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January 19th, 2009

I Can Hardly Wait To Read The Post-Mortem On This

Jim Burroway over at Box Turtle Bulletin, wonders if Robinson was hurried onto the stage and then off again before the Pre Inauguration festivities actually began…

Did HBO cave in the face of conservative outcries over Rev. Robinson’s selection for this event? Did the Inaugural committee rush Rev. Robinson onstage and off before the broadcast was slated to begin? Whatever the case may be, this is a cold slap. HBO has some serious explaining to do, as does the Inaugural committee.

Harvey Milk is screaming in his metaphorical grave right now.

It’s a good question, and this scenario fits nicely with the alleged technical difficulties I keep hearing about, that prevented Robinson’s words from even being clearly heard by the crowd that was there:  I have friends who work as sound engineers, I’ve been with them as they did their work in various settings, and I’m here to tell you that they work hard at choreographing each and every microphone and pickup’s settings for each and every element of an event.  I have no idea how the video side of it works but I’d be surprised if it was any less intricate.  If Robinson was rushed out before the stage crew and the technical engineers were ready for him that would explain the fumbling around, and possibly even the video black-out.  The only problem with this scenerio of course, is it still doesn’t explain why the Gay Men’s Chorus was closeted.

One fuckup I can accept.  It’s still unacceptable, amateurish, unprofessional behavior that gay Americans have every right to be pissed off about and demand an apology for, but I can be convinced that one was a fuckup.  Two of them that Just Happen to target the gay presence at this event and only the gay presence at this event and it’s staringly obvious that it was deliberate.  The only question now is who engineered it?

I’m reading elsewhere that Dianne Feinstein heads the inagural committee.  Well, there’s a good place to start.  People just assume that since she was Mayor of San Francisco after Harvey Milk and George Moscone were assasinated that she’s a friend of the gay community.  Nothing could be further from the truth…

After the 1978 death of Harvey Milk in San Francisco, gay rights activist Tom Brougham came up with a definition of domestic partnership that is now universally used, and was designed to include everything about marriage except sexual orientation. According to Brougham, the definition was that the couple must be more than 18 years old and mentally competent to make a contract. Furthermore, his position was that domestic partners must publicly declare the partnership and pledge to be responsible for each other.

In 1982, Brougham’s definition was modified by Supervisor Harry Britt (a gay man appointed to replace Harvey Milk). Britt’s version was adopted and passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, but Dianne Feinstein, mayor of San Francisco at the time, came under intense pressure from the Catholic Church and subsequently vetoed the bill. Not until 1989 was a domestic partnership law adopted in the city of San Francisco…

-Wikipedia – Domestic Partnership

Note that we have been fighting for marriage rights since the 1970s.  Next time some ignorant jackass asks you why same-sex marriage has suddenly become such a big deal with teh gays, slap them upside the head with the biggest, thickest history book you can find.

A recall attempt was made after Feinstein vetoed Britt’s bill, to get her booted out of office.  The gay community was massively pissed off.  But Feinstein calculated that there weren’t enough gay people in San Francisco who cared enough about domestic partnership in the disco 70s to sign enough recall petitions to get it to the point of their actually being a vote.  But another group of pissed off San Franciscans, gun owners, were already circulating a recall petition on her after she signed some new gun control measure or another.  Many gay folk simply started adding their names to that one.  That gave it enough signatures that a vote was actually held, much to her shock. 

She survived it.  Ever since when asked about it she has not only never apologized, she has insisted vetoing the bill was the right thing to do.  Feinstein is that sort of democrat that blocks progress on equality far more then outright bigots manage, because they keep conning people into believing they’ll do the right thing once in office and then when it actually comes time to do the right thing, they don’t.

I wonder if another Catholic Bishop whispered into Feinstein’s ear again, that she’d better not be seen giving anything to the gays…

2 Responses to “I Can Hardly Wait To Read The Post-Mortem On This”

  1. Bob C Says:

    From a production point of view, fuck-ups DO happen. But at an event such as this, they don’t hire some tenured hack (Like me! ;)) to do the sound and production. They hire a top-notch, top-drawer engineer (And production crew, and PA system) But those fuck-ups get resolved within the first few seconds of a performance.
    I havn’t watched any of the events or anything of the inaguration festivities. So I don’t really know what they are having to deal with. BUT I have seen and worked more then enough large and small festivals where we managed to get 10 or 12 bands on and off stage in 8 hours, and had no real problems with mics working or not working. (SOMETIMES it is just a mute button that wasn’t un-muted, but any sound man that isn’t drunk, or trying to hit on some groupie chick figures that out within the first 15 seconds.)
    I get the sense that they were not hustling full bands on and off stage with drumsets, guitars, members, basses and singers. A technical problem? I highly doubt it. The chances are so very slim.
    One little part of being a soundguy is being a ‘scape goat’. Bands that turn in a crappy performance, or some OTHER screw-up often blame the sound guy. It comes with the territory. You roll with it, and often I find myself taking the blame JUST to help the performer save face……biting my toungue when I’d really like to smear the guy all over the back stage.
    But the image that came to mind as I read this stuff was that scene from Forest Gump, where Gump is ushered on-stage to give a speach about Viet Nam to a packed capitol mall. And some blow-hard general pro-war guy sneaks over to the snake/distro box and starts yanking cords and cables out, thus cutting off Gumps speach, which he continues to do un-aware that the audience hears nothing. An activist girl see’s the general type, pushes him away and plugs the wires back in just in time for the end of Gumps speach were he says "And thats all I have to say about that".
    Sabotage.
    Somehow I doub’t that Obama’s team and handlers would have ‘engineered’ such a thing. If they suddenly didn’t want Robinson or someone being heard, they would have just "re-arranged" the scheadule and knocked him off the bill entirely. I doubt that Robinson was going to deliver a Gay Right manifesto during his speach/invocation.
    Live-feeds, remote feeds, etc linking a live event to news networks CAN be finiky.We see drop-outs and lags and things all the time on live-remote situations with news and networks…..things are bouncing off of 7 satilites from a remote truck to the studio…..BUT in this case, they arn’t using hacked cell-phones, they are using top-notch equipment (You wound’t send a web-cam up on Hubble would you? ;) ) And you’re right, having that happen to a Gay speaker, AND a Gay choir and no one else is way beyond the odds.
    So who did it? Obama’s team? I highly highly doubt it.
    That leaves but one suspect and alternative: GOD did it! ‘Cause he hates fags, y’know?

  2. Bruce Says:

    The Forest Gump scenario is kinda what I’m leaning towards right now myself.  But we’ll see.  They’re saying they’ll have Robinson’s prayer up on the big screens at some point during the actual inaugural.  So if someone did try to sabotage Robinson’s appearance and Obama’s people really do put Robinson’s opening prayer up on the screens during the inauguration then it royally backfired.  But it remains to be seen.  The other point to note is that the way this was done meant that Robinson and Obama never shared the stage at the same time in public.

    And it still doesn’t explain why the Gay Men’s chorus was closeted.

    I have a friend from way back in my elementary school years who has worked as a sound engineer most of his life by now.  I remember hanging with him back when we were young men in Washington D.C. and he was doing sound for a local rhythm and blues band (The Nighthawks).  He’s working at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg PA nowadays and I watched him recently do 30 bands in a day long rock festival…cycling them on and off the right and left hand sides of the stage all day long.  I was impressed.  He let me wander around the scene snapping photos of it all.

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