Letters

(baking photos by Jack Slomovits)

Dear Michael,

 

After discovering your blog in Vice magazine, I just wanted to add my big, enthusiastic appreciation to the piles of accolades.  It’s become one of my favourite internet places for things that make me chuckle, pull the heartstrings, and are neat to look at.  I love how you’re funny and sincere while simultaneously being sarcastic, erudite and politically and socially conscious; for a person to be really funny really means that they’re an optimist to the core in life.  In particular, I wanted to thank you for your candour in talking about obfuscated racial hierarchies and diversity in the gay world. I didn’t think that Asian animus and stereotypes within the community would bother me as much as they do sometimes, and it really means a lot that someone like you calls it out in a frank, yet un-confrontational way.  It really gets me thinking about what solidarity and communion mean in the “po-mo” era, and what Larry Kramer said when he accepted the Tony this year: “Let them know we are a special people, an exceptional people, and that our day will come.”

 

Anyway, I’m coming down from the woods, lakes and ganja haze of Canada to New York (city of my boyhood dreams) on the weekend, and as always before I come I’ve made a wish list, with the following at the top:

 

(1)    See the McQueen Savage Beauty exhibit at the Met

(2)    Win rush-lottery tickets to see The Book of Mormon

(3)    Randomly make eye contact with you while meandering around Brooklyn (staying with a friend), strike up a conversation, laugh so hard we feel like we’re gonna barf, and learn how to make a pastry that contains chocolate.

 

But that’s one of the great things about New York; you inevitably can’t get to everything on your wish list; that’s why you keep coming back!

Keep up all the delicious work, we’re ravenous for more in Canada!

 

Love,

Garwa

 

PS – Have you heard of the Canadian band The Hidden Cameras?  If not, I think you’d dig them, they fuse lots of string instruments, religious iconography and homosexual sensibility to pleasing, pleasing effect.

 

 
Garwa,

Thanks for writing in.  Um,  you’re wearing a Japanese Joy Division shirt = instant boner.  Or maybe it’s your general adorableness giving me the instaboner.  In any case, I’ll have to take a break for a moment and listen to my (newly made) Hidden Cameras Pandora Station.

(pause)

Okay, I’m back. Thanks for all the praise.  I don’t deserve most of it, but I’ll take it.  You’re really eloquent and sharp.  I hope to meet you when you visit.

It pains me to hear that you’re a victim of Asian stereotyping, especially if that hurt is being inflicted by your fellow Gays.  But I’m glad you feel as if you have a right to that pain/anger/sadness and can communicate it.

We’re working on it.  Some of us are working on it.  Thanks for joining us.

Thanks for the Larry Kramer quote – that’s exactly how I feel.  I wish the Gays knew how exceptional they were.  I wish they could see past their own low level of bitterness to see what great potential is inside all of them.

Coming on the weekend?  My band is playing a show at The Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater on Saturday at midnight.  I dare you to come, and grab a drink with us afterward.

Do it, Joy Division.  Didn’t I just dare you??

There won’t be time to show you how to make Mexican Hot Chocolate Pie, but as you say, that’s what returning is for.

You said some kind things which made me feel very good, and seriously – don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thanks, Brother.

Michael

Hi Michael

My name is Drew Blackman and I am a gay man living in Boston.  I stumbled upon you blog a few months ago and have been reading it every day.

I want to start off by saying that i think your blog is very well done.  From inane sillyness, to delicious looking pies, to disastrous dates, it all works together very well.  Being an aspiring home baker/cook, I’ve found mixing your social commentary and poignant humor amongst photos and stories of the simple act of baking with good friends refreshing and relatable. 

I have to admit that i was particularity inspired to write to you after reading your most recent MonDate post.  Though i started reading your blog because of the pies(and, lets face it, the cute boys you bake with), it didn’t take long to realize you have a very strong and though out sense of queer liberation.  Most of my adult life, i have focused on identifying and confronting both white privilege and male privilege in both me and the people around me. I feel like I have reached a point where i am comfortable recognizing and challenging myself and others around taking up “space” and the blissful ignorance that privalege brings(ala Peggy McIntoch’s “White Privilege:Unpacking the Invisable Knapsack”).


Having said that, I generally feel at a loss when I step out of the “person with privilege” role and am confronted with heterosexism and homophobia.  Now i realize that statement sounds a little backwards, but as you point out much of the oppression that queer people and particularly gay men face on a daily basis, comes from other gay men.  I appricieate the way you have highlighted the fact that by gays being catty, sarcastic, or dismissive which each other, they are perpetuating the idea that queer folks don’t deserve to be treated with respect.   How can we expect or receive respect if we can’t even get it from each other. 

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I appreciate what you have done with your blog.  I feel that i have gleamed a better framework for confronting heterosixism both from within the gay community and from the outside.  Thanks again, and keep up the good work.

Drew

Drew,

Thanks for writing in.  I’m genuinely touched.

Wow.  Again – much more praise than I probably deserve.  I’m grateful.  For you to say that I’ve given you a framework to deal with heterosexism is huge for me.  You’re so well spoken and ordered in your thoughts.  I’m a fan of you too.  So take that, mister.

I do think it’s important for Gays to realize they have a right to their anger/sadness/bitterness about heterosexism.  Most of the time when I ask another Gay about their oppression they express exhaustion.  They tend to have very little use for the conversation, because they’re fatigued by the battle.

I think it’s time for us to start displaying our anger, when heterosexism occurs. It may be time to frighten them, with our repressed rage.

I suspect that the catty bitterness we’ve both witnessed between Gays is nothing more than them projecting anger at one another that should be directed at an opressive, bigoted outside world.

If not that, then certainly we must calmly point out when we’re being targeted by blatant or subtle forms of homophobia.  It’s my impression that social change comes one person at a time.  Each of us must be that one person who is willing to change the world by firmly asserting our own right to dignity and respect.

 

It’s easy to ignore homophobia, but that takes a cumulative emotional toll after a while.  Speaking up for yourself is scary, but extremely powerful.  I’m glad you’ve decided to start.

My advice is to start by focusing on eliminating any and all shame you experience for being Gay.  It’s the most powerful tool they have against us.  It is inundated into us by our teachers, families, churches, friends, and even ourselves.  Don’t let straight people make you feel shame.  Ever.

I wish you all the best, Brother.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you visit New York.

Yours,

Michael

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