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Thread: My Mayor Pete Problem

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    My Mayor Pete Problem

    My Mayor Pete Problem

    He's smart. He's nice. And he just might be the devil.


    One of the worst things I ever did happened in 1992. I was leaving the bar called The Bar (RIP) on Second Avenue and 4th Street to go to a party called Tattooed Love Child at another bar, Fez, located in the basement of Time Cafe (RIP x 2). TLC was held on Wednesdays (Thursdays?), and I often went to The Bar after work for a few hours so I wouldnít have to go all the way home first. So it was probably 10-ish, and I know it was late winter/early spring because I was carrying a copy of the completed manuscript of my first novel Martin and John, which Iíd just turned in to my publisher that very day. Which makes me 24 and old enough to know better. Or who knows, maybe this was exactly the age to learn this kind of lesson.

    What happened was: I was halfway down 4th Street when I heard someone yelling. I turned to see a large fellow running after me. At first I wondered if I was getting gay-bashed. But even though this guy didnít set off my gaydar he still didnít seem particularly menacing. When he got closer I clocked the pleated khakis (this was the era of the ACT UP cloneóDoc Martens, Leviís tight or baggy, and activist T-shirtsówhich look I had embraced fully) and rust-colored Brillo hair. I love me a good ginger, but you gotta know how to style it, especially if it runs frizzy. And so anyway, this guy, whose name was Garfield but said I could call him Gar, told me heíd been in The Bar but had been too shy to talk to me and decided to try his luck on the street. As politely as I could, I told him I wasnít interested. He asked me how I could know I wasnít interested when I didnít know him, which was an invitation for me to tell him that not only did he look like a potato, he dressed, talked, and ran like a potato. Alas, I chose not to indulge his masochistic invitation.

    He asked where I was going and I told him. He asked if he could go with me and I told him he could go to Fez if he wanted but he shouldnít think he was going with me. He came. I quickly learned that heíd mastered the art of speaking in questions, which put me in the awkward position of answering him or ignoring him, which made me feel rude even though Iíd told him I wasnít interested. When he found out I was a writer he got excited and said I must love the New Yorker! I told him I hated the New Yorker. He asked how I could hate the New Yorker and I told him that besides the fact that the New Yorker published shitty fiction (plus Áa change, plus cíest la mÍme chose), and the only gay fiction it published was assimilationist and boring, there was also the fact that an editor there (Dan Menaker, if weíre naming names) had rejected a story of mine by suggesting in his correspondence with my agent (by which I mean that he wasnít embarrassed to write this down, let alone worried about repercussions) that psychological problems were preventing me from creating effective fiction. (By the way, fuck you, Dan.) None of which made any sense to Gar. The New Yorker was important so I must love it. I just didnít know I loved it yet. Or something like that. At some point in this exchange I remember saying something along the lines of Look, Iím just going to apologize now, because itís pretty clear that sooner or later Iím going to say something really offensive to you and your feelings are going to be hurt. I donít want to do that, but youíre clearly not getting the fact that you and I donít look at the world the same way, and you keep thinking that if you hang around long enough weíre going to find common ground, when all youíre really doing is making our differences that much clearer. He laughed at this, one of those confused/nervous/defensive laughs, and if Iíd been more mature I would have been more blunt and told him to get lost. But I too was a little deluded. I thought he had to get the hint eventually. But although I understood pretty much everything else about him, I failed to reckon fully with his lack of self-respect.

    So: we got to Fez, where I ran into my friend Patrick (Cox, I think, but itís been a minute), who looked at me like, What are you doing with this weirdo? I wouldnít let Gar buy me a drink and I did my best to exclude him from my conversation with Patrick but he still wouldnít take a hint. He must have hung around for a good hour. My answers to his questions grew more and more peremptory. Bear in mind I wasnít disagreeing with him or dismissing his opinions just to get rid of him: we really had absolutely nothing in common. But we both read the New Yorker and we were both gay and we both wore clothes to cover our nakedness so clearly we were birds of a feather. Finally he said he had to leave. He asked for my number. I remember Patrick laughing in his face, but maybe thatís just because I wanted to laugh in his face. I was like, Are you serious? And he was like, We have so much in common, we should get to know each other better! When I was fifteen years old a pedophile used that line on me in the Chicago bus station, and if Iím being honest I had more in common with the pedo, who was about 50, black, and urban, while I was a white teenager from rural Kansas, than I did with dear old Gar. I told him I wasnít going to give him my phone number or accept his. He seemed genuinely shocked and hurt, which of course made me feel like shit, which of course made me mad, because why should I feel like shit when Iíd spent all night trying to rebuff him? He asked what he would have to do to get me to go out with him. Without thinking, I said, Take a good look at yourself and your world, reject everything in it, and then get back to me. It was the kind of soul-killing line people are always delivering in movies but never comes off in real life, mostly because even the most oblivious, self-hating person usually has enough wherewithal to cut someone off before theyíre fully read for filth. I believe I have indicated that Gar did not possess this level of self-awareness. His face went shapeless and blank as though the bones of his skull had melted. For one second I thought I saw a hint of anger, which mightíve been the first thing heíd done all night that I could identify with. Then he scurried away.

    Now, Iíve said shitty things to people before and since, but this oneís always stuck with me, partly because, though Iím a peevish fellow, itís rare that I speak with genuine cruelty, and when I do itís because Iíve chosen to. This just came out of me. But mostly I remember it because I knew Iíd seriously wounded this guy, which, however annoying and clueless he was, was never my intention. I was and still am a very í90s kind of gay, which is to say that I believe in the brotherhood of homos and the strength of our community, that however different we are weíre all bound together by the nature of our desire and the experience of living in a homophobic world. When one of your brothers fucks up, you school him. Sure, you might get a little Larry Kramer about it, but you donít go all Arya-and-the-Night-King on his ass.

    Iím telling you this because itís what popped into my head when I tried to pin down my distaste for Pete Buttigieg. Mary Pete and I are just not the same kind of gay. (For those of you wondering about ďMary PeteĒ: a couple of months ago I asked Facebook what the gay equivalent of Uncle Tom was, and this was the answer at which we collectively arrived.) But Mary Pete and I arenít different in the same way that Gar and I were different. Gar and I had nothing in common. Mary Pete and I have a lot in common, but at a certain point we came to a fork in the road and I took the one less traveled and he took the one that was freshly paved and bordered by flowers and white picket fences and every house had a hybrid in the driveway and some solar panels on the ceiling, but discrete ones, nothing garish, nothing that would interfere with the traditional look of the neighborhood or the resale value of your home.

    By which I mean: Mary Pete is a neoliberal and a Jeffersonian meritocrat, which is to say heís just another unrepentant or at least unexamined beneficiary of white male privilege who believes (just as Jay Inslee believes heís done more for womenís reproductive rights than Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar) that he can make life better for all those people who are not like him, not because he knows anything about their lives but because heís smart and nice and well-meaning, and when smart nice well-meaning people run things everything works out for the best. Thatís just, you know, logical. Itís like, science. Like Kirsten Gillibrand, he believes in ďhealthy capitalism,Ē which is a bit like saying you believe in ďhealthy cancerĒ: Yeah, you can (usually) treat it, but wouldnít you rather be cured?
    Reporters ask me what I feel China should do about Tibet. Who cares what I think China should do? I'm a fucking actor!

    ~ Brad Pitt

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    An author who literally makes his living selling books doesn't believe in capitalism? Suuuuuuuuuure.
    "What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer."

    link

    Time will tell.

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    I clicked on the link, thinking it would be like some of the conversations I've overheard at the gay club I frequented decades ago, andÖ

    Editorís Note
    By THE NEW REPUBLIC
    July 12, 2019Add to Pocket
    Dale Peckís post ďMy Mayor Pete ProblemĒ has been removed from the site, in response to criticism of the pieceís inappropriate and invasive content. We regret its publication.

    Oopsy noodles.
    Elect a clown ó expect a circus.

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    It's still available elsewhere. Google the title, if you're really into self-satisfied hypocrites who think they're still the cool kids...if they ever were.
    No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. This offer VALID in 35 34 33 32 31 26 20 17 15 14 13 ALL 50 states.

    The new 13 original states to stand up for freedom: CA, CT, IA, MA, DE, MN, NH, NY, RI, VT, ME, MD, NJ (plus DC).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
    It's still available elsewhere. Google the title, if you're really into self-satisfied hypocrites who think they're still the cool kids...if they ever were.
    It is a bit earthy.
    Reporters ask me what I feel China should do about Tibet. Who cares what I think China should do? I'm a fucking actor!

    ~ Brad Pitt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Peck
    Mary Pete and I have a lot in common, but at a certain point we came to a fork in the road and I took the one less traveled and he took the one that was freshly paved and bordered by flowers and white picket fences and every house had a hybrid in the driveway and some solar panels on the ceiling, but discrete ones, nothing garish, nothing that would interfere with the traditional look of the neighborhood or the resale value of your home.
    The ceiling is the inside part, you ding dong.

    On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
    -H. L. Mencken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Jingo View Post
    It is a bit earthy.
    Not a description I'd apply, but OK.
    No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. This offer VALID in 35 34 33 32 31 26 20 17 15 14 13 ALL 50 states.

    The new 13 original states to stand up for freedom: CA, CT, IA, MA, DE, MN, NH, NY, RI, VT, ME, MD, NJ (plus DC).

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    I thought it was catty.

    On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
    -H. L. Mencken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm dePlume View Post
    I thought it was catty.
    It was that, although I wonder why no one seems to ever call straight men "catty" or "bitchy." Hmmm.
    No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. This offer VALID in 35 34 33 32 31 26 20 17 15 14 13 ALL 50 states.

    The new 13 original states to stand up for freedom: CA, CT, IA, MA, DE, MN, NH, NY, RI, VT, ME, MD, NJ (plus DC).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
    It was that, although I wonder why no one seems to ever call straight men "catty" or "bitchy." Hmmm.
    I don't know if I've ever described a straight man as catty, but I've called them bitchy plenty of times. This is actually the only time I can remember describing anyone or anything as catty. But I have done the "reowrr" sound effect with paw swipe a time or three.

    On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
    -H. L. Mencken

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