February 20, 2006

"Gay unions, what is that about?"

Says Boy George. "I haven't been invited to any ceremonies, and I wouldn't go anyway. The idea that gay people have to mimic what obviously doesn't work for straight people any more ... I think is a bit tragic. I am looking-forward to gay divorces."

He's got his point of view:
He dislikes George Michael, and wishes Will Young "would go back in the closet. He is a common or garden homosexual, he is NOT a queer."

George has very distinct ideas about whether people are the proper kind of gay. George Michael is the wrong kind, according to George, for being caught in a California loo and thus enforcing the reputation that gays are "rampant". He remains furious that Elton John performed with homophobic Eminem in 2002 at the MTV awards.
ADDED: Are George's opinions offensive? I think it's just fine for him to have a bohemian outlook and to cast all conventional persons outside of his preferred group. But do gay people have a special obligation to unconventional? The answer should be no, and I don't see that he's saying yes. But, then, I've always liked Boy George and naturally tend to construe his remarks in a positive light.

30 comments:

knoxgirl said...

"I always fell for straight boys," he says. "The more macho the better."

I always wonder how often this happens: for gays or lesbians being attracted to straight men or women. As someone who once had a crush on a gay guy, I can imagine that must be very painful.

sonia said...

It is painful, but only if those straight objects of desire are too rich (or modest) to accept a financial compensation for their trouble...

Just kidding, btw....

Simon said...

You see? Gays can be intolerant of alternative lifestyles too.

Palladian said...

Well, there's a grain of truth in what you say, sonia. If one doesn't expect any emotional involvement or reciprocity, many straight boys are quite easy with their favors, and it doesn't always involve financial compensation. It's not really a question of being attracted to "straight" men, but rather to men. I'm not gay because I'm looking for a soft, feminine companion. Many gay guys go for straight or bi guys because they tend to behave in a more masculine way. The last thing I want when I choose a mate is a professional homosexual. But it's absurd to behave as if straight men and gay men and everything in between are different species or something. This is one of the sad legacies of gay identity politics.

It is rather amusing to hear Boy George whinge about George Michael making gay people seem "rampant"; I'm surprised that he could wrest the spoon out of his nose long enough to get the words out. And his opinion about the viability of the institution of marriage? Again, don't take moral or social advice from a 45 year old club kid wearing too much rouge.

Simon said...

"This is one of the sad legacies of gay identity politics."

Basically, any identity politics rests on the flawed premise that one can extend certain common interests into a shared identity. I just don't see how it would follow that two people who are gay would necessarily have anything more in common than two people who are straight.

Craig Ranapia said...

Feh, and I hope the drug trial goes well, Mr. O'Dowd. I find many of his opinions offensive while agreeing with others, but you know something? Homosexuals are no more Borg-like than heterosexuals, and he's entitled to express himself to anyone who cares to listen.

I'd also point out that I've been living in a stable, monogamous relationship with the same man for almost eleven years. I've got a way to go to match my parents (27 years), or grandparents (44 & 55 years). If I was ever able to marry, I'd be emulating them rather than J-Lo or Britney Spears' infamous three-day Vegas quickie with a member of her entourage.

Still, one would think even O'Dowd would hold the opinion that the choice to marry should be up to gay and lesbian individuals - no more and certainly no less than heterosexuals.

Renee said...

Oh, dear. Some of these comments confirm something that I recently read and didn't put much stock into. It was that was that one of the reasons long-term relationships are so rare between male homosexuals is that the gay culture depends on a number of effiminate gays playing the butch part, since there aren't nearly enough naturally macho gays to go around. That works for quick encounters, but is difficult and ultimately not satisfying for either partner to keep up for any length of time.

Palladian said...

Renee, what have you been reading, Focus on the Family sex manuals? Are you saying that we're all "bottoms"? Do you think that because gay men such as myself prefer more masculine partners that means that we ourselves are not masculine? Or that masculinity necessarily correlates to sexual dominance?

Renee said...

Palladian--
Way to go. Attack me because your comments supported a stereotype I hadn't previously given any credence to. Obviously not everyone fits into any stereotype (witness Craig Ranapia), but if you don't want to be accused of falling into one, then perhaps you shouldn't, you know, fall into one.

Palladian said...

I'm only concerned about falling into large potholes in the street, I don't mind falling into "stereotypes". But you didn't answer my questions. I was curious what you were implying, or what stereotype you thought "some of these comments" confirmed. That many gay men like, you know, men?

Renee said...

Palladian--
You're the one who spelled it out.

It's not really a question of being attracted to "straight" men, but rather to men. I'm not gay because I'm looking for a soft, feminine companion. Many gay guys go for straight or bi guys because they tend to behave in a more masculine way. The last thing I want when I choose a mate is a professional homosexual.

So, do you think the imbalance of effiminate and macho homosexuals is one of the reasons most gay men don't have long-term monogomous relationships?

Elizabeth said...

Renee, your comments don't make sense to me. Nothing in any comment here confirms to me the weird theory you cited. It's no attack on you to ask where in the world you heard that. Go with your first instinct, which told you the theory wasn't credible.

Simon, I think you're basically right that identity politics rests on too narrow an assumption of shared interests, but you're also overlooking that people in minority groups do end up sharing experiences that the mainstream don't have in common with one another, simply by the fact of being on the outside, together. Gay people may not have inherent shared interests, but we have forged cultural identities over time, and I treasure that. If you're heterosexual, you've probably never experienced the wonder and joy of walking into a room full of people who are, for the first time you've experienced it, like yourself. After spending adolescence being the square peg not fitting in the round hole, finding out there's a group to which you belong, with rituals and jokes and songs and semaphores is pretty cool.

I think the Boy is afraid of conformity, maybe of losing that cultural queerness, and I'm not offended by that. It's not surprising that some react to being marginalized by saying "fine, I don't want to be a part of your bourgeois club anyway."

chuck b. said...

Rene's (original) comment made me snort my whisky and ginger ale. I think she could find some gay men who would agree with her reading material. But my advice would still be don't believe everything you read.

As for George, I think he's just bitter.

My gay friends' relationships have outlasted all of my dad's marriages.

sonicfrog said...

I think Renee was being a bit sarcastic. This blog post, however, is serious in the presumption, labeling the attraction to, and displaying of "straight" qualities by gay men as "self loathing". The blogger asserts that this is the all-unifying quality of gays (are we self loathing because were gay or gay because we're self loathing?). When it comes to long term relationships, gay or straight, I believe that the couples that last the longest are typically the ones with two people who share many common traits and interests - they compliment each other rather than fill in the missing bits. Maybe that is why BG and others don't believe in monogamy; they are so unique (in their own mind anyway), that they can't find another who compliments them. Or maybe it's just too much work having to resist temptations when you pledge to be faithful. And maybe he knows that about himself and is just being honest. Anyway, I find it ironic that BG derides GM "for being caught in a California loo and thus enforcing the reputation that gays are 'rampant'", yet himself jokes about going out with an entire football team, which also reinforces a gay stereotype.

PS. Craig, you have me and the sonic-mate beat by a year; ten years anniversary coming up in July. And, according to Joe, I am a horrible self loathing gay 'cause I'm conservative / libertarian who took apart his engine yesterday (I have proof on my blog). How butch is that:-)

chuck b. said...

It's a real burden if you're gay to have to be unconventional as well.

But if you're naturally both, it's reasonable to resent the conventionals.

I mean, there you are, through no fault of your own: wacky, crazy, out-there. You've been the one in the spotlight all these years. You've made the difference for everyone else. People don't know what to think of you. They love-hate you. You've grown used to all the attention. You feed on that love-hate. It's what you know.

And now here come the conventionals: agressively normal, living in the 'burbs, driving Subarus, adopting Chinese babies, investing at Schwab. Totally stealing your freakin' thunder, man!

Noone has time for crazy queers anymore. Now everyone's love-hating the normals. And what have the normals done for you lately? Not much. They don't want anything to do with you--they're normal!

Being formally unconventional, I totally identify w/ Boy George in this context.



I saw Culture Club live in 1983.

chuck b. said...

And 1983 was more than half my life ago!

OMG.

Steve Donohue said...

I was born in 1986. Boy who?

He must be from that type of music that Mommies and Daddies listen to.

Sorry- just trying to make you all feel old.

Craig Ranapia said...

SonicFrog:

Butcher than an extra in The L Word. :)

Anyway, when you get past the cod sociology I guess the problem with marriage for anyone is that it's just hard work making a life with another human being, learning to say "us" instead of "me". How much harder does it get in a society where we're all - gay or straight - bombarded with the message that every desire can, even should, be instantly graitified? An orgasm, to a certain mindset, has all the weight of a double tall frappachino.

Palladian said...

Craig, those are 5 dollars! Orgasms are much cheaper!

Elizabeth said...

sonicfrog, I read the blog you linked to and took somewhat of a different meaning from it. My impression is that he's laying into gay men who project a macho, or "straight acting," persona against their actual personality. In one example, he mentions gay men who falsely express an interest in sports. It's that word "falsely" that's key to his argument. I don't get the impression that he's saying gay men who fix their own engines are self-laothing poseurs, but that those who do adopt certain appearances and practices as a pose are buying into a cultural loathing for effiminancy (for want of a better word at midnight) in men.

Craig Ranapia said...

Thank you, Palladian. Don't I feel like the moose who stuck a target on his rump the first day of hunting season. :)

vbspurs said...

Are George's opinions offensive?

Nah. He's speaking his mind, just like I would about my married friends.

I think it's just fine for him to have a bohemian outlook and to cast all conventional persons outside of his preferred group.

Ooh, "preferred". Dangerous word there, Ann.

But do gay people have a special obligation to unconventional?

As you say, the answer is no.

Why should gay people be necessarily unconventional, by force of circumstance?

They are entitled to be as boring as the rest of us, and though I always admired gay people for their championship of alternative lifestyles (commitments not a given, like it is expected with straight people), if they want to be conventionally dull, so be it.

The answer should be no, and I don't see that he's saying yes. But, then, I've always liked Boy George and naturally tend to construe his remarks in a positive light

I really like Boy George too.

Apart from his drugs-taking, he's always called 'em like he sees 'em, and that's always refreshing in a celebrity.

Cheers,
Victoria

in_the_middle said...

you know, i was thinking, i don't think i'm the only one with a gay guy crush on althouse. i would love to be invited over someday to hang out in her basement, play ray coniff records on that gigantic speaker and drink old style.

but i think a) ann's moving b) she is above old style (blatz?)

just thought i'd join in the seemingly gay comment section here :)~

p.s. do you REALLY want to hurt me?

sonicfrog said...

Elizabeth said:

I don't get the impression that he's saying gay men who fix their own engines are self-laothing poseurs...

Yeah, I'm probably reading more into the post than I should. But Joe states "Self-loathing defines us, and all any of us can do is own that..." and I disagree with that statement completely. It's comparable to the 40 year old complaining that her mom manipulates her and makes her feel like a child. Sure the mom is pushing emotional buttons, but the 40 year old is not changing her response or altering the relationship to change the dynamic. I know it is a lot more complicated than that, but it is the same type of emotional prison to which only you hold the key (such gibberish I'm typing). I guess what I'm trying to say is that, yes, being gay, though not nearly the challenge that it was some thirty years ago, can still be its own burden, especially during our teen age years. I wrote in a lyric:

The wounds in life cut deep
They heal and leave a scar,
But maybe through the passage of time,
The scars just don't matter anymore

I am Happy
I am Here


Funny thing is that I wrote that during one of the most painful and trying period of my life; the result of a stupid choice that, as it turns out had long fingers and touched my life in both good and bad ways in years to come.

Wow, what tha? What were we discussing again??? :-)

sonicfrog said...

Oh, great. I just admitted that I write lyrics which might as well be poetry. How gay is that??? :-)

Elizabeth said...

sonicfrog, how gay is that poem? Tres gay.

I sorted through the gibberish and I think I agree that as gays and lesbians, we have to see the movement as something that works, and brings change, i.e., we grow up personally, and as a group. So, I can understand your seeing his comment on self-loathing as something out of a self-indulgent memoir. While it's realistic to acknowledge that any minority is vulnerable to internalizing negativity from outside, it's not sensible to generalize that all gays are programmed by self-loathing; that's no more true than saying all blacks are programmed by internalized racism.

I'm pleased to have a couple of "butcher than an L-Word extra" gay guys as friends; it makes home improvement projects more fun. I run into gay men at Homo Depot all the time, too. But where oh where is my queer mechanic? I envy your engine skills.

Kurt said...

I don't want to get into some of the debate that has developed in these comments (though doing so might be interesting).

What intrigues me about Boy George's comments, though, is that, although he might claim to believe that being gay is strictly a matter of sexual orientation, he also seems to be upset with those gay men who reject his vision of the gay lifestyle. So, in effect, he seems to be saying that being gay is a lifestyle choice and that--in his narrow imagination at least--there's no room for gay people who are insufficiently bohemian.

The irony of all this is, of course, that if and when gay people achieve full social and legal equality, it will be largely because the presence of the bourgeois folks whom Boy George decries helped a majority of people in society accept gay people as not being all that different from everyone else. On his blog, Andrew Sullivan has written about this subject in terms of the end of gay culture. Maybe that's what has Boy George upset with the push for gay unions; once it's normal and accepted, then the need for gay culture is greatly diminished.

sonicfrog said...

Kurt, to sum up your post:

It's so much "how gay" you are, it's what you do with it that counts.

sonicfrog said...

Ooops. Had a typing hiccough. Should have read:

It's not so much "how gay" you are, it's what you do with it that counts.

Kurt said...

Ah, that makes more sense, then.