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Posts Tagged ‘Typecasting’

Jumping Ahead..

06 Sep

Photo montage of drunk on park bench, commode and popeA man who smelled like a distillery flopped on a subway seat next to a priest.

The man’s tie was stained, his face was plastered with red lipstick, and a half empty bottle of gin was sticking out of his torn coat pocket.

He opened his newspaper and began reading.

After a few minutes, the disheveled guy turned to the priest and asked, “Say, father, what causes arthritis? ”

“Mister, it’s caused by loose living, being with cheap, wicked women, too much alcohol and a contempt for your fellow man. ”

“Well I’ll be damned!” the drunk muttered, returning to his paper.

The priest, thinking about what he had said, nudged the man and apologized. “I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis? ”

“Oh, I don’t have it father! I was just reading here that the Pope does.”


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My thoughts on stereotypes, self-confidence and perceptions

26 Jul

Stereotypes posterI believe that EVERYBODY has something about which they’re prejudiced.

It might be their attitude toward immigrants or persons of a different nationality, or perhaps against those whose sexual orientation is different. Their prejudice may be expressed in their opinions of religion and/or any and all of the varied faiths that run its gamut. Alternatively, the bigotry that invades their everyday thoughts is possibly directed at members of the [financial] upper class; those who represent the “haves” while they themselves are among the “have not’s.”

Whatever intolerance a person might feel, it may be rooted in their perception of how they believe they’ve been aggrieved by the focus of their prejudice; either personally, or as a member of a group of persons he or she identifies with.


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Are We Better or “Bitter” for Expressing Ourselves?

18 Jul

Cartoon of happy womanIt’s been suggested (more than once) by a friend that I’m a bitter and angry individual; that I’m not happy.

While I’ve probably many reasons for allowing anger and bitterness to take over my life (by the reasoning of some) I would have to say, “No, I’m no more or less so today than any other person walking the earth, including the friend who made this observation.”

That does not mean that I’m not concerned with and disappointed in some of what I see going on in the world today.

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Mano A Mano

25 Mar

blown up condoms created as peopleSomeone whose blog I try to follow writes about monogamy and polygamy and how there is no “One Size Fits All” kind of relationship that works for every couple.

I agree (although I’m quick to point out that I am not one who would consent to an open relationship). Sorry, I know my limits and sharing what I think of as the most intimate aspects of my man with another exceeds those boundaries. I can also identify with a comment to DW’s blog, made by Garrett when he states, “I can’t even fathom the feelings of loneliness and depression I would experience knowing that I wasn’t enough to completely satisfy the person I loved.” I’ve known such loneliness, such depression first-hand and it isn’t pleasant—trust me.

That said, it isn’t for me to judge what works for others. I will “mutually” agree on the boundaries by which my own partner and I will abide by in OUR relationship; that is where my interest and my responsibilities lay (not in setting the boundaries for the relationships of others).

I believe every person (and his or her relationships) is unique.

Others will figure out what works for them; it is not for me to judge whatever boundaries they choose to set for themselves and for their spouse/BF/partner.
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Suicide on P.R. Levya lawn (an observation)

09 Sep

Poster for suicideA twenty-nine year old young man took his own life on the lawn of P.R. Levya (school for grades 6 through 8, previously known as Mid High in the 1970’s) during the early morning hours of September 3, 2009. This happened during my visit with family in Carlsbad, New Mexico this past week. I don’t really know the specifics behind what led him to do such a thing but as you can imagine, the suicide has given rise to a lot of speculation and even condemnation (as is often the case) of the one who took his own life.
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What I Hope to Be A Cool, Collected Response To Amethyst

29 Jun

Photo of 4 men raising a Pride flagThe path to acceptance is through understanding and a willingness to discuss our differences as calmly as we can, removing as much emotion from the dialogue as is possible. Remember “Through acceptance comes tolerance and in time, equality.” With that in mind I’d like to respond to some questions that another has posted within the readers forum for the Carlsbad Current-Argus (here’s the link) on a thread about the PFLAG picnic held in Carlsbad on Saturday. (Um, yeah–that sort of came as a surprise to me, as well. PFLAG in Carlsbad? Okay, lest I say something offensive let me just remind you I grew up there. I think it’s wonderful PFLAG has a chapter there but it certainly came as a surprise to me.)

Moving along, will my responses make any difference whereas the original poster is concerned? I’ve no idea but they were kind enough to ask so I’ll answer them from my own perspective.
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Steven Dale Green, Criminal or Victim?

28 May

(It saddens me that news of Green’s crime can be interpreted as a dark stain that must be endured by those who have done nothing to deserve it; that the reputations of good servicemen and women might be damaged because of the barbaric actions of five men who do not deserve to speak for the ranks as a whole. It also grieves me that this news is the topic of discussion so soon after celebrating the heroism of ‘deserving’ service members on a day set aside just for that, “Memorial Day.”)

Steven Green tries to blame his actions on the war, suggesting that he “lost [his] mind” while over in Iraq. Green claims he stopped seeing Iraqi’s as individuals and cannot tell the civilians apart from the terrorists of whom we are over there to fight.

I can’t begin to comprehend what is going through the minds of the men and women fighting this war but, for me, it’s an insult to those who wear the uniform to suggest that the “war” was Green’s downfall. I’m having a difficult time wrapping my mind around the horrific acts of this young man; raping a 14-year old girl and subsequently killing her along with both of her parents and a 6-year old sibling. It escapes any reason for me whatsoever that a person can be capable of such acts. Certainly the actions of the 9-11 terrorists equally shock and abhor me but one does not justify the other.

The vast majority of our ranks in the armed services would not, I hope, be capable of such acts. It’s true that Green did not act alone (the article mentions co-defendants Spec. James Barker, Sgt. Paul Cortez, Pfc. Jesse Spielman and Pfc. Bryan Howard) but how do we connect the dots between the actions of the average honor-bound serviceman and those of this 24 year old convicted rapist and killer? We don’t. Regardless of how I feel about the war itself, the war isn’t to blame for this man’s crime; he is. Read his biography (as described on Wikipedia) and you’ll discover he’s a high school dropout, was arrested for alcohol possession and reference is made to other “prior drug and alcohol related offenses” that would have otherwise disqualified him from entering into the service. He was allowed to enlist when he was granted a “moral character waiver.” (Of course, had he been openly gay no such waiver would have been considered.) Perhaps if those entrusted to separate the “weeds” from those who have what it takes to be a good serviceman (a man of HONOR) had done their job, we wouldn’t be talking about this today.

Perhaps. But they did not — and because of their failure to do their job we must now discuss the failing of another.

Can we blame the war for (by Green’s account) bringing about a change in this man’s character which seemingly made it possible, even if only temporarily, for him to commit the crime of which he’s been found guilty of — or is it all on Green? I think the latter. The man is to blame for his actions; not the geography wherein the crime took place, nor the war of which he was to have been fighting. Green is responsible for his unwillingness to differentiate between the Middle-Eastern civilians and those who were truly his enemy (and CERTAINLY he is to be held accountable for his lack of moral character, which enabled him to commit such a sadistic crime as rape).

What are your thoughts on this?

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Hand In Hand with Richard Simmons

26 May

Let’s face it, he’s about as camp as camp can possibly be. The majority of us assume he’s gay because of it but then again, I’ve known some straight guys who set off my gaydar with bells a ringing (only to discover later that they were in fact not gay). Maybe I have a faulty gaydar. Anywho…

I’ve listened on and read comments where people have talked a lot of shit about Richard Simmons because of his flamboyant nature. Most recently (and while looking for an image that would best represent something “flamboyant” — to include within my prior blog) I stumbled across this blog titled “CAPTION THIS: Whoooooo Wants Richard Simmons Juice?” It was posted with only a picture of Simmons holding up a bottle of juice accompanied by the comment, “Opponents of California gay marriage have been haunted by this exact vision for the past two nights.”

If you follow the link (above) to the original blog you’ll see my comment:

I don’t find Richard Simmons to be very attractive, but… I have to give the guy credit. If you do even the smallest amount of research into his background, he is “quite fit” compared to where he came from. He was very heavy as a young kid and teenager but rather than sit around and succumb to a pity-party he got off his duff and did something about it. His compassion for helping others to do the same is genuine and while many find his flamboyant mannerisms a bit … er, unsettling (myself included), you cannot deny those same traits have helped keep him in the limelight. The man isn’t stupid; he knows how to keep a successful career going and perhaps his detractors are simply jealous of his success. …and no, I’m no nelly queen. I am gay but I’m generally mistaken to be straight unless I’m hanging out with friends who are more effiminate. To those who are quick to post the nasty comments about Richard, “Why don’t you put a little more effort into the concept of inclusion rather than typecasting and catty sarcasm. It’s more becoming and you’ll be left with a lot less bad karma.”

(By the way, instead of saying “I don’t find Richard Simmons to be very attractive” I should instead have said, “He’s not the kind of guy whom I myself am attracted to, as in boyfriend material.” My earlier statement, now that I’ve had a moment to go back and reread it, was insensitive. Beauty/attractiveness is, after all, in the eye of the beholder. Sorry about that.)

As for the rest, I meant what I said. Richard can be a little “too much energy” and he’s certainly overly camp but what’s interesting to me is that while I can’t think of a single friend I presently have who even comes close to being as … well, flamboyant or “camp” as Richard comes off as … I could see myself being a friend to Richard Simmons.

Richard is just Richard; he makes no apologies for who he is and from everything I can tell he’s about as authentic and genuine a person as a person can be. Those are the kind of people I value in life; not the ones who are inauthentic, posing to be something they’re not. I absolutely despise people who use others for their own gain and selfish purposes. Richard Simmons doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who would do that. In fact, if anything he goes out of his way to help people. I’ve read where he even takes a personal interest in some of his own fan mail, responding to same. How many celebrities do we know of who are likely to do that?

Simmons knows he isn’t the epitome of glamour; he’s not a hunk who captures the attention of all the pretty gay boys and teenage girls. He’s just … well, “Richard.” That being said, while everybody else is quick to poke fun at the little (he’s 5 foot 6 inches tall I think) guy I find his sense of honesty and authenticity somewhat refreshing. (Granted, I imagine my father would have keeled over and died if I’d ever brought him home and introduced him as a friend. I don’t know that he could have survived such a growing experience. 😉 That’s what we in my family call those moments where I’ve stretched their boundaries. LOL!)

Maybe that’s just me. How do some of the rest of you feel?

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Stereotyping, Is There Any Blame to Share?

26 May

Stereotyping, it happens all too often and many reasons have been given over the years to “justify” one’s willingness to typecast others. Since 9-11 Muslims have been the focus of prejudice from many (including myself from time to time). This may be because a majority of Americans feel somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer viciousness that the acts of those responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon did represent [almost] eight years ago. I won’t argue the fact that the terrorists came from the Middle East but I would be wrong to judge an entire group of people for the acts of those who do not necessarily represent the feelings and intentions of all who are of Middle Eastern decent. IF we are to form an opinion of someone we should only do so by taking the actions of that particular individual into consideration, judging him or her on their own merits and not by the deeds of those with whom they share a common nationality. I’m not saying it is easy to do; in this particular example I find great difficulty separating the two. I lost many friends and co-workers, many of whom worked for a law firm in one of the two towers. They were in the office early that day, working on a project I was involved with, when these acts of terror were unleashed. I also worry about a cousin who is set to ship out to Afghanistan the first part of next year, so refraining from stereotypical thought when it comes to the Middle East is very difficult for me—but I do know I’m wrong to lump everyone of such decent into the same basket.

The same is true when we in the gay community come under fire by our detractors. Our community is diverse and no one person can accurately be defined by the way his or her brothers and sisters dress, talk or otherwise present themselves. When that happens we yell “foul!”—and in an effort to avoid feeding into the stereotypes some have argued that others should not be so flamboyant; that we should all make an effort to “be more normal” (I hate that phrase)—to not stand out so much. Some say that the flames are fed when the overtly flamboyant men and extraordinarily butch women among the community are given a voice or focused upon. But really, should the voices of those who fall within extremes be silenced just because the close-minded have a difficult time resisting the urge to typecast and “pigeonhole” the rest of the community? I readily admit I’m a little uncomfortable when I’m talking to somebody who’s straight and that person is identifying me as something I am not because of the actions of others who don’t reflect the characteristics I myself relate to but is my comfort of more value than another person’s freedom to express him or herself? No, I can endure a bit of uneasiness and/or even the mean-spirited comments by our detractors if it means everybody can have the opportunity to express their individuality without restriction.

For instance, I don’t do “drag” but some who identify as being gay (and some who don’t for that matter) are into this. I’m not effeminate and generally blend in well with those who are straight—unless you’re looking at the pride sticker affixed to the back window of my truck or paying attention to me during a conversation about the subject of human rights, etc.—or specifically ask if I’m gay, to which I’ll respond in the affirmative.

I don’t go out of my way to advertise my sexuality but I make no secret of it either. Neither do I have a problem with those in our community who ARE flamboyant. I’m more concerned with whether or not a person is authentic, genuine, honest and caring. If they pass muster on those accounts, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass whether or not they display what some might consider to be gender-appropriate mannerisms. An effeminate man or butch woman isn’t hurting anyone through such actions and sometimes I even find them quite entertaining. Besides, those who are willing to stereotype and typecast are generally doing so because of their own bias and that is the problem; not those who are at the focus of what this person believes excuses their discrimination.

In closing, regardless of the era stereotyping is likely to be around—but the responsibility for such typecasting falls squarely on the shoulders of the person who’s doing it; not the individuals of whom he or she uses as an excuse to do so.

Namaste,
Michael

To reiterate, I don’t do drag. That is NOT me in the picture which appears at the top of this blog. LOL! I would have to love someone a hell of a lot to allow them to talk me into getting dressed up in drag—EVEN for Halloween. It’s never been something I’ve done in the past and while I won’t say “never” (out of fear I’d somehow be tempting the Gods and it would then come to be! ROFL) I haven’t any interest in doing such a thing at any future point in time. Friends can dress up if they want to and I’ll even go out in public with them but I’m a guy’s guy and happy playing that role thank-you-very-much. 😉

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