Gratefully Not Normal
I read Steve Wiecking's "I Do—I Think" [Gay Marriage Issue, June 23] and almost jumped up from the excitement of pure joy, which is what I tend to do when somebody gets it right. Wiecking is obviously a man who has learned to live without apologizing for who he is, certainly not to the straight community. I love him for that. He has helped me reaffirm a conclusion I came to some years ago—that I've seen normal and I say the hell with it. I'm one of those messy persons Wiecking talks about. I do and say stupid things sometimes, but I no longer measure who I am against the world's standards of normalcy because I know I am also capable of loving other human beings who are as nutty and unconventional as I am; so I know I am not alone in the world but am, in fact, in very good company. I'm still running through what Wiecking said about how sad it was that no one gave him permission to love another man, and now he feels he doesn't need that permission anymore. That was me once, and now it's not. That sad part of my life is over, and I am grateful to him for helping me to get on with my life, which looks pretty good from here.
From Ballet toButch
You go, girl! Farrah Fawcett rocks [Gay Marriage Issue, "I Do—I Think," June 23]!
I don't know who I wanted to be when I grew up, but I did change the spelling of my name from Charlie to Charley in first grade. Luckily, a good teacher and cool parents just accepted it as a normal part of a weird child, as was my sister's big red skirt that I played dress-up in all the time and the classically queer ballet lessons. Ah, what a young queen I was.
And now? I'm a big butch college coach at the University of Michigan, one of very few openly gay men to do the Division I college coaching deal . . . so who's to say where it all leads if we're "Free to Be You and Me," my favorite album growing up.
But thanks to Steve Wiecking for catching the image of the kid just clueless enough to pipe up and be themselves before we learn we're not supposed to! Great article.
In Nina Shapiro's article [Gay Marriage Issue, "Till Death Do They Part?" June 23], she glosses over the higher divorce rate amongst same-sex couples versus heterosexual couples in some studies from Europe, positing a couple answers (lack of kids, lack of obstacles to leaving relationships).
Let me put forward another reason: Marriage (and marriagelike options) may genuinely not be the right answer for some couples at some times. Same-sex civil marriage (and such) is new for us, and we don't have the benefit of centuries of learning about how it should be done. As a result, a lot of same-sex couples may think it's the right thing and later find out otherwise. Give it a couple decades, and the rates of divorce should fall close to heterosexual levels.
This is one of the strengths that today's society is reluctant to embrace just yet: the idea that "one size fits all" doesn't. Career dad, stay-at-home mom, 2.4 kids, and a golden retriever is a scenario that we can't all force ourselves into, but a lot of people try. Civil unions, same-sex civil marriage, communal living, wife swapping, polygamy, open relationships, and just plain shacking up are all variations on a theme enabling us all to find the relationship model that works right for us, rather than trying (and failing) to wedge ourselves into the same one as everyone else.
What About Civil Unions?
The Gay Marriage Issue [June 23] did a good job of summarizing the case for and against gay marriage, but it failed to address an obvious question. Gays argue that they should have the same rights and benefits as heterosexual married couples, and therefore should be allowed to marry. But why is it necessary to change an age-old definition of marriage to obtain these rights rather than create a new definition for same-sex unions?
The heterosexual union of marriage is the closest analogy to God that humans can experience. The union of marriage forms an entity that is based in love, expresses the characteristics of both genders, and has the ability to create life in its own image. Same-sex relationships may be based in love, but they do not express both genders and cannot create life in their own image. This is what makes marriage unique, and why the "sanctity" of marriage should be preserved.
Rather than fighting to change the age-old definition of marriage, gay activists and legislators should focus on creating a new definition for same-sex couples that grants them the same rights and benefits of marriage, while at the same time expressing the same-sex uniqueness of their unions.
I enjoyed Brian Miller's "My Pet Scapegoat" [June 23]. I do have one small semantic issue, however, with his use of "documentary" to describe Michael Moore's work. It's not.
Moore's work, best epitomized by his egregious disinformation and prevarication-by-proximity in Bowling for Columbine, stretches beyond the limits of "mockumentary" and is most accurately "crockumentary." His work is to a truthful documentary as "fruit punch" is to "fruit juice"—18 percent real at best. Some flavor, little substance. Mostly corn sugar, water, and artificial color.
But he's really good at it. I've used Bowling to show, by misusing standard editing techniques, how facts, presented cleverly out of order, combined artfully with incident, aspersion, and flat-out lies, can be extremely convincing—unless the viewer knows a little about the subject.
I'm certainly going to see Fahrenheit 9/11. But I'm returning Moore's (dis)honesty by buying a ticket for another movie, then watching his. I'm not interested in supporting the disingenuous "populist" image of a multimillionaire crockumentary maker.
Fahrenheit 9/11: One for the Heart
Brian Miller obviously doesn't care for Michael Moore or his craft ["My Pet Scapegoat," June 23]. His reference to Moore as a "shaggy populist" is one of several references that come across to me as a holier-than-thou attitude. I've heard the term "liberal elite" thrown about for years; maybe this is an example of how they write.
Miller claims that Moore used the early part of Fahrenheit 9/11 to put forward a theory of involvement between the Bush and bin Laden families. Close, but no cigar! What Moore was highlighting were facts that many people still don't fully comprehend, the Saudis and the Bush family have been, and continue to be, deep in each other's pocket (financially and politically). Yes, of course Moore offers suggestions to fill in the blanks where the facts fall short. In some cases his theories are obviously satirical jabs, but I think the undertone to each theory is that anything is possible.
When I viewed the movie, I was stunned, saddened, amazed, disgusted, and most of all angry! Put aside the sarcasm, the unsubstantiated commentary, and the questionable guilt-by-association references and you are left with an overwhelming picture of greed, hypocrisy, and needless war.
I think Miller missed the point. This movie was never intended to change the minds of the vast number of blind loyalists who will "support" their ideology no matter how many of our kids return home in body bags. It was intended to get those of us who are well aware of the dangers of this current administration. It was a call to action, and it's one I have taken to heart.
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