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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 07, 2006


    Day of Pondering

    I don't agree with how Andrew Sullivan sees same-sex marriage is the resolution to equality and neglects all the ramifications of marriage. Gay people want more than households, benefits, and recognition: they want the stipulative language of law rewritten and enforced. But Sullivan simply dismisses the cause as pathological. While I think subversion is the inevitable form resistence to the control of norms, Sullivan sees gay people as intrinsically normal but deluded into pathological queerness by the leagued forces of some theorists, wounded self-esteem, and the prohibition of marrying.

    But when I'm reading Virtually Normal, which argues for assimilation to mainstream norms, I can relate to how Sullivan generalizes the way homosexuals react to their erasure in society by some complex undermining of the gay culture itself. The lack of violence and subterfuge can be attributed to a "space" within any oppressive social structure where human beings can operate from their own will. This space indisriminately exists in all of us and manifest as some silent, still, inner calling. It invokes an autonomy. This autonomy may be born out of anguish, agony, pain, or misery , out of the very forces (in the oppressive society) that thrive to extinguish it.

    The resilient nature of autonomy suggests that social and cultural constructions do not completely shape an individual, let alone the sexual orientation of the individual. It suggests the existence of a human individual separate and independent from the culture in which he operates. In my culture, that oppressive force is simply a taboo, reproachful silence, shameful indifference, and a derogatory disapproval. Homosexuality is criminalized. The pent-up repression generates a momentum for me to be myself and not live an identity from what was perceived as some nameless and obscure urge.


    Blogger matty said...

    I've always felt Sullivan to be a very sad figure. There is intelligence in there somewhere but it is clouded by poor choices and a great deal of self-loathing. I feel, in many ways, he is one of our biggest enemies in civil right gains.

    5/07/2006 9:29 PM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    Oh I never gets what in the world he would think the fight for equality is complete when same-sex marriage is legalized. What about the gay couple who *don't* wish to get married?

    Michael Warner, professor of English and social critic, discredits almost every single point Sullivan raised for this issue.

    5/08/2006 9:25 AM  
    Blogger Jef said...

    When gay marriage was first brought up by conservatives to scare voters to the polls, I was surprised to find that I don' particularly have a desire to be married per se. Jeff and I have been together for nine years this July, and although in the past I once thought I would want a holy union, I don't feel it's necessary now. It's obvious that marriage means nothing to the same conservatives who attempt to sanctify it in the political limelight when they extramarital affairs and divorces are exposed. I don't need my relationship sanctioned by the church or state.

    Some friends have been offended when they have referred to Jeff as my husband, and I've corrected them because he's not. By law, we're not married, and secondly, it's a heterosexual term that doesn't translate well, in my opinion, to homosexual relationships. Moreover, it just doesn't feel right to me. I don't mean from a semantic angle, but more of an aesthetic one--it's like having a preference for blue over green.

    At this point, civil unions are most attractive of all the options. I would like to have some legal protections as a gay couple. As for the rest, we just take it one day at a time.

    5/12/2006 8:42 AM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    Conservatives acknowledge that ther are respectful people in the society who happen to be homosexual. But they shudder at publicly approving homosexuality. The combine private tolerance and recognition with public disapproval of homosexuality. That is the reason why conservatives have to keep their political stand in check as AIDS force the general public to be outspoken about the issue. Conservatives realize they have to take a stand either for for against the issue and cannot hide behind that shady area.

    5/12/2006 9:11 AM  

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