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Pride for Shame
Room for Squares
by Philip Wong on May 31, 2008
Another week, another missed opportunity for me to be some seldom heard, often ignored voice of reason. This time, I had intended to write some perfunctory piece about how Pride is good, Pride is great, Pride is hotter than jailbait. That regular mumbo jumbo about how far we’ve come, how we have so much to be proud of, blah blah blah. And don’t get me wrong, we certainly do. But there’s also a lot for which we shouldn’t be proud.
Believe it or not, Pride is coming up fast. Yes. It’s really been a year since you met "Mr. "Tall, dark, and kinda handsome" from Denver and hooked up for what can only be described as proof positive that beer goggles work just as well as virtual reality specs. Wait…or was that last week? I can’t keep track anymore.
There are so many that a month of officially designated parties just doesn’t seem as necessary as it undoubtedly was 25 years ago. Okay, I know that Pride is a lot more than a series of parties. It’s about celebrating “us", whatever that may be. And sure, that’s a pretty darn noble sentiment. But who among us really needs another excuse to celebrate “us”? For many, a simple weekend is reason enough. Indeed, our generation seems perpetually occupied with celebrating itself.
That’s not to say that Pride doesn’t serve a purpose anymore. It’s still a great beacon of hope and freedom for many a troubled youth. And no one can doubt its necessity in that regard. But that’s just it. Who, save for a few teenagers and out of towners, really gets to take full advantage of it? If you asked me, I’d even go so far as to say that Pride exists only for two groups of people: the aforementioned vacationers/adolescents and us, the generation of partying fools. Sure, Pride is a great reason to get together and drink in the streets, but honestly, if that’s all Pride is to us, what would we really be celebrating?
Let’s see. For one thing, we’d be toasting our unrivalled ability to drink and be merry. We’d be commemorating how well we sniff poppers with style, how great our inclination for debauchery. In short, we’d be rejoicing in activities that would elicit shame in most well to do societies, not pride. And, as if to underscore the point, I’m already lining up in my head the providers of my proclivities for the night even as I write this sentence. Where the debauchery may lead is anyone’s guess, but I can tell you now that it probably won’t be anyplace I’d be too proud to be found in the next morning.
It’s the ultimate irony, that a celebration of pride might eventually lead someone into a potentially shameful situation. But wait a minute. Maybe that’s what our beautifully coiffed forefathers, in their limitless fairy wisdom, were thinking all along when they laid down the foundations for Pride. Could it be that, regardless of whether or not people think what you do is shameful, regardless of whether or not you’re ashamed of yourself, you can still be proud of yourself? That Pride, in its indiscriminate, undiscerning manner enables us to live our lives unapologetically?
My intention was to dispense with all attempts at embellishing the myth surrounding the greatest of all queer celebrations. The last thing we need is another discourse about the importance of Pride. Leave the explanation to the bystanders; go get ready for the demonstration.
by Philip Wong on May 31, 2008