Friday, October 26, 2007

Angry No More

I have been rather tense over the last few days since FoxyJ saw Holly Welker's (I'm not feeling the need to 'nym her tonight) name on the table of contents of the latest issue of Sunstone. I was imagining the horrible things Holly (I consider us to be on a first-name basis because she only uses her first name on her blog, which is where I first met her) might have said about me, writing a letter to the editors in my head, brushing up on laws pertaining to libel. I was prepared for the worst--if you can call feeling sick to my stomach "prepared."

(BTW, Foxy got a free copy of the issue because there is a very cute picture of her in graduate garb, holding S-Boogie, on the back cover.)

So now I've read the essay and my hands have stopped trembling. As it turns out, the essay is well-written and really quite interesting. Holly argues in favor of same-sex marriage, but she reframes it not as a gay rights issue but a womens' issue. I like this new perspective on a topic that has long been important to me--the LDS Church's campaign against same-sex marriage during the elections of 2004 was in fact one of my first major points of departure with the Church--and I think Holly states her case eloquently. I particularly enjoy the points in the essay when she reminds her readers (and perhaps herself, as most of the essay focuses on gay men) that gay does not exclusively refer to men. All too often in discourse about homosexuality, whether in religious or legal contexts, lesbians are all but ignored. More than anything, Holly's essay in this latest issue of Sunstone has reminded me of something I managed to recognize last year (though I only now realize that in the post linked here I referred to her as "Molly Welker"), even in the midst of her attacks on my character--behind all the vitriol and misandry, she's really a very talented writer.

The real question here, at least as far as Mr. Fob the Narcissist is concerned, is: Does Holly make me look bad? The answer: Yeah, probably. But she doesn't do it at the expense of her point, and she doesn't say anything untrue about me. She interprets several things I said--both in "Getting Out" and on her blog--differently than I intended them, but as strictly textual interpretations they're perfectly valid.

That said, I don't feel bad about my angry post from the other night. Not in the slightest. In the context of her vehemence, my reaction was more than justified and even polite in comparison, as a handful of impartial observers have assured me. Holly is a talented writer and she is perfectly capable of critiquing my writing without attacking my character, as she has shown in this latest essay. Had she done so on her blog, I would not have been so "flummoxed and outraged," as she pretty accurately sums up how I felt upon finding her blog last year. It's not just a matter of not hurting people's feelings, either; the causes Holly fights for are good ones, and she'll gain much more ground by presenting herself as the intelligent, articulate woman she is rather than as a babbling man-hater.


J G-W said...

I was there at the Sunstone ex-wives of gays panel a year ago. I have to say, it left me feeling pretty shattered. I had to present in the session right after that, and I was going to read a paper discussing my journey of reconciliation with the Church. And the tone of that panel left me feeling pretty shaky, like, How dare I as a gay man say anything positive about the Church? Was I crazy?

I liked your Dialogue article very much, and referred to it in my own Dialogue article, recently published in the Summer 2008 issue. I guess I'm more inclined to try to take people's stories and journeys at face value, with the notion that it's worthwhile trying to learn what we can from folks. (Always also, of course, with the caveat that we're always only ever in the middle of the story, and don't completely know the end).

I don't know what it's like to be personally and publicly attacked in the way you have... If someone's attacked me in print, I probably don't want to know about it. But for what it's worth, I'm glad you are you, and that you've shared publicly in the way you have!


John Gustav-Wrathall

Mr. Fob said...

Thanks, John. It's nice to hear kind words from someone I respect as much as I do you.

ambrosia ananas said...

Sounds like an interesting article. I'm glad it was libel-less. And lucid instead of angry rant. I'll have to see if I can find a copy. I'm curious to see where she goes with it.