“Billy Idol Gets It…”

Growing up in my family means sometimes speaking in quotes more than independent and new formulations of words. For example, instead of saying, “You’ve done a bad parking job”, my parents will say, “We can walk to the curb from here”. If two children are fighting, the least stubborn child (or oldest child) will not be told that the other one is younger and so it would be good for her to triumph, but “Let the Wookie win”. If we’re lost or taking an alternate route, the line is, “It’s over the ocean to Scranton, Pennsylvania?” (That movie is probably quoted than any other, what with ones like, “We missed it by a good foot and a half”, and “I’m such a great driver it is incomprehensible that they took my license away”.) If something seems impossible but got done, the quote most often said is, “Only Nixon could go to China”. Quotes from movies and television shows pepper my language, sometimes to the detriment of others’ understanding me. “Blah, Tralfaz, blah” is one of those phrases people look at me oddly for. But it has become ingrained behavior; so much so that when I read this article featuring Milo Ventimiglia, in which he said, “I mean, fuck, it’s 2008. The fact that people are still worried about stuff like that baffles me”, my first thought was, “See? Milo Ventimiglia gets it. I don’t know why she doesn’t!” Of course, I had to substitute Milo’s name for Billy Idol’s, but the gist of the quote is still the same (bonus points if you know where the quotes in this paragraph come from). 

It continues to confound me, the idea that being gay or transgendered or bisexual or just different, is something the greater society still persecutes people for. It continues to astound me how far we still have yet to go. I’ve gone to Provincetown a few times in my life. It is a fun time, and I really enjoy it. I particularly like the gay man who runs the hat shop there, who said, “Oh, honey, it’s a little late, don’t you think?” when I told him I was buying a hat to shade myself from the sun while sporting a wicked burn. I love walking down the street and seeing, actually seeing, people of all walks of life being profoundly comfortable with who they are. Couples, feeding each other in restaurants, who couldn’t do that in other places because they are both guys (or girls). And I love it there; the shops are great, the whale watch (where I got my infamous  sunburn) is great, and the whole vibe of the place is laid back and freer. I hate the idea that it is somehow magnanimous to proclaim that a person can be gay (I’m sure they’re glad you grudgingly acquiesce to their existence), but that they shouldn’t “be gay” in public. That it is somehow a horrible, scarring thing to see two people exchange nothing more than a peck on a city streets, or in movies, or in television. We’re getting farther than we have been in the past. Homosexuals can now marry in Massachusetts and California, and I’m so glad that Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were able to wed before Del passed away earlier this week, after being together for 55 years and campaigning even longer for LGBT rights. I may think the ritual of marriage is antiquated and slightly ridiculous, but I want that ridiculous ceremony to be open to everyone who wishes to take part in it. And I can’t believe that it isn’t yet.
And I firmly believe the worst, most craven thing the Clinton administration did during their 8 years in office was to capitulate, however slightly, on the issue of gays in the military with that horrible “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Worse than Whitewater, and more prevalent than Monicagate (and how I loathe sticking “gate” onto any political crisis! It was called Watergate, people, because it happened at the Watergate hotel complex). The idea that gays could so hurt morale that it would endanger the United States troops is the argument once used for keeping the troops segregated. As we’ve seen, the integration of the troops didn’t bring the military complex to its knees. So, Milo Ventimiglia gets it; we just have to wait until more people -especially in government- catch up.
(Cross Posted at Art at the Auction)
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2 Responses

  1. I can certainly say that I am guilty of flooding my everyday dialogue with obscure (sometimes ridiculously so) pop culture and sub-culture quotes. Yet I am sadly unable to recognize any of the references in your post, other than the one from Star Wars. Go figure.

    I both understand and share your frustration with adding -gate to every scandal. Slick Willie was not gettin’ freaky at the Monicagate Hotel (though I suppose that works as a strange euphemism. Ha!) A question, though: Did the devil’s pseudonym “Mr. Applegate” become common before or after Watergate?

    Your point about asking LGBT people to not be LGBT in public reminds me (intentionally, I imagine) of the scene from X-Men 2 in which Iceman’s parents ask him if he’s simply tried not being a mutant. The ridiculousness of the question is sadly lost on some people, it would seem.

  2. “Your point about asking LGBT people to not be LGBT in public reminds me (intentionally, I imagine) of the scene from X-Men 2 in which Iceman’s parents ask him if he’s simply tried not being a mutant.”

    And of Buffy’s mother asking her if she ever tried not being the slayer (my Whedon geekness overtakes most everything else)!

    “A question, though: Did the devil’s pseudonym “Mr. Applegate” become common before or after Watergate?”

    I didn’t even know it was a pseudonym until right now!

    “Slick Willie was not gettin’ freaky at the Monicagate Hotel (though I suppose that works as a strange euphemism. Ha!)”

    Awesome!

    “I am sadly unable to recognize any of the references in your post, other than the one from Star Wars. Go figure.”

    I’ll give it a little while and then answer the question. But I am truly disappointed in you! *Sterns brow and shakes finger*

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