Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thinking Kevin Clash: Elmo and Queer Perversity

A second accusation seems to have solidified what many suspected or feared about Kevin Clash--he's a homosexual(1).  Yes, on the surface the concern is that he potentially had sex with a minor, or as some are eager to say, that he's a pedophile.  Some seem just generally grossed out that a male would have sex with another male 15-30 years younger.  And all of these may be actual concerns of people, but underlying it all is an implicit (and often explicit) policing and punishing of homosexuality.

I suspect Clash's career in puppetry was ruined by the first accusation.  Homosexual men working with children are generally seen as perverts, regardless of what they do or how "well behaved."  As Eve Sedgwick and David Halperin have pointed out, neither being "out" nor "in" the closet is refuge from being indicted about one's sexuality.   Those who would accuse Clash of getting in trouble because he never publicly discussed his homosexuality or because they presume he was a closeted gay man looking for sexual or emotional gratification in any place he could find it miss the larger point that being gay is always precarious for those working with children.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Election Aftermath: Scared Whites and Will Legitimate Extremism Shut Down the GOP Body?

about the economy
Two thoughts in the aftermath of the election that I keep coming back to:

1) A lot of straight White people are "scared" of the "increasing division" in our country.   I read this from the encounters I've had and accounts I've heard from other friends of people with high amounts of privilege finally coming to the realization that the area of their dominance is dawning.  There is still substantial White power and influence in culture, of course, but the fact that people with Brown and Black skin, women, and gay and lesbian people substantially influenced the election to keep our first Black president in power undoubtedly has shaken the notion that White people can band together and get whatever they want.  The unassailable ability of White supremacy to put Black people in their place has sustained a palpable hit, and White people are reacting.  I suspect many of them were assured that either their fellow Whites and White skinned people were sufficiently racist (we're not) or that the numbers of the White voting block was powerful enough to counter the Black and Hispanic voting blocks.    

Certainly it must be scary to realize that others who have been oppressed are now asserting their rights and ascending to positions of authority and gaining cultural power.  My initial thought is that I need those people to think through their fear and express it productively, and ideally transform it into an embrace of a new kind of society and for those of us agitating for further change to consider that while some hate is hate, some stems from fear and we should recognize the difference.  It will also help if people like Bill O'Reilly would quit perpetuating the idea that people of other races are trying to steal from White people through the government.