July 10, 2002
Arts and Entertainment
Gay pride and shame
Gay Shame makes a good point about bigoted and greedy corporate sponsors ["The Problem with Pride," 6/19/02]. Yet, to many of us who were at the early Pride parades in the 1970s, there is something unsettling about this group. Still I think we need to listen to what they are saying and look at it in perspective.
In order to walk down San Francisco's Market Street in the 1970s as queer you were putting your life on the line. Police were everywhere harassing us. People got hurt. Harvey Milk was shot in San Francisco City Hall by a cop, and that cop, Dan White, only got five years for doing it. Cops trashed bars and pummeled people to the ground with their nightsticks and got away with all sorts of abuses. You put your life on the line when you came out of the closet back then.
Pride parades were the one place where we outnumbered the cops. And we really outnumbered them! It felt great. In fact, it felt like a miracle. This wasn't happening anywhere else and had never happened before.
So when we see this group Gay Shame stepping forth and saying that this institution of freedom, the Pride Parade, is trash, and then they burn the rainbow flag, you have to understand the concern some of us share.
So I think it's good that Gay Shame makes points with these protests. But I hope the energy doesn't stay stuck there for them all the time. I hope that they put their lives to making changes happen on a more personal level. Because really, the corporations don't care as long as you spell their name right.
TV a bargain
Your article "Craig vs. Hollywood" [6/26/02] wrote approvingly and one-sidedly in favor of a lawsuit that would allow "the little people who just want to watch Law and Order without Coke ads" to be able to do that by using commercial-skipping devices like TiVo and ReplayTV. This would be nice except that there would be no Law and Order or other television programs that people could watch for free, unless someone pays for it. Just like we get to read the Bay Guardian for free because there are advertisers who are willing to pay your expenses, we get to watch television for free only because there are advertisers who are willing to pay the expenses of the broadcasters. The only way that we could have free television then would be if advertisements were woven into every program's story line so that there would be no way to zap those commercials. I like it better the way that we have it now. Some commercials today are more enjoyable than many television programs. I would not like to see that lawsuit succeed in destroying the bargain that gives viewers hours of television enjoyment for free.
Women in the news
Out of curiosity, we Googled the Bay Guardian archives recently for feature articles about the San Francisco Dyke March. We found none other than this week's commentary masquerading as news ["Who Belongs in Women's Space," 6/19/02].
Gee, didn't you ever wonder how the march started, what it stands for, how it functions without corporate sponsors, or why it has skyrocketed to fame in 10 years and become an international phenomenon that began right here in our very own city?
Ever consider interviewing any of the thousands of women who come to the Dyke March to be outspoken, visible, sexy, cool, boisterous, radical, outrageous? Ever think to give voice to any of the keynote speakers at past Dyke Marches women like Jewelle Gomez, Dorothy Allison, Urvashi Vaid, Ruth Ellis, Wanda and Brenda Henson, Prudence Mabele of South Africa fabulous, bold women who are the moral compasses of our community? Ever wonder what it is about the Dyke March that captures the imagination and support of some 60,000 women a year thrilled to be marching together in the streets?
Can't find a story somewhere in all that? That leaves us less than interested in your first ever "news article" purporting that Dyke March organizers voted to exclude tranny men. Suddenly we are newsworthy? We did no such thing. We reaffirmed our "all women welcome" policy, which doesn't exclude anyone who wishes to identify in any way they choose as a woman and righteously includes tens of thousands of us for whom your lack of interest is outrageous and revealing. Just how many women does it take to get a headline?
Dyke March founding members
For the record
"Totally Futuristic" in our June 19 "Bars and Clubs" supplement misidentified the predecessor to the Galaxy Club. The Rocking Robins bar and then the Boomerang previously inhabited the club's current location.