Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Explicit Gay Overtures"?

I was going to write about Teh Obama tonight, but some distractions came up, so I got a late start, and I don't know how long it'll take to vent my wrath. So here are a couple of short bits till tomorrow. I hope.

One: I gave one of my Facebook friends a merciless drubbing last week, with some help from another of his contacts there, for whining that English is in "decline" because, supposedly, Americans have a smaller vocabulary than they used to. That seems to be a dubious claim. Without claiming a decline in the language, though, I've noticed more typographical errors and weird confusion of vocabulary during the past few years than I see in older publications, even in slick commercial media.

To keep it gay: Out magazine, one of the few gay glossies still publishing, included in its Out 100 for 2009 the wonderful English writer Sarah Waters, whose work I've been following since her first novel, Tipping the Velvet. (The photo of Waters above comes from that feature.) The item mentioned that The Little Stranger, her latest, is "her first project without explicitly gay overtures." I think they meant "overtones" there, but Waters doesn't put gay overtones into her work: they are "lesbo historical romps," as the author herself puts it, with plenty of hot-hot girl-2-girl action. In Velvet, for example, a young woman who has worked on the stage as a male impersonator (drag kings are not new) is dumped by her female performing partner and lover. Out of money, she goes out one night in her Guardman's uniform, and discovers that she can earn a living giving handjobs to men who think she's male. One night, though, she's picked up by an older woman who sees through her disguise, and takes her home to meet her collection of dildos. And that's just the first half of the book. There's no need to decode Waters's novels, or look for overtones or subtexts. I'd say that "explicit overtones" is a contradiction in terms, in fact, indicating that the writer didn't know the meaning of one or both of those words. That he or she didn't know the meaning of "overtures" is an added bonus, I guess. (I sent e-mail to the magazine but didn't get a reply; not that I really expected one.)

Two: This clip from Crooks & Liars (via Suburban Guerilla, via the Sideshow). Alan Grayson is not a progressive by all accounts, despite his accepting the label in this interview, though that's not entirely a bad thing given the way that Democrats have fled shrieking from even the milder "liberal." Grayson didn't even flinch. I would have been happier if he, or someone, had added that the Afghan people have paid enough too. But it's exciting to see a Democratic Congressman throwing down the gauntlet to his president like this. I don't know if Obama can be persuaded to end the American occupation of Afghanistan, but for the first time in a long time I feel some, well, hope.

Bonus track: Cuddlebear fundamentalist kingpin Rick Warren has refused to condemn (via Band of Thebes) a proposed law in Uganda that would impose the death penalty for homosexuality, saying that "it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations." Oh, really? He seems to have changed his standards since he called for the assassination of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about a year ago.