By Kate Clinton on January 27, 2011

Congratulations to Annette Bening on her Oscar nomination in THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, for the role described by the NYT as “a controlling lesbian.” I say it’s about time! Time not just for Annette Bening to get an Oscar. It's way past time for a controlling lesbian to be so honored.

Really, it’s an honor just to be nominated. And I’m not just saying that. Look at this year's other nominated roles: really sad mom, have-you-seen-my-dad teen, really beautiful in love girl, nutzoid ballerina. We are honored just to be in the company of these groundbreaking roles, but since we so rarely get this far, I hope this really is our year. Unlike the Jets.

Make all the controlling lesbian jokes you want. Red carpet: “What are you wearing, Eddie Bauer flannel?” After-party: “YOU read Vanity Fair?” Post-Oscar: “Will you put your Oscar near your softball trophy?”

Of course there have been lesbians in film: British teacher lesbians, serial killer lesbians, nun lesbians, cowgirl lesbians, horse-loving lesbians, soccer lesbians. Just this year Angelina Jolie was one shoot-em-up, mankiller badass in SALT. But she never came out as a lesbian. She didn’t have to. Sue Sylvester is not Jane Lynch and besides that would be for the Emmy. This is a first for a boldly controlling open lesbian.

I’m working on some ideas for the controlling lesbian acceptance speech. Word to the wise: don’t you dare start up the band music while the she is thanking her gym teacher, Title IX, and PFLAG parents. That would not be pretty.

I know I speak for all controlling lesbians, when I say, “Let this be our year! Or else.”

If you liked this article by Kate Clinton, a columnist for The Progressive magazine, check out some of her other pieces by clicking here.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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