Phobicness (#Orlando)

My 2016 campaign will focus on eradicating the suffix “-phobia” from the language of our polity.

“Homophobia” and “transphobia” inadequately characterize the lethal hate our LGBTQ friends and family experience daily. We are anti-LGBTQ. Anti-trans. Anti-woman. Anti-child. Anti-black. We are not phobic. 

I have a phobia. It makes me scared while going along with apparently fun high-up enjoyments such as sitting in a stadium, riding a roller coaster, motoring around the Alps, white scarf aflutter, and drinking cocktails on a Brooklyn roof in July. 

My irrational anxiety about perching higher than evolution intended (I’m neither a leopard nor a sloth, not even in spirit) does not make me legislate rules keeping people off of roller coasters. It does not make me fabricate religious justification that cloaks my heights-avoidant neurosis in sham moralism. 

It does make me hand off certain heights-required tasks to non-phobic companions. But it doesn’t make me slaughter 49 people with a military weapon at the only place they feel safely and fully themselves.

 Irrational fear does not impel slaughter. 

A culture defining masculinity as dominance buttressed by firepower impels slaughter. 

A culture that fails to name domestic violence as terrorism impels slaughter. 

A culture that equates gayness with weakness, femininity and castration impels slaughter. 

These are decisions we make together. These decisions are not based on irrational fears. We decide to treat LGBTQ people, disabled people, women, and children as second class. Third class if they are people of color. We sell military weapons to people we’ve told are fully entitled to the minds and bodies of others. Then we blame another culture when the inevitable result of all our decisions turn out worse than we expected. 

We are not “afraid” of LGBTQ people. We actively constructed a society that deprives them of human dignity. We handed assault rifles to people who believed us when we said that str8t is gr8t. And then we blame “radical Islam” and “mental illness” for these decisions that we made together, thus relieving ourselves of the moral obligation to confront our actions. 

We call “senseless” a massacre that makes perfect sense, given the logics of supremacy undergirding our society from its founding. 

We made Orlando. 

I am Americaphobic. 

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Why?

I know why a dude who pummeled his wife daily might also gun down a gay club on Latin night: gender norms are f-ing  lethal. Plus racism. 

But why oh why are assault rifles sold to Joe Q Public???????

All I want is for my friends and family to feel safe. They don’t today. 

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My Review of The Americans

The Cold War

Marriage

Which one’s the metaphor?

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On Real America

Please read this ode to our beautiful, difficult country, whose Riverside County, California, is as vibrantly American as genetic research, fried chicken-donut sandwiches, and the Civil Rights Movement.

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Eat the Cookie

The best New Yorker article I read in months wasn’t about homeless teens or schizophrenia (actually that one was dope. Immunization genes (!!!) disproportionately influence the development of schizophrenia (!?!??) through neural structures that act as pruning shears such that certain regions of the brains of schizophrenic people are over-sheared like when my dad pruned the peach tree so aggressively it stopped bearing fruit).

It was most decidedly not the recent Gay Talese spew about a dude who bought and modified a motel in my town to spy on unwitting guests and catalog their proclivities that I cannot believe the friggin New Yorker friggin published. The sexism alone. The wholely undigested this-is-what-Talese-thinks-about-what-this-dude-thinks-about-himself, the very worst impulses of the New Journalism as if decades of feminism, gay rights, and sophisticated, elucidating long form nonfiction hadn’t happened, undigested like when the pet’s vomit looks like the pet’s food fresh out the bag plus some glistening. As if we don’t know better than to be seduced by two layers of un-self-conscious narcissistic privilege into our becoming voyeurs through an actually paid-for book excerpt whose disguise as journalism is as flimsy as the voyeur subject’s delusions of ethical social scientific research. I won’t even dignify it with a link.

Ahem.

Back at the ranch, Louis Menand reflects on ways our popular self-help books reflect the labor needs of our dominant economies.

Ford and Taylor maximized the efficiency of bodies laboring in factories.  How to Win Friends and Influence People Taylorized the the salesman in the grey flannel suit, disciplining his personality to a mid-century service economy.

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