aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, February 13, 2006
Red State cities, gay tourists
A reader who e-mailed me this USA Today story, on cities in red states vying for gay tourist dollars, suggested calling it “Just shuddup and give us your money.” I’d be more charitable. Most of these cities-Atlanta, Ft. Lauderdale, Phoenix, maybe even Dallas-are to varying degrees far more gay-friendly than their states’ typical smallvilles and rural areas. It’s a positive sign that these cities are marketing to gays, and not so surprising that the religious conservatives are not making a fuss about it.
Actually, I wish they would-if social conservatives demanded that states start forfeiting income in order to placate their prejudices, local business interests would turn against them. And that would be a good thing.
Comparing gay & black integration in the military
Reader E. ... says I:
underestimate the difficulties in integrating the races back in the day. Racial riots in the military were not uncommon in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. I remember being trained as a junior officer back in the 1990s how to deal with and respond to racial riots, should one occur.
I seriously doubt there would be nearly as many anti-homosexual riots in today’s military, should it be openly integrated (remember it is de facto integrated in many units already). To that extent, integrating homosexuals would actually be easier than integrating the races in the military.
Seeing Brokeback in Manhattan and Macon
OR why I believe the Brokeback breakout meme
I saw Brokeback Mountain the first time in New York, the second this past weekend in Macon. My Macon matinee audience was proportionally as large (and proportionally as late in the run) as my Chelsea matinee audience, and they seemed to enjoy it just as much.
So my anecdotal evidence is that the Red State Brokeback meme has some truth behind it. But sitting in that Macon theater next to my straight male friend - who had read my post about Brokeback audiences in Montana - I felt full-disclosure culpable for not having written about Mickey Kaus’s dismissal of it.
Today, in his 43rd post on the topic, Mickey gives me another shot:
I hadn’t realized, until someone tipped me off, that Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 had exactly the same marketing strategy as Brokeback Mountain, the gist of which was “Hey, a film sticks it to the conservatives but it’s playing in the red states!” This is the now-familiar Heartland Breakout meme.
I do believe the Brokeback marketing strategy is a savvy one, but it’s not substantially different from that of many other challenging films that try to breakout to a wider audience. I don’t take seriously his notion that it’s based on sticking it to the conservatives - if I did, wouldn’t I also have to believe that the very act of my moving here is sticking it to conservatives? - but I do feel compelled to answer his three point explanation of why his belief that Red State audiences aren’t really going to see Brokeback - it’s all just a media ploy - merits 43 posts.
A dog’s life
The 130th Westminster Dog Show starts in New York today. Ted Kerasote, author of the forthcoming “Merle’s Door: How Dogs Might Live if They Were Free,” marks the occasion with an OpEd in the Times. After a discussion of the consequences of breeding purebred dogs he concludes:
[I]f the pageantry of Westminster moves you to bring a new pup into the household, here’s a few tips that can save you some heartache and vet bills, particularly if the dog you have in mind is purebred. Investigate the track records of breeders. Meet both parents of the prospective pup. Talk with people who have bought from the breeder. And learn about the idiosyncrasies of one’s chosen breed.
If every dog buyer did such research, it would also help shut down the 5,000 puppy mills that, according to the Humane Society, provide most of the half-million purebred dogs sold through pet stores and the Internet. Poorly regulated, unsanitary factories in which females are imprisoned their entire lives, puppy mills survive because people get charmed by that puppy in the window.
Unlike the wrong computer or an automobile, however, faulty dogs can’t be readily exchanged or resold. They can be “given up” to an animal shelter, and they are, at the rate of about four million dogs each year, this soothing phrase disguising the end of 50 percent of them - a gas chamber or a lethal injection.
We owe our dogs more than this. After all, it is we who have shaped them. Even when we err, they continue to put their trust and their lives in our hands.
Email: tone deaf
I love email, BUT…
“Don’t work too hard,” wrote a colleague in an e-mail today. Was she sincere or sarcastic? I think I know (sarcastic), but I’m probably wrong.
According to recent research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, I’ve only a 50-50 chance of ascertaining the tone of any e-mail message. The study also shows that people think they’ve correctly interpreted the tone of e-mails they receive 90 percent of the time.
“That’s how flame wars get started,” says psychologist Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago, who conducted the research with Justin Kruger of New York University. “People in our study were convinced they’ve accurately understood the tone of an e-mail message when in fact their odds are no better than chance,” says Epley.