FBQ Cawfee Talk XIII

Sorry for missing Sunday Brunch this week Miss Things. The Queen was flat broke and taking care of his new great great-niece who will be a month old tomorrow. I should be solvent enough to pick up the tab next week. Although don’t plan on any international trips. We’ll probably go someplace cheap, tacky and close by. My favorite kind of trip!

The Queen had forgotten how much some babies cry. Thank God for Dr. Spock. It was nice to be reminded that excessive crying is normal for this period of child development. Nevertheless it is difficult seeing someone you love in discomfort. And babies are so friggin’ expressive that it’s hard not to be affected by what you see on their faces. I did the only thing a Fierce Black Queen could possibly do with a distraught infant: introduce her to Classic Hollywood. Once she got a glimpse of Miss Bette Davis in All About Eve, what could my precious baby DO but calm down and watch.

BFFF (Best Female Fag Friend) in the making.

However it was the greatest gift in the world looking after her. And her mother is more than prepared for the onslaught which is to come from her Gay Uncle–since she experienced the same as a child. She still has dolls and outfits that we made and played with for many years. I’m not sure how her manly man partner feels about the whole thing, but his dread-locked ass is getting an invitation to our first Tea Party. And the negro better show up. He don’t wanna see a pissed off Gay Uncle.

Ode To Tyler C

Yesterday Bianca made his feelings known about the verdict in the case involving Tyler Clementi and Dharun Ravi. After hearing that Ravi received 30 days for taping Clementi in a sex act–an act which may have led Tyler to commit suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge in NYC; Bianca commented “I think I might prefer tar and feathers or a scarlet letter”.

I truly understand his frustration. The Queen is making up all kinds of stories about who Dharun is–most of which involve adjectives such as “insensitive, immature, privileged, and “stupid.” However “murderer” is not a noun that comes to mind. I so wish that Tyler hadn’t experienced cruelty of this kind, and had found help to deal with whatever stories he was wrestling with in his head. But, no matter what I may think of his actions, Dharun’s only real crime was being an asshole.

Just like the doomed young man in Bobbi Gentry’s famous song, I wonder what Tyler was thinking as he made his way to the George Washington Bridge? It is quite surreal when I think of how many times in the past five years that I have sat beneath its daunting expanse–a few even contemplating what it would feel like to end it all in the waters splashing the abutments.

So what do y’all think? Was Ravi’s sentence appropriate? Should he have been given more jail time? Should he have been charged with a hate crime?

And not to trivialize this tragedy, but what do you Miss Things think caused Billy Joe McAllister to jump off the Tallahatchie Bridge in the song? And no fair using the Robby Benson Glynnis O’Conner movie as a reference point!

From Babies to Beethoven

There is so much that the Queen would like to hear your take on. From the new evidence in the Trayvon Martin Case, to whether we care that Casey Anthony has supposedly been spotted? Caylee is still dead. I wanted to talk to you all about it, but it’s so damn depressing.

And as I was typing, my favorite Classical station started playing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. And as much as I love the first movement–I’m particularly fond of the second. So instead of talking about all that we want to change about the world, let’s listen to something that is just perfect the way it is. Hope all you Miss Things are having a FABULOUS day.

And if you’re not: go find a baby and listen to this music.


10 thoughts on “FBQ Cawfee Talk XIII

  1. My mother always says that once you are over seven years old (“the age of reason”), you know what is right and what is wrong, and even if you may not always realize what the consequences of your actions may be, you know when you should not be doing something–and if you do it anyway, you need to face the consequences and take your punishment. For Mr. Ravi’s sake, I hope 30 days is enough to convince him that he needs to think twice before invading someone’s privacy for his own amusement. I also hope that the knowledge that he caused someone to take their own life (even if that was not his intent) and that nothing on this earth will ever change that or make it go away will be his true punishment.

    If I didn’t wish you congratulations last month, congratulations on your new great-niece–and how blessed is she to have you to be her new playmate! Children need all the positive role models they can get in their lives, and it is so much fun to watch them grow and develop as individuals (especially when we can hand them back to Mommy and Daddy when need be šŸ˜‰ ) As a step-grandma to three little ones (four in September), I will warn you–she will wear you out quicker than you realize (SO much energy!) so get plenty of rest. šŸ™‚

    • I may be totally off-base but, in my media observations of Ravi, I get the sense that he has assimilated into the dominant culture in a negative way. Instead of compassion he has taken on the “every man for himself” mentality. While I would hardly want a young person of his age to be stifled by remorse for the rest of his life, it would be nice to know that he has been profoundly affected by the consequences of his actions, and will have compassion for those not like him in the future. It is always extremely interesting to me the way people psychologically choose to deal with not being a part of the dominant culture/race.

      As far as my great great-niece is concerned: thank you very much! And congratulations to you as well!

      I’ve got more great-nieces and nephews than I can count now. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not so much that any of them take MORE energy…it’s just that I have MUCH less energy than I used to!

      • I choose to believe, absent any evidence, that the young man will, with maturity, realize the enormity of what ensued from his unkind and irresponsible actions. Assholes act like assholes, and no doubt his own family & friends and legal team have surrounded him with a defensive interpretation of what happened that self-preservation prevents him from seeing beyond right now.

        I know that some entitled assholes never grow out of it. And if, as you hint, maintaining his own vision of himself as a person of color who has been admitted into the dominant culture requires he take on the persona of entitled asshole, it may take him a while and no little mental anguish unconnected to this tragic episode before that persona can shift.

        If that’s where he is, his demons await him.

  2. There was a really interesting article in Time, of all things, (though as a woman with breasts and a baby who once fed from them, I’m not on speaking terms with Time right now.) about bullying in general and the Tyler Clementi case in particular: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2024210-2,00.html It notes that Clementi was openly gay and not concerned about being outed (though the reasons for his suicide are unknown, and he did report concerns about his roommate.)

    I worry about bullying often, but one of the things that concerns me most is that we look at it as victim/bully rather than a system of behaviors that are interconnected to which both bully and victim fall prey. I think our schools would have more success in managing bullying if they remembered that most kids engage in it at some point to some extent. We need to teach kids to communicate and work through their differences successfully at a much younger age than we are doing now. I’m glad for the attention this issue is getting, but I fear that in the rush to point fingers and comfort the victim (both legitimate responses to some degree) we are losing sight of the big picture.

    And, I am totally jealous of your great-niece.

    • “There was a really interesting article in Time, of all things, (though as a woman with breasts and a baby who once fed from them, Iā€™m not on speaking terms with Time right now.)”

      You owe me a new shirt. I spewed my latte all over this one when I guffawed at that sentence.

      The article reminded me of the issues we faced when we created two programs for young people at my old job. We had been asked by teachers to develop programming around the issues of Conflict/Anger Management and Peer Pressure and had some great success with both of them. We were in the process of gathering objective data with a research team when the issue of Bullying was brought to our attention. We found that while it was relatively easy to provide sets of concrete tools for the other subjects, it was much more difficult to develop effective curricula for bullying because it is so much more disparate. We of course found that 99% of students were involved in bullying in one way or another, and the largest group was the by-stander. Offering strategies for kids to feel comfortable standing up and showing compassion for someone in trouble is a much more complex task.

      I’m very fond and proud of this particular program which I wrote and developed along with my team during my tenure. I was surprised and pleased to find that it is still offered as a free community service, and that not much has been changed. It’s nice to know that it still stands up after a few years.

      • Thank you for that link, Scotty – I will be sharing it with my school, whose bullying program leaves a bit to be desired.

  3. I think that for people hoping Ravi would get jail time, him being sentenced to 30 days is worse than him just getting probation. I mean, it’s such a short amount of time, it’s like being sentenced to a week.

    However, he did not cause Tyler Clementi’s death, and I completely agree that his major crime was being a grade A asshole. I do hope that he has grown because of this experience, and that everyone involved can move forward.

    As a sidenote, I do think it’s interesting how inaccurate the media’s coverage of the events was at the beginning. It’s like, they had this sensational case, they milked it for what it was worth, and when it didn’t pan out to be as juicy as they originally thought, they pretty much dropped it and didn’t really continue to keep the public informed.

    • I absolutely agree with your last paragraph. I still find it hard to reconcile the fact that we are now in the era of News as Entertainment, and that that often means we sacrifice actual reporting for sensationalism. I know that this is not the first generation to deal with that phenomenon, but it truly seems as if it has become so much more prevalent.

  4. In the happy news, congratulations on your great-niece! If her poppa has any brains at all, he’ll welcome with gladness any loving help that they can get with a growing little person. There’s no such thing as too much help with a baby/small child, in my opinion, and help that comes with family ties is sometimes hard (’cause there can be baggage) but in the end those family ties are almost always a huge plus for the child.

    • Thank you so much for the congratulations (although all I really did was stay with the cat while she and the brood went to the hospital to have the baby)! Her poppa is a really good kid. It’s just that for such a young man he has so many antiquated ideas about what it means to be a man and a woman. But he’s a great thinker, and I hope that through being around me from time to time he will quickly discover that being gay cannot be compartmentalized and defined any more than being straight can. If not then I’ll just brain him.

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