Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Who's Normal?


Oy! All this hubbub about men's figure skating and who's manly and athletic and who's flamboyant [read: gay] and out there.
I mean, here we are in the 21st century for crying out loud and we're caught up in gender-identity issues and who's a real man and who maybe isn't. Haven't we moved beyond the Marlboro image of he-manlyness? Or, is a man really a man if he's tough and rugged and, well, doesn't ice skate with a pink tassel on his shoulder?
NBC and the Olympics have pissed me off with their continued discussions of athletic, traditional Evan Lysacek [read: hetero] and the flamboyant Johnny Weir [read: homo]. They act as though Evan is more of a man because, while he wears feathered gloves and sequined body stockings on the ice, he doesn't wear corsets and tassels, and primp and pose, and skate around with a tiara of roses. And you get the feeling that the judges scores are not based solely on artistic and technical merit, but costumes, hair and make-up, with a little, life off the ice thrown in.
So, did Johnny place so low in the standings because people don't like his brand of skating; or did Evan place so high because he's the safer, man's man choice?
I think it's fear.
Fear of saying, Wow, Johnny is flamboyant and wild and marches to his own drummer, but, damn, he can skate! Fear of looking a little too gay, whatever that means, if you happen to enjoy the athletic prowess and in-your-face razzle-dazzle of a man who doesn't say he's out, but isn't really in, either.
And it's also fear of guilt by association. I know first hand, because people have been asking me for a week how I feel about Johnny Weir. It's like they all gather around and talk about him, and then, as a group, vote to bring the discussion to the in-house queer.
Do I like Johnny Weir? Hell yeah. He skates to his own drummer, he wears whatever the hell he wants, and he acts how he chooses. His skating, his personage, his life, are a big Fuck you to anyone with a hang-up about what makes a man a real man.
So, then I don't like Evan Lysacek? No, I like him too. He is a bit more traditional, if we forgive the feathered gloves and sequins; he does seem a bit more athletic. But that doesn't make him a man.
Last I checked, having a penis makes you a man.
Johnny Weir scares people because he's Johnny Weir; he's this year's Adam Lambert. He doesn't fit the mold of ice skaters of years past. He doesn't talk of athleticism and quads, he talks about "rockin' the tassel." As for Evan Lysacek, he doesn't scare people; he'll do fine as 2010's Kris Allen on ice. He's the guy next door who, because he doesn't tassel and corset, must work harder at being a manly-man skate. A lot of folks like the Kris Allens and Evan Lysaceks because they seem so normal. But normal isn't all it's cracked up to be. I imagine Michelangelo wasn't normal; or Da Vinci; Gertrude Stein wasn't normal. k.d. lang, who blew the roof off the place during the opening ceremonies, isn't what people might consider normal.
Which is another way of saying there is no such thing as normal.
Johnny Weir is normal for Johnny Weir; flashy costumes, over-the-top quotes, flourishes, are normal. Evan Lysacek is normal for Evan Lysacek; athletic, good looking, a few feathers in Johnny Cash black.
Neither is bad. They're both just different.
And different is good.
And it's normal.

6 comments:

LENORENEVERMORE said...

normal is mediocre I think...
always like this quote;
'Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.' Einstein told me, not in person of course!
Great week Bob~
xo

lehuutai said...

I think ice skating is an art in which the technique, the out fit and music must be corelation. The costumes of skaters are designed for that purpose. Just an idea :)

Kyle said...

Great piece Bob. Different is grand. The more unusual the more my loves grows.

froggy said...

What will be telling - will they have those conversations about women's figure skating?
(Must have small yippee for Canadians winning ice dancing gold.)

Anonymous said...

"Johnny Weir scares people because he's Johnny Weir; he's this year's Adam Lambert."

Please don't ever insult Johnny Weir like that. Unlike Lambert, he was never a judges darling, shoved down everyone's throat. He had to fight for a place on the Olympic team instead of, for no good reason, being handed the most prestigious performance slot on the award show. On the ice, Johnny delivered a spectacular performance, as opposed to Lambert stinking up the place by bad notes and simulated blow jobs. And at the end of his performance, Johnny smiled and waved at the audience instead of giving it a finger.

Both men may be fond of crazy outfits, but on the inside, where it counts, they could not be more different.

ProgGrrl said...

While I agree with everyone who notes the IOC/NBC/US Figure Skating's different treatment of Weir, I actually think it's Johnny's technique that the judges didn't like here. The top 5 skaters were all about jumps and points. Johnny is all about great skating, emotion and style... at the risk of NOT piling up enough points. Add in Johnny's other "issues" (per above) and you've got... TROUBLE. I also wonder if they placed him 6th instead of 5th because that was just enough to keep him and his unique style out of the big Gala exhibition this weekend. Sigh.

BTW, speaking of Lambert... you might enjoy this post I found on livejournal - http://mistresscurvy.livejournal.com/3856.html

Cheers.