Saturday, December 31, 2016

Call and Irresponsibility: Online Censorship and Attacks on Gay Authors

As we dive butt-first into a new year, I was going to repost one of the lovely retro New Year's Eve scenes from my past two books, Every Time I Think of You and Message of Love

But you'll have to check my older posts, or read the books themselves, to enjoy those. It's not that I'm being cautious, but more justifiably outraged by the level of Orwellian idiocy now taking place when authors dare to share their political views.

The simple act of publishing one's thoughts and opinions these days has taken on an absurd level of what I term 'call and irresponsibility.'

Author Kevin Sessums achieved headline news when his post critiquing Trump supporters was only hours later deleted, and his use of Facebook withheld by the bot-like underlings of the social media behemoth.

An excerpt of Sessums comments:
“Matthew Dowd who holds Trump and his followers to the standards of any other politician and hers. But as those who do hold Trump to the standards of any other person have found out on Twitter and other social media outlets these Trump followers are a nasty fascistic lot. Dowd is lucky he didn’t get death threats like Kurt Eichenwald. Or maybe he did and refuses to acknowledge them. If you voted for Trump and continue to support him and you think you are better than these bigoted virulent trolls, you’re not. Your silence enables them just as it did in the racist campaign that Trump and Bannon ran. In fact, hiding behind a civilized veneer in your support of fascism I consider more dangerous. We’re past describing you as collaborators at this point. That lets you off the hook. You’re Russo-American oligarchical theocratic fascists.”

Saturday, December 10, 2016

I Know Where I've Been: Finding Inspiration in Difficult Times

How do we find inspiration to make art in difficult times? What kind of art should we make when our lives are being disrupted by the most absurd and clearly corrupt election in decades? What should be our response?

It's been raining nearly every day and night here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I've not gone out as much as I usually do, and turning it all off to watch a movie or read a book has become a sort of conscious avoidance.

Usually, rainy days and nights are a great inspiration to stay in and be creative. I did some of that; sorted, filed and photographed all of my visual art (yes, I do that, too), refiled manuscripts and research files, and even converted a few old VHS tapes of my dance and performance works to DVDs.

But doing administrative work is not creating work. And as the rain continues, despite the ecologic good it's doing for our drought-ridden state, the rain feeds my sense of dread.

One of the many attempts to 'keep hope alive' phrases written by my fellow artists and gay activists goes along the lines of 'We survived Reagan and Bush. We will survive this."

Well, actually, many didn't survive. Unlike millions of stupid Trump voters (and 'protest voters' for Jill Stein or the absurdly inane Gary Johnson), I remember where we've been. 

Hundreds of thousands died of AIDS under Reagan and Bush 1's regimes, and thousands of U.S. military and more than a million Iraqis died under Bush II's illicit regime, including those lost on 9/11, due to Bush/Cheney's negligence (or culpability). So I don't really feel that gung ho spirit that others espouse.

Eric Arvin
In other sad news, on top of all the talented celebrities dying this year, one of my author colleagues, Eric Arvin, who has been bed-ridden and incapacitated after a brain injury, is basically about to die, since his latest round of medications are not working. 

Arvin's books have been a great inspiration. I reviewed a few, and he blurbed my Lambda Literary Award winner Every Time I Think of You five years ago.

While it's true that loss, and pain, and repressive politics have of course inspired many authors, it's not so easy to create while you're experiencing it.

We're in a very fragile state right now. As quoted in a LitHub article with 22 authors discussing Trump (before the election), writer George Saunders says, "I’ve never before imagined America as fragile, as an experiment that could, within my very lifetime, fail. But I imagine it that way now."


Author John Irving, wrote, "I don’t take what Trump says seriously, but I am seriously worried about the number of people who are as angry, as ignorant, as misinformed or shallowly informed as he is."

As I wrote before, I was rather declarative about distancing myself from such people as potential readers. A few have popped up, with poorly written critiques of a few of my books, each one glaringly ignorant of my work and its themes, purpose and style.

So, are we now supposed to placate such Deporables in the arts? Will Chachi and Chuck Norris make a comeback? Will Ted Nugent play at the Inauguration?