Politics is exhausting
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois
In a discussion on politics and Queer culture, a woman once said to Larry Kramer, "I have been on the forefront of the civil rights movement. I was then an active feminist. Now I fight for Queers. When do get I to sit down?" Kramer said, "You don't." Kramer, who - in my humble opinion - is a Queer prophet, can also be incredibly tiresome.
I realized last Thursday (again!), that even when you agree with and even revere people, you wish they would just fucking sit down sometimes and realize, too, that they really should. If only for the good of the cause.
I am fritzed!
a tattoo of iagree-iagree-iagree
I am fritzed on the US heading toward presidential elections. I am fritzed on Harper. I am fritzed on the student movement in Quebec. And you can't get away from these things. The social networks - specifically Twitter and Facebook (is anyone still on Google+?) - have become avalanches of ideas and thoughts endlesslessly shared, reshared, re-re-reshared. Yeah, I nod. You're right, I think. Indeed, I agree. And then there is more, more, more - a mad froth of bottomless rage, echoed each night at 8 pm on the streets of Quebec in an explosion of sound - banging on pots and pans, screaming and cheering on streets not far away into the wee hours during nightly marches - a tattoo of iagree-iagree-iagree. (Much of this with the grim counterpoint of police helicopters overhead.)
Then it all becomes platitudinous - anyone with a single, lonely thought in their heads broadcasts it and there is a chorus of bravos and standing ovations like something original has taken place. Each night the choir grows and the number of pastors preaching to them multiplies.
(An anecdote: In 1981 I went to Belfast during the worst period of The Troubles. I conducted interviews with women of the city - head matron at the hospital, the boss of a youth centre, an adolescent girl. The girl said something eye-opening and germane to the madness growing here. I asked her how she felt when there was no violence. "Happy," she said, thought and then added, "But also bored. The bombs and shooting is exciting!" The young of Belfast, she suggested, were becoming incapable of enjoying social peace.)
Then it was Coming Out, first-fucks and male nudity.
Why am I bringing this up? Because the Fringe is coming to your city. The Fringe is one of my favourite events of the year but even I have to admit that there is a preponderance of left-wing preachifying at any Fringe. When I started Fringing there were lots of solo pieces reflective of literature at the time: Andrea Dworkin, Denise Boucher - men-are-shit. I agreed, agreed, agreed. Then it was Coming Out, first-fucks and male nudity. Nice, but increasingly déja vu. Now it's the right-wing/religion examined; fresh for now.
What I am asking from my fellow idealists is not to become ideologues or, worse, demagogues - in life as in theatre.
Help me defritz. The best way to do that? Challenge me.