Saturday, November 30, 2013

Nov. 2013 issue of the Gay & Lesbian Review

As I read Will Roscoe's article on Harry Hay, (in the November/December issue of G&LR) it reminded me of what I think of The Gay & Lesbian Review.  While I find the first half of his article very good, he lost me from then on. And, I think he never even had most young LGBT people.  

Not only do they seem uninterested in the pioneers of the movement that has made it possible for them to live comfortably open lives as homosexuals, but they seem uninterested in any discussion of homosexuality—certainly not the Hay versus Foucault thinking.  

The issue of if we are a minority is not settled, yet Don Slater’s view seems to have been agreed to in the CO decision of the U. S. Supreme Court—we are  minority ONLY because society and laws make us one. Otherwise we have nothing in common, not even the language, etc., Harry thought made us one.

I also thought of that as I read the letter—I always like letters to the editor—pointing out the misuse of Harvey Milk’s “writings.” (Sort of like the current issue over Rand Paul’s speeches—questioning authorship.) What some people have “seen” in Harry, Radical Faeries, Communist, subject-subject thinking, etc., I did NOT see. What I did see is what the letter writer points out which is that (as also seems possible in the questions raised in the new book on Matthew Shepard) some writers or closet queens feel the need to find some person or event to put forward as evidence we are good people. As the writer, who was his editor and has some of the original writings of Milk, says, “he has become the vehicle for any enterprising aspirant, including restless academics, in search of a personality to immortalize.  Harvey Milk apparently fits the bill, but this does not make him a ‘philosophe.’” What should be asked is why Harry does not fit that need.

I do not like the idea of Roscoe that it was “assimilationists” who kicked Harry, et al., out of leadership—thus ending early Mattachine.  It is clear from history that it took Harry and cohorts to start the movement. As Roscoe says, “He held a meeting,” which all the talkers and closeted writers did not.  That made all the difference. But as I worked in the movement, with him and the others, it was clear that there had to be a change of focus to make the movement grow. Secret meetings would not do it, and having communists lead the movement publicly would have stopped it. Our movement and those of blacks and women were constantly accused of being part of a communist plot (mentioned in another letter to the editor, forgiving Liberace for being a closet queen).

I’m not sure how this fits the discussion, but Roscoe is right when he says Harry said—I assume regarding all the nonsense of experts and the idea of how we became a minority— “We built it.”  We did it—not some theory, not in an ivory tower. We created the movement that has changed our lives-with no help from academia, religion, law, rich people, etc.

I am not sure how to feel about the idea that some dilettantes can go to Fire Island/CherryGrove and make a life for part of the year. But it sure does NOT fit the book review about a man who was into rodeos. Nor are many glbt people interested in the Bloomsbury thing, or Proust. Are all books about English musicians or writers?  I see a listing for meetings by such movement/community people as LGBT leaders. Why are there no books or articles about such people?

The first part of G&LR is always interesting, but the last half goes into people/subjects I have no interest in. I acknowledge that my interest has always been limited to working for civil rights—that is what ONE and HIC did/do. But I think, even with or especially with the internet, twitter, etc, and with so many issues of homosexuality on the tv and front pages of newspapers, most LGBT people will not spend their time on obscure people-artistic types. But I also think even young people are not as interested in gay plays as most LGBT newspapers seem to think—considering how much space they give to the week’s newest celebrity who has come out and is in a play. I suspect that interest is covered by the general media and by Billy Masters. I, of course, think ONE Magazine gave the community a balanced view of people, places and events.  I guess what I want is an up-to-date ONE. And that makes me guilty—as are too many people who review books—of wanting the publication to do what I want it to, not what the publisher/writer/editor intended and chose to do.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Gratitude

As I hear of those celebrating Thanksgiving, I go into my non-conformist thinking. I have most of my life NOT celebrated holidays. But as I think of being thankful, what worries me is that I might be "thankful" for reasons others can NOT be thankful for-reasonably good health, a home, food, friends, that my geographical area has NOT had a tornado, etc.

So as I am thankful that friends helped me fix a housing problem, a car problem, will feed me tomorrow, and that—thanks to Medicare—I am reasonably healthy and get cheap medicine. I know others live in constant pain, barely have enough income to pay the rent, much less the electric or gas bill in cold weather times. So how do I say I am thankful? I have no resources to help others. I can only say the silly phrase: I feel their pain.

And act as a good citizen and try to know what our government is doing and vote for those who will do what I think is best. And do what I can for the cause I feel is most important to me, even though there are so many other causes I want to support too. And think of how those friends and coworkers that are no longer with us would be thankful that our nation is better today than in the past, and hopefully will continue to get even better, for everyone.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Gay Marriage and Political Correctness

It may not help to know that people who worked to gain equal/civil rights for homosexual Americans, starting in the early 1950s, were aware that the effort to educate people on sexuality could go too far in the other direction—and have unintended consequences. But the problem was discussed in the first national/public homosexual publication, ONE Magazine. 

While the organization behind it had to go to the U. S. Supreme Court (1954-58) to protect its right to publish such material/views, the editors always worried that someday fanatics could go too far in trying to force everyone to agree on the “correct” view.

The perfect example, currently in the news today, is that if we got marriage equality, then some people would then say all homosexuals had to marry, ignoring the very rights to privacy that we were pushing for.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Book by Dick Hewetson: History of the Gay Movement in Minnesota and the Role of the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union

This is a wonderful history of Minnesota LGBT history [click for the PDF] , but it covers the national history too-and should be in every library.

I do think it is important to ask the question that will anger many people.  How is it possible that all of the people and resources in this book did what they did and apparently never heard of or had contact with ONE—the first public national publication, which for a decade covered the news and views for the nation?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Author rejects archive for material/casino website/telephone system crashes from too many calls

I think two bits of news I heard recently are interesting.  

On C-SPAN's BookTV InDepth show author Kitty Kelley was asked where her material would go (taped interviews with friend of Sinatra, Jackie O., Oprah, et al. (for her own memory AND to use in some of the people interviewed later denied being interviewed)) and she said, NOT to an archive where it will be stored in a basement and never seen or heard again—she said this is true of the Library of Congress, etc.

On a (GAC) tv show on Garth Brooks’ three years at Wynn’s Casino in Las Vegas, among the ‘revelations’ of how he finally came out of retirement, it was mentioned said that when it became known that Garth would actually start doing the show and tickets would be available—the website and telephone lines of the casino CRASHED.