from the actual ocean. There is something about being on the edge of a continent that changes a person's perspective. Even though I couldn't go to the beach each day, I knew it was within an hour's drive. Here I have desert on one side and a formidable mountain range on the other. This will take some getting used to.


Super Bowl Sunday and the Betting World. Well, here in Reno you see a lot of things. On a day like this, you see a lot of bettors, betting drunks, and just plain drunks. I believe in reincarnation. I also believe you live each life to learn a lesson. My last life must have been my "don't ever gamble" life, because there is nothing I find appealing about a casino except for the cheap food. Casinos, I've learned, have special areas called "sports books" -- places where you can bet on sporting events ranging from high school girls field hockey to, well, the Super Bowl. Let's just say today they are packed. ]


Queer As Folk. Well, this one could be an entire post. Devoted readers here will know I was sans television, especially the cable variety, for a number of months due to wicked ways, rehabilitation, and homelessness. Our new digs brought with it Showtime and the Queer as Folk television show so many people had told me about. "You have to see it," I was told. "You'll love it -- it's just so your lifestyle, so honest, so real." These comments, coming largely from straight people not only increased my suspicision that I would like it, but fueled my doubt as to how "real" it was.

I don't know if I could ever express just how disappointed and disgusted I was after viewing the program. Disgusted because it portrays gay men as sexually obessed beings who frequent clubs with casual sex rooms, characters seeking meaningless relationships with whom they take home, and a cast of self-absorbed individuals who care little about anyone or anything. I'm disgusted because the writers of the show are somewhat accurate.

Not every gay man is sprung directly from the brow of the latest issue of GQ. Not every gay man, whether they live in Pittsburgh, PA, or Pittsburgh, CA, lives in a charmingly furbished loft. Not every gay man wears Kenneth Cole, Prada, Armani, Not every gay man seeks out dance clubs as their primary social outlet, nor do they take home a man from same as though it were decreed as part of the Homestead Act.

Your reaction to my reaction has to be tempered. I am a 45-year-old gay white male who, thankfully, survived the first waves of AIDS as it ravished San Francisco. Though I swore I would never be a "remember the old days" sort of person, I think these old days deserve a recall. From 1985 to early 1987, my partner and I attended no less than 52 funerals. It's not hard to do the math and understand that's approximately one every 2.5 weeks. Some were close friends, some were not. Talk to people who lived in the Castro in the late '70s and early '80s, however, and everyone was "family." A good friend of mine, David Ford, commented the largest galvanizing event for gay men at the time (circa 1986) was funerals. As cliched as it sounds, I'm glad it's Pottery Barn sales and brunch.

QAF's portrayals have done more to damage gay acceptance to further it. You'll note that I didn't use the word "rights" in the last sentence. I have rights. What I seek, and need as a gay man: acceptance to live a productive and lucrative life within a society that casts no aspersions on my private actions. To have my partner's and my relationship civically acknowledged. To be able to raise a child, whether it be through adoption or invitro, without fear of anticipated perversion or other alterior motives. Simply, to be a participating family, however that it structured, within the society I live in. The best thing QAF has done, I believe, is give Sharon Gless a job. God I loved "Cagney and Lacey."

I told you this could have been a whole post.