"The Velvet Rage"

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    Aug 16, 2007 5:00 AM GMT
    How many of you have read this book? What do you think of it?
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    Aug 16, 2007 3:47 PM GMT
    I actually just finished reading it a couple weeks ago. I think the author’s (Alan Downs) experience with clinical psychology has allowed him to gain extensive knowledge regarding homosexuality and the unique shame (which he calls toxic shame) with which gay males continually try to overcome. I identify with most of Down’s ideas and statements in the book and feel as though I’m on the verge of stage 2. I should read it a second time to refresh my memory.
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    Aug 16, 2007 3:54 PM GMT
    Read it.

    He does make a few good points.

    I think that the only people I know who are more fucked up than clinical psychologists are their kids.

    I think that the book tells me a whole lot more about him than it does anyone else.

    R
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    Aug 16, 2007 5:18 PM GMT
    I read it, it was ok. I enjoyed reading it,however it seemed to repeat itself over and over. I then later like a year or so later read 10 things every gay man should know.I found this book to be better, because it actually went into more detail, and gave examples ect.

    It is very insightful for those who don't much about gays or the gay community.
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    Aug 16, 2007 5:27 PM GMT
    I'm right next to ITJock on this one.
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    Aug 16, 2007 5:30 PM GMT
    I just read it. I think it speaks for a large segment of the gay world. It seems to me that many gays who consider themselves liberated are really in what Downs would call "Stage 2." In that stage, you are trying compensate for shame with sexual adventures, exotic travel, fabulous parties, etc. But this is all still shame-based behavior. I think it's good to remember there is a third stage of stability and authenticity which isn't quite as visible but which is more satisfying.

    I think that the book would be threatening to those who think Stage 2 is the end of the road for gays. Many gays, IMHO, are afraid of the authentic, stable, but less exciting lifestyle he describes in Stage 3, and because Stage 2s are afraid, they tend to attack Stage 3s for being self-loathing. That way, Stage 2s don't have to look at themselves and grow up.

    I realize that's sharply worded--it's a general observation not directed toward anyone in particular.
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    Aug 16, 2007 9:28 PM GMT
    I think the whole thing is stages is kind of bullshit myself. Its basically saying your evolving and these are the stages. Its like saying I'm more evolved then you stage 2 , so you should try and be stage 3 like me. I obviously think alot of gay men have issues with being truthful to themselves, but also I don't see creating stages makes it anymore helpful to anyone. I also dont believe everyone goes through these stages he talks about.
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    Aug 17, 2007 6:24 AM GMT
    Some good insights.

    It deals a lot with maturity. Not aging, but rather social maturity. If you look at grandparents, more often than not, they have a tendency to be settled (I mean really old grandparents), and happy with the simple things in life, and content with each other.

    Frankly, I believe that this book talks to more than just gay men. I think that it has application to straight men as well.

    One thing that I am prone to believe is that gay men have to go through these "stages" to grow. Young people need the sensual stimulation, middle aged men need the intellectual, and finally, seniors need rest and contentment and peace. Its just is where we might get hung up and stuck along the way.
  • GeorgeNJ

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    Aug 19, 2007 1:57 AM GMT
    Sundown, I just finished reading this book about a month ago, and on my recommendation, 2 of my friends (both gay) also bought it. We all loved it because it shows how insidiously the shame factor sneaks into our self-perceptions and works itself out in our lives in a self-defeating way.

    I also read "The Way Out" by Christopher Lee Nutter. Nutter stresses being authentically yourself, and that as we come out (to ourselves, to others), we always evaluate our motivations for how we decide to dress, how we choose a lover, how we deport ourselves, etc. Nutter is Buddhist and he nicely integrates some Buddhist tenets into the points he makes.

    A friend gave me a copy of "Reclaiming Your Life" by Rik Isensee. I haven't read this one yet, but it came highly recommended.

    Ashpenaz, I love what you wrote.


    ITJock, your criticism seems a little different than the other negative things people wrote. I don't quite get it, but I'd be interested in knowing more of what you meant. It seems like you're saying the book reflects negatively on the author, Alan Downs. Could you explain this?
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    Aug 19, 2007 3:53 AM GMT
    "I think that the book would be threatening to those who think Stage 2 is the end of the road for gays. Many gays, IMHO, are afraid of the authentic, stable, but less exciting lifestyle he describes in Stage 3, and because Stage 2s are afraid, they tend to attack Stage 3s for being self-loathing. That way, Stage 2s don't have to look at themselves and grow up."

    You never fail to amaze, Skip.

    Weren't you kicked off this site for exactly this reason -- your almost unbelievably nasty personal attacks on those you would identify as Stage 2s?

    Then, did you not say you were sneaking back on the site because you realized your out-of-control attacks were demonstrative of your self-hatred? You felt no need to openly identify yourself and no need to publicly apologize for your behavior -- at least not that I've seen. And here you are again talking about integrity like an expert.

    I'm a little tired of reading your disclaimers like: "I realize that's sharply worded--it's a general observation not directed toward anyone in particular."

    It's rather like saying, "People who spent a decade in reparative therapy are self-hating crybabies who turn their hatred on others. Now, I realize that's sharply worded--it's a general observation not directed toward anyone in particular."