February 16th, 2004


Regarding "Marriage is Love"

Many of my friends -- married and single -- have posted the "Marriage is Love" meme. I completely approve of the sentiment I think I see behind it -- that the rights of marriage should be extended to everyone, regardless of gender or sexuality.


Marriage isn't love, nor vice versa. I'm not comfortable with the equation either.

I've been in a marriage where the love left, and in more than one loving relationship that does not involve marriage. Thus I feel somewhat entitled to pipe up here (then again, I *always* feel entitled -- it comes with the white-straight-male territory).

I of course support the right of homosexuals (and poly people too) to choose to conjoin themselves with another person (or two) in the eyes of the law, but one of the real tragedies of marriage in this country (even for straights) is that it's so often seen as a protection -- and there shouldn't be protection needed. (1) we should have a national health care program so that one doesn't need to become linked to a provider to be cared for (2) we should be able to declare other consenting adults our civil partners -- regardless of our genders or sexuality. For that matter, (3) we should be able to emancipate ourselves from default devolution of decision-making -- if I feel that my dad is a bad decision-maker, and I don't want him raising my kids if something happens to me, then I should have the ability to declare person X to be the guardian of my children. (this is not the case, if you read this, dad, but I may never have kids anyway!)

What really pisses me off is the hypocrisy of the asshats saying (on the one hand) "sanctity of marriage! constitutional amendment! we can't let our culture be destroyed!" and out the other side of their mouth: "state's rights! some people are just tough businessmen -- we can't help it if they rape the people! a man's home is his castle -- if he hits his woman, that's between them and God! And get the welfare women married or kick 'em off benefits! Oh, and honey -- here's some divorce papers. I know you put your career on hold for 25 years just for my political ambition, but um, I've just met this intern."

I'm not sure what the big win would be for state-sanctioned marriages -- straight or gay -- in a society that actually values and protects its members in whatever relationship they might choose to be in. I understand why people choose to have them in our current society -- it's a sanctioned protection of a relationship (citizenship, healthcare, tax status, decision-making) -- but in the unequal protections that it provides to straight folk, it's fundamentally unfair. Marriage (straight), as usually understood in WASP America, is also founded on a creepy concept of women-as-property (after all, somebody gives away the bride!).

We should celebrate the SF rebellion and MA decision because they extend protections to one class of people who have previously been denied those rights. That's a good thing. But we have miles (light-years!) to go before we sleep.
  • Current Mood

Movies this week

Thanks to exterra for dragging me out of the lab to see Bedwin Hacker -- an excellent daylight-cyberpunk movie. Manages to pull off a real sense of hacking as something done by ordinary people. And it gets better -- the star and her nemesis are both women and both hackers; they fence their way through a fairly believable hacking duel. I might quibble with some of the technical details -- but that's just it -- quibbling. It's a believable portrayal of what a real hacker duel might look like -- one of them in a scruffy little outpost on the Moroccan/Algerian border, another in a dumpy little office in downtown Paris, over several days. The male characters in this movie -- and there are several, believe it or not -- are alternately buffoons, smart-asses, and trophies, (== window dressing) which makes a nice change from "traditional" cyberpunk.

Nevertheless, Bedwin Hacker throws in references to the regular cyberpunk themes: at one point, for example, the anti-colonialist hacker gang spends the night in the desert and are awoken by police, who ask the rockstar among them to sign an autograph. Sounds like something out of Mona Lisa Smile Overdrive except without the misogyny. It's fast, it's fun, it's got kickass girl hackers, it's got good music. I'm thinking of buying a copy.

Also -- tonight -- I went to see Les Triplettes de Belleville, a bizarre French animation about a Tour de France racer who is abducted, and his grandma's trip to Belleville (New York, in extreme parody) to rescue him. Sounds like a dark movie, but it's not. Unless you feel bad about hunting frogs --no, not frogs like the ethnic slur, just frogs. The car chase at the end is a top-form parody of Hollywood action flicks, and Madame Souza's trip across the Atlantic in a rented paddlewheel is a classy piece of animation. Suspend your disbelief like a caramel from a string and go enjoy this movie.