Why Outing GLBT Teenagers Isn’t A Good Idea

There are many things that I don’t pretend to have a good grasp on. One of those things is the behavior of teenagers. Why they are so manipulative, so cruel, so calculating, so malicious.

And by extension, I don’t pretend to understand why people out GLBT teenagers.

I can understand why people out hypocritical politicians that are in the closet; it’s a method to expose the truth.

But the difference between outing corrupt politicians and outing gay teens is that the politicians are adults. Unless they’re Sen. John Ensign, they don’t rely on their parents for financial help. They don’t have a house over their head that their parents or other relatives have provided.

The world is a dangerous place for GLBT individuals everywhere they are, but it is more dangerous for teenagers. They have to attend high school, where chances are very likely that they will be bullied and there is also a good chance that the administrators of that school won’t do anything because the student is gay or perceived to be gay.

If a gay teenager is in the closet, I don’t blame them. If someone who is gay and in college is in the closet, I don’t blame them. They are in the closet because they don’t think that now is the right time to come out. They might not live in a city that has the right environment. They might go to a high school that isn’t very accepting of homosexuals or bisexuals or transgendered individuals.

Some GLBT teenagers are very lucky to have supportive parents, but not all do. GLBT teens can face being kicked out of the house or having funds cut off from them. And can you imagine finding out that your child is gay or bi or transgendered from someone other than your child? I would imagine that it would feel very betraying because the parent would probably think that their child doesn’t trust them.

I believe that people coming out of the closet can be very good for them. However, they have to come out on their own terms. For those of you that think that outing teenagers is fun need to have a wake-up call. It might seem like fun and games, but in reality, you are putting people lives and well being in danger.

Packing/Moving Update #1

I have a tendency to become very tense when I have to pack anything by a set date. It could be my clothes for an overnight trip I’m taking or it could be my personal belongings.

To help overcome this problem, I decided to begin packing about a week in advance.

The first items I packed were my plays and books about theater, which do occupy their own box simply because I really do own that many plays and books. Although, the two largest books are my leather bound copy of the complete works of William Shakespeare (with notes from Yale scholars!) and my first edition copy of Curtains by Kenneth Tynan. The other box of books couldn’t be taped shut until I picked up my copy of Frank Bruni’s memoir Born Round at the Waterloo Barnes and Noble. Although, I then started reading it in Barnes and Noble, and then I read it while waiting at Applebees to keep my mind off of the large crowds and, therefore, avert a possible panic attack. I finished it the next day at 1 p.m. and, yes, I did sleep at some point.

I then moved on to packing my CDs and DVDs, although I’m now regretting that since I feel like watching “All About Eve” and “Moulin Rouge.” I’ll just have to find the time to watch them after I move and unpack everything. Maybe as a nice hey-Monica-you-moved-and-you-didn’t-become-a-nervous-wreck-in-the-process celebration. Although, you really don’t need a reason to watch “All About Eve,” in my opinion.

Then came the photograph of leaves that a my Very Talented Friend of mine took and I purchased at an art show and the photograph of my dad and I that sat prominently on my dresser. With those also went some storage things I had purchased at Target and some knickknacks that also sat on my dresser with the photograph of my dad and I. Oh, and my Sideshow Bob action figure. Packed those and they’re ready to go.

Presently, I’m spending more time in the sunroom of my house than in my bedroom, which is where I used to spend most of my time. The sole reason is that my bedroom feels less roomy with the absence of my copy of the complete works of Shakespeare, a couple of photographs and some drawing mannequins. But I doubt that most people would consider the sunroom to be homey. This is what it currently looks like:

Photo 8

But the chairs in the sunroom in my house happen to be very comfy and it’s not far from the kitchen. Oh, and there’s the aspect of it being a sunroom and I need plenty of sunlight or I become very depressed.

So here’s the update: I have four days left in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area, I still need to purchase a special box for posters, and I have almost all of my possessions packed.

I just wish I hadn’t packed my books or my DVDs already. But I have Waltz With Bashir coming from Netflix tomorrow and I do have plenty to do already. And, who knows, maybe I’ll have some more time to work on my novel.

Oh, and if anyone is curious why I haven’t talked about my novel in an in depth manner, it’s because no one has asked and I don’t know if anyone would be interested in any posts discussing the characters and the characterization.

Jezebel Gets It Right

Normally, I don’t read Jezebel, but I couldn’t sleep and I turned on my laptop and ended up reading the “This is What You Missed On TV” posts they have and I eventually stumbled upon a post entitled “The Twilighters Are Mad, And They’re Not Going To Take Our Crap Anymore.”

For those of you living in a cave, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series is a phenomenon, particularly among females. (Although, I do have a male friend who loves the series, and for those of you that are curious, he’s on Team Jacob.) Although, while some Trekkies or LOTR or Harry Potter fans can laugh at jokes made about the series or about characters, if you mockingly say “OMG, sparkly vampires!”, Twilight fans will rip your head off.

Which is precisely what this post discusses. In fact, it quotes one comment,


It’s bad enough when random commenters start bashing, but professional writers? That’s completely out of line.

The author of the post then translates it for us:

Translation: It is totes out of line for profesh writers to have any opinion that does not match up with MINE.

Although, many of the Twilight fans I met while attending high school were a bit more aggressive than this. For example, I read the books. I struggled to get through the fourth book because of how poorly it was written, while simultaneously making a list of every typo and error in “Breaking Dawn.” I personally thought that the first book was okay; an admirable first novel. However, when the quality failed to improve, I began to shake my head. So, I personally think that the books are terrible. (Sorry, Rhys) I also don’t see what the big deal is with the books or the movies. (Sorry, Rhys) I’ll take True Blood or Ann Rice’s Vampire Chronicles any day over Twilight.

As the result of this, I have gotten my head chopped off. If you describe the series as melodramatic, you will regret it. Make a joke about a sparkly vampires or how a girl probably wants her boyfriend to have body glitter on him for prom, and you will eat your words.

Make a joke about Trekkies being virgins and they probably laugh.

If you try to point out the literary merit, or serious lack there of, in the novels, you’re being over analytical. Although, I receive that complaint often, so I can brush it off. Point out the problem with Bella being a flat person–in terms of personality, not physical appearance–and that she is overly obsessive about Edward and even though he’s like “If you love me, you could easily be harmed,” she’s like, “OMG, YOU’RE HOT! TURN ME INTO A VAMPIRE, PLZ!” I mean, I understand the possible “love conquers all” message, but if you read the second book, there’s a chapter early on in the novel where she cuts herself on some wrapping paper and everyone in the family, except the patriarch, Carlisle, goes nuts over the sight and scent of human blood. She cuts her finger on wrapping paper and she puts herself in danger. (I would like to say that Carlisle taking care of her and the cut I thought to be very sweet, but still.) If that happened to me, I would reconsider my relationship. But my mother read classic novels to me when I was little and my two most prized possessions are a first edition copy of Kenneth Tynan’s “Curtains” and a 1944 copy of Homer’s “The Iliad,” so my opinion doesn’t count.

But the writer best sums it up at the end.

I can understand why Twilight fans take it personally; anyone who has ever been a fan of anything knows that feeling well— the defensiveness that comes along when someone tries to bash something you love. But to state that writers can’t have an opinion on Twilight is a bit much, and trying to brush off legitimate criticism of the novels, especially in regards to the messages they send young girls, as the work of “haters” isn’t doing much for your cause. So let’s let twygones be twygones, people: the world is a rather unsparkly place if you can’t laugh a little at the things you claim to love.

In short, think a bit harder about the notion of sparkly vampires.* Maybe you’ll laugh a little. To quote Sara Jennette Duncan, “One loses many laughs by not laughing at one’s self.” The same could be taken for one’s obsession.

*I would like to note that while I’ve been working on my untitled novel, I realized that most teenagers might not be interested in it because it has quite a bit of detail and a very important scene takes place in a school district forum that turns into a shouting match. I joked on Facebook that “most teenagers wouldn’t find it interesting because of the amount of detail (a lot) and sparkly vampires (none).” Surprisingly, no one was offended, but one girl remarked that it was “classic Monica.”

Erm, Sorry

Sorry if that last post was a bit angry. The problem with pissing me off is that when you do so, I get really angry.

Anyway, expect posts to be a bit light for the next week because I’m in the process of packing up my things in order to move to Chicago in exactly one week. On top of that, the wireless connection in my house is not working, which means I can’t write any posts from my MacBook.

I’m posting this from a Panera Bread in Cedar Falls while consuming a latte.

So, there will be light posts, but if anything does cross my mind to write about, I will head off to Starbucks or Panera to post.

Critics, Sunshine, Rainbows and Sugarcoating

Early this morning, I received a comment on theatrical wishlist. The commenter was clearly not pleased with my list and I can’t put the comment here because I’m typing this on my Blackberry.

But this is my response: If you disagree with my opinion, that’s fine. I am actually excited when people do not agree with me because that can lead to interesting dialogue. However, if you, the reader, are going to come on here and say that I’m getting back at Charles Stilwill because I didn’t get cast in some shows I auditioned for and you say things that can be easily disproved, don’t even bother commenting.

At first, the people that do go off and say, “Oh, you don’t like WCP for X, Y and Z” amused me, but I am fucking sick of this. If you want to pay $19-$23 to see “Tuesday With Morrie,” have a good time. This is what I think and what I believe. I think that some theaters need to have some guts when they pick their seasons. And, for those of you that scanned over the wish list, there is only one instance where WCP is the only theater company that I address. Yes, WCP did “High School Musical,” but a month prior, so did Theatre Cedar Rapids and the same month WCP did it, Des Moines Community Playhouse did “High School Musical 2.” And those are just the productions I know about. And I also said the Old Creamery and CFCT need to have some guts when picking their seasons. If anything, I should be accused of being too hard on the Old Creamery because I had a letter to the editor published in the Gazette where I publically criticized the Old Creamery’s season.

If you don’t like that I’m honest with my opinions or my critiques of shows, go read the Courier. If you don’t like that good critics are honest with their opinions, then don’t read reviews.

Coincidentally, this coincides with a post Kris Vire, who, according to the commenter, is not a real person, put on Storefront Rebellion today. Here, you have a woman who feels that Chris Jones should have been nicer to “High Fidelity.” I may not like Chris Jones’ reviews and theater coverage, but I would have to say that he was giving his honest critique of “High Fidelity.” It makes me sad and simultaneously happy that people like this don’t just exist in Iowa. There are people who take the critics-should-champion-the-art-form idea too far and assume that critics should like everything. Critics champion art by pointing out what’s good out there. (Kris says this in his post, but I probably using different wording.)

Let me put it like this: you’re in the car listening to the radio. Chances are good that you’re not going to like everything you hear because you’re making some judgement on the song for some reason. It might be the rhythm, vocals, lyrics, instrumentals or song’s subject. In a way, this is what critics do. They make an assessment of a show based on various aspects. And as most people know, we don’t always agree with each other’s opinions. For those of you not aware of this, please look for footage from town hall meetings on YouTube.

Presently that’s all I have. Any thoughts?

School Food and the Foodie

As I have mentioned on this blog, I love food. I also happen to love good food and I’m usually open to try something new. I had rabbit meat with gnocchi at the Lockwood restaurant while I was in Chicago. Which I highly recommend.

Of course, loving food and loving good food tends to be a problem while one is a student.

For most of my life, I was homeschooled, missing the perils of cafeteria food for a good portion of my life. I only knew of the jokes on kids shows about mystery meat, which I always assumed to be just jokes.

Upon entering public school in eighth grade, I discovered that there was quite a bit of truth in these jokes.

Granted, there were some items on the school lunch menu that were absolutely wonderful. For breakfast, the school district would have an egg and cheese biscuit sandwich. The biscuit was never too dry nor was it too moist and the cheese was perfectly melted on the egg. There was also the garlic bread that the school would have, which had a delicious garlic butter on it with cheese covering it.

But there were certainly horror stories. My sister, a student at an elementary school discovered worms in the green beans she had received at lunch. Her school also had students go there by grades. Since she was in sixth grade, she received lunch last and by that time, the food was cold.

In ninth grade, I became a vegetarian and brought my own meals simply out of convenience. I tried making wraps, but found them to be very bland. I eventually went to preparing pitas stuffed with salad mix and chopped eggs or egg salad. The fact that I did bring my own meals drew the mockery of the other students that I ate lunch with. How odd it was that I would bring my own meals when the school prepared food. I would point out that I was a vegetarian and they would laugh harder.

In tenth grade, the school district implemented a “wellness policy” to improve the healthiness of school food. This effectively did two things: one, it eliminated the items on the school menu that were actually tasty; two, it magically made the school food taste worse.

The garlic bread became cheese bread, probably because the garlic butter was deemed too fatty. Other foods simply began to taste as though someone had taken a short cut when preparing it. I then began packing my own meals as a necessity simply because my palate could not bear tasting the food prepared by the school. I also figured that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I prepared for myself would probably be healthier than anything the school prepared.

Although, in eleventh grade, I went back to being a vegetarian, which meant that preparing my own food was simply more convenient for me. In fact, preparing my own lunch was more convenient for me throughout high school because I had discovered that pork does not agree with my stomach and frequently the school would have nothing but pork items on the menu for a day, which always struck me as being very insensitive to the Muslim students at the high school I attended. A this point, I had moved past the wraps and pitas I had experimented with in ninth grade and began to prepare sandwiches and salads. A simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich was a good item for me because of the legumes I would receive. At first I tried basic salads, just some salad mix and dressing. Maybe I’d use a hard boiled egg. But during my senior year, I began using salad mix and adding blue cheese crumbles and dried cranberries. I tried about three different croutons that my grocery store carried before finding a variety that complimented the other two toppings. I would use a raspberry vinaigrette due to the sweet nature of my salad, after discovering that an olive oil dressing killed the flavor of the blue cheese and the dried cranberries. I began to bring fresh fruit, fruit cups, leftovers from dinner as a side dish. One day, my mother put a portion of a baguette she had baked the previous night and some brie in my lunch box as the side item. (I then had the lovely pleasure of explaining to the other people at lunch what exactly brie is.)

Of course, my love of food and the quality of food at college will probably be something I’ll have to deal with as well. While visiting Rockford College in October, my mother and I had lunch with the admissions office representative. I ordered some fettuchine alfredo to find that the alfredo sauce was very run and the noodles were falling apart. I put down my fork in sadness over the food and made a mental note to never order that dish if I attended Rockford.

Recently, I was at DePaul University and at lunch, I stood in a lunch line waiting to prepare a sandwich. By the time I got to the sandwich bar, they were out of wheat bread, which meant I had to use white bread. (For as long as I can remember, I have only eaten wheat bread for my sandwiches.) There was only mustard to use as a condiment and there wasn’t much of that. After I sat down at the table to eat, I picked up my sandwich and the bread crumbled in my hands after I picked it up from the plate. I sat it down and decided to grab something at Dominick’s to munch on on my way back to my hotel. I then compensated for this by eating at Lockwood that evening.

Of course, a love of good food brings some questions for me in college. Will I find items at the dining center that are actually good? Will I just resort to preparing my own food in the community kitchen of my dorm room? I hope the latter is not the case since I can not prepare risotto due to one of the ingredients being a dry white wine. (I use Bohemian Highway Pinot Grigio, if anyone is curious)

I Might Keep My Landline to Be Able to Keep Doing This

This morning, I was sitting in my living room when the phone rang.

Me: Hello?
Person on the other end: (Identifies himself with a group that has Freedom or Patriot in it’s name) May we please have a moment of time for you to answer some questions?
Me: Sure.
Person on the other end: Which of the following problems are you most concerned about: President Obama wanting to mandate abortions, President Obama wanting to have panels decide when your loved ones will die, President Obama mandating how your loved ones will die or President Obama mandating sex-change operations?
Me: Actually, all of those problems are either grossly misinterpreted parts of the health care reform bills or they’re made up problems meant to scare people.
Person on the other end: Uh, good day. (hangs up)

No, I did not make that up.

Get Yer Box Candy In The Aisle!


On Tuesday, my dad and I were settling in to our seats in the orchestra section of the Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre, Playbills in hand, waiting for the performance of “Spring Awakening” to start. It was shortly after seven and we had arrived there very early because we didn’t think that it would only take five minutes to walk from the hotel to the theater. (Although, I happen to walk very fast.)

As people were filing in to their seats in the theater, a man that was wearing a Broadway in Chicago tag carrying a large, green insulated rectangular box started walking up the aisle, yelling about the bottled water, Twizzlers and Rasinettes he was selling as though he was selling hot dogs and beer at Wrigley Field. Perplexed, I pulled out my Blackberry, turned it back on (I turn off my Blackberry before I enter the theater, natch) and twittered about it. I then promptly turned off my Blackberry after I had finished the tweeting.

What was confusing about this was that this was occurring at a Broadway in Chicago theater. If you were sitting in the orchestra section, you probably paid $90-$95 for your ticket. Any of the community theaters I’ve seen plays at don’t do this and neither do any of the storefront theaters that I’ve seen shows at. (I’m, of course, using these examples because some people view these as being lesser than Broadway and Broadway in Chicago.)

It would seem to me that this practice almost encourages people to play with their candy wrappers during a show–which, thankfully, didn’t occur at the performance of “Spring Awakening” I was at. If you sell concessions in the theater as well as in the lobby, aren’t you encouraging people to bring buckets of chicken in to a theater. (Which reminds me, how do you sneak a bucket of fried chicken in to a theater? Are ushers really that passive now?)

A Broadway tour or a Broadway show is, to many people, a big fancy show you get dressed up to go see. Although, many people don’t dress up to go to touring shows or Broadway productions and I was actually thanked by an usher at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway for dressing nicely when I saw “Wicked.”

I have no problems with selling bottles of water, or even popcorn out in the lobby. For one, bottled water is very nice for those of us who have dry throats or bad coughs. And on that note, a bottle of water is not as noisy as a cough drop wrapper. But when you sell any sort of concession in the theater, you really begin to demean theater and drop it down to the level of a, well, baseball game. (No offense to baseball, I myself happen to enjoy watching baseball games.)

And, besides, it’s not like Broadway in Chicago is struggling to bring in money.

People Ask Questions About This Blog

A friend of mine asked me the other day why my blog is called “Fragments” and what is the significance of not only the title, but also the subtitle. I gave him an answer and he suggested that I post it here.

So, here we go.

Question: Why is this blog called “Fragments” and what is the significance of that and the subtitle?

Answer: There really is no significance to the title, other than that it is a shortened, non-angsty version of my old blog, “The Fragments of Our Synapses.” I considered naming this blog “Euripides is a Misogynistic, Egotistical Asshole,” but I wasn’t sure how many people would get that. I thought “Fragments” was good and I haven’t come up with anything better. The subtitle, “I can have oodles of charm when I want to,” comes from Kurt Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions.” Vonnegut is one of my favorite writers and I feel as though that quote says a lot about me and my writing style. I really do lack charm when I call a play a tragedy because of how terrible it is.

Any other questions?