Same-sex waltz

by Eszter Hargittai on July 22, 2006

This week, Chicago has been hosting Gay Games VII. It’s been fun to have all the various high quality sports competitions in town. Of course, as a spectator, there is not much difference when you watch the competitions at these events vs others since most sports tend to be divided by gender. However, couples sports (like figure skating or dancing) may look a bit different. But actually, only if you focus in on the gender aspect.

It should not be much surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention that I opted to go see the Dance Sports event. I only made it to the A-level competition of the men’s Latin dances and the women’s 10-dance, but this was just as well since this is the highest level under international rules. It was superb.

Anecdotally, my impression has been that most people in Chicagoland have either been excited about the Gay Games in town or haven’t paid much attention. But of course there is the occasional hostile approach. You really do have to wonder why people can’t just let others be as you’re standing there in the ballroom with all the energy and enthusiasm from both the crowd and the participants. Better yet, imagine if peope realized that they could even get something out of these events themselves, like enjoying the hard work of some very talented people.

The surprise of the event for me was to find out that the World Champion couple for men’s Latin hales from Hungary. In the Gay Games this week they placed third. I found out from them that Budapest will be hosting this year’s Same Sex Dance Competition . This made me wonder how the competition (and related associations and studios) got that particular name. Is use of the term “gay” exclusionary? Is it less politically charged to say “same sex”? Is the idea that not everyone who participates is gay? Anyone know the history of this? Apologies if I’m missing something obvious.

Legitimate targets

by Henry on July 22, 2006

Via “Kevin Drum”:http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_07/009218.php, this quite disgusting “claim”:http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-dershowitz22jul22,0,7685210.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail from Alan Dershowitz.

bq. Hezbollah and Hamas militants, on the other hand, are difficult to distinguish from those “civilians” who recruit, finance, harbor and facilitate their terrorism. Nor can women and children always be counted as civilians, as some organizations do. Terrorists increasingly use women and teenagers to play important roles in their attacks. The Israeli army has given well-publicized notice to civilians to leave those areas of southern Lebanon that have been turned into war zones. Those who voluntarily remain behind have become complicit.

Irish and British readers may find this line of reasoning familiar. It was advanced by the IRA at the height of its murder campaign. According to the IRA, civilian bystanders, including women and children, who were killed when bombs blew up police officers or soldiers should have known better than to be associating with the security forces or socializing in places that they were known to frequent. These bystanders were complicit in their own deaths. It was an utterly contemptible argument then. It’s just as contemptible today.