March 19, 2008

"I don't even know why straight people want to get married because you invite the government in your bedroom."

"But that's okay. It seems to be a very basic human need that I don't share." — says lesbian novelist Rita Mae Brown, who wrote that book "Rubyfruit Jungle" and who got kicked out of NOW. Time Magazine asks her what she thinks of gay marriage and she says "I don't understand it."

Asked about coming out as a gay person, she says:
The funny thing is, I don't believe in straight or gay. I really don't. I think we're all degrees of bisexual. There may be a few people on the extreme if it's a bell curve who really truly are gay or really truly are straight. Because nobody had ever said these things and used their real name, I suddenly became the only lesbian in America. It was hysterical. It was a misnomer, but it's okay. It was a fight worth fighting.
She seems pretty sharp and irreverent. Lots of animals too: 11 cats, 5 house dogs, and a pack of fox hounds (i.e., 70 hounds). She's the Master of Hounds at Oak Ridge Fox Hunt Club.

Do you ever hear about somebody whose life is so interesting that you're envious, even though you don't want to do any of the things that person does?

54 comments:

Kirby Olson said...

She's often placed on lists of famous Lutherans.

reader_iam said...

Oh, man, I've been a fan of Rita Mae's ever since I first read "Six of One" back in the, must be, mid '80s. (I just checked, and an edition was put out in '99 to which everything refers online, but believe me, the original was way earlier.) Hilarious, witty, and the characters about whom she writes in that book are fab and interesting and all of that.

Sharp and irreverent--hell, yeah. Don't know if I envy her life, but she's one of the very few writers I've really wanted to meet in person--and for a long time.

reader_iam said...

OK, now for the rest of the night, anything that annoys me will cause me to say, "Piss on your teeth," just for old time's sake.

Thanks, Althouse.

madawaskan said...

What?

You don't want to run with the hounds?

reader_iam said...

She and Martina Natrilova were a quite the item for a while, but it ended really badly.

Trooper York said...

Didn't she used to rub her ruby fruits all over Martina Navartolova
back in the day. I seem to remember something at Forest Hills back in the seventies. She is a pretty good writer, I have enjoyed some of her stuff.

george grady said...

...if it's a bell curve...

That sure seems like a doubtful assumption.

reader_iam said...

Between Trooper's and my typos, we almost got that last name right:

Navratilova

Eli Blake said...

One thing is clear:

If two straight people get married, they have a smaller deduction for married couples than they would for two single people. Gay couples are not allowed by law to get married so even if living together they can both take a single deduction, thus getting hundreds of dollars more in tax breaks than married heterosexual couples. Additionally, they will likely each be in a lower bracket seperately than their combined income would be if they were married. This can add up to thousands of dollars in tax savings, specifically because they are not legally married (hence even a common law marriage, which can increase taxes in some states for some unmarried heterosexual couples living together, won't apply to them.)

This means that the net effect of tax policy is to in effect subsidize gay couples while simultaneously penalizing married couples.

EnigmatiCore said...

"There may be a few people on the extreme if it's a bell curve who really truly are gay or really truly are straight. "

I finally get to be an extremist!

George said...

Master of Hounds?

What Bob Dylan song is that from?

Revenant said...

I really don't get the whole "everyone's bisexual" thing. If most guys viewed gay sex as an option, we wouldn't bother going through all the effort it takes to get women to sleep with us. It would be like this:

Bob: Hey, Fred, let's go down to the bar and pick up chicks.

Fred: Eh. Let's just boink and watch SportsCenter. We'll save fifty bucks and its a sure thing for both of us.

Bob: Works for me.

Tim said...

What the hell is it with lesbians and their superfluous pets?

Forget sexual orientation - I'm thinking lesbians just prefer animals to people, regardless of gender. Maybe lesbians are just fellow cat lovers.

kimsch said...

I love the Mrs. Murphy books. Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, Tee Tucker, Harry Haristeen, Fair, the post office, Crozet, VA...

Tim said...

"Bob: Works for me.

Uh, uh, I'm with Revenant. Doesn't work for me.

ricpic said...

You envy a sick marginal freak? I guess that makes you evolved.

madawaskan said...

Revenant-

Wow I got a headache just reading that...

Moose said...

I grew up in Ann Arbor, and all the "women in comfortable shoes" were generally pissed off at something, I mean other than men. That was a given.

I really get a good laugh about "bisexuals". Talk about not wanting to make a stand. Just the last stop before giving in to those hemp boxer shorts, ladies...

Trooper York said...

Rev, why is the guy named Bob?

Palladian said...

"You envy a sick marginal freak?"

Not all sick, marginal freaks, since nobody envies you, ricpic. Pities maybe, but envies, never.

And, as horrifying as it may be to some of the extremists here, some mostly straight men do have sex with other men. I've got quite a bit of anecdotal evidence to back up this assertion, but I won't share because I'm not titus. It partly comes down to the fact that, in general, men give better head than women and don't expect you to fund an excursion to the mall afterwards.

I think Rita Mae Brown was or is involved with Fanny Flagg, the sequined-sweater wearing red-head from the 70's "Match Game".

ricpic said...

The evolved and the perverted understand each other.

Those who have not given into the age, loathe both.

Palladian said...

"Those who have not given into the age, loathe both."

And die unevolved, angry and having never received a decent blowjob.

ricpic said...

I think I'll survive the deprivation.

But thanks for your concern.

Kiss kiss.

Synova said...

One of my favorite lines in fiction... (from memory so probably not accurate)...

"He's bisexual, you know."

"Was bisexual. Now he's monogamous."

(It was even better in context... the woman doesn't realize until hours later that she was supposed to have been alarmed and offended at the idea that her husband had had sex with men. Different cultures.)

Middle Class Guy said...

Having been married twice, I do not know why anyone, straight or gay would want to get married.

But, if gays want to get married, hey, let them. Then they and their straight friends will have something in common to talk about.

Just think of the first prominent openly gay politician standing at the microphone with his/her care worn and stoic husband/wife next to him/her for support as he or she is caught in a tawdry heterosexual sex scandal!!!!!

It will also open up a new field of law, gay divorce law. I am sure, though I do not know why, that gays getting divorced will be fraught with different circumstances.

titusgrandjetewithalaybackintothesplits said...

I have no interest in getting married.

I like being on my own.

I have amazing friends which are enough for me.

Richard Fagin said...

I was going to coughabullshitcough about the "interesting" until I read that Rita Mae was kicked out of NOW. A lesbian novelist getting kicked out of NOW is like Bill Gates getting kicked off the invite list for the annual high and mighty Davos get together. That's GOTTA be interesting.

I've read about LOTS and LOTS of interesting people that I wouldn't want to do the things they do or did. Most of those are (were) wealthy beyond dreams by their sheer effort and ability to deal with rejection. The others go through living hell on principle or to ducharge a duty.

They're my role models and ideals, even if I don't live up to them.

I don't define "interesting" only to mean "quirky."

Daryl said...

ricpic: I really get a good laugh about "bisexuals". Talk about not wanting to make a stand. Just the last stop before giving in to those hemp boxer shorts, ladies...

It sounds like they're taking a stand against you.

Lawgiver said...

It partly comes down to the fact that, in general, men give better head than women and don't expect you to fund an excursion to the mall afterwards.

There are blowjobs and there are better blowjobs, but NOTHING beats a woman who really knows how to ride the hog staring into your eyes just as your brain explodes.

Bissage said...

(1) Althouse said: Do you ever hear about somebody whose life is so interesting that you're envious, even though you don't want to do any of the things that person does?

Never before have I been so sure of an answer. My answer is an unequivocal “no.” Anytime I’ve ever envied anybody, I have always wanted to do everything that person has ever done. I’m greedy that way. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

You know, Woody Allen probably isn’t a genius but he is learned and perceptive. And he used to be frequently honest. When he was asked whether he had any regrets in life, he answered, “Only one . . . that I’m not somebody else.”

And I think it might have been Emerson who said it is through appreciation that we make the excellence in others our own property.

Damn straight.

(2) Speaking of Woody Allen, I think he’s the one who said that bisexuality was great because it doubles your chances of a date on Saturday night.

(3) [R]icpic, I see you’re in need of an avatar. Try this one on for size. You never know what fits till you stand up, walk around and let 'em loosen up a bit!

Revenant said...

He also said that sex was only dirty if you're doing it right.

reader_iam said...

Rita Mae Brown is a sick, marginal freak?

Huh.

reader_iam said...

The evolved and the perverted understand each other.

Those who have not given into the age, loathe both.


Naaah.

Too easy.

titusgrandjetewithalaybackintothesplits said...

Lawgiver that is a little too much information but I am happy to see I have had influence on others here to use the term hog.

My impact on this blog is overwhelming if I do say so myself.

What I bring to the debate here is incredibly important and substantial.

Thank you.

Chip Ahoy said...

Marriage is a state of mind. The Church erred by making it one of the sacraments -- things truly united by God cannot be disunited by humans. Humans participating in creating life is a separate physical and spiritual matter. The State's concern in marriage has only to do with property rights, the upholding of contracts. Gays can become contractually united perfectly well without marriage.

It doesn't make sense to seek the blessing of an organization that you've already largely disavowed. So the whole thing becomes about being all up in your face with gayness.

titusgrandjetewithalaybackintothesplits said...

70 hounds? That is quite a bit of hound shit to clean up.

I have trouble cleaning up after two rare clumbers.

I couldn't imagine cleaning up shit from 70 hounds.

Right now I am on the computer and I have a rare clumber head on each of my well defined, toned, steroided thighs.

Thank you.

peter hoh said...

It was ages ago, but I remember hearing her interviewed on "Fresh Air" and being completely charmed by her.

titusgrandjetewithalaybackintothesplits said...

Chips Ahoy there are many churches though that do perform gay marriages.

jeff said...

"It partly comes down to the fact that, in general, men give better head than women and don't expect you to fund an excursion to the mall afterwards."

Dude, I dont know. I know a few women who were just spectacular. I take you at your word, but it's difficult to believe. Although I agree your dead on about that mall thing.

Titan said...

I remember head a comedian talk how everyone was gay on some level:

Friend: No way! Not me!
Comedian: Oh yeah?
F: Yeah!
C: OK, do you ever watch porn?
F: Sure.
C: You watch guys do girls?
F: Sure
C: Now when you're watching this, do you want to see some small limp guy doing his thing?
F: Hell no! I want to see big, throbbing.....oh.

reader_iam said...

Peter Hoh:

Gasp!Horrors!

That must make you one of the:

1) Evolved,

2) Perverted, and

3) Giving into.

You loathesome creature, to the loathing!

reader_iam said...

Myself, I'm charmed.

John K. said...

I agree with everything Chip Ahoy said above. That was "spot on" (in quotes because I think it's time for that phrase to become "forbidden").

I appreciate very much my own (Quaker) religion's attitude towards marriage, as expressed in the words of George Fox (commonly regarded as our founder):
"For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests or magistrates; for it is God's ordinance and not man's. And therefore Friends cannot consent that they should join them together. For we marry none; it is the Lord's work, and we are but witnesses."

There is nevertheless still much division between more traditional and more liberal branches of Quakerism on the issue of gay marriage, which seems to me in large part unnecessary. If we are "but witnesses" to mutual promises made between a heterosexual or homosexual couple and don't pretend as a congregation to marry anyone, then from the traditionalist point of view it doesn't seem like a huge deal. On the other hand, from the more liberal point of view a traditionalist meeting's decision not to publicly celebrate gay marriage appears in a less harsh light, because the traditionalist meeting is not denying anything essential and the couple can still exchange whatever promises before God that they wish, with whatever witnesses they might choose.

Beth said...

She did have a bad breakup with Martina, and wrote a bad novel about it. But I'll always love Rubyfruit Jungle and Six of One, and she was a big part of my coming out process.

A thoughtful (straight) teacher handed me Rubyfruit Jungle, when I was 16, saying "I think you'll like this." Her gesture was the first inkling for me that there was a place for me in the world, where I didn't have to hide. And the book was wonderful. A friend of mine, more intellectual, was agonizing over Radclyffe Hall's "The Well of Loneliness" and considered RJ pop fiction trash. I told her I'd take Rita Mae's balls to the wall heroine over Hall's cringing, apologetic "invert" any day.

Beth said...

reader, I love that you love Six of One. I'm having trouble with the exact line, but I'm remembering something really funny about Fairy Thatcher and her handbag.

Lawgiver said...

Titus,

Speaking of hogs and dogs, the following is a true story:

My 14 year old minpin named Throatripper(name changed to protect the innocent) has no testicles as he was fixed at an early age.

A few weeks ago my wife left me the following note because she was concerned about a possible tumor.

"Please check Throatripper's testicle area. Feels like a knot there that I've never noticed before."

I checked and didn't see anything unusual. When wife got home I asked her to show me the knot. She did. I told her, "Sweety, no wonder Throatripper likes you so much more than me." She didn't know a dog's hog has a naughty knot. It was the best laugh I have had in a long time.

John K. said...

P.S. My own point of view is that marriage has a definite meaning, and its importance to society is such that it behooves us not to blur that meaning unnecessarily. Without trying to give a dictionary definition, I think the meaning of marriage is closely linked to what Chip Ahoy said above: "Humans participating in creating life is a separate physical and spiritual matter." It's society's pre-political normative institution for the procreation and upbringing of children. (Actually, I think I just plagiarized from memory that definition from an article I read on the subject.)

Meade said...

Chip Ahoy said...
"The State's concern in marriage has only to do with property rights, the upholding of contracts"

What about children? You know - sometimes when a woman who really knows how to ride the hog stares into her man's eyes, just as his brain explodes, well, whoops, then comes titusinthebabycarriage.

Beside property rights and enforcement of contracts, doesn't the state also have a compelling interest in seeing that dependent children are not abandoned, abused, or neglected? If for no other reason than that they can become gainfully employed, productive taxpayers who presumably fund your Social Security checks someday?

Michael_H said...

One of the possible outcomes of gay marriage is gay divorce, which friends of mine are now going through 15 years after a lovely commitment ceremony held in their back yard on a perfect summer's afternoon.

It has to be the most nasty, horrible breakup I've ever witnessed, and I've seen plenty. Broken furniture, smashed china and crystal, charges and counter-charges. Friends being marshalled to support one side of the other. Custody fights over the dogs; a penny-by-penny accounting of which party spent how much in home renovations.

This a couple whose pro-gay marriage militancy was unquenched until a few weeks ago. Now - either one will confide taht marriage was the worst, dumbest, idea they ever had, and simply shouldn't be considered by any gay who wants to live a happy life.

Unintended consequences, indeed.

Pogo said...

She seems like a fun and engaging person to meet. I've seen her books around for ages, but the genre isn't my favorite
(Ed.: What genre is that? Well-written fiction? D'oh!)

Her lack of demonization of the other is apparent in her remarks about hunting and NOW, and makes me wish to meet her and have a glass of wine or two, and talk about the world. That she 'loves animals more than people' reminds me very much of Florence King, but with a slightly higher pH.

Her comment on gay marriage is most interesting for the phrase I don't even know why straight people want to get married. As an institution meant to sanctify and enforce the optimal economic unit for child-rearing, it is clearly losing its utility for that purpose, if one glances at the demographics across the pond.

"The EU's fertility rate fell to 1.48 in 2003, below the level needed to replace the population (2.1 children per woman). The paper shows that the EU's population will fall from 469.5 million in 2025 to 468.7 million in 2030. By contrast, the US population will increase by 25.6 per cent between 2000 and 2025. However, demographic decline is already here: in one third of the EU regions and in most of the regions of the new member states the population was already falling in the late 90s."
For countries like Italy or Spain, the population of the next generation will be half of the current one. If not for immigration, this decline would be still more rapid. Of course, the new citizens hailing from Arab lands are not so kindly towards gays, Christians, and the West in general.

So she's quite right, in a way. Why get married? Why spend your life attending to the needs of others during the time in your life when you are most physically able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Why should I care what follows? And given that, the concept of marriage becomes perfectly compatible with an arrangement designed to protect the legal rights of a couple, or more.

michael farris said...

"Feels like a knot there that I've never noticed before," she wrote "And as I stared into his eyes it looked like his brain exploded."

Yes, I'm very ashamed, but I couldn't help myself.

Norman Rogers said...

Do you ever hear about somebody whose life is so interesting that you're envious, even though you don't want to do any of the things that person does?

Yes! Me! That's who, silly!

My son uses about 2/3rds of our new back yard as a mink habitat. This is NOT a mink farm--this is an actual interactive habitat where they can live out their natural lives before their pelt is harvested. It can get a little loud back there when they have their little mink disputes. It doesn't smell, however: the secret to that is cat litter. You've got to invest in about thirty bags of it at a time, but we usually wait until Costco or Target are having a sale. Don't skimp and use the generic, though. Not enough chemical in it to wipe out the overwhelming smell of ammonia when all of that urine begins to turn on you.

I digress--never read Rita Mae. I wonder who "made" her a lesbian. Usually, it's a man who is inattentive or incompetent that drives a woman into the arms of another woman. You know, too much rough stuff and not enough cuddling.

Hoosier Daddy said...

. It partly comes down to the fact that, in general, men give better head than women

There was this one girl I dated from Fort Wayne who made my ears pop. I think anything better than that would kill me.

Trooper York said...

"She seems pretty sharp and irreverent. Lots of animals too: 11cats, 5 house dogs, and a pack of fox hounds (i.e., 70 hounds)."

The hasn't been that many dogs in one place since Flavor of Love 2.