Monday, June 26, 2006

Some problems with pride

I guess it's official. I'm anti-flag. I haven't put the rainbow flag up on my site in honor of pride month (did you notice?) largely because I see no reason for pride over facts. It's like being proud to have skin.

Next week, both Canada and the US will be celebrating themselves with holidays and fireworks. Oh and lots of flags. It's everone's annual patriotic exercise, nay, nationalistic duty.

Ça ne sert à rien!

Aren't most conflicts based on defined differences among us? We would like to think there is a big difference between people based on where they were born when individual upbringing counts far more. (As do the parents' genes.)

I understand the arguments for celebrating pride month, waving gay flags and demonstrating solidarity in the face of a sometimes hostile culture toward gays. I do.

But for me the flag is not a tool to bring people together. In the end it creates larger rifts between us, imaginary as they may be. Not one of us is responsible for the existence of our country nor our birth in it. So "pride" is just a code word for "let's feel superior to others".

Furthermore, even the gay flag lends itself to the phenomenon.

I am not proud to be American, Canadian, Gay and White. I am simply grateful to be those things.


Snooze said...

I like to see the flag flown on government buildings and truck stops, but that's about it. This post is dead on for me. I get so upset when I see Canadians travelling with the flag on their clothes. Why do they have to visit another country and insist on bragging about their own?

Timmy said...

"I am simply grateful to be those things"

well said!

Chunks said...

I am simply grateful. Tornwordo, I just love you!

JoeL said...

Hi Torn!

I agree with you somewhat.

Like Indy said, well said.

I agree with Snooze, why do people insist on wearing the flag as clothing?

I've seen Canadians in Florida. "Shudders"

But you see, to me Kelly's pic doesn't mean better, or prouder, it means peace, acceptance, calmness, that all is right with the world.


Thanks for reading.

Have fun!


dirk.mancuso said...

I understand what you are saying. I don't really feel the need to show pride for something that I just "am". It is not an achievement, just a fact. (That sounds sort of pompous the way I say it...eloquent the way you do).

As always, your post has me thinking a little deeper than I would had I not read it.

Normlr said...

I agree. I may be gay, but I don't feel the need to put a big ass rainbow flag up on my house, nor do I feel the need to put rainbow stickers on my car, or get a rainbow tattoo or bleach the cats and dye them rainbow colours either.

I'd rather just leave that as an aspect of my life, not the definition.

Steven said...

Maybe you can knit-up a new anti-flag flag.

Why not, eh?

Em said...

Ah nationalism. I can't do it. I can't. I can't put up bumper stickers either (for the most part, though I did put that sign up after the election. Fat lot of good it did.) I hadn't thought about the pride flag though. I see your point, but it doesn't feel like nationalism (I'm better than you because of my flag) to me. It feels like saying who I am (after lo, these many years).

GayProf said...

As you know, I don’t think we really agree on this viewpoint. Eh – such is life. I still adore you anyway.

There are those who imagine “pride” about being “superior,”and I don’t agree with them either.

However, I think our shared historical experiences to this point does give us a sense of a larger community. Though an ideal might be the end of identity categories, we don’t live in such an age yet.

Pride, for me, isn’t about being better than “heteros.” Rather, it’s about acknowledging our sucesses at overcoming struggles unique to our experiences. Coming out is no small accomplishment, for instance. If you celebrate doing well at your job, why can’t you celebrate achieving some victories in your personal life as well?

Steve-O said...

I see where you're coming from and I almost agree.

The only reservation I have is that we are such an invisible minority that how do you let people know you're around? Statistics show that people are much less likely to vote against civil rights for gays if they known someone who is gay. If your neighbors think there are "none of those" in our neighborhood, how much easier is it for them to vote for an anti-marriage amendment in that case than if they know or at least know about those "nice boys two houses down the street"? Flying the flag lets them know...their vote is affecting someone right there, that house. It might help, it might not. It some areas it might hurt.

Ironically, the flag should probably be flown every day except pride day...although I like to look at the underwear clad models and drag queens, I'm not sure I want to be wholly identified with that as "gay pride." I've always thought the most subversive gay pride parade would be for pairs of men in everyday work clothes (suits to jeans) to walk hand in hand down the middle of the street. But then I have very unpopular opinions in that regard in general...

Rebekah said...

Just another idea about the rainbow.

I'm not a flag waver, but at school, I think of the rainbow sticker as a signal for a safe place. That in my classroom, we will accept everyone for who they are, as they are. The kids know I won't tolerate intolerance.

(yeah, I've already had some smart ass kid tell me that I'm being hypocritical when I'm being intolerant of intolerant people, whatever.)

Then again, I think of the rainbow flag/sticker/whatnot as more of a symbol of accepting everyone, and less of a homosexual identifier. Just my two cents.

Freak Magnet said...

I had an ex tell me he hated the rainbow flag simply because there wasn't a flag that said, "I'm straight and I love women!"

In a strange way, it made sense to me.

MEK the Bear said...

I have to disagree here, though I do understand where you're coming from. As GayProf said I think "Pride" is about overcoming our personal obstacles and being proud of those accomplishments.

After all, it doesn't take any effort, fear or overcoming self loathing to say "I'm straight and I love women".

Ed said...

Those of us who fear reprisals from our community need to hear about parades in large cities. We can't celebrate so we cheer from afar those who can. I agree with Steve-O, we would be unseen and unheard and totally ignored if it wasn't put out there for all to see at least once a year. I wish I could live to see the day that we stopped counting states and replaced the blue area on Old Glory with a rainbow. I should live so long. Ed

Sunshine said...

I tend to see "pride" as the code word for let's increase our visibility for a short while because we are usually invisible and hopefully, "they" will start noticing us and progressively changing the law so we aren't second class citizens anymore.

nongirlfriend said...

I would fly a Chicken flag if there were one.

I know, terrible. Prideful. Shameful.

But I would.

Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

You're preaching to the choir, as far as I'm concerned. I don't even believe in the notion of "nations".
There is no such thing, except as a concept for regulating human behavior. All a flag does is celebrate the manipulation.
Todo es vanidad. It is not for nothing.
I know it sounds bleak to say it outright, but the only thing I want to belong to is humanity at large.
Thanks for sounding the deeper note in the midst of the hoopla.
And I noticed you were bold enough to show us your shirtless torso. You seem to be holding gravity at bay pretty well, there. Congrats.

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

I'm not very patriotic, I don't want or care how well England do in the World Cup, funny like that I always like to see other countries thrash England- am I odd?

Chris said...

Not sure that I can equate the concept of 'pride' to "let's feel superior to others". Pride for me is about celebrating diversity and as gayprof said, celebrating success in our personal lives.

My group of gay friends are some of the warmest, gentlest, kindest and most generous people I've had the privilege of knowing. And I think that's something to be proud about.

JoeL said...

To me, this is PRIDE!

Thank you!

The Lone Rangers said...

Not sure I agree with your concept of pride either torn. Sometimes waving a flag out of pride will attract hate to you whether it be an American flag or Gay Pride. By flying that flag you're telling others you don't give a rats ass if they hate you for it, you're just proud to be's a sense of honor.

BTW I don't think anyone in the world hates Canadians (well maybe Quebecois) so this rule of thumb doesn't apply to the Swiss..:)

Kalvin said...

It's an interesting take. I think part of me wants to revel in my heterophobia. I'm sure it's there somewhere. You're probably more advanced than I am. But then again, I don't know if I would say I'm proud to be an American.

BriteYellowGun said...

There used to be a time and place for "Pride" but I think it's all in the past. Nowadays, it's nothing more than another marketing gimmick that has been bought out by huge corporate interests. It really doesn't mean anything to most of the participants despite the standard lines everyone is ready and willing to spout. It's just another night at the disco for most, except it's in the day and there's no roof. I agree with just about everything you said here. To me, it's just a bunch of nonsense. (if you're interested, I posted about the exact same thing yesterday on my blog)

your judgemental aunt said...

To me a flag is simple way to say here I am. I always find it nice to see a gay or Canadian flag when in another city or country. It lets me know I'm not alone.

Anonymous said...

It makes me smile when I see a rainbow flag- to me it symbolises defiance in the face of oppression. And that is something to be proud of.