Alex Blaze

Live Journal John Aravosis Horror

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 19, 2008 8:09 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living, The Movement
Tags: Bil Browning, bloggistentialism, Jessica Valenti, John Aravosis, Live Journal, Markos Moulitsas, RuPaul, Steven Goldstein

Last night I was trolling around the internet looking for the original source of some RuPaul quote and I stumbled on a drag queen's Live Journal with a Technorati authority in the single digits and I'm totally sure this one commenter there was John Aravosis.

His handle wasn't "John Aravosis," it was "Gay Greek in DC" and I wondered if he was here doing what I was doing, tooling around on the internet looking for a random source or a random fact that no one will care about two days from now, no one even cares about it now but me, what am I saying, it's a sacrifice I make freely for the advancement of a corner of the blogsphere that sometimes I don't even know if people read closely enough to care about sourcing a RuPaul quote correctly.

Like tomorrow I'm going to get up at 6 AM and leave my tiny, white studio apartment, constructed probably on purpose to look like a mental institution cell, only to wonder all day if I'm getting positive comments, if I'm changing anyone's mind at all.

Because the Gay Liberation Front in 1971 wanted:

This means freeing our heads from self oppression and male chauvinism, and no longer organising our lives according to the patterns with which we are indoctrinated by straight society.

But the HRC in 2008 wants:

an America where GLBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights

And if that's "progress" then I'd hate to see what "regress" would look like.

But seriously last night I totally thought I saw John Aravosis when I was wasting an hour or two finding a source for a RuPaul quotation; it was this guy on a drag queen's Live Journal posting under "Gay Greek in DC."

Now there's a guy, that Aravosis, who a lot of people like, people read his blog, who gets invited on CNN. Some people think he's a great representative of the gay community in straight society; others think he's just a transphobe or a fascist or an LCR-if-Bush-weren't-president. But either way if we're going to have a conversation about queers in the blogosphere we really can't ignore him (not to dismiss those who read him because they like him).

I hit my 1000th post this morning, and now I'm thinking just what am I doing here, what's the point, why are certain people followed like they're natural writers with attractive personalities and other bloggers in their millions are ignored? Will enough people care after 2000? After 5000? After 10,000? What's even "enough" reaction in the first place to justify writing post after post that disappears into the cluttered abyss known as the internet? How much of our lives, bloggers, our thoughts, fuck, everything we are that we put into this writing and speaking to make it real do we have to show before it's worth someone else's time to read?

I'm asking because last night I was scouring the internet for the original source of some dumb RuPaul quote and I swear there was this guy on a drag queen's Live Journal who was John Aravosis. Had he come to check out the rest of the blogosphere? Had he decided that we were important enough to read?

How many of us start blogs with just our friends reading, with just a few other bloggers following it because we emailed them and promised them we'd read theirs? And if any of these people we know become successful, get a big audience, we'll start sending them posts and begging for links to whatever Pulitzer-worthy post we've written up.

And then we search again for something to post about, go to other blogs and whore out our sites in the comments, give away content on diary-based sites, and get excited that anyone would bother to read one of our posts. All the while we want the world to change, but we spend our time getting the people around us to read so that we can take that first step eventually in our 42-step Plan to Improve Everything.

Think of the Sisyphean nightmare occurring all over the grotesquely huge internet at every moment as people try to get their content to the top of one of the biggest conglomerations of writing ever imagined. Hell, unimagined, since I don't think I can even begin to comprehend the amount of writing that's on the internet right now.

What a horror! I don't want any part of this sometimes. Just let me stop and I'll have so much more time on my hands.

But there's an email saying someone loves my writing and wants to hear more from me? Oh, what the hell, I can't stop anyway.

Hey, Bil, Steven Goldstein of Garden State Equality emailed me and he says he loves my writing!

"Alex, that's great, it's not just me who thinks you're a good writer!"

Yeah, and have you sent me my $15 cut of the Google ads from last month?

I kinda thought that by this age I'd be doing something real to benefit the queers, like being a civil rights attorney or working for a dead-tree publication or maybe being a police officer who doesn't arrest the queers he finds in restrooms.

But instead last night I was going to waste a lot of time finding the source of some obscure RuPaul quote no one cares about and I thought this one dude on a drag queen's Live Journal was John Aravosis, he said he was gay and Greek in DC. And since I was like, fuck it, I want to talk to another blogger, one who'd know a thing or two about the point of this crazy life, this obsessive hobby, this ride I'd rather vomit than participate in some days, I just went to write him a message.

I said:

Hey, John, Mr. AmericaBlog, dude who's been on CNN and every other cable channel to complain about the homophobes, what do you think about the reason the rest of us blog? Am I right that it's a waste of time or do you think that I should just try harder to make my shit known throughout the blogosphere? What's the point?

Because if we all just stopped caring, if I just stopped caring, then I'm sure I could have found some job just out of college and bossed people around in a lab and made a decent living. And if we all just stopped caring about changing the world and accepted it as it is, then it wouldn't really be all that hard to ignore injustice and move on with our lives and maybe even be happy sometimes, right?

I clicked "submit" and waited for a response and a couple of other people left comments telling the drag queen that they loved the video she posted. No one responded to my comment, not "Gay Greek in DC" or anyone, so after half an hour I clicked the caps lock and I wrote:

SERIOUSLY, JOHN, YOU GOTTA LET ME IN ON THIS! I'VE POSTED ONE FUCKING THOUSAND TIMES AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY!

And I turned off the caps lock, because, come on, he's not going to respond to that.

One other woman, MsDivaDenver, left a comment about how she wanted to get a wig like the drag queen whose Live Journal it was, but I started a third comment:

John, you're doing fine with your blog in terms of money, I'm sure, just off advertising revenue even if you do a fundraiser every few months to get some more. I mean, you're not a household name but you get on TV every now and then and have like, what, half a million pageviews a day?

And I looked up at his other comment, made sure he was still gay and Greek in DC, made my third kir, and continued:

You're like one of the most-read lefty bloggers out there, but even you must wonder what the point is of getting up every morning and doing this is. A lot of people read AmericaBlog, but I'm sure you load up the Huffington Post or DailyKos and think Yeah, people like AmericaBlog, but it won't be that good ever.

And I'm sure that Markos himself stayed up some nights wishing he were Noam Chomsky or Virginia Woolf, thinking Dude, I'm such a faker, I'm just a clown who entertains. And these fools who read my crap, they have pathetic, puny brains. And Chomsky probably wishes he were Mills too or whatever, you know?

So if it's a cycle, like an eagle eating it's own tail, then what do we do to create meaning in this? I don't know if I can handle the thought of posting until I just die alone in front of my computer one day, my drool pouring out on the keyboard, wishing that Jessica Valenti would link my most recent post.

Because last night I was looking for the source of some quotation from RuPaul that no one cares about when I thought I saw a comment by John Aravosis on a drag queen's Live Journal. I left a few comments for him but he didn't respond after my third and I was on my fourth kir, and I was making them three times the size I should have so it was like the twelfth and it was way too late to expect that some sort of coherent demand for answers would come out of me so I just went to bed after setting my alarm to let me sleep for three hours so I could get up in time for work.

And I woke up still a bit tipsy and way too early so it might have been just in my brain but I had left my computer open and refreshed that drag queen's Live Journal and saw a comment from Gay Greek in DC that said:

Writers are faggots

I thought, you know, that's it. What if we're all just sitting around here like a bunch of silly boys in a circle jerk agreeing with each other because we need some connection with others for no reason other than connection itself, like a bathhouse or a cruisy park at night or something? Jeez, we have enough meaningless conventions to be a bathhouse, us bloggers.

I also thought that that probably wasn't John Aravosis, even though he did dismiss me with a single-sentence comment just like he does on his own blog.

But I thought there might just be two types of people, and some people are "straight"; they keep focused on their goals and don't let distractions like these bother them, and the rest of us are faggots who waste our time looking to be conversationally slutty, for an interaction with others for its own sake, a web-based selfish hedonism, just to find meaning and listen and speak and change people's minds.

I know it sounds really homophobic and sexist and reductive, it's horrible, and I suck as a human being, but it just made sense at that moment before I had really woken up or sobered up. I closed the browser and I can't find that Live Journal again, so it's just kinda lost to the world.

But for the next few hours when I went to work, his words stuck with me, "Writers are faggots," like I'm just born not to care about ends and focus on means to nothings while others were born to accomplish and focus on goals and get things done. I probably would too if I could but I'm just a faggot and that's OK because next week I might get linked by Raw Story.

****

OK, I'm over my bloggistentialism until I get to 2000 posts. This entry is based on "Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror" by Jeffrey Lewis, whose album City and Eastern Songs I just bought this weekend.

And it's fiction, some thoughts, and a joke. I don't really think John Aravosis would call me a faggot.

Actually, I take that back; I don't know him at all. He's kind of aloof with the LGBT blogosphere and he'd probably think I'm kinda faggy and should be kept out of men's rooms or something.

Either way, back to the daily grind tomorrow!


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alex, you confused me on this one, but i still love your writing. for whatever it's worth. even if i am a faggot. but i'm not greek, and i'm not john aravosis.

I'm going to sleep. For half of this post I thought you were talking about John Amaechi, even though he obviously isn't Greek.

And that is why we love you Alex, existentialist meltdown and all.

At least you are in the right country for it. Read a little Sartre, drink a litle wine, and go find a Ru-Paul quote that will knock our socks off.

No, really it's true. We writers are faggots. In the style "faggots" was used by Larry Kramer in his last big speech. And I'm several degrees of writer lower than you, looking up. I don't even have a blog.

What the hell is a kir?

I love your writing and congrats on the 1000 post mark. :)

Hey, I'm interested in whatever RuPaul quote you dug up. And whatever else you have to say in your next 1,000 posts.

As diddlygrl said, it's probably nothing that a little red wine, a little good cheese and bread won't cure. FWIW, check out Sartre's "Existentialism And Human Emotions." It's based on a couple lectures he gave, so it's pretty readable, and in them Sartre defends Existentialism against its bad rap of being nihilistic, so he talks about how while our situation is "absurd", we can choose whether we respond to the absuridity in a positive or a negative way.

BTW, there's a short essay titled "Existentialism and Crossdressing" that provides of a Cliff Notes version of the book, since it summarizes Sartre's major arguments. For folks with really short attention spans, there's even a bullet point version of Sartre's arguments at the end of the essay. (FWIW, while it's about crossdressing, the essay is applicable to lots of other folks, including LBG folks.)

OK, What was the RuPaul Quote? Giggles

Alex,
Have you tried your hand at fiction writing? Seems you have a bit of fiction elements in this post. I have done a lot of sci-fi. If you've done some fiction work, you may want to do some more. You're good.

Jeri~ Thanks!

Diddly~ Thanks, yeah, the wine. Don't worry, I have enough alcohol.

Yeah, I'm thinking I need a RuPaul QOTD tomorrow. :)

UsQueers~ I don't get it. I thought that Kramer was just using the word "faggot" in that speech in that that's what people like Reagan and other politicians think about us....

You can always get a blog at www.blogger.com. Just think, you too can participate in this lifestyle!

Jesster~ Creme de cassis and white wine. It's an aperatif, a cafe sipping drink, a drink for waiting and dicking around and doing nothing, not something people normally get drunk off. But, then again, people don't normally have them by the dozens.

And thanks!

Lena~ Thanks and I'll check it out!

Monica~ Thanks! Yeah, this is partly fiction.

But awesome, everyone! I posted this and went to bed. I thought I'd either get nice comments or just a bunch of WTF?'s. You all are the reason I keep on doing this.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | March 20, 2008 10:43 AM

Good morning Alex in your mental institution cell! As a founding member of the GLF at Purdue University in 1972 I would like to congratulate you for the accurateness of your quote and remind you that when we crazy kids were being so unrealisticly idealistic the United States was also fighting a meaningless war, (sounds familiar) the draft scared everyone, (now only the poor get to fight in wars) people marched by thousands in the streets seeking civil justice in all levels of society. Rethinking the relationships, and gender role expectations, was part of this. To say that we have watered down this commitment is correct. That is because so few people were ready to go that far. Few people still, are ready to come to grips with their "feminine" or "masculine side if they are of the opposite sex. I can assure you DEFINATELY that over the time since these words were uttered all women have become much more assertive and all men have become less dominant than they would have been. This is generational, not a sudden revelation and I knew THAT in 1972.

I appreciate your frustration with the obvious fact that the "lowest common denominator" (located somewhere between the legs) seems to get the greatest attention to a more serious person like yourself, but really! Take a look at the circulation in print media of "The National Enquirer" as opposed to the "Village Voice" or even the "New York Times."

And yes, endless comments on wigs or drag queen lore are not about liberation--EXCEPT TO THEM. Just as I do not personally understand the motivations of a trans gender person, but I completely support their right to do so. One persons tedium on the net is another's salvation.

Now, "writers are faggots" I would take as a compliment if you are in the company of Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, my deceased former lover Vito Russo and countless others.

So remember, turn off your computer nightly, it saves power and is a "green" thing to do. Also you will not wake up to what you might think is an unpleasant surprise. Incredible progress is occurring, so don't lose heart.

Thanks so much for commenting, Robert.

I wasn't around in 72 so I'm not going to be a judge of whether there's been progress on gender issues or not (well, I probably will, but not here). What I was getting at is our ability to envision for ourselves the world we want to see, to look towards security and freedom as ideals instead of ending up with a "me too" gay rights politic that just wants whatever the straights have and stops there. That's my interpretation, and of course you're free to interpret it differently.

Just like the drag queen comments, I love drag performance and I don't think it's silly at all. I remember reading an essay and I forget the author, but it was about how watching drag performance can be a spiritually healing experience for those of us marginalized because of gender and sexual transgression, and I feel that sometimes.

I just wanted this scene to take place in a part of the blogosphere that usually gets forgotten (a not-so-popular live journal), and someplace undeniably queer (drag queen runs it). The wigs and stuff and the other comments, well, that's just about being ignored. Seriously, if you were participating in a thread about wigs and drag performance and there was some queer kid talking about existentialism, wouldn't you ignore him?

And, yeah, I turn off my comp at night in real life. Good reminder - electricity's expensive here!

I LOVED this post as much as the last 1000. (Well, except for that one time that you found this RuPaul quote...)

UsQueers~ I don't get it. I thought that Kramer was just using the word "faggot" in that speech in that that's what people like Reagan and other politicians think about us....

You are right, of course, but I have been around a long time and to me every time Larry Kramer says the word it is with the vitriolic strength of a warrior. The speech I referred to, his most recent, is probably not the best example. I am proud to be a faggot, as long as it is Larry Kramer's version of what it really means to be a gay survivor in America, a "faggot" who's been around for a while, and not Ann Coulter's weaker notion of a word that is not even used much anymore.

Um, have you read Larry Kramer's Faggots?