Sunday, August 9, 2009

Come away with me . . .

Jeff and I went to see “Away We Go” at the Screenland Theater on Armour Road on Friday night. Let me first say that the theater sucks and no one should go there (at least I wish that were the truth so that I could always be guaranteed my recliner in the front row). It is really a beautiful venue and one that deserves far more traffic on a Friday night, even if it was First Friays. Eat before you go, unless you want popcorn, because the bar fare that they do offer takes a little longer than necessary, but it is worth the trip up North for sure – and even though they don’t have crushed ice or a popcorn seasoning bar or Butt-kicker seats, it is way more charming than the Main Street AMC. That being said, I would still see an action movie at the AMC – they probably don’t play many blockbusters at Screenland anyway – but it was the perfect place for a long-deserved date alone with my husband. And I don’t think we could have picked a better movie than the amazingly-acted and succinctly-sweet “Away We Go.”
Following an expecting couple on a journey to find ‘home’, this movie spoke to many themes of family, life, marriage and loss. Maya Rudolph’s Verona and John Krasinski’s Burt have been ‘abandoned’ by both sets of their parents – hers through death and his (played by Katherine O’Hara and Jeff Daniels) through an untimely chance to move to Belgium a month before their first grandchild is to be born. They travel to Arizona, Wisconsin, Montreal and Miami to meet with family, friends, and prospective bosses trying to find a place where they fit. I’m not going to say too much, because I really think you should see this movie – but it made me think about what marriage is and why the heck it is something that needs to be ‘protected’ so . . .
Okay, so I watched this movie pretty soon after spending an afternoon at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and after a heated debate this summer with a man I’ll just call “Slowpoke” (and I’ll call him that because that’s his nickname. For real.) If you know me (and if you don’t – you shoud – give a girl a ring!), you know that I’m pretty hot in the pants when it comes to gay rights. I truly feel that our reluctance as a nation towards affording people the right to love whomever they choose – and to profess their love in front of a judge, a participating pastor, a notary or a group of copulating robots for all I care –and to recognize that commitment as equal no matter who is at the end of our aisle, is the one thing that keeps us from being a completely liberated people. Our president sits at the most influential desk in the free world, as leader of a country that once claimed people of his race as property, treated them like animals and forbid them to own land or vote – he has risen to where he is through the persistent struggles of many men, the deaths of many husbands, fathers, daughters, sisters, brothers, mothers and sons, the audacity of many leaders for whom it would have been easier to just let things slide, through the perseverance of a people, and yet, STILL, finds it uncomfortable to grant federal recognition of equality for those who want to marry someone of their same gender.
LOVE is being stigmatized.
Marriage does not make love. Love does not make marriage. We agree – (especially after watching “Away We Go”. You haven’t seen that movie yet? Go see it!!). But why is the sanctity of marriage so important that we can’t mess it up by inviting more people in? Hitler was married . . . don’t you think we brightened the pool of married people when we let Ellen Degeneres in? At the party of married people, I would much rather drink a martini with Elton John than Danial Rinehart, sing a song at the piano with Tracy Chapman before Mariah f-in Carey (we don’t sing in the same key anyway), break it down on the dance floor with Rachel Maddow than try to slow dance with Limbaugh (my arms aren’t long enough, I’m sure), party with Jolie Justus before have a conversation with the Funk, make out with Bernstein instead of catch an STD from Beethoven.
Oh, you’re just concerned that giving these people the same rights, we’re saying to our children that their lifestyle is okay? I see your point – if you are close-minded and frightened of anything you don’t understand. What lifestyle exactly are you speaking of . . . the one where sex is easy and relationships are avoided? The one where drinking and drug use is prevalent? The one where sexuality is flaunted like it’s the only thing that matters? Oh, the one where multiple partners is a goal, and a mistake, and a reinforcement of self worth . . . oh yeah – that one. Well, news flash – that lifestyle is lived out in the open air entertainment venue at 12th and Main the same as it is in the dingy bar/nightclub on Southwest trafficway.
True, very true – homosexual relationships can’t organically produce children, so its just not natural. Its not god’s intention. #1 – who’s talking about god? We are talking about the government of the United States of America, so with that whole separation of church and state thing, I won’t even start on that conversation. #2 – masturbation can not produce children, oral sex can not produce children, having protected sex can not produce children . . . I enjoy all of these things – and have done them many times – they were very persuasive in my choice to get married in the first place. Should sterile men not be able to marry – what about women who want to so badly to have children but can not. Is that God telling them that they should not be married? Does adopting and loving children someone else bore make you second class parents – good enough, but not as worthy as the parents who created their children in the womb – many who regret it, can’t handle it, even deny it? (Watching one episode of Maury is reason enough to ban heterosexuals from marrying.)
Is marriage really that fragile? Is it even something that people would commit themselves to just to piss you off? Why is your love more real than anyone elses? Why do we cling to this need of feeling more right than other people? More just. More real. The struggle for civil rights was exactly that – a struggle. A struggle hard fought, a struggle hard won. We live in a much better nation because of it, we would never have know such great players in this game we call life had it not been for the hardships of many different groups of people. But that is no reason to perpetuate the hate and prejudice into today’s world, with its own struggles and hardships.
“Away We Go” was not a movie about gay marriage or civil rights – not in the least. But it made me think about marriage and how we as a people view this institution . . . Being so intolerant of my intolerance for intolerance – I need to hear the other side so that I can understand.

I'm taking in all the happenings in Kansas City and saving you all the trouble . . . I'll let you know whether to soak it up or squeeze it out!!