The Mouse that Roared

(11:30AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air.

— Galadriel

President Obama is not alone. Many people do not seem to understand that oppression of an entire people is not chronic. It is systemic. The infection grows.

When I was 12 or so, as boys that age do, I had somehow gotten ahold of a very old gay porn magazine that was almost as old as I was. It must have been from the very early 70’s.

Anyway, I liked it because this magazine featured guys just a little older than me — 18 and 19 year olds.

This was not like any porn, gay or otherwise, from the present day. Compared to a contemporary porn website such as fuckedgay.xxx, this was completely different. On one page it had two fully clothed young guys lying on a bed listening to music together. That’s right, I said fully clothed. This may come as a shock to you, as any gay porn from the present day would almost definitely involve nude men. There was a verbal spread around this picture, with the guys talking in wistful terms about how one day, in a future we possibly could not imagine, men could get married with other men.

This is the battle now, and as I think back on this magazine, I can imagine being ferocious, of roaring, rather than wistfully wondering if ever, and when. We’ve come a long way, but part of that way is in not being wistful anymore, and not asking, but demanding.

Of, finally, roaring.

I am past my marrying days. My lover died, I have no wish for the pain of another. I had a husband, I wasn’t allowed to call him that name, and it doesn’t matter now. I have been made a relic by time. But a lion roars inside. No, not a lion. A mouse. But a mouse that can change the world.

That there should be no wistful boys, wondering about that which might never be, thinking something is wrong inside.

A fatal miscalculation has been made. A nuclear bomb has been left sitting on the table.

And what our political leaders don’t understand is, it’s ticking.

But Bascomb is no dummy. Put in charge of a ragtag army of 30 or so to invade America by tugboat (on which he can’t keep from vomiting, being the seasick type), he seizes the initiative in a war doomed to fail. By the time the soldiers, armed with nothing but arrows, arrive in New York (rendered utterly silent by an air raid drill), Bascomb has become — like Mandrake, Gump, and Chance — the right guy in the right place at the right time. He lucks into finding the Einstein-like nuclear physicist, Professor Kokintz (David Kossof), whose construction of a fictional Q bomb (think Strangelove’s Doomsday device) is the reason all of Gotham is huddled underground. He also falls in love at first sight with Kokintz’s daughter Helen (Jean Seberg), before spiriting both away, with Q bomb in hand, back to Grand Fenwick.

The fact that access to New York is exceedingly easy or that the most dangerous nuclear device in the world is merely sitting on a desk in its creator’s office is irrelevant to this relaxed film (though it’s still annoying for some viewers, this one included). What matters is that Bascomb serendipitously lands in the bomb’s neighborhood to salvage his Quixotic mission and restore glory to his nation. Even when the military spots Bascomb’s countrified regiment, they’re convinced (in a sure reference to pre-Cuban Missile Crisis Cold War hysteria) that the Fenwick band is from outer space. Within seconds, the rumors are flying and New Yorkers believe they’re under alien invasion.

I am no longer that 12 year old boy. What once was wistful has turned bitter and determined. I am no longer that wistful boy. I am an angry and determined man.

And I am not alone. All of those wistful boys, who looked at the faded yellow pages of a porn magazine that dreamed of a simple astonishing and radical concept, that people could be left to make happiness for themselves in peace and equality, are now angry and determined men. And women.

In 1969, the Stonewall Riots occurred. Bottles and rocks were thrown over the issue of simple harassment. And, though violence is terrible, the harassment stopped.

In 2009, hundreds of thousands of people marched. It got so bad, at one point, the Mormons and Catholics and others were scared briefly into whining about fairness — fairness after they spent millions of dollars to keep our oppression intact.

In 2010, Daniel Choi handcuffed himself to the White House fence.

And all along, the assumption has been made that this latest incident, whatever it is, isjust another exposition of rage by people on the margins of society. It would die down, they said. And it did. For a while. And in every future event, it will, too, die down. For a while.

But every incident, every time, the storm will get bigger and harder to control.

We were once wistful boys. But that we remain that way, this, this this is a fatal assumption. It is a fatal assumption on the part of those who claim to be our friends, but are not.

The assumption is that sentiment suffices on the part of our would be friends and benefactors. It does not. That it always will. It will not. That, if it does not, so-called “backlash” will put the genie back in the bottle. It will not. The assumption is that priorities can be assigned in preference to the civil equality of an entire people. They cannot. The assumption is that those who are wistful, stay wistful, and respectful, and asking, and donating and voting and waiting, and understanding. They do not.

The assumption is one of a static set of events. That we dream and we wonder, wistfully, while caring, but thinking that which is a dream cannot be, and that people do not evolve beyond that point. The assumption is that a population that once settled for crumbs, always will, and that their oppression can be put off, forever,

The mice who once scurried in fear from the broomhandle, now roar.

The assumption is that non-violence as a moral imperative, though valuable, and valued, can serve as a bulwark.

This is a fatal assumption.

People will do anything to avoid violence. People will try anything, ask any question, beg for any crumb, go to any lengths, to avoid it.

But in the end, there is a natural imperative of an oppressed people to seek out whatever works. Whatever is necessary. Moral imperatives and wishes do not stop it. There is a force. A force that makes cries against oppression louder. And louder. A storm that grows, with each year, each lost opportunity. It is necessary to decry violence, to decry the waste, to flinch and step away, as a hand burnt by a stove, from the loss and destruction. But in the end, like a living thing, like a liquid seeking any exit or a compressed gas seeking a weak spot, the demands of an oppressed people find an exit of any kind. Even an explosive one. Even an unintentional one.

The end of our very existence, our lives, is being spoken of in wistful turns. It is odious, the President tells us, that right wing killers engineer the destruction of those like us in foreign lands.

It is enough, he says, to give us those rights that we demand, while denying the imprimature of what they mean, while, with the other hand, fighting even those rights. The arrogance is so palpable, that it is said that we should be grateful for the sentiment and that the actual lies, telling us one thing while doing another, should be set aside as the mere machinations of political reality.

That mere sentiment, couched in lies, is an improvement for which we should be grateful.

The President sees us as the wistful 12 year old looking at the yellowed magazine from 1970 talking about what might never be.

This may be politics. But we are not wistful boys, anymore. We are bitter and determined men and women, with a lifetime of being told we are not good enough. Of being told one thing, while the people who tell us these things, do another. We are men, and women, who have had the courses of our lives changed by bigotry. It is no big thing, one like President Obama and the people who vote and are in Congress might say — but without it, literally everything would be different. Everything would be changed.

This timeline will cease to exist, and a new timeline will have been created. The wistful loving creatures who dreamed of a better way that might could not be are still inside us — but the urge to roar grows louder with each passing year, each passing insult to our humanity. We are a tiny minority, the bigots say. It is true — but we are not so tiny anymore. An oppressed minority grows, every year, in strength and conviction. And one day soon, we will bring the storm.

Because of you, Democrats, and because of you, President Obama. It is not like you stepped into office at history’s beginning. It is not like you stepped into a vacuum. It is not like you started with a clean slate. It is not 1969. It is not 1994. It is not even April. And we are not political playthings, to be parsed and discussed for your political amusement.

We have been contained, but will not be contained much longer. Not yet, but soon. And for people who leave nuclear bombs sitting on tables, the danger of continuing to oppress us might be more than it might appear.

The mouse is not dreaming anymore of what cannot be. It roars.

For the Red Dawn.

16 comments

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    • Edger on August 27, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    that maybe others don’t, that straight people, other than individually trying to be examples and lending support verbally and in writing, can help?

  1. … Australia was one factor in the Greenslide in Australia that has been partly been responsible for the “Hung Parliament”, predicted 73 Lib/Nat conservative coalition and 72 Labor Party, with 1 Green and 4 Independents, and, starting July 1 next year, the balance of power in the Australia Senate, with one or two Senators from each state in Australia (twelve senators per state, six elected to six year terms each election).

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