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December 28, 2005

Comments

Scott

What's a larder?

Robbie

Where food is stored.

Scott

At first, I thought you had written "The Empty Gay Lardass" and I imagined that tens of thousands of us--perusing this site--would have, if only briefly, thought you were writing about us. Hoewever, I have heard of a larder now that you mention it. It is not a word used much below the Mason-Dixon Line.

Ethan

AMEN Robbie!!! This is a great topic and of course ignored by the hands that reach into the larder!

Jack Malebranche

I think there are a lot of people wondering what exactly the gay community, such as it is, should be talking about.

Same-sex marriage bores me as well. I'd be suprised if half of the men who say they want it really want it for any reason other than the fact that they feel cheated out of it. Especially the presents and the money. For all of the talk about it, you'd think homos universally loved monogamy.

The Catholic Church flap is about as much of a serious issue as the 'war on Christmas.' The news would have been if the Pope would have said anything nice about homosexuality.

I guess there's just celebrity gossip and the next Madonna video to look forward to, then.

Not much of a community, is it?

Honestly, I think our common culture really is eroding, and that is a good thing. (Sullivan didn't invent that concept...) Homos are out persuing their interests beyond general fagotry. They get together and swap porn, and yap about sex and dating every once in a while...but really, what else is there to talk about? What else do these guys have in common?

In a way, this isn't just gay culture, but culture generally. Groups are becoming more and more specialized, because people with similar interests can find each other so easily via the Internet. Being a homosexual man isn't enough to create an instant bond...because the stigmatization is weaker, homos are out on message boards talking about their favorite TV shows, or director, or historical period, or automobile manufacturer, or recording artist, or software platform, or career path, or whatever. We aren't so damaged and ostracized anymore that we can't share interests with guys unless they also suck dick, or girls unless they're faghags who love fashion and musicals.

What does the gay community have to talk about besides the experience of homosexual preference? Not a Hell of a lot.

Essem

"because reading gay news full of nothing but marriage and priests day in and out for months on end leaves me contemplating reparative therapy, just for the change of pace."

Very funny! A sign of mental health.

Aatom

"Not much of a community, is it?"


i would submit that sites such as this one seem to contradict that statement rather effectively. a 'community' doesn't have to be a borg-like monolith. it can be a patchwork of various interests and perspectives, stitched together by a common bond, in this case our sexuality. we're a community whether we like it or not, and even if that means that we splinter off into a colorful array of interests and obsessions, at the end of the day we still make up what the rest of the world thinks of as "gay".

i would agree with you that being gay is less of a defining factor in our lives, and i think this is a good thing. and i couldn't agree more about the Catholic Church. yawn. but Robbie knows that I differ with him on the marriage issue. i think it goes way beyond seeking partner benefits and could very well be the next big turning point in our civil rights history. Does this mean that I am obsessed with getting married myself? Hell no. I don't even have a prospective partner yet. And who knows, I may turn out to be an old gay spinster. But this is about a larger issue than just me and my personal needs. If and when I do find someone to share the rest of my life with, I'll want to know that we did everything possible, as a community, to insure that I can get the most out of it as well as feel as if I am part of a larger cultural institution. Because gay people deserve to be institutionalized too, ya know what i mean?

But more importantly, the next generations of gay kiy kids that grow up in a world where gay marriage is possible will develop psychologically in ways that we dared not even dream about. gay teen suicide rates will plummet and rampant drug use coupled with wild unsafe sex practices will decline. Big predictions, I know, but isn't even the possibility worth fighting for?

Jamie

I usually agree with most of what you say, Robbie, but not this time. And if most of the "married" gay men you know are "banging anything and everything that moves," then personally I'd change who I associate with. I really don't think you can justifiably say that those people are a representative sample of the "gay community." At least I hope they aren't.

I think you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Sure, there are those who want to get married merely to make a show of it and shove it in the straight people's faces. (SHAME ON YOU, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.) But there ARE those of us who are truly fighting for marriage because we love the person that we're with, not just for the shock value.

Jack made a good point in his comment about gay people being "out persuing their interests beyond general fagotry." I don't live my life according to some "gay agenda," nor do I accede to other people's rhetoric when they try and make broad, sweeping statements about gay people. I talk with my gay and straight friends about the same things regardless of their sexuality. And this is a major societal discussion right now, not just within the gay community. We'd be naive, at best, if we did NOT discuss it.

But if you need something to talk about besides "gay marriage," how about slapping some of the reckless homos upside the head for their life-endangering behavior? (I just realized Aatom said almost the same thing as this, but...) how many blogs do we have to read that mention recreational cocaine use, multiple bareback sex partners, or "bug-chasers" before we start shouting, "YOU IDIOTS!!!" from the mountaintop? It's as if the younger gay generation has no clue what happened in the 70's and 80's. So many young men, gay AND straight, can't seem to keep their pecker in their pants anymore. Maybe it's time we convinced some of the younger gay set to learn from OUR lessons?

Mike

I think there are a couple of things going on with the younger reckless homos. Firstly, that medical science will stay on step ahead with any disease issues, and secondly, that even if it doesn't they can live fast and leave a beautiful corpse. Fetishism of the male body exascerbates the problem.

Young people are not only a key market, but they've chosen to become products as well. I've said to friends that young gay men - most of whom have never had the "mistake-making in a supportive environment" adolescence of the peers - should be discouraged from gay bars until they've got a real life.

hank

There is no "gay community".
You couldn't possibly stitch together so many disparate groups and call it a "community".

BTW. Talk at the dinner party I attended on Christmas, was that the Pope is gay. I know,I know. Too delicious, (that is except for the poor guy he's doing it with . "shudder"

Jack Malebranche

Jaime I really don't think you can justifiably say that those people are a representative sample of the "gay community."

I beg to differ. I've lived in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, OR and York, PA.

Monogamous homosexual men are so dramatically in the minority that it seems like sheer delusional propaganda to state otherwise. Just because the religious right says it doesn't mean it isn't true.

That doesn't mean that serious, committed, monogamous homosexual men don't exist, but please. Robbie's statement is actually very representative of the 'gay community' and men, generally.

I've been with my boyfried for 8 years. We're committed, but not exactly (though we are mostly) monogamous.

So many young men, gay AND straight, can't seem to keep their pecker in their pants anymore. Maybe it's time we convinced some of the younger gay set to learn from OUR lessons?

Historically, young men have a hard time keeping their peckers in their pants. That's why sexually oppressive religions and laws were invented.

And new generations rarely learn from their predecessors. People rarely learn. They do what they want until it slaps them in the face.

Aatom -

"Not much of a community, is it?"

i would submit that sites such as this one seem to contradict that statement rather effectively.

Really? I enjoy this blog, but I think you're overestimating it's importance just a little. But if a blog and a group of regular readers and commenters 'proves' that there is a thriving gay community...well...actually I feel my point just solidified by that example. I reiterate:

"Not much of a community, is it?"

There are a gazillion little communities like this on the Internet. I belong to several. I understand that you're making a point that homos are still out there talking and interacting, and they share some vague sense of common culture. Sure.

Anyway, I think that if you talk to a lot of homosexual men (who aren't particularly passionate about politics), I think you'll find a general disinterest in being part of the 'gay community.' It's not just me. And Robbie isn't the first person to say, "I'm bored."

Does this mean that I am obsessed with getting married myself? Hell no. I don't even have a prospective partner yet. And who knows, I may turn out to be an old gay spinster. But this is about a larger issue than just me and my personal needs. If and when I do find someone to share the rest of my life with, I'll want to know that we did everything possible, as a community, to insure that I can get the most out of it as well as feel as if I am part of a larger cultural institution. Because gay people deserve to be institutionalized too, ya know what i mean?

I had a friend who felt vaguely this way recently. I'll never understand it. Why fight so hard for something you know nothing about? It seems like a 20 something girl reading 'Brides' and thinking how great it will be to be married someday, even though she doesn't have a boyfriend and most marriages end in divorce, anyway. Don't drink the Kool-aid. Getting (and staying) married is not the only way that you can live a happy, productive existence. Homosexual men, generally excluded from marriage anyway, should be the first people to be able to understand that there's a lot more to life than 'getting institutionalized.'

Basically, no, I don't know what you mean.

Jack Malebranche

Hank - There is no "gay community".
You couldn't possibly stitch together so many disparate groups and call it a "community".

YES!

I have less in common with transexual Jewish lesbians than I have in common with your average straight man! The "gay community" is a socio-political construct.

Aatom

"Getting (and staying) married is not the only way that you can live a happy, productive existence."

This has never been the argument that gay marriage advocates are making, Jack. But I'll be damned if I can understand the logic behind the argument that since many gay men do not choose to model their relationships on a monogamous model that we should forfeit the right to even consider it as a choice. Having the right to get married doesn't make it mandatory for christ's sake. Sounds to me like an internalized victim mentality masquerading as sexually liberated bravado.

And while I do enjoy this site immensely, I certainly wasn't trying to argue that it alone represents a siginificant portion of the gay community. I was merely pointing out that this site, and thousands of others like it, are helping connect the disparate elements of the global homosexual population in ways that are new and exciting, providing a much richer conversation than we have previously had access to when it comes to gay issues. My secondary point was that even absent this interconnectivity, we have no choice but to be viewed as a community by the world at large, and as such we have some sort of responsibility to figure out what that means to us. I don't think everyone has to talk about the cock-sucking Pope or gay marriage to be a 'valid' part of the gay conversation. Far from it, I think it's crucial that we tap into the entire spectrum of gay thought in ways that we have never been able to so that we don't continue to get trapped by the kind of gross political stereotypes that have been slapped onto our foreheads for the past 30 years.

I like your style though. You're feisty. I added you to my blogroll. ;)

Dan

If anything, this whole string underscores one basic concept: blog world != real world. If I were to bring up the pope or gay marriage in any other social context, it'd be greeted by something between half hearted agreement and total indifference. To tweak Robbie's point a little - the blogosphere needs to catch up with the real world.

Incidentally - != means 'does not equal' in some programming languages. Yes, my CS degree in action.

Jack Malebranche

Sounds to me like an internalized victim mentality masquerading as sexually liberated bravado.

Huh? I can honestly say I've never heard that analysis of my viewpoint before. Victim mentality? Nope. I'm not a victim. I like being a homo so much I think more people should try it. I think homosexuality is where it's at, especially when I compare my relationship to the dysfunctional communication between men and women that passes as normal.

I accept the fact that, yes, I have a preference that is a little different from most people's preferences. I take responsibility for that, and don't need them to love me for it, and as long as they stay out of my way, I'm not asking for anything from them.

A victim mentality is making the case that I have an affliction I can't help, and that the majority should change their institutions, designed for entirely different purposes, to include me so that I can feel loved. I could marry a woman and have 2.5 kids. I'd just really, really rather not. Absolving oneself of the personal choice to conform or not to conform is like AA step I: "We admitted that we were powerless..."

That's actually, I think, the definition of a victim mentality.

But I'll be damned if I can understand the logic behind the argument that since many gay men do not choose to model their relationships on a monogamous model that we should forfeit the right to even consider it as a choice.

Just say it: "most." Not "many." Most.

Reality, not idealism, should be at the heart of any argument.

Monogamy doesn't require the approval of civil authorities. I don't really think the government should be in that business at all, now that women are no longer the property of men. Traditional marriage died with sufferage.

The fight for gay "marriage" has never been about 'the right,' it has always been about approval and acceptance.

The reference above to a future where gay kids don't want to commit suicide implies that underlying motivation. If more people accepted us, if we could be included in all of their institutions, we wouldn't hate who we are.

THAT is a victim mentality, mon ami.

I like your style though. You're feisty. I added you to my blogroll. ;)

Thanks! Fiesty, I am. And none of the above should be taken personally, by the way. Just my consistent opinion that only gets stronger every time I have this discussion.

Jack Malebranche

Dan - If I were to bring up the pope or gay marriage in any other social context, it'd be greeted by something between half hearted agreement and total indifference.

Agreed. I think these are issues that interest a very select group of people, who on some level enjoy this sort of discussion. Most people would rather be shopping or watching a movie or something. That's the way it is with most things, a few people end up speaking for many who may or may not agree with them, just because the rest of the people are busy doing other things or plain just don't care.

That's actually how I feel about the whole 'gay establishment,' actually. I think it is a group of a few passionate people who attempt to speak on the behalf of many--many who just don't care. That's probably true of 'people of faith,' or any other group of people as well.

Honestly, when I decided I was going to start writing about homo stuff a few years ago, I really had to force myself to read up on 'gay stuff' because it had never even remotely interested me before. What made me do it was the fact that I felt like I had something to say that was being said in private conversations between men everywhere, but was never being read or published. There are a lot of guys that don't give a damn about the gay community, who try to avoid it whenever possible, who have no interest in gay culture, who are well-adjusted, who are doing fine, who have friends and families and boyfriends and don't care if mainstream America accepts them, and who are just happy living life on their own terms, without all of the usual baggage and social obligations that straight people have to deal with.

Aatom

"the blogosphere needs to catch up with the real world."

it seems to me that it is quite the reverse.

i think we're all arguing in a bubble just a bit. most people are, by and large and regardless of their race, sex, sexuality, etc., completely indifferent to the hot-button issues that affect them. that's what the whole 'inside the beltway' phenomenon is about. a small representative sample of any population, political perspective, or special interest always speaks and argues for the larger whole, and then pollsters go out and manipulate the rest of the dunderheads into saying whatever it is they want the numbers to say to gain "popular support" for a position. that's how it works. it's not a perfect system, but it's a damn sight better than most.

there has never been a point in gay history where a majority of the population is politically engaged. the Stonewall groups and AIDS-era activists were allowed, by and large, to speak for a much larger population of invisible gay people in America. Later, a much smaller group of GOP upstarts became the voice of gay conservatism in the form of the Log Cabiners. Both groups are quickly becoming a bit irrelevent as a more technologically sophisticated generation of homosexuals discovers that they no longer have to watch in silence as others speak for them. If anything, the blogosphere has opened up the floor to a much wider cross-section of gay voices, but still only the ones that have an active interest in being engaged on some level. That still leaves a lion's share of the population shaking their heads like sheep in agreement with whoever leaves them with the most recent talking points, and by and large most of them would continue to pull the lever in favor of Democrats even if they ran an actual donkey as a candidate.

so you'll forgive me for not hoping that we "catch up" to that kind of ignorance.

hank

My partner and I have been together for 12 years, and have no interest in getting married.
I don't get , for that matter,why anyone gets married (except for end of life issues, or contention inheritance problems).But thengain, I don't get alot of things. Like drag, or even why women dress as women.

Aatom

"That's actually how I feel about the whole 'gay establishment,' actually. I think it is a group of a few passionate people who attempt to speak on the behalf of many--many who just don't care. That's probably true of 'people of faith,' or any other group of people as well."

jinx. we just said essentially the same thing.

Aatom

"Reality, not idealism, should be at the heart of any argument.

Monogamy doesn't require the approval of civil authorities. I don't really think the government should be in that business at all, now that women are no longer the property of men. Traditional marriage died with sufferage."

the argument that the government shouldn't be in the business of marriage at all is the ultimate idealistic flight of fancy. so as long as they continue to be in that business, and realistically they will always be in that business, we should demand to have a right to participate in it if we so choose.

Jack Malebranche

jinx. we just said essentially the same thing.

Indeed, we did, though the tone and intent was certainly different.

Enjoyed the discussion, though.

Aatom

me too. and i suspect that you care a bit more about these issues than you claim to... :)

Robbie

I don't have tons of time to post (work's killing me), but I think my original post was misunderstood somewhat.

I'm not saying marriage isn't valuable or a worthwhile goal. I was more lamenting the fact that it seems to dominate so much of "official" gay conversation. When blogging, I often skim around various news sites to see what's going on in the world and it's "marriage, marriage, marriage!" Tedium. Especially tedious because most of the gay men I know either A. have no interest in it, or B. seem to acquire it like a fashion accessory. "Me and my boyfriend, we're married now," or they're partnered or what have you. And they're still sleeping around. Marriage is the new black.

While Jamie says he hopes that isn't the norm, in my experience, it really is. There are exceptions, of course. There are people out there like Mal and his hubby who are totally devoted to one another, but they are very much the exception.

I don't understand how marriage became the conversation, when most gay men don't even pretend they're going to abide by the traditional strictures. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a gay thing - it's a male thing. If heterosexual men could get away with it, they'd be doing the exact same thing.

I'm also not knocking whatever anyone chooses for themselves. Do what ya like, it's your life. It's not my job to rap knuckles.

I simply think the drive for marriage, especially with its "We're going to sue you until you give!" tactics have burnt an awful lot of goodwill the gay community had built up over the years. All this sturm and drang and bad blood, for something most of us won't even take advantage of (and mark my words, we won't. We just like the idea of having the option because it denotes abstract acceptance. Look at the marriage rates. We're not getting married in droves in the places we can). I think our time and resources could have been better spent on more concrete issues of discrimination and other venues of acceptance. I think we've gone for marriage too hard and too fast without building a solid foundation for it, and we really have derailed somewhere along the way. Now it's all we talk about while smaller, more important venues of advancement increasingly fall by the wayside.

Those are just my political and social thoughts on the matter, though - not necessarily my personal ones. Me? I'm geared towards monogamy. That's just how I am. I assume, at some point, I'll get married and all that. Whether or not the state recognizes it is a different kettle of fish, and I admit to being somewhat apathetic about it.

Jack Malebranche

the argument that the government shouldn't be in the business of marriage at all is the ultimate idealistic flight of fancy.

Oh, I agree there. That isn't going away any time soon. Though, that is my position. When you allow the government to authorize sex and relationships in the first place, you set up more systems of control to have issues with.

so as long as they continue to be in that business, and realistically they will always be in that business, we should demand to have a right to participate in it if we so choose.

Should we? Is that something that we require for our happiness and well-being?

I think it's the desire of a minority within a minority, and the state doesn't really need to accomodate that to please a few idealists. They do too much of that already.

I firmly believe that most homosexuals think they should 'have the right' to marriage, but when they get it, they will truly be far more frivolous with it than straight people could imagine being, and they will embarass all of the people who argued 'on their behalf.' Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

I do also take issue to the fact that this idealistic minority within the gay community keeps pushing this issue down people's throats as if it is the most important thing to every homosexual person. It isn't. In fact, the rest of us have to hear about all of the things 'we gays want' all of the time. And a lot of us are sick of it. I don't want anything from anyone that I don't already have. Sodomy has been decriminalized, and that was really the true injustice.

My last point (it wouldn't be, but I have things to do) is that, like 20 something single girls who want more than anything to get married, having access to marriage DOES change the rules and expectations for all of us. Straight people can't live up to those expectations, and I know homos can't. Ultimately, access to marriage will, as Sullivan hopes, dissolve all of the more realistic options, like domestic partnership, that many people have access to now. And that's sad, because those are more pragmatic solutions for moden living.

Jack Malebranche

Robbie - Don't get me wrong, this isn't a gay thing - it's a male thing. If heterosexual men could get away with it, they'd be doing the exact same thing.

I agree with that statement completely.

Hope it didn't look like I was twisting your words. I think it's pretty clear that I have my own, distinct agenda. I just enjoy it when people at least partially hint at some of the points I make.

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