Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New York gets it right: Separate but equal is not the American way

Let's celebrate the passage of gay marriage in New York for the wonderful advancement in civil rights that it is. Let's thank NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo for being the champion of this cause. Let's recognize Rosie O'Donnell's hard-working brother, NY Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell, for sponsoring the legislation. And let's also offer a very special congratulations to the lovely lesbians in Manhattan who are displaying their rings beside the historic front page of June 25th edition of The New York Times.

Now, let's also urge President Obama to recognize that he cannot be a true advocate for equal rights if he continues to oppose gay marriage. President Obama says his views are "evolving," and he recently has stated support for civil unions. While I appreciate that he is making some progress toward promoting equal rights for all American citizens, I am baffled that he cannot see how he is essentially promoting a "separate but equal" policy. As we know, the US Supreme Court in 1954 determined that this country cannot have separate but equal treatment of American citizens because separate is, in the words of the court, "inherently unequal" and a violation of the Constitution.

Let me offer yet another perspective on how far behind President Obama is in his reluctant and late support of civil unions: Republican candidate for president Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah fought for civil unions in his state TWO YEARS AGO. And our Democratic president is just getting there now? And in sentiment only; he has sent no bill to Congress. Mr. President, it's time to move ahead of Republicans in your position on gay rights. Support equality. Support gay marriage. It's the American way.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gertrude Stein is in the house

I'm sensing Gertrude Stein in the zeitgeist. There is a new book "Seeing Gertrude Stein" (University of California Press) and a show at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. In conjunction, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts will have programming celebrating Stein's immeasurable influence in the arts. Also, Stein is portrayed by the wonderful Kathy Bates in Woody Allen's new film, Midnight in Paris. And, since lesbians still often don't get recognized without some negative comment, a misguided writer in The New York Times Style Magazine recently referred to Stein as a "matronly frump" who has surprisingly turned into a style icon. Describing Gertrude Stein as a "matronly frump" is like calling Andy Warhol a homely virgin. It is so not the point. If that's all you can see about a genius whose influence in the arts is extraordinary, then you are really not qualified to comment. The rest of us can celebrate Stein, as SG did at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, where her portrait by Picasso usually hangs. But currently it's in the show in San Francisco. At least one of Stein's trademark waistcoats will also be on display.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Is this the real life? It's a boorish fantasy.

There are other lesbian websites providing extended witty recaps of the first episode of Season Two of "The Real L Word," which aired on Showtime last Sunday night. But I will strive for brevity. In the spirit of Dorothy Parker, I could just say, "I fwowed up." But I will elaborate. The show is terrible. Just terrible. It makes LA lesbians look grimy and inarticulate. Their behavior is boorish and depressing. As one writer at Autostraddle advises: "Watch this show like it’s a mockumentary and it’s actually really fucking funny." Indeed, I never thought I would say this, but Season One was better. I did not realize how good we had it with Tracy & Stamie and Jill & Nikki. At least those women seemed like reasonably educated people who practiced basic courtesy and hygiene. Okay, you could say, hey, don't watch the show if you don't like it. True. But, as I said at one particularly low point during the viewing at our house, "I feel like I'm monitoring this show rather than watching it." And that is because Ilene Chaiken is an important contributor to lesbian culture. Whether or not you like "The L Word" and its offspring, "The Real L Word," you must admit that whatever she does will make a significant contribution to how the world sees us and how we see ourselves.