Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gay Marriage is The Future

Rev. Robert L Powers (far right) singing with his fellow clergy in Selma Alabama, showing their support for Martin Luther King (1965)
  Three years ago, almost to the day, I posted a text my father, the Rev. Robert L Powers, wrote based on a homily he delivered at a wedding he presided over (and which I attended as his assistant - in full alter boy drag) early that year. As the Supreme Court hears arguments for, and against, gay marriage, I felt it was important to repost my father's thoughts (this time in their entirety). My Father went on to practice psychology, so besides my sister's wedding, this was one of the few occasions I saw him marry anyone. It was the wedding of a young man to a young woman. I am not sure why he decided to speak to them, their frat-boy and sorority-girl friends, and their somewhat bewildered families, about gay marriage - but I am very proud he did. I am aware that most of the religious voices we hear in the debate over gay marriage are those that preach hate and fear in the name of tradition. There was no place for marriages of any any kind in the early church, because as my father explains, “'The future' did not exist in the devout imagination" of those times. But over the millennia the future has seeped into the deepest corners of the "devout imagination" (and sex with it). As my father makes clear, those who oppose gay marriage are on the wrong side of history - the traditions they cling to aren't timeless, and there is no place for them in any future - no matter how devout.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Exposure: A Teachable Moment.

Out in the Cold: Robert Smithson, Proposal for a Monument at Antarctica (1966) Mark Quinn, Self (1999)
This past Monday, Nate Thayer posted an email exchange in which he was approached for a 1200 word piece on "basketbal diplomacy", but was also informed by Olga Khazan, the new Global Editor of The Atlantic: "We unfortunately can’t pay you for it, but we do reach 13 million readers a month." I caught wind of this kerfuffle yesterday when my twitter feed blew up. Felix Salmon noted: "There seem to be two kinds of websites: 'We're small, we can't pay you', and 'we're big, plz write for the exposure'." Nate Silver weighed in as well, warning: "If an editor offers no cash but says you'll get lots of exposure, you usually won't get very much exposure." And Matt Yglesias chipped in ironically (sarcastically? facetiously?): "Just discovered that many colleges run professional football teams whose players are unpaid and work for the exposure." This outrage was not contained to the wonk's corner of the blogosphere however, the pretense of "exposure" as pay got under the skin of the art people I follow as well. I was glad to see the outrage was shared by the art writer, Carolina Miranda, but also by the gallerist Magda Sawon. Sawon would seem to have no skin in the game, but does, because artists are the ultimate "freelancers." It was good for me personally to see the outrage reach the artworld, because late last month I had a similar exchange via email, and had been trying to decide if I should to post it.