When I was a kid, Alvin was a dog in my neighborhood with an underbite and a pushed-in snout. Mostly soft gray, but with wiry patches of whisker-like black fur sprouting up here and there, everyone agreed that this dog was ugly. Everyone, that is, except Alvin, who wandered from house to house with the […]Read More Queer style and aesthetic mindfulness: Breaking the habit of being ourselves
Though lots of people say we live in a post-modern era, common sense ideas about what’s “merely in our heads” versus what’s “actually out there” in the world haven’t really changed much. We know, of course, that when we’re in love, our “rose colored glasses” make the “external” world shimmer with magic. And we know […]Read More Lessons from a tempestuous romance with Coromandel
As many of us have long noticed, when it comes to queer theory, and how to think about gender identity, we’re often playing a herky jerky dance across a chasm of contradiction and cliche. We argued across the essentialist/social constructionist divide for so long that many of us, it seems, finally just got bored and […]Read More Rigidly queer: Essentialist attachment to fluid identities
In many accounts of personal identity, there’s an emphasis on the critical role of memory to lash together, and hold firmly in place, our sense of who we are. In the midst of the unrelenting and inexorable changes, memory provides a sense of consistency, both to ourselves and others, assurance that who I am now […]Read More Self-reinvention in 2020: Harnessing the power of forgetting
Located near the university and downtown, my neighborhood is far more likely to host signs proclaiming “Hate has no home here” than displays of GOP boosterism. And I could recall having seen enough red lawn signs in this guy’s yard to be unsurprised when he emerged from his well kept brick home in a bright […]Read More Social coercion and the red MAGA cap (from the bitch who didn’t wave back)
The Buddha taught that all living beings ultimately want to be happy and to avoid suffering. He took this to be a fundamental truth, and had the psychological savvy to notice that many of us choose a road to happiness that wends through a perversely seductive landscape of suffering and victimization. For quite a few […]Read More Worshipping at the martyr’s cross: The temptation and trap of chronic masochism
“What do you think of this?” I ask hopefully, as I place my perfume-scented wrist near my friend’s face. When her nose wrinkles and she pulls away, I hear a scale descending into a minor chord. I am disappointed. “What IS that?” she asks, and, as all hope that she will share my pleasure is […]Read More Respecting the tastes and opinions of others: Is tolerance really the best we can do?