pulling up the ladder from the pit of oppression
Friday, July 21 2006
These days of drywall and spackle kind of run one into the next. Their principle distinction from my normal life is how small of a role computers play in it all. They do play a role, however. They're responsible for the soundtrack, which is mostly comprised of episodes of This American Life. I've heard the majority of these before, but they can always stand another listen. And every now and then I stumble onto a fresh new hitherto-unheard gem. I wish there were a trove of 10,000 This American Lifes to trawl through, but alas, there are only several hundred.
This evening Gretchen and I went out for a meal of Pupusas with J&B, our friends from High Falls. Being a gay couple, Gretchen naturally assumed that they were tolerant of the kinks of others. So she was very surprised and disappointed when J expressed his feelings about transsexuals and sado-masochists. J said he thought they all had "issues" that they needed to "work out," and that he particularly didn't think it was appropriate for transsexuals to want to get under the umbrella of gay liberation. He compared the willful removal of breasts and genitalia to a strange psychological condition called "body integrity identity disorder," the topic that had lead us into the question of whether or not transsexuals are mentally ill. Gretchen, who has actually had sexual relations with a female-to-male transsexual, was appalled by the seeming narrowness of J's views. But there was really no arguing the point; either you believe someone's sexuality is a symptom of a sickness or you don't. Of course, the obvious irony here is that J is in a committed homosexual relationship, and until fairly recently homosexuality itself was considered a symptom of a mental illness. But from the way he was talking tonight, it seemed that he would recommend counseling to me for large swaths of what I consider erotic. I can only surmise that the squeaky-clean mentally-balanced nature of his erotic thoughts are very dull indeed. On the drive home (after a completely unnecessary walk to a nearby and very popular icecream place), Gretchen said that she saw J's attitude as typical of the human condition, the desire to pull up the ladder after climbing out of the pit of oppression. It's being done by African Americans as they express their revulsion at the use of civil rights language by gay rights activists. And it's being doing by gay rights activists as they express their revulsion at transsexuals and sado-masochists. (As for the single-celled Americans, the only oppressed group President Bush is willing to use a veto to support, I myself have no pity; unlike (say) a lobster, they're like rocks, Terry Schiavo, and corporations in that they don't even know that they're alive.)
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