Monday, January 04, 2016

A Fire That Shall Not Be Extinguished

Fire Ex lead singer Yang Ta-cheng shows us what love (and the new Taiwan) is all about 

Greatly needing a break from electoral politics, last weekend I began reading Anthony Burgess’ Earthly Powers, a monster of a book that, among its many plot lines, explores the theme of homosexuality through its main character, the octogenarian novelist Kenneth Toomey. Earthly Powers is a challenging book, filled with wonderful punning, references and uses of the English language that one can only hope was still in vogue today. Beyond its artistic appeal, the novel delves into the devastating socio-religious pressures on homosexuals to conform, to un-choose, if you will, that which wasn’t — isn’t — a choice to begin with. 

Burgess’ novel is filled with linguistic assaults on homosexuality, the most disastrous by far coming from family members. The narrator, whose reliability is often in doubt, doesn’t always tell us how painful the arrows are and it is left to the reader to imagine the agony. As I read the book I couldn’t help but think about my personal experience, that of my mother’s coming out several years ago, a development in my family that allowed me to experience first-hand both the healing powers of tolerance and the devastating blows of intolerance. Luckily, the reaction in my immediate family fell in the former category, which greatly mitigated the potentially dislocating effects of that new reality. 

My article, published today on Thinking Taiwan, continues here.

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