Having spent a few weeks in England -- nursed to health on the largesse of the National Health Service, gorging his mind on BBC WorldService, Le Monde Diplomatique, and The Guardia -- my boyfriend has returned to California. James is suffering readjustment problems, to say the least:
And while I'm at it, in case you didn't know, all your folky protest songs, your political poetry slams, and "die-ins" have zero effect on Washington policy; they may be genuine art, and may have the effect of bolstering the morale of the already-converted choir and that is a good thing, but please, let's disillusion ourselves if we think they change anyone's mind, i.e. have any real political effect.
Don't get me wrong, I think such things are worthwhile within their limited sphere, but sometimes I can't help thinking we mostly do these things because, for creative people, they are relatively easy.
They make us feel as if we've contributed something without having to do any distasteful work, and the applause and the attention makes us feel nice, as an added benefit.
-- "6 Things I Hate About The Left"
No, no, no, it's not just because he's adorable and makes me feel happy about the world and quotes me for at least two whole lines! He also crisply summarizes that sinking feeling of ineffectuality that many of us have felt in California. Loving the diversity as we do, loving the t-shirts at work and the birkenstocks at the opera and the good sushi and friendly dragqueens, there's still the problem of how we talk to the rest of the country. And whether we're actually taking that project seriously -- by talking to and changing a country that we're capable of identifying as our own.
James's culprit list starts: 1) Berkeley academics. 2) peace activists. 3) burning man groupies.
Those would comprise most of my friends and acquaintances, right there. Friends, everyone needs an existential self-examination session once every twelve months. That's why the church has Lent! Do your eternal soul a favor, and face the "Are you an ineffectual whinge-monster" test today.