Or Else *What* Exactly? [Was: Love Us Or Else]

Tue, 29 Jul 1997 22:34:29 -0700 (PDT)

On Tue, 29 Jul 1997, Anton Sherwood wrote:

> I agree with E.Shaun's remarks about Gays and other groups that
> "just want to be accepted." Identifying themselves *as* a group
> is, to some extent, counterproductive.

I for one am uninterested in "acceptance" to the extent that it means
anything more than the elimination of second-class citizenship in my
society. Period. From friends and relevant others, admiration and warm
regard is what I'm after but it is certainly rarely my "gayness" that
earns it. In identifying myself as a member of this stigmatized group, I
am just *facing facts*, recognizing that I am susceptible to a description
on the basis of which I am likely to be treated irrationally here and now.
Heterosexism is surreally unjust and irrational, and so long as it exists
and is applied to me I will bloody well fight it on its own terms. As for
the vertiginous thrill that presumably falls upon those lucky individuals
who manage to achieve "victim status," I have to say that I find it to be
somewhat overrated and more than mildly distasteful.

> Most of my (male) "queer" friends don't go to the parades, don't wear
> leather caps, ... any more than I dress as an atheist, whatever that
> might mean. It's just something one does, or doesn't.

Fair enough, though I will say that the arguments I find myself making to
defend or explain my atheism, vegetarianism, or technological immortalism
to incomprehending others often resonate conspicuously with those I make
about queerness. As I said, I think queerness and extropianism comport
well together. Perhaps this is what Natasha is zeroing in on when she
sees in gay pride a symbol for triumphant individualism. No doubt she
sees things in it she likes less well as well (sheesh -- so do I), but
it's the repudiation of conventions, the ethical embrace of pleasure, and
the celebration of experimentalism that she wants to italicize about the

> Why one should seize on a matter of taste as the essence of one's
> identity, I may never understand

I'll go you one better: Why one should wish to be exhaustively or even
adequately describable under *any* glib bumper sticker of an identity-tag
is something I scarcely understand. Were I to stumble upon any attribute
whatsoever that rated the description "essence of my identity" I imagine I
would be, frankly, flabbergasted. Like calling Whitman (you know, "I
contain multitudes"?) "just a fag". Best, Dale

Dale Carrico | dalec@socrates.berkeley.edu
University of California at Berkeley, Department of Rhetoric

If you want to tell people the truth be sure to make them laugh.
Otherwise, they will kill you. -- George Bernard Shaw
State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. -- Nietzsche