Demanding gay rights as a condition of loans, aid, and alliances can all too easily become the West’s civilizing mission of the day — which exacerbates the underlying conflict being worked out across the terrain of sexuality. Narratives of colonialism as white men saving brown women from brown men are all too easily reproduced when the Western media casts, for example, the rape of lesbians in South Africa through the familiar romantic imperial triangle of black victims, black savages, and white saviors — in this case gay rights activists from the West.
Joseph Massad offers a critical account of the incitement to discourse about “homosexuality” in the contemporary Islamic world in particular, suggesting that international gay rights activism in the context of both modern fundamentalism and ruling postcolonial elites in need of convenient “enemies” has, in practice, had devastating effects on Arab or Muslim men who have sex with men. When homosexuality is made to carry the burden of ongoing histories of domination and cultural conflict, the visibility that is the cornerstone of Western gay and lesbian politics can bring extreme vulnerability, even as it offers the prospect of new kinds of legibility, political representation and citizenship. Gay rights activists from the West, therefore, need to be far more aware of the racial and postcolonial politics that intersect with questions of sexuality when they engage in public discourse about the sexual mores and politics of “other” cultures or attempt to make interventions on behalf of “gay” people in the global South.
—- South Africa and the Dream of Love to Come: Queer Sexuality and the Struggle for Freedom by Brenna M. Munro.
Not the most obvious train commute reading, but I read Munro’s work almost entirely on the subway. Dense and intense, it was a gripping, queer-fied retelling of the apartheid story, the South African story, and stories of migration.
Woke up this morning, brimming with troubles. Brewed coffee saved me.
I thought about what the saddest thing in the world could be. If it could be just one thing. Surprisingly, I came upon a coffee-shop at the end of a long, empty highway — dark, ill-lit — an elderly white man smoking and drinking coffee. He is facing devastating loneliness — the kind that cannot be allayed by the mere presence of other people. Attempts are being made to distract, and it is not working.
It waits, with weight as real as touch. Fear.
The kind that plunges deep inside you and watches you.
“Forgetfulness” by Billy Collins
The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.
Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,
something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.
Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.
It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.
No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.
It’s almost time
Who does this idea belong to?
Need food. Hungry, man.
You are not moving the mountain stone by stone. You are just carrying the stones up the same mountain, you damn fool.
“Ladies and Gentlemen — Can I please have your attention?”
New Kids On The block,had a bunch of hits
Chinese food makes me sick.
And I think it’s fly when girls stop by for the summer, for the summer
I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch,
I’d take her if I had one wish,
But she’s been gone since that summer.
Since that summer
Hip Hop Marmalade spic And span,
Met you one summer and it all began
You’re the best girl that I ever did see,
The great Larry Bird Jersey 33
When you take a sip you buzz like a hornet
Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets
Call me Willy Whistle cause I can’t speak baby
Something in your eyes went and drove me crazy
Now I can’t forget you and it makes me mad,
Left one day and never came back
Stayed all summer then went back home,
Macauly Culkin wasn’t Home Alone
Fell deep in love,but now we ain’t speaking
Michael J Fox was Alex P Keaton
When I met you I said my name was Rich
You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch
Can the Real Slim-Shady please stand up?
Sit down, what’d you doing?
On occasion, life offers us intense relief from our worst fears, and we need to do something with this rush. We need gratitude, so that we can savor that moment of escape . We want to owe this turn of events to something or someone — God, universe, human savior — and they become our recipient for those moments. It’s how we process feelings.
But just recently, I have become tired of high-minded, ego-choked activists and do-gooders (more generally) and their need to be the butt of people’s gratitude. I would like to enshrine all people with their own temples, filled with cookies. So that we can do this thing – saying thank you, oh my god, where would I be without you? — and get over it already en mass. The need to have egos gently stroked, fluffed can be taken care of without it interfering as a constant subtext in all human interactions.