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Garrison Keillor @ Salon: Fool, Tool or Drool? Gay Parents, Did you get that "Bryan Winter" email?


From Table Talk
May 17, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)

Garrison Keillor @ Salon: Fool, Tool or Drool?

Books | Teresa Neal - 01:45pm May 11, 1999 PDT (# 61 of 91)

Dear Mr. Flaubert,

My husband is a good provider. He's faithful, dependable, and shall we say,
unadventurous. I don't know what I want but I want more. If I had to say
what's missing I'd say "Je ne sais quoi." Is this all there is? I'm about
to go mad.

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Emma

Dear Mr. Homer,

My middle-aged lover of seven years has been having some kind of midlife
crisis. What more could he possibly want? I'm the nymph of Eternal Youth,
for Jovesakes. But all he does is sit on the shore and stare into space.
You don't seriously think he'd go back to his boring old WIFE, do you?

Calypso

Dear Ms. DuMarier:

I'm the second wife--no, no, don't get me wrong, I'm not technically "the
other woman." And yet, I am. See, the first wife died long before I came
along. But not only can he not forget her, neither can anybody else! It's
always Rebecca this, Rebecca that. So she was perfect, GET OVER IT PEOPLE!
They think I'm a meek little mouse because I don't say the vicious
comebacks that come to mind! It's true, I'd never even say a word like
"petcock" without blushing. But they should see what catty things I write,
in the oh so tasteful Morning-Room. If only there were an Internet i'd be
on there all day. But in real life I just want to be loved for myself. Is
that too much to ask? I'm drowning here!

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No names, please

Gay Parents

Mothers Who Think | Debby - 04:18am May 13, 1999 PDT (# 1 of 128)

Since my 2 best friends are gay we have always talked about it in our
house, but in a very casual way. I'll talk about Kenny's boyfriend or Rob's
new flame the same way I would casually mention any other friends love
interest. When he was an infant one of the little diddies I'd sing to him
was "there are men who like women who like men, there are women who like
women every now and then, and there are men who like men because they don't
pretend they are men who like women who like men." At one point he did ask
questions and I just explained it basically the way it is in the song, some
people like this, some people like that, it's all the same in the end. We
vacation in Provincetown frequently and as a toddler he was quite impressed
by the drag queens (he called them the "Sparkly ladies" because of all the
sequins). One funny conversation we had when he was six: he had the idea
that ALL poodles were female, I said "Well if there are no boy poodles how
do you think they get baby poodles?" and he said, "Mommy I think you are
forgetting something. What about if the poodles are gay?" so we had to add
an impromptu biology lesson to the sociology discussion. My aim was just to
present it as perfectly natural from day one. Now that he's in fourth grade
one of the big insults for the boys that age is "gay" as in "you're gay" or
"thats so gay." When this happens I firmly interupt and launch into a big
lecture and tell who ever said it that it is NOT allowed in our house to
use that word as an insult and launch into my different strokes speech. I
don't care if I am indoctrinating other people's kids because they are
indoctrinating MY kid into this crap. I don't allow it any more than I
would allow racist comments.

Did you get that "Bryan Winter" email?

Social Issues | Nathan Schwartz - 01:30pm May 11, 1999 PDT (# 33 of 69)

Is it possible we're all missing the point of the story? I don't think it
matters whether Bryan is real or not, whether he wrote such a letter or
not, or whether a woman coyly wrote to him or not. Assume this is all a
hoax. The part that isn't a hoax is that this letter circulated quickly
around the net. Thousands believed it without even raising a single
questioning eyebrow. REAL Bryan Winters were harrassed as a result.

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The issue is not who, if either of these people are real, is the bigger
asshole. It's how many people are willing to believe any unattributed
diatribe that slips in through the electronic transom. Let's look at
another example. I think every friend I have (including my sister, an
educated, accomplished professional CPA)is awaiting their free ticket to
Disney World. They all received e-mail purporting to be from Walt Disney
Jr. promising cash or a free trip to Orlando just for forwarding the
message (which was part of a test of a Microsoft E-mail tracking system
test) to friends.

Are we less skeptical because this nonsense comes to us as e-mail? What is
it about this medium that renders us so gullible? Or have we always been so
willing to believe? Does the medium make us more vulnerable? Why?


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