i went. as part of my work for the phd, i've decided to try and make every major cultural kind of event thing. (so, for anyone who knows of anything that is a big sydney thing, or something i should see, please say.) anyhow. so i went to the parade, because i hadn't been, and because this year, madam g was actually part of a float. and you've got too support your friends, even if you couldn't make them out of the twenty other dancers wearing face paint and top hats.
so there i was. some thoughts on the mardi gras:
--no matter what anyone says, i cannot be convinced that judy garland is a good parade icon. (i say icon merely because she had three or four floats and various red shoes floating around.) in addition to this, you have 'there's no place like home' running in addition to floats that welcome refugees. it's a double message being sent out, or at least i think so.
but on the case of judy garland, wasn't she a drug addict with erratic behaviour, had five husbands, and was the mother of liza minnelli?
(a little bit of web searching for this picked up this quote:
reporter: 'i understand you have a very large gay following miss garland.'
judy: 'i sing to people!')
that's nice of her, yes?
well, either way you interpret this, she is hardly what i would want as a gay icon. how about john cheever?
--the commercialisation of the parade seems, still, a bit off to me. but maybe i'm just tired of everything trying to sell something. frogger, the light bulbs.
--angels on stilts are a fantastic idea.
--the spice girls are dated. really.
--i heard someone explaining the metaphor of harry potter and the gay lifestyle on tv. i don't care. stop it. it's a kids book. if adults enjoy it, fine, but adults can also read other books and thus promote them. need i bring john cheever back up?
--the water at the back of trucks was a brilliant idea. very nice to see people getting water as they danced across the streets.
--actually, it may, or may not, be fair to say that there is a lot of... infantilism in the parade, if you follow my meaning? lots of simple, no threatening, non confronting things. the wizard of oz. harry potter. bob the builder. just off the top of my head. (not to mention that you could argue that here, in thus one night, the homosexual community is encouraged out, but so long as they are entertaining and non threatening.) but perhaps this is a calculated thing: to appeal to youth, as the future lies with them, and change should be brought through them. but i'm not really in a position to say. i guess i was just wanting a powerful, big, fuck you statement. i'm a bit like that.
(of course, it could also be said that i thought they were only entertaining and non threatening, because i'm not a bigot or an idiot. well, at least a bigot. who can say about the second?)
--the democrats. natasha. hmm. well, this is petty, i know, but as she came past, waving a soaking up cheers, i couldn't help but yell out, 'why aren't you making a difference!' though i was drowned out by noise. she did wave at me, and i don't think the people around me appreciated my call, highly unoriginal as it was.
--there is something to be said about drag queens. i think there should be more: they're a colourful explosion that light the room up.
--i'm always surprised by homosexuals who want church acceptance. the parade began with a religious float, and i find it hard to support this. i don't want the church to have any power. if they had set that float on fire, and done all sorts of nasty things to the human created messenger of god, i would have been pleased. but alas. the cynical part of me wonders, if the church accepted gays and lesbians, what those same people would say about pro choice, assisted suicide, and the missionaries who go overseas and fed the poor for god. (while teaching them to read the bible, and not, i might add, john cheever.)
--i was a bit surprised (and disappointed) to see that AIDS was, to the best of my knowledge, the only disease listed in the parade. not that i don't think it shouldn't be there, but i am sure that cancer and other incurable diseases also affected many too. it's a big parade. bring out the causes.
--the other thing that disappointed me, was the float that wanted old age care for gay people. what about just, old age care? what does it matter if you are gay or not? i felt, for that one instance, that this was rather like affirmative action, which, to employ an aboriginal just because they are an aboriginal is just as racist as if you didn't employ them for the same reason. i understand that it is for the best intentions, but this kind of thinking only helps to strengthen the divides between people, and make those bigotry's harder to overcome.
this, i should note, is an optimistic, naive point of view. i am well aware that it is a necessary evil. i just would have liked to see 'old age care' to show that all people deserve care.
--the crowd really gets into it. cheering, waving, bubbles through the air. fireworks are let off, alcohol is drunk, drugs are taken, and sometimes neither is done, but there is just a good, friendly atmosphere that sends a buzz through the air. even the bats get it.
--it's all colour, like a good parade should be.
--there were far to many good looking people. it reflected badly upon me ;)
--if i were to describe it, it think i'd call it a long, snaking chinese dragon of colour and pride. and bubbles.
mardi gras, mardi gras. it's a positive experience, all the energy and pleasure in the air. which is what most people go for, and i rather doubt that there are people standing and wondering if there is going to be a john cheever float.
does it surprise you that i think there should be, though?