Frank Leon Roberts, the young New York cultural critic, posts two very provocative pieces on gay marriage, "Why I Hate Gay Marriage, or Notes on Queering Black Gay and Lesbian Politics" (a version of which will appear this fall in Think Again 2, which Frank is co-editing with poet Marvin K. White, to be published by the New York State Black Gay Network, AIDS Project Los Angeles, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, National Black Justice Coalition, and Black AIDS Institute) and "Why I Hate Gay Marriage II" on his blog Brooklyn Boy's Blues. I find that Frank makes many cogent points, particularly concerning recentering the debate from an equality of norms as they exist to revisioning new possibilities for queer families and association, and intend to respond when I return from a short trip.
Larry D. Lyons II sorts out the difference between some self-labeled "blog-infiltrator" Christians and Christ's life and message on his site, the Larry Lyons Experience. The last time I set foot in a Christian church (in Bahia, I believe it was, or maybe Rio de Janeiro; actually I cannot remember), it was as a tourist, and I long ago put the decade-plus worth of Catholic school (indoctrination) and Baptist Bible classes behind me. (Taking a course with Harvey Cox and speaking with Peter Gomes helped considerably.) So I'm taking this one purely from the viewpoint of a spectator. But wherever you fall in terms of your beliefs, Larry's blog is always worth checking out, both for the imagination he brings to his posts, his activism, and most certainly the images.
Doug Ireland again revisits the case of the hanged Iranian teens, who, it turns out, very likely were killed not as punishment for having raped a youth (not that that crime or any other merits being hanged, in a public square no less), but for the mere fact of having sex with each other. (I refused to retract my earlier post, because not only do I oppose the death penalty on principle, but subjecting young people to it, for whatever sorts of crimes they commit, strikes me as particularly inhumane.) Direland looks carefully at several subsequent reports, and speaks to Iranians who note that the city where the boys were murdered, Mashad, is the second holiest in Iran. He provides valuable information about worldwide protests against the inhumane acts against these young men, and again calls attention to the fact that LGBT organizations in the US need to move beyond parochialism and consider the plight of LGBTs across the globe, as LGBT organizations in Europe have done. One caution I would suggest for Direland and others is that the easy equation of same-sexual practices and Western notions of "gayness" should be problematized; the two young men very well may have seen themselves as "gay," and as Direland points out in a terrific section, there is a long tradition of same-sexual desire and practice in Iranian and Islamic culture--expressed in some of the most moving poetry ever written--which both the Shah's regime and the post-1979 Islamic regime have viciously repressed, but "gay" still should only be seen, at least in this case, as a kind of shorthand--it is not merely Western notions of "gayness" and homosexuality, but same-sexual practice in general that these fanatics, like the ones in the US, so utterly fear and want to eradicate. At any rate, check out Direland's full post.
Bill of Ffactory writes a great post on one of my favorite TV shows, HBO's Six Feet Under. As he always does, he delves deeply into why the show is so significant, exploring the essential novelistic aspects of the show, and its superb writing and deft and often dazzling handling of character. He even quotes David Foster Wallace on Dostoevsky in assembling what I find to be a very persuasive reading. I did feel at the start of this season, Six Feet Under's final one, that the show was becoming unremittingly gloomy, and then...well, if you get the opportunity, catch the past seasons and this one. Sex and death are fundamental drives, and the narrative artists behind Six Feet Under know, at least most of the time, how to make the best use of them.