In this week’s New Yorker

January 18, 2010

Two pieces in this week’s New Yorker caught and rewarded my interest. The major one was Margaret Talbot’s long, well-reported story on the Proposition 8 trial in California, which the lawyers working to overturn the law by judicial fiat hope to take to the Supreme Court and thereby eliminate the state-by-state wrassle over marriage equality. There’s a lot of controversy over timing and argument, but Ted Olson — the guy who argued for the government in the 2000 election debacle in Florida and who has signed on to the gay marriage cause big-time — thinks the case can win, because Proposition 8 “created three unequal classes of people in California: ‘The eighteen thousand or so gay couples who were already married got to remain married. But if they get divorced they can’t get remarried! Is that irrational, or what? Then you have heterosexual couples who can get married, and gays and lesbians who didn’t get married before Prop. 8 and now can’t.” Check out the whole article here.

Then there’s Michael Schulman’s Talk of the Town piece about the impending return to the spotlight of Pee Wee Herman, and not a minute too soon. (Andy and I watched the Pee Wee Herman Christmas Special a couple of weeks ago, a little stoned, and OMG, it is brilliant and subversive and crazy all at once. It’s as if Highlights magazine ran a feature called “Count the Gay Icons on This Prime-Time TV Special.” And when Grace Jones stepped out of a box with a slice of foam on her head to sing “The Little Drummer Boy,” my head nearly exploded. You can see it on YouTube here.) My favorite part of the short piece is when Paul Reubens talks about his real agenda with Pee Wee’s Playhouse: “The show was really about celebrating diversity and saying it’s O.K. to be different in any way that you’re different, period. In seventh grade, I remember meeting these art kids who were, like, ‘Hey, you got a minute? Sit down! Have you ever heard of nonconformity? Listen, this is what it is!’ And, meanwhile, I’m, like, ‘You’re kidding. You mean there are people who want to be different?’ ”

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