Tuesday, October 19, 2010

5 Things I'm Thinking About This Week

1. Mad Men. I watched the season four finale last night. While I don't think it was as strong as some of the other episodes this season, it was a good season finale. I've loved watching Mad Men grow and develop over these four seasons. The Peggy and Don interactions this season have been genius and I loved the extra screen time that Sally got. It is nice and rare to see strong and subtle writing getting recognized on television.

2. By Nightfall. I just finished reading Michael Cunningham's new novel. I'm a huge fan of his. I think his first three novels (A Home At the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, and The Hours) are some of the best contemporary novels out there. I was not a fan of Specimen Days, which he published a few years ago, but was willing to forgive him. By Nightfall, which came out a few weeks ago, was a quiet book and very reflective. Not a lot happens in the book, which I don't have a problem with. My art minor in college did come in handy because the book is very much an examination of beauty and art in both the literal sense and in a more metaphoric way. I had mixed feelings about the main character. He didn't always feel real and sometimes felt like a mouthpiece for particular ideas instead of a character. I also would like Cunningham to write a novel that doesn't have references to AIDS. The main character in By Nightfall is haunted by the death of his older and beautiful brother who died 20 years ago in the AIDS crisis, which might be getting a little tiresome for Cunningham readers. Overall, I enjoyed the book. It is a quick read. It had some wonderful language and ideas in it, but it didn't blow me away.

3. Poetry Workshop. I have decided to start a local poetry workshop for GLBT people and their allies. The group is called Nerve, which is a reference to Frank O'Hara's quote about going on your nerve. I'm excited and hope some people will show up. I'm doing the first meeting at my apartment on November 8th. There is a Facebook group you can find and join if you are interested. Obviously, you do need to live in the Orlando area. I think this will give me a good outlet to share and discuss poetry. I've realized that I miss the workshop community. Please check it out.

4. Voting. The midterm election is about to happen and the more news I listen to the more depressed I become. While I have been frustrated with Obama, I know that the democrats losing too many seats will lead to a complete disaster. It saddens me how apathetic so many young people and gay people are. So many people came out and voted in 2008 who won't be at the polls this year. It is great to vote for the president, but, in many ways, all of the other elections are a lot more important. These are the people who can make things happen or stop things from happening on a local, state, and federal level. Obama is going to have his hands tied if congress can't pass anything. I encourage you all to go and vote. I will probably write more about this as the election gets even closer.

5. It Gets Better. A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about the "It Gets Better" campaign and the recent GLBT teen suicides. When I wrote the post there weren't many videos made yet. I have been surprised by the number of them out there and how many gay and supportive celebrities have filmed them, but my opinion really hasn't changed. While these videos are great, we need to be doing more. Kids get bullied because we've created a society where that is tolerated and accepted. We have let the word "gay" become a slur that kids hurl at each other and many people tell kids not to say it because it isn't nice. Actually being called "gay" is not negative. It is only negative if you feel being gay is wrong. We must take action and that action doesn't just need to happen in schools, but everywhere. When our politicians can get on TV and say hateful and untrue things about gay people, of course kids are going to think it is okay. We treat gay people like second class citizens and so do kids on the playground. Tomorrow, I will be wearing purple and will be attending a local vigil for the kids who took their lives in recent weeks. I hope you will be joining in this small act and standing up against hate not just in schools, but everywhere.

-Stephen (Full)

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