Archive for February 2005
I’m afraid that my most recent post on GNXP, “The allochtonen are leaving” wasn’t very original, merely a publicization of Silt 3.0’s “Witamy!”. Said worthy blogger noted that, yes, a hundred thousand people half left the Netherlands in the previous year, but half of them were ethnically non-Dutch. Which, considering that at most a tenth of the Netherlands’ population is non-Dutch, and that most of the incoming immigrants were Europeans, undermines the thesis of the Islamization of the Netherlands rather dramatically.
Dad came to Toronto Saturday night, following the unfortunate but expected death of a relative.
We spent Sunday afternoon together, brunch at the Coach House and then walking down Yonge towards the Eaton Centre.
It was odd to see Dad in the places I’ve grown familiar with.
I’ve always found something rather peculiar — queer even — about the ruminations of Douglas Coupland. It was shortly after Microserfs was released that a nagging, indescribable unease started buzzing about my cranium. There was something, well, wrong with his fiction — the literary equivalent of watching a slightly out of focus film.
It was only after reading Girlfriend in a Coma that I pinpointed my problem with Doug’s oeuvre. None of his heterosexual relationships rang true for me. In any of his novels.
There are a limited number of explanations for this perceived shortcoming.
Door Number One: I’m an idiot unfit to breathe the same brilliant air as Sir Doug.
Door Number Two: Doug is a bad writer, despite the big advances he commands.
Door Number Three: Doug has had limited experience in the romantic world, a contingency which has been accurately reflected in his writing.
Door Number Four: Doug has violated the first commandment of fiction: Write about what you know.
Bigge’s 2001 review of All Families Are Psychotic goes into somewhat more detail.
[K]icking the irony habit maybe impossible for Coupland. A few years ago, Oliver Bennett, writing for London’s The Independent, pondered the popularity of irony and sarcasm during the 1990s. Bennett namechecked the fiction of Coupland and the ironic detachment within. The same article noted that “[T]he ironic attitude as we know it today probably started as a Masonic code among like-minded people — often gay, and bound up in camp — to differentiate themselves from lumpy, literal straights.”
As Bigge notes quite correctly, the question of Douglas Coupland’s sexual orientation is largely irrelevant to his novels. When I first read Microserfs, the question of sexual orientation came up rarely, and always in connection to Microserfs‘ larger theme of the need to be fulfilled personally, particular after long periods of self-denial. Even so, footnotes are fun.
Over at Positive Liberty, Jason Kuznicki has posted a typically incisive article, “Biological and Ethical Mistakes.” He argues that sexuality may well be determined by a constellation of genes comparable to that which determines race, all interacting to produce slightly different outcomes (in this case, different locations on the Klein Grid). He also makes the point that, regardless of whether homosexuality is an evolutionary dead end or not (a difficult argument to make, given the presence of same-sex behaviour throughout the animal kingdom), people who engage in same-sex behaviour should be treated not on the evolutionary outcomes of their sexual activity but rather on its moral implications.