Wednesday, April 26, 2017
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It’s going to be okay

Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category

Ryan Day

Marketocracy

November 6th, 2009
by Ryan Day

PHOENIX, AZ-

I am, unfortunately, in no position to refuse $75 for one hour of my time, pretty much no matter what the the contents of that hour. They could have asked me to drink six bottles of catsup (ketchup?). They could have asked me to have tea with Glen Beck and soothe his uniquely bruised ego with prefabricated whispers about the peaceful forces at the center of the conservative universe (you are a child of the marketplace… the invisible hand will always lead you towards the light of the DOW…). I would have mowed lawns, bagged leaves (though I imagine the going rate of yard maintenance is somewhat lower), run backwards into the weird smelling basin at the end of the Salt River. But, alas, all they wanted was that I watch some movie trailers and tell them, no matter what I really thought, that the Rock was just the actor to breath renewed life into that excalibur of cinematic roles, the Tooth Fairy. (more…)


Erika Rae

Harvest Time! Or, My Democratic Carrots Have Genitalia. What Have Yours Got?

October 25th, 2009
by Erika Rae

BOULDER, CO-

This year, being the proud Obamabot that I am, I eagerly followed the left wing conspiracy all the way to my garden. Never mind the fact that I live at 9000 ft in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and get exactly 11.3 weeks of contiguous summer. The White House grounds currently survive an inordinate measure of chill under the scrutiny of the GOP. If Michelle could do it, I reasoned, so could I.

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Jason Rice

Crap

October 19th, 2009
by Jason Rice

TOMS RIVER, NJ-

It’s crap that I can’t afford to buy an iPhone.  Cry me a river, you say.  It’s also crap that I have to spend two hours a day commuting in my car to work a job that is just a job.  When did I become a person who fulfills other people’s dreams at the expense of my own?  

Planes crashed into the World Trade Center, and six weeks later I lost my job at Random House.  A week after that I bought a house.  That was supposed to be my dream. Now I’m living in it, and I can want for nothing.  Is that the deal?

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Peter Gajdics

What I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up: Me, My Gender and I

October 10th, 2009
by Peter Gajdics

VANCOUVER, BC-

One day in grade six, Teacher asked us all to say aloud what we wanted to be when we grew up. “I’m going to be a doctor,” one boy announced as we all sat cross-legged in a circle. “I’m going to be a teacher!” a ponytailed girl called out with a raised hand. Another boy with red hair and freckles said he wanted to be a fire engine: a big, loud, red, fire engine. Teacher, a kind, grey-haired woman who always wore a blue, pleated skirt and held a piece of new, white chalk, corrected him by saying, “Don’t you mean you want to be a fireman?” “No,” the boy said, shaking his head. “I want to be a fire engine. A big, loud, red, fire engine.” Everyone laughed, but secretly I was scared that Teacher would ask me what I wanted to be. I was scared because I didn’t know what I wanted to be. There was no profession I could imagine myself becoming when I grew up. Would I even grow up? That was like imagining myself outside a forest when all around me it was dark and I was alone and really, if I’d been honest, although I already knew well enough not to be, all I wanted was to be at peace. Not a doctor or a priest or a football player—at peace. (more…)


Matthew Gavin Frank

The Truffle of the Barn

September 29th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank

TORINO, ITALY-

The fluorescence of one room bleeds into another with only minor differences: a blinking flicker here, a snoring hum there. I sit again beneath these flickers and hums, just past 9:00 pm, in the salamina da sugo workshop, ready for the gentle myth, ready for some anarchy. This is the Salone del Gusto, the Slow Food Movement’s Salon of Taste and, while this is also Torino, Italy, the rest of the world, via its respective culinary delights, trickles in through the cracks in the mortar.

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Peter Gajdics

Running After the Hands

September 28th, 2009
by Peter Gajdics

VANCOUVER, BC-

Flipping through a recent issue of the local gay newspaper, I noticed two advertisements on facing pages. On the left was an ad for the local gay bathhouse with a picture of three young, hairless (at least clipped), muscled, and implicitly virile men tangled like weeds in each other’s sweaty but greedy arms; on the opposite page was a picture of another (young) man—blue-eyed, with three-day stubble, in a flaming red shirt—advertising the latest AIDS medication. The message, whether the marketers were aware of it or not, was powerful: have fun, and if (when) you get sick, buy our medication. Sex sells, even with illness looming offstage. (more…)


Peter Gajdics

Gender: Weltanschauung

September 13th, 2009
by Peter Gajdics

VANCOUVER, BC

After a nearly twenty year hiatus I am back in University, continuing my undergraduate degree in the only field of academia that makes sense to me to study as a 44-year old gay man who’s spent much of his adult life struggling with issues related to sexuality: gender studies. Assignment number one was to ask as many people as possible: What makes a “real man,” what makes a “real woman”? Naturally, I asked all my friends. Responses ranged from the straightforward (“this is pretty simple to me”), to the more complex (“this really is an existential question”). They also seemed reflective of the two broad camps of evolutionary thought: the “nature” (men and woman are fundamentally biologically different) vs. “nurture” (men and women are socially constructed to be different) argument. (more…)


Don Mitchell

Pictures of Makis

September 7th, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY-

In the white shimmering overexposed one he’s looking through his chrome camera at Niagara Falls in late December. This was before black cameras were the common things they are now, so the only black in the print is Makis’ face, though little of it shows above the fur collar and below the knit hat. It’s 1978.
 
In another he’s holding what we christened the world’s largest chicken, a stupendous fowl as big as a small turkey. He cradles it in the crook of his arm as if it were a baby. We couldn’t decide whether to boil it village fashion or to roast it whiteman style. In the end we roasted it because we had neither bush spinach nor coconut milk, and anyway, what’s the point of bogus village cooking?
(more…)


Rob Delaney

The Grimmest Squat in London

September 5th, 2009
by Rob Delaney

LONDON-

It had been a bad morning, the day I went out to look at the squat. I’d had a bitter fight with Binh and then she had a violent premonition: she saw me, she said, lying in a pool of blood; there were spilled pills and a crack of gunshot. It was, I had thought, a fairly stylised, cinematic instance of clairvoyance, but it chilled me nonetheless. It’s the East in her, these depths and silences I don’t understand.

I met Noel, an anarchist colleague from the school where I’d recently found a job, out in East London. Tower Hamlets, the place was called, allegedly the poorest area in Britain.

The high-rise was as long as the street, with five floors, and the whole building had been squatted. It was grey, desolate and forbidding, like a Communist residential block in Eastern Europe fallen into post-Soviet, feral abandonment. Slogans had been daubed in big letters along the balconies on the higher floors:

 

SQUATTERS’ CITY OF PEACE; GOD IS SQUATTING HERE WITH US

 

(more…)


Joshua Lyon

The Thirteenth Victim

August 29th, 2009
by Joshua Lyon

BROOKLYN, NY-

A recent hangover found me still under the covers at 2:00 PM. I called out to my boyfriend Casey, but instead of asking for water or Advil, I asked him to look up details about the murder of Konerak Sinthasomphone, Jeffrey Dahmer’s thirteenth victim.

From under my pillow I’d been half-listening to Casey talk about the death of Ted Kennedy. Casey is young enough that Ted’s incident at Chappaquiddick, in the news once more, was a revelation. He was reading aloud about the crash from my desk across the room, and it got me thinking about the guilt one must feel when responsible for the death of another human. That in turn made me remember that after Jeffrey Dahmer was caught, reports surfaced about a fourteen year-old boy who had briefly escaped him. (more…)


Alexander Chee

Learning to Love Long Duk Dong

August 28th, 2009
by Alexander Chee

AMHERST, MA -

When Long Duk Dong appears for the first time during Sixteen Candles, a gong rings, and if you’re of East Asian descent, as you see his face swing down over the bunk bed and the halo of black hair appear around his head (and Samantha screams) you experience a moment of PTSD, remembering every time anyone ever followed you on the street softly muttering “ching-chong-ching-chong-ching-chong”.

The experience I have of Sixteen Candles is a complicated one. The pleasure for me is being in love with Jake Ryan right alongside Samantha, her story an allegory for my own awkwardness and desires as a gay teen back then. Being overlooked on your birthday because your perfect sister is getting married—even if she’s marrying someone no one likes—is a metaphor for being gay in America in the 80s. There’s a reason Molly Ringwald became a gay icon for life after this film, in other words. (more…)


Henning Koch

Greetings from Finland

August 22nd, 2009
by Henning Koch

TAMPERE, FINLAND-

Wednesday 5th August, 2009.

It is not every day one finds oneself on a train, heading north out of Helsinki. Just such a day is this. Nor is it every day one walks into the restaurant car to find elegant brass railings separating upholstered chairs and tables with tablecloths, and an ice-blond woman smiling coolly behind the counter. I order some meat soup.

“What sort of meat is it?”

“It’s… hmm? I don’t know.”

“Just say it in Finnish.”

She says something strange. Then makes a mooing sound.

“Ah, beef!”

“Yes. Biff.”

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Smibst

UFC- Not for Me

August 12th, 2009
by Smibst

PHILADELPHIA, PA-

I don’t watch Ultimate Fighting for the same reason I don’t watch replays of the planes hitting the towers.

I want to keep my innocence. 

The other day I was sent a video clip of two girls doing something extremely heinous. I didn’t click on it.

When I was younger, I wanted to lose my innocence as soon as possible. But now, I want to hang on to what little I have left.

(more…)


Smibst

Fuck the Paul Green School of Rock

August 3rd, 2009
by Smibst

PHILADELPHIA, PA-

Recently I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in live local music shows: the infiltration of teen bands, organized and financed by the Paul Green School of Rock. If you’re not familiar with the “school of rock” (which members are quick to point out is different from the movie of the same title, but not different from the documentary Rock School, which is about the Paul Green School of Rock) it’s, well…pretty much just like the movie and the documentary. It’s parents paying money for their kids to pretend to be rock stars.

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Matthew Gavin Frank

Pot Farm: Part 4

July 15th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank

SOMEWHERE IN MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA-

In the Residents’ Camp, rain and digestion.  It’s pushing midnight, but still, Johanna and I are captivated by our stomachs, engaged in a croaking call-and-response symphony, likely spawned by Antonio’s corn cakes.  We’re huddled in the center of our Coleman Cimarron tent, trying to stay dry as the weather knocks at the side walls.  

We listen to the Camp’s shutting-down sounds—the series of “goodnights,” the zippered closings of the final few tent doors.  I can tell that, for me, sleep is still a long way away.  I have a head full of pot smoke, and it’s beginning to ache. This does not bode well; tomorrow is a cutting day.  I am Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, getting waayy to old for this shit.

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Tyler Stoddard Smith

I Want to Protect the Institution of Marriage Between a Man and a Woman (4th of July Special)

July 4th, 2009
by Tyler Stoddard Smith

AUSTIN, TX-

With the 4th of July upon us, my neighbor screaming from a lost extremity at the hands of a Black Cat and enough potato salad in my gullet to occupy Paris, I got to thinking about America. And American institutions. Well, people, the hallowed institution of marriage is under attack in America, not just from Communists like Barney Frank and the state of Iowa, but also from other insidious forces both seen and unseen. So, in the interest of preserving the kind of marriage that God and Texas intended, here are some things to be especially mindful of:

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Marni Grossman

Dispatch from the Front

June 23rd, 2009
by Marni Grossman

IRAN-

Normally I don’t post more than once a month.  Once a month is, I feel, about the most anyone can take of me.  But.  A dear friend of mine sent me this missive from Iran a few days ago, and it seemed important to get his words out there, albeit anonymously.  So, if you’re interested in, you know, the world and stuff, take a gander.

His words, after the jump.

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Mary Richert

Visceral

June 19th, 2009
by Mary Richert

ANNAPOLIS, MD-

Visceral: Of or pertaining to the viscera.

Viscera: The organs in the cavities of the body, especially the abdominal cavity.

Viscus: Singular of viscera

Viscous: Of a glutinous nature or consistency; sticky; thick; adhesive

Vicious: Addicted to or characterized by vice; grossly immoral; depraved; profligate

I could go on looking up definitions of words all day. My vocabulary is so lacking. Visceral, though. That’s a good one.

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Matthew Gavin Frank

Pot Farm: Part 3

June 17th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank

SOMEWHERE IN MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA-

For dinner we have masa harina corn cakes with herb sauce and a dilled potato salad.  Johanna, though dejected at another day of meatlessness, eats voraciously.  We all do really.  She and I sit at a rust-painted picnic table with Lance, Crazy Jeff and Gloria, Hector, and Charlie the Mechanic.  The field crew eats with hunched shoulders, cramped forearms, aching lower backs. Johanna sits abnormally straight, exhibiting her self-described “perfect body mechanics.”   We all swat at the flies and mosquitoes as we eat with the exception of Charlie the Mechanic who seems oblivious to them.  He is oblivious also to the mayonnaise in his beard.

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Suzanne Burns

Stop the Presses: I Am a Poet!

May 25th, 2009
by Suzanne Burns

BEND, OR-

I just licked that big, all-consuming yellow envelope that holds, in its hopefully safe confines, my newest poetry manuscript. To be sent to an interested publisher in New York, a land almost as far, far away as Paris.

These are the first poems I’ve written in seven years. The first poems I’ve written that seem like grown-up, adult poems. (No, not adult in that way.)

(more…)