Picture it. 11 p.m. Sunday night, Pride day. A freshly sun-roasted editor cranks out the very last bits of lucidity he has in order to put the finishing touches on the Pride follow-up issue. Beset by soul-crushing fatigue and a crippling hunger for the leftover mushroom and spinach pizza in his fridge, our trusty editor pushes ever closer to the brink.
And as you read this, that very editor is beginning his 3-day getaway into the woods of Michigan, courtesy of his very good friend, Jim.
I had a few different columns swirling around in my head earlier as I snapped some 300 pix down on Broadway. The day began predictably, with me dreading 'this fucking parade', as I'm want to call it. Given my druthers, I'd be sitting poolside sipping vodka on the rocks and forgetting the damn thing even existed. But, when duty calls, I accept the charges.
What had been getting me down,
mainly, is the ever-increasing presence in our parade ( which, for the younger among you, used to be a march, not a parade. Think about that. ) of corporate floats. When I see realtors and banks, and most egregious of them all, Altoids throbbing down the street, I can feel the steely cold fingers grubbing change from my Gay pockets.
In a particularly disturbing turn, I chose to observe the parade on Broadway, south by Diversey. As you may know, the crowd gets straighter and straighter the further into the parade route you get. I was at the Straights-Gawking-At-Gay-Pride parade.
Running out into the procession to hug and kiss all my great friends who were marching for something they believed in, I came to appreciate my lot in the Gay community more and more. And this is why. For all the fabulous bars ( Hydrate, Crew, Temptations, Eagle to name a few ) and all the worthwhile organizations ( PFLAG, Or Chadash, Equality Illinois, NOW, ad infinitum ) who PROUDLY marched past, the reception from the straights was rather lukewarm, if warm at all. What I saw as the real gay parade, of those among us trying to make life better for all the rest of us, was brushed aside as boring and uninspirational by the straight folk. But, give us ten morons shaking their tucked-and-sucked asses for some faceless corporate behemoth and the crowd goes wild. This is the Gay Pride they came to see.
So as we sit back and relish the unchecked growth and popularity of our annual time in the sun, let's not forget the reason why. Because gays are fun. We all know how to dance and we dress impeccably and follow all the latest trends to the letter and we are drowning in expendable income. We sure could buy a lot of Altoids with the millions of dollars we all earn.
When Alan Keyes ( remember that circus clown ) called us selfish hedonists, we bristled and rebelled. But when our parade becomes a commercial set up to exploit us and sell us oatmeal, we shout along.
Something's wrong here.