Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Updates and thoughts

1. We had a conference on Music and Humor last weekend. It was fabulous and funny and I enjoyed just about every paper I was there for. Some of them I missed while teaching or transporting cake from one building to another, but the ones I heard were excellent. Especially the keynote, which was on Weird Al. "Polka Your Eyes Out" instead of Haydn's "Surprise" Symphony at a musicological humor conference? Sweet!

2. I got an MA on Monday. It was pretty awesome; everyone was nice to me. I wrote three papers for the exam. One was on Princess Ida; one on Brahms, Dvorak, and Debussy chamber music, and one on a German techno song. Apparently the examiners all liked the three new papers. The three old papers I had to submit with them didn't even get read.

3. Had me a birthday yesterday. Saw an unbelievable concert at the Gay & Lesbian Center--the debut performance of the Forever Young Chorale. Or, as one member crowed, "fags and dykes on Social Security!" The two openers, Renaissance and Ian Harvie were excellent, and the choir was conducted by Matt Alber, former Chanticleer member and current pop singer-songwriter. It was way more than I expected--they sang Tracy Chapman, George Michael, and all sorts of music that was far younger than they were. The energy was amazing and the costumes were fabulous and the room was packed. If you're in LA and have some time Saturday, go hear them at 2:40 on the mainstage at LA Pride. You totally won't regret it!

Now some thoughts. I'm a big supporter of the whole gay marriage thing. If you've gotten this far without noticing that, I can't speak to your ability to perceive the obvious. I work for marriage equality all the time, and it's something I'll continue to do for as long as it's needed. But I'm not going to work to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

If you're up on your gay politics buzz, you know this is the other big issue in the news. This is the issue that Obama's reversion-to-type has most significantly undermined, as he has gone from "supporting" its full repeal to, according to reports, intervening in a Supreme Court petition that could have overturned it, had it become a case. It's important to a LOT of people, LGBT and the homosexually challenged alike.

DADT is even important to a large number of people who call themselves "progressive." I liked that word about five years ago. It wasn't just a new word for liberal (now with added trendy environmentalism!); it signified something closer to radical politics than it does now. Progressives, in the sense of the word I'd like to rehabilitate, don't advocate for more people in the military. They don't spend time, energy, and money trying to make more soldiers for the US Army. They don't make the arguments that I'm hearing from a whole lot of gays and media personalities: how can you fire gay Arabic translators? Who will tell us what the terrorists are saying when we waterboard them!? Jon Stewart, of course, says this sort of thing in a humorous way. Everyone else, though, seems to see it as a serious argument.


Are "progressives" really willing to grant the right wing the ENTIRE "WAR ON TERROR" FALLACY in order to press for military acceptance of LGBT members? Is there no way to advocate for full civil rights without starting from a wingnut perspective?

Yes, I believe that DADT and marriage inequality are representative of more than the issues they claim to be. Marriage is more than marriage; military service is more than military service. True. If we want to be treated as equal citizens of this country, we want those rights. But if we are going to give up on criticizing the imperial machinations of a corrupt, diseased, swollen-far-beyond-the-bounds-of-safety military establishment to get those rights, do we still want to be citizens of the country we are making?

I will fight to my last breath for LGBT people to have the right to love. I will not fight at all for LGBT people to have the right to torture.


Claudia said...

Thank you for figuring out why I just can't seem to care even a little bit about DADT.

Also, I've heard of Matt Alber, although I'm not quite sure why I have. But that concert sounds like much fun.

Jason said...

The problem, for me at least, with DADT is that not every military action undertaken by our armed forces is done purely in the interests of pampered, fat, white conservatives. Though we have regrettably become involved in some questionable conflicts, I still see the armed forces as a dignified position deserving of honor ... anyone who dedicates their life and efforts to the protection (however misused) of our country gets mad props for me. And as such, I support any gay or straight person that wants to make that contribution.