Page 79

PERSPECTIVE: Snide Lines

Stonewall’s Inner-Peace Officers BY SUSIE DAY

A

few weeks ago, at an event at police headquarters, Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill apologized to the LGBTQ community, on behalf of the entire NYPD, for the brutal raid that the cops carried out at the Stonewall Inn 50 years ago. This was an admission long overdue, for which our queer community is deeply grateful. And yet you wonder: shouldn’t we be thanking them? After all, if the cops hadn’t busted in, harassed, brutalized, and arrested those brave queers, we probably wouldn’t have the movement we have now, right? In point of fact, the New York City police force has actually encouraged our can-do, fight-the-power moxie that has urged us on in so much societal upheaval. Yet cops have been slow to take credit. It’s time someone said, “Thank you, cops.” So, to show my appreciation for the NYPD – yea, cops worldwide – I have devised a series

of police empowerment workshops, which may be presented, for a nominal fee, at any precinct. Exercise 1 — Centering: Few people realize the psychic trauma that the police face at a mass demonstration, when up against whining gender perverts, angry people of color, and/ or Bill-of-Rights knowit-alls. So we must create a safe, nurturing space that will allow the inner cop to heal. Have cops form a circle, cross-legged on the floor. (Gently discourage self-ridicule if the cartilage in their knees keeps popping; this is a sign of change and should be affirmed.) Now ask cops to close their eyes and imagine a big, glowing ball of navy-blue light in the middle of their circle. Suggest they relax, breathe, and just be. Ask cops to imagine that, with each breath, this light enters their heavy shoes, travels up their uniforms, through their billy clubs, their stun-guns, all the way to their badge chakras — until it bursts out of their police hats in an arc of radiant energy — their

police “force,” if you will. Ask cops to use this force to imagine themselves, perfectly safe and relaxed, chasing annoying protestors in slow motion through a beautiful, deserted alley. Now, enjoin cops to imagine catching these protestors and smashing their heads — nonviolently — against city dumpsters. Play CD of Tibetan temple bells and whale noises. Burn sage. Exercise 2 — Breaking Down Stereotypes: Have cops center. Pass out paper and pencils. Ask cops to go deep within themselves, and then write down all the myths and vicious put-downs about police that they have encountered from bigoted civilians. Examples: Cops are more likely to stop and frisk a person of color than a Caucasian because it makes them look “cool”; Cops have an extra muscle in their brains that prevents them from answering calls for help in poor or non-white neighborhoods; Cops mostly bust black people for smoking marijuana because the police are part of a conspiracy to create a global “prison-industrial

complex,” etc., etc. Channel the energy flow so that cops begin to experience their innate cop-consciousness. When did they realize they were “that way?” Were they born cops, or were they traumatically initiated into “the life” by another cop? Give cops time to see themselves as part of a cutting-edge, stylishly oppressed in-group. Are there cop tendencies? Mannerisms? Would they feel more validated in a separatist “police state?” Discuss. Exercise 3 — Letting Your Cops Out to Play : Your cops are now ready to move from fantasy to reality. Ask them to center and visualize themselves lying on a beautiful, warm beach. Watch their gruff exteriors melt away as you explain that there is a great Scheme of Things, and that each of them has a place in it. Yes, like grains of sand on this beach — or tiny strands of chorizo in a cosmic meat grinder — every cop is part of the Whole. And, as a single drop of seawater contains the entire ocean, within each cop is the entire US Department of Homeland

➤ SNIDE LINES, continued on p.84

PERSPECTIVE: Media Circus

The Delights and the Weight of History BY ED SIKOV

T

his was the arresting headline in the Washington Post. Seems that the unmarried, 50-yearold Grover Cleveland needed a respectable White House hostess, so he turned to his sister, Rose. And Rose was a, a… well, they didn’t have a word for it at the time. The story, which first appeared first in the Daily Beast and was also picked up by the New York Daily News is almost as lurid as a bodice ripper. The surviving letters between Rose Cleveland and her inamorata, Evangeline Simpson Whipple, demonstrate a level of passion that our generations may feel but scarcely articulate with such florid fervor. Rose writes: “My Eve! Ah, how I love you! It paralyzes me... Oh Eve, Eve, surely you cannot realize what you are to me. What you must be. Yes, I dare it, now, I will no longer

GayCityNews.nyc | June 27 - July 3, 2019

fear to claim you. You are mine by every sign in Earth & Heaven, by every sign in soul & spirit & body — and you cannot escape me. You must bear me all the way, Eve....” Then: “You are mine, and I am yours, and we are one, and our lives are one henceforth, please God, who can alone separate us. I am bold to say this, to pray & to live to it. Am I too bold, Eve — tell me? ... I shall go to bed, Eve — with your letters under my pillow.” Oh, my overheated soul! All that’s missing is what Richard Hayden, in Howard Hawks’s brilliant “Ball of Fire” (1941), wistfully calls “the ineffable smell of rose water!” In case anyone doubts that these women were lesbians and not just asexual partners involved in the term Henry James coined as a “Boston marriage” (the likely asexual cohabitation of two women in the 19th century), how do you account for the raw, feverish passion Rose expressed?

From the Post: “Because only Rose’s letters survive, we know little of how Evangeline responded. But, on a few occasions, Rose quotes Evangeline’s letters in her own: ‘Oh darling, come to me this night — my Clevy, my Viking, My — Everything, Come! God Bless Thee.’ Rose flirtatiously replied, ‘Your Viking kisses you!’” (In case you’re stuck on the meaning of “Clevy,” as I was, remember her last name.) The Post continues: “Rose struggled to name their relationship — ‘I cannot find the words to talk about it,’ ‘the right word will not be spoken.’ Indeed, there was not a word for a same-sex relationship between women at the time. The word ‘lesbian’ existed, but only in reference to the Greek poet Sappho.” A period of relative estrangement ensued when Evangeline up and married a man of the cloth: “Bishop Henry Whipple, a popular Episcopal preacher from Minne-

sota who was 34 years her senior. There is every indication she had real feelings for the bishop. She wrote of her affection for him in her diary, she didn’t need the money the marriage would bring, and, at 40 in the 19th century, she was probably past childbearing age.” “Rose continued writing letters to Evangeline, but the intimacy fades into little more than travelogue.” But wait! The love letters returned, thanks to a timely visit from the Grim Reaper: “Bishop Whipple died at his home in Minnesota on Sept. 16, 1901…. Over the next nine years, Rose and Evangeline’s letters took on a new character, away from the wild, sometimes obsessive, passion of early love and toward a steady tenderness. Evangeline continued to live in Minnesota, but the extended stays at each other’s homes resumed.” In short, they ended up moving to Tuscany together and lived there until Rose’s death from the

➤ MEDIA CIRCUS, continued on p.84

83

Profile for Paul Schindler

Gay City News June 27, 2019 Pride Issue  

Gay City News issue for Stonewall 50/ WorldPride, June 27, 2019

Gay City News June 27, 2019 Pride Issue  

Gay City News issue for Stonewall 50/ WorldPride, June 27, 2019

Advertisement