Wednesday, June 26, 2013

This Open Letter to Gay Marriage Opponents

Dear Gay Marriage Opponents,

I get that you are passionate about this issue, more so now that the Supreme Court has overturned parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and basically nullified Proposition 8. I'm not saying you don't have the right to your opinion. I'm a big believer in free speech and would never want to censor you. However, in your defense of this position, may I ask you a favor? Some of you are claiming that allowing gay marriage will lead to people wanting to marry their household appliances. I'd really appreciate it if you stopped saying that, because now one of my appliances wants to marry me.

Apparently my Playstation 2 has been half-hearing pundits talk about the issue for years now, and it somehow got the idea that since DOMA was overturned, man-machine marriage is now legal or about to be. It figures that since we've had a relationship for years, now, that it's time to get serious. It doesn't care about the fact that I'm already married and that marriage is a contract between two consenting human parties. It just wants to get married.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

This Relationship Corner: Work has no Gender

If you were alive in the 1980's, you couldn't escape The Cosby Show. It was the biggest sitcom on television, providing the template for many, many 80's sitcoms about the perils of raising a family in middle (or upper-middle) class America. One part of the show that always stuck with me was the character of Elvin, Sondra's chauvinistic boyfriend who absolutely believed that there was "man's work" and "women's work." The women of the Huxtable house, Claire in particular, took umbrage with that.

The Cosby Show was not just about breaking down the racial divide, showing an affluent African American family with two professional parents: a doctor and a lawyer. The show also made great strides on breaking down the gender barrier, refusing to buy into the idea that men, and especially women, had "their place." Elvin's beliefs that there was such a thing as "women's work" was quickly slapped down by every female in the Huxtable household. He was also given a counter-example in the form of Cliff Huxtable.

Cliff was an active member of his domestic partnership. He never divided the household duties into His and Hers. He simply did what needed to be done. As an impressionable 80's viewer, I never forgot the sight of Cliff in the kitchen, or watching the kids, or doing whatever was needed for his family. Cliff knew a very important truth, one I share with you today: work is work, it has no gender.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Why This New Superman Works

Rather than simply review Man of Steel, I decided instead to discuss the specific reasons this movie succeeded as a Superman story. This is not the Superman of Richard Donner and Bryan Singer. This is not the Superman of the Silver Age, with all the classic trappings. This is a 21st Century story, unlike any live-action portrayal we've seen so far, and that's why it works. The filmmakers finally figured out that their audiences have grown up, and it's time for the Superman mythos to do the same.

From here on out I'll be discussing the movie in specific detail. There will be spoilers. I'm so glad I went into this movie as spoiler free as possible, and I recommend you do the same. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

This Relationship Corner: Ditch the Defensiveness

There's a line from the new Star Trek movie that I particularly enjoyed. As Spock and Kirk are arguing, and Spock tells Kirk, "Your defensiveness indicates that you agree with me." It doesn't matter what century we're in, we often resort to defensiveness when we can't, or won't, see that we're wrong. It's a common human failing, one that will destroy your relationships. Even your potential for relationships.

I'm a huge fan of the website Cracked, and when they aren't pontificating on the possibilities of a zombie apocalypse, or the realities of creepy urban legends, they will sometimes feature columns full of relationship advice. A recent column focused on five turn-offs found in male dating profiles and why those personality traits are relationship repellent.  If you want a textbook case of defensiveness, read the article's comments section. Man after man complained that the writer should also talk about what women do wrong and why women, not men, are the problem.

In other words, the men commenting refused to accept that their attitudes and actions were a problem. They aren't the problem, it's everyone else who's the problem.