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The Public Blogging of Pomosexuality, Homotextuality, Homophobiaphilia, and Drear Theory (aka Career Theory) [aka Gay4Pay]. We also read the Corner and OpJournal so the right buttock will be punished as well.
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Allen Ginsberg's 1966 poem about a gay bar in Wichita, Kansas is nowhere online it seems. The poem took its title from the name of the bar, Chances R. It ends like this:
Suspended from Heaven the Chances R
Club floats rayed by stars
along a Wichita tree avenue
traversed with streetlights on the plain
So you must look up the rest. In an actual book, I'm afraid. But I did find this interesting article about the poem, the bar, and the Wichita beat scene. The author is wrong that the mood of Ginsberg's poem is mostly sad, but his memories of the scene are invaluable. And his quotes from a limited edition novel that some other Wichitan wrote about those same places and times are terrific. It sounds like this book could stand republishing:
TWIST!" shouts Jimmy.
Up his back runs a ripple like a snake moving, fast. His hips are inscribing a frenzied half-circle in the air. His head bounces and bobbles with jazz-drummer ecstasy. His arms flail, he's almost flying but his feet are planted in the floor, sucking up great electrical currents of earth vibrations.
"It's the vortex!" he shouts. "Can't you feel the forces! Pulling you in! It's twisting in twister land!"
...Now the brown-limbed teenagers in cut-off jeans and bouffant hair have taken the floor. Their bodies are strong, sunbeautied, and swimming-pool clean, they're eager-high on beer. They are dancing dances they all know, no one touching, boys with girls, girls with girls, boys with boys. All the steps are perfect and harmonious. They are all oh God so beautiful and I know we cannot lose, beyond all certitude of mind mankind , born of our bodies and spirit.
Update: Speaking of Kansas, and of a mankind that "will take the stars and crush time with these golden kids", our Kansas City (Missouri), earth sciences and management theory correspondent, Jay Manifold, sent in a correction that I keep forgetting to note. At the end of my post about the murder of Sakia Gunn I misquoted Friederich Hayek, I was off by one very important word. Hayek's introduction to the Constitution of Liberty reads, "to the unknown civilization that is growing in America".
I blame Google for my mistaken substitution of squishy "society" for the much better "civilization". When I searched for the whole quote with the part of the phrase I was sure of, the only hit was for the misquote. Which misquote was in a very good article about Hayek written by a scholar whose book about Hayek was published by the Oxford University Press. I rest my case.
Aside from that small misquote the article is well worth reading. In addition to being a good introduction to Hayek, it makes brief mention of Hayek's gay problem with Keynes, something that was news to me.
Ginsberg's Chances R is a snapshot of that unknown civilization as it was growing in Wichita circa 1966. And the description of those strong, sunbeautied, and swimming-pool clean gay teenagers of the plains is yet another.
Friday, June 13, 2003
Model Home Ghosts
It doesn't take long to figure out that Shield for Murder is just about a perfect movie. Edmond O'Brien is a bad, bad cop who kills a bookie then steals the bookies 25G float with dreams of a fully-furnished model home, the launching pad for his new suburban life with Marla English. Marla doesn't seem like the stay at home type, but Edmond's judgment is pretty obviously fuct from the start. "Edmond O'Brien?", you're saying (or should be). Well, Eddie O directed the flick too (with Howard Koch). If the scene of Marla admiring her new cigarette girl outfit, with its rhinestone straps sparkling in glorious black and white, doesn't clue you in to the movies essential greatness, then just stick around for the shootout in a high school's crowded INDOOR SWIMMING POOL. The bookie-killing-cop meets the ultimate bookmaker just after his escape from the pool, still high on the chlorine, at the expected place--the front yard of the dream home his heist was going to buy him.
The closing credits tell us the model home was provided by Kling. I am now obsessed with idea that the people who live in this house 50 years later have no idea that their home was at the center of this rather obscure film (no mention in Halliwell), that Edmond O'Brien died on their front lawn, that Marla English once walked through their front door.
I remember from his prison diaries that Albert Speer designed homes for some of his American guards. Were they ever built? If they were, do today's homeowners know who signed off on the blueprints?
And here is the Meeker Museum, the truly excellent website I just found while looking for Marla English pics. The "Meeker" is as in Ralph Meeker. Its mission statement:
THE MEEKER MUSEUM IS A NONPROFIT, NONEXISTENT ORGANIZATION
DEDICATED TO THE PURSUIT OF INNER PEACE THROUGH MOVIE STARS.
Greg Easterbrook has a rundown of planetary disasters in the new Wired magazine (not online yet). He goes against the grain by ranking the probabilities of the various man made disasters much lower than the possible natural calamities. I like this since my bet in the world-wide deathpool has always been on our old friends the supervolcanoes. He makes a very interesting point about the murderous potential of conventional explosives and bioweapons of the same size and weight. Bombs of the old sort are more deadly in most circumstances than equal sized bio/chem agents. I'd never seen he comparison made that way, but I have long wondered why the more difficult to procure bio weapons get so much press when an ordinary explosive's potential for mayhem is well known and they are so much simpler to get. Part of me thinks that the focus on the bio/chem poisons is a kind of spin-their-wheels disinformation effort.
Easterbrook mentions one doomsday scenario that was new to me and which I now must rank just after supervolcanoes as the next most likely end of us all. Call it Oblomivion:
Depression, which has become ten times more prevalent in Western nations in the post war era, might grow so widespread that vast numbers of people would refuse to get out of bed.... 5:39 PM
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
It's great that these guys love each other and have been together for 25 years. Cool as well that the one used his podium moment to speak out in favor of gay marriage. The picture of their kiss, though, must now be hung in the hall of erotic douche chills next to the pictures of Lisa Marie kissing Michael and Al Gore kissing what's her name, Flipper?
Be sure to check out the death grip that the little dude (the one in the chiropractic headlock) has on his Tony. Looks like he's holding it in reserve as a weapon of last resort to beat off his mauler. But then I'm an optimist. Anyway, that thought will give you something else to focus on as you look at the picture. You're welcome.
And it would have been nice if the score these two won their Tony for writing wasn't such total shit.
Exiled From Romance
Second to MTV (and of course The Corner) in taking the gay thing TO THE NEXT LEVEL (the official cliché of, oh, two years ago) is another acronym, AOL. AOL chat in particular. Gay kids from every part of the country now regularly talk to each other online, then on the phone and finally in person if they live nearby. You don't need AOL to chat of course, but it still has the biggest base, and it is now the most common way gay kids make first contact with another gay human being. And it is certainly one of the leading ways that gay adults meet each other as well. This represents a revolutionary change many times bigger and more important than the Stonewall rebellion against police harassment (as important and necessary as that was).
So I think it is of historical note that AOL has recently changed its chat interface. I have mixed feelings about it. The gay and lesbian rooms used to be a subcategory of Romance chat in the AOL index of chatrooms. There is now a Gay and Lesbian category in the index and the AOL created gay rooms are there (the member created gay rooms are as important as the official ones and they still remain scattered among several categories). In one way this gives the gay rooms more prominence, but I liked that the gay, straight and bi rooms used to all rub shoulders in the bar called Romance. I think it also might be easier to make your way to a gay room for the first time if you could enter through Romance. There is a subtle but real difference in the dynamics of the choice if you have to make the category decision at the start. And a subtle but real change in perception when you remove the gay rooms from the continuum of romance.
Our Goose-Stepping Viral Gasbag Masters- A Playwright's Plea for Civility
Sullivan posted a run-on excerpt from Tony Kitschner's , excuse me-- Kushner's , commencement speech at Columbia College, an art school in Chicago that bills itself as "the nation's premier visual, performing, media and communication's arts college". So at least the commencement speaker's sense of importance was a match for the school's. In his address Mr. Tushner employs the standard rhetorical trope of cascading polarities. He employs it in the same way the state railroad of India employs bureaucrats---at world record levels.
He sets in motion a good versus evil chain reaction that would threaten the whole planet--if the whole planet was made of newspaper and gasoline, and Mr. Whoosh!ner was in charge of the safety matches. Funny how the Shush!ner left thinks Bush's invocation of the concept of "evil" is indicative of his essential theocratic barbarism. But Bush is Barbar the benevolent elephant compared with Bushner. The happy pachyderm's axis of evil was comprised of the governments of three tyrannies. Tony the avenging donkey's coalition of the just comprises only 40% of the population, once all fallen and craven humans are eliminated from the company of the angels:
you know how important it is for the sizable community of decent sane just egalitarian people, comprising many minority communities constituting if not a majority then a plurality, a substantial smart let's- say-40% plurality community (more than large enough in a pluralist democracy) (which for the time being the United States still is) if it uses its brains and works together, to wield decisive power, power for enfranchisement and economic as well as racial justice and gender justice and sexual political justice and environmental sanity and in the name of a real globalism, a real internationalism, a real solidarity with all the peoples of the world
All the peoples? A solidarity that from the start writes 60% of the peoples off as sexual hysterics, the misogynists... pale pale greyish-white cranky grim greedy people... the crazy people, the rich ... the Muslim and Christian and Jewish fundamentalists, and (this is my favorite) virulent lockstep gasbags . The whole worthless crew of diseased, robotic balloons leading parasite lives. Or maybe the trick is to redefine that 60% as non-people, so that this 40% plurality now really is all the peoples of the world. I wonder what Mr. Smooshner's plans for these malignant life-forms, the inhuman majority, might be.
Sunday, June 08, 2003
Sunday Book Review
This is a very odd book. I thought I liked it at first, but as I closed it I wasn't sure. I can say with certainty that as I put it down I was glad it was not any longer than its very brief 80 pages. It's sort of like Borges without the laughs. Or maybe a nouvelle roman in which things actually happen. Though exactly what things happened is not always clear.
Or maybe it's just a piss elegant shaggy dog story. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
There is an urgency about it though that sweeps you along, or under the rug. Or something.