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August 12th, 2014
Depression, Madness, And Those Of Us Who Slip Between The Fingers Of Concern
by Bruce |
It’s not often another story of celebrity death makes me feel like the floor went out from under me, but that’s what news of Robin William’s death by suicide did. I was heartbroken in that instant, as were a lot of people. The word “celebrity” demeans someone like him. He was an artist, an actor, a tremendous creative talent. He could be the gifted stage comic, the manic genie in Disney’s Aladdin, and then you look and he’s the evil Walter Finch in Insomnia, and then you look again and he’s John Keating in Dead Poets Society, and then you look again and he’s Peter Pan.
Williams it seems, was battling depression. I follow a bunch of very talented and creative people on Facebook and Twitter who are also battling depression. That’s, the clinical depression, which is a thing unlike those bouts of sadness and loneliness and loss we all face at one time or another in our lives. It’s a thing, a real medical clinical thing. People who experience it speak of it as a gray cloud that hangs over everything and never goes away. They say it sucks the energy and joy out of everything. I have had my moments of grief, I’ve had it so bad I’ve stood at the threshold of suicide myself many times. But it’s never been like that. And what comforts me as I walk into old age and I find myself standing at that threshold once again is I’ve seen the darkness come and go over and over and over again and I know from experience that sooner or later It Will Go Away, and I just have to keep walking through it. So I am told, it’s not like that when you have clinical depression. For those folks, that gray cloud never goes away, at least not without medication. I know I can always count on time making mine go away. But I also know how easy it is for people like me to lose our balance, and fall into a pit we may or may not get back out of in time.
The writer David Gerrold wrote this on Facebook the other day…
I don’t know the details of what Robin Williams was dealing with and I won’t speculate.
I do know that when you have a mind that works that fast and makes that kind of connections, flashing from moment to moment, assembling new pieces out of fragments of old experiences, it’s exhausting.
Sometimes my mind does that, all the circuits firing at once, and it shows up in stories — and leaves me emotionally drained, sometimes for days. It’s hard to live inside a brain that active. (And no, I’m not comparing myself to Williams, I’m only noticing my own experiences and extrapolating from there.)
He gets it. Whenever someone so creative and talented kills themselves, you will always hear a bunch of people saying, to the effect, that madness and genius go hand in hand. I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate hearing that. I’m not about to wrap myself in the robes of ‘genius’ by any means. I don’t even like the concept of a single measure of intelligence. I think there are a lot of different kinds of intelligence. And I always flinch at calling myself an artist. But I am. There are many kinds of artist too. Some of us paint and draw. Some of us do photography, or music, or act. We are writers and poets. Some of us pursue the engineering arts. And it isn’t madness we have, it’s brains that contain a whirlwind…flashes of insight, connections, moment to moment, all firing at once. Constantly. Someone on Facebook I follow posted a graphic with the message on it that, (recalling it from memory) to understand how having a creative mind feels, imagine you’re a browser and you have 2,868 tabs open all at once.
Williams had that. He had to given that amazing, wonderful ability he had to mentally jump from one random connection to the next on stage So Quickly. He had to have that whirlwind going on inside. You could see it. It just delighted you. And you could see it delighting him even as he was doing it. It’s not madness, it’s art. I don’t know that this necessarily makes you unstable, but I know from my own experience how vulnerable it can leave you if you don’t have something to anchor you, something…someone…to always bring you back home.
For the artist depression has to be an even bigger hazard, one that multiplies the risk you already have of losing your balance if you’ve already got those 2,868 tabs open. I’ve never had that overarching clinical depression, so I wouldn’t know. All I’ve ever been is sad. Just…very very sad. But I know what it’s like living with a furious mental cascade that just won’t stop unless you apply some chemical brakes and getting lost in it is oh so easy and losing your balance…maybe it was sadness, maybe it was some sudden crisis that came out of nowhere…and then the whirlwind in your mind throws you into a place you may or may not make it back out of.
This is why a lot of us end up not as suicides but as overdoses. The lucky ones have that anchor. Others, too afraid of the overdose or blessed like me with bodies too timid to handle a lot of drugs without getting violently sick long before the overdose can even get close, dive into their work as a substitute for the anchor, the home, the place of rest. I know how that is too. But when work becomes less a passion and more a crutch then it can have the same effect as drugs in that it allows you to deny and ignore the central problem in your life until that one moment when the crutch can’t bear the weight and it snaps and there you are and you’re on your way to the bottom of a pit and you can’t stop falling.
Bunch of highly talented and creative people I follow who’ve been open about their fight with clinical depression, are feeling very sad now for Williams, but also afraid for themselves. If he lost the fight, then what chance do I have? They need to be told the are loved, and cherished, and not alone in their fight. I’m afraid of a different thing. I don’t have a fight with depression. I have a fight with a hoary old stereotype about artists and madness that I am convinced is getting a lot of us killed too. You can call what our brains do to us madness I suppose, but it adds a little something to the world, and the thing is, we don’t have to get lost in it. We just don’t. The problem is people seem to think we’re supposed to. It’s part of the deal.
The shooting star. The one who lived so miserably and died so tragically, but oh look at all the wonderful things they left behind for the rest of us to enjoy! We don’t all suffer from depression, but we could all use a little sympathy too, and a little help. Because that inner whirlwind makes it hard to find that anchor, that intimate other, or others, who can see what the others can’t because they’re used to you behaving like you’re not quite all there, that that can see that you’re losing your balance, and seeing it, can take you by the hand to that place of peace and quiet you need to be in to get it back.
I know from experience that when I get lost in a whirlwind of grief or loneliness or sadness I can just wait it out. But I also know that it’s not a sure thing. I have come so very close to it. One of these days you might find yourself reading right here about the one time I couldn’t walk myself out of it. I told my brother once that if I died alone and especially if it was by my own hand, I wanted him to burn everything…all the artwork, all the photography. I was at a point in my life where it sickened me to think of people enjoying the artistic spoils of my miserable life. He flat out refused, and I’ve moved on to a place where I don’t care anymore.
[Edited a tad…]
August 11th, 2014
Life’s Little Ironies Only A Gay Person Of A Certain Age Will Fully Appreciate…
by Bruce |
#1: Having “Dude, Get Real!” hurled at you by someone who will probably be buried in his closet because not even the Grim Reaper will be able to pry him out of it.
…collect the entire series!
August 5th, 2014
One Person’s Fountain Of Youth Is Another’s Fountain Of Old
by Bruce |
I follow I Facebook group devoted to “classic” TV shows. This photo came across that stream this morning…
Techno geek that I am, the first thing I latched onto was the TV camera. Just look at it. It’s friggin’ Huge. And it was probably only capable of capturing video in black & white. That gatling gun lens mount is what they used to adjust the field of view before zoom lenses became a thing. The tripod it’s on gives a hint of how heavy it was.
I should feel so terribly old looking at this but I don’t. What I feel is Ha! I can record better video from the little hand held device in my pocket than that hulking monstrosity could and transmit it to the entire world from just about anywhere I happen to be standing. I’m sixty years old now, and something I’ve noticed is that progress makes some people feel old while it leaves others always feeling young…
…because you’re always having to learn new sh*t! All this time I’ve been attributing that constant twenty-ish mindset I have to a state of arrested development and that’s not it. It isn’t that I never grew up, it’s that I never got tired of growing up.
And that’s the way it is.
August 4th, 2014
The Militant Homosexual I Became Was Nurtured By Hollywood’s Homosexual
by Bruce |
A friend on Facebook turned me onto this…
I have both editions of “The Celluloid Closet” published while he was still with us. If any one thing could have been said to have radicalized my attitudes toward gay equality it was this one, even more so than “And The Band Played On”. The book opens with a story about how a gay friend of his was telling another gay friend about a new movie that had a gay character in it, and the other friend immediately asks how the character dies. In a nutshell, that’s how it was.
I ordered the DVD of Vito and it came Friday and I had housework to do so it just sat for a while. Last night before bed I watched the first two thirds of it. It filled in a lot of blanks for me because I only knew of Vito Russo from his groundbreaking film history The Celluloid Closet. I didn’t know, but I should have guessed, how the activist predated the historian. The part showing him struggling to pull together all the hidden threads of our presence in the movies really brought back home to me that sense of isolation and cultural invisibility I hadn’t felt in decades.
Back in the 1970s, that homosexual characters were occasionally included in movies, either for laughs if they were flaming sissies or as the embodiment of unnatural evil, was something probably everyone knew. Russo was the first person to actually gather all the pieces together, all the little walk on toss off parts along with the major roles, all the sissies, all the evil psychos, all the tragically dammed, and look at all critically. And the book he produced hit gay people everywhere who read it like a ton of bricks, because you knew the scapegoating and stereotyping weren’t just how your heterosexual neighbors were taught to look at you, but also how you were taught to see yourself. Heterosexuals could dream of the happily ever after, could see that dream on the silver screen, could picture themselves there, having that life, or something like it. Hollywood flushed our dreams into the sewer from the moment we first walked into a movie house. We weren’t lovers, we were sissies, we were dangerous sexual psychopaths, we were the butt of dirty jokes, we were the personification of unnatural evil, we were pathetic, we were terrifying, we were not human. But you really didn’t see it all that clearly because the one thing we were most of all was something not to be discussed in public among decent normal people.
Then Vito Russo gathered it all together and put it in front of us. And it just took your breath away…to see it all there, laid out in front of you.
And it made you angry…
July 31st, 2014
There Was Never A Cure Because There Never Was A Sickness
by Bruce |
Two years ago in a post here I wrote…
There is nothing wrong with homosexuals. That is a simple statement of fact. Not opinion. Fact. Well researched, well established, scientific fact. And it has been well established fact for quite a very long time. If you were born in the 1960s or later, then this fact is older then you are.
The science that shows there is nothing psychologically wrong with gay people has a pedigree going back at least half a century now. But it wasn’t until 1973 that the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from their catalogue of mental illnesses. In that same year, the very first ex-gay ministry, Love In Action, was founded in San Francisco. And soon after that, the first ex-gay suicide. Jack McIntyre wrote the following just before he killed himself…
To continually go before God and ask forgiveness and make promises you know you can’t keep is more than I can take. I feel it is making a mockery of God and all He stands for in my life.
So to keep himself right with God he killed himself. Others simply retreated into a living death of the soul. They went deep into the closet, married against their nature, lived lives of quiet desperation. Or they embraced the lie and threw themselves into the sexual gutter. Human filth they believed they were, they consigned their sex lives to the public toilets and back alleys. There are many ways to put the knife into your own heart because you can’t bear its pain, but then tomorrow comes anyway and you have to do it all over again.
We were taught to hate ourselves. And the more we hated ourselves, the more painful our lives became which we were constantly told was proof that homosexuality was a sickness and to be homosexual was to be broken. But there was nothing wrong with us. There was never anything wrong with us. Science proved it decades ago. Perhaps science could have better served us all by discovering what it is that makes a person a bigot rather than what it is that makes someone homosexual. But now at least, the grotesque dance of hate is coming to an end…
Nine former ex-gay leaders, from organizations like Exodus International and ministries like Love in Action, have signed onto a letter in partnership with the National Center for Lesbian Rights calling for a ban on gay conversion therapy and saying that LGBT people should be celebrated and embraced for who they are.
“At one time, we were not only deeply involved in these ‘ex-gay’ programs, we were the founders, the leaders, and the promoters,” they said in the letter. “Together we represent more than half a century of experience, so few people are more knowledgeable about the ineffectiveness and harm of conversion therapy. We know first-hand the terrible emotional and spiritual damage it can cause, especially for LGBT youth.”
You can read their full letter at the link above. These are among those who inflicted the wounds and now ask forgiveness and I can appreciate that forgiveness for some may be impossible. This is why I can’t stand people that like to yap about how Christianity has made their lives so much Easier. Christianity is goddamn hard and I am no Christian. But I know this: it isn’t faith the size of a mustard seed that redeems, it’s love. That’s all you need. When the roll call of the dead and wounded is read, remember kindly, if it is in you to, the ones who could not at long last silence their heart’s voice, because the ones who can say “enough” despite their own guilt are civilization’s final hope. Keep them apart in your thoughts from the ones who kept on doggedly with it to the bitter end, because there was no heart to silence within them, just that empty void which is the end of the world.
July 28th, 2014
Should We Not Have Done That…?
by Bruce |
A soldier in the war against the homosexual menace has a road to Damascus moment…
As she sobbed over the breakup of her parents and family, an errant thought darted through my head: If we as a society didn’t condemn homosexuality, gay people wouldn’t feel pressured into marrying heterosexually, against their true attractions, and families wouldn’t be torn apart when the gay spouse could no longer continue the ruse. I had seen a number of gay Christians marry an opposite sex partner, only to leave when they couldn’t pretend any longer. It wasn’t fair to the spouse, the kids, or themselves. My doubts about the efficacy of change and the evangelical Christian stance against gay rights of any kind nagged at me.
July 24th, 2014
We Knew What You Are Even Before The Speech Began You Jackass…
by Bruce |
Marco Rubio wants to be the new look of an old song and dance…
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio acknowledged Wednesday that American history was “marred by discrimination against gays and lesbians.” But in a speech at Catholic University in Washington, Rubio drew the line sharply at marriage equality and accused supporters of same sex unions of “intolerance.”
“I promise you even before this speech is over I’ll be attacked as a hater or a bigot or someone who is anti-gay,” Rubio said. “This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy. Support for the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay, it is pro-traditional marriage.”
And David Duke wasn’t anti-black he was pro white. Let’s talk for just a second about hypocrisy, starting with that laughable MSNBC headline. You can almost hear the headline writer wondering if anyone would buy into “defends gays by attacking gay marriage”, and then deciding they’d taken the bullshit far enough as it was.
If it’s bigotry to call bigotry bigotry, and discrimination to call discrimination discrimination, and hypocrisy to call hypocrisy hypocrisy then those words have no meaning at all. Of course, Rubio doesn’t see it as bigotry, because homosexual relationships really are deserving of scorn. It’s just hard to say so in the same breath as wringing your hands about American history being “marred by discrimination against gays and lesbians.” It just wouldn’t hit the right note to say we need to mar our history a little less please. I am saddened by discrimination against gays and lesbians, except when I’m not.
Never mind all that. I’d like to point out one small detail that I’ll bet a lot of heterosexuals who heard him or read this didn’t catch…certainly not the ersatz reporters covering him…but which I’m sure every gay person saw immediately, like a slap in the face…
The 43-year-old senator preached tolerance for gay couples and advocates of gay marriage and spoke about the United States coming a “long way” in its treatments of gays and lesbians. He said all Americans should acknowledge a history of institutional discrimination against gay people and that “many committed gay and lesbian couples feel humiliated by the laws’ failures to recognize their relationship as a marriage.”
If you’ve been in this struggle for any length of time it just jumps out at you. Here it is again…
“many committed gay and lesbian couples feel humiliated by the laws’ failures to recognize their relationship as a marriage.”
Humiliation. Humiliation. We feel humiliated. On Facebook the other day I said something to the effect (I’ll repost it here later) that there aren’t very many arguments in the homophobe toolkit, that all they ever do is rephrase the same old crap you’ve heard a zillion times before, as if the problem with a crap argument is one of presentation and not that it’s a crap argument. This is one of them: Gays only want marriage for social approval.
That’s what Rubio is saying there, oh so patronisingly, and what you need to see in it is how strong the reflex is to trivialize our relationships. This is how bigots think…homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex…and even when they’re trying hard not to say what they think, they get to talking long enough and it just starts coming out. Hello, I can’t see the people for the homosexuals. The gays are feeling humiliated because the law doesn’t treat their relationships as marriages. Their relationships. Their relationships. Their relationships. He probably had to practice for days to keep from saying their sexual liaisons.
Let me tell you about humiliation. Back in 2009, a mere five years ago in the struggle, Donald Carcieri, the homophobic governor of Rhode Island back then, and member of the National Organization For Marriage (surprise, surprise), vetoed a bill that would have simply provided burial rights to “domestic partners” on the grounds that it was part of an ongoing process of eroding the institution of marriage. The Providence Journal reported at the time that…
In his veto message, Republican Carcieri said: “This bill represents a disturbing trend over the past few years of the incremental erosion of the principles surrounding traditional marriage, which is not the preferred way to approach this issue.
“If the General Assembly believes it would like to address the issue of domestic partnerships, it should place the issue on the ballot and let the people of the state of Rhode Island decide.”
The legislation was prompted by one of the more heart-wrenching personal stories to emerge from the same-sex marriage debate.
At a hearing this year on one of the stalled bills to allow same-sex marriage, Mark S. Goldberg told a Senate committee about his months-long battle last fall to persuade state authorities to release to him the body of his partner of 17 years, Ron Hanby, so he could grant Hanby’s wish for cremation — only to have that request rejected because “we were not legally married or blood relatives.”
Goldberg said he tried to show the police and the state medical examiner’s office “our wills, living wills, power of attorney and marriage certificate” from Connecticut, but “no one was willing to see these documents.”
He said he was told the medical examiner’s office was required to conduct a two-week search for next of kin, but the medical examiner’s office waited a full week before placing the required ad in a newspaper. And then when no one responded, he said, they “waited another week” to notify another state agency of an unclaimed body.
After four weeks, he said, a Department of Human Services employee “took pity on me and my plight … reviewed our documentation and was able to get all parties concerned to release Ron’s body to me,” but then the cremation society refused to cremate Ron’s body.
“On the same day, I contacted the Massachusetts Cremation Society and they were more than willing to work with me and cremate Ron’s body,” and so, “on November 6, 2008, I was able to finally pick up Ron’s remains and put this tragedy to rest.”
There are people within whom what this man went through simply does not register. They can’t fathom why Goldberg was so determined, other than it must be some sort of homosexual narcissism. That he loved Ron Hanby seems preposterous. Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. And they’re the ones who think all this is about is a fight for social recognition.
Rubio probably thinks himself very enlightened because he is willing to grant some small portion of human status to the gays. Yes, our history is marred by discrimination toward them. Perhaps we should not have done that…quite so much. He might even have signed a bill to allow the gays to bury one another. But that he sees us as being humiliated by the lack of equal marriage rights says it all.
It is not humiliation we feel, and fighting for the honor and the dignity of our love, and to protect and secure our households, something any of you would do for your own, is not intolerance. You’d know what it was if you could see the people for the homosexuals.
Noting President Obama didn’t declare his support for gay marriage until 2012, Rubio said, “If support for traditional marriage is bigotry, then Barack Obama was a bigot until just before 2012 election.”
Actually what he did was prove he wasn’t a bigot. That takes more than words. It certainly takes more than words about how humiliated the gays feel.
July 21st, 2014
by Bruce |
This came across my Facebook stream just now…
We all face a deficit for growing up LGBT in a straight world. Admitting it is the first step in making sure the next generation gets a better deal.
Like the writer, Neal Broverman, it surprises me that this is controversial. It shouldn’t be.
It sometimes takes a harsh circumstance to remind us how different our lives are. In The Case Against 8, HBO’s powerful documentary on the defeat of California’s antigay ballot initiative, lead plaintiff Kristin Perry had an “a-ha moment” while testifying in front of a federal judge. Defense attorney Ted Olson asked Perry if she thought granting marriage equality to gays and lesbians would have an effect on other forms of LGBT discrimination. Perry said her whole life would have been different, and better, if the biggest choice she made in it — marriage — was given the same weight and respect as everyone else’s: “So, if Prop. 8 were undone and kids like me, growing up in Bakersfield right now, can never know what this felt like, then I assume their entire lives would be on a higher arc, they would live with a higher sense of themselves that would improve the quality of their entire life.”
Reflecting on that moment later, she said, “It was powerful to connect the dots spontaneously on the stand and realize you’ve been living under this blanket of hate everywhere you turn…
Every crush I’ve ever had, every gay guy I’ve ever tried to date, every perfect match I thought I’d found, they were all wounded. And I have to suppose they looked at me and saw the same, good as I had it compared to a lot of other gay guys. I didn’t get sent to a camp, I didn’t get thrown out of the house, I wasn’t told by my own parents that I wasn’t loved. But you don’t grow up in a world that tells you from every direction that you are despised without taking it to heart.
Mad #145, Sept ‘71, from “Greeting Cards For The
Sexual Revolution” – “To A Gay Liberationist”
“The thought of turning…of turning involuntarily into one of them frightened me…and made me sick with anger.”
Jake shows the kids how to deal with a limp wrist faggot in Larry Weltz’ “Gearjammer”, Bakersfield Kountry Komics, 1973
And the worst of it is you grow up accustomed to it all, and you forget the wounds are there, always defeating you and you don’t even know it anymore, because you’ve accepted that as your lot in life. But it is rust on the soul.
It is a constant struggle to live the life you should have had all along. But it is a noble one…
Later in the documentary when Perry is discussing the discrimination she experiences, she says, while tearing up, “The sad parts [of being an LGBT person], I feel like I’m OK with because I’d rather be who I am today than somebody who never felt challenged and never had to find out who they really were. And I know who I am.”
Oscar Wilde, who suffered his own terrible wounds, once said that we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. I’d put it differently. We are all damaged, but we have survived and we are not cowed.
Message In A Bottle
by Bruce |
I really hope you’re okay. You’re like Schrodinger’s Cat sometimes, except even when you’re observed you’re still in an unknown state. I really hope you’re okay.
-That Guy In Baltimore
May 29th, 2014
Like A Side Of Bile With That Hon…?
by Bruce |
Le Dance Pathetique…as choreographed by Big Earl…
Collin Dewberry, who was leaving with his partner, said the waitress told them they do not serve a certain type of person at that restaurant. The word she used was derogatory and targets homosexuals.
“We’ve never had that kind of hate displayed to us before,” Dewberry said.
They explained that the waitress then recited the following phrase: “Here at Big Earl’s we like for men to act like men and for ladies to act like ladies, so we want you to never return.”
That phrase is posted on a piece of paper on the front door of the restaurant.
The owner told us that sign had been here since the restaurant opened three years ago. He also said they have the right to refuse service to that couple in the future because they didn’t follow that policy.
That waitress who used a derogatory term is Earl’s daughter.
“She’s a young lady, didn’t know what else to say, and they just kept on and she finally said we just don’t like fags,” he explained.
The owner said plenty of gay couples eat at his restaurant without hassle and he has no problem with that as long as they follow his policy.
Le Curtian…Applaus a vous…
May 28th, 2014
What Fear Steals From So Many
by Bruce |
This came across my Twitter stream the other day…
@taramurtha: “It’s incredibly odd how rarely we discuss that women in the U.S. generally can’t feel safe walking alone at night.”
It was accompanied by a link to this…
ISLA VISTA, Calif. — A deadly attack by a gunman obsessed by grievances toward women near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has touched off an anguished conversation here and on social media about the ways women are perceived sexually and the violence against them.
Years ago, when I was still making a living as a freelance architectural model maker, I worked often for a firm located in a business park located between Rockville and Gaithersburg, two big and growing suburban cities in the massive Montgomery County Maryland sprawl. I had no car at the time but the Metro subway had a stop I could get off at and walk to the firm’s offices easily, if I cut across the King Farm.
Anyone who grew up in the Rockville area in those days will remember the King Farm. Developers ate it some years ago and now it’s all ugly rowhouses, condos, parking decks and a faux town center. Back then it was this wonderful anomaly of wide open green space tucked between a growing busy sprawl. It was so huge that at night, it created its own dark sky. I used to love working late at the firm’s offices and then walking in the dead of night down a little access road that cut across the King Farm to the Metro on the other side of Route 355. There were little worker’s shacks off to one side of the road…four of them I think…and the main farm house and barns not too far from them. You could feel the history of the place. And the sky above was bright with all the stars you never saw at night in the city.
One day while working on a model, I was talking with the architect, a young Turkish woman who designed one of the most beautiful art deco buildings in Silver Spring. This one…
She asked me how I managed to get around without a car and I told her how I did it, and then went off on a tangent about how beautiful the sky was at night over the King Farm, and how lovely it was to walk down that little road at night at the end of the day…just you and the stars and the quiet, peaceful night…
…and she looked at me sadly and said, “I could never do that.”
May 22nd, 2014
Wherever the people are as green as the money…
by Bruce |
I suppose the first thing most people hitting this blog post over at Towleroad are thinking about is Phil’s knuckle-dragging prejudices.
“They were mad at me…You say, why’d they get mad at you? Cuz instead of acknowledging their sin, like you had better do, they railed against me for giving them the truth about their sins. Don’t deceive yourselves. You want the verse? The news media didn’t even know it was a verse! They thought I was just mouthing off. Is homosexual behavior a sin? The guy asked me. I said, ‘do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?’ Don’t be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor the idolators nor adulterers nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
…and so on and so forth. I’m seeing what a con artist the man is, and what a bunch of rubes his audience are. By now everyone has seen the family dress code before redneck became marketable.
Never mind that for a moment. Look at that photo of Phil again. Really look at it. Ignore for a moment the ostentatious shaped like a cross pulpit. Look at that allegedly god fearing man behind it, speaking of his reverence for the Word against the godless secular world outside. See…I actually went to church when I was a kid. I was raised in a Baptist household. I went to Vacation Bible School. Did a mercifully brief tour of duty in the Royal Ambassadors. If I’d tried to walk into a church looking like that mom would have spanked me all the way to next Sunday. If I’d tried to do it on Easter Sunday no less I wouldn’t have been able to sit down for months.
Now look at that shot of the Robinsons before redneck became a business Theme, and look again. That is not a poor old country man coming to Easter worship, in the words of the old Baptist hymn, Just As I Am, this is a millionaire businessman wearing his TV costume, and his act along with it, into a church on Easter Sunday.
I’m telling you friends you’ve got trouble…right here in River City…with a capital ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘G’ and that stands for GAY…
May 21st, 2014
A Wee Question…
by Bruce |
I’ve said this before, much to the distress of some liberal/progressive friends, but here it is again: I have no problem with private gun ownership, I see it as an eminently democratic right, IMO the second amendment does confer a right to individual Americans to own guns, and yes as a matter of fact I own a few myself. And I take responsibility for owning them seriously as I do my automobile. I obey the laws. I concern myself with safety. And I have nothing but contempt for people who use them recklessly, even if they’re not actually breaking the law. That goes for guns, automobiles…anything people use that can do harm to other people.
I’m an American liberal. I believe that public spaces convey public obligations. From respect for the environment to seemingly mundane day-to-day things like traffic safety, the common public spaces we share together are a mutual responsibility…and at minimum that means they are safe to use. Or to put it another way, the common ground that is too dangerous to occupy is more properly called a Battlefield. The last time the shared common spaces of Americans became battlefields we called it a Civil War and it killed more Americans than all our other wars put together.
As a liberal I go even further and insist that even the private workplaces must be at minimum safe to occupy too, since we all need to work to earn a living. I grant that some occupations are very dangerous but also very necessary for the good of all. That said, working in a fast food restaurant, let alone eating in one, does not strike me as one of those occupations.
So I hear Chipotle wants customers to not bring their guns inside their restaurants. So while I’m shrugging my shoulders and and thinking to myself, so much so reasonable, and moving on apparently other people are bursting veins and threatening boycotts.
What the hell is wrong with you? Just…what the hell is wrong with you? No…Seriously. What the hell is wrong with you?
If Chipotle said they wanted gays to stay out of their restaurants because Jesus! you’d be dog piling on it like you did Chick-fil-A. You’re bellyaching that same-sex marriage is going to destroy civilization….
…Does This Fucking Look Like Civilization To You!
They say guns don’t kill people, people do. And that’s true. It’s always the person. The idol is always false. We give meaning to our material objects, they don’t give meaning to us. A weapon, any weapon, finely, skillfully, beautifully made, by a master craftsman, is a noble thing. Until the moment a runt gets their hands on it. Because runts don’t build civilizations, they tear them down so they don’t have to know what runts they are. But let it be said that, unlike those two, not all runts look like they’ve spent their entire lives in mom’s basement. These guys for instance, bear a heavy responsibility for the decay of American society…
All these voices on the right bellyaching about Morals and Traditional Values, and Social Decay and really they don’t give a good goddamn about any of it. None of it at all. They get up on their stages in their suits and ties and slicked down hair and they wave the flag and talk about law and order and it’s all bullshit. Behold the new minutemen at the battle of Chipotle! I have a question…
Thank you NRA for turning a pastime that brought pleasure and even taught a few values to thousands of Americans into an idol for anti-government troglodytes. Thank you for turning the basic democratic right to own your own gun into a totem for ignorance and hate…the very things that kill democracy. You don’t love this country. You don’t even love guns. What you love is power. You loath the peace and prosperity and brighter future Americans have always sought, if it means everyone can have a share of it too. You’d rather it all came crashing down into anarchy and chaos if it means everyone can dream the American dream too, not just powerful white men.
May 6th, 2014
The Onion Strikes Again…
by Bruce |
You’re my son, no matter what. Whether you love women or repress your homosexuality your entire life makes not the slightest difference to me. Why should it? Why should it matter if you’re straight? Why should it matter if you’re gay but pretending to be straight in every conceivable way? Why should I care who you have feelings for as long as I’m always led to believe it’s a woman? Well, I don’t care. And when the time comes to tell me, I promise I’ll hear you out: If you’re straight, great. But if you’re not, and you tell me you are even though it destroys you inside? That’s just fine, too.
From The Onion…America’s Finest News Source. Actually, I know some people who would probably not find this funny at all…
May 5th, 2014
Reality Is That Which, When You Stop Believing In It, Does Not Go Away
by Bruce |
The charade that persecuting homosexuals was rational and necessary because there is something pathologically wrong with homosexuals should have ended with Hooker’s Adjustment Of The Male Overt Homosexual in 1957. But human prejudice does not succumb so easily to mere experimental evidence. It wouldn’t be until decades after the Stonewall riots, after the Personal Computer and the modem made it possible for gay people to speak directly to each other and see ourselves just as we are, not through heterosexual eyes as some strange alien other, for this charade to finally begin to crumble. Because until we could see the humanity within ourselves, and the legitimacy and righteousness of our feelings of love and desire, we would never have the courage to come out of the closets, and live our lives openly, so that our families and neighbors could see our humanity too. There was never anything rational about homophobia. It was always about hatred of the Other, inflamed by bigots to rouse the mob and thereby glorify themselves.
The charade is falling apart because it had no basis in reality. The facade of respectability is crumbling. Sometimes it’s just a brick here and there…parents coming to terms with gay children, friends looking at gay friends and seeing a person not a monster. Sometimes its a whole wall that falls over. The sodomy laws in 2003. Same sex marriage. The proposition 8 trial was a massive earthquake beneath it. Seeing for the first time in an actual trial how little there actually was to support any of it opened a lot of eyes.
So will this…
Far-right groups including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association pooled $600,000 to place ads promising the effectiveness of reparative therapy in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune. Anne and John Paulk smiled from full-page newspaper spreads.
In front of the crowds and cameras, Paulk was the image of certainty. But backstage, he was faltering. More than that, he knew he was lying.
“It’s funny, for those of us that worked in it, behind closed doors, we knew we hadn’t really changed,” he says. “Our situations had changed—we had gotten married, and some of us had children, so our roles had changed. I was a husband and father; that was my identity. And the homosexuality had been tamped down. But you can only push it down for so long, and it would eke its way out every so often.”
It. It. It would eke its way out every so often. The human identity is not a blackboard anyone can walk up to and scribble their will upon. The “It” that was eking its way out of Paulk wasn’t homosexuality, it was Sexuality, an instinct older than the fish, let alone the mammals, let alone the primates, let alone us. What Paulk was trying to suppress was an urge hundreds of millions of years old, that in him and others simply directs its relentless attentions to his own sex, not the opposite one. Beyond that one minor difference it was still the same force with the same hundreds of millions of years of the history of life on Earth behind it. Unless nature had made him asexual or gifted him with a very very low libido, he had no more chance becoming straight by playing straight than a left handed person does of becoming right handed by playing right handed.
“I would be in hotel rooms, and I would be on my face sobbing and crying on the bed,” he says. “I felt like a liar and a hypocrite. Having to go out and give hope to these people. I was in despair knowing that what I was telling them was not entirely honest. I couldn’t do it anymore.”
One of the first things that leaps out at you when you dig into the history of ex-gay therapy is how little data are ever retained about the clients. No long term follow-ups, no data to give meaning to any of the statistics they like to trot out. Hundreds have changed…no wait…thousands…hundreds of thousands… But it’s all smoke and mirrors. They have no data to prove any of their claims. They have done no research. It isn’t merely that they have no evidence: what leaves your jaw dropping when you first see it is they haven’t actually sought any evidence. It isn’t an oversight, the object was never to actually change anyone. If pressed, some will admit that change is not likely, but self discipline against homosexual urges can be attained through proper training. But homosexual urges are no different in kind from heterosexual urges; they are just two different expressions of the same ancient and powerful sexual urge we all possess. So the question then becomes at what cost to the individual? And the answer is the damage done to the person is not a cost, it is a benefit.
What you have to understand about Paulks misery is that his changing was never the object his masters sought. His crying and sobbing on the bed was the object. Then, now and always, the point is that we have to hate ourselves at least as much, if not more, than the bigots hate us.
The charade is ending. It is ending because there was never any truth to it. The only thing that kept it going was its monopoly on discussion, enforced by the sodomy laws, and from the pulpit, and because we stayed in the closet: because it was dangerous not to, because in a world where we could be kept isolated from each other we could be made to believe the lies. Those days are over. Now the mindless brutality behind the charade steps out from behind the curtain. Yes, it’s ugly, but don’t look away. You need to see this. What the ex-gay ministries offered to so many innocent people was more poison to add to the poison that had brought them in the door in the first place.
We taught your parents to hate you. We taught your preacher to thunder damnation at you. Everywhere you turn you see hate reflected back at you. We’ve prepared you nicely for your role in life little scapegoat. Oh…you’re troubled by your same-sex attractions are you? Good. Now let us dangle some hope for change in front of you, tell you all about how we have helped so many others just like you, and we can help you too, if you are willing to work hard for it. And when you fail to change you can hate yourself even more.
It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.
[Edited a tad, and then some more, for clarity…]
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