Getting off topic, was: "difference"
|From:||Sally Caves <scaves@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, March 1, 2005, 23:43|
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark J. Reed" <markjreed@...>
> It's a question of emphasis, I guess. I mean, people are unlikely
> to think you're female, old, Estonian, or brown-eyed if you're not any
> of those things, but homosexuality isn't necessarily apparent. And
> it shouldn't be *so* important that you *not* be mistaken for gay that
> you have to put a bumper sticker on your car that says "I'm not gay".
I can see where you're coming from, Mark. Now this isn't a perfect match
for your argument, but it's fun to tell. We deliberately did not buy the
Nineteenth Ward banner when we moved to the this neighborhood in Rochester
eleven years ago. It said: "Urban By Choice." Nice big happy,
fuschia-colored felt banner. What everybody who's the least bit cynical
about it understands is that this means that you are white, but you've
elected to move into a racially mixed, or predominantly minority
neighborhood ANYWAY, and aren't you virtuous. We thought of making our own
felt banner and having it say "Urban by Chance," which suggested that 1) we
didn't notice we were white and therefore making a committment to living
here or 2) we moved here because the house was GREAT, the neighborhood was
GREAT, it was close to the university and so darn affordable for what it
offered that we couldn't refuse-- and most importantly we weren't rich
enough to live in the trendy little neighborhoods with access to boutiques
and coffee shops; that essentially we recognized our financial status which
is "working class." Based on salary. Only in Switzerland did I see
professors getting salaries comparable to dentists'.
We didn't put any banner up.
On the other hand, the banner has a history. In the fifties, when people of
color started moving here, there was a blockbusting real estate campaign to
get the white folks out. This angered everybody, and many people put signs
up saying "I'm not moving," or "urban by choice." But those times are over
with, and there's something a little precious about the sign now. In fact,
I think most of them have come down.
As for the bumper sticker, it's supposed to express disapproval of
homophobia, which is a fraught issue in America. I commend its message, and
I can see why it sells; it makes such a nice pun--straight but not narrow.
But it comes off as a little precious, like the sign, and with a sub
message, like the sign. Again, not comparable, but tangential: it reminds
me of the "I am not ashamed" buttons my Christian friends used to wear in
the late sixties. Why would you be ashamed of being a Christian in the
first place? Do you still think you're gonna be tossed to the lions? It
seemed to cater to negativity, assuming that there shamers out there and
atheists. Be what you are. Do what you do, accept what you accept, support
people who need it--be a Christian, be tolerant, be yourself, and stop
boasting about it!
Am I catching some of your drift, Marcos?
> Well, I've actually been taken for an Italian, based on my looks of all
> Apparently, there are people who think the stereotypical Italian man is
> and blue-eyed, with light brown hair.
Hmmm. Have they ever been south of Turin?
> Online I'm taken for American with a
> certain regularity, apparently for no reason beyond certain Americans not
> grokking that the 'Net can be reached from outside America.
> People sometimes
> assume I'm gay, and I can't really work out why; it's certainly not my
> Possibly relatedly, I've also been accused of having a pathological lack
> I don't have a car, and if I had one I wouldn't put bumper stickers on it.
LOL! I don't put any political bumper stickers on my car either. My
husband, on the other hand, has a car that is plastered with political
bumper stickers, all of them 2004 pre-election protests against the
candidate who won. Now doesn't it look silly? :)
But this is getting really off topic; maybe I shouldn't have posted this
thread in the first place. Can we go back to gold-fish swallowing and lucid