Tag Archives: Independance Day

All In This Together: Goths, High School Musical 2, and Growing Up Gay

20 Aug

applescruff’s blog at Progressive U comments on being a Disneyland Cast Member during Bat’s Day at the Fun Park (aka Goth Day):

At first, I didn’t realize that some of my fellow cast members were frightened of these guests. Something about their black makeup and reputation made the Bats crowd intimidating, I suppose. I really didn’t notice. In high school, I had stepped out of my comfort zone and made friends with a few goths, to discover that, more often than not, they were far nicer than the “normal” people. It might have been because I was a misfit myself, but I believe they would have opened up the same way to anyone. As for the Disneyland guests, they came to have fun, same as anyone else. It was annoying to me that I had to initiate contact with “scary people” because…well, they were scary. Even after one of them managed to talk with one of the goths to discover that yes, I was right, they can be very nice, the cast members seemed very nervous about them.

Apparently, despite having it drilled into our heads from the time we are old enough to watch our first episode of Sesame Street, most people do not remember not to “judge a book by it’s cover.” It doesn’t matter that this particular event took place at Disneyland, because I see it all the time. I’ve been a victim of this kind of thing for as long as I can remember. I come from Long Beach, so I’m automatically into drugs, rap, and because of the high school I attended, I’m possibly mentally unstable, part of a gang, and prone to violence. It doesn’t matter that people get these ideas from poorly researched television programs and films, it must be true because that’s what they know. I’m also preppy because I’m intelligent, and therefore I must have good grades (niether of which is entirely true). I am supposedly a hippy, therefore (again) a druggie, because I like to listen to sixties and seventies music. The list goes on and on. Worse, because I have an uncommon and not-very-phoenetic name, people tend to think I’m weird anyway without even learning more than my name.

And while we’re being asked not to judge books by their covers . . . I’m reminded of a post I saw earlier today on the QueerSighted Gay Blog, discussing whether High School Musical 2 is “chock full of gay:”

Perhaps disturbed by the gay subtext [in High School Musical] that was pointed out to them by homosexuals with agendas, Disney attempts to butch up High School Musical 2, removing all traces of queer allegory and metaphor and amping up the heterosexual love triangle. Even so, this sequel (which exists in a parallel universe where the high school experience is so watered down that it might as well be clear) is perhaps even gayer than the first movie.

I must say, it did occur to me that the “I Don’t Dance” scene was as laden with coded references and knowing glances as any Hays Code-era Hollywood blockbuster. Ryan’s the pitcher, eh? Not surprising at all, to those of us who’ve spent a good bit of time wearing the pink hats ourselves. And did anyone else think it was odd that Troy could even pretend to be jealous when Ryan slung his arm, with platonic affection, around Gabriella’s shoulders?

It would seem we’re confronted with a post-modern dilemma: Do we choose to view Ryan’s fabulous, fey mannerisms as thinly-veiled references to his homosexuality, or do we embrace the notion that hetero men should also be free to love show tunes and camp it up? Either way, Ryan saves the day, so does it matter? Not to me. I’m a big fan of both gay rights and gender aberration, so either way I’m all for it.

But more to the point . . . maybe Ryan’s sexual orientation does matter if you’re a gay teen growing up today, watching High School Musical 2 and thinking maybe, just maybe, it’s okay to be who you are. Could it be possible that we really are all in this together?

Bittersweet US Naturalization Ceremony at Walt Disney World Resort

4 Jul

Once again, thank goodness for the interweb. Right now I’m watching the naturalization ceremony at Walt Disney World Resort, webcast live.

As I watch, it strikes me that there’s a certain irony to swearing in new citizens in front of Cinderella Castle, the architecture of which draws heavily on Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle. And what sort of beautiful post-modernism is at work if our newest citizens hop on the monorail for Epcot’s World Showcase, and visit the pavilion of their country of origin?

I’ll confess, I’ve never been a big fan of the Fourth of July. I’ve seen some terrible things done in the name of our country, and I am not proud of how our forefathers obtained the land we now live on. And was it perhaps not a coincidence that the skies let loose with a brief, torrential rain after a recorded greeting was played by our current President George Bush? (Maybe the weather gods are as cranky as I am about ScooterGate.)

I almost reached my limit with Lee Greenwood came out to sing “God Bless the USA,” in jeans an a polo shirt no less. (Good Lord man, you couldn’t have put on a suit for such a solemn occasion? Jimmy Rogers would have.) But I’m glad I kept watching, because moments later Meg Crofton announced that our new citizens would participate in a special parade down the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street USA, a beloved icon perhaps because of its celebration of a place that has never truly existed. And much to my surprise, that’s when I welled up with tears.

Because, despite my anger with my country and its leaders, I still feel lucky to be a US citizen, with my dissent and freedom of expression protected by our First Amendment. And I do know how hard our new citizens have worked to come to our country, and the tremendous obstacles some of them have overcome. I have sat with friends and loved ones when they were afraid they wouldn’t be able to stay in our country, in the homes they had built and loved. I know there are many, many more who’d make great sacrifices to sit with them this morning, becoming new United States citizens. I know there are many who long even for safe haven within our borders, for political asylum. Our country is not perfect, but it is ours, it is my well-loved home, and I welcome our new citizens with my best wishes for a happy Independence Day.

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