[This post is about Dancers Over 40, a collegial/fraternal
group. It is followed by a link to its web site.]
As an “old white male,” I fit the profile of the average gay-bashing, radical right, Tea Party bigot. But if anyone were to accuse me of being one, I’d be taken aback, and hurt.
I started my blog, 101American.com, with an idea from WW2—it’s patriotic to pay taxes. If the percent sign were allowed in site names, it would be titled 101%American. The extra 1% is what I pay to the US Dept of the Treasury over and above my income tax. When my accountant tells me what I paid this year, I’ll send my check for 1% extra, only a rain drop in the ocean, but my raindrop.
To inform readers, I email friends, friends of friends, students in my choreography class, colleagues in my writing workshops, artists who live at Westbeth, gradually built a list of about 200. I announce each post on Twitter and Facebook, then send an email with a link to my post. No memberships, ads, nothing to sell except ideas. My email can be ignored, deleted, or junked, and anyone can opt out by typing REMOVE in the Subject line. A few did. But even some who don’t like my “liberal” views, stick around. A visual artist with a gallery replied: “Hi Stu, I couldn’t disagree with you more.” A scholar who’d moved to Texas said I’d been brainwashed by NYC. Neither asked to be removed, bless em!
I spent two days making a separate list from the Dancers Over 40 Directory, and sent a preliminary email. Got a few Removes, also some welcomes. One asked me to post about dance, which I’d been reluctant to do, but have now done.
I also got a sort of “cease and desist” email from our respected DO40 leader, John Sefakis. I admire John’s energy, organizational skills, and gift for uniting a group of highly individualistic dancers. DO40 would not exist without him. Yet I could not comply. I realized that as John saw it, he was “protecting” DO40 members from a spammer. The act of emailing to a group—John calls it an eblast—is suspect. It’s what lying, salacious, mendacious, spammers do, ipso facto, I’m a spammer. Surmounting that profile is like getting past Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the gates of Hades.
It raised my awareness of how easy it is to cast people into molds, tar them with a ready brush. It also makes me more understanding of cops on the beat, torn between making the streets safer and not hassling people who happen to fit a profile of bad guys. It’s not simple.
Dancers Over 40 Web: http://www.dancersover40.org/