Topless march in Farmington

After protesters marched topless in Portland for equal rights, Andrea Simoneau, a 22 year old student at the University of Maine at Farmington, decided to organize a similar march in her school’s town.

Hundreds of spectators poured into the street and lined the sidewalks to watch, while clusters of protesters held up signs in opposition to the march.

That’s roughly the desired outcome. Make something that shouldn’t be a big deal into a big deal. It’s too bad that there were so many non-news cameras all over the place, but it can’t be said that that wasn’t expected. Nor could it be said that it was unexpected that some people on the other end of the spectrum would go too far.

Resident Elaine Graham took on the most active role of protest, following topless women with a blue blanket and holding it up to cover them during and after the march.

That’s really not okay. Graham was being disruptive of what was a legal protest in Maine. She really needed to stay at an appropriate distance with a sign or some other form of non-interfering expression. Of course, this isn’t the first time Elaine Graham has gone too far.

Meet Elaine Graham of Farmington, Maine. This is Elaine Graham being expelled from a Judiciary Committee work session on the same sex marriage bill last April. I have no idea at all what she is screaming. However, Ms. Graham is holding three crudely crafted signs. The top one reads: “Mission Homosexual Movement CHANGE WORLD MORAL ORDER.”

(I added the link to the image.)

No stranger to silliness, Graham has again and again publicly expressed her sexual immaturity in ways more inappropriate than what’s par for the course. It’s sad and pathetic, really. Burdened with hatred based in Christianity, she cannot accept that other people have a more adult view than she when it comes to sex, the human body, and even love.

Finally, here’s one of the pictures from the march. Obviously I’m not going to upload bare breasts on WordPress (nor am I going to link to anything besides news images, should images be floating around out there), but I think it’s worthwhile to upload this particular picture because it captures the whole event so well. Graham is there, misbehaving out of sexual immaturity, while who knows how many men take video and pictures of the event.

This contrasts so much with a show I saw in Portland last night. The bulk of the show had three bands/musicians (one of which was Theodore Treehouse), but in between sets there was a belly dancer. Any person would have fallen over him- or herself if this woman merely made eye contact, but notably, everyone refrained from recording. There were a couple of photographers for the show itself, but no one in the audience pulled out a camera or cell phone and started snapping away. It wouldn’t have been appropriate by and large, but it also would have really distracted from what was actually a very skilled and talented performance. Of course, the reason for this difference in reaction is the certainly higher sexual maturity present in the audience at that show versus the sexual maturity of those who showed up to gawk in Farmington. People were able to recognize that the belly dancing was not a sexual act; many (though certainly not all!) in Farmington saw the topless march as a sexual display. It wasn’t.

Quality music

I often hate most music I hear. It sucks. Objectively. No, no. I know what you’re thinking, “But Michael, it’s art. There’s a high subjectivity to it all, isn’t there? And even if we can say something objectively, then whether someone likes something or not, it’s still ultimately opinion, no?” Nope. It sucks.

But that isn’t the case with all music. Every once in awhile something with quality will come along. That was the case last night in Portland (the original, not that copycat place) at The Apohadion. I saw four local bands/acts: Shai Erlichman, The Cups, Manners, and Theodore Treehouse. They were all fun. And that’s a term I think should mean more than it usually does. Take movies, for instance. The term is bandied about for crappy summer nothing movies (“The most fun you’ll have all year at the movies!”), but it should be reserved for something with quality. I recall one critic describing Catch Me If You Can as a fun movie, and that’s entirely accurate. It’s also a great movie. It had something to it that made it more than just another movie. That’s how I feel about good bands. If I’m going to call them fun, there needs to be something more, some depth. I would say that applies to everyone I saw last night.