There’s No Other Way

(Kickstarter is launching today around noon! Check it out and share the link: http://kck.st/1RFanDN ! -ctan)

In the end we auditioned seven drummers. Yes, seven. Bradley wasn’t the only one to show up without confirming with Carynne first. Hey, I’m sure if I got wind of a gig I really wanted and didn’t manage to find out all the details in advance, I would’ve shown up at the drop of a hat, too.

I was perfectly content to give each of them a test run. There was an older guy who was pretty exclusively a jazz drummer at that point but who’d been in a rock band in the sixties. There was a guy who dropped Trav’s name and said he’d come in handy because he spoke Spanish—except it turned out I spoke more Spanish than he did, or at least enough to make it obvious he was bullshitting. There was a guy who chainsmoked through the whole audition. And there were two who didn’t make enough of an impression for me to tell you anything about them.

We ordered in a couple of pies for dinner and then me, Ziggy, Carynne, Chris, and Bart started comparing notes. We were gathered around the table in the break room with pizza boxes in the middle of the table and ourselves arrayed around the table in various ways. Ziggy had his ankles crossed on the empty chair next to him and a notepad in his lap that it looked like he had doodled all over.

We started talking about the most recent audition and worked backwards and basically by the time we got to talking about Marvelle and Bradley the other five had been pretty much eliminated.

“Marvelle can do the job,” Bart said. “I’d have to work with him some more before we got comfortable, but he seems like the best-equipped out of everyone.”

Ziggy, who hadn’t said very much up to that point, flipped the doodle page over and looked at what was written on the page under it. “I liked the first one best.”

Bart looked thoughtful. Nodded. “Stayed in the pocket better than I expected.”

Carynne sat up straight. “You’re not serious, are you?”

We all looked at her quite seriously, I assure you. “Why wouldn’t we be serious? Is there something about Bradley we should know? You don’t think he can hack it?”

She seemed surprised. “I didn’t think he could be that good, I mean, he only started playing the drums because Sugargum had such a hard time finding and keeping female drummers. She’s, fuck, he’s been playing maybe six months.”

“No way,” Chris said. “I don’t believe that. He was a little nervous but he was a lot smoother than you’d get from someone who just started. Like, Dar’ the thing that impressed me most was when you were trying to explain that section in ‘Do It’? And she, dammit, he was tapping out the rhythm on the high hat like it was second nature. Just a natural.”

Ziggy chewed the end of his pen. “You sure he only just started? Maybe he used to play and you don’t know?”

Carynne huffed. “Maybe. But seriously, what’s wrong with Marvelle?”

Bart barked with laughter.

“What’s so funny?” she asked him.

Bart pointed at me. “Daron doesn’t like dick-sizing.”

“I don’t?” I sat up a little straighter. “I mean, it’s kind of a necessary step, so I’m not holding it against him.”

Bart shrugged. “You looked like you didn’t appreciate it much this time around.”

“Eh.” I thought back to the guys at The Cat Club hazing me and Bart until we proved we could cut it. “If I’d wanted to cut him down to size I would’ve asked for something in like 13/8 instead of 7/4.”

“Ha, except none of us would’ve been able to do that,” Bart said.

“Pffft,” I joked. “Everyone knows some Bulgarian folk music, don’t they?”

“Okay, but seriously,” Carynne said, “we’re looking for someone who can do the job, right?”

“And you don’t think Bradley can?”

She shrugged. “I just…he’s young–”

“A year older than Daron,” Ziggy said, looking at the resume in his hand.

“–inexperienced–”

“So were we the first time we played in front of ten thousand people,” I pointed out.

“–and just not what we’re looking for.”

“Ah.” Ziggy twirled his pen around his fingers. “And just what are we looking for? Exactly?”

“A drummer?” Carynne turned in her chair toward him, trying to see what he was getting at.

“And what is a drummer? A human being who can hit things at the times when we want them to. Bradley seems adequate in that regard.” Ziggy raised an eyebrow.

“And as we keep saying, that’s not the only concern with any of these guys.” Carynne looked back at me. “Right? We’re not just talking about whether someone can play the parts in an album session. We’re looking for someone who can handle touring, live performance night after night, get along with everyone, all that.”

I nodded. “Yeah. But this is going to be a major production tour, fifty person entourage or something, it’s not like everyone’s got to be buddy-buddy.”

“Within the band?” Carynne pressed me.

She was right, but for some reason I had dug my heels in about this. In fact the reason might have been that she was so quickly dismissive of Bradley, and I said so. “I’m not saying Marvelle isn’t the stronger candidate, but I am asking why you’re dismissing Bradley so quickly. He was the only one who really showed me something right away.”

“It’s just that he was the first one,” Carynne said. “So he made an impression.”

“I don’t think that’s why,” I said. “Is it really just that he’s inexperienced or is he some kind of a problem child? You really seem more set against him than I expect.”

She sighed. “Okay. It’s just I worry that it’s not going to work to have someone on the team we all have to walk on eggshells around.”

“Eggshells?” Ziggy’s eyebrow got more sharply arched.

“You know, every time I fuck up and use the wrong name or pronoun it’s super uncomfortable,” she said.

And it clicked. I got it. I got why I was against Carynne being against him. I almost stood up but instead I just leaned forward. “And that’s why I want him to stay.”

“So we can all be super uncomfortable together?” She cringed slightly.

“I think we’d get used to it–” Ziggy started to say but I cut him off before I could lose the thread of my thought.

“Because that would be ditching someone for being queer. It’s not Bradley’s job to make us comfortable.”

“Of course not, that’s not what I’m saying–”

I didn’t let her finish, either. “This is what I’ve been afraid of all my life!”

I might have been kind of louder than usual at that moment. I certainly got all their attention. I repeated it more slowly, more quietly. “This. Is what I’ve been afraid of. All. My. Life. That the people I depend on for jobs or gigs or to do what I do, are going to decide my talent isn’t enough. That talent isn’t enough to overcome the fact they’re ‘uncomfortable’ with me being queer.”

That time when I said the word “uncomfortable” I had a wave of hot and cold anxiety/nausea/anger so intense it felt kind of like getting smacked in the head, making my eyes smart and my nose run instantly.

Judging from the looks on their faces, I must have looked like I was about to murder someone or keel over myself, I’m not sure.

Carynne took a deep breath. “I know, honeybunch. I didn’t mean it that way. I just…want you to think it all the way through.”

“Speaking of which,” Chris piped up, “has anyone asked Marvelle if he’s okay with…everything?”

From the silence that followed I took it that no one had.

I stood. The blood that had pounded into my ears ebbed just as quickly. “Call them both back. For tomorrow. Couple hours apart so they don’t cross paths. We’ll put them both through some more stuff and decide after.”

“Okay.” Carynne jotted something down. “And remember, maybe we end up with neither of them if they don’t cut it. Maybe we end up calling around some more.”

In other words, keep an open mind. If only it were so simple.


(Kickstarterrrr!!! Help me make the next DGC paperback book, or just get some cool swag like DGC T-shirts, guitar picks, or bumper stickers. Or even some limited edition rewards like Daron or Ziggy will write a song FOR YOU. The fundraising campaign kicks off today around 12 noon–Here’s the shortlink for sharing! http://kck.st/1RFanDN TIPS: Pledge now and you can always edit your pledge, change your mind about what rewards you want, etc… any time up until April 29th when the campaign ends. You will not be charged until then, either, so you can pledge now even if you won’t have the money until next month. Thank you all for your continued support! -ctan)

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Comments 9

  1. Jude wrote:

    Oh, Carynne. Didn’t expect the sudden transphobia there.

    Marvelle is a dick; you don’t shit on the competition, no matter what you think of them, especially not when they’re in earshot. I’m kinda hoping he also turns out to be a homophobe and rules himself out.

    [Reply]

    Bill Heath Reply:

    Being a homophobe would be preferable to being a “not-Marvelle-ophobe.” And yet …

    Daron’s sexuality is no longer hidden. Anybody who thinks Ziggy doesn’t change his sexuality every forty-seven seconds based on a random-number generator just isn’t paying attention. Add another genderqueer to the mix, and suddenly the straights are in a minority.

    Mills will go bat-shit and interfere in evrery way possible. And, he’s got enough pull in the company that Ziggy’s last years on his contract can be made torturous and career-ending.

    I’m all for standing on principle, but there are competing imperatives here. First, Ziggy and Daron and all the rest are a business. That’s an imperative. Z&D know that making a powerful enemy with Digger’s personality and more than Ziggy’s skills will seriously impair their ability to make music. That’s another imperative. Standing up for trans rights is only another competing imperative.

    Hire a couple of straight horn players (what’s the name of the sax guy from the Cat Club?), and then bring in Bradley. That leaves five straights, including Ziggy, who probably is straight at least twelve seconds a day, and isn’t yet outed, and two genderqueers. I think Mills will try to live with that.

    [Reply]

    sanders Reply:

    “No longer hidden” is a stretch with Daron. He’s still not exactly an out musician, only out to the band and some collaborators. Let’s not lose track of that.

    Bradley doesn’t make for “another genderqueer”, unless you’re counting Ziggy as one (when that isn’t an identity he’s claimed for himself), and Bradley’s sexuality is unconfirmed as far as I recall. Even if Bradley was a lesbian when identifying as female, being male and attracted to women now would make him heterosexual and transgendered. Sexuality and gender are two different concepts, despite the popular tendency to conflate the two when it comes to the LGBTQ community. As such, Bradley has no impact one way or another on the number of “straights” involved in the tour solely by virtue of his gender identity, just the cis-gendered balance.

    When has Daron ever cared about the “imperatives” from Mills or the industry? His entire self has been built around pushing those limits, from the way he plays and the content of his music to the more recent certainty of his own sexual identity. Chasing the imperative of being a business and pleasing Mills would mean betraying all of the personal growth and integrity Daron and Ziggy have both fought to develop. That doesn’t strike me as simply standing on principle. That’s an issue of being able to sleep soundly at night. Making an enemy of anyone has never impaired Daron’s ability to make music–if anything, that’s the lesson of the past year, year and a half of his narrative.

    It’s also been made abundantly clear that no one involved in making this tour happen actually cares what Mills wants. If you remember, he wasn’t enthusiastic about the tour taking place during his phone call with Barrett. To this point, he has no bearing one way or another on Carynne’s objections to Bradley–that’s all her own transphobia rearing its head. Making Mills a factor here is a stretch in your argument, and would be more likely, not less, to get Daron to dig his heels in.

    Ziggy’s sexuality is fluid, as we’ve been shown. Being “straight at leave twelve seconds a day” doesn’t change the overall picture or identity, and is a pretty offensive and reductionist way of describing his sexuality, as well as that of any of us who identity as pansexual, bi, queer, or otherwise outside of heterosexuality. I am asking you, for my sake, and that of other readers who identify similarly, to think about how that comes across. Whether I’m attracted to a guy for five minutes in a day or a woman or someone who refuses to buy into the gender binary, it doesn’t change my core identity or the marginalization that comes with it, and it does a disservice to all of us–however we identify–for you to suggest we count differently for those moments of attraction.

    [Reply]

    Bill Heath Reply:

    Sorry to have offended you. The time is 1991, not 2016. Standing up for principle is hiring Bradley, if he remains the first choice. Leavening the rest of the band with people who will be recognized as “straight” in 1991 is, I suspect, going to be important. This is a complex system with more actors than I believe you’re counting, and with multiple incompatible imperatives. That’s also a pretty good way to describe life itself.

    Daron may not worry about Mills’ activities, but he is not in charge. Mills’ objections to the non-US tour are not something on which he can act easily (althugh he can act; too long to go into here). Ziggy and Barrett both have to be concerned with Mills taking on a crusade to destroy Ziggy. If you don’t think that can happen, look at the history. M3 was a real asset that Mills simply destroyed. The owning conglomerate would rather “sit on an asset” than take risk. I suspect that Mills, who can control the flow of information to corporate decision-makers, will have no difficulty convincing the conglomerate that it’s bad business for BNC to go homocore. We can dislike it all we want, but that was reality circa 1991. Adam Lambert was all of nine years old that year, and didn’t break out for another eighteen years.

    Daron doesn’t care about making enemies, but he does care about Ziggy, and making music with Ziggy. Daron is willing to fall on his sword for principle, and I respect that. This isn’t Daron’s production, it’s Ziggy’s. He wants Bradley as much as the rest of us. I think he and Barrett need only to consider the entire complex system and the risks inherrent, and take care with timing announcements.

    [Reply]

    sanders Reply:

    I do, in fact, recognize it’s a complex system. I never said Mills couldn’t or wouldn’t go on a crusade against Ziggy. He may well do that, for any reason. We know he’s a manipulative, sexist, homophobic man. My point was, and is, that Mills’ actions and the collective’s ability to make music should not be viewed as one and the same. Daron has continually found highly successful ways to work around Mills and maintain and advance his career.

    I also recognize the timeframe and that identities didn’t only become complex in the post-Adam Lambert period. I was very much alive in the 90s and very much a member of the visible and active LGBTQ community, including being a member of ACT-UP, so I know firsthand and remember quite vividly, without anyone needing to do the equivalent of mansplaining it to me, what society was like. I grew up in and still live in the state where Ryan White was banned from attending school for having AIDS, and I worked on one of the first city-wide campaigns for LGBT anti-discrimination legislation in the US, so my grasp of homophobia in the timeframe of the story is pretty strong.

    Another part of the reality in 1991 to consider here is we were months from the Indigo Girls, Melissa Etheridge, and kd lang all being acknowledged as lesbian acts, and of Michael Stipe flirting with lyrics to out himself. We are right in the pocket of grunge, and the corresponding genderbending, taking over the industry, along with labels like SubPop offering homes to bands who didn’t fit a cookie-cutter aesthetic. This bears keeping in mind, that it wasn’t all doom and gloom, manipulations and machinations to screw people over.

    I don’t really understand what Adam Lambert has to do with the price of coffee in Seattle, unless you’re assuming he’s the frame of reference from which the rest of us are working. Mine comes from Queen, Bowie, Elton John, Etheridge, lang, Pansy Division, Ani Difranco, and bands that were truly part of the homocore of punk, the ones who were on the front lines of pushing the wider understanding of sexuality in the late 80s, early 90s, not the pomo-homo performers who’ve benefited from Butler-esque reimaginings of gender performance. Given many of those names, history tells us it’s entirely possible for musicians to push gender boundaries and notions of sexuality and still be highly successful artists. That’s even before considering what was happening in R&B and traditionally black genres of music in the 80s. One word only really needs to be said there: Prince.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    It’s that insidious kind, too, where she’s “fine with” the trans person and with people being trans in general, but would have resisted hiring him. (Daron isn’t done losing his shit over this, btw.)

    [Reply]

    Claudia Perry Reply:

    Could Carynne be concerned that the rest of the band that gets hired might be transphobic (music business in 1991, pretty likely)? Also, they are touring in South America, but I may be getting ahead of myself in the international transphobia radar in 1991

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Definitely. She’s made a snap judgment that Bradley’s existence could spell trouble down the road and when pressed to explain why on the spot, she digs herself into trouble.

    [Reply]

    Claudia Perry Reply:

    Also I think Carynne can wrap her head around LGB, but it’s unlikely she would have encountered a lot of trans people. So there’s also that.

    [Reply]

    Posted 29 Mar 2016 at 9:20 am
  2. Stacey wrote:

    Sigh… I was really hoping Carynne’s objection was that Bradley was her ex or something, and not this :(
    Like most of you I’m totally rooting for Bradley! And not just because Marvelle is a dick!

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    Well, you know, for all we know they might be exes ALSO and she’s just not telling us that…though I think after Ziggy she (and me, i guess…) she’s sworn off getting involved with people whose careers she’s actually managing. Then again how many times have I sworn off getting involved and failed…? I do still kinda think there has to be more to it than that but I’m a little too wrapped up in my own crap to figure it out right now.

    [Reply]

    Posted 29 Mar 2016 at 9:45 am
  3. Amber wrote:

    I like Bradley. I really hope you pick him.
    If he really has only been playing for 6 months I’m super impressed with his talent.

    I’m counting down the minutes till the Kickstarter goes live. Can’t wait! Although I’m still torn between 2 reward levels. Must decide.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    You really were counting down the minutes! You’re the first backer! <3 <3 <3 *confetti*

    [Reply]

    Posted 29 Mar 2016 at 10:05 am
  4. s wrote:

    I also thought Carynne might have had a fling with Bradley (or more likely Tess, given her reaction) and that was her issue with him. Hopefully now that she’s been called out on her ‘discomfort’ she’ll learn to deal with it and move on. But, in all fairness to her, she’s known Bradley as Tess for what? A couple years at least. It’s difficult to start thinking of someone differently than how you’ve always known them. I think she’ll come around though. Carynne’s not a douchebag, after all.

    I hope Bradley shines on the call-back and gives you no reason to pick Marvelle. I just don’t like him, and I think he’s going to cause trouble at some point. I think Bradley will fit in better with the group, and there’s really no reason for anyone outside of the six of you to know what’s under his clothes. Why would it be necessary to tell Mills or even the other people on the tour? His name is Bradley. He wants to be Bradley. Maybe I’m naïve, but I feel like this is totally doable…you know, if he’s a good enough drummer.

    [Reply]

    sanders Reply:

    I don’t think you’re being naive. The complication, from the legal and business side, though, comes in what kind of paperwork Bradley has. It’s difficult now, in 2016, to get one’s sex changed on official documents like a driver’s license or passport, even though name changes are a routine matter. I imagine it would have been damn near impossible in the early nineties, and those are thing Bradley would need to be able to be paid, let alone travel to South America.

    It’s hard to think of someone differently, but it’s easy not to be a dick about it the way Carynne is doing. She’s putting her own discomfort ahead of giving Bradley a fair shot as a musician.

    Apart from liking Bradley and wanting to see more of him, I intensely don’t like Marvelle for the same reasons as Daron–his arrogance, backed up by his talent or not–rubs me all kind of wrong ways. That’s just not how this band rolls, either individually or as a group. Even Ziggy’s not that full of himself, and in the moments he comes close, there’s a teasing edge to it, like it’s an act he’s pulling off and everyone’s in on the joke of it. I can’t see Marvelle either being able to deal with that or being able to work with how very humble Daron is. I don’t get the impression he would be able to work in a collective, collaborative way.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    I did think about the paperwork, but is that something that Mills is involved with? Does he even know yet that Daron is the music director for the tour? And like you said above, why do we give a rat’s ass what Mills thinks about anything anyway?

    After I wrote that it occurred to me that Carynne did already know about Bradley’s transition, so yeah, she needs to get over herself. I feel like this is something that a simple conversation between her and Bradley could clear up. Something like, “hey, smack me if I fuck up.” Negative reinforcement works. Lol. Of course, that would require Carynne to not be a dick about it. Again, I think she will. I don’t know why this is freaking her out, but I can’t imagine her letting in get in the way, especially now that she knows how much she upset Daron with her attitude.

    [Reply]

    Bill Heath Reply:

    The Latin American countries that the show is likely to visit remain largely homophobic in 2016. In 1991, they were almost twenty years behind the U.S. and more than twenty years behind Europe. Hire Bradley, just take precautions.

    Mills does not know that Daron is the musical director. Yet. He will. How he reacts needs to be managed. That doesn’t mean not hiring Bradley, and not honoring everyone’s rights; it does mean managed.

    The paperwork stuff is easy. Travel as Tess. Yes, that’s giving into an anti-LGBTQ environment. Species that fail to adapt to their environments go extinct. He can be listed as Bradley (or Mickey Mouse, for that matter) on albums, programs, what have you. He can dress as a man. He can room with anyone. Just use Tess on the travel documents. Standing on principle is not going to forward the struggle for equality. Proving success will.

    I practiced psychiatry in Germany in the late 1980s. At least half of my colleagues did not believe that there was such a thing as a transgender; they treated it as a disease. By 1991 some of the educated West had recognized that sexual orientation is a right, but few recognized that gender identity was a right, or even real. We simply cannot impose the culture of 2016 on 1991 because we think it’s a good idea.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    No one is saying Bradley, or any of the others should make a stand about equality. I’m saying that unless he decides to do a strip tease on stage or in the tour bus, there shouldn’t be any reason for it to be common knowledge. He knows how to make himself look like a guy. I’m sure he’s used to hiding the parts he doesn’t want people to know about. And none of Daron’s bands have had backstage parties with fans that involve orgies like many other bands of that time (and probably still today). So other than Bradley having to travel with documents that call him a woman named Tess (which doesn’t mean he has to dress like a woman or act differently at all. You’d have to practically hold a gun to my head to get me in a dress), it seems like a doable situation.

    As a heterosexual teenager in 1991, I was capable of understanding the difference between right and wrong, and understood that discrimination is wrong, no matter how you slice it. This is coming from someone who grew up in Small Town, USA with an almost exclusively white population where ‘queerfolk’ didn’t exist. Yet I didn’t let that affect my views of the world, except possible to make me less tolerant of ignorance and bigotry. So just because that wasn’t the norm in 1991, doesn’t mean that it’s okay to behave the way Carynne did. Hell, she’s experimented with her own sexuality recently, maybe she could be a little more open-minded regarding Bradley’s.

    [Reply]

    sanders Reply:

    The core difference in viewpoint here is suddenly clear. Stef and I are of similar ages, from towns roughly 40 minutes apart, in the heart of ‘murica. Somehow, we managed to learn not to be dicks to people for being different from our own identities. I learned what trans was when I was six and my hair stylist employed someone who identified as MTF. Transgender might not have been real to you, or to your profession, but back in the US, it was 100% real to a lot of us, even in the red state, conservative middle. That is not a case of applying 2016 culture to 1991, or even the late 70s and early 80s as was the case for me.

    My values in the 80s and 90s were simple: I was black and a girl, and it sucked to be discriminated against, so I sure as hell wasn’t going to put someone else through that experience. It’s become more nuanced since then, but that was my core belief then and is the notion I am applying to my reading of DGC, not some newfangled set of morals that only exists today. I’m not sure you realize how condescending it is for you to keep insisting we’re all reading the story through the wrong lens of time or wrong recollections of history. We’ve all seen and done things, been through things, not only you, Bill. Your experience is no more or less valid than Stef’s or mine, or anyone else’s, and it takes a lot of the fun out of the community in the comments to be told over and over that we’re reading things incorrectly because our readings of them aren’t the same as yours.

    Backing down or backing away from our principles has _never_ moved a single struggle for equality forward. What it has done, however, is create an incredibly high rate of suicide among LGBTQ people, render us invisible, and allow for homophobic and transphobic ideologies continue to flourish around the world. Adaptation is a fine theory for biology, but if my ancestors had just adapted to the situations handed to them by dominant cultures instead of fighting to survive, half would still be sub-human property in this country, and the rest would never have survived the European invasion of native lands.

    [Reply]

    Bill Heath Reply:

    I knew in the late eighties that sexual orientation and gender identity were hard-wired genetically. Please do not accuse me of thinking it’s not real.

    I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s and was beaten at sit-ins, marches, lunch counters, rallies, for civil rights. I am part-black and part-white, although I have never been (or believed myself to be) female. When I say I feel your pain, I have the scars to prove it.

    You are reading the story through your lens, which is your right. I’m telling you that, no matter how much we wish today’s sensibilities to be transported backwards a quarter century, reality prevents that. Dealing with the world the way we would like it to be typically proves ineffective. The best way to change the world is to deal with it as it is in a particular place and time. “Deal with” does not mean accept or submit.

    In reality, it was not long ago in the story that Mills used Daron’s sexual orientation to destroy M3. That was a nasty thing to do, regardless of when it occurred. But, bias against LGBTQ remains today and was far more prevalent then. Ignoring it will not make it go away.

    Because I point this out, you and ?stef? appear to believe I am somehow anti-LGBTQ and want to have people hide it. I am in fact bisexual, a one on the Kinsey scale myself, and at my advanced age have learned when confrontation helps and when other tools are more appropriate to the situation.

    Carynne’s transphobia was wrong, and she has a chance to learn from it. Because transphobia is wrong does not mean we can decide to change people’s thinking only through confrontation. I’ve watched successful campaigns for wider acceptance of everybody use confrontation as one tool. Perception management is far more powerful and sustainable.

    The real advancement of LGBTQ rights didn’t come from people shouting “We’re Queer and We’re Here.” That got people’s attention, but changed few minds. Accomplished people coming forward as LGBTQ, engaging people in reasoned discourse, and proving that atypical sexual orientation or gender orientation is not a sickness or a choice, but is hardwired, led to the environment in which we can have this conversation without fear of arrest or bashing.

    The principle on which I have stood for decades is advancement of equal rights. That is more than a nuanced difference from believing I have to fall on my sword every time I find injustice. I experienced Brown v Board of Education, as opposed to reading about it. Thurgood Marshal used perception management to overturn state-sponsored segregation. That affected some behaviors, but not a whole lot of thoughts.

    The “it’s OK to be black” movement followed that, but didn’t work. People had reached a resistance level to changing thought, so a new tactic was necessary, and was used. Black Pride. It was no longer possible to ignore the fact that our fellow Americans came in a lot of colors. That changed minds.

    Unfortunately, so did the riots in the 1960s. That was countering injustice through confrontation in its least effective form. See Detroit, Baltimore, Washington, DC, St Louis, New Orleans, et al, today. Slow progress was made on the racial civil rights front, even though social segregation hz actually steadily increased from 1970 through today. The black-white achievement gaps in education, health, incarceration, unemployment, etc, still continued narrowing until 2009; since then, they have grown markedly.

    Please re-read my posts without first assuming that I am arguing against anyone’s rights. I am not. I spent most of the last dozen years fighting for rights for illegal aiens, and minor children of illegal aliens. I started small, convincing my city police force that publicizing a policy of no immigration questions, if arrested, would lead to safer streets. It did, because our illegals stopped engaging in car chases to avoid traffic tickets.

    Then it was building a coalition of pro bono attorneys, Spanish linguists, social services and others to convince our local under-the-radar illegal Hispanic population to make itself more visible. That led to greater integration into the wider culture, and greater respect for human rights.

    I might have gone about that by standing on a street corner and harranguing people that xenophobia was wrong and they should stop it immediately. I could feel I was standing on principle, and feel good about myself. Or I could focus on the principle of ensuring equal rights, and using whatever tool was most appropriate and effective to get there.

    [Reply]

    sanders Reply:

    Standing on principle is not going to forward the struggle for equality. Proving success will.

    Species that fail to adapt to their environments go extinct.

    This is where my problem with your comments lies. You do say, essentially, adapt or die. And that is the height of bullshit to me, as is being lectured to like I haven’t lived through movements myself or been on the front lines of them. You are not approaching me, or anyone else in this community that I’ve seen, as valid, whole, rational, intelligent people. I am not the only one finding that problematic, just the first to call you on it in the comments.

    I am simply, and now succinctly, asking you to stop telling everyone we’re wrong because we don’t see the world the way you do.

    Our opinions and experiences are not invalid or inferior to yours, full stop. Stop treating them as such. Browbeating us with how we’re just imposing our current understandings on the past and have our heads in the clouds while you know better is not acceptable. It is insulting and patronizing, not to mention more than a bit sexist. You are one individual with one point of view that you do not get to use to dismiss the rest of us or imply in multiple comments that we’re just incapable of understanding the narrative as weighted against history.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    It’s always a bitch when you find out you’ve got a blind spot or a hangup to get past. Carynne will figure her shit out, but she needs to be confronted with it.

    [Reply]

    Posted 29 Mar 2016 at 10:53 am
  5. Janie Friedman wrote:

    Ok. So I know conflict begets drama begets story…but please, please Marvelle is just the wrong fit. Please. Even if you also don’t go with Bradley, who I like and who has gotten props from one of the best drummers in Daron’s world (Chris) as a “real” drummer, please don’t hire Marvelle.

    Second, Carynne, I know you will learn and grow and get over this shit, but “discomfort” on your part is not a valid reason to expect everyone else to discount someone they like, respect, and can work with. Get over yourself.

    [Reply]

    Posted 29 Mar 2016 at 3:13 pm
  6. Janie Friedman wrote:

    Damn autocorrect. That should read Daron’s world above. Sorry.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    I have magic editing powers and corrected autocorrect. :-)

    [Reply]

    Posted 29 Mar 2016 at 3:14 pm
  7. Ashpence wrote:

    Damn, this leaves me conflicted.

    But let me back up… I’ve noticed in previous comments that people are mentioning Mill’s reaction to learning Daron is gay, but I feel like I need to remind everyone that there was hints that Mills was gay, too. Also, I thought it was pretty clear from the way he used pictures of Daron AND Ziggy that he knew Ziggy was gay…. So, the whole bit where he used Daron’s sexuality against him was just an… excuse… an means to and end… to do what he wanted with MD3 and Ziggy’s career. My impression was that, rather than being a self-hating closet case, Mills was the manipulative type with money signs in his eyes and didn’t care who he had to step on to achieve his goals….? Which would mean he really shouldn’t go after Daron in this instance–after all, he got Daron to be part of the backing band, which was Mill’s original scenario.

    If I’m wrong, then please correct me.

    Now, about the reason I’m conflicted about this chapter… On one hand, I get where Daron is coming from. It’s pretty clear, after all, and I can sympathize after everything he’s gone through.

    On the other, I can understand Carynne’s reservations–which is what they seem to be. It’s not bigotry or disgust really, it’s just discomfort and maybe fear because it’s a new situation she doesn’t know how to deal with. (Or so it seems to me.) She wants so badly for things to go right for Daron and the gang that, really, is Bradley worth the potential complications his presence could create? Especially when they’d be traveling to foreign countries? I mean… they were talking about cancelling some tours because of the civil unrest (or something like that, I’ll have to go back and reread). Bradley could be a potential time bomb waiting to go off in their faces.

    Now, I’m sure someone wants to flame me for saying that, so let me just say I’m not sympathetic to Bradley–I’d probably want to back him alongside Daron in the same circumstances. I’m just saying Carynne is not WRONG to voice her concerns. If anything, she was only wrong to try and hide them.

    All that said, I think a lot of everyone’s discomfort will disappear once Daron really does lose his shit and lay down the law. After all, if Daron just screams out, “He! We’re calling him a fucking he, and that’s the end of it!” I think everyone else would follow his lead, which would get rid of a hella lot of the confusion and “discomfort” going around.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    You’re not wrong: Mills seems to know all about Ziggy’s bisexuality but as long as Ziggy’s a cash cow and doesn’t actually do anything to actively hurt record sales it’s fine. The whole thing about him blaming M3’s poor record sales on America’s homophobia was a ploy aimed at hitting Daron where he was weakest and keeping him on the defensive.

    [Reply]

    Posted 30 Mar 2016 at 1:24 am
  8. ctan wrote:

    I suspected this would be a hot button chapter. Glad to see I was right?

    And to think we haven’t even talked yet about the fact that Marvelle’s perception is that he’s the only black guy. (He doesn’t know that Fran and Clarice may be signing on.)

    I recognize these are issues that are deep and sensitive spots for many of us (I write about what gets at my own sensitive spots, after all), and I think you all recognize that, too. Please be good to each other, eh?

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Everything got so heated I forgot to comment on the pic of Steven Tyler in front of Hogwarts! <3

    That pic and the chapter/comments reminds me of my new favorite HP reference. "Accio my damn shit because I just lost it." Lol

    [Reply]

    Ashpence Reply:

    You know, for some reason, I keep imagining Bart as a black guy. I have no clue why, but I do. And even when I’m reminded he’s not? When I read the next chapter, that’s how I’m gonna end up imagining him again. I can’t seem to stop it. LOL So I never even considered that Marvelle would think he’s the only one. Wait… with Ziggy being there, wouldn’t that make it seem less like white-guys-only?

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    I do that all the time with characters. Read the description and think, “wait, no, that’s not what he looks like…in my head.” Lol. I often get a mental image just from the character’s name and nothing is going to change it.

    Re: Ziggy. He is remarkably good at making himself appear white. Right now it’s early/mid May so not a lot of time to develop a tan yet either. He probably appears about as white as the rest of them right now.

    [Reply]

    Bill Heath Reply:

    You just surfaced a parallel that had escaped me, even after three readings. Digger’s approval was important to Daron, and Digger wanted Daron to be straight, or at least appear so. “Mama’s” approval was important to Ziggy, and from what he’s related, she wanted him to appear to be white.

    I have no idea what, if anything this means.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Yet another way D & Z are alike, even in their difference…. *whistles innocently*

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Maybe because Bart was described early on as having dark curly hair?

    That reminds me I should remind y’all to send me your photos and links to people you think look like the characters. :-)

    [Reply]

    Claudia Perry Reply:

    I did note that Marvelle was likely black was glad he had chops instead “natural ability.” Realize I’m in the minority on this one, but I’m kind of rooting for him. Also in my mind, Chris is dirty blond white trash with drummer guns.

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    I think when I first met him Chris’s hair was actually black, but it was a bad dye job that was on its last legs. Now that I think about it, I think of his hair as light brown but you could make an argument for dirty blond, especially when he’s doing a lot of work outdoors. Which we’ve been trying to keep him from doing but yeah. And drummer guns right on. (Plus the whole weight lifting thing.)

    [Reply]

    Ashpence Reply:

    This isn’t exact, but here’s how I see the gang:
    Daron–Brendan Fraser in Airheads
    Ziggy–That’s a hard one. Maybe something like a tanned, Glam version of Anton Yelchin?
    Bart–A young Michael Early
    Chris–Don’t think I have a clear image of him.
    Colin–DJ Qualls with a Mohawk.
    Carynne–brunette Hilary Duff

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    Brendan Fraser in Airheads

    Yeah I would approve this casting

    [Reply]

    Posted 30 Mar 2016 at 2:17 am
  9. Tim wrote:

    Ctan – lolz. This whole thread has been very amusing to me, your far-traveled, gay, transgender, former alt/punk musician. Am biting my tongue, bc I do so much public trans advocacy and education IRL, I just don’t have the energy for it today. I could furthermore speak to what it is ACTUALLY like to be trans while in Latin America and West Africa as well as in Europe and North America…nah! I must resist the urge lol.

    As much as many folks want to be allies and feel they can intuit these things because they are good people, I have to say that if I had to point at the people who get transgender people and issues the best, some are better informed or connected than others. Cheers, Sanders! Cheers s! I don’t THINK you folks are transgender, so I’m giving you the trans smiley face button award.

    Daron, thank you for being you. Only a relative outsider to the mainstream gay community like you would have the empathetic feelz for Bradley the way you did. I mod several groups with 1000s of members that facilitate hookups between cis gay and trans gay men, and while I don’t think you’re necessarily into gay transmen, your personal worldview and gestalt are like a lot of the cis gay guys I know from there. They mostly would react the same way.

    This is all very realistic in many ways. Of course it is, bc ctan wrote it and ctan knows well of what she weaves – grins – I’m sure there must be some more trans readers here and I hope they’d agree.

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    Being me is pretty much all I can do since I was a failure at being anybody else, you know?

    [Reply]

    sanders Reply:

    I’m amused–I don’t think I’ve gotten a smiley face button award of any kind, so I’ll accept it gladly and humbly.

    I responded to your longer comment a few posts forward, but did indeed have to come back to see where I was screwing up. It’s nice to know I didn’t do as horribly as I feared during the exchange. You’re right, I’m not trans, I’m a cis woman and probably would define that further as “middle” femme since I don’t have the energy to keep being the high femme I was in my 20s. A huge part of thinking and talking about gender identity and the spectrum of it for me comes from arriving at the word “femme” for myself while living with several transmen and dating a butch woman, while also navigating those identities against second wave feminism evolving into third wave *inclusive* feminism. Confusing, heady, interesting times for sure.

    [Reply]

    Posted 02 Apr 2016 at 7:46 pm

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