Sunday, May 13, 2012

Unapologetically Obnoxious Mothers Day Post #47

I have to confess folks, that we here on the Block have had our hands full with our newly-encountered twenty-something existence to do much intellectual heavy lifting lately (though I did finally get around to reading Criminal Intimacy, which was exactly as awesome as I was promised).  As a result, this blog continues to descend into some questionable livejournal-y territory. My hope is that I can distract you with a short, but heartwarming Mothers Day post. Let me know if it works.

For all of the daddy issues that Will Danger tangles with, his mommy issues are actually pretty simple. Mama Danger is the coolest. Just the coolest. And so, in honor of Mothers Day, and in lieu of a smarter post, let me share one of my favorite childhood stories. Close readers that you are, you've probably gathered that I hate to tell a story in which I am not the protagonist. Consider my willingness to do so further evidence of my mom-related appreciation.

As a child, I had a tendency to sleepwalk. And usually, when I would sleepwalk, hijinks ensued. Examples include making strange requests of my parents, tumbling down the stairs, and turning on every light in the house. All between the hours of midnight and 5am and all on separate occasions. On one such occasion, everyone in the mid-90's Danger household was sound asleep. I couldn't have been more than six, meaning that my sister was three and my mother was the exact same age she is now. [Quick aside: My mother does not age. She continues to present in her early 30s, which is embarrassing because I think in the near future, I'm set to out-age her. This also means that growing up, I was always the kid with the hot mom, which I continue to be proud of, to this day.]

The stillness of this suburban night is broken by my sister's piercing scream. Mama Danger, who is almost as big a worrier as I am, leaps out of bed and runs into her bedroom, to discover the source of this disturbance. She finds me, standing silently in my sister's room, pajama pants around my ankles, peeing heartily into my sister's toy basket. My sister continues to scream as she watches her possessions being soaked in a steady stream of urine.

As my mother walks my somnambulant self back to bed, my sister is still hysterical and entirely unable to go back to sleep. Maternal warrior that she is, Mama Danger grabs the bleach, fills up the bathtub, and proceeded to systematically scrub each and every one of my sister's toys. At 3am on a weeknight. And to this day, I have absolutely no memory of the event.

My sister and I put this poor woman through hell (and it only got worse after puberty). So here's to you, Mama Danger, for raising and supporting two of the most wildly dysfunctional pre-adults. And also for not smacking the shit out of your children, even when we so, so clearly deserved it. Sorry we about the frequency with which we embarrass you.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

North Carolina: Some Quick Thoughts

This post ended up being a little partially formed. Such is the nature of blogging. See Hedonismbot, below.

I find myself annoyed. In the short time since North Carolina's voting public passed Amendment 1, which put the (further) proverbial kibosh on its queer residents' matrimonial aspirations, my Facebook wall has been ablaze with angry statuses. These statuses follow two (more or less connected) patterns of thought: 1) That North Carolina's voting public is horribly backwards, mean, homophobic, spiteful, uninformed, etc. These statuses generally amount to "WHOOPS! NORTH CAROLINA SUCKS. BOO!" 2) That the tide of progress is inevitable, and that history is progressing unstoppably toward equality. Often these statuses come in the form of things like "We're not going anywhere!" I'll address both of these thoughts, in turn.

1) Blaming North Carolina voters does two things: First, I think it keeps us from addressing our larger national culture of homophobia that not only produces such an outcome, but also brings about a ballot initiative like Amendment 1 in the first place. And it's important to understand, gays of DC, how much we all contribute to this culture of homophobia, even though we bought HRC bumper stickers and LEGALIZE GAY t-shirts. [I would actually argue that DC's political gay scene plays a more active role in furthering national homophobia than your average Joe Homosexual].

Secondly, though, getting bogged down in a discussion of what a shitty state North Carolina is feels very much like saying "It could never happen here." Guess what, folks. It's happening in Maryland right now, as we speak, and it's happened historically all over the country.

2) Among other things, the idea that North Carolina is just fighting the general trend of history is a pretty useless strand of political thought. Hopeful though it may be, how much political traction are we really getting out of "It'll happen eventually?" Since when has the history of social movements in America been the lazy inevitability of progress? What we're trying to achieve here is a fundamental shift in American culture, not to mention law and public opinion. What could be less inevitable/simple?

If this all makes it sound as though I'm not upset by the evening's events, I'm sorry. This is a pretty significant hit for queers with marital leanings, and of course I regret the outcome. But I think that as a public, we are refusing to ask difficult questions, especially when the accompanying answers might implicate us in tonight's results. Making an enemy out of an entire voting public and distancing ourselves from moments like this feels politically irresponsible.

A final thought for some DC gays specifically: Does the gentrification that you're so fond of (and it's accompanying culture of race- and class-related inequality) contribute in any way to our national culture of homophobia, whose results we've seen tonight? Give it some thought, eh?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

But We're Never Gonna Survive, Unless We Get a Little Bit Crazy

Working at Big Red is a really strange experience. It teeters between soul crushing, at which point I often imagine myself diving in front of a metro car on my ride home, and wonderfully amusing/educational. Whatever else it is, I find this combination oddly thrilling. Some quick examples:

-A coworker came into my office the other day and said, "Do you know what the biggest problem with education today is? Universities aren't teaching kids the skills they need to get jobs." I clenched my jaw, turned my head, and responded by acknowledging that we had fundamentally different approaches to education, and I didn't really feel like getting into it that early in the morning. I'm pretty proud that I didn't take the bait.

-Another coworker, while watching Bloomberg television (a staple at our office), decided to make fun of Obama by doing a Bill Cosby impression. Racism is alive and well in right-wing America. But then, when I mentioned, in my most innocent, definitely never, ever sarcastic voice, that I had read recently that Barack actually turned down his Jello endorsement deal, I was met with blank stares. If you're gonna brave the 1930's racism of an Obama/Cosby joke, at least know your history, guys. But mostly, just knock it off!

-I've made it my goal to say "God Bless America" at least once a day. Usually people just smile affirmatively, but I've also gotten two high-fives out of the deal. I don't think anyone knows how much I'm kidding when I say it. I'm also not sure they realize when I make fun of them, more generally. God bless stoic sarcasm.

-Between the job and my extracurricular reading habits, I now know more about economics than I ever wanted to. The tentative title of my forthcoming econ textbook is going to be, "Stop Giving a Shit about Pie Charts." Depending on who you are, you'll be excited/disappointed to know that I still can't bring myself to worship the dollar. Sorry, Dad.

One small bit of news that genuinely offends me, and to which I am not quite sure how to respond: In our company's quarterly newsletter*, they have a section where they list new employees, their positions, and a short bio. Well, I had to think carefully about the short bio, because I had a hard time writing anything that didn't read, "I am the homosexual menace, and here are my various fetishes." After some brief agonizing, I finally managed to put together a short, deliberately vague bio that basically read "name, degree & certificate, does a little writing, now has job." I even managed to pepper it with some pithy humor! Well, in the editing process, they completely sanitized the bio. The published bio read something to the effect of "Will Danger went to QTU. Now, he works here."

Alright, sure. Republican editors can't be faulted for being generally humorless. What I find insulting is that they refused to list my degree/certificate, when everyone else featured in this section, regardless of age/career status, had their various communications/marketing/super-lame-shit degrees listed. It wasn't a spacing issue, because my bio ended up being considerably shorter than everyone else's. There was even another former English major who had her degree listed, so I can only assume that they refused to print the fact that I have a certificate in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies.** This conclusion is simultaneously obnoxious, unsurprising, obliquely homophobic, sort of insulting, and (eventually) kind of funny. I'll make up for it by one day writing an exposé about my time in the conservative trenches. And the cover of the book will just be an image of my LGBT certificate punching my boss in the nose.***

I'll leave you with another Alanis anthem (a Seal cover, this time), whose sentiment has pretty much been getting me through the week: "But we're never gonna survive/Unless we get a little bit crazy."

Please don't think me unoriginal for repeatedly ending posts with a video. Just sing along.

*I can't believe that phrase has become part of my vocabulary. The world takes us to some very strange places, doesn't it?
**I made the deliberate decision in the bio to spell the entire thing out.

***We'll have to draw arms/brass knuckles on the certificate, obviously. Actually, the more I think about it, including a pair of brass knuckles with all future certificates seems like a good idea. Who do I see about making that a reality, Roxie?