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Recently we talked about google search terms leading to our blogs. At some point I was wondering why people even bother to google „Jaroussky boyfriend’s name“.
It’s a huge subject, and hard to break it down. But nevertheless I will try.
One charming night
Gives more delight
Than a hundred lucky days:
Night and I improve the taste,
Make the pleasure longer last
A thousand, thousand several ways.
– Secresy, The Fairy Queen (Henry Purcell)
Isn’t there a grain of truth in it? Love has a great deal to do with mystery, and secrecy. Night is the preferred time associated with love; lovers meet in darkness. In literature this can be found from Amor and Psyche — where Psyche’s disire to reveal her lovers’ identity even causes the relationship to be put on a harsh hiatus — to Romeo and Juliet. I like the story of Amor and Psyche — a lot. They met, often, in a cave, and didn’t do much really except from making love. (Just by the way, I still wonder how the minor fact that Amor has wings could have lapsed her, even in the dark.) They knew close to nothing about each other — nothing at least that had any relation to the outside world of their secret cave. Still, the moment they are separated, she solves tasks from employing ants to sort out grains in fluffy Cinderelly style, to going to the Underworld — pacifying Cerberus with self-made dog-treats — all for love. Love has little to do with knowledge.
According to scientific research, you fall in love within the first few seconds of meeting the other. What follows is just the attempt of logical parts of your brain to justify and rationalize. You don’t fall in love out of pity, when you finally hear a heartbreaking childhood experience, or a minute recount of past relationships from the other. But of course: additional information can breed more respect, and helps you to understand the other better. If you ever want to leave the cave, like Amor and Psyche do in the end, you are bound to talk to each other, and explain yourself. But that part can be filed under “annoying and sometimes entertaining real life” — it isn’t the initial emotion of love.
Stars generally don’t live in caves, even if some rock-stars’ flats bear a certain resemblance. So at some point there is the need to explain yourself, and to make a statement, even more than for a normal person. So, apart from settling your relationship to another person, and explaining yourself to your family and friends, you have this other group — the public.
Now the question is: Is the public, the fans and followers, the haters, the youtube commentators,… are they entitled to make demands?
To some degree yes. A star has a public position, what he or she does has the chance to change what people think and do, and so has more influence than most politician’s statements.
What the gay community, and justly, demands first and foremost is…
In that respect, I see Mr. Jaroussky’s duty — if such a thing exists — completely fulfilled with the simple statement that he is gay.
I grew up in the eighties and nineties, where coming-out and outing was a huge subject. Quickly some guidelines were established by the moderate faction of justly angry queer people, defining certain conditions under which outing would be o.k.. In general and simplified, this was the case if the person in question was a homophobe in public or did anything in public that was in ridiculous contradiction to his private life. Mostly this affected politicians.
A similar outrage had only happened in 1971 when one of two large German weekly magazines had a headline which read, „We had an abortion,“ featuring women – famous, or not so famous – but their faces and names on the cover, including Romy Schneider – visible for all to see. But — they weren’t forced, as outed people were. They chose to go public to change something — the public’s opinion on abortion laws, and in general, women’s freedom of choice in more than only this matter.
Visibility is essential — not only as in queerdom, but also in other fields of life. Variety should be made visible. My longhaired, grumpy looking bearded bf sat in a streetcar (adorned with a washed-out “Resident Evil” t-shirt), and ended up chatting with an elderly lady about Bach’s cantatas. This surely made her reconsider a few prejudices she might have had.
I can fully understand the rage, disappointment and anger gay people are feeling when they look at faux straight people. But why is someone not naming their partner even a problem? Visibility is one aim, but it is not the only one. Most influence in politics is being done by persons and organizations who never, or very seldom, appear in the media. As sad as it is, it is almost impossible to get a majority with a view that is not conservative.
Visibility is one thing, but it isn’t all. People don’t necessarily accept what they see more often as normality. A good example is the muslim veil — it hardly breeds tolerance, even though it is a sure way to gain visibility.
There are two ways to change public opinion, basically. One is by a revolution — the aftermath of the 68’s as shown on the cover above was a revolutionary time. The other way are subtle changes, and they won’t come fast; nevertheless the change can have huge effects on everyone’s life, even if from an outsider’s view it is hardly visible.
I am not married, neither do I intend to marry, and only ten years ago my daughter would have encountered some problems because of it. Today, no one cares much. No huge revolutionary changes have brought this about, but the subtle everyday changes.
Politicians vs. Artists
A politician as well as an artist leads a public life, as well as a private life.
An artist is not a politician. Politicians are meant to be reliable. You like to know what religion they belong to, what their view is on many issues, and have a right maybe to know their marital status too. In Germany, a politician’s sex life doesn’t necessarily determine their success. It is rather unlikely that a man who has been divorced three times like our Ex-Chancellor Schröder could reach a similar position in the U.S., where you basically still elect a royal family.
What a politician should be: reliable, foreseeable in his actions, without too many „Leichen im Keller,“ – corpses hidden in the cellar, which means secrets that could make them prone to blackmail or would shatter their reputation if revealed. You vote for a politician; you like to see what you’re voting for — the more precise, the better. I want to know if a politician has heart problems or takes drugs. You, the voter, have a right to know. The foreign intelligence will know anyway.
A politician is almost bound to spread “private” pictures as part of their PR, to satisfy a public demand, and also as a deal. By selling a “homestory” to an important newspaper, exclusively, you avoid uncomfortable questions asked or paparazzi pictures being published.
(The pony is called Ariadne. Oh, and the Lady was the minister of family and social issues, just in case it gets neglected.)
Now to the arts. If I write instead: An artist should be reliable, foreseeable in his actions, …Ridiculous, isn’t it? There are some that are, but artists are loved or hated, but never elected unless by CD sales numbers. You don’t — or shouldn’t — demand the same from an artist than you justly do from a politician. You don’t expect a politician to be a master of arts either.
Whether in a politician the private life in parts has to be people’s concern, an artist shouldn’t be molested, according to my opinion.
Art is about – mystery, secrets, dreams, all that is not revealed unless an artist expresses himself. An artist may be ambiguous, and an artist is essentially one thing they are loved or hated for: He/she is unique.
It took Steve Tyler (the indestructible frontman of Aerosmith) about 16 years to admit he had a wonderful daughter, Liv Tyler. He might have done her a favour for not exposing her to publicity before. As an artist, it’s absolutely fine to act this way. As a politician it would be right out of the question.
People have a very crude concept of sex. Sex isn’t just „insert thingy A into thingy B“ as Terry Pratchett so lovingly put it. Yet sex is a political issue. This comprises of a few branches:
Criminal law and jurisdiction
As most criminal law derives from the military – the Leviticus, as well as the Articles of War of 1749 – it mostly solely focusses on men.
…which is intertwined with the first, as the public opinion influences jurisdiction and vice versa. You can only change a law if either a benevolent king got a fit of „enough with that bs, what am I king for?“ like Frederic the Great, or by inducing a change in the public opinion which will cause laws to be changed with some inertia.
It is a huge step from being prosecuted for one’s lifestyle to being allowed to marry in not even a hundred years. But not only did society’s attitude towards gay relationships change. Just a brief illustration about what was considered „normal“ up until the early nineteenth century.
The Branks, also sometimes called Dame’s Bridle, or Scold’s Bridle comprised of a metal facial mask and spiked mouth depressor that was implemented on housewives up until the early 19th century. Many clergymen sustained in this husband’s right to handle his wife, and to use “salutary restraints in every case of misbehavior” without the intervention of what some court records of 1824 referred to as “vexatious prosecutions.”
I guess you are feeling sick now – so am I. Society is a cruel monster. Not everyone likes to fight against it, charging into the fray.
But let’s get back to the original subject, which is…
…and passion, in which jurisdiction and society’s opinion matter little. Love defies reason whether society wants reasonable behaviour. Passion is the opposite of calm rationality the laws are based upon.
Someone does not only have sex with someone, or at some point discovers “Hey, I like more if I smooch a member of the same sex/the opposite sex.”
You fall in love, you quarrel, you have the greatest and the most dire times, all because of love or the lack of it.
Whether one’s sexual orientation is of course personal, but can be dis-attached from actual sexual behaviour even, love is a deeply emotional thing.
I am come to lock all fast,
Love without me cannot last;
Love like counsels of the wise,
Must be hid from vulgar eyes.
‘Tis holy, and we must conceal it;
They profane it who reveal it.
– Mystery, The Fairy Queen (Henry Purcell)
In fact, I demand one single ability from my partner: To keep his trap shut about quite a few things. I guess everyone does. If you’re famous, this of course conflicts with the insatiable thirst of the public to know things that are not their business.
Carried away by the wave of attention it is getting them, and maybe also fulfilling a secret exhibitionistic thread, some artists utter more than we (or at least I) ever wanted to know.
“I didn’t begin enjoying sex until I started masturbating. Before that, I really wasn’t sexual. I bought my first vibrator three years ago. It’s a shame I didn’t discover it sooner. Now I give Rabbit vibrators to all my girlfriends. They scream when they unwrap it. The best gift I can give them is an orgasm.”
– unmemorable quote by Eva Longoria.
Imagine a respectable actor, like Jason Isaacs giving an interview, stating, „You know, I like most… you know ‘the stranger’?“
It’s funny that in German not even a word like “sex-life” natively exists. It’s very English and American to limit a person to that. The German term would be “love-life,” “Liebesleben.” But love is so much more than just sex.
Opera and sex
Let’s take „La Divina” as an example.
Whenever I listen to that, it breaks my heart.
Do I exactly want to know what her „pene del cor“ are?
If she would have twittered or blogged instead, „You know, I’m still married, but I love this guy, you know, he’ll most probably never love me, but… darn.“ Would it touch us as much as this aria does?
Or, if she had held interviews, explaining her sexual habits in unbearable detail like Eva Longoria?
We don’t know what troubles La Divina when she sings „D’amor sull’ali rosee“, but she seems to understand Leonore better than we do; she is Leonore, she isn’t acting.
To return to the original subject: If I knew by a random coincidence that PJ was gay and would spot him hugging a hired girlfriend for the camera – I wouldn’t like it. But more so for the problems he would create for himself than for the damage it would do to the gay community. In my experience, it does you good if you keep the occasions in your life where you have to fake and lie to a minimum.
But that’s not the problem, isn’t it? He does, he’s quite frank about it; according to his own statement what he dislikes most is hypocrisy.
My personal opinion: Hordes of people falling in love with Jaroussky’s voice, convincing others, and accepting his being gay in passing because they can attach a person to the — for them — vague concept of the term “gay” will probably do more to change opinions than if he would create a twitter account posting drunk pictures of him smooching his boyfriend. *His boyfriend. *The luckiest guy on earth. Bugger. *letting the mental picture sink in… *sobbing because born ten years too early, and with the wrong gender, and…*helplessly crying in a corner.*
I’m joking of course. (This must be stated, as according to some research I’ve read 90% of readers are unable to spot irony.)
Jaroussky is socially engaged, with the Association Iris, and has been for a long time.
Apparently for him there are other issues just as, or more important, than that of sexual orientation.
Oh, and just as an afternote: Yes, I disdain heterosexual singers flaunting their sexual orientation as well.
(Erwin Schrott flaunting his…. straight… whatever this is.)
Just one charming, and for once, great interview with Mr. Jaroussky to conclude this. The questions are a little bit like those from the Proust Questionnare.
Aren’t those answers much more interesting than „Jaroussky boyfriend’s name“?
Votre boisson préférée ?
Philippe Jaroussky— Le vin.
> Qu’avez-vous réussi de mieux dans votre vie ?
Philippe Jaroussky— Vivre de ma passion.
> Si vous deviez changer une chose dans votre apparence physique, quelle serait-elle ?
Philippe Jaroussky— Être plus costaud !
> La faute qui vous inspire le plus d’indulgence ?
Philippe Jaroussky— La paresse.
> Votre plus grand regret ?
Philippe Jaroussky— Ne pas être devenu un bon violoniste !
> Votre plus grande peur ?
Philippe Jaroussky— Perdre un des sens.
> Que détestez-vous par-dessus tout ?
Philippe Jaroussky— L’hypocrisie.
> Votre devise ?
Philippe Jaroussky— Toujours remettre à demain ce qu’on peut faire aujourd’hui ! (Une fâcheuse tendance dont je n’arrive pas à me débarrasser…)
> État présent de votre esprit ?
Philippe Jaroussky— En ébullition !
Comment aimeriez-vous mourir ?
Philippe Jaroussky— Sans m’en rendre compte.
> Si vous êtes croyant, qu’aimeriez-vous que Dieu vous dise en arrivant au ciel ?
Philippe Jaroussky— Je ne crois pas, du moins pas en Dieu.