Re: An Open Letter to the Girl Mike Pretended To Have a Crush On in Eighth Grade

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derp


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:30 AM
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Who's Mike?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:35 AM
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You know, the person I've linked to forty million times whose domain pops right up if you hover over the link.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:36 AM
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derp


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:38 AM
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derp


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:43 AM
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derp


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:45 AM
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derp


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:49 AM
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derp


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:50 AM
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derp


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:51 AM
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That's really well written.

Also, I don't think I realized that standing contraposto was considered a stereotypically gay male posture.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:52 AM
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10.2 Me, neither. Actually I had to google "contraposto" to figure out what it meant. Does that me straight, stupid or both?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:57 AM
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Yes, that was a great read.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:58 AM
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11: I also went to google.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:59 AM
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Oh, Rottin in Denmark!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:00 AM
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14: Are you drunk, nosflow?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:01 AM
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The very idea.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:11 AM
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I've always been fascinated by gay men talking about how they exhibited stereotypically gay behavior before they figured out they were attracted to men. Enough people talk about it that I figure it's a real phenomenon, but I don't get the causality at all. Something like standing contraposto as a mark of femininity and therefore gayness seems so culture-bound to me that the process that gets from "I am a boy who will, when I become aware of sexual attraction, be attracted to men, although I don't know it yet. Therefore I will now unconsciously exhibit behaviors marked as feminine in my culture," makes no sense to me.

I wonder if there's any research on this.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:14 AM
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I will testify that my cousin exhibited plenty of gay behavior by age 4-5.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:16 AM
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Ditto for my brother. In my brother's case as a kid I might go so far to say he identified as female as a kid. That's totally changed as he's grown up and come out and started hanging out with bears.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:22 AM
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re: 17

When I was writing my thesis I read a few papers on the social construction of homosexuality in non-Western cultures. I don't remember any specific discussion of childhood, though.

I wonder if it's one of those things where's some sort of confirmation bias, though? Vis, all the kids who turned out to have a sexual preference for members of their own sex, but were otherwise indistinguishable from their peers?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:32 AM
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It also seems plausible that there could be multiple underlying forms of homosexuality, only some of which manifest in childhood this way.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:34 AM
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Actually I had to google "contraposto" to figure out what it meant.

I had to google too, and then my first thought was, Oh, the Saint Sebastian pose! (Whom I have always thought of as the gayest of the saints, iconography-wise.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:34 AM
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22: I once showed Jarman's Sebastiane to a Latin class. I don't know either.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:36 AM
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Actually, I didn't show it, come to think of it. But for a while I thought it was a really good idea.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:37 AM
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This story was painful reading, bringing back memories of what a failure of a teenager I was.

I stlll resent gay teenagers that are so much better at playing the part of a hetrosexual teen than I was.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:42 AM
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Mike's essay is really good and kinda uncomfortably close to home for me.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:42 AM
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I'm so pleased with myself for having already known what contrapposto meant! Thanks, Richard Neer!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:42 AM
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19: Contrapposto is not de rigeur among bears, one notes.

I had a long, civil but angry conversation about the closet on fb last night and maybe have less to say about it than I ordinarily might. Which is to say after lunch I will probably blather on and on.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:45 AM
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I knew what contrapposto meant!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:46 AM
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27: AP art history in eleventh grade for me. I'm pretty sure the teacher was closeted, though, so maybe it doesn't count.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:47 AM
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Somebody get Smearcase a sandwich, stat.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:48 AM
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I'm pleased with you two as well!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:48 AM
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17: People who were effeminate as children but grew up to be straight never talk about it. Because why would they?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:57 AM
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Kind of like how people who had premonitions in dreams that turned out to be false never talk about it.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:57 AM
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The closest thing we ever had to a homosexual was Gaylord Crestbotham, and he wasn't even gay, just unfortunately named.

I am usually an advocate for the odd names, but that is one badly chosen odd name.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:58 AM
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35: I'm betting Mike made that up.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:00 AM
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Although there are certainly effeminate straight adult men who do still have to deal with people's mistaken assumptions that they're gay, and presumably they were effeminate children who everybody assumed would turn out gay.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:00 AM
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I mean, they're not here in Texas. But I assume the sissy states have them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:00 AM
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The Gaylords were (are?) a street gang in Chicago.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:01 AM
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Mmm. I had a very good friend in high school who I figured there was a good shot that he was just not out yet, on stereotypical grounds (artsiness, unusual and obsessive fashion sense, tendency to be less actively butch than most teenage boys) and turns out I was wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:05 AM
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He probably gave off that signal so you didn't break his heart.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:14 AM
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Gaylord's is also an indian restaurant in the loop.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:18 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:20 AM
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As I think I've mentioned before, one of my very good college friends had a bunch of stereotypically gay mannerisms and interests but said he was straight and slept with women, and since we were in (we thought at least) a reasonably gay friendly environment everyone believed him. Then, after college, he came out and now we've lost touch and I still feel bad about it.

When I was in junior high, I kind of secretly wanted to be gay, since it felt like it would be a cool secret and my Godfather was basically infinitely cooler than the other adults I knew. But I wasn't exactly sharing that with the other kids. And ultimately my powerful, intense heterosexuality just could not be denied.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:25 AM
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May I ask a related question? What do parents, parents who want their children to grow up thinking that being gay is a fine thing to be, do about the fact that children's literature is relentlessly heteronormative? And yes, I'm ashamed for having used that word. And yes, I know that having used that word I won't be taken seriously. So if someone has an alternative, I'm happy to rephrase.

But the thing is, EVERY book I read to my kids assumes that EVERY young character will grow up to date and then marry someone of the opposite sex. Now, I'm godless enough to make sure that I, in all of my conversations with my boys about their future spouses, say "your husband or wife,"[1] but I don't think that's enough to counteract the fact that it's assumed that even Skye Penderwick, who's as butch as they come [2], will some day blossom and accept that she loves Jeffrey.

[1] Yes, this has the problem of making marriage the default assumption. And so I sometimes say, "Of course it's okay if you decide not to get married." But I'll never tell them it's okay not to have children. For fuck's sake, people, I'm Jewish. Grandchildren are my birthright.

[2] No, seriously, she is.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:26 AM
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You could read many of the Naria books where growing up to marry anybody is pretty rare for the main characters.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:31 AM
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I could also accept that hookup culture means that they'll never date anyone at all, I suppose.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:32 AM
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Reading this made me wonder who in my middle school class (it was K-8, but you get the gist) was gay -- seems weird that nobody would be, right? Then I thought "well how the fuck would I have known. I was such an outcast I didn't know shit about anybody" and then I thought wait wouldn't the gay kids be outcasts, too? What about the kids I was friends with? Wannabe skater/soon-to-be stoner who now works at a video game company: definitely no. Oddly fastidious WASPy kid that left to go to a different (private) high school down south? I do not know! I tried to find him on facebook just no, but no dice.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:33 AM
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11: It makes you "not very well educated in art history", I think. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:33 AM
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45: This seems to have worked out fairly effortlessly for us -- I can't remember a lot of effort other than talking about gay marriage as it came up in the news, and linking it back to neighbors and friends; once or twice snarling about the use of 'gay' in the generically pejorative sense. And of course it's the milieu they're in and the kids they hang out with -- at thirteen, a couple of Sally's friends came out last year, and it doesn't seem to be a problem with the other kids at all. And half the girls on the rugby team are gay (as are half the boys on the boys team).

They both seem pretty relaxed with gay as an ordinary possibility. I don't think we did anything particularly right, but the background culture is, I think, less uniformly heteronormative once you get out of literal children's books.

But I'll never tell them it's okay not to have children. For fuck's sake, people, I'm Jewish. Grandchildren are my birthright.

You and Buck. Any conversation that mentions the possibility that either of the kids would grow up to be gay gets a snarled "I don't care how I get them, I get grandchildren."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:35 AM
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49: In my case, there is something wrong with that.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:36 AM
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45: depending on how comfortable you are exposing them to books that are a little more grown-up you could read to them from Tom of Finland books.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:36 AM
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I am especially annoyed when books (movies, wev) about little kids (or equivalent) have pairing-off. Why do Moomintroll and Snork Maiden* have to boyfriend and girlfriend? Or Sosuke and Ponyo? Bleah.
*Complicated, because in the books they're clearly kiddos, but in the comics Snork Maiden runs off with a mustachioed Continental grifter.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:37 AM
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Harriet the Spy.

I think that past maybe 7 or 8 that television is more powerful than omission in kids' books, and most TV's pretty benign on this front.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:38 AM
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Dig up a copy of Heather Has Two Mommies? I haven't read it, but I understand it exists.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:39 AM
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54.2: Surely, VW doesn't even own a TV set.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:40 AM
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45: My kids have lots and lots and lots of exposure to real-world same-sex couples. I don't really worry much about depictions of adult relationships in children's literature. None of their real-world friends are solving mysteries or exploring magical lands either.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:41 AM
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None of their real-world friends are solving mysteries...

So your kids can steal shit with ease.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:44 AM
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I'm kind of choosing to believe that messaging in kids books isn't really very important, and that kids mostly just pick up on life as it is lived and can distinguish fiction as a separate world.

This may just be because I'm fond of the more racist Babar books.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:44 AM
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45- I put some time and effort into this when I ran the library at an elementary school years ago. There are a small but growing number of books (actual books with plots and stuff, not just crappy after-school-special books introducing the concept of gayness) with characters who are gay, queer, etc. I think I might still have a list somewhere?

my top favorite is King & King, although the sequel has some problematic race/adoption stuff going on.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:45 AM
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None of their real-world friends are solving mysteries or exploring magical lands either.

You're a terrible father.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:46 AM
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None of their real-world friends are solving mysteries or exploring magical lands either.

Really? We used to do that all the time when I was a kid. And we played out domestic situations too, but always heteronormatively.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:46 AM
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Or Sosuke and Ponyo?

Doesn't the girl in Spirited Away also find out at the end that she's soul partners with the little boy? I'm weirded out by those parts. But it can't be all Totoro, all the time!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:46 AM
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Oh wait I read that as none of apostropher's real-world friends and I was like "dude befriend a unicorn private eye for your kids sake quick". Now I feel bad.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:47 AM
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There's Eve Sedgewick's "How to Bring up Your Kids Gay," and David Halperin's How to Be Gay. They're nonfiction, though.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:49 AM
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Looking back, I think most of the bullying performed on me when I was in 4th-6th grade was gaybashing. I was weird in a lot of ways, but the dominant mode of humiliation was discussing what an ugly fucking dyke I was. I had just moved from a place where I don't think anyone even knew what a dyke was. "Homo" vaguely, sort of, but lesbian? Dyke? Those were new for me at 8. So I did the same thing as Mike--let it be known I had crushes on the opposite sex, somewhat fabricated. It did not have the effect of making me seem cool and popular, though.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:49 AM
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The linked post really is well-written. And reminds me that for an interval in 7th and 8th grade I kind of made myself more of an asshole to try to fit in better with some of the more popular groups and get made fun of less. But I think people in middle school only really left me alone after I punched a bully in the face a few times and he was too stunned to beat me up in response.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:51 AM
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BTW, that book Under Plum Lake that I recommended the other day has an incredibly intense representation of gay male romantic desire. It's more complicated than that because one of the boys is actually 99 years old and lives inside of the Earth, but, without being explicitly about homosexuality, it's definitely about male-male love and intimacy.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:53 AM
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I think of Sosuke and Ponyo as magical siblingmates rather than proto-romantic. Not that sibling relationships don't have their romance too, of course.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:58 AM
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67: I think people naturally become more of an asshole at that age.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:59 AM
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69: that part of the original story was a fairly strange fit to the movie, though, you have to admit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 10:59 AM
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Boy, it did not help me one bit in elemtnary and middle school that I decided I was a pacifist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:00 AM
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Like VW, I am likewise disturbed by the heteronormativity of stuff for children, but even more so, I am annoyed that we seem to ask little kids and adults alike to define themselves in relation to a "future partner." At a gender/sexuality retreat I attended with some students last spring, I finally had to tell the organizers that I was going to sit out every activity that demanded that I describe myself through the lens of someone who, as of right now anyway, DOESN'T EXIST. Why should all of childhood be obsessed with wedding days and future marriages and "types"?

While I had the flu, I found myself watching a bunch of episodes of the My Little Pony cartoon that all the nerdy adult men like so much, and it really turns out to be excellent, not least because the plot of each episode is some pretty complicated problem arising among good friends--the kinds of problems I still have with friends--not who has a crush on whom, or whether they're going to end up together or whatever. There is one episode where the little girls try to set up their single female teacher with a big hunky farm dude, and use a magic potion, and it results in everyone almost dying. Lesson: do not fuck with people's feelings just because you like to fantasize about them in couples.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:02 AM
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69: My girls see Ponyo as 100% an adoptive sibling story and about the kind of love they have for each other.

54.2 ignores the existence of the Disney Channel, which I wish I could do. But Nia's former foster family and I guess her mom before that had no problem with a 4/5/6-year-old watching "make yourself cute to get a boyfriend!" shows all day every day and now she begs for them all the time.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:02 AM
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It is very hard to separate different causal things in childhood experiences. I was definitely somewhat effeminate from long before I had any concept of gayness, and I learned early that that was something I had to hide or mitigate. (In first grade at recess I would run around the playground with limp wrists, which is how Linda Carter ran on Wonder Woman. An older friend took me aside and told me I'd better knock it off or I'd get teased.) At the same time, I was small, skinny, and bookish. But was a bookish just because, or because I was small and no good at sports? There were plenty of reasons for me to feel like an outsider, as there were for most kids I guess. In elementary school, I often preferred walking around the playground with a favorite teacher who was on recess duty; was that because I was intellectually ahead of my years, or because I knew certain teachers were kind to me even when my gender performance was not what the other kids demanded?

The fake-crush thing was just one of my strategies for fitting in. It started maybe some time in middle school, and I'd deploy it only when needed. I kept doing it into college, when finally the girl I pretended to like (and I really did like her, but not that way) really liked me back, and we had some awkward times before I came out to her -- first person I ever came out to. I'm now Facebook friends with my four major fake crushes, each of whom has turned out awesome in some interesting way.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:03 AM
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Like VW, I am likewise disturbed by the heteronormativity of stuff for children, but even more so, I am annoyed that we seem to ask little kids and adults alike to define themselves in relation to a "future partner.

Yes, this -- that in an ideal world, there wouldn't really be more children's books about children in premature versions of adult homosexual romantic relationships, but that there would be fewer children's books about children in premature versions of adult heterosexual romantic relationships. Leave the romance for the teen years where it's actually happening, and have a representative spectrum of adult characters.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:06 AM
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70: Yeah, I'm sure I was an asshole regardless, but part of it was more intentional.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:06 AM
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68: I went and found an original edition of Under Plum Lake on eBay and ordered it based on your recommendation, AWB.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:07 AM
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60: I'd love to see the list if you still have it. Thanks.


Posted by: von wafer | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:13 AM
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60: I'd love to see the list if you still have it. Thanks.


Posted by: von wafer | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:13 AM
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78: Yay! Let me know what you think! I read it when I was a kid, and then not again until last year when I taught it in a children's lit class, and sometimes it feels like a really weird dream I had rather than a book. In class, there were tears when we discussed it. Everyone found it very upsetting, but in a way they said they found productive. It creates feelings one hasn't actually had before.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:13 AM
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VW, I don't have a whole list, but I'd be glad to recommend some titles if you'd like a queer-inclusive book for kids that does XYZ. I know the midgrade and especially YA stuff better than picture books, though I suppose I need to be working to rectify that gap.

I also think that the Moomin books have to be something more complicated than heteronormative even despite the Snork Maiden stuff. I think as child I read her as being shy in general and willfully ignored the obvious crush, so I've read to the girls in a way that lends credence to that reading. So far they're mostly confused about why her face is flushing all the time and how she must have skin like a white person.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:19 AM
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I'm now Facebook friends with my four major fake crushes, each of whom has turned out awesome in some interesting way

This is very cool. I want you to get them to join up as a crime-fighting team called Bave's Angels.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:20 AM
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I had a very good friend in high school who I figured there was a good shot that he was just not out yet, on stereotypical grounds (artsiness, unusual and obsessive fashion sense, tendency to be less actively butch than most teenage boys) and turns out I was wrong.

How could you know this? Maybe he's just not out yet.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:22 AM
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82: we're long since done with picture books, so your list sounds ideal.


Posted by: von wafer | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:23 AM
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84.2 : LB tested him out.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:25 AM
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I was also accused of being gay in middle-school, and I think people have had the impression off and on for years since -- including currently, in one of the dance networks that the Dwarf Lord hasn't been to in a while. It doesn't take much to give the impression; sensible shoes, non-giggly conversations with women, unwillingness to do any `Oh you guyyys' pacification.

In middle school, faking a crush would have been the second-worst possible response, only better than admitting to a real crush: the next step was `Oh you guyyyys.' Only costly signals allowed.

So what I noticed in Mike's essay, running alongside the pain of closetedness, is that the sins of commission were just as much required of straight boys performing their jerkish masculinity. I've read similar memoirs with the heterosexual moral of `only when I understood that women were people could I truly fall in love and have great nookie'.



Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:28 AM
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86: Actually no. First high school boyfriend, tested his heterosexuality to destruction, but not this guy. (And same story with another boy in high school. For a while there I was wondering if it were just me.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:29 AM
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The main places we encounter annoying heteronormativity and related issues in stories for Jane these days:

1. Lack of variety in the lives of grownups and composition of parent-pairs in picture books

2. Oh lord, the old cartoons we watch with her (Betty Boop! Donald Duck!) Whoops, guess what, charming old stuff is full of not so charming old stuff.

3. Crushes kid characters have in stuff like Tiny Titans. I love TT but why do so many of the strips have to hinge on Beast Boy having a crush on Terra or Robin having a crush on Barbara Gordon?

As I was writing this, it came to me that I think the answer to #3 is to expose her to Krazy Kat ASAP.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:35 AM
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85: Let's see, I just read and didn't particularly like Tanita Davis's Happy Families, about twin black teens learning to understand that their dad is transgender, but I think it would be a good intro for younger (11-13?) kids who aren't looking for a very sophisticated story. It's very issue-oriented and Christian.

Jacqueline Woodson's books almost always have at least gay background characters and generally a black or racially mixed but not majority-white cast of characters. I think she's fantastic, and many of her stories skew younger than a lot of YA but hold a lot of deep meaning.

Sara Ryan's Empress of the World is about (among other things) two girls falling for each other and trying to figure out what that means while enjoying nerd camp.

I've been trying to keep track of books I read that have queer themes for the last few years, though I don't have them separated by age group or anything like that.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:38 AM
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82: And sometimes Snork Maiden is bitchy and jealous. The Moominverse is pretty straightforwardly heteronormative, I think, even if Tove Jansson wasn't. (And the comics much, much moreso than the books.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:40 AM
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89 -last : Never too early to expose your kid to sadomasochism!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:41 AM
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LB tested him out.

Closeted gay men have been known to have sex with women.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:41 AM
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82, 91: Yeah, I was kind of bummed by the way the Toffle/Miffle pairing goes down in Who Will Comfort Toffle.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:42 AM
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Not that sibling relationships don't have their romance too, of course.

Sibling relationships are like kissing your sister.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:43 AM
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94: Ha! That was the rest of my comment! "Who Will Comfort Toffle?" might as well have been called, "Will Toffle Find His Oppositely Gendered but Otherwise Matching Life Partner?"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:44 AM
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Who Will Comfort Toffle

And a hush settled over the Georgetown bar.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:45 AM
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90.1 sounded like it's not a recommendation, but I mean it's not a recommendation for adults reading here but would be fine for kids.

Too many Gay YA books get stuck in the coming-out story rut, when I think it works better to have more queer kids of various stripes as part of the background to a fleshed-out world with protagonists of any or no sexual orientation.

I was 11 or 12 when I read a galley copy of Two Weeks with the Queen, a book where a boy is sent to stay with his gay uncle while his brother is dying of cancer. I didn't come out at that moment, but I remember so distinctly the feeling of suddenly having a word for it or a moment of enlightenment or something that stuck with me until I came out for real at 14.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:45 AM
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Will Toffle Find His Oppositely Gendered but Otherwise Matching

...and even more feeble and in need of protection...

Life Partner?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:46 AM
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91: It totally is, but is that meant as cover or was it period-appropriate or was it what Jansson thought was normal? I'm really curious about that, but I don't know anyone who's writing an English-language Tove Jansson biography and I don't have any guesses about what was there originally and what got translated as it did for what reason and so on. The comics were written in English and so I guess that sums it up, but also wouldn't everything in a newspaper in the 1950s be all about finding your oppositely gendered matching partner and blah blah blah?

I mean, I liked Krazy Kat a lot as a kid, but the crush aspect really gave me the creeps. But on the other hand, tiga tea!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:49 AM
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89.3: dammit, Wertham!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:50 AM
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95 was me. Not that I'm proud of it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 11:51 AM
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17: There was a guy in my hometown a few years younger than me who had some gay mannerisms even as a kid and everyone kind of wondered about him and I'm pretty sure that he did indeed come out as a teenager.

I didn't get accused of homosexuality much as a kid. Got bullied a bit, but not too much, and not that specifically. Now that you mention it, I'm actually surprised by how much I didn't have to deal with that. I wasn't on any sports teams, dressed a bit neater than most, was in the drama club for a while, had only brief, pointless relationship with a "girlfriend," and in addition to all that, at least once I went into school wearing a t-shirt like this, but as I remember even more purple. It was a gift from an uncle. I was completely unaware of the symbolism of triangles and rainbows until someone pointed it out to me.

As for heteronormativity in kids' fiction, the first thing that comes to mind is Tintin, which is almost entirely sexless (Castafiore is infatuated with Haddock, but she's not a major character). Some books are pretty racist by today's standards, but most are fine. Doesn't have any strong female characters, though, FWIW.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:09 PM
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I only made one demand on Lee about being out about our relationship and she didn't abide by it and I haven't made her, but at some point she's not going to be able to take Mara to see her secret ex's elderly mother because it'll be too obvious from what Mara says that she's being raised by two moms and that would out Lee, which would out the ex, which the ex has forbidden.

Even in the mid-'90s when they were together, it was not normal for two straight women who were just friends to live together, buy a house together, spend all their time together, not date anyone else, eventually come to a place of disagreement that involved one buying out the other's portion in the house and the one who moved out (Lee) moving in with another woman pretty promptly, and yet this is not something anyone can talk about. The ex's parents were supposedly told about the relationship at one point and it caused them such pain that no one is ever to mention it again, although everyone Lee's age and younger in the ex's family knows.

This just seems like a setup for so much pain for me. I know it's partly reproducing the dynamic Lee had with her own family, but that was in a different era. Our rule is that we will never pressure Mara to not tell the truth about our family, though we recognize she might do so as her own choice. She finally hit the milestone of wishing she had a family with a mom and dad a few weeks back.

When Lee's sister Grace (bio aunt; Lee was adopted by her paternal grandparents) died last month, I was blown away that Grace's son had us listed as a couple in the obituary just the same as all the other straight married couples were listed (including one where I've heard divorce papers have been filed, but I can understand not rocking the boat publicly there and neither of us asked if consent was given or what). I am sometimes floored by what a moving surprise it is when we're treated like any other couple would be, but it is.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:22 PM
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Okay, wait, I'm almost positive that a Pink Floyd band t-shirt does not send any gay signals at all. I don't care what color it is.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:24 PM
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Even in the mid-'90s when they were together, it was not normal for two straight women who were just friends to live together, buy a house together, spend all their time together, not date anyone else

What? My great aunt and her really good friend did that for like seventy years and nobody ever said a thing!

ahem


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:24 PM
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Oh Sifu, please tell me that Boston marriage took place in actual Boston.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:25 PM
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106: Literally in Boston? Because that would be awesome.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:25 PM
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And I am fox-pwned.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:26 PM
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106: I remember reading about a couple (?) like that in a history of lesbianism book -- they were very insulted when the author congratulted them on being out as lesbians so early. They said they were just friends.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:28 PM
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I never once heard the term "Boston marriage" before now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:28 PM
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Me neither, but I'm glad to know it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:30 PM
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Not quite, sorry. Is there such a thing as Newburyport marriage?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:30 PM
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112: Much more useful than "contraposto."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:31 PM
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I knew I'd be pwned on the Boston marriage and am glad I avoided the risk. And I really don't mean that it's impossible for women to have non-sexual friendships or anything, just that Lee's ex's family was over at the house all the time and at some point they must have noticed that no one ever slept in the spare bedroom and so maybe, just maybe, the fact that no one ever talked about anything doesn't mean that no one suspected. But that's just my thought.

Lee was outed in a very public, shaming, traumatizing way in high school and it clouded a lot of her life after that. Ours is the first non-closeted relationship she's had and her last job was the first where she wasn't at least officially closeted. We used to talk about this more when the change was new, but I think she'd agree wholeheartedly that living openly is easier and has led to a surprising number of pleasant acceptances.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:34 PM
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Once I was housesitting for a lesbian professor, who invited me over to meet her cats and see the house, and she introduced me to her "roommate," which was obviously BS because they clearly shared a bedroom, etc. It was very confusing to me that people who are obviously gay and in long-term relationships would lie to the face of an obviously queer-friendly person about the nature of a relationship that is right in front of everyone's face. But then it turned out that the professor's mother came to town, and when I was invited over for dinner, I realized this was a lie Mom had been swallowing for like 12 years. "They're such good friends! I'm glad they have each other! It's so hard for unmarried women these days!"


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:34 PM
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My friend related a funny conversation with her daughter: a peer has two mommies, which is totally NBD. Then the mommies broke up and are now both with other women, and so my friend had a quasi-stereotyped conversation about "Yes, sometimes kids have four mommies. Other kids have two mommies, which is normal, but it's also normal sometimes for kids have four."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:37 PM
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I honestly didn't know there was more to their relationship than friendship until well after my aunt had died (in her late '80s). It was just oh, yeah, her friend the other old lady she shares a house with. With the kumquat tree, and the beds pushed together in the bedroom. What a nice place that is to visit. Far more important to the family conception of her was the fact that it took her three hours to eat a lobster.

I don't really know how she (or her "friend", or her siblings) felt about the gender or sexual politics of all this, but you have to admit that's a long time to spend eating a lobster.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:37 PM
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"Yes, sometimes kids have four mommies. Other kids have two mommies, which is normal, but it's also normal sometimes for kids have four."

I would have such an urge to claim that some women could split, like ameobas.

I didn't know there were moomincomics! Can't decide if I like them or think they simplify the books, though I expect my memory is complicating the books.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:39 PM
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115.1: did she ever check the spare bed for a soup ladle?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:40 PM
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I also realize now that if she had said, "This is my partner," I might have gotten the idea that it is OK to casually mention her lesbianism at school, which, apparently, it was not. Universities can be incredibly closeted, in ways that I think are extremely hurtful to students. The last college I taught at had 1 out professor, who, despite working in another field, had to teach the queer theory class because otherwise there would be zero classes that addressed queerness on campus. I'm sure everyone there thought they were very PC and lefty and all that, but it seems no one there ever asked themselves if the lack of out faculty might actually have something to do with them and the environment they created.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:40 PM
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118: Maybe it was an especially big lobster.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:40 PM
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Also I'll repeat myself: I'm perpetually delighted that a kid at our daycare is being raised openly by a threesome of men. Granted, they're older (all over 50) and very wealthy, and thus somewhat immune to judgment, but I still find it amazing and fascinating. (The fascinating thing being that this is happening in not-Austin, Texas, not the particulars of their family.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:40 PM
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117: we know a kid with six grandmas.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:40 PM
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that's a long time to spend eating a lobster.

Not if you've practiced on clams.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:40 PM
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Oh, hey, this is the thread where I can say that it was kind of hilarious when we ran into one of Mara's preschool/daycare teachers at Pride with her girlfriend, but then another of Mara's teachers, whose son is in Mara's class, split from her husband and is now living with her co-teacher, who was on the basketball team and Lee and I always assumed was probably gay.

We keep joking that we've started a trend and I really want to interrogate Mara a little more to see how much she understands about Ms. X and Ms. Y and the extent to which they're like her Mommy and Mama. Once she leaves the program for kindergarten, I'm going to ask her all kinds of questions!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:41 PM
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you have to admit that's a long time to spend eating a lobster

Yet another euphemism I hadn't heard before...


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:41 PM
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That's a beautiful essay, even by the standards of that blog -- it so elegantly describes how pubescent boys are driven to inflict harm on girls as well as on one another. It should be, like, mandatory reading for all kids in middle school.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:43 PM
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Mike's essay is excellent. Thanks, Mike.

The first thing that struck me, though, is that, damn, I behaved like an asshole, or at least against my true nature, for a couple of years in early high school in order to gain friends. It was all very calculated, and kind of sick in the head. I'm straight for the most part. A lot of us were learning how to perform heteronormativity, and popularity.

The other thing: it is weird to me that people are talking about "acting gay" or "sending gay signals" here. This was touched on upthread, I think, but man, for every gay-seeming kid who turned out to be gay, there's another who didn't. This 'gay-seeming' business doesn't carry a lot of water for me. It perpetuates stereotypes! I'm all for heterosexual men striking contrapposto poses.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:45 PM
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It should be, like, mandatory reading for all kids in middle school.

I think it would be taken as instructions.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:48 PM
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did she ever check the spare bed for a soup ladle?

Some Bea Arthur goodness, for those who didn't get the joke.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 12:51 PM
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I was a bit contrapposto in high school, but also a flamboyant flirt who spent a lot of energy trying to get into one heterosexual imbroglio or another, and i had enough weirdos around me in drama club that I wasn't afraid what the mouth breathers thought of me.

My high point in all this was in German class, when the teacher taught us the word for "charming village" and asked for examples. My girlfriend offered New Hope, which as oudemia knows is a gay hub in addition to a charming village. Football moron Bill We/ber shouted, "I saw k-sky in New Hope last weekend." I turned on him and said, "what are you implying, Bill? Are you saying I'm gay? Do you wonder if I have a picture of you? On my ceiling?" He turned beet red.

This is not to suggest for a minute that I did anything to make actual gay students feel welcome in our high school (I only remember one, plus a little bit of showy bisexuality among my girl friends), only that I was comfortable using gay chicken to establish my own weirdo bona fides.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:05 PM
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I was comfortable using gay chicken to establish my own weirdo bona fides get some Anna Nicole Smith face time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:11 PM
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132: What are you implying, k-sky? Are you saying oudemia is gay?

I'm sure I've told this story here before, but the way I came out totally officially (as opposed to just telling my friends and whatnot; it felt different) was in my senior HS English class when the teacher was complaining about teaching at the boys' school and how annoying it was when students who'd been in her drama program would come back and tell her they were gay, as if she needed to know their personal business and who they slept with. I don't think I even raised my hand but just said something like, "Look, probably all the students here already knows this from me or from rumor, but I'm gay and I know that you're married and I've met your husband and heard stories about your daughters and maybe I don't need to know about your personal business and who you sleep with, but obviously you don't understand what kind of information they were trusting you with!" People can just be so fucking stupid and I was so angry, but it was really cathartic to know that I'd gotten to speak for myself.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:13 PM
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132: the random other person I know from your high school was certainly not averse to a bit of showy bisexuality in his time. I'm thinking not so much anymore, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:14 PM
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Thorn, that's brilliant. I didn't fully understand how to deploy that very argument until recent years. You were a wise teen.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:16 PM
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134: no, she used to hang out in New Hope. (Or was that already on Standpipe's blog?)

135: totally! We had a good group of nutters.

Thorn, that story is awesome. And incredibly pointed for a HS student.

This is on topic: http://www.vulture.com/2013/01/todd-glass-on-his-first-year-as-an-out-comedian.html


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:17 PM
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137.1: oh duh whoops heh.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:19 PM
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k-sky and I were totally gay together in New Hope. I had his picture on my ceiling! (New Hope also had a semi-famous head shop. I bought WhipIts there.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:22 PM
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63: It's especially bad in Whisper of the Heart, which Miyazaki adapted from the manga but did not direct. (There's something about this impulse that reminding me of how angry I was at the reactionary last days of the newspaper comic For Better or Worse, in which we discovered that none of the now-adult child characters would be allowed to move away and spend their lives by themselves or even with people they hadn't known when they were four.)


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:24 PM
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I was a very gay-politicized teenager before I was actually sure I was gay, and I think that actually set a good framework for me to be comfortable with myself. My friends had to make me stop turning around and saying every time we hit a new writer in our literature textbooks, "And he/she was gay, but somehow that doesn't make it into the bio!" because they didn't care, although maybe the one who eventually came out did.

I just figured that statistically there were gay people around us at school (including, it turns out, the girl everyone assumed was gay and who took some shit for that, though she and her black partner just adopted a beautiful baby and have gotten a lot of facebook love from other former classmates, plus the friend who prompted the response when I came out that "Well, we always assumed it would either be you or her!") and so I had a moral obligation to make them as comfortable as possible. I mean, I obviously understood that I didn't have crushes on boys the way other people did, but I thought it was more likely I'd grow up to be a miserable-and-alone or blissfully alone brain in a vat than have a partner. I mean, I mean, it's actually a lot more complicated than all this.

My only other Teen Thorn input is that whenever someone (typically male) would call someone gay, I'd say, "So, are you saying you've slept with him? Because how else can you be sure?

This comment is too long. Time for another one!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:24 PM
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Regarding fake crushes, I did this, too. Long about middle school, it was time to "go with" someone (sort of a funny, vague, entirely platonic arrangement as far as I could tell) and I had an idea that I was supposed to do this and an idea that it wasn't quite where I was headed, though there are maybe three or four years where I'm really not sure what my grasp of my sexuality was. First I tried telling people I wanted to go with this one girl (can't remember how I chose her; I don't think it was someone I was close with) and then, for a couple of years I feigned some sort of interest in two girls I had real friendships with, but always a light enough feigning that nobody had to do anything about it. I'm in touch with both of them, one of them only in the last few weeks. They're interesting people. One of them actually asked me to prom senior year and I said no because 1) I emphatically did not want to go to prom and 2) I had an idea it might be sad for someone to know a few years later they'd gone to prom with the class homo.

By high school I was hanging out with some nice smart weirdos and being in the closet was a very passive thing, because everyone's love life was a bit of a grey area, and I had a female best friend people might have assumed I was involved with but really I imagine most people knew the score. And then around 17 I came out to a few people and then everyone in the fucking universe. The End.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:24 PM
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(I've had lunch, as you can see.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:24 PM
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86: I believe the Thompson-Fry technique is no longer considered definitive by reputable psychologists.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:28 PM
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and so I had a moral obligation to make them as comfortable as possible

Many are the high school students who decide they have a moral obligation; few are those whom it leads to making anything more comfortable for anyone else.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:29 PM
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To the point parsimon and others are raising about why the straight guys don't look back on how totally gay-seeming their childhoods were but the gay guys do, I think it's related to the horizontal identities Andrew Solomon talks about in that book heebie is reading. I mean, who I am now has to come from somewhere, so how do I make a coherent-ish story with foreshadowing that makes who I am now make sense?

When I was eight or ten, I regularly dreamed of someday living in a treehouse with another woman so we could share caring for our foster/adopted children and still have time to write. Should I draw a direct line from that to now? Who knows?

As I remember it, the last conversation I had with the girl I had such a crush on in high school back after we were a year or so out of high school involved her telling me that she hoped I'd be happy someday, that there was this black lesbian who lived in her condo complex who'd make me think that someday she could see me with someone like that. And Lee (who, recall, wasn't supposed to be out at the time) lived in that condo complex with her rebound girlfriend after the still-closeted ex.....

If Mara comes out, there will be a lot of stories I can help her tell herself about how she got there. If Nia does, we're going to have to hang a whole lot on how much Justin Bieber looks like a lesbian or just not talk about it. But I don't think this is weird or wrong or totally reinforcing stereotypes if it's the people themselves doing it in a thoughtful way.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:31 PM
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142: I went to the prom with my male best friend who is (now) a homo!* It's a happy memory. I took a bunch of acid and did an interpretive dance to the sunrise.

*This is slightly complicated because he was straight then. He says he had a crush on one dude in his 20s, and wasn't fully into dudes until his 30s (at which point he was married with children). Now he is divorced and remarried (to a dude).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:32 PM
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140 and 144 are me, sorry.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:34 PM
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145: Yeah, well, I was pretty annoyingly priggish. (Am?) It eventually got diagnosed as Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, which is probably fair. I have worked very hard to move away from it, but at the core I'm still the World's Most Judgmental Person and would like to get to write all the moral laws for the universe, since I am obviously the one best-situated to do so.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:35 PM
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Perhaps worse than fake-crushing on someone, is to date them and convince yourself that you actually like the person, but then ultimately having to break up with them, because: gay. I feel badly for my high school girlfriend for this reason, but I really did like her, and she was a hugely important person in my life during the awful high school years.

Oh, and is it strange to feel weird about coming out on a blog where one mostly lurks and is anonymous?


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:35 PM
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147: Interpretive dance! Awesome. This really cracked me up.


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:37 PM
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Oh, and is it strange to feel weird about coming out on a blog where one mostly lurks and is anonymous?

If most of the commenters didn't feel weird about commenting here at all, I would think that I had not been doing my job properly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:38 PM
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"I saw k-sky in New Hope last weekend."

Oh for fuck's sake. Had your drama club just done The Crucible perchance? I saw Goody K-sky with the devil!

Thorn, I wish I had had the chutzpah to say something like that in high school. I sat in enraged silence as my fundamentalist chemistry teacher made a (chemistry-related! Good ol' Gay-Lussac's Law!) fag joke. I wonder if he's on facebook. I guess it wouldn't be satisfying to tell him off. He also made an anti-abortion remark in chemistry class. My health teacher, on the other hand, made a sort of clumsy pro-gay remark I remember to this day and appreciate. She might've been on the team. I don't really know.

I have now blathered and perhaps will not blather about the whole Jodie Foster thing after all.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:38 PM
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will not blather about the whole Jodie Foster thing after all

I wish you would.


Posted by: von wafer | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:40 PM
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will not blather about the whole Jodie Foster thing after all

I wish you would.


Posted by: von wafer | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:40 PM
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150.last: No. Sometimes this place feels real. Feel as weird as is natural to you.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:40 PM
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A whole lot, apparently.


Posted by: von wafer | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:40 PM
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Oh, and is it strange to feel weird about coming out on a blog where one mostly lurks and is anonymous?

Special extra-fruity fruit basket!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:40 PM
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I think I was at the very tail end of the period when high schoolers of my socioeconomic class could be assumed to be homophobic. Although I knew a number of people my age who were out through my Unitarian youth group, there was only one person that I can remember being out during high school itself (the guy who eventually moved to Miami to work at a drag bar), although starting basically the following September a number of other people in my circle came out.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:43 PM
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Mr. Smearcase, I know I've said this before, but I'm talking about saying that in 1997 or so, after having been aware of myself for a year and a half or so, which is a lot of time when you're that young. You're only a few years older than I am, but the culture changed a lot between when you were in school and when I was in school, and it's because of people like you who came out when it was less safe and (relatively) comfortable to do so that things changed.

I keep hoping someday I'll see our high school health/PE teacher at a bar or something someday so I can thank her for being so nice to me, which she always was. A week or so after the incident in my English class, she saw me in the hall and said something about being glad to see me looking so happy and comfortable, enough to know that she was aware and supportive. And there'd been a nun who came out and took a break from the order when I was a freshman, so even though I might have been the first student to come out publicly, there was precedent and while she never taught me I at least got to sit in a classroom with a HOMOPHOBIA IS A SOCIAL DISEASE bumper sticker on the corkboard.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:47 PM
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The thing about the Jodie Foster conversation is that I posted something pretty angry last night and, just the same, did not foresee the somewhat heated conversation that followed. It was one of those "oh wait, not everybody in the world feels exactly as I do" moments. I guess the crux of it was whether your privacy is being violated in a way worthy of sympathy when your extravagant livelihood rests on your fame and people think maybe it would be a good thing to do to come out publicly. John Hinckley came up in the conversation repeatedly in a way I still cannot follow.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:52 PM
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"Now, I'm not going to say anything about anyone's lifestyle, but one thing that you should know, is that whenever there is anal sex, there is blood. The rectum bleeds. So consider that." -- my high school health/PE teacher


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:52 PM
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And that was the worst dodge ball game ever.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:54 PM
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Yeah, in my high school, while I don't remember any homophobic bullying at all, I don't recall anyone being out, although there were certainly plenty of guys doing k-sky-esque performative gayishness. (I can't remember if Matt whatsisname who went to prom in a dress was out, or was doing schtick. Schtick would have been in character, but he might have been gay I suppose.) A bunch of guys came out freshman year of college (like the two exes (well, an ex and about a fifth, I didn't actually date the second guy) I mentioned above).

I'm not sure why that was: I really don't think there would have been a social penalty for being out (and there may actually have been students who were out who I don't remember or didn't know about, I was very deeply not paying close attention to my social environment), but it did seem as if people didn't feel comfortable with it until college. This was graduating class of '88, to put it on a timeline.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:54 PM
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One thing that's striking in the linked story, and in Smearcase's story above, is how not-scary it is to ask someone to go steady with you, or to comment on their body, if you don't actually like that gender. If I think of someone I actually had a crush on, in middle school, the huge pile of embarrassment would have kept me from ever mentioning parts of their body outloud. But sure, if I had to invent a crush, talking about them doesn't seem particularly scary.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:57 PM
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Also it's funny to think back to someone I had a crush on in middle school, because they look like a TWELVE YEAR OLD and yet I can remember why they were so dang cute.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:58 PM
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164 to 159.

To 161, while I agree with everything I saw you say on FB, I think the point of bringing up Hinckley is that Foster, as an ex-sexualized-child-star who was stalked as a teen by a no-fooling gun-wielding lunatic, she has more of an excuse for being irrationally reclusive and freaked out about anything she perceives as prurient curiosity than anyone else might. Doesn't make her behavior on the issue good, but it gives her a better excuse than most other similarly situated actors for behaving badly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 1:58 PM
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about why the straight guys don't look back on how totally gay-seeming their childhoods were but the gay guys do

Surely I'm not the only straight guy here who's gone and watched some He-Man on Netflix and pondered just how utterly freaking gay that show was.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:01 PM
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One of my friends in elementary school used to get a lot of shit because people thought he was gay. I remember at some point my other friend and I went to ask our teacher how our third friend would know if he was gay or not. In retrospect this is simultaneously mortifying, dickish of us, and sort of insane, but she very patiently explained that some people sort of know, and then they try it and see, and then they know for sure. (The friend who got a lot of shit, by the way, is the definitely-not-gay friend in comment 48.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:03 PM
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This is slightly complicated because he was straight then. He says he had a crush on one dude in his 20s, and wasn't fully into dudes until his 30s (at which point he was married with children).

Wait, is this tongue in cheek, or are you suggesting his sexual orientiation actually changed from straight to gay over the course of his 20s/30s?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:03 PM
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I've been afraid to watch Jodie Foster's acceptance speech.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:03 PM
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You can't catch gay, Parsi.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:08 PM
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"Prurient" is the word that came up last night and is still the issue for me, because it reinforces the idea that sexual orientation is...well a friend explained it well last night and I'm just going to paraphrase: failing to question the categorization of sexual orientation as "private life" suggests that homosexuality is indeed a dirty secret. Let's just put it this way: imagine a heterosexual (but not spherical) Jodie Foster. She gets married to a man, as heterosexuals do, the scamps. What happens? Total secret?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:09 PM
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165: Oh god, yes. Even still, I am totally mortified by the idea that someone might know whether I "like" someone I actually like, while rumors about all kinds of depravity involving me and people I'm not worried about abound and I take some perverse delight in them.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:10 PM
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Parsi: mostly just embarrassing and weird. A lot of it boils down to complaining ON A NATIONALLY TELEVISED AWARD SHOW about how people won't let you just, you know, be.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:11 PM
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I don't think that was the nature of my fear, heebie.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:11 PM
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176 crossed with 175. Right, that's what's I heard. But I like her so much.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:14 PM
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You're right, of course.

Again, I don't think her failure to come out or her self-righteousness about it is defensible, it's just that early trauma does, I think, give her more of an excuse than most to be irrationally twitchy and frightened about how people would react to any information about her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:14 PM
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175: "It is joy to be hidden, but a disaster not to be found."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:16 PM
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174: If they whisper false of you,
Do not bother to deny.
If the words they say be true,
Weep and storm and swear they lie.


Posted by: Dorothy Parker | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:16 PM
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||

My arch-nemesis retired last year. So I'm teaching a course which he'd been teaching for the past couple years.

Tutoring center sends me an email: "We can't get anyone to agree to tutor this course, because all of our tutors say they don't understand any of the material."

I got worried that I wouldn't be able to find a grader, so I acquired his grades from the past two years. Of the students who haven't graduated, there was 1 F, 2 Bs, and 24 As. SEE HOW TERRIBLE HE IS GOOD RIDDANCE.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:18 PM
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Is this "they have to learn calculator techniques" guy? Good riddance indeed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:18 PM
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Yep, that's the one. Also the "I need my half-hour before class to put a dense thicket of notes on the board. Then class means I read the notes outloud and dismiss class after 20 minutes."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:20 PM
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158 - I had had a similar thought run through my head. And, it's true, extra fruity-fruit baskets are the best!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:20 PM
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Also of the my-retirement-speech-contains-my-two-fallback-pieces-of-wisdom fame:
1. Good losers usually are.
2. If you want it bad enough, you'll get it bad enough.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:21 PM
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178.2: The early trauma would have made her retiring right afterwards despite her early promise understandable. The fact that any information about her might be disseminated such that people can react to it is totally elective on her part.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:22 PM
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170: This is what he says. Well, no. I think he describes it as having had a kind of notional bisexuality until he was 30 (notional in the sense that in that time there was only one actual guy he was into). Then after that he was gay.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:24 PM
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Whatever she said, it's something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:27 PM
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186: Eh. It doesn't justify giving her a complete pass. But if you look at Foster and ask "What possible reason could she have for behaving in a whacked-out, cowardly manner in matters relating to publicity and her sexuality," it does still seem to me that her life history gives some kind of explanation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:27 PM
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Also, she was wasted.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:28 PM
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I understand 178.2 but I still feel like my first reaction to that might be not to be a movie star. Of course I can't say for sure, never having been a movie star.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:28 PM
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One of my first comings-out was to a particularly tight-knit listserv.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:29 PM
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Does that happen?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:31 PM
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191: What option did she have in life other than to become wealthy and famous, Mr. S? Have you no compassion?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:32 PM
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194: She just wanted to be an artist -- the wealth and fame with unwanted byproducts.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:44 PM
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195 corrected: She just wanted to be an artist -- the wealth and fame were unwanted byproducts.



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:45 PM
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I had no idea Jodie Foster wasn't out-out until very recently, like a year or two ago. My friend was friends with her kid at school, they went over to the multiple moms house, she showed up places with a partner, etc.

Her MO seems to be "I'm out but you can't talk about that in the national media and I won't affirmatively confirm as much in the press" which is a little weird. OTOH having seen a little bit of it up close I don't begrudge any celebrity their hatred of the intrusiveness of the paparazzi -- it really is a truly horrifying thing to behold, especially when kids are involved.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:48 PM
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I was going to say, "Being an actor in Hollywood films is just like being gay: it's who she is, you jerk." but I think 194 got there first.


Posted by: von wafer | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:52 PM
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One thing that's striking in the linked story, and in Smearcase's story above, is how not-scary it is to ask someone to go steady with you, or to comment on their body, if you don't actually like that gender

This whole thread mostly reminds me of how easily mortified I was in High School.

I didn't have a bad HS experience but I did generally stay completely out of the normal social loop, and it's hard for me to imagine ever having wanted any personal information about me to be "public knowledge."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:56 PM
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I think the comments about Jodie Foster here are unwarrantedly uncharitable. My reading of her speech (which I didn't see, only read about later) was that she had come out to the people she actually personally knew, ages ago, and that she didn't feel an obligation to talk about herself with the public at large. Maybe that's not as public-minded as you would prefer your celebrities to be, but it's a defensible position. Moreover, she's someone who grew up in the sixties and seventies, and while in college was terrorized by a lunatic who tried to assassinate the president because he was obsessed with her -- it seems totally understandable that she would be extra guarded.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 2:56 PM
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I might view her speech more charitably if she hadn't seemed to insult people who have come out publicly.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:00 PM
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193 to 187.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:03 PM
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OT: Having just come through a frightening slipping-off-the-icy-road-across-the-snowy-median-and-onto-the-opposite-side-of-the-highway with but a bumped knee and the adrenaline letdown, I should like now to recommend (1) Volvo products,* (2) the driving skill of the Flip-Pater, (3) a nice empty stretch of the-opposite-side-of-the-highway, (4) one-car incidents over other sorts and (5) the professionalism of the public safety services of the New England states.

Still alive. Still alive!

* Again: whiter than white.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:08 PM
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Kudos to the Flip-Pater.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:13 PM
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202: I have an ex who would claim to have been bi and now be gay. He was always enthusiastically sexually involved with women in his teens and early 20s, then became bi-curious, then actively bisexual, and around age 30 claimed he was now exclusively gay. I always had my doubts because I had known him to lie about his sexuality whenever it was convenient, and upon starting a relationship with an extremely jealous man, it definitely became convenient to be exclusively gay. But as a bisexual person, I've certainly gone through "phases" in a way that gay and straight people don't seem to.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:14 PM
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200: This is addressed a bit starting from 167 but also, again, I don't really think "extra guarded" seems to fit with "famous movie actor who goes on awards shows on prime time national tv." As a friend of mine commented, "Short of releasing a sex tape, she couldn't have picked a less effective way of promoting her privacy."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:15 PM
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(NB to 205: No offense is intended to anyone who was Born This Way. I totally believe that some people have fixed queer/straight sexuality from infancy. I also totally don't know what that would feel like, and I also believe that I know other people for whom sexuality has genuinely been fluid and shape-shifty over the course of their lives.)


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:21 PM
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Still alive. Still alive!

Yay!


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:23 PM
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And there are people who are largely oriented one way, but not adverse to a bit of the other. My ex g/friend shared a flat with a gay male couple for quite a long time. Both very out as gay rather than bisexual. She had to keep secret from her then boyfriend (who was also very good friends with her flatmates) just how often one of her flatmates tried to sleep with her when they were drunk.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:28 PM
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Alcohol generally moves you a point or two on the Kinsey scale.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:30 PM
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|| This story, in which a tremendously famous college football player apparently invented a Canadian Stanford girlfriend who then tragically died, may not be unrelated to the subject of this thread. |>


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:33 PM
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211: I knew I picked the wrong thread!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:34 PM
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Aaron Swartz on why he [was]n't gay. Are there others who feel this way?

http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/notgay


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:40 PM
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Yes, of course.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:43 PM
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Alcohol generally moves you a point or two on the Kinsey scale.

This is so true! I'd heard a joke version of this as: What's the difference between a straight man and a gay man? Answer: A 6-pack.


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:47 PM
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146.2: wait, Thorn lives in a treehouse??? Awesome.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:51 PM
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213 is why I began preferring the term queer to gay. Don't box me in, man! (No pun intended.)


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:51 PM
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The link in 213 pisses me off, too. I am coming to think I am something of a totalitarian when it comes to sexuality. "Gosh I hate labels" will be a fine sentiment in fifty years when nobody's fired or beaten up for their orientation anymore.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:52 PM
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209: "I haven't had very much sex with women, but the sex I had with women at the Rainbow Gathering was the best evar!" -- A very stereotypically gay colleague


Posted by: William Howard Taft | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:53 PM
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219 and previous: the term of art among Burning Man-types is "playasexual".

218: I thought it was a very interesting illustration of how young Aaron Swarz actually was.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 3:54 PM
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218: I dunno, why is that so infuriating? It's not exactly how I would characterize things, but I think it is important to foreground the political and social over the crudely biologically deterministic.

Two movie quotes:
"In 100 years, there won't be any men or women, just wankers." --Trainspotting
"In 5 years, you could be anything in the world, but you won't be a Massachusetts State Police officer."
--The Departed*

Synthesize those, and you're getting close to an accurate prediction of where we'll be at in discussion of sexuality in milieux like this one in 20 years.

*Obvs. sub in "bi" or "queer" or "trans" or "gay" or whatever for "MSP officer".


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 4:00 PM
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As an educator, I find that young people of course have the most infuriating ideas about sexuality, because they're so ahistorical and disrespectful to the struggles of previous (and current!) generations. But part of what is infuriating is that I want to live in their world, in which the sexual revolution is over, and I can't. So I teach this poem and explain that it is related to my feelings about their experience of sexuality. Also, please stop making fun of lesbians.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 4:05 PM
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it seems totally understandable that she would be extra guarded.

Jodie Foster had an entire career before Taxi Driver, before Hinckley. "Extra-guarded" combined with a blinding brilliance and savage wit, and maybe an intellectualized kindness and generosity, is who she was, and/or who she portrayed at 8 years old. I haven't seen much change in forty years.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 4:06 PM
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I think it is important to foreground the political and social over the crudely biologically deterministic

Now I'm confused. I thought Smearcase's sentiment in 218 was pretty political.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 4:40 PM
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I forget where it was, but someone recently summed up that debate as "we learned that identities boxed people in and were acts of violence, but then all of a sudden we learned, through the history of gay liberation, how they could be used to set people free." Swartz's sentiment has a well-intentioned application of Foucault ("acts not identities") but is too cavalier about the historical accomplishments using the terms of "biopolitics" to push back far beyond what Foucault had dreamt of when he died.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 4:55 PM
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I learned the word contraposto from Garry Wills's book on John Wayne: none more gay.

The final Moomin book was published in 1971, the same year homosexuality became legal in Finland. The comic strip first began running in a London paper, the Evening News, in the mid-50s, before its world-wide syndication: homosexuality became legal in the UK in 1967. I imagine Tove J did what she felt she could, given that her relation with Tuulikka Pietelä had actually been against the law for its first two decades. I've seen it claimed that Thingummy and Bob (from Finn Family Moomintroll) should be read as a couple. Also: Moomintroll's crush on Snufkin.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 5:08 PM
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Before she met Tuulikka, Tove had had a passionate affair with the theatre director Vivica Bandler: the Finnish names for Thingummy and Bob are Tofslan och Vifslan (Tove and Vivica).


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 5:14 PM
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I totally believe that some people have fixed queer/straight sexuality from infancy. I also totally don't know what that would feel like

I've been thinking about this -- I would say I have been straight whenever I wasn't brain-in-a-vat (thanks Thorn!), so I don't know how it compares to having broader, or varying, tastes. It's a little odd in that I feel (or think, or think I ought to feel) that I'm not sexually attracted just to a man's body, but to a lot of traits that I do also find in women; I have enjoyed snogging men who were smaller and more gracile than I am; and yet, women do not inspire me to lust.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 5:14 PM
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And half the girls on the rugby team are gay (as are half the boys on the boys team).

The first half of this is very expected, the second hugely surprising. (To me, at least.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 5:25 PM
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228: Interesting! I find that I am often attracted to small-ish, feminine-bodied men, but generally to women who are larger, musclier, or boobier than I am. I don't mind being the "big" one with a man, but I love being the "small" one with a woman.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 5:47 PM
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larger, musclier, or boobier

These seem haptically distinct to me, so I'm interested that you group them. Is it usually `big' and `small' rather than, say, `soft' and `hard'? (Why can't I toss off a catchy risque poem alluding to the Tao?)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 6:08 PM
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Or 'big' and 'hard'.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 6:13 PM
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John Wayne: none more gay

(Obligatory.)


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 6:18 PM
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haha yes I was thinking of that as I typed.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 6:29 PM
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216: Alas, some dreams don't come true. And I didn't imagine that I'd be spending my writing time tapping out annoyingly long blog comments, but behold!

I really appreciated Halford's comments on the Jodie Foster thing. Sure, it was already known that she has two (I think?) sons who happen to have her surname hyphenated with that of the woman then rumored to be her partner and yet she didn't want to talk about her personal life and sexual orientation? I don't know if this is like how people apparently desperately want to know Adele's baby name and maybe whether Beyonce was really pregnant or had some elaborate surrogacy scheme, which is yet another step from conspiracy theories about how Jessica Chastain is secretly Ron Howard's daughter.... I come down on the pro-outness side as I did with Anderson Cooper when we had that discussion, but it's hard to always know why people draw the privacy lines they do.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 6:30 PM
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WAITAMINUTE Jessica Chastain-Foster is the male baby Jodie Foster and Adele paid Ron Howard and Beyoncé to have on their behalf? What the hell, Anderson Cooper. What the hell have you done.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 6:34 PM
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"In 100 years, there won't be any men or women, just wankers." --Trainspotting

Chobits!

The world of shojo manga is today one of the most significant cultural industries in terms of the number of women producing image-based narratives largely about women and largely for women. It is an industry that builds directlyon amateur productions. CLAMP, for instance, first won audiences through do jinshi or amateur manga circuits. Manga production also provides a constant stream of new stories for the television anime and manga film industries. Indeed, from the 1980s, the creativity of women manga writers, illustrators, and producers became one of the most important forces in the anime industry, and many of the sexy girl figures associated with shonen modes of address are riffs on figures first produced by women manga artists. their deconstruction (perversion of perversion).

This is where the CLAMP entity exerts its cloud-like effect, as if encrypting itself across media with its earnest yet subtle realignments of genre expectations. For instance, the seinen mode of address does not entirely cohere in Chobits. There is just too much shojo in Chobits. In fact, it is easy to read Chobits as a shojo series. Yet this shojo quality of Chobits is not merely a matter of multiple orientations, as Saito suggests, which allow men and women to inhabit the same text differently, men hystericizing women, and women coming to terms with their hystericization. If this were the case, the anime would not get stuck alongside Hideki or obscure Chii's reset button

It recalls Foucault's view of female hysterical simulation as a counter-maneuver in which the patient gets the better of the neurologist, insisting: "if you want to use me to denounce the simulators, well then, you really will have to hear what I want to say and see what I want to do!"

With Chii in Chobits, CLAMP issues this cry: "if you guys really want to play with the perversion implicit in the male gaze, then you'll have to see what I want to wear and read what I want to read! You'll have to deal with a lot of frills!"

Perversion, then, need not be thought on the model of lack--for instance, a lack of coordination in the body that makes it fail and yearn for supplementation. It can be thought on the model of "encephalization" of the body, on the liberation of Images and Elements from apparently useless dead ends and "spandrels" of evolution, in divergent series.

It is part of the conceit of Chobits that
there is an "evolution" in romance, or an adaptation of romance to the computer era.

...Lamarre

I really want to see Wandering Son

Could America have a prime-time series about such a fifth-grader?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 6:55 PM
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My beloved professor friend who died last year used to tell me that his students made out with and slept with whoever they liked and weren't interested in labels and I found it sweet and naive enviable and terrible.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 7:09 PM
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I did just watch the Jodie Foster acceptance speech (linked at Sullivan's blog, because I was lazy to look for a clean link) and I just didn't find it that bad at all.

And damn she looks good at age 50. I need to get to work.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 7:18 PM
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Oh, by the way, Sullivan's blog doesn't allow comments? I can't find them, anyway. It seems to just want Likes and Tweets.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 7:59 PM
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This is a really interesting discussion. So, Jodie Foster. My first instinct is to be sympathetic to her because people have told me I look like her. The sense I'm getting of the other side is two-fold. In part, that she is asking for a level of non-scrutiny/privacy-whateverness that gay people who are not rich and famous do not get to enjoy. And relatedly, that someone who has the insulation of wealth and fame could do a lot of good for the not rich and famous gay people by being open and out. I'm torn about what I think of this, while also conscious of the fact that it's absurd to think my opinion should matter. Much in the sense of the OP that I don't really have more than a vague sense of what it is like to be gay.

The closest I can come to trying to relate is by analogizing to women in professional life and to what extent it is unfair to expect an individual woman to take personal risks to try to knock down the barriers to advancement and to what extent it is unfair to resent women who've somehow made it up and around the barriers for continuing in patterns that perpetuate the barriers. Ultimately, I fall back on the fact that there are people and forces more worthy of my resentment when it comes to the existing barriers, and I can empathize with how difficult and unappealing it is to rock the boat once you are finally on board, but ffs, you know how hard it was, just try to throw out even a little lifeline to the rest of us. Which, I guess means I still sympathize with JF, but see why there's a sense that maybe she ought to think a little more about the greater good.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 7:59 PM
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240:Sullivan does not permit comments, preferring to post snippets of emails he gets instead. I understand why - his site gets enough traffic that comments would likely degenerate quickly into lowest common denominator flamewars.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:05 PM
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Oh, also, so glad you aren't dead, Flip! Was in a similar accident as a passenger on a ride home from college. Remember saying a few Our Fathers and possibly even a Hail Mary during the seemingly unending period of spinning, then looking up to see headlights, not brakelights, from the cars right in front of us.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:08 PM
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there's a sense that maybe she ought to think a little more about the greater good

My impression is that everyone pretty much knows, and has known, that she's gay, and she remains awesome, and there's no single one right way to be gay or in/out or private or public. It's her choice how she wants to handle it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:11 PM
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243: Oh, sure. I was curious to see the flavo(u)r of the discussion. He's still at the Daily Beast, I take it, and I sort of wonder whether, when he goes independent, the comments, if allowed, might become interesting.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:16 PM
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And if she wants to handle it by dancing around the issue, thus making it clear that even for somebody extremely famous and rich there's a social or professional cost to being gay -- that if you come out, you might pay, so it's best to keep it at least a little buried -- even though in her case there pretty obviously would not, actually, be any cost at all, well, let the lady live her life! Obviously what applies to her doesn't apply to rural teenagers. They'll figure their shit out without her help. What's she, a celebrity? Who cares.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:17 PM
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Sifu, I'm not gay and I feel that I can't tell gay people how they should behave. It's up to her.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:20 PM
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I am confident that the probability that anything I say will get to Jodie Foster is extremely minimal. I can't speak for you, of course, but I suspect that at least your contributions on this thread are likely to remain unknown to her. So in that context, we're talking about why people (gay people specficially, mostly, sure) would find her half-assed non-admission objectionable. We aren't actually telling her anything about how she should behave. We're judging her behavior from afar.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:24 PM
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Hey, Angles/Unfogged Easters: am I correct in my belief that eating beans and toast is general throughout all England and not confined to the north of England?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:27 PM
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I really think we should be google-proofing Jod/e Fost/r just to be super safe.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:28 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:28 PM
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I really think we should be google-proofing Jod/e Fost/r just to be super safe.

Right. She seems incredibly sensitive, and I wouldn't want what's said here to hurt her feelings if it gets back to her.


Posted by: von wafer | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:30 PM
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Wouldn't we have egg on our face!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:34 PM
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Also, twice in three days my thinking has been: the easiest thing will be if I get up at 4:30 am in order to get my work done before the kids get up. Isn't that the worst most terrible plan ever?

It's my plan for tomorrow morning and I have to be on campus until about 9 at night. I feel tremendously sorry for myself. (Like, as an ongoing state, lately.)(Next week should be massively easier though.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:36 PM
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203: Cool. Not dead at your age is a good phase to be in. A full-blown adrenaline surge is great while it lasts, isn't it?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:37 PM
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In case any of the Unfogged laydeez live in Edmonton.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:39 PM
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eating beans and toast

At the same time?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:41 PM
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256 is great. "Nothing weird is going to happen". Well okay then!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:42 PM
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248: We're judging her behavior from afar.

Yeah, I'm not interested in doing that. Sorry. I'm aware that this is a long-discussed -- over decades! -- issue, whether gay people have an obligation to out themselves, and I don't have an answer other than that it's an individual decision. I'm understand the arguments in favor. Otherwise, I'm just not going to go there.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:44 PM
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There will be no mixing of eras. Maybe my mom will make lunch.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:45 PM
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Also, 254 as a ploy for sympathy probably should have gone in the Munchausen thread.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 8:46 PM
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255: Bloody exhausted and nauseated.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:09 PM
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eating beans and toast

When I was a kid (growing up in the cold and barren wastelands of Soviet Canuckistan), we used to eat this for supper. The first time I visited the UK, I was in culinary heaven: everybody makes all these snarky comments about English food, but: beans and toast! and jacket potatoes filled with beans and topped with cheddar! Also, the sandwiches are better. Why can't we have sandwiches like that?

My problem with Jod/e Fost/r? Mel Gibson. (I don't have to google-proof his name, do I?). Mel reportedly adores Jod/e, and she apparently returns the favour. Not that it's any of my business who is friends with whom, but given Gibson's well-publicized racist, anti-Semitic, and misogynistic rants, I can't help but say: Ugh.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:11 PM
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262: hooray for no commas!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:12 PM
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You really don't have to g//g/e pr//f Jodie foster, either.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:13 PM
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Yeah, here we're only judgmental to private persons we actually know. It's cruel to judge people who will never read or hear your thoughts about their publicly-broadcast behavior that they scripted and probably PR-tested.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:14 PM
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Who knows what that's about, the Mel Gibson thing. I heard Foster on NPR a while back explaining that Gibson is her good friend, and she'll always stand by him, and that's all she'll say about that, except that when she was going through bad times, he was there, and vice versa. Uh, okay. I ... have to respect that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:17 PM
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Uh, okay. I ... have to respect that.

Well, you don't have to.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:18 PM
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Well, at least I can assume that I don't know what all this saving each other business was about.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:22 PM
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Well, at least I can assume that I don't know what all this saving each other business was about.

Jodie Foster was baptized in Mel Gibson's "traditionalist" -- and vehemently-opposed-to-Vatican-II -- "Catholic" (but not recognized by the Vatican) church?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:36 PM
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There's a Munchausen thread?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-16-13 9:45 PM
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249 - beans *on* toast, let's get it right. Yes, perfectly standard, down to the south coast, considered a reasonably nutritious lunch to give to your child. Personally I don't like baked beans. Kid D likes to add grated cheese.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 12:33 AM
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222. Hey, Professor, who are the Beatles? What's an LP?

Also, I too am glad that Flip is alive. And Asilon's Kid D gets it exactly right.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 2:22 AM
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I liked what Swartz said in 213, although I agree with k-sky in 225 that it's ahistorical and doesn't credit the obvious role of sexual identity politics in creating the freedoms that now help people to think about shedding identity politics.

"Gosh I hate labels" will be a fine sentiment in fifty years when nobody's fired or beaten up for their orientation anymore.

that sums up the case for identity politics pretty directly, but identity politics still has a cost even though it can be very politically efficacious in its way. It creates divisions where there don't necessarily need to be. Male bisexuality was rampant (ha ha) throughout history but now seems to be almost absent in the public discourse, and you see these silly articles questioning whether it even exists. That reflects a shutting down of previously understood variation. Plus I find this reactionary machismo with its endless homosexual panic to be annoying, and it's hard to see how you make progress on that without reintroducing the idea that human sexuality is fluid.

I guess on identity politics more generally, I feel like the neoliberal utopia is a place where no one is racist, sexist, or homophobic but everyone outside the 1% is powerless and exploited, so we need a politics for that.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 2:23 AM
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269: The explanation I've heard is that he's very active in Hollywood AA-type recovery circles and the assumption is that she or someone close to her needed that. But this is 100% bogus gossip from the lesbian internet.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 4:43 AM
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But this is 100% bogus gossip from the lesbian internet.

Which is like the hetero internet, but it uses a more sensible and comfortable version of TCP/IP.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 4:55 AM
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I had baked beans for breakfast yesterday for the first time in many years. Not on toast -- bread makes me fat and beans make it soggy -- but on fried croissant because yes I am a ponce. Plus two fried eggs.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 5:27 AM
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So yes: geographical datapoint, in East London we eat beans on fried croissant.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 5:28 AM
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Another data point, I had some beans the other day. With a couple of scrambled eggs, some pancetta, and some toasted pitta. Sort of a ponce's full-English.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 5:30 AM
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tierce, you had beans, a fried croissant and two fried eggs, but you didn't have bread because it makes you fat?? Er...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 5:40 AM
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You can't buy toasting bread in single slices. So I'd have to buy a loaf. Then I'd eat the whole loaf in two days because I can't resist thickly buttered bread. Believe me, this is the scientifically tested slimmer's option, especially as I only have it once every couple of months (and the beans once every five years).


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 5:46 AM
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So it isn't bread that makes you fat, it's thickly spread butter. If you like bread, put something else on it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 6:02 AM
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Dripping?


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 6:07 AM
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Low sugar jam, lettuce and tomato, passata, Greek yoghurt...


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 6:12 AM
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281: You can buy other types of bread in single slices?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 6:16 AM
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You can buy black bread in packs of six. One for each beer.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 6:20 AM
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I've never known beer to eat bread.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 6:28 AM
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In the Czech Repubic you can buy 'toastovy chleb' ['toasting bread'] which is a somewhat shitty version of an ordinary British white sliced loaf in small packets. Much like black bread. Just a few slices. Or you could at one time, anyway.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 6:32 AM
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beer digests bread parasitically, in the capacious host stomach


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 6:35 AM
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So it isn't bread that makes you fat, it's thickly spread butter.

I'm gonna go with Halford here and say it's the bread.

I love me some bread, but for home consumption I only allow myself "fitness bread" and its similarly dense-brick consistency relatives. It's pretty sour and will keep for ages in a sealed box, so you don't have to eat it all up right away.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 6:39 AM
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288: You can buy that in Germany too, "Toastbrot." Nasty stuff.

Now I am daydreaming about seedless rye rolls ("Schusterjungs") with a thick schmear of butter and liverwurst on top of that. It is amazing I did not become roly-poly in Germany.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 6:42 AM
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I used to make sandwiches with mayo and liverwurst. I sort of want one now, especially since I had a stupid-healthy lunch yesterday.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 6:44 AM
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Yeah. Or a nice rohlik or houska, with some of the pork from my wife's parent's village smokehouse.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 6:52 AM
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With poppy or caraway seeds and salt crystals on the houska.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 6:52 AM
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I'm assuming rohlik translates as "gluten penis."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 6:53 AM
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274: Yeah, because in the pre-Stonewall era, the public discourse was bubbling over with talk of bisexuality. Things were great for bisexuals back then. Fuckin' identity politics, man.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 7:24 AM
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I dunno about the linked essay. Early on, he says "The Plains of Passage" was the third book in the "Clan of the Cave Bear" series, when it was actually the 4th. How can I trust anything else he says?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 4:58 PM
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Now I feel silly, having read the rest of it. It's good!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 01-17-13 5:39 PM
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298: Sure, it's well-written and insightful, but is it TRUE? If he can't even get the order of the Clan of the Cave Bear books right, how can he possibly remember exactly what people said in all those conversations from middle school and high school?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-18-13 8:13 AM
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297: I was confused about that too! Then again, I always kind of wanted to forget about The Mammoth Hunters too. (Except for the descriptions of the mammoth bone huts. I kept trying to build those out of twigs in the backyard.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-18-13 8:16 AM
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300: I remember very few details from the series, but those I do were details well worth learning at age 13!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-18-13 8:21 AM
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