Sunday, June 23, 2002

The other post that caught my eye on Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish is a good deal more heartening. In 'The Mainstream Advances' (sadly, no permalink) he discusses (in the context of an hysterical bed-wetter in The Nation by Richard Goldstein about the so-called 'homocons') how gay bookstores are on the decline, and how this indicates the mainstreaming of homosexuality. This is great news. If gay men and women are no longer predominantly defining themselves in terms of their sexuality then I am delighted. Of course it takes no great leap of imagination to see why people like Goldstein are worried by this trend - it is always in the interest of a radical to maintain his constituency in a radicalised state. The parallels with the 'Black Community' are obvious - integration and assimilation are the death knells sounding for the race-baiters like Sharpton and Jackson. Sexual orientation or skin colour always struck me as a ridiculously narrow prism through which to view oneself and the rest of the world. I suppose coming from a heterosexual white man like me that might sound a bit glib. But there's so much more to me than the fact I like women and burn easily. That's what I am; it's not who I am.

One of the things I loved about London when I lived there was the fact that interracial relationships were so common. My observations were only anecdotal, but I couldn't see too much evidence of an asymmetry in who was with whom. It wasn't like black male/white female couples drastically outnumbered white male/black female couples (or any other combination you care to choose), at least as far as I could see. Any residual disapproval was very firmly limited to the older generation. I think this is all evidence of how radical politics tend to decay with age - as their original (often noble) cores are cherry-picked and subsumed into the general body politic, the ragtag remnants have increasingly less to do, and fly round in ever-decreasing circles, emitting ever more high-pitched bat squeaks of outrage, until they pass beyond the realms of human senses and disappear from sight and sound (o blessed relief).


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