i like the boys with the boom


I got to thinking about gay marriage the other night, and had one of those… I guess you’d call it a Repetitive Epiphany. It’s when the enormity – both good and bad – of something hits you again after you hadn’t thought about it for a while. One of the best ones is “Wait a minute! WE’RE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS! GO HEELS!” One of the worst ones is “Wait a minute, a majority of people in [insert state here] elected to strip away the rights of their fellow Americans!”

It got me thinking about my own marriage, and I rapidly came to the fleeting conclusion that it wasn’t right for Tessa and I to be “married” in the legal American sense, just because we happen to be different genders. Why the fuck should we get to call ourselves “married” when Tessa’s best friend Jason and his partner Tim don’t? Why does my ding-dong and Tessa’s nortons qualify us for a social status that our friends L & S in Durham can’t have?

I was trying to think of a different way to say that I’m married, because being married in this country doesn’t mean shit if many of our best friends aren’t allowed to do it. I was contemplating what term I’d use to imply a lovely romantic and legal partnership, but couldn’t come up with one that didn’t make me sound like a blithering, flaccid, pretentious git.

But then I happened upon an awesome graph that put a lot of this into perspective, and – shock of shocks – actually made me feel better about this country of goddamn butt-pickers. Here ’tis:


Don’t look at this graph as a stationary object, imagine it as a fluid cartoon, moving inexorably towards the right part of your screen, marching into the future. Given that homophobia and bigotry are not traits that increase with wisdom, it won’t be long before all of those various dots cross over the 50% barrier.

The only states left with a majority of intolerant people under 29 are the truly challenged, religion-saturated simple-jack folk of states like Texas, South Carolina, Utah, Alabama and Oklahoma. Yes, North Carolina is hovering on the wrong side of 50%, but damn close (NATIONAL CHAMPS! GO HEELS! STOP HATING FAGS!)

If you needed any more proof about my recommendation to put most old people on an ice floe and kick it out to sea (which got me more hate mail than almost anything else I’ve ever put on here), you need to simply look at that intractable line of blue dook-colored dots to the left. Nice work, “Greatest Generation”… didn’t the vilification of an entire swath of people teach you anything?

0 thoughts on “i like the boys with the boom

  1. FreshPaul

    a couple of observations:
    -it’s interesting how the age gap grows generally larger as you move up the graph. Not sure what that means…perhaps that old people are more nationally homogeneous than young people?
    -it’s pleasantly surprising how much Alaska isn’t apparently part of the “real ‘merica”
    -makes me wonder what our blind spots will be when we get old.
    fwiw, I’m not for government marriage for anyone, men, women, polygamists, etc. Civil benefits can be recognized, we can get beyond the seemingly giant semantic stumbling block of “marriage” in the civic sphere, and religious groups who do or don’t condone same-sex unions can have their way.

  2. Salem

    FreshPaul- The graph generally moves from low to high population density. It seems like the age gap growth has a correlation to community size. Young and old generations have more social accountability to one another in small towns. Particularly, at Church. When it comes to leadership in the rural South, if you close your eyes, it’s hard to tell the difference between meetings at schools, churches,chambers of commerce, or city halls. The meetings were not always dominated by the same old, white, wealthy men, but they were always there and their purse strings usually had to open for anything to get done. There was no economy of scale. The cost of pissing off a wealthy old man was immediate and real. Those poor youngin’s in Utah don’t stand a chance.

  3. Salem

    Accountability can work both ways.
    Young adults may need old folks approval to gain social and economic status in Mayberry, USA,
    but old folks in the city, better be open to new ideas, IF they ever want to see their Grandchildren.

  4. killian

    Before my dad passed away, (so he was near 70 when he said this, living in ALABAMA) we had this amazing conversation about gay marriage, but mostly about gay couples adopting babies/becoming parents. He was all for it, and claimed that there was no way they could do any worse than any of the hetero couples he’d watched raise families over the years, and that, for his, money, they would probably do a lot BETTER than most.
    Just sayin’, that blue dot on the bottom had a wonderful dissenter in H.E. M.

  5. Anne

    Yay, RI is number 3 at the top! But we still don’t have legal gay marriage. Boo.
    It will happen, though. I grew up alongside the Civil Rights movement, chronologically, and I recognize momentum when I see it.

  6. Lee

    i always think it’s funny that one of us could get a sex change and THEN get married. now that’s a loop hole.
    thanks for being pissed with us, ian!

  7. Piglet

    By the time I’m 80, I’ll probably be a right wing conservative. Without having changed a single idea.
    I see that Maine is right up there in the top ten tolerant states, and that’s the state that just voted to repeal equal marriage rights. Makes me wonder whether we’ll really catch up to civilization in our lifetimes.
    Also makes me wonder what the result would have been if all of Maine’s eligible voters had voted. 2009 had pretty low turnout results, due to being an off-year election when the Congressional, Presidential and most of the favorite locals weren’t on the ballot, plus a lot of the Obama coalition stayed home in places like Virginia and New Jersey, disappointed with business as usual from the blue dogs they had elected to be different from Republicans.

  8. Bob

    FreshPaul: makes me wonder what our blind spots will be when we get old.
    Great question. My guess: genetic modification, and vociferous disagreement about just what it means to be human.
    But I’m not going to get to find out; I’m one of those old folks. I believe in the right of gay people to get married, so I’d like to be put on the non-asshole portion of the ice floe, please.

  9. ally

    You can tell me to piss off, ’cause it ain’t the same, but I do think and hope that the increasing irrelevance of being gay in Canada, be it to get married, run for office or adopt children, would have some bearing in some small osmotic way, on our closest friends and neighbors. (Sort of like when your Great Aunt Helen realizes that her friendly neighbors, Ken and Bob, with their nice lawn and respectable jobs, are not quite the threat she once thought.)
    Here is a slightly unrelated but still sweet story: one of my friends attended a marriage at Toronto’s City Hall for two women from the US who had posted an ad on craigslist looking for witnesses for their civil ceremony. I think it surprised the couple to see the number of strangers who turned out to celebrate their vows, in particular, a young suburban teen who made his mom drive him into the city to be there for the event. It was a beautiful event for everyone there.

  10. k_upon_a_time

    Dana, That was so touching. I’m proud to hear such wisdom and acceptance from a man who could easily rest on past accomplishments and satisfaction. That’s just the sort of hope we need to remind us that the arc continues to bend. Thank you.


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