A few weeks ago I was momentarily befuddled when I saw Laura Jane Grace singing with Miley Cyrus on youtube. I knew that I KNEW the voice but had to google the name to place it. Raising two kids and not being on the internet I had lost track of the punk rock scene for about 10 years so I was more thrown off that she was playing with Miley Cyrus than I was over the fact that the guy from Against Me! is a woman now. Yesterday on the Marc Maron podcast I heard the story of her transformation from champion of DIY punk rock to a big label recording artist. It was the same old story I expected to hear and altogether understandable. However, I was thrown for a loop when she said, “people in the punk scene are kind of homophobic in general.” Really??! I guess I wouldn’t know first hand but from my memory the punk scene was almost militantly pro gay. Punks made fun of Green Day for wearing eyeliner?? That would have been so absurd and stupid that I think I would have remembered the halfwit who uttered such an inanity. Of course, I was living in the Bay Area, things may have been different in Florida.
The wife told me today that instead of writing about beer I should start a blog called “This interview is over!” Where I interview people until they don’t want to talk to me anymore. I thought it was a bizarre suggestion to make. (???) She explained that whenever I talk to people I ask very awkward and inappropriate questions and that I tend to make most people uncomfortable. Then she mentioned a few times where I did this in front of her recently.
Although troubling, I liked her explanation because my previous interpretation was that people had stopped talking to me because I was boring. I know that my ability to socialize is stilted. Most of the time when I talk to people I get the feeling that in the back of their mind they are thinking, “please stop talking!” Conversations come to a halt quickly. I just don’t have the gift of amiability. I could never be a salesman.
As a hetero white male I know the problem is my own fault. If things were different I could believe that people just didn’t respect my opinion as a woman or my transgenderness was disconcerting to them. Lucky for me, I don’t have any guilt over the issue because I have been a hardcore libertarian from birth. I never had to evolve towards my belief in the personal freedom of others, sexually or otherwise.
It is compelling to know that there are many individuals who are willing to endure public humiliation, hormone therapy, and sometimes even have their bodies surgically altered simply because they have a need to express their true selves sexually. What I do find maddening is that often the same group of understanding people that are now embracing transgenders, men and women, are still able to roll their eyes and be completely dismissive of talented and accomplished women simply because they have the the courage to distinguish themselves sexually.
With all due respect to Laura Jane Grace and the homophobia or transphobia that she experienced in the punk scene, no person in present day America, has been the subject of more cruel vitriol for expressing his or her sexuality than Miley Cyrus.
Thankfully, the dimwitted herd will eventually fall in line, as they did with Lady Gaga and the exceptional women who came before her.
I read in Zymurgy Magazine this week that 17 new breweries open up everyday in the United States. Last weekend I was able to visit two that have been at the top of my list for a long while. Mraz in El Dorado and Berryessa in Winters. It turns out that Mraz is just up the road from where my family celebrates Christmas every year at our Uncle Dan and Aunt Bev’s House. Berryessa is much further off the beaten path 62 miles to the East of Mraz, but I really like the picnic table set up and wide space surrounding the brewery. If you’re not a Hop Head you’ll like these breweries as they combine many European and West Coast styles. My best move was that I bought many bottles of the Mraz beers. I’m not a cicerone but it’s obvious that their bottle conditioned ales are about as good as you’ll ever find.