Sunday, November 3, 2013

*Sister and Brother, Fathers and Sons, Yale and Wall Street: 1983 - 2013.

Senator Rob Portman with his son, Will,
a Yale undergraduate

Even in 1983 Miss Wilder sensed it. 

The sexuality issue was dissolving. 

In my presence she ignored that discussion in the authorized biography of her brother, Thornton Wilder, 
(The Enthusiast, Gilbert Harrison, Ticknor and Fields, 1983) focusing instead on the issue of her own dignity as a lady and octogenarian  (and as literary executor of Thornton's estate)  at having been asked with proofread it with no warning of its contents.

Perhaps we can imagine even the late author himself  having silently, smilingly, subversively pushed the blurring of gender rigidity even in 1938, when he published Our Town

Note, for example,  that while Wilder's character of the  Stage-manager is definitely narrating a traditional marriage ceremony in this quote from the play, he is doing so decidedly WITHOUT gender of any kind, almost as an algebraic axiom ("two by two") : 

“People are meant to go through life two by two. ’Tain’t natural to be lonesome.” ― Thornton Wilder, Our Town.

Apparently thirty  years later Penelope Niven (in her 2012 biography of her distant relative Thornton [Niven] Wilder: A Life) hasn't quite  caught up with Miss Wilder's prescience during the 1980's. 

A New York Times book review  of that biography sees Ms. Niven going after the  knuckles of  the sexual identity matter "like a nun with a ruler."

Unlike Ms. Niven, Wall Street in 2013 has indeed caught up with the prophetic Miss Wilder of 1983, and is even attempting to drag Republicans along  into the world of gender identity neutrality too. 

Witness today's Op-Ed in The New York Times:

" . . .  Paul Singer, a billionaire who was one of the most important donors to Mitt Romney in 2012, gives generously to a range of Republican causes and prefers to do this with a minimum of media notice . . .

. . .  Singer has had such talks with Senator Rob Portman, the Ohio Republican who came out for gay marriage (LINK came out for gay marriage), citing his love for his gay son. Singer also has a gay son — and a gay son-in-law. The two men are married . . .

. . . All in all, he has pumped more than $17 million of his own money over the last decade or so into gay rights. And he privately tells Republicans leaning toward pro-equality positions that if they face fire from antigay groups, he’ll help them round up retaliatory funds . . . "   Link to NYT Op-Ed

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