Wednesday, July 30, 2003[no longer] even an attempt to separate church and state:
"I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think we ought to codify that one way or the other. And we've got lawyers looking at the best way to do that."Now I'm generally not one interested in pursuing gay marriage because I think the institution of marriage is fraught with problems (socially, culturally, and individually). (In fact, I've had a little exchange on the matter recently at [tin manic's page] .) But I'm also supportive of gay rights advocates who are doing all they can to garner marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples because, when it comes down to it, I think the practical, everyday aspects of things are important.
I'm just wondering how some fence-sitters think they can get away with their in-between position:
Hmmmm.... separate but equal....
Senators John Edwards of North Carolina and Bob Graham of Florida said through spokesmen that they opposed gay marriage but supported extending health and other benefits to the domestic partners of gays.
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, declared himself against marriage but in favor of "civil unions" that would allow gays and their partners tax benefits, health benefits, hospital visitation and othe rights accorded married people.
One of the reasons why my skin crawls to see the "gay issue" headed in tunnel-vision for gay marriage is that it seems like progressives (of any sexuality) are letting the discussion get deadlocked into a certain set of concerns. Fighting over the right to marriage, while important for gays, still leaves a lot of the major questions unasked (and unanswered) -- How should we best take care of the health of the American people? What benefits should accrue to people with children? What structures of child-rearing are we willing to sponsor with tax breaks, etc.? Is insisting on the nuclear-family or even child-rearing as the basic unit of society the best way to ensure the best lives for everyone?
I'm sure there are people out there asking these questions, much like the feminists a few decades did ago, but no one listens anymore. So the question is, how do you get people to listen? How do you set the terms of debate, or at least sway them significantly? How do you talk about things that will really change the way things work without bringing the world crashing down on you?
>> 2:32 PM
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
>> 7:14 PM
While at the store, I also picked up the [SpongeBob Squarepants Survival Guide] on my frequent buyer credit because I have this unhealthy obsession with ol' SpongeBob, even though I haven't seen the show very many times.
Gosh. All about books. Anything else going on in my life? Nope.
>> 1:48 PM
Monday, July 28, 2003[consolidation in the radio industry]. Of course, all this was lost in the pundit's rantings....
>> 2:56 PM
Sunday, July 27, 2003
>> 8:10 PM
(or, what I've learned people still don't understand about the history and imperatives of Asian American Studies since I declared a focus on Asian American literature...)
- Have you talked to anyone in the East Asian Studies department?
- Is there a personal reason you chose to study Asian American literature?
- In an ideal world, would you still want to study and teach Asian American literature?
>> 11:58 AM
We will have to pitch a show that has a radical feminist team of a therapist, political activist, philosopher/theologian, an historian, and a poet (?) in place of the hair stylist, foodie, decorator, clothes and culture mavens. Our team will enforce meaningful, internal, philosophical personal change, heart-felt behavioral changes in the man's intimate relationships, as well as committed engagement to his new-found values expressed in his affirmative actions within the political system, and resistance against the dominant culture.YAY!!! That's a show I would love to see.
>> 9:02 AM
Saturday, July 26, 2003
Sign downtown Chapel Hill
Wore this to happy hour yesterday. Got too many questions.
>> 11:57 AM
Friday, July 25, 2003[Am I here? Is this my hand?]:
Maybe someone should start the "See Me on TV" channel, where people assemble in large stadiums to wave at the camera.Ha.
>> 3:45 PM
But marriage—forget the "gay" for a moment—is intrinsically conservative. It does not just normalize, it requires normality as the ticket in. Assimilating another "virtually normal" constituency, namely monogamous, long-term, homosexual couples, marriage pushes the queerer queers of all sexual persuasions—drag queens, club-crawlers, polyamorists, even ordinary single mothers or teenage lovers—further to the margins. "Marriage sanctifies some couples at the expense of others," wrote cultural critic Michael Warner. "It is selective legitimacy."
. . .
The opportunity most tragically missed in the race to get gays into the marriage club is to unpack the "bundle" of rights and protections —notably health insurance—that now comes with the status and redistribute its contents to everyone. Marriage's sexual exclusion doesn't create unequal security in America. That's done by a system that loads responsibility for health care, child care, and disability support onto individual families and corporations. American reformers should demand what other industrialized democracies provide: tax-funded social benefits for every citizen. Even legal immigrant status needn't be dependent on whom you sleep with. French immigration officials consider that nation's civil-union equivalent as one of many eligibility factors—but not an automatic green light. That's unfair if married people get preferred treatment. But no intimate couple should. People form commitments to home and country through children, work, ideology, and community too.
>> 3:18 PM
Awww. How sad. Which remind me. Sometime in elementary school, my teacher had us write letters to ourselves in the future. She was supposed to send them to us many years later. I don't know if the time has passed yet, though I have received nothing from myself. Would be cool to see what I wrote.
About 20 people assembled for the opening were crestfallen by the sight of the glommed-up newspapers, photographs, booklets and other material.
>> 3:05 PM
>> 2:25 PM
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Yesterday I bought [Arundhati Roy's War Talk] and [Ann Cvetkovich's An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures]. I also picked up on my free book account at work [Richard Schweid's Consider the Eel] which has been taunting me for months. Now I own it. I own it.
>> 3:08 PM
Sunday, July 20, 2003[Signs 2.]
>> 8:59 PM
Some pictures from my weekend in DC. Friday -- a lovely dinner with [legalmoose] and [lioncub] at Raku. Then book browsing (bought a cookbook) at Kramerbooks next door. (No pictures from that day.) Saturday -- monument and museum hopping with Eric. Failed attempt to meet up with Joe. Many thanks to slon's parents for putting us up in their hotel for free.
Actually a picture from before we left for the trip.
The flower dropping pollen on my peace lily.
Getting rid of the water in my ear after a shower at the hotel.
Saturday, the Washington Monument.
Korean War Veterans Memorial. The wall with etched pictures. Reflective.
KWVM again. I think the statues are creepy.
Closeup of a creepy statue.
I really wanted to see the Lincoln Memorial.
Washington Monument, from the Lincoln Memorial.
Vietnam War Veterans Memorial. Most palpable sense of loss.
Sculpture outside Hirshhorn Museum.
Clever sign inside Hirsshorn Museum.
Inside Union Station.
After a full day of walking, we really needed to rest our feet.
No reclining! On a bench in Union Station.
A man was lying on the sign when we first sat down.
This tree is 12' 6" tall. Thank you for your attention.
Street at dusk.
Stop sign at dusk.
Building on street corner.
Gotta love the circles in DC.
This means you can't park here.
Hmmm. Why does this child get a personal sign?
Scoop your pooch's poop, please.
Clouds Sunday morning on the drive home.
Man asses and dumb fries, anyone?
>> 7:21 PM
I am a moody bitch.
>> 4:28 PM
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Ahiru No Pekkle
I always find myself caught in the middle. Probably because I am very non-committal when people bitch to me about others. I find it hard to really side with someone in attacking another. Everyone has her own faults. In any case, I hope this battle between two people here doesn't get out of control. Worse yet, I hope they don't individually make me "choose" one or the other because, you know, while I like them both, I don't care enough to have to make that choice. Whatev.
Zadie Smith yesterday was wonderful. I'm not sure if I'd like her new novel The Autograph Man as much as I'm enjoying White Teeth, but I also liked a lot what she said about her current feelings about her first novel. She really writes very humorous novels, not necessarily something I'd initially like. But her humor is the kind that really exposes the contradictions of our everyday social interactions.
>> 3:54 PM
>> 2:16 PM
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Chalfens rarely made jokes unless they were exceptionally lame or numerical in nature or both: What did the zero say to the eight? Nice belt. (From Zadie Smith's White Teeth.)
>> 12:54 PM
Tuesday, July 15, 2003[Jann Arden] has an on-line journal! (Discovered via [homotextual.org].)
>> 1:49 PM
Monday, July 14, 2003[Prince William Stamps.] One of these came in the mail at work today.
I wonder if all the guys who work at the local Kinko's are hot. The guy who comes here every afternoon to pick up photocopying jobs is sooooo yummy.
>> 3:43 PM
Sunday, July 13, 2003[Bush Aides Try to Put Out Political Storm on Iraq Claim.] Some of what's going on is remarkably absurd. One Republican senator on TV was trying to defend Bush by saying that at least he's come clean about the lack of evidence for the claim about Iraqi plans to obtain uranian from Africa. At that at least Bush isn't trying to quibble over the meaning of words. Huh? As Rob said, there is a VAST difference between what happened with Clinton and the Lewinsky affair and what is going on with Bush and Iraq. In the first instance, though the "credibility" of Clinton might have been thrown off, the sex did not lead to the invasion of another country. In the second, Bush's selective use of "intelligence" helped start a war. I think there's a slight difference there.
So since Zadie Smith is coming to [The Regulator Bookshop] to read from her new novel, I thought now might be a good time finally to read her first novel White Teeth. It's long. Or I'm a slow reader. Or both. I'm enjoying it, though. Her writing voice reminds me a bit of Rushdie's. Her characters are all wonderfully fleshed out with idiosyncracies and flaws. No untouchable heroes here.
>> 2:29 PM
Friday, July 11, 2003
>> 1:50 PM
I was thinking a little about this idea of "equal opportunity" versus "diversity" yesterday when I saw in the [Daily Tar Heel] an article about the state approving a bill to give full four-year tuition to all graduates of the North Carolina School of Science and Math if they attend a college in the UNC system. The NCSSM is already a part of the UNC system though it is a high school. It is a magnet school, drawing students from around the state. The problem with this kind of bill, especially in light of the major budget cuts for the university system (the headline for that same issue of the Daily Tar Heel reads, "State Budget Stings Entire UNC System"), is that it continues to privilege those who have already "made it," those who already will have a healthy selection of top schools nationwide to attend and probably at least some scholarships to help fund their education, even if their families aren't already comfortably equipped to send them to college. Rather than fully fund these students so that they will stay in the state, perhaps it would be better to create more opportunities for those students in the state who haven't had the same opportunities in secondary schools.
>> 9:25 AM
>> 6:49 AM
Thursday, July 10, 2003
I was meant to have lunch with Kathryn yesterday, but being the unpunctual fellow that I am, I just missed her. We hadn't gotten a chance to confirm the lunch date, so after fifteen minutes, she left the restaurant. I arrived probably a minute after she left. As it turns out, I ended up having lunch with the production manager at the Press instead. He wandered in as I was waiting in line to order food. He has quite an interesting story. He was in the army as a Chinese translator, stationed for awhile in the Phillipines. The army ended up dismantling the Chinese spying unit there, though, so he spent most of his time there answering phones rather than using the Chinese he had been taught.
>> 10:26 AM
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
>> 1:40 PM
There'll be a little get-together tonight at our place with a few friends to watch [Grave of the Fireflies]. Cleaning up (ever so slightly) for this evening has made me realize how unsuited our apartment is for entertaining. We really just aren't social creatures.
In other news, it is too hot to exist outside.
>> 1:03 PM
Sunday, July 06, 2003
Yesterday was the sequel to my Fourth. Rob and I went to his mom's for another cookout. It was fun. We had grilled burgers. Played horseshoes and gin rummy. I CRUSHED them all in both games. Had an ice cube put down the back of my shirt by Rob's mom. Wrote a group letter to Rob's sister in the US army just south of Baghdad. Rob's family is silly and fun. There's his mom who loves to talk and play. There's his mom's partner, whom you'd find as the illustration for the word "curmudgeon" in the dictionary. And his born-again-Christian sister (the one not in the army) who is oddly still very OK to hang out with. It's clear she and Rob tease each other mercilessly all the time.
After all that, Rob and I finally went to see 28 Days Later and it was wonderful. Really not quite a horror slash movie, but has plenty of blood and gore of its own (kind of like Shallow Grave, come to think of it). I'd characterize the atmosphere of the movie as rather eerie and meditative. Sort of dwells on this impossible yet uncannily familiar scenario of a deserted, quarantined England. It clearly wants to deal with this age-old question of why men continue to kill men or when it is morally justified to kill other men, but I'm not sure it really offers any compelling answer other than blind, possessive self-interest -- though perhaps that is the most coherent answer available. But the central question that the movie dwelled on was what humans would do if they were pretty much the last people in the land (not quite the whole earth, but at least the whole island of Britain), abandoned to a horrible infectious disease. We get all the usual answers about what surviving is, how living is more than simple survival, how family and love figure into life, etc. etc. But I thought the movie was visually and aurally perfect. As Rob noted, the silence in this film works -- long, extended scenes without dialogue or background music didn't bog down. And it was certainly punctuated at various moments with sudden crashing and screaming and stuff. Made people jump.
>> 10:44 AM
Friday, July 04, 2003
Very full Fourth. I think I ate continually from about 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. A little get-together at a friend's place. I just wanted to lie down after awhile, but there were more things I had to try!
>> 9:21 PM
Thursday, July 03, 2003
>> 11:06 PM
go to the
These words appeared on my doodle sheet of quadrille paper today. Huh?
>> 2:36 PM
Wednesday, July 02, 2003[The Ring] late last night. I'd have to agree with the general consensus that it wasn't that scary. The first scene was great at building up suspense, though. Rob and I were cringing within a couple of minutes. But the suspense never built up to anything really scary in that scene. Overall, I think it's a great story, just perhaps not very well told. In terms of horror/ghost stories, it definitely calls into question some narratives of how evil comes about through pain and suffering. I like how the movie continues beyond what seems like a natural ending and changes what we think about everything up to that point. Unfortunately, the movie posits instead simply the unexplainable supernatural evil. And the actual ending was really weak. I'm interested to see how the original Ringu might be better as many claim....
Now I really have to see the gay porn parody [The Hole]. Before you're gay... you see the hole.... Heh.
Immature humor of the day: In the mail to the Press today, a letter from SCUTTLEBUTT.
>> 9:54 AM
I love it when it's really dark outside during the day. Rain rain (don't) go away come again another day (too)!!!!!!
>> 7:28 AM
Tuesday, July 01, 2003[How Much Sleep Do We Need?]
In college, I considered a psychology major to do dream research. I took a class with [this professor], though, and lost interest in the field. Eh.
>> 2:31 PM
>> 2:14 PM
"He wanted to study them perfectly before he could make a book about them, so he made drawings of them in every position," Mr. Simont said, adding that the experience remained vivid in his memory. "Ducks start quacking at the break of day, very loudly and emphatically."Have I ever mentioned that when I grow up, I want to be a children's book author/illustrator?
>> 2:08 PM
[Terminator 3 review]:
Mr. Schwarzenegger, whose main contribution to American culture has been inspiring wicked parodies on "Saturday Night Live" and "The Simpsons," acts (if you can call it that) with his usual leaden whimsy, manifesting the gift for uttering hard-to-forget, meaningless catchphrases that is most likely the wellspring of his blossoming reported desire to seek elective office in California.Mmm... leaden whimsy....
>> 11:34 AM
>> 9:15 AM
>> 8:02 AM
>> 7:55 AM
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