Thursday, June 25, 2009

More On Our New Favorite Governor

Never mind the sex talk. Here's how Republican governors really get down. In an e-mail published by South Carolina's The State newspaper, Gov. Mark Sanford tells his Argentinian lover about being one with nature:
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2008 01:42:46 -0400
Beloved back to you...
Got back an hour ago to civilization and am now in Columbia after what was for me a glorious break from reality down at the farm. No phones ringing and tangible evidence of a day’s labors. Though I have started every day by 6 this morning woke at 4:30, I guess since my body knew it was the last day, and I went out and ran the excavator with lights until the sun came up. To me, and I suspect no one else on earth, there is something wonderful about listening to country music playing in the cab, air conditioner running, the hum of a huge diesel engine in the background, the tranquility that comes with being in a virtual wilderness of trees and marsh, the day breaking and vibrant pink coming alive in the morning clouds — and getting to build something with each scoop of dirt.

Ah, yes, the tranquillity of air conditioning, country music and a big diesel hum. An environmentalist as well as a family values guy.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

So You Think You Can Judge

So I think I used to be a fan of "So You Think You Can Dance," a TV talent show that features some very good dancers and some very weird judges. Two weeks ago I lost my appetite for this show when head judge Nigel Lythgoe made some homophobic remarks for which he has since apologized. He also showed a remarkable narrow-mindedness about dance, for which there is no excuse.

Not that I know much about dance, but I can spot calcified prejudice when I see it.

The occasion was a samba performed between two male dancers, one straight and one gay. Okay, they weren't all that good. They fell on their keisters at one point, and their costumes seemed borrowed from a Ukrainian ice-dancing surplus store, but they gave a good effort. But all Lythgoe and the other judges talked about was what parts they were dancing when they had the same parts inside their tights. How could they tell who danced the female role and who danced the male role?

Lythgoe sputtered about how the audience may be alienated, guys should not dance with guys and dancers should not be effeminate. He said it seemed like something from "Blades of Glory." Ha. Ha.

Now to the point. Back in the long-ago '90s, I covered the Gay Games in New York and witnessed a real-life glory of blades. At a ratty rink on Coney Island two male figure skaters from Canada amazed everyone, even the reporter from the staid New York Times, with a complete reinvention of pairs skating. Here were two guys tossing each other up in the air, and catching each other, without regard to the usual muscular male role and projectile female role.

Here was figure skating that said something about the narrowness of gender roles, as well as how stunted all other figure skating is. I imagine dance could use a little such shaking up. It probably happens somewhere other than on TV.

The funny thing is, I always thought Lythgoe was gay. We all need our stereotypes shattered.