Cosmo Jarvis

Posted on April 3, 2011
Filed Under love, music | Leave a Comment

My friend Peter sent me a link to this charming song by genius pirate bluegrass crossover artist Cosmo Jarvis along with this letter describing how it made him feel -

When I see/hear things like this, it really makes me realise how much we gay
guys miss out on heroes in the straight world. Now I’m going to go on a little
here, but please bear with me (wakka wakka), I’d love you to read this before
you watch Cosmo Jarvis’ song Gay Pirates. It’s a fun song, but I’d also like you to
hear it in the way I hear it, as a warm and generous thing for a straight fella to
sing a song about loving another fella.
Love is understanding.
I’m reminded of when Obama mentioned gay people in his speeches, I instantly
had tears in my eyes (and I don’t cry easily… ok human rights struggles in
general make me cry… that and the lab scene in ET) because it hit me how rarely
we are specifically supported in the media, even though it’s slowly changing.
How rarely straight men and women show us open love and understanding,
instead of at best PC tolerance.
It seems so simple to me. We grow up learning how to be straight and learning
in general how to navigate and understand our way through a fairly alien world.
We teach ourselves to hear straight love songs as though they’re for us, and we
find in straight movies something universal to relate to. These are skills that
often make us generous and giving people, but they’re also a cumulative burden
when the one in ten we represent in society isn’t reflected in 10 percent of the
media.
Of course race issues have a lot in common with this, but at least in terms of race
most people grow up in a family who are just like them. Gay people hardly ever
have this comfort and have to strike out into the world to make their own family
of friends with shared experience. We learn draw so much from the prevailing
straight world and yet I am more often disillusioned by ‘normal’ people’s lack of
understanding or curiosity about our lives and loves.
It’s often questioned why gay people can be so sexualised or confrontational
in their search for equality, but these objections ignore the constant ambient
validation of straight lives in our culture, which allow straight people to choose
privacy without feeling invisible.
All this is my long-winded way of saying it is incredibly rare and beautiful and
inspiring and brave for a straight person, and particularly a straight man, to so
wholeheartedly embrace a gay story, be it as an actor (Sean Penn and James
Franco in Milk) or in other media, including song.
Song in particular, with its immediacy and its ability to uplift us into new states
of mind and stay catchy in our hearts. So this is my tribute to all past, present
and future straight men and women who make it their work and pleasure to
understand us and help us feel we are truly welcome in this world.

When I see/hear things like this, it really makes me realise how much we gay guys miss out on heroes in the straight world. Now I’m going to go on a little here, but please bear with me (wakka wakka), I’d love you to read this before you watch Cosmo Jarvis’ song Gay Pirates. It’s a fun song, but I’d also like you to hear it in the way I hear it, as a warm and generous thing for a straight fella to sing a song about loving another fella.

Love is understanding.

I’m reminded of when Obama mentioned gay people in his speeches, I instantly had tears in my eyes (and I don’t cry easily… ok human rights struggles in general make me cry… that and the lab scene in ET) because it hit me how rarely we are specifically supported in the media, even though it’s slowly changing. How rarely straight men and women show us open love and understanding, instead of at best PC tolerance.

It seems so simple to me. We grow up learning how to be straight and learning in general how to navigate and understand our way through a fairly alien world. We teach ourselves to hear straight love songs as though they’re for us, and we find in straight movies something universal to relate to. These are skills that often make us generous and giving people, but they’re also a cumulative burden when the one in ten we represent in society isn’t reflected in 10 percent of the media.

Of course race issues have a lot in common with this, but at least in terms of race most people grow up in a family who are just like them. Gay people hardly ever have this comfort and have to strike out into the world to make their own family of friends with shared experience. We learn draw so much from the prevailing straight world and yet I am more often disillusioned by ‘normal’ people’s lack of understanding or curiosity about our lives and loves.

It’s often questioned why gay people can be so sexualised or confrontational in their search for equality, but these objections ignore the constant ambient validation of straight lives in our culture, which allow straight people to choose privacy without feeling invisible.

All this is my long-winded way of saying it is incredibly rare and beautiful and inspiring and brave for a straight person, and particularly a straight man, to so wholeheartedly embrace a gay story, be it as an actor (Sean Penn and James Franco in Milk) or in other media, including song.

Song in particular, with its immediacy and its ability to uplift us into new states of mind and stay catchy in our hearts. So this is my tribute to all past, present and future straight men and women who make it their work and pleasure to understand us and help us feel we are truly welcome in this world.

Comments

Leave a Reply