Behind the times
When I was a kid, I was a big beleiver in protest. My mom always told me I was born in the wrong decade. I should have been marching in the sixties instead of being trapped in the suburbs in the eighties. I still harbor all these dated radical notions, even though I'm trying to get more postmodernist.
My queer identity is often similarly old-fashioned. Some mock me for wanting to move onto a Womyn's Land Collective (otherwise known as a Lesbian Seperatist Commune) or liking Alix Dobkin or whatever. For this I blame my upbrigning. The Cupertino library didn't have a single lesbian-topic book printed after 1973. I read every lesbian book in that library and absorbed all the pre-1973 notions. Also, my parents were a generation behind. They were not baby boomers. They were over thirty when you weren't suppossed to trust anyone over thrity. They did not share identity or values with boomers, but instead looked down upon them with the disapproval of the establishment. (Although my mom did go to some hippy gathering in Golden Gate Park once. Someone there got a contact high. It gave her a terrible headache. anyway...).
On Saturday, before going to the anti-war protest (retro is in!), I helped my friend move. After getting the truck to the destination house, we were all taking a breather in the living room. Somebody brought up the topic of Miss Manners. "I love her!" said one boomer gay man. The other boomer queers concurred. They started quoting her. "'What do you say when introduced to a so-called homosexual couple?' 'How do you do? How do you do?'" and "'What is the proper way to eat potato chips?' 'With a spoon and a fork . . .'" (that last one is ironic, btw.)
Good lord! Gay folk of the age my mom said that I should have been all adore Miss Manners! This must be how gay men who come out and find out that everyone else loves show tunes too must feel. I think that this is not entirely randomness. Miss Manners is a voice for equal rights and feminism. That "so-called homosexual' question and answer was published right in the midst of the struggle for gay liberation. She's brilliant because she showed that manners are necessarily compatible with a progressive agenda. To deny rights would be rude. She is a leftist in establishment clothing. Miss Manners is a friend to the opressed and a comforter of the polite in rude times. I've got to go get her new book.