The Cold Civil War
THE WEEK FROM MY VIEW
by James Killough
My dear friend Phil Hoskins is a lawyer who specializes in estate planning for Gheys, a somewhat more complex legal situation for those of us who are denied the same rights of inheritance and whatnot. Over a protein shake in Weho the other day, Phil said, “DOMA is the most pernicious piece of legislation since slavery.”
President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage this week was monumental, of course, quite possibly more so than even the gay community at large seems to realize. I went out for a celebratory drink at Gym Bar on Wednesday after a meeting, raised my glass and bellowed out a toast to the President. I was met with absolute indifference. It’s probably because they were engrossed in urgent gossip, and because most Gheys have a blinkered view about marriage; many are unlikely to take this most hetero-normative of steps with our relationships in our lifetimes. We’re men: few of us daydream about ideal weddings, or make it any kind of priority, not with so many other possibilities out there. We’re thrilled if a relationship lasts six weeks past the first encounter.
Phil’s use of the words ‘pernicious’ and ‘slavery’ have meaning far beyond just DOMA and our equal rights. What I find most pernicious is the slave mentality most Gheys who are not on the battlefront for equality have towards the straight population. We are conditioned from childhood not to rock the boat, to bow our heads and mutter “yas’m” for our own safety. If we can, we even try to hide our true color in bondage to hetero-normative standards of behavior. Up until now, we have accepted inequality as our birthright.
I don’t think the President was late in endorsing gay marriage because my own opinion about it has likewise evolved over time. It was only until I started writing this blog and examining the issue more deeply that I understood the full implications of what marriage rights mean as a symbol for equality in general. And my opinion doesn’t carry the weight of the President’s, doesn’t have anywhere near the political and social importance, which necessitates a more circumspect approach. If I misjudge something, make a wrong pronouncement in these posts, I can either delete it, or let it sink to obscurity in the bottom of the archives. He goes on record as long as mankind shall live.
Wednesday was Obama’s equivalent of the Emancipation Proclamation, the executive order that Abraham Lincoln issued during the American Civil War to free slaves. I’m sure most slaves of that era were, like us, either too caught up in the war itself or for various reasons were unable to understand the full implications of the order, certainly not as much as those who were at the forefront of the struggle.
Obama has evoked Lincoln on a number of occasions, from when he first began campaigning for President until his recent assertion that the GOP would never elect Lincoln, who was a Republican, today.
The way I see it, we are in the throes of a Cold Civil War, and have been since Obama was elected. Just as the turmoil that ripped the country apart during the 1860s wasn’t just about slavery, the Cold Civil War isn’t just about gay rights, but they are becoming the central issue that defines who we are as Americans in the early twenty-first century—either you’re on the side of the North or the South; there isn’t a no man’s land.
With Mitt Romney owning up on Tuesday to ‘maybe’ having bullied a gay boy at prep school, he just can’t remember, and with his unequivocal stance against our equal rights, the divide between North and South is clearer than ever. A vote for him, an endorsement of him, a speech made on his behalf, a dollar donated to his campaign is in support of the egregious cause of the cultural slave-loving South. But rest assured he and his people will lose in the end, as they must, because they are so very wrong.
Why a ‘cold’ civil war? Because there are no physical battlegrounds. Rather, the fight is being waged in the media, on air but above all online. The best part about it—particularly from the point of view of someone like me, who has lived almost half a century in mental bondage—this war is such a pleasure to watch unfold, to see people’s minds change, particularly after the gentle tsunami unleashed by the President on Wednesday. As for those Republicans heading for the hills, led by the Bully Romney… Why, it’s as glorious as a stampede of elephants on National Geographic, filmed super slow motion and in high definition.
I couldn’t continue our Shoot Your Heroes Week theme in the previous item because that would have been all wrong with the Obama/Lincoln comparison; we definitely need and want the President alive, now more than ever.
One hero who is now riddled with bullets is John Travolta after two masseurs jointly sued him this week for sexual harassment, and a third stepped in to say that he suffered the same assault on a cruise ship, only to be confined to his cabin when he complained to the captain and subsequently fired. Don’t mess with Scientologists, baby, especially when they’re on their beloved high seas.
It was interesting to see how resistant people were to the reality that a macho man of film and TV likes a happy finish to his massages from men. I had something of a spat with a few people on Reddit.com, who simply refused to believe Travolta would engage in these activities. Their case was bolstered when TMZ produced a receipt that showed he was in New York, not LA, on the date the assault on John Doe 1 apparently took place.
Marlow Stern’s article in The Daily Beast gave the clearest overview of Travolta’s struggles to keep his bisexuality under wraps.
From an entertainment world perspective, it’s simply accepted that he has a hankering for cock, an attitude best summed up by Carrie Fisher’s statement in an interview with The Advocate in 2011:
“I mean, my feeling about John has always been that we know and we don’t care. Look, I’m sorry that he’s uncomfortable with it, and that’s all I can say. It only draws more attention to it when you make that kind of legal fuss. Just leave it be.”
Travolta may countersue his accusers, which would be unwise. As I’ve mentioned before with regard to defamation lawsuits, the stickiest part for Travolta would be discovery, meaning that part of the legal process when evidence is obtained—in this case mostly in the form of depositions from no doubt countless masseurs around the world—not the kind of discovery such as his towel ‘accidentally’ falling away to reveal he has an eight-inch dick that won’t go flaccid, presumably because of the Viagra he ingested before the massage.
Where there’s smoke, there’s generally fire. What never ceases to surprise me is that people don’t just accept the evidence for what it is. It’s apparently because they see celebrities as some special race of human, which entertainment folk emphatically don’t; they’re just capricious, entitled pains in the asses you need to get your project financed.
It’s not easy to shoot your heroes, I guess. Best not to have them to begin with?
My instant response to North Carolina’s passage of Amendment 1 defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman was, “Where the fuck is North Carolina?”
Mine wasn’t a the sort of typically high-handed Hollywood response to a tempest in a teapot in some remote corner of the world, like “Where the fuck is Cannes?” when the Festival makes some outrageous choice for Palm D’Or winner or snubs yet another worthy American film for competition, or even “Where the fuck is India?” as one producer once said to me over coffee in Brentwood when I was frothing over because a major Bollywood star was talking smack about me in the Indian press. No. It’s because if you asked me to show you where North Carolina is on the map, I would probably point to Pennsylvania.
One of the preferred actions in the Cold Civil War is civil disobedience. Yesterday, the lesbian Mary Jamis and a straight friend were arrested in Winston-Salem, a city that always makes me cough involuntarily when I read its name because of the reference to two brands of cigarettes. Mary blocked the entrance to a government office after she was denied a marriage license, and was charged with second-degree trespass, which is the first time I’d heard there were degrees of it, but I suppose it makes sense if there are also degrees of murder.
The fact that North Carolina is in fact the thirtieth state, and the last southern one, to add an anti-gay marriage ban to the books seems to be overlooked. Hopefully as Obama’s gentle tsunami picks up, actions like Jamis’ will spread to those other states that have so far slipped below the radar in terms of equitably broad media coverage.
Conservatives are absolutely correct about one thing: we Gheys can be a perverted bunch, bless us, at least as bad as Str8s when it comes to ‘deviant’ sexual practices.
I stopped into a chat room on Gay.com the other day and had a public interaction with a handsome young man from Wisconsin who styled himself as a ‘romantic masochist.’ First I asked the details of his masochistic tendencies, which he said he discovered when he was in training for boxing and later MMA: he became aroused when he was being beaten and bloodied up, and now requires it for sexual stimulation. He also found someone recently who has been tying fifty-pound weights to his genitalia before flogging him.
To each his own, of course. In my experience, masochists are their own brand of crazy, but it’s no more pernicious than my eccentricities. When I asked him about his ‘romantic’ side, his response was rather sweet: “I’ve had my wedding planned out since I was a teenager… My man and I will wear matching charcoal suits. We’ll arrive by horse-drawn carriage to a perfect spot on a cliff overlooking the ocean, where all our friends and family will be. The honeymoon will be in Hawaii.”
Yes, North Carolina, we have dreams, too.
Schizo of the Week is hands down Jane Skrovota from Lincoln, Nebraska, who offered the following delirious rant about Gheys before the city council. The batty old coot’s last name alone evokes heavily weighted male genitalia. If you haven’t already seen this instant viral piece, you need to watch it. Note the guy in the background slowly losing it.
UPDATE: It appears Jane is a real schizophrenic, which doesn’t surprise me. Her rant below is a classical example of thought disorder, one of the primary “positive” symptoms.
Another interesting and provocative post, although I admit to laughing when I saw Obama’s image in a space usually reserved for upcoming indie actresses and ex-boxers turned documentary filmmakers. Nice curveball, as is the lack of shirtless hunks in a post that had ample opportunity for them.
Thanks. We were riding the shirtless hunks a little hard this week, I reckon.
Eh, nothing wrong with giving the people what they want. Anyway, this post should be a column in Newsweek at the least.
Bloody Tina. She’s willfully ignoring me. It’s because she really loves me so much, I just know it.
I’ve read this post twice. It’s woken me up, so to say. Beautiful piece. I love your reasoning and ability to communicate it. Thanks, James.
That means so much to me, Robert. Well worth writing the piece just for that.
“I couldn’t continue our Shoot Your Heroes Week theme in the previous item because that would have been all wrong with the Obama/Lincoln comparison; we definitely need and want the President alive, now more than ever.”
The secret service agrees.
Hahaha. Indeed. Thanks for reading!
Amazing post, right out of the starting gate! The passage of North Carolina’s Amendment 1 is unfortunate, but the ignorance that tends to run rampant in the south has been tamed before, and so it will again. It’s even more unfortunate that the incredibly beautiful land that forms this great earth does not get to choose who lives upon it.
The land accepts it’s inhabitants with humility and the wisdom to know that they will all be gone soon enough. The land has the patience to wait it out, and witness the change in consciousness over time. I suppose I could do the same, but it would be easier to assume that extent of patience if I were a boulder sitting out in the desert.
I like to see change, and I want to see as much of it as possible in this single lifetime. Thank God for the internet, thank God for youtube, and thank God for all the publications like Pure Film Creative and writers like James Killough, who not only have something interesting to say, and the guts to say it… but say it so well!
I would love to end this comment on the strength of that last thought, but I can’t help but add, “As for the schizo of the week…. Brilliance, sheer brilliance!”
Very moving comment. Thanks so much.
This was your best post to date, in my opinion. Thank you, and well done.
No, thank you!