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The Next Social Revolution

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March 02, 2005

Good News Everyone!

Local marriage equality leaders decided not to resist the legislative committee's civil union bill and, to add icing to the cake, our Republican governor intends to sign the bill into law. Short of our legislators getting usurped, the bill will likely become law.

I'm pleased. Last autumn, one of the candidates running for state office knocked on my door, introduced himself, and asked if we had any concerns. I gave him a polite earful of two things: services for the disabled (into which my son has entered the adult ranks) and marriage equality. I told him we had a lot of gay and lesbian friends and I wanted them to have the same legal benefits as I.

Granted, civil unions aren't marriages. But they do provide a path to secure equality rights and the stamp of legal legitimacy. Today, I have hope. Hell, even Kansas voters rejected a referendum and candidate over anti-bias issues. Maybe tolerance is spreading here like democracy in the Middle East!

Oh! Sorry about going Futurama, there, in the headline. Couldn't help myself.

posted by debrahyde at 03-02-2005 12:00:00AM
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February 28, 2005

May I offer NYC gay men my thanks for...

Doing in one evening what sex-positive feminists have tried to accomplish over two decades? Namely, putting Catherine McKinnon in her place. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Speaking again of Inside Deep Throat, I suppose you could read this New Yorker review and skip the movie, but it hasn't dampened my curiosity for the film. First, all pop-culture documentaries run the risk of getting a little too self-congratulatory in their expert commentaries, but one has to remember the tenor of its times. Remember "if it feels good, do it"? Or "honk if you're horny"? It was a self-congratulatory time when it came to throwing off the shackles of sexual repression and the '70s was smack-dab in the middle of the window of brief hedonistic hope we all had before the cloud of HIV casted its shadow.

As well, I'm pretty fascinated by an endeavor that might've been little more than a lark on the part of its makers (mob money aside) that turned into a phenomenon. How did that transformation occur? And you know who I'd love to hear from about this moment in time? Author Samuel R. Delany. He loved the gritty Times Square and its porn theater culture, so much so that he strikes me as the Walt Whitman of Times Square, documenting the democratizing effect that porn theaters had its clientele. I'd love to know what he thinks of Deep Throat chic then and now.

BTW, a better read than the Deep Throat review: Francine du Plessix Gray's memoir-laced review of Rachel Shteir’s Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show. Ms. du Plessix Gray is best known for authoring At Home With the Marquis de Sade and this piece is a riveting recollection of by-gone days. (Kudos to Lily Burana. That her book, Strip City: A Stripper’s Farewell Journey Across America, would figure prominently in the discussion four years after its publication is the kind of staying power that writers pray for. When I read Lily's book years ago, I went into with a skeptic's eye and came out a believer.)

On the home front: Here in Connecticut, progressive, forward-thinking lawmakers have passed a civil union bill through its legislative committee and it's expected to pass. I know a lot of marriage equality folks aren't happy with it, but lawmakers know they can pass this and have given notice that it's only a first step in an ongoing effort. I know it could become a trap, much as it has in Vermont, but consider this: We'll be the first state to say civil equality is valuable enough to codify into law -- without court action.

As I write this, I'm reading a historical summary of Griswold v. Connecticut. The effort to legalize contraceptive practices started in the 1930s and took thirty years to resolve, ultimately via the U.S. Supreme Court because Connecticut legislators were too blue-nosed and religious to allow people legal access to family planning and the personal freedom to use birth control devices. That we stand poised to provide civil equality in less than a decade's time of lobbying for it -- and without court intervention -- is real progress. It may not be enough, but it's real progress.

posted by debrahyde at 02-28-2005 12:00:00AM
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February 24, 2005

Isn't that just the way it goes?

Only a day after getting a good laugh from Zippy, I discover that mankind has invented what amounts to a Tomagotchi girlfriend. Will wonders never cease.

When it comes to Zippy, I'm all too aware of the fact that there's a thin line between the cute manga characters my kids enjoy and more adult fascinations. I mean, just take a look at Super Dollfies and other such fetish-like cuties. Granted, these aren't love dolls by any measure, but there's an even more pornographic extension to all this. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I doubt I'm feeding my kids a future fetish when they, as American consumers, enjoy Fruits Basket, D'Angel, or Hana-Kimi manga, but it's still something of a hoot to see how childhood interests can being morphed upwards to capture more adult interests.

On the other hand, if given a choice, I'd take Super Dollfies over Amerian Girls any day. Those girls are just too conformist, gender-role specific. Ick.

Note to my readers: I have a lot of writing deadlines over the next three weeks so I intend to blog frequent but brief entries. Some will be playful, some serious, some ala curiosa. Keep an eye out, OK?

posted by debrahyde at 02-24-2005 12:00:00AM
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