Julescosby's Blog

Archive for March, 2010

Jules Cosby out of the Closet!

Posted by julescosby on March 20, 2010

Dear friends and family:

It is with a heavy heart that I bring this message to you.

Some of us have spoken to the content that follows in person.  This is for the rest of you, who have been wondering about the nature of my identity for some time now.  I must say, I too have wondered.  A closet is a terribly cold, dark place and its claustrophobic nature obfuscates thought, especially reflexive thought.  I will stand in such a place no longer.

I, Julius Hanlan Cosby, am a liberal.

I have spent many years at a school with a strong Marxist bent.  In moments of solidarity some of you were shocked to learn I was no Marxist.  Now that I’ve said what I truly am, you should know firstly that it took me nearly four years of being a vegetarian in order for me to be comfortable with that term.  I suppose I was always scared of what the great philosopher Wayne Campbell once said: “if you label me, you negate me.”  But as it came to pass with vegetarian, I no longer fear this label of ‘liberal’.  If it represents negation, then negate away!

At a psychological level, there are competing logics in my head.  I do not believe in history as progress; I think that social contract theory is an empty shell of itself; and the idea of painting people as solely rational utility maximizers dehumanizes.  The primacy of the individual in a collectivity is absurd.  But poor philosophical and historicist grounds of standard run-of-the-John-Stuart-Mill liberalism aren’t enough to push me into a different camp.

What is popular is not always best – one word friends, Nickelback – and that is why I’m not strictly a democrat.  Aristotle had it right millennia ago when he argued that the best political system is a mixed one.  I want a conservative judiciary, but I want universities that train progressive lawyers with social consciences.  I want a powerful House of Commons, but I want the sober second look of an Upper House (I suppose I would ideally prefer a more horizontal as opposed to vertical approach to viewing it).  I want a powerful state: not so that it can peek into the bedroom of my neighbour or tell me what to put into my body, but as an instrument of good.

Does this make me an elitist? Well I believe in strongly in the power of unions, democratic unions.  The union ought to be one of the most powerful expressions of democracy in our society.  Often, it is as centralized and bureaucratic – and therefore loathed – as the corporations they oppose.  As much as feasible, workers should control their destiny.

Am I committed to social justice? Yes.  Should this be an indictment of me as a Bourgeois apologist? I think not.  When I hear some Marxists representing an ethos of the ‘old boys club’ it makes me sick.  This is no way indicts all Marxists.  But if you can’t respect the rights of someone other than rich white straight men, for the sole reason that other rich white straight men historically came up with these rights, you are in a eddy of logic that escapes me.  If the Revolution succeeded, but as a result turned back liberal ideas of equality, then would it be worth it? I have asked myself that question over and over again, and I still can’t find a calculus that would have me answer in the affirmative.

There are many of you who will poke holes in the positions I have sketched out here.  As always I sincerely welcome the debate.  I am still a skeptic, by very nature conservative, but I also want to be intellectually honest.

And ultimately, I don’t want things to change between us.  If we meet in the locker room of the Historical Materialism conference, I don’t want things to be awkward.  It’s me guys: the same old Jules I’ve always been!

And so as I warily take these difficult steps out of a closet I can no longer bear, I leave with one final refrain:

Love me, love me, love me:

I’m a liberal.

-JC

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Special Guest Blogger: Adam Richards

Posted by julescosby on March 15, 2010

To our loyal reader: JC has been suffering from a severe case of writer’s block as of late.  This week we present a musing by his longtime associate and loyal friend Adam Richards.

The Two Adams

By Adam C. Richards

It might as well be a sitcom.

Two roommates, both named Adam.  One is gay, one is straight.  BUT HERE’S THE KICKER: The straight one is fancy – like Will and Grace fancy – and the gay one is more like the older brother from the Wonder Years.

The rest practically writes itself.

But it’s not a sitcom; it’s my life right now.  When our other roommate told me who was about to move in a few months back, I expected an Elton John or a Truman Capote to show up with an entourage and suitcases upon suitcases of fabulous kitsch.  Think of the classy parties we would have! The new colour schemes in the bathroom! The mani-pedi Sundays!

And then, Gay Adam arrived.

Jerry Seinfeld once mused that he wasn’t gay, but that people always assumed so because he was thin, single and neat.  Gay Adam is single, but not thin and hardly neat.  He likes guns and is going to be a cop.  He wears a hunting jacket, pajamas, and big ugly boots out into the world every day.  He doesn’t care much for the world of LGBT, but sure loves CCR.

In other words, Gay Adam is a dude.

Now Straight Adam, yours truly, if you take him on appearance, is a dude too.  Once, a classmate called me ‘hypermasculine’ because I have a jawline that can cut a diamond and a baritone that could reach a submarine in the middle of the Pacific.  But oh those ever-deceptive appearances! In reality, I might be the most effeminate hypermasculine that you’ve ever met.  I can’t leave the house if my scarf doesn’t match my shoes, or if my belt clashes with my watch.  The amount of product I put into my hair probably amounts to the Gross Domestic Product of half of the Global South.

To give you more of an idea of the Gay Adam/Straight Adam dichotomy, here are a few examples:

  • I like to keep things neat and tidy.  He doesn’t give a fuck.
  • I eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.  He doesn’t give a fuck.
  • I moderate drug and alcohol intake.  He really doesn’t give a fuck.

Yes, we’ve really come to hear that particular utterance – “I don’t give a fuck” – a lot around the apartment these past couple of months.  In fact, if this were a sitcom, that would definitely be his catchphrase, although maybe watered down a bit for television.  Ideally we could find a timeslot on HBO to keep the accuracy, because ‘I don’t care, especially’ or ‘I don’t give a hoot, presently’ doesn’t come close to properly capturing the I-don’t-give-a-fuck-ness of Gay Adam.

Now, here’s the part where you get my view on homosexuality.  I don’t care about it one way or another.  I’ve been called a ‘fag’ my whole life by dumb children, but I’m not one.  In fairness to those little imps, I kissed a boy on the cheek in the bathroom once in Grade 7 in front of everyone.  It wasn’t because I was especially attracted to him; it just seemed like the right idea at the time.  Man, THAT one took a while to explain away.  But never at any point have I found men, images of men, or even the idea of men particularly attractive.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good stereotype.  Like The Onion says: Stereotypes are real time-savers.  But in a world that is presented to us as fundamentally black and white, I truly enjoy seeing them break down into slippery grays.  And to see this much illogic concentrated in one small apartment is enough to prove the only intuition I’ve ever had about the world: that it is one big steaming pile of absurdity.

As for the plot lines and story arc for the new season of The Two Adams, well, Gay Adam just asked me to take him clothes shopping this week.  Look out, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.  You’re about to get fucked in the ass.

Stay tuned.

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