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Over the Rainbow with Brian Burns: Summer 2013 – The Top Five Moments

Photo: Juliette Lucini

Photo: Juliette Lucini

5. Rolling Stone cover totally bombed (…too soon?)

The furor surrounding the August 2013 cover of Rolling Stone, which profiled Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in a photo that was more Jefferson Airplane than Jeffrey Dahmer, was the perfect opportunity to showcase who had—and who hadn’t—ever read the magazine before. And take a wild guess at which demographic had the more vehement response!

Rolling Stone was christened at the tail-end of a decade tainted and enlivened by war, assassinations and sex; a time when music and politics had synergized into a force that would define an entire generation. That synergy—though never forgotten by Rolling Stone—somehow shocked legions of individuals who protested the appearance of a terrorist on the cover.

Based on the backlash, one would think Annie Leibovitz had photographed a nude Tsarnaev spooning Yoko Ono in a milk-filled bathtub. Unquestionably, Tsarnaev inflicted undue harm on hundreds of Bostonians but as a terrorist—by definition: a political figure—his motives and appearance should be worthy of front page coverage. And besides, it was either Tsarnaev or Miley Cyrus’ tongue on that August cover and, between the two, we all know who’s having  the worse effect on America.

4. Robin Thicke knows you want it

But only if by “it”, he means a pre-nup and a mandatory Valtrex prescription.

3. Wendy Davis becomes honorary member of Spice Girls

This past June, Texas legislature, living up to the states’ persona of progression and intelligence, drafted Senate Bill 5: a legislation which would ban abortions after 20 weeks and consequently close all but five abortion clinics in the entire state due to the cost of  new, mandatory upgrades. In response, Wendy Davis, a member of the Texas Senate, took to the floor to filibuster the bill—taking third-wave feminism to whole new levels of empowerment/pearl strands/hair volume.

Texas is governed by Ricky Perry: a man who won, by a landslide, the high school superlative “Most Likely to Compliment Your Urine-Flow from the Adjacent Stall”. Though Davis successfully pontificated long enough to warrant the bill dead, Perry brought it back to life and, by July, it was passed by both the Senate and the House. By doing so, Perry proved that the ‘Y’ in the XY chromosome stands for “Y must you exist”?

Though Perry may have won the war, Davis hailed victorious in a battle that reaffirmed the need for women standing up for their fellow women. For those who question the current status of the glass ceiling, consider the media coverage of Wendy Davis’ efforts: pink sneakers, “too stupid to be governor”, Abortion Barbie, etc., etc..  As more and more women shirk the importance and impact of feminism, it’s needed more than ever (see Missed Moment #4).

2. Paula Deen: as racist as her arteries are clogged.

And somewhere in East Hampton, the Barefoot Contessa—whilst polishing her Queen of the Food Network crown—invited over her legions of gay followers to celebrate with roasted fennel and shots of “good” vanilla extract. How easy was that?!

1. The Supreme Court and Macklemore eradicate homophobia once and for all

Since I like to contract hepatitis in slightly less strenuous contexts, I try my hardest to avoid gyms. During my first week back on campus, however, I found myself within feet of a Bowflex and an Under Armour-ed pork-sword. I was trying so desperately not to envision all the taints that had assaulted the stationary bike seat that I almost didn’t notice Macklemore’s “Same Love” playing from the speakers. It was in that moment when I knew that the gay rights movement, as we know it, is dead.

Don’t get me wrong. I was as equally invested in the Supreme Court’s decision to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 as anyone else. It was not only a big day for the gay community but for America as a whole. It was the general response to the Supreme Court rulings, however, that had the cynic within me scoffing to the beat of a Morrissey song.

The right to marry is an important issue for the gay community but it is not the be-all-end-all of equality. People cling to the concept of marriage equality because it is the most empirical way to gauge how far gays have come. So what that strangers still give you dirty looks when you walk down the street? So what that the fathers of your friends won’t look you in the eye when you visit? Just think: you can get MARRIED! It’s all kosher!

Equality for the LGBT community is not as simple as people changing their cover photo to the equality sign, straights and gays enjoying a Macklemore song or the Supreme Court ensuring the right to call your spouse a “spouse.” Americans have some serious sexual hang-ups rooted deeply in puritanical beliefs and Reagan-esque politics that need to be confronted, questioned and overcome. Until then, I’ll just avoid the gym.

Posted by on September 26, 2013. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.