On June 15th, Portland had its annual Pride parade. I was saddled on the side of Congress Street with my frisky sign, “I Punch Nazis,” to show my support as an ally. I know I’m just a thought-strangled straight guy with an addiction to elocuting pellucid pronouncements and a propensity for preaching from my puckered posterior, but from where I’m sitting, the battle is far from over, so we need to both celebrate our accomplishments and keep the pressure on the regressive forces trying to silence our voices. The pride comes not from the existential state of being gay — what you are is what you are — but rather from your willingness to stand up and show the world that sexual orientation is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. And if someone isn’t comfortable with that, they can either grow as a person or accept an invite to kiss your ass.
The weather was almost conspiratorially perfect on the day of the parade. I was pleased to see that among the businesses and civic groups flying their support in the procession were several of the more liberally leaning churches and even a group of friendly neighborhood Satanists. After the parade, I took advantage of the uncontested weather to take a meditative trip on the path along the Eastern Prom in my recently refurbished wheelchair. Being an ever-questioning sort of person, it puzzles me why folks let themselves get tangled up in obvious repulsiveness.
Word on the street (and on the ’net) is that certain discontents in the Boston area are planning to have a “Straight Pride Parade” down there later this summer. I think this is a symptom of the dumbing of America. I may be totally wrong here, but it seems to me that the pride of the gay community is not derived from a feeling of superiority over straights, but rather the pride of having fought and won battles, even when vastly outnumbered and facing long odds, for equal rights, equal treatment, and acceptance.
What would a “straight pride” parade celebrate? Are you cheering the fact you’ve been atop the social pyramid and did your best to keep everyone else down? Are you celebrating your adherence to ancient superstition and your inability to adapt? Are you celebrating that you’re attracted to members of the opposite sex and, if so, are you so lacking any sense of self-worth that you consider horniness a major personal accomplishment?
If you’re going to have a “straight pride” parade, you might as well have a Bipedal Air-Breathers parade, or a parade to celebrate those who eat food and drink liquids.
That night, I punctuated the day’s celebrations by going to the queer-friendly bar Flask Lounge. Flask is pretty small, and I usually try to squeeze my chair into a spot along the back wall between the tables and seats. But when I arrived on this evening, I saw that all the tables had been pushed together, so the post-parade crowd could park their drinks or butts there, with exactly enough space left for me to comfortably park. Fellow Flask regular J.M. Syron said he and Flask owner Jessica Nolette had planned the construction of the table-bench specifically to accommodate me, and even had a minor disagreement over precisely where I usually sit. I am spoiled.
Growing up, I was an enthusiast for Godzilla movies and wasted many afternoons binge-watching the deliciously bad special effects. The ones made in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s had a highly anthropomorphized Godzilla with eyes in the front of his head, like a human or a monkey. Earlier last month, I went to the Nick to see Godzilla: King of The Monsters. Godzilla’s modern incarnation has a much more reptilian look, but sadly lacks the campy flavor I’ve come to expect. I guess it’s time for me to evolve on the issue. One pleasant surprise was that the movie featured my ancient crush, Zhang Ziyi .She didn’t bust out any bad-ass kung-fu moves, but she had her hair cut short, which makes her look like an adorable pixie!
The second movie I saw last month was The Dead Don’t Die, written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. Back in college, a lot of my friends were art snobs, and they turned me on to Jarmusch’s work. The film was great, but I feel bad for anyone who went in expecting a straight-up zombie movie and got this encyclopedia of self-referential pretzel twists. The pacing was exactingly measured and, in typical Jarmusch fashion, the dialog seemed deliberately bitten off at the tongue. Weird baubles are sprinkled throughout the movie, like Adam Driver’s imperial starship keychain (which, of course, references his role as Kylo Ren in Star Wars). The film’s constant equivocation of zombification with consumer culture, and — SPOILER ALERT — the seemingly random appearance of an alien spaceship toward the end give the movie an “art house” feel. So you should expect that, then embrace the strangeness and let yourself have some fun.
Each day we can carry the torch of incremental progress through what we choose to accept and reject. Stay awake, stay resilient, stay stubborn! #EVOLVETOGETHER