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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
  • August 03, 2006


    [52] Alec Baldwin Doesn't Love Me and Other Trials from My Queer Life - Michael Thomas Ford

    Alec Baldwin Doesn't Love Me is a collection of autobiographical essays that are not only grippingly hilarious and funny but also thought-provoking. Although some of MTF's experiences are truly one of a kind--like packing for Jesus' second coming (he was only 7) and mistaking cake-eating ladies from his mother's garden club as the lurching demons reching over to drag him into hell--and most of us can only laugh at it as if we are treated to a spectacle of farce, he also touches on day-to-day trials which we can surely identify. The book intrigues me with one surprise after another. The snowballing credit card debts thanks to the thrill of upgrading to a gold card account which bespeaks privilege and status should be something not too unfamiliar to many of us. Come on, most of us have yet to get caught up with some outstanding balances right? What about his reckless discrediting of The Sound of Music? It's quite odd that he would go so far as to insult the woman (whom he actually met) whose life had inspired the musical endeared by so many gay men! While he sometimes succumbs to impulse buy, MTF impresses me with his fascinating anti-shopping theory. He hates shopping because "being in the proximity of so many things to buy make him hyperventilate"--all the labor, time, and effort that are put into manufacturing, plus all the marketing, tauting, selling--are total waste of time. I am just as amazed at him for having made it through three decades without being photographed more than necessary, on the note that parents are fond of keeping progress of a child's growth with Kodak moments. Again he has a deep conviction on why he doesn't like his picture taken--one that is very valid and probably speaks the mind of many who don't know how to phrase--he has issues with being locked in a frame and stared at by people he only marginally likes. Marginally. Like I have shared previously in this post the ineptness in dating renders him completely clueless when someone has an interest in him. While I think nobody could be that oblivious to wooing, especially if you're gay man, and if you're treated an outrageous show of public affection, I can understand the level of comfort and ease with which I want to pace a relationship.

    Aside from the humorous writings that afford a sneak how his pet-peeves pave a strange life, MTF hits on a subject that has been on my heart, lik a hang nail, and that is the reverse stereotype and the borderline hostile reception of a female walking around the castro with a male. My friend Estrella and I were walking up 18th to grab some dinner and a guy who hissed at her squeezed between us and walked right by, a protesting gesture to "break" us apart. I'd decided that if the gay community is made up of hateful queens like the guy who freely hurls insult at my friend, then the Castro will indeed be a sorry place to be. Whatever his issue might be, at that moment many thoughts swim in my head and I quickly put together some hypotheses:

    1. He thinks we are straight couple and we have no business in the Castro
    2. He thinks Estrella is a dyke
    3. He thinks I'm gay and I am so lame to be hanging out with a straight girl at the Castro
    4. He is just one fucking maschoist and woman-hater

    Maybe all of the above. Maybe he ws already drunk from Bedlands. His ribald behavior and rude remarks made my friend feel like an intruder. The next time when our tete-a-tete rolled around, albeit her studio is right around Castro's backyard in the Dolores, I'm not too enthusiastic about taking her to dinner at the Castro. It's sad indeed. It seems to me that the only pride taking place is in flaunting the results of hours spent in the gym, in drinking and clubbing, and in having one-night stands, and in hurling insults at people who are not only straight but also who don't belong to their numbers. It's a shame that some people in the gay community have wrecked what the movement has spent so much time fighting for: the ability and the right to be queer without having to conform to other people's standards. I hate to say (but it is the outright truth) that thinking in terms of gay and straight, or man and woman, is one huge blow on the advance of the gay community.


    Blogger Anomie-Atlanta said...

    Well said!

    8/03/2006 8:05 AM  
    Anonymous Jordan said...

    That is pretty much the greatest title ever.

    8/03/2006 11:06 AM  
    Blogger Greg said...

    This books sounds something akin to Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. Funny and unbelievable at the same time. I'll definitley have to locate a copy of this one.

    As for Castro Man, he was just jealous because you were there with someone.

    8/03/2006 2:06 PM  
    Blogger Amelia said...

    I really need to get my hands on this book! ;)

    I'm sorry what happened to you and your friend. A similar thing happened to me when I was in high school. I was walking down the street with my best friend at the time, who is gay, and another girlfriend. This guy spotted us, focused on my friend, and deliberately made it a point not only to walk in between me and my friend, but bump him while doing it. It really pissed me off. It's complete ignorance on the part of the person who did it - maybe he felt like he was making a point? Who knows. I believe in Karma. Anyway, the way he looked at us and treated us only exempliflies his inner flaws, low self-esteem, and machismo.

    I think the guy who did that was to you was just jealous seeing happiness and tried to pass of his negative attitude on you.

    8/03/2006 3:32 PM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    Thanks everyone.

    If he was throwing all that stupid tanturm just because he was jealous, I pity him. That means he has no friends.

    8/03/2006 4:39 PM  
    Blogger mingerspice said...

    I read that book quite a while back, and remember finding it hilarious.

    I'm somewhat indifferent to the plight of straight-appearing couples in the Castro. Yes, of course it is stupid to hiss at people who look like they are in a different sex couple (in part because they might not be a couple; in part because they might be a queerer couple than you think - bi, trans, or genderqueer; and in part because it's just mean).

    On the other hand, straight-appearing couples can pretty much go wherever else they want freely, so I'm not lying awake at night weeping for them, frankly.

    8/05/2006 8:14 AM  
    Blogger Jef said...

    Ford is very prolific and has written everything from his humor column, about spirituality, sex, vampires, and his two novels.

    I have all five of his "My Queer Life" books and enjoy them. I can't read them all the way through, but I like to read a chapter or two at a time. The greatest hits books is "My Big Fat Queer Life."

    I enjoyed his novels, too. He does a great job of creating characters that the reader can emotionally connect with.

    8/05/2006 8:52 AM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    My next MTF read would be "My Big Fat Queer Life" which I just bought from the store.

    Yes!!!!!!!!! I had Running with Scissors somewhere around the house, and MTF reminds me of it.

    8/05/2006 5:36 PM  
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