Wednesday, December 16, 2009
A few weeks ago, the Australian Federal Government Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee published its report into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009. To put this into perspective for overseas visitors to my blog, Australia has the dubious 'honour' of being one of the few (the only?) developed countries who have constitutionally defined marriage as being between a man and a woman, so the commission's recommendations - that the government review relationship arrangements so that impediments to recognition of same-sex couples are removed, but that a bill allowing same-sex marriages be knocked back - is no huge surprise.
Go a few pages into the report and the submission figures are startling. 11,000 submissions from individuals and organisations for same-sex marraige. Opposition to same-sex marriage, however, numbered 17,000 - about 1 1/2 times to the affirmative submissions. Ever since I read that section, I've been haunted by these figures.
Let me start by stating that I have not read the report in full. This post is not about the contents of the report. It is about how opposition is the easiest option - but it comes at too great a cost.
Opposition is something that has been dominating the political landscape recently, particularly here in Sydney. On a global level, opposition to the concept of anthropogenic climate change has led to scientific espionage and the creation of a series of scandals in the lead-up to climate change talks in Copenhagen. In the last month, opposition to an Emission Trading Scheme within the federal Liberal party has cost the scalp of the (moderate) Opposition leader, to be replaced with a more combative, oppositional leader. In Sydney, the premier of New South Wales found himself replaced following his attempts to defang a group of power-brokers within his own party.
Don't get me wrong: fighting for something is often necessary. When all you do is fight against other things, though, it's easy to forget the overall plan and drag others down with you in the process.
Let's bring this down to more personal level. The work I do as a producer involves a lot of risk analysis. My job is to anticipate potential roadblocks and issues, and develop strategies to mitigate them so that the projects I'm working on come to fruition. A lot of the time, I end up sounding like a Cassandra, warning people that if this doesn't happen, the world will come crashing down.
Doing this work comes at a cost. It's very easy to get bogged down in the negative all the time. It's mentally and emotionally exhaustive; there are many times I get home too tired to move.
To get out of it, I find myself often having to focus on the future, looking to better outcomes and staying my eye on positive scenarios. My out-of-work life can sometimes consist of only focusing on the good - looking for the best in everything as it is far too easy to stumble on the negative. This aspect is gratifying; I get to really appreciate the best in everything, to celebrate the wins. Especially others' wins - that can be really inspiring.
The price you pay for focusing on the negative is great. A friendly disposition can draw people in, but a sour outlook tends to push people away.
I make no preference that I always succeed at being positive. I can come across as intensely introspective. My perceived lack of quality personal time tends to leave me without the necessary reserve of genuine interest in others' lives. I would definitely love to be there more often for my friends and lovers (well, when lovers come along).
Worse than that, spending time with negative people becomes a game of diplomacy. I've noticed, for example, that often those people I know who are going through a difficult period and especially for those who constantly focus on their difficulties, there is this habit of knocking down the positives in others' lives. Spending time with them becomes a battle - when their attention turns to you, everything positive you strive for is criticised, all the good things you talk about are deconstructed to illustrate fault or depicted as personal losses.
It becomes a chore to be around these people. Even when they find something positive, you find yourself biting your tongue lest they turn on you for "not doing enough" or your "inability" to achieve as much as they do. You start to wonder why you would want to spend time with them. After a while, rather than wanting to help them, you start to feel sad or exhausted at the very thought of this negative force in your life.
So it is with these opposition forces at large. Spending too much time dealing with groups who would do anything to maintain a status quo that is too selfish, or "works" at the expense of others' misfortune ultimately comes at your own peril - and their own.
Striving for constructive solutions (such as creating a healthier, cooler world, or elevating a group of people from second-class status) is infinitely preferable to holding onto obstructive ones, even though it may be easier to oppose things in the meantime.
Monday, August 24, 2009
The thing is, I haven't seen much of him for about 6 weeks now. It got so bad that I started preparing myself for the breakup the other day. I spent yesterday arvo having conversations with different friends discussing whether I should even bother seeing him any more, whether he was distancing himself or just politely saying he's not interested etc.
So I went to dinner with him tonight expecting the whole dumping thing. It turns out it's none of the above. He is interested; he's just honestly busy. He has a lot of study on his plate at the moment, which means he's pretty much unable to see me more than once a week for the next few months.The weird thing is that up until recently, that would be a dealbreaker. Nowadays, I'm not so sure. I mean, I'm busy all the time, too. I also have a lot of people around who I love, and I'm not exactly the type of person who absorbs himself completely in the guy he's seeing. So yeah, maybe having a part time lover is not ideal, but it means I can enjoy getting to know him better in between everything else. It also means I get time to myself while appreciating the time we have together. Win-win, I guess.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
The thing is, I've had this thing about combining my personal life with my professional. Call it a concern about mixing business with pleasure.
We can all relate to it on some level. A good friend's boyfriend, for example, remains closeted to keep up within his somewhat overly heteronormative company. Another friend is very specific about separating his work friends from his personal friends, for fear of having details of his social life jeopardise his career chances. For me, it's a little strange, in that I wouldn't have got the break in my industry without a lot of help from friends. I'm still not sure whether that was necessarily a good thing.
Then again, the last job I had, I got on my own steam. That didn't work out particularly well - even if I did get to work with some amazing people, some of whom I now consider friends.
You can imagine the concern I had when invited to a birthday party Saturday. The birthday boy is someone I have a lot of respect for on a professional level, but who is also implicated in my friendship circles. The thought of having friends and colleagues in the same room was a little disconcerting.
Add to that the gin hangover I woke up to on Saturday morning (unexpectedly large dinner party with a good friend the night before), I was nervous enough to take my housemate with me to the birthday drinks.
What a difference a day makes. The party turned out to be really enjoyable. The people there were fun, and even the strange situation of having a colleague (and current housemate of an ex of mine) take a liking to my housemate didn't ruin my happy mood.
In the middle of the party, I received an invite to join some friends at the opera house that evening to see Alan Cumming. The housemate and I jumped on it.
Quick costume change later, we headed over to the studio for our little cabaret experience. Imagine my delight when I found out it was a showcase hosted by none other than Justin Bond.
I'd had a conversation the night before with a friend, saying how I've been hanging to see Bond, but my schedule wouldn't allow it. I've been a big fan since seeing him in Shortbus (a personal favourite).
To see such an amazing show was great. To have Justin, Alan, Trevor Ashley and Mark Trevorrow was heaven. Ashley's reimagining of 'I've never been to me' was hilarious, as were Bond's and Cumming's anecdotes. Cumming brought on a couple extra guests, one of whom (David somethingorother from New York) drew tears - his performance was beautiful, especially the introduction where he talked about fulfilling one of his dreams by performing at the Opera House that night.
Having decided that I was definitely in love with Justin Bond and Alan Cumming, I was completely blown away when Justin introduced his final guest: Miaow Miaow. I've had this goal of seeing MM since I first heard about her a few years ago. I almost don't want to mention it, because I can't convey the truly anarchic joy of seeing her live.
By the time we left the Studio, I was highly energised, in a way I haven't been for a very long time (at least a year). It was time to hit the town.
We decided to go to Slide for a couple drinks. The thing is, I wasn't in a chatty mood, and the music was fun, and so I ended up dancing a lot of the time. All of a sudden, I felt a hand in my back pocket. It belonged to a cute blond, who winked and walked away.
Turns out, he'd stuck a note in there:
You are with your friends. I'm with my friends. ;)I laughed, then kept dancing. I'm not the sort to not consider notes like that suspicious, no matter how flattering the sentiment. After all, who knows how many others got the same note that night. Still, doesn't mean I'm not going to message him tomorrow.
My name's Y. Call me 04xx-xxx-xxx.
I've been listening to Does it Offend You, Yeah's Let's Make Out lot lately. It's my little running joke to occasionally tweet some of the lyrics.
In fact, the number of verbal games I've been playing has increased recently. My housemate and I spent the weekend running around describing things using Dee Lite lyrics. The conversation would go like this:
- Oh, it was lovely and deliciousOne of my favourite vloggers commented on my OC v GG blog today. LittleBiggerChris has been someone I've followed for two or so years, having found out about his relationship with NickasArbata through a Queerty article. I have a lot of love for this warm, friendly guy and his choice to document his life so openly. Plus, it's nice to know that little NY-SYD connections seem to have permeated the whole weekend (I may mention that my dinner guest on Friday was a friend who grew up in New York City).
- No. Just lovely. And delicious.
- Not vicious. Or Malicious. Just lovely. And delicious.
- (mock anger) Just. Lovely. Delicious.
So, playful weekend. Lots of love and laughter, and even some flirting. It's been a while - nice to know it's still possible. xoxo.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I'm constantly playing games with friends. We'll come up with some random phrase or concept, and run with it.
The concept that's been grabbing me the last few weeks is augmented reality. Look it up, if you haven't heard of it. There was a presentation at TED this year on augmented reality using pretty much off-the-shelf gear that ended up with a standing ovation.
But what about augmented fiction? Say, getting into a story by experiencing it in some form, with web enabled devices to build up the character you're inhabiting. Somewhere between acting, producing and writing a fictional piece. Using several (traditional and newer) media. Photography, writing, film, websites, social media - you don't just consume a fictional piece as much as inhabit it.
Or even better: consume, inhabit AND create it. What if you were author, actor and reader at the same time. What if it wasn't just you that was part of the story? Even better - what if there were several players creating the story together in different parts of the (virtual and IRL) world?
Let's get this in perspective - this isn't something where you're playing/consuming/augmenting your 'own' life. You're playing and writing out a fiction, one that could be based around your life, but more than that. The story incorporates all sorts of media, and incorporates realtime and static elements.
The only question to get going is, Who Else Wants To Play?