I was going to try to post again tonight anyway but I’ve also had an email from some poor sweating marketing person at my publisher asking if maybe I could get, um, the very large bold type word that begins with an ‘f’ off the opening page here? I’m sorry, this makes me laugh. I suppose it counts as censorship but I can’t be bothered. So here’s a new top-of-opening page to push the f . . . I mean the sucker a little farther down. The funny thing is that I have been watching my language. In real life I can’t make a cup of tea without effing and blinding, and when I’m using a computer. . . . But in the first place it’s not an attractive habit, like leaving your dirty laundry lying all over the floor, and in the second place I’m aware that Great Aunt Gladys does occasionally read this blog and I don’t want her to be offended for silly superficial reasons. If she wants to storm off in outrage, let her storm off for substance. **
But there are limits to my belief in restraint, and what is bad language for?*** This morning definitely called for bad language.
I am weirdly shaken by that email. I’m old, I read the news (actually I don’t read or listen to a lot of news precisely because it’s way too depressing), and I do hear from people like Ungay Mom occasionally. I’m even cynical. But I am still thrown by something like that email. Although as I think about it, I think I want to be thrown by something like that email.
It’s sure derailed what I was planning for the blog today however. I was going to write a bit more about some things from But . . . that you people brought up.**** I was also going to have another of my rants about the unworkability of lj’s message-managing systems which I now need to have even worse, unfortunately, thanks to all the responses Gay received. I don’t want to want fewer people to post if they feel like posting! I also like reading what you all have to say!***** Which brings me to the next point, which is that I can’t even figure out what lj is doing this time around, since it seems to have eaten about half my answers, and the other half only appear as mysterious little subtitles at the bottoms of posts that you have to click on—to know to click on, which I didn’t—to see what I say. This is all very demoralising, plus waiting up to thirty seconds for each screen to open—and there are what, about four screens per, getting an answer posted? Because the more messages there are, the worse lj behaves. I have to get off lj—don’t worry, when I pull myself together to do it I’ll leave my profile page behind, which I believe is how it’s done, so lj people can still make direct contact—but I also can’t face another steep learning curve right now. Meanwhile all the time I’m wasting on lj makes my stomach hurt.
The next point is about turning off the automatic screening. Last night I was about ready to give it a try—someone has written me a couple of long persuasive posts about this—but that was last night. Tonight I’ve changed my mind. You can see how many friendly and supportive messages Gay has received. (Well, you can see them if lj hasn't eaten them too, or de-unscreened them again.) There were a few that weren’t. There may have been one troll. I don’t necessarily recognise a true troll when I see one, and I’m not entirely sane on the subject of sexual-gender-racial-religious-otherwise-different-or-perceived-as-disadvantaged-whatever prejudice and I may be seeing trollishness where there is only . . . long pause to choose word . . . well, let’s say boorishness. I don’t suppose any of them were saying anything you all haven’t seen before, but you know what? I don’t want them even to have appeared. And I certainly don’t want any of them to have started the sort of discussion they could have started. Not on my blog.
And to the other deleted posters who want to know why I arrogantly think my prejudices are any better than the Ungay Mom’s opinion, and where I get off using such terms as ‘grotesque’ and ‘contemptible' merely because I disagree with her . . . I’m not going to waste my time.
I would almost like to wish a gay parent, sibling, best friend or child on everybody out there who wants to damn, segregate, brainwash (for their own good of course) or otherwise mark out gays****** as Other than the rest of us.******* That’s almost. Because I suspect it wouldn’t have the effect I’d be meaning it to have—I suspect that in way too many cases the prejudice—yes, prejudice—would hold, and there’d be one more gay person in the world being given a rough time.
And the nailing my colours to the mast part: I don’t actually know where my own lines run. I tend to think of sexuality as being a continuum, and I want to say something like that anything done with love between consenting adults is okay with me, and you’re allowed to fool around with carrots but not with hamsters. My discomfort zone starts more around the picking up strangers for an hour or a night scene: it doesn’t seem, well, respectful, to either party. I’m also a little dubious about large groups of the romantically intermingled, but that may only be because my own experiences in those directions were not among the best times of my life.
But, you know: go forth and prosper. Be nice and pass it on. Commit random acts of irrational kindness and beauty. Plant petunias on median strips. Smile at strangers. Help a harassed mum carry her pram up the escalator on the underground. Raise the light level any way available. And let the rest of it go. And it’s well after midnight and I’m descending into schmaltz fast, so I’d better shut up and go to bed.
But . . . thanks, guys.
* In inadvertent reference to someone here who recently teased me that all my books needed to be absolutely perfect was a few sailing ships and some cannon. Here come the cannon: BOOM. BOOOOOM.
** I also wonder if any genuine kids may read it. Not that kids don't know more bad words than I do by the age of four or so, any more, but I still have this silly, speaking of silly, idea that kids should be allowed to be kids for a few years, which means, yes, PROTECTING them from a few things for a little while. I try not to swear around kids the way I try to discourage the under-12s from reading SUNSHINE.
*** That’s a rhetorical question. I don’t believe that swearing is wrong any more than I think drinking a glass of wine is wrong, a same sex lover is wrong, Tuesday or the colour yellow is wrong.
**** Fortunately there is always tomorrow.
***** And thanks to all of you who responded to Gay. I’m sorry about my crack about ruining as many other people’s days as possible, but that’s how I felt, and thank you for the moral support. It’s much appreciated.
****** I like the idea of wishing a black parent on an anglo racist, but unfortunately that would turn out not to be a joke: there will be or have been someone ‘passing’ for white who hates whichever parent made ‘passing’ necessary.
******* And if with that Other you’re finally seeing why a happily married to a guy middle aged with no obvious disabilities^ middle class anglo woman is rabid about prejudices she’s probably pretty comfortably insulated from . . . yes. Speaking of continuums [which I am about to: footnotes are out of time and chronology], Othering is bad practise whether you direct it at an author or a mixed race bisexual in a wheelchair. And some day maybe I’ll tell you stories about being the Bimbo on the Old Man’s Arm. There are advantages to getting old: after 50, people don’t instantly brand you as a trophy wife any more.
^ I say nothing of the unobvious ones
Tags: common humanity, outrageous