Queer opinions

Photo by David Gaya (Own work) [<a href="http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html">GFDL</a> or <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/">CC-BY-SA-3.0</a>], <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMichelangelos_David.jpg">via Wikimedia Commons</a>
Photo by David Gaya (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The dice have spoken. The topic is Queer. The genre is opinion.

Where do I start? I knew I liked guys when I was 13, and for the record, I still think fondly of the senior A swimming team. I wasn’t Queer until I hit university. Queer is much more than a physical desire, it’s a political framework that gobbles up gender, sex and sexuality. I used to be radical. Then something happened. Bills mainly, work, and family functions. A few HIV scares, mostly my own hypochondria (sniffly nose? probably AIDS!) but such was the internalised homophobia of a young man in Queensland at the time.

There are two schools of thought on the path of Queer politics at the moment. One says “Don’t fight for marriage, it’s a trap! Don’t become like the heteros, ours is a path more fabulous and different” the other says “We will swallow them whole, we shall marry and have children and be on tawdry school committees”. Which one is right?


Queer is about diversity, of gender, sex and sexuality. Queer embraces all, the conformist and the non-conformist. If Queer is to remain radical and not to become domesticated like Feminism has (Power dress for success!) then it has to only do one thing, fight for the right to be different and free from discrimination because of that difference. What does that mean? Gays and Lesbians should be able to get married, but if we honour the rights of couples maybe we should also recognise the rights of thruples?

Maybe single people and sex radicals should also have an easy way of accessing the rights married people so easily do. Helen Razer pointed out that married couples are a sort of legal super being, favoured by tax law, property law and contract law. Until the end of 2011 you couldn’t be compelled to give evidence against your spouse; only priests and confessors continue to hold such a privileged place in law.

It’s not a case of “don’t reward the gays and lesbians for acting like straights” it should be a case of “freedoms and benefits for everyone, regardless of their relationship status”. Inevitably some tool suggests that without families there will be no children and we have to support coerce people into these relationships by having punitive measures in place. These people probably need counselling, and nicer children. If marriage is such a delicate thing, that making it even slightly more inclusive would kill it, then it deserves to die. It won’t though, it will evolve into something different. The challenge for the Queers is to make sure everyone can enjoy the ride, married or not.

What I’m doing with my Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi LogoThe dice have decreed equal portions for a total of a dozen, which is to say, six and six. So it will be a list of things I’d like to do, given enough time and enough Raspberry Pies.

What I’m actually doing:

Digital signage is really fashionable at the moment. It’s not surprising really, if a good image can be compelling, why not make it sing and dance? I’ve seen an Ipad being used for this in the window of a jewellery store. I’m sure there was a lovely app to make it happen, but Ipads are small and expensive. A cheap LCD TV and a Raspberry Pi running Pi Presents could cost one quarter of the Ipad and be a lot bigger too. Of course, the simplicity of an app may appeal to those who lack my ICT skills. I plan to use Pi Presents to power an interactive display in the exhibition space in my building at school.

What I would love to do:Raspberry Pi Diagram

Raspberry Pi as a hotspot; I’d love to share my internet connection with the neighbours but I’m not about to open my local network completely. The Raspberry Pi would make a fine hotspot for a series of town houses or a small business; just make sure you have the right antenna!

Raspberry Pi as multi-room sound system; and all controlled through your phone! It’s like a Sonos system, but a bit homespun and a great deal cheaper.

Raspberry Pi as a torrent box; at last I can unshackle my laptop and let my Raspberry Pi fix my appalling upload ratio. Assuming I did that sort of thing of course.

Raspberry Pi as my own private cloud; following the Snowden revelations, and the dubious behaviour of Google, keeping your own data close makes a lot of sense. I think in the future we’ll see many more self hosted platforms and the likes of Facebook and Google will wither on the vine.

There’s a lot here to keep me busy for the foreseeable future. I’ll keep you posted on my current project as it comes to fruition. 


Elvis at 21

"Going Home" By Alfred Wertheimer
“Going Home” By Alfred Wertheimer

I went and saw the “Elvis at 21” exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, $15 entry fee for full fee admissions, $12 for others. My first emotion upon entry was disinterest, I’ve never thought Elvis had sex appeal (despite his “cock sucking lips” as the gays would say) and he never struck me as entertaining or as musically appealing in the way the Beatles were. All of the photographs were black and white, forming a collection of 56 images.

Thank goodness for the guide! Knowing the story behind the pictures made the entire exhibition come alive for me. I now understand the power and limits of the still image, it must suggest a story or possess one, if it doesn’t the image is powerless. A young man on a lounge with mail, on a train, in a pool, on a stage with a band. In themselves none of these images are extraordinary, they are of a young man gong through the world, but it’s the story it represents that is powerful. It’s the story of America on the cusp of enormous social, sexual and economic change. Viewed through this lens I understand the significance of Elvis better, these photos were shot by Alfred Wertheimer over seven days in 1956 just as Elvis’s star rose. Alfred took over 4000 shots during that time, for the mathematically minded, the exhibition represents 1.4% of the photos taken during that time.

The guide made a point at the beginning of telling us that if we wanted to add anything during the tour to speak up, and if anyone wanted to break into song, that was ok too. I can only imagine how little that poor guide is paid to put up with pedantic trivia tyrants and the musically inclined but mentally ill exhibition goers.  My last impression besides the great social upheaval of the time was that Elvis’s cousin Junior was more hotter.

Blah: Parking was a nightmare, I ended up parking at the national library and sprinting to make the tour on time.

Better: The guided tour (2:30pm everyday) was amazing and really made the exhibition worthwhile.

Best: They were selling peanut butter at the gift shop, BYO banana and deep fryer.