Thank you so much for your two-sentence rejection e-mail, which I just received today. Considering the relevance of this position to my field of expertise, I have been anxiously awaiting word from you since I applied weeks ago, lumbering nearly daily in Sydney humidity to my PO box, only to find nothing.
In fact, I should have seen your missive coming, presaged by the many others I have already received from arts organisations like yours. Often those rejections comprised an entire five sentences and can be so tiring to read. Your desire for brevity is greatly acknowleged.
I trust you'll understand if I elect not to concoct your triple-sugar caramel mocha soy latte when you come into the coffeeshop at which I'm currently working. But I'll pull a ristretto for you. Like you, I am choosy and in favour of conciseness.
While looking through the few things I brought with me from Melbourne, looking in particular for a bowtie for Saturday's wind band concert, I came across two hats a theatrical costumer tailored for me some years ago. The hats were part of my concert-wear with various Renaissance music groups. I wish I could wear them offstage without people thinking I'm a nutjob. They are awesome and incredibly well made.
It rained in Sydney today, and it rained hard. Despite the intensity, the rain is much needed. You'd have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the fires that have burned hundreds of thousands of hectares in New South Wales, some of which were in the suburban fringe of Sydney.
As the rain fell, it occurred to me that, thanks to my luck of having lived in four countries, I know a few different rain expressions.
These I just learned: It's raining chair legs. (Greek) It's raining female trolls. (Norwegian)
Speaking of rain, remember this? I don't, just stumbled upon it. I am really glad I did. Let me know if you also think it is one of the most visually compelling music videos ever. (Pretty cool song, too.)
Just when I was concerned that my therapist and I were in need of direction, now that crisis-mode seems to be over, an event occurred.
That event was me realising that, during a low moment resulting in a pep talk to myself in which I swore an oath that I was not going to my next session feeling depressed, there's no one left to impress. So I 'm trying to impress my therapist.
There was a recent article in PinkNews about a 54 y/o man (presumably from the UK) who was banned from Facebook after commenting on a food-related post and photo of the British culinary, er, phenomenon known as "faggots". He simply said that he likes the dish, but the real crime is that he used that word when he did.
It gets better.
The 68 y/o woman who initially posted the photo of the food dish was blocked from Facebook for 12 hours. Reportedly, there was a "Free Eileen" campaign.
Shake my head.
I understand the cringeworthy word above is definitely a wrong one to use most of the time. The Facebook seems to think no one should ever use the word, and they're willing to punish anyone who does.
In case you didn't already know, I am gay and a geek. I have had more than a fair share of mean-spirited labels tossed my way. But I disagree with Facebook on this.
I disagree because the word in question has a few siblings (homonyms) that are so completely different in meaning that they couldn't possibly be disparaging. "Faggot" is not, like the N-word, a lexeme that originated as a derogatory term. Usage of the latter word was begun many centuries ago, and today it ranks deservedly as what Dictionary.com describes "probably the most offensive word in the English language". (If its usage was not begun in a sadistic context, then it quickly slipped down the slope from inappropriate to hatefully offensive.)
What are these homonyms?
Collins (published in the UK) defines faggot in two ways: 1) a bundle of anything, but especially kindling, iron bars or balls of chopped meat with herbs; and, 2) a male homosexual. What Mr Wilkes was referring to with the comment that got him banned from Facebook was not his love of sticks or of men, but of those fried balls of minced offal that most of us would rather not think about in a mealtime context.
When I was studying and working as a professional tenor, I sang quite a lot of works by Benjamin Britten. One of my favorite pieces to rehearse and perform was his canticle Abraham & Isaac. This is the biblical tale in which Abraham is requested by God to sacrifice his favorite son, Isaac. In the story, Abraham agrees to the request. He collects Isaac and takes him, along with a sword and fire-making items, to the top of a mountain on a "hunting trip". Odiously, Abraham not only lies to his son, but he also asks him to carry the wood that will soon be his own pyre. In Britten's setting of the tale, when they reach the desired spot, Abraham says to Isaac, "Lay down thy faggot, my own son dear", reveals the true reason for the expedition and readies the boy for slaughter. Hard stuff, indeed. That's the drama of it.
At first, it was odd to sing the word, but after researching the term, I accepted the definition and overcame the urge to be ridiculously hypersensitive. The really tough stuff came with playing the role of Abraham. (A duet for alto, tenor and piano, Britten's canticle is not a staged work, but it is some of the most dramatic music writing that exists. Have a listen and see for yourself.) It was all I could do to keep emotions from interfering with me vocally. The theatre of the work most assuredly eclipsed any worry over what the listeners might think by me singing this F-word.
I believe that Ms Perrin and Mr Wilkes were unjustly penalized by Facebook. They were talking about food, and from what I gather, they weren't even engaging in the tired game of innuendo. This action by the social media giant only served to bolster the argument that political correctness is on its head. It also devalues the true need for harsh action whenever hate speech does occur.