Archive for July 4th, 2006

On recognition

July 4th, 2006

Uh…I feel like my last post might sound kind of ungrateful, like I somehow had a problem with the NPR piece. That’s SO not the case. In fact, I’m insanely, ecstatically happy about every droplet of mainstream recognition that Fun Home, and incidentally DTWOF, have received. But at the same time, I’m disturbed about just how happy it makes me. Over the years, I convinced myself it was something I didn’t need or want. So perhaps my ambivalence is seeping out as whininess.

It seems to me there are two major pitfalls one faces upon escaping the ghetto. One is to leave and never look back, to consider it your own individual achievement and willfully ignore the power structures that hold everything in place. Two is to refuse to leave, to cling in a nostalgic way to your own marginalization. I think I’m in danger of the latter, and will try to stop it immediately.

There has to be some kind of middle way, of acknowledging the whole cultural sausagemaking process (what kind of stories cross over from ghettoized subcultures, what kind don’t, who gets let in, how much of it is about the inherent quality of the work, stuff like that) while taking advantage of the new opportunities it brings.

Hey, as I was writing this post, I heard a crackling in the yard and went to see what it was.

moose in my yard

A young moose! The yearling males get sent off on their own when the mothers have new babies, so often at this time of year you can see them wandering around bewildered in the big wide world. Kind of like me. Here it is next to my Subaru, for scale.

moose to scale


July 4th, 2006

I started this as a comment to the NPR post, in response to some of the topics people raised there. But then it got really long so I’m making it into a post of its own.

1. Yes, Liane Hansen mispronounced my name, to the great annoyance of my mother. (It’s BECK-dull) I didn’t notice during the interview. I think they pasted it in later.

2. Yes, they edited the bejeezus out of what I said! I had lots of cliffhanging pauses and rambling digressions which they snipped right out, to my great relief. I wish I could do that in real life.

3. Yes, it was very cool to hear Liane say “Dykes To Watch Out For” right there on the radio. But it’s peculiar to me how all of sudden, DTWOF is being perceived as some kind of established cultural fixture. Liane Hansen said that I’ve “received quite a bit of critical acclaim” for my Dykes cartoons. Huh. No one sent me that memo. It’s true I’ve gotten my fair share of acclaim in the LGBT universe. But I don’t think that’s what she meant, or what other reviewers who’ve alluded to my “success” have meant. There’s a strange revisionist mechanism at work, I think, the culture attempting to right itself by saying, “we didn’t notice you before but now that you’ve attained a measure of respectability, we’re going to pretend that we did.”

What do you think?

Maybe I should just shut up and enjoy it while it lasts.