aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, February 26, 2007
Hillary @ Google
Assimilate me (reprise)
On the occasion of a San Francisco Chronicle article about the Castro district facing an identity crisis, Andrew Sullivan has recycled his End of Gay Culture shtick. Having read it all again - and still not hardly disagreeing - I’m recycling my reply. Only the links have been updated...
Andrew Sullivan is at it again. Gay culture is over. You see it, he says, in the P-town real estate bubble, ignoring that it’s of a kind with that in San Francisco, Manhattan and L.A., and that gentrification there is like gentrification everywhere.
Slowly but unmistakably, gay culture is ending. You see it beyond the poignant transformation of P-town: on the streets of the big cities, on university campuses, in the suburbs where gay couples have settled, and in the entrails of the Internet. In fact, it is beginning to dawn on many that the very concept of gay culture may one day disappear altogether. By that, I do not mean that homosexual men and lesbians will not exist--or that they won’t create a community of sorts and a culture that sets them in some ways apart. I mean simply that what encompasses gay culture itself will expand into such a diverse set of subcultures that “gayness” alone will cease to tell you very much about any individual. The distinction between gay and straight culture will become so blurred, so fractured, and so intermingled that it may become more helpful not to examine them separately at all.
The gay culture he describes, the one I agree is ending, is the gay sex culture. Though he notes the paradox that “gay culture in its old form may have its most fertile ground in those states where homosexuality is still unmentionable and where openly gay men and women are more beleaguered: the red states.” I know that to be true.
He’s also right that there is no “single gay culture” today. But when he asks, “Who can rescue a uniform gay culture?” I wonder, was there ever? Not that I know of. And I was there in the 70s when:
The fact that openly gay communities were still relatively small and geographically concentrated in a handful of urban areas created a distinctive gay culture. The central institutions for gay men were baths and bars, places where men met each other in highly sexualized contexts and where sex provided the commonality. Gay resorts had their heyday--from Provincetown to Key West. The gay press grew quickly and was centered around classified personal ads or bar and bath advertising. Popular culture was suffused with stunning displays of homosexual burlesque: the music of Queen, the costumes of the Village People, the flamboyance of Elton John’s debut; the advertising of Calvin Klein; and the intoxication of disco itself, a gay creation that became emblematic of an entire heterosexual era. When this cultural explosion was acknowledged, when it explicitly penetrated the mainstream, the results, however, were highly unstable: Harvey Milk was assassinated in San Francisco and Anita Bryant led an anti-gay crusade. But the emergence of an openly gay culture, however vulnerable, was still real.
Sullivan says that culture was “primarily about pain and tragedy.” I’d quibble with words. Not “primarily about” but infused with…
That was an era, but there was a before. Indeed, I worked on the film, Before Stonewall, that made the point that gay culture didn’t start then. There was Mattachine and Daughters of Bilitis and Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde.
And there will be one tomorrow.
A pandemic choked Net
If a pandemic were to occur, many companies and organizations would ask their staffs to work from home. The impact of millions of additional people using the Internet from home might require individuals and companies to voluntarily restrain themselves from surfing to high-bandwidth sites, such as YouTube. If people didn’t comply, the government might step in and limit Net usage. The scenario is not far-fetched: last year at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, a group of telecom and government officials conducted a pandemic exercise based on a hypothetical breakout of bird flu in central Europe. The results weren’t pretty.
A two week supply of water and food
Store a two week supply of water and food. During a pandemic, if you cannot get to a store, or if stores are out of supplies, it will be important for you to have extra supplies on hand. This can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters....
Examples of food and non-perishables
Examples of medical, health, and emergency supplies
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, and soups
- Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood-pressure monitoring equipment
- Protein or fruit bars
- Soap and water, or alcohol-based (60-95%) hand wash
- Dry cereal or granola
- Medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Peanut butter or nuts
- Dried fruit
- Anti-diarrheal medication
- Canned juices
- Fluids with electrolytes
- Bottled water
- Cleansing agent/soap
- Canned or jarred baby food and formula
- Pet food
- Other non-perishable items
- Portable radio
- Manual can opener
- Garbage bags
- Tissues, toilet paper, disposable diapers
Pandemic flu planning
I went to a session on pandemic flu preparedness tonight presented by our regional health district. The message is basically this: stock up and get prepared now because when it hits (not if it hits) all bets are off. You’re on your own.
Stephen Flynn, former Coast Guard commander and author of The Edge of Disaster, says that the United States medical system is unprepared to handle a catastrophic emergency such as a flu pandemic or a major terrorist attack.
The problem, Flynn says, is that hospitals have been trying to cut costs.
“The medical community has been moving in the direction of much of our economy,” he says, “which is wringing out the extra capacity in order to essentially focus on the bottom line.”
Flynn says the United States lacks the federal leadership necessary to organize state and local efforts. Here in Georgia there are over 8 million people. We have 22,000 hospital beds. And only 16,800 nurses. There’s trouble ahead.
Flynn worries that a medical system that can barely meet day-to-day demands will be caught unprepared by an onslaught of emergency cases.
“We’re going to have incidents whether by acts of God or acts of man that are going to place a lot of people in desperate need for emergency care,” Flynn says. “And it will be life and death whether or not they receive it.”
He says that investing in a medical system that can handle a potential surge is “something that we can’t afford not to do.”
Flynn endorses alternative solutions that will enforce the medical system without tremendous expense. He says much more can be done to reach out to retired doctors and nurses who could serve as a rank of reserves for medical professionals.
There are also programs that give citizens basic training so that they can assist medical professionals in the event of an emergency.
To inspire such change, Flynn thinks the United States needs to realize that the medical system is moving in the wrong direction.
In the meantime, stock up. Visit pandemicflu.gov
YouTube v BoobTube
It’s still early in the game, to be sure, but so far it looks like YouTube can keep calling Viacom’s bluff, especially since early research shows that YouTube traffic has surged, not suffered, since Viacom demanded the takedown of 100,000 purportedly purloined video clips.
According to research from the fine folks at Hitwise, YouTube visits are up 14 percent since Viacom’s cease-and-desist order, showing that maybe it’s not just people watching Daily Show and Colbert clips after all. Who needs that Audible Magic stuff, anyway?
Hitwise’s LeeAnn Prescott goes on to report that during early Feburary YouTube traffic also “surged above the combined traffic to all of the television network websites,” albeit with some caveats. The figure doesn’t include web pages for things like American Idol, The Simpsons and sports - or in other words, just about everything that matters on mainstream TV.
Meanwhile, YouTube celebrities are being wooed by other video Web sites.