February 10, 2014

Test your ethnic intuition: "I married my gay BFF so he wouldn't get deported"

Here is an article that reveals how many circles of Hell our society has tumbled down. "I saved my gay best friend's life -- by marrying him." That's how bad cocooning is getting -- a girl in her early 20s would rather get into a sham marriage with a queer than date boys. (She says that she did date, but if they couldn't accept her sham gay marriage, it was over for them.)

The fag hag author met her sham husband-to-be in college in the late '90s. He was a foreign student who, both of them worried, would face serious challenges getting a green card or work in America in the wake of 9/11. Why can't he just return home when his student visa expires, and find work there? He comes from an unnamed homophobic culture in the Middle East, his father is a Muslim patriarch who would disown him if he ever found out, and he'd get bullied in the mandatory military service if he were out.

In what she calls an act of true love, she proposes to him so that they can speed the green card process along. They do in fact get married, and although the INS gets tipped off that their marriage is a sham to break immigration laws, the queer wins the green card lottery instead.

You don't have to use your imagination to guess what I have to say about how many parts of that story are blood-boiling. Instead, let's use this as a test of your understanding of different ethnic groups. I did pretty well, but was slightly off about one piece. I'll present the questions first, and then the answers further down. There are so many layers of deception, that I'll conclude with a general discussion, so that this won't just be a narrow focus on a bit of gossip.

1. The author's name is Liza Monroy. Based on your first impression, and after reading the article, what ethnic group do you think she comes from? Is that consistent or not with her name?

2. After you've figured out her ethnicity (or after you read the answer to #1 only below), use that to try to figure out where the faggy foreigner comes from. The details of his background as given in the article should make you wonder why a person from the author's ethnicity would marry him.

Answer #1 is below the first set of stars, and then another set of stars until answer #2 so you don't see that right away either.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

1. She has a Jewish mother and Italian father.

When I read the by-line, I thought, "You're a Celt, you aren't supposed to dishonor yourself like this! This is something only a Jewish girl would do..." I said that as a joke, but over the course of the article, something didn't add up. There was way too much of the quibbling, rationalizing Pharisee in her writing, like how she explains that they "were very conservative" because they always changed clothes in their own rooms and never saw each other naked. How conservative of the sham fag couple!

No way was she a Monroy. Maybe she was Jewish after all. Sure enough, Wikipedia gives her Italian maiden name (Monroy is who she's married to now, after divorcing the fake gay husband). Looking up her birth name, several mainstream media articles tell us that her mother is Jewish (e.g., this one by her in the NYT). The mother is the international liberal do-gooder who made her career in the Foreign Service.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

2. He is Turkish.

OK, your hunch that she was Jewish panned out. Now wait a minute -- why would a Jewish American girl marry a Middle Easterner with "an Arabic name"? Jews, and especially American Jews, hate Arabs. Not even the allure of all the hipster cred she'd score by marrying her gay BFF to stick it to the chauvinistic immigration laws would be enough for a Jewish girl to marry an Arab, share a house or apartment with him for years, and so on and so forth.

My guess was that he was half-Jewish (mother) and half-Arab (father), hailing from Israel. Being at least half-Jewish, plus coming from Israel, would more than settle her nerves about marrying a guy with "an Arabic name" who had a "Muslim patriarch" for a father. She could rationalize it as him being the offspring of a Romeo and Juliet marriage, and she would help to keep him away from his backward Arab / Muslim father, and toward the enlightened Jewish world of Hollywood and New York.

He interned with a Hollywood producer, and is currently a screenwriter in New York. Doesn't that sound more Jewish than Arab? I can't think of many Lebanese who come here to become hit screenwriters in English in America, let alone from the more Arab countries in the Gulf, or the North Africans.

And why would it be his "name" and "appearance" that would make it hard to get a green card or find work after 9/11? Wouldn't his citizenship be the main reason? Forget names and appearances, if it said "Saudi Arabia" or "Egypt" on your passport and student visa, you were going to get looked at no matter what. So he had to come from some Middle Eastern country that would not automatically trigger the alarm with American immigration offices or American employers. Israel!

Well, I was close, but still off. He is definitely not an Arab, and he does not even have an Arabic name (either first or last) -- that is a lie by Monroy. Both his first and last name are distinctly Turkish -- not like he has an Arabic name that's shared among many Muslim countries of various ethnic and linguistic cultures. His first name is only Turkish, and from what I found from Googling, it is not even a local derivative of an Arabic name.

Nothing added up about this guy being Arab, and I knew he wasn't Iranian for the same reason -- no Jewish American girl would marry the enemy. I didn't consider the non-Arab state of Turkey because she threw me off with that "Arabic name" lie. Turkey has been a prized ally of the US for decades, so it wouldn't automatically alert the government or employers here. And at least until a few years ago, Israel and Turkey were key allies in the Middle East, so a Jewish girl would not have felt so repulsed by the thought of marrying a Turk.

How did I find this out? I tried searching Google Images for "Liza Monroy husband," and did get some pictures, but none with his name. So I searched instead for her birth name that was right there on her Wikipedia page: "Liza Gennatiempo." Bingo. The first result is a picture taken in 2004, from a page at the mediabistro.com website, that has both of their full names written in the caption: "Liza Gennatiempo of William Morris, mb events coordinator Rachel Sokol, and Emre Ozpirincci of SDI Media." Sad that it only took me five minutes of Googling, not hiring a P.I., hacking into a database, or whatever.

Screenshot (click to view full size):


Arabic my ass. This undercuts her glib rationalization that she had to do this in order to boost his chances of getting work, and is why I'm spelling it out here. She's totally making up a key detail about the motivation for her sham gay marriage. I'm not even outing him as gay, since he had been out in America back in college, and any number of websites pop up for his name + gay, where he states matter-of-factly that he's gay (e.g. this one).

If he truly did have an Arabic name, Abdulrahman or whatever, then at least this detail would make sense -- defensible or not. But I think your generic American would think that Ozpirincci was a weird Italian name, not Turkish. Emre does sound unusual, but not Arabic (like the assumed name she gives him, Emir) or even Muslim. (It means "friend" in Turkish.) And folks judge you by your last name when they have both to evaluate. And he looks like a generic Mediterranean with light-ish skin, not like a North African or Gulf Arab.

Hollywood employers would've guessed that he was probably Italian or some other Euro-trash group (which would be correct here, given the amount of Euro-trash in Turkey). If he was worried, he could always point out that his citizenship was Turkish, not from any Arab state nor from Iran. He could point out that Turkey was a prized ally of both the US and Israel for decades.

Hence, he worked himself up into a great gay panic and either lied to Monroy about his name being Arabic, think of what'll happen to people with Arabic names, etc., or she cooked that detail up herself to make the narrative more palatable to the anti-chauvinist audience of her memoir. If she came out and said he was Turkish with distinctly Turkish first and last names, the audience would say, "Well, why worry so much? Why make it seem like the world was going to end? It's not like he was an Arab or Iranian, not like his name was Hadi al-Hamza or something."

So many layers of lies and deception! First, the superficial one about their marriage being a sham to circumvent immigration laws. Then, about her being Jewish (which she never denied or tried to cover up, but which is clearly relevant in a story about her marrying a Middle Eastern foreigner with an "Arabic" name). Then about him being Turkish, misleading her readers. People who lie, tell half-truths, and rationalize them in a glib manner, will do so no matter who the other side is -- the INS, readers of her memoir, her own mother, etc.

That's why I'm drilling down so deep into what at first sounded like just another boring SWPL-bait report. This incident is only the tip of the iceberg -- how many others are not written up into memoirs by status-striving writers from Brooklyn? If you only had a vague sense that the media and the chattering classes were lying to you, now you have concrete proof.

4 comments:

  1. Curtis12:38 PM

    This is off-topic, but do you have any good recommendations for books about pastoralist culture? What about particular cultures to study?

    ReplyDelete
  2. You really earned your salary on this one, Agnostic.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Personally, I'm highly worried that all these non-native-born men immigrating into the USA by the millions are screwing up our gender balance even worse that it already was. We may end up like China when you factor in the old Baby Boomers taking young second and third wives.

    Of course it doesn't matter if this Turkish guy is really gay as he claims, but gayness is not necessarily exclusive unfortunately enough.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Curtis, you should read Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920, when that was actually used to reward good writing. It is a great book about building a farm from nothing, and the characters both at the farm and in the neighboring town and farms are very realistic. Far more realistic and thoughtworthy than you would find anywhere else. None of the modern stereotypes, no modern point-by-point story. I never thought a book about farm life could be exciting and interesting, but it really is.

    ReplyDelete

You MUST enter a nickname with the "Name/URL" option if you're not signed in. We can't follow who is saying what if everyone is "Anonymous."