Note: This is an #OpenLetter + Essay #mashup bookending a decade of thought around Marriage ≠ Equality
This would be a great inducement to marriage, which all wise nations have either encouraged by rewards, or enforced by laws and penalties.
— Jonathan Swift from ‘A Modest Proposal’
re: Marriage Equality, My A$$
July 31st, 2003
You enforce rules, either in speech or deed that have never enforced you. I think it would behoove you to become a true nihilist; then you wouldn’t have to worry about anyone but yourself. You hate the current social order & conventions, and yet never make the leap to the ultimate skepticism. Instead you obsess about the fact that people don’t behave, or follow rules, and then ultimately it is *only* your mental state & agitation paying the price. Why punish yourself, ultimately, for the deeds of other’s, whom you have no control over?
They don’t know you exist, do not recognize your sovereignty, and ultimately only slightly feel your wrath in the most passive-aggressive way. Why agonize and repeat this vicious cycle? Sure you milk humor out of it, but as a byproduct, not as a goal/resolution. Somehow, methinks, you want to be the oppressor/violator/—–, and are mad that you aren’t. Isn’t that ultimately the game that oppression plays, to instill in you the desire to rise to power? Feeling excluded now, when the only one excluding you is yourself. The world shouldn’t make you feel put upon, when they do not even recognize you.
Your claims are baseless.
Recently it dawned on me that these institutions that deny me, Marriage, Church, & State > these are to be denied by me. I do not recognize them and they have never recognized me. I urge you to do the same. Live outside the law like a rebel > do not honor these things, since they are the trappings of a society or more precisely ≅ the ‘rewards’ of living in a system that has oppressed us from the beginnings of what we ironically call ‘enlightenment,’ which is anything but.
This train of thought, speeding through the tunnels of consciousness, is liberating. No need to become an anarchist or terrorist. Instead, by not honoring these traditions that preach exclusion then freedom to pursue happiness outside of that modality grows. Lest it seem simple-minded, let’s remember these rewards are not to be coveted, since others receiving them (tax benefits, inheritance laws, etc…) don’t always see them cherishable but merely perishable. With its half-life, do-over button, or a mulligan(s). After all, would you want to get drunk & wake up pregnant? Then have to fit into the society that scorns you? The promise it promises to bestow can quickly be snatched away as punishment for not abiding by the norms.
I refuse to believe that true happiness can be obtained within the current societal climate. If that bears truth, then why become upset by the conventions of a sick society? Their dealings, politicians, rules & laws are flawed. Henceforth realize that outsider status and appreciate that fully.
Not having to marry. Not having to fit in. You don’t have to be quiet or not make a scene. You don’t have to obey the etiquette enforced by an antiquated notion of common courtesy. Those rules extend up to & include marriage. The pinnacle of western life, so popular in fact, we in America have made it more frequently attainable in one’s lifetime. Giving the opportunity to continually renew our faith in a system that died long ago, or never existed, but enforces the power of the state & masses to regulate our behavior.
If permitted to, they’d have us in internment camps, peering through barbwire, waiting to die. We can’t allow that, but at the same time, there is no way to do that within the rigid rules of a common society. Those rules enforce subservience and diminish any and all power that the individual has to make choices. Choosing to respect their wishes doesn’t satisfy our need to be ourselves.
So in closing: MAKE YOUR OWN RULES. Don’t expect a following, but know eventually they can take hold, in some evolutionary process; it may suit them to be adopted. But do you really think the person who decided it was polite to… (end original rant)
Addendum a decade later:
As is very typical, this ends quite abruptly in mid-sentence as some email, phone call, or something on the TV spirited away a notoriously short attention span to another passion.
The custom is, once saved, it will be returned to and finished. If the space of time was a day or even a few months, then that is usually possible. Not without some major revisions or minor alterations along the way. In this case, preserving the last sentence as it is pregnant with possibilities so enticing to leap-frog off of.
Surely it was just about to wrap it up with one last punchy example. Or being stumped by the challenge, throwing hands up in fatigue. Both are equally possible.
Since this screed was unleashed, placed carefully into the vault alongside many others – a great deal changed. Marriage Equality gained so much steam that it rolled through legislatures, high courts, and even all the way to SCOTUS. If you don’t know my secret – **HUGE SCOTUS NERD!** Beware, on days when briefs are made public. While simultaneously monitoring live blogs of the event, you will find me reading avariciously, and posting excerpts and admiration all over social media. That kind of nerd. If there were a cosplay event for them, I’d attend it in costume like the Debutante Ball of my dreams. As Notorious RBG, natch.
So of course clutching this militaristic nihilistic manifesto for ways to deal with the issue viewed through a long focal lens, which upon writing, forces used “Gay Marriage” as THE wedge issue in a Presidential Election Cycle, or trying to remember exactly what caused this address in the first place, is not an enviable place to be. Blainey-kins has a tendency to get overwrought with political machinations, and this was just a salve to calm worried nerves. Since this issue had gained national media attention and saturated every pore of every being the instructions here were on how to best deal with that seem a bit dated.
Nowhere did you find me advancing the edicts of my activism days through the late Eighties when Gay Liberation/Acceptance or HIV/AIDS were literally my lifeblood. Disenfranchisement with the rather narrow view taken by the Gay/LGBT advocacy elites for two decades would actually find me embracing the oppressor’s views in radically altered fashions, because at least they were purer.
As with many people who, once liberal and active in their youth become inured of the ways of the world, it fell upon me to immerse myself in the trifecta of influences that pervade my vision. Burroughs/Mishima/Genet: each politically active and each staunchly opposed to societal norms.
So people over the past decade have inquired: “What do you think of this whole GAY Marriage debate?” Equality is a matter that has never been treated lightly by me, and naturally those that wish to be married should be. While I do not support it, you will find no more loyal advocate for it.
This usually left the listener completely perplexed. As if taking off the yolk of oppression and lifting up the mantle of another kind and placing it squarely around our necks would not feel like a self-lynching or worse self-immolation. “Yet, I’m sure you’ve just not met the right person yet!” they replied. A-HA!
Natural retort: Believing in Gay Divorce leads naturally to support for the whole Marriage Equality struggle. No, unlike my straight counterparts – there has been no long pining for that magical day when someone would come along to rescue me, complete me, or otherwise fulfill something in me. That “soul mate” spoken of in reverent tones in certain new-age circles as a healing purpose in life or recalcitrant mantra to a consumerist culture that has corrupted our every fiber does not exist. That is only a slightly less oppressive regime of chattel and parsimony to my way of thinking. Fully enlightened beings will perchance one day look upon our Post-Modern Divorce Culture and ask: What were they searching so long and hard for?
Clearly the statistics tell of a new emergent culture that is pilloried or patronized at every turn. The New Single. It exists; people are living by themselves, raising families by themselves and not getting married in record numbers. My proximity to the Sodom & Gomorrah of the Western World may be obscuring my view partly, but the statistics extend well beyond these boundaries.
In New York City nearly 25% have stated a preference for being single when asked. Of those previously married that number quickly inflates to 49%! Yet we as a society, with the itinerant and all pervasive cottage industry that is the Matrimonial-Bliss-Opiates Machine & Bridezilla Production Factory seem to think that when a single person tells us they are happy and contented, they are lying through their teeth.
Bully for you. No, seriously – bully for you and your beliefs! I mean it, as bully is the operative word here. A system that is holistic and natural does not require such immense peer pressure and ridicule of others to sustain it. There would be a natural inclination to participate, which certainly happens. However, recently the trend has been away from it and that is only increasing.
True Marriage Equality would mean not stigmatizing or ostracizing those that opt to *not* get married. Extending to them, so that they don’t have to work every holiday and fill in often for their absentee partnered/parenting co-workers. A true evolution would be when these “rights” that are afforded to people following societal norms were extended to the other half of the population. That our resistance to your failing system would be rewarded with lower taxes, flexible rights which we can then apply as necessary and lowering of the Single-Tax whereby I pay for all the kids to go to school, in spite of never having any myself or other things that increase my burden just because it can’t be halved in a state-sanctioned relationship.
Times have changed, but human behavior hasn’t. Far from bitter or disillusioned about marriage, there have been several points in my life where I’ve considered that option and I’m still not ruling it out. [See Gay Divorce Reference Above] If you can’t beat them, join them – at least so you can get the tax breaks or alimony.
Because there are only two things that are certain in life: Death & Taxes.
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