Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Jun 19

I’m Sorry Adam Lambert

I only watched one season of American Idol, and it was several years after Adam Lambert was on the show. So I would need to Google it to tell you whether he won or to watch any of his performances for the first time.

What I can tell you is that his name because pretty common, and many of the people speaking it were hung up on his sexuality and wanted to know what others thought. For a while, I was simply annoyed. I didn’t understand why a reality/game show made anyone relevant. Since then, I’ve become a fan of Lambert’s music (although, my mom is a much bigger fan and probably loved him first) and other artists, including Kelly Clarkson. I mean, I was angry and tended to belittle things I didn’t like or understand. It, wrongly, made me feel powerful.

I apologize for that, but that is not what this post is about. This post and included apology to a pop superstar (whom I will soon see perform!) is about another error on my part. You see, I wasn’t just dismissive about him as a celebrity. I was dismissive about whether his sexuality mattered at all. Can’t we, I asked, just listen to his subpar pop music rather than focus on his sexuality? Why does it matter that he’s gay?

But it does and it did, perhaps even more so at the time. For other members of the LGBTQ+ community to see Adam Lambert, an openly gay performer, competing and excelling on a show (and going on to see more success), it must have mattered a lot. There haven’t always been representing faces in that crowd. I just read an interview with Darren Hayes who discussed how his being outed led first to internal memos that attempted to keep his sexuality hidden, then to ridiculous requests that he not move in certain ways to suggest he was gay and, finally, to a complete lack of support from his record labels when he put out new music. His label wouldn’t even let him put on live shows because he was gay, so the freedom that Adam had to be gay was hard won (albeit with a lot of progress to be made at the time and still much to be made now).

I understand now when I post about violence done to members of certain communities and someone (there is always someone) has to argue that it doesn’t matter if this person is gay/brown/a woman. Because people are people and we shouldn’t see color or gender or sexuality. But, I argue (and didn’t understand then), that those characteristics color a person’s experience and may be directly tied to why those people have been victimized.

Intersections of those characteristics make for vastly different (read: worse) experiences. Trans people of color experience violence in different ways than those who are white, for example. To ignore this is not only erroneous; it’s enabling.

It’s more than that, however. Those experiences often contribute to a person’s self-expression, and there may be

So when I dismissed Adam Lambert’s sexuality, I wasn’t thinking about other aspiring musicians who might have felt inspired by his existence. I didn’t consider how brave it was for him to be out or how hurtful it was for me to think that maybe he just shouldn’t parade his sexuality around despite straight people having the right to do that always. I didn’t stop to think how his experiences would influence his art or how his sense of style might have evolved (just a guess) from the LGBTQ+ community.

I didn’t stop to consider how easy it was for me, at the time a married-to-a-man white woman, to say those things because I had never shared precisely those struggles.

I am sorry, Adam. Because I now not only realize that, yes, you are talented, but that your stairway to success was most assuredly a haphazardous one as you dodged obstacles that were a direct response to you being a gay man. Were that not the case, perhaps we could know for sure that when anyone dismisses you, it’s only because of an objective to your musical stylings and not an objection to the people you choose to love and fuck (even if the people voicing those objections, like myself, are ignorant to their own biases bigotry).


Mar 28

What I Want From My Podcasts

Podcast listening has taken over my life. I mean, okay. Not literally. But I’ve more than doubled the number of podcasts that I subscribe to in recent weeks, and not all of the new additions were hits. A podcast has to hit all the right spots to be a hit with me

The Host

A good podcast host needs to embody several qualities:

  • Have a pleasing voice
  • Ask insightful questions
  • Guide the show along and keep pace

Rarely will I tune into a podcast more than once if I don’t enjoy the host’s voice and pretty much never at all if the host is distracted or unable to shape to lead the episode with the proper guidance.

Production Values

I don’t need intros and outros. Simpler is better. But sound production needs to be up to par. Sync up volume between the host and guest, for example, so the show doesn’t suddenly become louder or quieter when the person who is talking switches.

Time Block

For the life of me, I cannot understand why any podcast is over an hour long. Even when listening on double speed, this is painfully long. Furthermore, a few shows seem to be pretty inconsistent in terms of length. While one show may be only 30 minutes, another may be well over an hour. Not cool, guys. (Yes, I’m talking ’bout Planetary Radio).

Guests

Lexicon Valley hasn’t had many guests since the host switch in summer, and the quality has surely declined. It’s nearly unbearable to listen to the same single person speak week after week. If the podcast has multiples hosts, it’s easier to swallow, but I like guests.

I don’t have any hard and fast preferences regarding guests. Celebrities might be a perk (I enjoyed Aziz Ansari and Trevor Noah on Freakonomics, for example), but they’re not necessary. The guest simply needs to be interesting enough — and the host needs to make that apparent — if it’s an episode about the guest, or the guest needs to have authority and knowledge on the subject that the episode is on.

This brings me to my final point.

Education

Save for a single podcast (We Paid to See This), all of my subscriptions exist to teach me something about the world or, perhaps, myself. I want to learn. There’s an endless array of podcasts out there if you want to laugh, cry, listen to stories or simply be amused. And while I enjoy the water cooler talk of some podcasts, what I want is to talk away smarter.

So while some podcasts are fun and funny, they’re just not my thing. And I’m not their intended audience.

That’s why I’ve loved Freakonomics for over a year (in fact, I like the podcast better than the books!), subscribe to Lexicon Valley, listen to space policy episodes of Planetary Radio and tune in to Sex Out Loud.

Most of those podcasts manage to check off all the boxes, but none of them miss more than one (at least not consistently).

Oh! If you think you can recommend a podcast that I’d like based on this post, let me know in the comments!


Oct 08

4AM Thoughts About Life

Life is just, like, this thing. Fleeting and fragile. Terrible and ridiculous and better than you could ever imagine.

And you get no say in whether you have to deal with life, what you get dealt or when it’s going to end.

It’s just so overwhelming ,you know?

But life, I don’t know, man. We’re here and it seems like the only logical way to deal with it is to enjoy the fuck out of it.

If you don’t, I’m not sure I can consider you sane. That’s not politically correct, but it would be crazy to be anything other than happy when it takes just as much effort to be miserable.

Maybe I’ll change my mind when I’m dealt another bad card or have to deal with a struggle I didn’t see coming, but for now, I’m just going to live life.


Jun 14

Thoughts I’ve Had About the Mass Shooting in Orlando

This is kind of a stream-of-consciousness thing. I might stumble with words and thoughts that aren’t as clear or supportive as I’d like. It is not my intent to talk over any victims, their families or members, and I will continue to share their words via social media. But it’s impossible not to have thoughts, and I just wanted to get them all down.

50 people is the largest mass shooting the country has ever seen? C’mon, this is America. Surely, we’ve had worse than that.. which led to: I can’t believe how desensitized I am to violence like this as an American.

I am so relieved this was far away, that it doesn’t personally affect me, that I am not the target demographic for violence like this. I am reassured by my privilege. In the same token, I feel guilt at feeling these things, and I can only wonder how long it will be until those things are no longer true. The next bombing, shooting, hate crime or act of terrorism could hit much closer to home. And it’s awful even if I am not personally affected.

I can’t believe people are trying to erase the significance of it being a gay nightclub. This stuff matters. How can it not?

I also cannot believe that people will just paint him as a Muslim connected to any group. He was clearly mentally unstable, and professed his allegiance to multiple, mutually exclusive groups.

I do not want people to focus on that fact that the gunman was potentially closeted gay or bisexual because it minimizes the fact that most violence is done to the LGBT community by members of the straight community. But it’s clear he did have a preoccupation with the LGBT community.

And how can people say it’s not time to argue about gun control? Not only is it always time to argue for some sort of stricter regulation on firearms, but it makes sense to do it after a heinous crime is committed with a gun. In fact, I don’t understand any of the pro-gun rhetoric that’s being used right now.

I find it especially funny that people who say the gov can’t infringe on their second amendment rights even if it would deter some criminals and terrorists, which it would, are the same who say that men who have sex with men (and women who have sex with men who have sex with men) cannot donate blood. If you argue that the rights of the majority outweigh the risks of the minority, you cannot take both stances. Sorry.

Everyone has a theory how it could have been prevented or the violence lessened — never mind that there was an armed, off-duty police officer who fired at the shooter.. and he was overtaken and killed.

If more guns are the solution, then we’ll have to mandate firearm training and education for everyone, including those who never intend to be gun owners. I’m not sure how since we can’t even do this uniformly for gun owners.

I have no qualms about my stance on gun control. I could live comfortably in a country where citizens weren’t allowed to have them. I know these countries exist. I also know that countries such as Australia have successfully taken almost all guns off the streets. I realize the biggest hurdle here is the American culture surrounding the second amendment, and I’m not sure how we get to where other countries are from where we currently are. And, yes, it might mean that people are unable to protect themselves but people are going to die anyway. That’s so completely shitty but I’d rather see progress than this heel-digging-in we’ve got now.

I also understand that guns are just a tool but they’re a tool created specifically for destruction, even if that destruction is necessary or condoned. This one of the reasons why comparing guns to cars re: regulation is an imperfect analogy, but cars were not intended to do violence. They just happen to be capable of it, especially when used incorrectly.

Technology is both a blessing and a curse. That some people were able to call or text their loved ones even moments before their deaths is amazing. But to be on the receiving end of those calls? I can’t even imagine.

I am incredibly humbled and touched by the reports about the victims, their lives and the hole their deaths leaves in the world. From Anderson Cooper to BuzzFeed, the response has been tactful and compassionate.

It’s so difficult to process death. One moment, someone is alive and the next? Their machine has shut down. There’s a finiteness to that, which I just cannot grasp.

And, finally, I just wish I didn’t know that I would eventually come to peace with this.. until the next time.


Dec 13

7 Modern Christmas Songs I Love

River – Sarah Mclachlan

I’d only vaguely heard this song before I bought Sarah’s Christmas album. It’s melancholy but somehow not in a bad way. I don’t even know how that works. Her version of “O Little town of Bethlehem” is also worth a listen or twenty.

Gothic Christmas – Within Temptation

This song is cheesy and ridiculous, and I love every moment of it. Let’s talk about evil Santa and Rudolph (not Krampus). Let’s make everything sparkly and green

Leroy The Redneck Reindeer – Joe Diffie 

Speaking of cheesy, there’s this one that’s about 20 years old. It’s got that Christmassy feel but it’s totally got that dated 90s country sound, too. And it’s going on my iPod as I type!

Deck the Halls – SheDaisy

Slightly less redneck is SheDaisy’s version of “Deck the Halls,” which might be the only version I actually like. It sounds so grown up, and it’s crazy to think I first heard this when I was in high school!

Winter Dreams – Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson’s Christmas album is one of the better modern Christmas albums in my opinion. There are some classic covers, but the new songs manage to capture the feel of Christmas and the jazzy tempos match Kelly’s powerful voice so well. “Winter Dreams” could be my favorite Christmas song of all time, but “Underneath the Tree,” and “4 Carats” are excellent, too.

A Mad Russian’s Christmas – TSO

It’s all really hard for me to pick a single song by TSO that I like. I know that most people only like Christmas Eve in Sarajevo, and it’s good, but they’ve  got multiple Christmas albums! “Wizards in Winter” is a song that I keep on my iPod all year long, so I think that shows you how much I like it. But “A Mad Russian’s Christmas” ugh. It’s everything, guys!

Sufjan Stevens – Christmas In The Room

If you want coffee shop indie music, then this last track is the one for you. It’s not my favorite on this list, but it’s definitely enjoyable and festive/


Skip to toolbar