¡No Pasaran, Mother Fuckers!
November 20, 2010 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Scottish SF author Hal Duncan tells you It Gets Better. [Work Warning: carpet f-bombing] He has been blogging for a while about SF and social issues, including homophobia and cultural appropriation. A couple of short pieces and some audio files are available in the sidebar on the left of the blog, if you are inclined to check out his writing. If that's too much blog, here is an interview. [It Gets Better previously]
posted by GenjiandProust (14 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Quite a bit of Duncan's work can be accessed in the sidebar of his linked above blog. And if you're wondering what the no pasaran reference is about, it's to a speech delivered during the Spanish Civil War by Dolores Ibárruri, a leader in the Spanish Communist Party. The speech was given to rally the troops of the 2nd Spanish Republic against the Falangists of Franco. The rallying cry of no pasarán, they shall not pass, became a battle cry of Communists, Socialists and leftists of various stripes against Fascists and Nazis in the late 30s and was a part of the left-wing popular consciousness for decades thereafter. Duncan's entire speech in his It Gets Better video is very redolent of pre-WWII British rhetoric, except it's about being gay and has a healthy amount of the word 'fuck.'
posted by Kattullus at 12:17 PM on November 20, 2010 [5 favorites]

I am totally calling myself an Elder Of Sodom from now on.
posted by The Whelk at 12:27 PM on November 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

Hal Duncan is great! Vellum was a stunning book, but I really couldn't finish Ink. Maybe the best starting point to his writing is Escape From Hell.

I really liked his take on It Gets Better. It is for me, besides Kate Bornstein's, one of the more relatable of those videos, in the sense that I think they would have been believable and helpful for my 15yo self - in a way that Dan Savages happy little middle class nuclear family example wouldn't have been.
posted by ts;dr at 12:38 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Hal Duncan seems like a great bloke. There was a neat interview with him on the StarShipSOfa podcast a while back, but it seems to have faded into the mists of podcasty time.
posted by Artw at 1:10 PM on November 20, 2010

I was very ambivalent going into this because the IGB project seems so important and so right that I was cringing at the thought that someone might be critical of it. But this really is so powerful. This is not so much a critique of the IGB, it's an extension of it - a beautiful, needed one.

Thanks for the post.
posted by victors at 1:38 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

"I know that every day you spend feels like a fuckin eternity...so....a promise that it gets better, at some point in the future is......easy to give, but hard to hear."

This perspective was sorely lacking and I'm glad he took the time. Well said. This campaign is always getting better. Thank you.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:31 PM on November 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

Gorgeous and true.

Thanks for the post.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:55 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

This sums up all the reservations I've had with this campaign. If I were a gay teen this might actually get through to me.
posted by clarknova at 4:01 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

I really like the acknowledgement of the cross-generational nature of this project. That brings out a deep resonance for me. I remember when I was 22 and coming out and I had older gay men in my life who passed down their stories to me, of being gay when I was a young child, and how they had worked within their community large or small through barriers political and personal to help change minds and laws. It was like a small prism slice, augmented by frequent trips to Brothers & Sisters, the once-amazingly excellent, now defunct GLBT bookstore in Albuquerque.

I fear that a lot of this is being lost at the moment. I live in a small town with a big college, and talk to gay 20-year-olds regularly, and I'm astounded they aren't in the least bit curious about the evolution of gay rights and culture across the last 60-70 years. And I fear that if they aren't hearing about the battles that have already been fought, they won't understand how, as Duncan puts it, we NEED that spark of who they are to help shape an even better future for all of us.

In some measure, I agree with Duncan. The IGB campaign is really older people trying to tell younger people that they are valued as individuals and community members. And, for a lonely homosexual teen, even just seeing such an incredibly diverse group of people all wanting to speak out in their own voice, reaching across the generational line and saying "Here we are, in all our strange wonderfulness. We're just like you. We've been through the same shit. But look who we are today! And you have this within you, too. Please get through and be that person! For yourself, and for everyone in your world."

I love this aspect of the IGP project, and I thank Duncan for kind of helping crystalize my thoughts about this. Great words. Amazing video.
posted by hippybear at 4:34 PM on November 20, 2010 [4 favorites]

This is awesome. And perfect.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:55 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yes, that's brilliant. I don't know why I get so misty-eyed over the videos- the whole concept of them - in the It Gets Better project. I guess that straight as I am, I'm way freaky enough in enough other ways - being from (what seemed at the time like) East Shithole, Nowhere as the man says- that I really could have used, and I guess still sometimes need, to hear somebody talk about how I - we - will walk out the doors of hell with its fire still in our hearts and raise our fists in the face of all those motherfuckers...

(I mean, hell is hell, and those motherfuckers are pretty much the same dudes for everyone, yeah?)

Also: Vellum and Ink are both transcendentally beautiful books, and when I read them again I guess I'll hear them in Duncan's brogue, which makes me want to start right now. Transcendentally beautiful, goddamn.
posted by hap_hazard at 5:52 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


In all seriousness, the wisdom, wit, and work that you have done on queer causes, i think that you are an elder of sodom. i know it was intended as a joke, but i think that we need to make it joking on the square.
posted by PinkMoose at 6:25 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Does it get better if the jerks who terrorized you through grade school and junior high turned up gay later in life?
posted by Yakuman at 10:03 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

"Does it get better if the jerks who terrorized you through grade school and junior high turned up gay later in life?"

Absolutely. Just ask Larry Craig or Mark Foley.
posted by bardic at 12:09 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

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