Back in 2010, Prince chided Beyonce for her lack of musical knowledge, but was impressed that she understood something about Mixolydian scales and Egyptian styles, WTF. Basically he thought she was quite talented and gifted, but her longevity and survival depended on learning a lot more. I’m not much of a Beyonce fan, and had no interest in Lemonade. The brouhaha over “Formation” is incredibly complex, but not enough to tempt me to listen or buy the album. Visually, the video is fascinating and brilliant, transgressive and offensive. The general invisibility of trans artist Big Freedia, the politics of colorism and authenticity in the deep
A recent visit to the ophthalmologist reminded me of the marriage plot and how much it’s woven into the fabric of our everday lives – even down to medical records for health care where marriage is irrelevant. Why does marital status affect eye care? The marriage plot is the standard narrative arc of stories that culminate in middle class, heterosexual romantic bliss. It’s the two-kid, picket-fence story of heteronormativity, i.e., not just heteronormativity or compulsory heterosexuality, but compulsory heterosexuality come to closure with marriage. Why does my eye doctor care if I’m married? Why check a box indicating married, divorced, or single? How is that
Deciphering the tension between expert and amateur power/knowledge is always a challenge. We live in an anti-intellectual culture, and our easy rejection of experts and our bootstrapping, overweening self-confidence make me enormously uncomfortable. On the flip side, the undeserved sense of superiority deeply embedded in intellectuals, particularly academic intellectuals, can be offensive. (I’m the biggest offender, too.) Plus, the long history of “expertise” that locked out the voices and experiences of non-dominant people from major cultural forms has caused centuries of erasure and lost knowledge. As I say often, there are good reasons for the slogan, “The Personal is Political.” Forgive me for rehashing the
Edie and Thea got gay married. The linguistic shift from gay marriage to marriage equality is interesting, like all politically motivated discursive choices. Adding the gay label to marriage “spotlights” same-sex marriage, emphasizing its abnormality. Spotlighting, or using marked language, highlights what is notably outside the norm and establishes the unmarked category as neutral, making it the default setting or normal. Male nurse is to nurse as gay marriage is to marriage. Marked language, then, reifies heterosexual marriage as standard. “Marriage equality” makes sense, then, as the phrase of choice. The language of equality locates gay marriage in the venerable tradition of civil rights, and
This week I received many Facebook messages urging me to tell my friends “where I like it” in my Facebook status. I’ve seen my friends post such mysterious statuses as “I like it on the chandelier” and “I like it on my car seat.” This morning I posted, “I like mine without pinkwashing.” Many people didn’t understand my status or why the meme makes me so angry. I have two simple answers: 1. I hate pinkwashing. 2. This is nothing but Facebook slactivism. Put differently, I do not believe that if I post an “I like it…” status on Facebook, I have done something significant
I have always loved kd lang. I liked her country-punk performance-art style back from Angel with a Lariat. She caught my eye in the 80s with her spiky hair, Buddy Holly glasses, and country-western wear; she was a genre-bending artist as much as a gender-bending one. Somewhere in my Texas life, where I was raised by a family of genuwine wannabe cowboy poets, I developed a secret, half-assed appreciation for the older fiddle-and-banjo country sound. Probably at the roller rink. I didn’t pay much attention to Lang’s music until Shadowland, though. I played the heck out of that CD because it harkened back to a
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is internally conflicted over gay rights and Proposition 8 according to the Empowering Spirits Foundation. Apparently the national SCLC leadership threatened to remove the Los Angeles chapter’s president (Rev. Eric P. Lee) because of his outspoken support of gay marriage. My first response was of course, SCLC…Southern…Christian. What should we expect? But it’s disheartening nonetheless. The tension between “blacks and gays” (a linguistic construction that perpetuates the invisibility of gay blacks, not to mention the complete absence of the L, B, and T part of GLBT or of any other non-white queer in this struggle) has been part of the
Baptists Are Saving Homosexuals! (aka BASH). This is a MUST SEE link.