January 13, 2018
So long as we, the outliers, insisted that we had something to offer, that our world, where we formed enduring relationships outside the tax code and the sanction of church and state, where we created and took care of families of lovers and friends and strangers alike — so long as we insisted that this world was richer, more sustainable, more loving in so many ways than the insular world of Fortress Marriage, we got nowhere. Only when we exchanged our lofty ideals for conventionality was our struggle embraced. Only when we sought to exchange, in the words of the assimilationist attorney William Eskridge, “sexual promiscuity” for “the potentially civilizing effect” of state-sanctioned marriage were we accepted — as if a community risking their lives to care for their own in the face of church and government condemnation was not the very highest manifestation of civilized behavior; as if marriage “civilized,” to offer one of countless examples, Harvey Weinstein.
The level of confusion thus introduced is very high. At one point, casting about for areas of unity between the working class and the poor, Williams expresses her hope that restaurant owners will oppose Trump’s draconian border measures in order to better secure immigrant labor. For those still trying to keep score, the restaurant owners are somehow working class, while their immigrant laboring employees are somehow not. Nevertheless, at certain junctures Williams cannot resist taking up the cause of “white trash” who are maligned by elites but not, by her own definitions, working class.
Living in a girl’s body, everyone seemed to be telling me — teachers, relatives, adults I didn’t even know; tabloid headlines and nightly news anchors; people I didn’t want to believe, and people I did — meant that violence was your birthright. How could you trust anyone who touched you, who desired you? How could you trust your own desire, when desire could lead you so easily to trauma or a bad reputation or even death?...Although an interesting cultural artifact, the idea of female-authored gay slashfic has been pretty inexplicable to me, but Sarah Marshall clarifies matters.
So I did what made the most sense at the time: in a world that told me a girl could not desire, I dreamed myself into boyhood. If a boy kissed a boy — if a boy let a boy kiss him — no one had to lose, no one had to submit, no one had to be asking for it, or for whatever came next. You could just — kiss.
And so, to dream of boys, I dreamed of myself as a boy — or of two boys together, my own sense of identification tied down to one, or fluttering lambently between them. In another time and place, I might have wondered if I was alone. In the world of Newsies fanfiction, I knew I wasn’t.
January 01, 2018
The opposition to Trump has divided into two camps: one that pines for a reversion to the mean, a painless transition back to incrementalism at home and see-no-evilism abroad; and another that recognizes the very rot that let a man who is both Fool and Lear in one howling figure stumble into the presidency. This latter faction, which ranges from the modest social democracy of Bernie Sanders to a far more radical and openly anti-imperial left, sees in the present crises an opportunity to wrench back some kind of national democracy from imperialism. It sees the fact that the United States has, for nearly two decades now, spent $250 million a day on war as both a crime and an opportunity to redirect those resources. (To put that figure in perspective, it would be enough to operate a modest regional hospital for a year.)