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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • May 12, 2006


    [42] George Orwell's 1984 Provokes Thought on Current Issue

    On a warm, sunny Wednesday afternoon, tugged in the folds of small hills and bushes at Golden Gate Park, I was reading 1984 after years of avoiding it. What strikes me the most is how Winston Smith breaks his own human spirit through betrayal of his love. Not only that he has no private emotions and no respites from enthusiasm, he greets his final capitulation to totalitarianism by sacrificing his loved one, Julia, in favor of Big Brother, in Room 101:

    But he had suddenly understood that in the whole world there was just one person to whom he could transfer his punishment--one body that he could thrust between himself and the rats. And he was shouting frantically, over and over: 'Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don't care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones...'

    I shuddered at the painful but real realization of why even liberalism has failed the battle for gay rights. The prohibition against homosexuality begins to the same repression that drives Winston Smith to betray his love. Andrew Sullivan really nails it. The liberals treat homosexuality issue as if it's approaching ethnic equality. They have neglected the nature of the shame that has befallen the gays. While the homosexuals possess a degree of choice to define their identity that more obviously identifiable racial groups cannot enjoy (since homosexuals can pass), the shame attached to homosexuality is different from that attached to race because it attacks the heart of what makes a human being human: the ability to love and be loved. This is the same kind of shame filled homosexuals with self-disgust when at puberty (or later since they have been in denial or suppression) they found themselves falling in love with members of their own sex. This is the same shame that invoked fear that was two-fold in me when I realized I had a crush on my PE teacher: the fear of talking about having the crush and the fear of giving myself away. This disgrace toward behavior, and the sense of self-disgust never leave a human consciousness. The stigma is is not appended simply to an obviously That is the reason why arguments used to include ethnic minorities under legal protection do not easily apply to homosexuals. It is something that forbids one's earliest form of development which contributes the highest form of fulfillment in life. The mildness and the seeming comfort with which young homosexuals learn about the denial of love intensifies the whole sacrifice. This is a heart issue --the trauma of being forced to renounce or disown one's love and attraction can never be overcome by lawsuit.


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