You see cities banning a chicken joint and I see a piece by Mark Morford in my mind again, and I google "Mark Morford best time be alive" and there it is a few hits down on Google, which still feels to me like a minor miracle, more than a decade after the first time it happened.
I also feel grossed out by pictures of Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum taking the easy opportunity to propagate their smarmy brand of hatred and weak and manipulative jingoism, but that makes me uncomfortable for no good reason, so I turn back to Mark.
All the Dead People Say Yes ran in his SFGate column in May, and like many things he's written over the years, it took me on a frenetic roller coaster of thought and feeling and images of beautiful things like equality and sex and intelligence and wine and song, juxtaposed with some things I don't like to think about, too, but that is the point.
And then the end came and I thought again that he was the most brilliant person in the world, which is what I think about most people who can take the detritus of competing generalities and use a true talent for stringing words together to pull out the central theme, the thing to pay attention to. He is my more poetic Parker and Stone, Maddow's essayist brother, a teensy bit of Whitman and, oddly, my yoga teacher. Perfect combination.
You may see a city shoving its political clout and big mouth on top of the rights of private business, and what I see is an unavoidable, overdue, revolution he describes way better than I can.
I'm still trying to write about the AIDS quilt experience I had last weekend. I don't feel worthy, and that is one of the many reasons this is all so heavy on my mind, the arrogant claim that politics and social justic and commerce have never collided to hurt anyone but the people who are just trying to sell their chicken and pursue their American dream, stop quit it, the ridiculous and yet entirely American juxtaposition of fast food and gay rights, of a political agenda and capitalism and free speech and sweet tea people go there on purpose to get even if they're not eating solid food.
I'm still trying to talk about how all of this pertains to me, what's happening around me in the culture, in the politics, in the daily back and forth of gender and sexuality and health care and the right to eat and shoot a deer or a theater to death, to sleep with but mostly just live and love alongside whomever (what do you CARE? What is this to YOU? Check your head.) and how that applies at all to the daily grind of trying to work out a life in this collection of states and borders. For the life of me I mostly can't, but it's early yet, for me. I think I was mostly asleep for my 30s. Survival takes energy and time.
But today I wanted to share how the San Francisco mayor's message to a fast food chicken place brought the words of a resident creative in that city to mind. I didn't want to do it on Twitter, where it would slide by like the millions of words do there every day. I didn't want to do it on Facebook, where people could either knee-jerk like it or silently judge me or unfriend me or, worse yet, bait me in the comments. Because it's not about you being wrong or me being wrong or anyone being anything but, I guess, who they broadcast themselves to be through the snipes and altered photos and memes.
And Mark Morford already stated my perspective better, because I didn't even know it until I read it in his words.
"And the dead very much wish they could be you, right now, no matter how much you are bitching about the issues of the day, no matter how much you think you got it bad.
You do not have it so bad. The dead just sigh, shake their ghostly heads. "You think you got problems? Player, please."
The citizens of all bygone eras would like you to know: There has never been a better time to be gay, lesbian, black, a sexually awake female, independent minded, free thinking, kinky, weird, unique, artsy, progressive, open minded, curious, a little feral, a lot sly and winking and ready for what's next."
There has never been a better time not to eat chicken, either, if you don't want to, or to haul your ass there to make a point of eating it, to show them, because then I really know who you are. Conor Gaughan did a nice job expressing this, too, the sad, bold move of supporting the donation of millions of dollars in waffle fries (and that tasty, brutal technicolor buffalo sauce that I love in spite of its poisonous dye nature but will never eat again) because you don't have a better way to support your version of the first amendment, I guess. Or maybe you just like the chicken, and it's not that deep for you. You make it a more difficult conversation for me, like the person who didn't really do anything wrong but I have to break up with you anyway sort of thing, you know?
I don't, really. I just know that I agree that there has never been a better time -- or a more ridiculously difficult time, too, because that's a different issue -- to be who you are. Because it all appears to be coming down. It could be the beginning or the end, but it's not like it was, and I, for one, can't look away.