When we are like Anne

“Despite everything, I believe people are good at heart.”

I’m so glad Anne Frank could believe this.  It’s a testament to her own goodness.  It is not a testament to human nature itself, though.  It tells us more about Anne than it does about ourselves.

I don’t believe it.  I don’t attribute my disbelief to my own goodness, but to what I have seen of humanity, including what was going on around Anne, after the fact, and would like to say, You know what?  People are still very eager to do away with other people who are not like them.

Anne, you are a beautiful star.

But people? In general?  They are not.

When we are exceptional, when we see those unlike us as ourselves, despite our differences, THEN we are as beautiful as Anne.

When we are unable to do that?  We are ugly, inhumane, and disturbing.

I speak about this in relationship to the writing of fiction.  Is it worthwhile to speak of that which is good about us?

It is.

But there is a stronger push against, a resistance, to writers who speak about our ugliness, that which is disgusting in human nature.  And the more we resist it, the more I wish to represent our ugliness.

It should not be forgotten.

It should be the thing about which we are most uncomfortable.

It should be the thing we talk about more than anything.

Until we have done away with it.

Then, let us speak of our goodness, as Anne would.  But when our goodness has been won, an earned virtue.

Okay, we can speak  of our goodness, which we would not want to lose.

But not at the expense of acknowledging that which comprises our darkness.

Otherwise, we are living within an ideal, what we would like to think about ourselves, not about reality.

And even when we write fantasy, we should be speaking to reality.  The reality of the story.

Otherwise, we are making ourselves feel good about ourselves without reason.

Earn it.

That’s all.

Earn it.

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A repeal

I hereby repeal my obviously premature congratulations to the state of Maine, which I gave out all too naively this past May.

Now, instead, I’d like to say good luck to those Mainers who want a better, inclusive, love-supporting culture in which to exist for their and their children’s futures.

I feel sorry for everyone, even for those who voted in the spirit of exclusion and inequality.  I really do think they don’t understand what they are missing.  They see their decisions as a protection and defense, but all they are defending are walls that separate people, rather than unify.  When they’re able to coexist in a mature manner with people who are unlike them, perhaps then Maine will be ready to be a better place, and a better people as a whole.

It’s not really Maine specifically, though, and I’m disturbed by all of the Twitterers and Facebookers and other online social groupers who are taking their disappointment and disgust out on Maine alone.  This is really how the majority of the United States still feels on the subject.

There is still a lot of work to be done.  And even if all of the U.S. acknowledged the rights of gay people to marry, there would still be problems with the culture’s general destructive nature towards LGBT people.  After all, look at what’s occurring in Merry Olde England, where gay marriage is legal.

Changing the law is one thing.  Changing a culture is another.  Of course changing the law is the beginning of something.  But it’s the first step on a long road to come.

Late to the party

Apparently on September 1st a little something called “The Outer Alliance”–a group that advocates for queer speculative fiction and those who create, publish, and support it, whatever their gender identity or sexual orientation, and make sure their work and actions reflect this support–made it’s debut on the internet.  Late to the party I am, as usual.  So here’s my banner of support:

oalpridebannerDC

And, as spec-fic writers I know have been doing, here’s a link to a couple of my short stories which reflect my engagement with these issues in some way:

Born on the Edge of an Adjective

The Language of Moths (Nebula Nominee)

Caryatids

And, since I’m a week late, I present you with this very cool advertisement for gay marriage from Ireland:

Sinead’s Hand

Fail, fail again.

UPDATED at bottom

Apparently since February, Amazon.com has been de-ranking books that are gay-themed in some way, thus basically making them unsearchable as titles on the site, and taking them out of the view of potential readers.  I don’t have the “facts” on this, but it does seem to be true.  There are many titles on their site that have no ranking and they are all oriented to homosexuality in some way.  Some of these books that have been de-ranked are classics and modern classics.  It’s one of the most absurd and “no way” inducing occurrences I’ve witnessed, and it’s causing quite an outrage, at least in the blogosphere, which I hope forces this company to make a statement about this not so easily swept under the rug “glitch,” which I’m sure they will attempt to call it once enough backlash reaches their doors.

Yes, this is America, home of the free.

Not.

This is 1950s censorship rising up in an internet age guise.  Recognize this stuff when you see it, and don’t just shake your head and say, wow, that’s terrible.  It’s a silencing that is occurring right before our eyes, and without enough voices to rail against it, the offenders get away with it.  

Last month it was Race Fail. This is being called Amazon fail, on the Twitter boards.  Why not Gay Fail, like Race Fail?  I don’t know.  But there you have it.  Failure, failure, failure, any way you look at it.  Unless enough people push back to turn a failure into a success.

You can sign an online petition against this by clicking here.

Or simply go to Amazon’s contact page and write them a letter denouncing this sort of behavior.

You can read a better article about it here, which includes a sample list of books that have been deranked, as well as a list of books that haven’t been deranked.  Apparently this deranking is being done under the premise that these books are “adult”.  Well, then.  Why hasn’t Playboy been deranked?  And a lot more hot and bothered hetero-oriented materials?

Let’s hope it’s rectified.  But I don’t think anything they’ll say will really explain this in a satisfying, completely believable manner.

CNET news has a good lowdown on the event here.

All that said, my logical faculties still can’t believe that this would be purposeful.  It just seems so stupid.

All emo for the polis

A friend writes five minutes after Ohio has been called for Obama and says that he’s immediately fallen in love with my state now. 

I feel the same way, with a small variation on the feeling, though.  I feel like that unsure partner who receives a sign that perhaps it’s okay to put yourself back into this relationship wholeheartedly.  In my house, everyone watching the election together burst into a collective cheer, then a huge sigh of relief.  It seems something was settled for us.

I hope that feeling can last.

Foreground/Background

Another TIme Magazine feature in the same week, this time down the road from Kinsman to Youngstown, with my friends Deb Weaver (of Youngstown Moxie fame–see blogroll) and Jan Pentz speaking, as well as the mayor, a smart guy.  A good portrait, once again, of people coming at this political dilemma from a variety of angles.  I guess we’ll find out which angle wins for the next four years tonight.

I’ll be glad when the election is settled, but it’s certainly been nice to see the people of this place find some voices in the national media over the past year or two because of all this, and our part in it.  I dare say I wonder if, like it has not been time and again after past elections, there might be some sort of continuing change here and in places like it after this election fades into our background again.