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April 3rd, 2013
Without Shame What Good Is Marriage?
by Bruce |
Via Andrew Sullivan…Mark Oppenheimer, who thinks same-sex marriage might just pass muster as long as we still get to stigmatize someone…if not the homosexuals…
So here’s my question to Douthat, Maggie Gallagher, Ross Douthat Brian Brown, the world of conservative evaneglical preachers, and others who are so concerned about same-sex marriage: What does it do your perception of Ronald Reagan that he was a divorcé—and in being the first divorced president certainly helped remove any last shreds of stigma? Would you have voted against him for that reason—as many would have in 1952? Would you discourage people from listening to radio hosts who have divorces in their past (Limbaugh, Dennis Prager), or voting for divorcés like John McCain? If our goal is to work our way back to 1950 Marriage, how are we going to re-stigmatize divorce for wealthy white people? How are we going to make their divorces seem unseemly? In 1950, when a divorced woman moved into the neighborhood, people whispered about her. Are we prepared to whisper again?
As they used to say back in the day…matter of fact as some of my elementary school teachers used to say to my face…I’m the product of a broken home. Oddly, I would not have known my home was “broken” had it not been for so many helpful adults back in the day. Kids hear those whispers too Oppenheimer. But that’s part of the fun isn’t it?
Here’s my problem with shaming divorcees..
That’s my dad under that sheet. Mom divorced him when I was two and raised me herself. And but for the fact that mine was a household with a single divorced women at the head of it, you might even say that I was raised in a good Baptist home. But for that one fact. I remember how mom was treated back in those days. I remember how she raised me by setting an example. Never mind church. Yes I got taken to church. She never cheated anyone, never took advantage, never said anything about anyone in my presence she wouldn’t have said to their face, never drank or uttered a curse word in my presence, paid her bills, lived frugally (well…we had to…) kept her promises and when she passed away people in the town she retired to would come up to me on the street and tell me what a ray of sunshine she always was. But no…it was a shameful thing being a divorced woman. The head of my household growing up should have been the crook. Why, I might not be homosexual if my father had been there. A boy needs a father, and better to grow up learning how to rob people of their savings than to be a homosexual. Provided of course I share some of the loot with a few conservative think tanks.
Dad, let it be said, was always nice to me, and nice to mom. To other people…not so much. And mom loved him until the day she died. But she knew better than to let me be raised by him. Let me tell you a brief little story about that. When I was a teenager dad was earning a semi-honest living driving trucks and cargo around the country. More about that “semi-honest” part in a bit. One summer mom felt comfortable enough letting dad take me with him on one of his cross-country runs and one afternoon we stopped somewhere to eat and rest up a bit. I chowed down in the restaurant and Dad went into the bar next door. He came back, sat across the table from me and with a cheerful smile pushed some papers and a pen across the table at me and asked me to make a mark on the dotted line. I must have raised an eyebrow. Just make a mark there, he said. You want me to sign it, I asked? No…just scribble something. So I’m the obedient son and I did it, and he took the pen and papers back, folded them up and put them in his jacket pocket and smiled warmly at me and said, “You just made your dad five-hundred bucks.”
Aw gee Dad…
So I have this…hunch…that if he had remained the God Ordained Head Of The Household like he was God Ordained supposed to be I probably would not be the sort of person I am now, capable of passing the background check I could so I could be doing the work I do now at Space Telescope. Still, he was my dad and I loved him all the same and I feel these bitter little smiles come out of me whenever I hear some jackass homophobe saying that you can love people without sanctioning their behavior. You don’t say? Know something about that do you? And one day when my brother and I discovered he had no stone for his grave I bought him one, and my brother paid to have it placed, and it reads “Beloved Father” because sometimes you do things not because of what was, but because of what ought to have been.
I have never regretted mom’s divorce. Regretted dad couldn’t have been a better dad, but I suppose he actually did the best he could, the best that was within him to do, and he loved his sons and his wives (he married again…and…divorced again…) as much as it was within him to love anyone. But without a doubt was absolutely for the best for both mom and me that I was not raised by him. And piss on you Oppenheimer, if you think whispering shame at divorcees is a good thing. Never dawns on the likes of you that divorce might actually be a good thing does it? Never dawns on the likes of you that the shame you throw at single mothers is felt by their children does it? We’re just collateral damage in your little culture war aren’t we?
Here’s the problem with jackass social conservatives like him…they seem not to be able to function socially without a bunch of arbitrary rules that can never be questioned lest they get utterly lost in the human relationship thicket. They have no idea what the rules are for, other than they’re there to prop up some sort of civilized behavior, the reason for which they have no clue whatsoever. Homosexuality is shameful because it’s against the rules. Divorce is shameful because it is against the rules. The rules are Very Important because without them we wouldn’t have a fucking clue how to behave toward our neighbors.
I have a wee suggestion. Instead of shaming divorce, how about we shame spouse abuse. How about we shame cheating. How about we shame not setting a good example for children. How about we shame not taking care of children. Ah…but spouse abuse was never one of the rules…was it? Women having to submit gracefully and all. And children…the only thing they’re good for is a reason why same-sex couples can’t get married and women can’t own their own bodies. It’s not like we give a good goddamn about their health or feeding or educating them.
This Really Isn’t About God Is It….
by Bruce |
Someone in North Carolina complained that some county commissioners were starting their meetings with a prayer…and this was the response at the statehouse
Republican North Carolina state legislators have proposed allowing an official state religion in a measure that would declare the state exempt from the Constitution and court rulings.
The bill, filed Monday by two GOP lawmakers from Rowan County and backed by nine other Republicans, says each state “is sovereign” and courts cannot block a state “from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.”
Arguments about religion are usually arguments about Who’s In Charge rather than arguments about religion. Same thing with arguments about Intrusive Government. Reverence allegedly paid to God is actually directed at the Tribe, in whose name God serves. Figure they’ll be holding a conclave down there somewhere in the old confederacy to elect the first Baptist pope any day now.
March 19th, 2013
A Splendid Little War…
by Bruce |
Andrew Sullivan has been relentlessly digging up and reposting his horrible Iraq war posts as a kind of public confession and mea culpa. So very Catholic, and I mean that in a respectful way. For all the hostility I threw at him back then I must say now that he has my respect, being one of the few Bush cheerleaders I’ve seen to change their minds about both the man and his war, and while you can argue that this is just a matter of plainly seeing the facts for what they are and you don’t pat someone on the back for doing what they ought to have been doing in the first place, that’s ignoring some hard truths about human nature and what can happen to any of us who get caught up in a mob. Sullivan deserves a great deal of respect in my opinion for so publicly eating crow and more to the point, for setting an example. If more of us owned our mistakes in life instead of passing the buck this would be a much better world.
The rest of us who were right all along need to look squarely at the fact of our utter uselessness. We tried, we failed, and way too often it seems to me, we settled for the sanctimony of being right over making a difference.
Flashback…Washington D.C…March 18, 2003
Tuesday afternoon. I am attending a conference on open source software in government being held at George Washington University. I am here because my project manager is investigating the possibility of moving the system I’ve been working on for the past several years to open source software. Work on the Hubble Space Telescope will go into maintenance mode shortly, and the thinking is that the Institute doesn’t want to spend a lot of money it won’t have on software upgrades, simply because a certain vendor has a business cycle that requires you to do that. At least with open source we would have the option of making any small fixes we absolutely needed to have before the end of the mission ourselves, without breaking our systems that depend on it. The alternative is to stick to the vendor’s upgrade cycle, and pray the new versions don’t break anything in our software, or introduce new bugs and security holes.
Between conference sessions, I wander around the Foggy Bottom area, and back and forth to my hotel, which I paid for out of my own pocket, rather then hassle with Washington traffic, which is a nightmare. The hotel has a nice little kitchenette, which allows me to eat reasonably well without further damaging my budget for the month. Around noon I begin the walk back to my hotel for lunch, stopping to examine a decrepit building right next to the conference hall, that I assume is one of the student dorms. It is, and I see by the bronze plaque by the door that this one is named Lafayette Hall. I read the inscription, which briefly describes the history of Marquis de Lafayette, who fought beside George Washington, taking a bullet in the process, for the freedom of a nation that was not his own, and who later attended the first commencement ceremonies of the university that bore his friend’s name, shaking the hand of each of those first graduates. While I am reading, a snarky voice in the back of my mind is saying Freedom Fries…Freedom Toast… An old friend of mine I’d had breakfast with that morning, told me a joke he’d heard about a man who, while visiting France recently, asked a random Frenchman, “Sir, can you speak German?” When the Frenchman replied that he couldn’t, the American said, “You’re welcome.” I told my friend the Frenchman could just as easily have asked the American, “Sir, what is your king’s name?”
My hotel is somewhat oldish. My room is on the sixth floor and the elevators are small and slow. I press the button and when one finally appears, I see that there are already two businessmen inside. It’s a tight fit for three. As we go up I feel the hair on the back of my neck rise. There are some who you would never know from the look of them to be of the right wing thuggish persuasion, and there are others who hit you with it in waves, in the cut of the clothes, the bullying posture that is as second nature as breathing, and the coldness of the face, particularly when smiling at nothing in particular. I tune them both out, pulling out from a space within me I’d almost forgotten about, a “Yes I’m a longhair, yes I know you hate my guts, and no mister establishment person sir, I really don’t give a flying fuck” attitude, close my eyes, and listen to the elevator floor counter click off the floors to mine. I toy briefly about writing a book, “Everything I know about living under Bush II, I learned from Nixon”. The old elevator rises slowly. I hear one of my companions say, “I hope they don’t cancel our flight out Thursday.” The other chuckles and says, “The war will be over by then.”
February 27th, 2013
No…I Will Not Stand Side-By-Side With The Likes Of You…
by Bruce |
A one time shooting buddy of mine offhandedly remarked that my support of gun control democrats over right to keep and bear arms republicans was, of course, all about my favoring sex and my sexual orientation over my right to self defense. I countered as I usually do when that comes up, simply by stating that while I think a lot of gun control rhetoric is simplistic and naive at best, at least it’s grounded in one basic fact, that guns are dangerous, whereas getting whipped up in a hysteria over homosexuality not only makes no sense whatsoever, by attacking people’s ability to love and accept love from another you’re actually making civilization that much harder to sustain. To nurture civilization, nurture things in its people like love, sympathy, trust, kindness. A little more love, or for that matter even a little more carefree happy sex, would probably go a long way toward making this poor angry world a much more peaceful one. If I have to come down on one side of it, I will come down on the side of love, Every Time.
But there is also this…
Last week, we reported that Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America joined conservative talk show host Stan Solomon to warn about President Obama’s alleged plans to incite violence and bring about a race war against white Americans.
I can’t begin to describe how much I despise it that people like this man have so thoroughly identified their cheapshit racism and hatreds with gun ownership. I can appreciate how it is that bigots and thugs like guns. But in a decent world they’d be keeping their mouths shut about it for the same reason Klansmen kept their faces hidden. No sense in telling the cops who to talk to when there’s been a beating or a lynching.
Behold, the human gutter…
Later, Solomon mused that “the best thing that can happen to a liberal is to be mugged,” and wondered why Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) still supports gun control after she was mugged in 1995, to which Pratt replied: “Well, maybe she liked it.”
There’s the other reason I’ll stand with the democrats on this issue, even if it means they go further than I’d care to see on it. This element needs to be thoroughly defeated, humiliated, at the polls, so we can set about building a more peaceful and prosperous tomorrow. The root of violence, the root I put it to you of all criminal behavior, is right there, in that man’s sneering contempt for a women who was mugged.
House Of Cards Much?
by Bruce |
So in my Google News stream I see that Ex-Gay For Pay Christopher Doyle has penned an article for the “Christian Post” in which he suggests that people who oppose ex-gay therapy are basically like the night man at the Hotel California telling gay people they can check out but they can never leave. You may suppose he’s not one of the pretty pretty boys dancing to remember.
There are things that make my eyes glaze over whenever they hit them…Paul Cameron, Gay Lifestyle, Love The Sinner…and one surefire one is when they keep asserting that Kirk and Madsen’s After The Ball represents some sort of playbook for the Vast Homosexual Conspiracy. No, Chris…After The Ball’s biggest problem in achieving the goals Kirk and Madsen laid out wasn’t then and is not now is the advent of “the former homosexual, or ex-gay”, but something they pointed out themselves in the book…
“There’s no point in mincing words: the current condition of organization and fundraising in gay America is deplorable, and makes a pipe dream of our [Kirk and Madsen's] plans for an effective campaign. Without a unified national movement, led by an organization with sufficient resources to produce and guide the campaign, gay America hasn’t nearly the “strength to bring forth.”
-Kirk and Madsen, After the Ball“, p248.
They’ll figure out how to herd cats before the gay community ever gets that organized. If anything Kirk and Madsen got laughed at and then ignored back in 1989. Yes, yes…if only we had some Madison Avenue guys who could lead us out of Egypt…
And no, the “whole foundation of ‘born this way’” isn’t much likely to tumble “like a stack of cards” at the feet of the feet of the “former homosexual, or ex-gay”…all things considered…
Seriously tragic how them little gay babies just keep doing what them little gay babies were born to do, ain’t it?
To keep insisting there must be some sort of organized gay agenda is entirely of a piece with the authoritarian top-down social order mindset. In the leaves of grass it does not work that way. And reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, does not go away.
Religion As The Mirror In Which You See God
by Bruce |
The author Mary Renault once said (and I’m paraphrasing now because I don’t have that exact quote) that all politics, like sex, was merely a reflection of the person within, and that if you are mean and selfish and cruel it came out in your sex life and in your politics when what really mattered is you aren’t the sort of person who behaves like that. To that I would only add religion. If you are mean and selfish and cruel it will come out in your religion too, when what really matters is you aren’t the sort of person who behaves like that…
A provocative new study is challenging assumptions about the deterrent effect of religion on criminal behaviour.
The U.S. study found that through “purposeful distortion or genuine ignorance,” hardcore criminals often co-opt religious doctrine to justify or further their crimes.
Among the interviewees…
A 25-year-old criminal nicknamed “Cool” said he always does a “quick little prayer” before committing a crime in order to “stay cool with Jesus.” As long as you ask for forgiveness, Jesus has to give it to you, he said.
He also suggested that if a crime is committed against another “bad person,” such as a dope dealer or child molester, “then it don’t count against me because it’s like I’m giving punishment to them for Jesus.”
The interviews show that criminals will often employ “elaborate and creative rationalizations” to reconcile their belief in God and their serial offending, the researchers concluded.
As you read this article it isn’t hard to hear in the voices of these criminals every justification the religious right uses to prey on other people. Here is the voice of predatory christianism as if spoken on a minimalist stage. Strip the frippery away and you have a prison gang. How is it that murderers, robbers and thugs don’t see themselves that way? Well, don’t blame religion for it either. Humans have an amazing capacity to see only what we want to see…to lie to ourselves even when it is killing us, rather than admit an uncomfortable truth. Yes, actually…I’m a dick… The religious right uses Christianity the way a thief uses a crowbar. Here in that study, are the professionals.
February 25th, 2013
Notes On The Gay Lifestyle…(continued): That Little Rainbow Sticker That Says “Fire Me”
by Bruce |
The pink triangle was sewn on the prison clothes of gay Germans during the thousand year Reich. It was meant to be a stigma, a sign that here was a prisoner who was the lowest of the low. Lambda was the first symbol we embraced for ourselves, as a statement of identity and pride. It was chosen in 1970 by the Gay Activists Alliance of New York, and in 1974 was declared the official international symbol for gay and lesbian rights by the International Gay Rights Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland. It signifies unity under oppression.
I came out to myself on December 15th, 1971 (yes, I remember the exact moment), and as per my nerd genes, instantly began reading everything I could on the subject…which wasn’t much that made any sense since it was nearly all written by heterosexuals. A classmate I was massively crushing on had put an arm around me as we walked together out of school, sending me into a happy rush of delight, tinged with the feel of physical closeness to him. It sent me right into the stratosphere. I spent the rest of that day rushing over and over on the memory of his smile, and the feeling of his embrace. Nothing in my life had ever been so wonderful. That was when I finally had to admit it. Yeah Bruce…you’re gay… And in that moment I knew that everything I had been taught up to then about homosexuals and homosexuality was wrong. So when I read that it was a sickness, I simply discarded it as ignorant. In the Civil Rights/Johnson-Nixon/Vietnam years it wasn’t difficult for a teenager to know that the grownups could be astoundingly stupid.
But that was only a few years after Stonewall, and that first gay pride march in New York City, and even in such an urban place as the Washington D.C. suburbs, a gay teenager was still very isolated from his kind. It was a couple years later before I saw my first issue of The Advocate, which had been carefully added to the packing of a shipment of cameras the store I was working for received from a distributor in San Francisco. I stuffed it into my backpack, squirreled it home and devoured it (I still have it carefully saved away as a bit of personal history). There was a world out there where others like me lived. But finding it closer to home was difficult.
When I discovered, finally the Lambda Rising Bookstore downtown, a world of information and literature opened up before me. And…knickknacks! I bought a little Lambda necklace and wore it constantly. I painted lambdas on my backpacks, so expertly I had people question where I’d managed to buy one with a lambda on it. And I had a little Lambda bumper sticker for my car. Partly it was the joy of being able to identify in a way that the hostile world around me wouldn’t recognize…most of the time. But mostly it was this: a lot of us back then who didn’t live in New York, LA or San Francisco were lost and alone in a world that hated us. I wore the lambda mostly as a little wave of the hand, to anyone who might see it, so to say, Hi…you’re not alone…
Time passes…the universe expands…and one day a newer, better symbol for our struggle emerged. There is a quote…I can’t find it now but I recall it as something like a flag that truly represents its people isn’t decided on by a committee but torn out of them from their lives and their experience. In 1978 Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag for that year’s Gay Freedom Celebration in San Francisco. By the time I was a successful contract software developer, it had pretty much completely superseded the Lambda. So where my first car had worn a little Lambda sticker on the back, my first new car since emerging from poverty, the Geo Prism, wore a little rainbow. In the 1990s I was still saying ‘Hi…‘, though it was becoming less and less of a need.
In those days one of my contracts was at a company located in the deep Baltimore suburbs…almost in the sticks. I was doing well as a software developer, not only because I had a mind for it, but also it fit very well to be in a trade where I could go to work in blue jeans and sneakers, and wear my hair long and not get any static from management. The computer geeks of the PC revolution, so unlike the suit and tie IBM mainframe guys, were a notoriously non-conformist bunch. It was even okay to be gay…some of the big names in our field were, and the rest knew perfectly well how to evaluate a statement as true or false. The demonizing crap homophobes spread about us just did not find very good soil amongst the computer nerds. That’s not to say it didn’t occasionally take root here and there all the same.
I had been at the job site about a week, when one day I saw the manager stop abruptly as he passed my car in the company parking lot. I saw him stare at the little rainbow bumper sticker on the back like someone had parked a turd in one of the parking spaces. I went inside and shrugged it off. I wasn’t one of their employees, I was a contractor and we contractors didn’t matter. We did our work and when it was done we went on to the next job somewhere else. That was my life, and in those days I was fine with that. It allowed me to keep office politics and personality conflicts at arm’s length. And as he was managing the company IT division, I assumed he knew from experience that us computer geeks came in a lot of odd varieties. I didn’t think I would get any static about it.
But in less than an hour I was called into his office, along with my contract agency’s lead (there were several of us working that contract there), and told that I was being fired. For…ah…low productivity. I looked him right in the eyes as he said it and I’m sure my expression telegraphed exactly what I was thinking of him then. But I got up, expressed a perfunctory regret that I was not satisfactory and hoped he wouldn’t see that as a reflection on my agency, and my agency rep and I left his office.
As I gathered my things to leave the building, my rep wore a bewildered, somewhat disturbed look. “I don’t get this…” he says, “You’ve only been here a couple weeks and you’ve been doing fine. Nobody expects a new guy to be one-hundred percent in just a couple weeks…but you’ve been doing great…” Then he looks me right in the eyes…I could see his conscience was getting to him…and says, “It really makes you wonder…” All I could say was, “Yeah…I know…”
Getting a little first hand look at discrimination in the workplace are we…?
It was the height of the dot-com boom and I left there confidant I would have work elsewhere, if not the next day then within a week. My agency got me another contract almost immediately and I put it aside. There are some forms of rejection that really get to me and I can’t help it, but those are about my artwork. I have never felt the sting of it when it concerned business, and never, thankfully, when it was over my sexual orientation. I came out to myself one December evening in 1971, and in that wonderful rush of first love I saw the truth, and ever since hate has just rolled off me like water off a duck’s back. I think of my first love, and discard hate as simply ignorant. That was the last job I ever lost when an employer found out I am gay, but it was hardly the only one. And gay people are still very much at risk. But I can think of at least one straight guy out there somewhere, who when he hears that gay Americans don’t need protection from job discrimination, would know from first hand experience exactly why we do. In retrospect that teaching moment was worth getting fired for.
February 24th, 2013
Notes On The Gay Lifestyle…
by Bruce |
A militant homosexual is a homosexual who doesn’t think there is anything wrong with being a homosexual. A militant homosexual activist is a homosexual who acts like there isn’t anything wrong with being a homosexual.
I had some conservative friends…once. Not social conservatives…so they claimed. No, no…they were all about smoking pot and live and let live…so they said. Oh, they kept voting for crackpot right wing politicians who had no compunction about waging war on deviants Welfare Cadillac Mothers and the Dirty Fucking Hippies. But they frowned on making a big deal out of it. So long as they were left alone to do whatever they damn well pleased. Heinlein kind of conservatives. If you’ve ever read any Heinlein, you know the type.
One day the sister of the family mentioned off-handedly to me that I’d somehow become homosexual because I’d decided that all women were bitches. I tried to tell her as politely as I could that my sexual orientation wasn’t a matter of rejection of one sex, as my attraction to my own. Desire I said, wasn’t disdain by a different name. I was drawn to males, not repulsed by females. I Liked women. Just not that way. I don’t think she ever got that. Point of fact, I said, when I figured myself out in my teen years, I was able to relate more comfortably to women. The pressure to date against my nature was very disturbing. It made me angry and frustrated. I hated the whole thing. Then I finally came to a place where I could acknowledge that I was a homosexual, that I liked guys and that was okay, and the pressure was off and I could relax. It took a very great weight off my shoulders. But that didn’t seem to compute with her. Or any of them.
One day while pontificating about gay activists…I forget now what the specific issue of the day was…she averred that I was better than them because I was a “discrete” homosexual. I laughed, and told her I wasn’t discrete, I was Single. It’s easy to be discrete about your love life I said, when you don’t have one. I don’t think she ever got that either.
Time passes…the universe expands…and a bunch of people who only knew me casually found out what a militant homosexual I apparently was when my web site, and Facebook, made it possible for them to see my writings about my concerns social and political. And what I saw was it came as a shock to some that I really didn’t think there was anything wrong with me. That I would actually vote and act and behave like Those Other People, that I really believed I deserved the same chances for love and happiness and contentment as everyone else. It felt as though I were being called a traitor somehow. Oh…you were one of Those people all along…
Yes. I was. I am a human being. I have the same needs as any of you. Couldn’t you see that?
February 20th, 2013
White History Class
by Bruce |
I’m seeing this other hashtag flying across my Twitter feed… #whitehistoryclasses…and it puts me in mind of a story I’ve been meaning to tell for a long time in this space. Charitably, when some of us white folk assert there is no systematic racism in this country because all the No Coloreds signs have been taken down, we are being merely clueless. There is more to it than that. I know from personal experience, and I strongly suspect most of us white folk know it too…or would if we wanted to. Gather round the campfire boys and girls, and I’ll relate a little White History for you. A piece of mine anyway.
It was the late 1970s, and I was in my twenties and desperate for work. But I had a reliable car, a little Ford Pinto sedan that was bought and paid for…bought with so few options (it literally didn’t even have a cigarette lighter, although the wiring for one was there in the dashboard) it was easy to work on myself, and über reliable. And I loved to drive it. So one avenue I kept looking at in the Help Wanteds were all the ads for couriers. If I could combine my love of driving with a job that required me to drive places would be ideal…or so I thought.
Problem was, all those ads listed detailed knowledge of the roads in downtown Washington D.C. as a requirement, and not only did I not know downtown all that well, I absolutely hated driving there. Traffic was a horrible and parking was a nightmare all day long. So I kept looking hopefully for a listing from a service that needed someone to work the suburbs instead. And lo and behold, one day I saw one. Must know Montgomery County Roads…said the ad. Well…I was their man!
So I darted out to the address on the ad, supremely confidant that I would ace whatever test they threw at me. Hello…says I. I’m your man. I’ve lived here practically my entire life. I know Montgomery County roads like I laid the asphalt myself. Well…says the owner of the courier service, an elderly man who from the look of him could have retired decades ago…we need to test that for ourselves. And they put me in a small room and gave me a sheet of questions. Describe how, exactly, you would you get from point A to point B. This is going to be a piece of cake thinks I as I sat down.
But the first question asked about a route in downtown Washington D.C. And…I couldn’t answer it. So I skipped to the next question on the test which was…another question about directions in downtown Washington D.C.. And so was the next. And the next. They were all questions about downtown Washington D.C..
So I took the test back to the owner and told him I was sorry, but I could not answer any of it. No worry, says he. We’ll put a radio in your car, you will get your jobs from the dispatcher and if you get lost you can call for directions. I needed the work, so I said well…okay…I can do that. But…why did you write your ad as through you were looking for people to work in Montgomery County?
And I swear to god he patted my knee like he was my grandfather and said, “Oh, we wrote it that way so we won’t get any of them colored boys out here looking for work.”
Well…god forbid us white kids from the suburbs would have to compete with them colored boys from the city who probably know their streets like the backs of their hands.
So I hemmed and hawed and said I really didn’t want to drive in the city…but if you ever need someone to work out in the county give me a call…and I darted out of there. I felt dirty in a way I hadn’t since I stood in a line of about twenty or so other guys and bent over and spread them for my pre-induction physical. Later I sent in an anonymous letter to the county telling them about the ad and the service…but I didn’t actually call the man a racist to his face and walk out on him either. I just didn’t have that kind of nerve back then.
No, I don’t know what it’s like to be a black guy in America. But I know what it’s like to be a white guy. And I know exactly how much was stacked in my favor. Every one of us does. Or could, if we really wanted to face facts.
But Lord, I Hate Them So Very Much…
by Bruce |
It’s like the buildup of magma under a hotspot. Eventually the pressure building up forces it out. Same thing with bile…
You can only wear that mask of genial civility for so long before you just have to start spitting at the heretics in the church across the street.
That Pleasure You Feel While Victimizing Others That You Keep Mistaking For A Sense Of Humor
by Bruce |
The thing sociopaths never get is the difference between laughing at the powerful and laughing at the oppressed. Apparently some Colorado state representative spoke up recently in favor of a bill banning the carrying of guns on college campuses. Now I happen to think that’s a perfectly reasonable position for everyone, gun owners and second amendment believers like myself to take. I also understand perfectly that the likes of the NRA and other Kultur Krieger would howl bloody murder over it for reasons that have essentially nothing to do with the ability of people to defend themselves from violence.
To the extent that any argument is being made here, it’s that guns in the hands of women can prevent rape, therefore banning guns from college campuses makes rape more likely to happen to young women, therefore if you believe in banning guns on college campuses you must think rape isn’t so bad really. The level of cheap bar stool demagoguery here is breathtaking. But wait…there’s more…
Naturally the right wing noise machine kicks into gear and tries to make this Colorado state representative into some kind of liberal Todd Akin. The problem with doing that when you never saw anything wrong with Akin’s crack about legitimate rape in the first place completely escapes them…
There’s this new hashtag #LiberalTips2AvoidRape that’s now on its second day of trending on Twitter: A really, really great expression of our shared humanity, and of the possibilities of feel-good, thoughtful conservative satire… this is not…
Satire, as every political cartoonist knows, is a powerful weapon against the brutal and the ignorant. And never more so than when the brutal and ignorant try wielding it themselves. It’s like one of those magical swords in fantasy stories that turns on its unworthy bearer. Behold…
If you have the stomach for a torrent of rape jokes you should go browse that hashtag on Twitter. Pay attention to what’s going on here. This isn’t about guns. This isn’t about the second amendment. This isn’t about the ability of people to defend themselves from violence…
The ability of the common man and woman, and particularly of the weak and vulnerable, to be secure in their homes and their streets, to defend themselves from violence, is an eminently liberal concern. That is not what the reactionary right is about. They vigorously thump for their own right to self determination and self defense and sneer when the powerless and outcast assert those same rights. This is about culture war. Nothing else.
Here’s how some liberals are responding to the hashtag…
That’s the right approach. And in that spirit I have some of my own.
#LiberalTips2AvoidRape: Focus on putting violent offenders in jail, not pot smokers
#LiberalTips2AvoidRape: Remove judges that think women provoke rape by dressing slutty and walking alone
#LiberalTips2AvoidRape: Teach boys their manhood does not depend on their ability to dominate women
#LiberalTips2AvoidRape: Prosecute those who protect rapists from the law, even if they happen to be Catholic priests or the Pope
#LiberalTips2AvoidRape: Fire any politician who even utters the words “transvaginal probe” in the context of an abortion bill.
February 19th, 2013
You Keep Using That Word…
by Bruce |
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
-Inigo Montoya, “The Princess Bride”
Here’s another word people keep using: Homosexual.
So I’m seeing the chatter about how this new Gallup poll (you know…the folks who did so well predicting the outcome of the last election…), gives us a more accurate figure for the percentage of gay people in America than Kinsey’s ten percent, and I can only conclude they aren’t paying attention to what they’re reading, don’t understand where that ten percent figure came from and/or what the Kinsey scale actually was.
Kinsey’s scale of zero through six, where zero (exclusively heterosexual) and six (exclusively homosexual) described the sexual behavior of his subjects over the previous three years of their lives, based on extensive face to face interviews with them. The report stated that ten percent of American males were “more or less exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55″ by grouping the percentages of the five (Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual) and six positions on the scale together to come up with that ten percent figure. Later gay rights activists used this to claim that ten percent of the population is homosexual.
That’s an arguable, but perfectly defensible claim based on Kinsey’s data which, again, came from subjects who were only asked about their actual sexual behavior for the previous three years. But it is measuring a different thing than Gallup asked, which was…
“Do you, personally, identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender?”
See the difference? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
The problem has always been the percentage of people who are homosexual you get in any given study depends on how the people who did the study define what “homosexual” is. It seems so clear cut and obvious on the surface of it and yet different people, even in all intellectual honesty about it, have different definitions…let alone those who want to marginalize us when it’s convenient (their numbers are too small for society to cater to their whims), and exaggerate our numbers when convenient (nearly all child molesters are homosexuals…it’s how they perpetuate themselves since they can’t reproduce…).
At this stage in my life, after all I’ve seen of this world, I am still comfortable with that ten percent figure. But I’m calling it desire, not necessarily how someone behaves or how they self identify. I Know people, and so do many of us who are gay, who would fit comfortably in either that Kinsey five or six position and yet would nonetheless have assured Gallup that they were heterosexual. It’s called “The Closet” and a lot of people are still in it….some still in denial, some not. In my generation and earlier especially, you see a lot of gay men who married young, as a way of turning themselves straight. Some of these have remained in those marriages, living behind that mask still, after all that has passed by them in the struggle, and I can’t find it in my heart to blame them for that. They love their wives very much. Add to that those of us who are out in various stages, even out to everyone they know and work with, and who would be unwilling to answer that question from a stranger.
I still think ten percent is probably right. But even those of us who are militantly out and proud don’t always seem so to the passing stranger. There is no gay lifestyle. You likely won’t know unless you are close enough to a person to know, and even then you might not. And still, even today, many people simply don’t want to know it about themselves. It does not surprise me either that perhaps only three to four percent rather than ten are willing to live openly just as they are, and fight the fight for our human dignity that still needs fighting.
“Do you, personally, identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender”, is a question worth asking of course, and maybe someday better researchers than the louts at Gallup will ask that question. But it’s really not the point. The word does not mean that.
February 14th, 2013
by Bruce |
Good morning, all you happy not lovers!
In a special speech to honor Valentine’s Day and discuss the meaning of love, the Bishop also said that being gay is a ‘condition’ that can be dealt with through a ‘life of chastity’.
“This Valentine’s Day we would also do well to focus on a more authentic understanding of the word ‘love’”, says Bishop Paprocki. Love is never having to say you’re sorry for destroying other people’s hopes and dreams of love and happiness.
So, Happy Valentine’s Day, all you lonely gay singles living out your righteous lives of celibacy. The Bishop of Springfield says, “You’re Welcome!”
February 11th, 2013
If We Didn’t Love You We Wouldn’t Be Stabbing Your Heart To Ribbons
by Bruce |
I began these Valentine’s Day reminiscences to shine a light on how love is systematically taken from this poor angry world, denied not just to gay people, but to everyone, lover, friend, family, they might have also loved. I began it with a quote from a vicious screed published in Harper’s Magazine back in 1971, by one Joseph Epstein, who said homosexuals were “condemned to a state of permanent niggerdom among men”…
His howl against the homosexual in that Harper’s article almost certainly became a dagger in the the hopes and dreams of young gay men and women back then, reassuring parents, teachers, clergy that it was no sin to put a knife in the hearts of teenagers in love, that if they were condemned to live their one life in loneliness and heartache that was merely the Curse Of Homosexuality, not their own bar stool arrogance and cheapshit prejudices that did it to them. Bobby and Johnny are getting just a little too friendly aren’t they…let’s pack them off to the psychiatrist quickly now…or to some nice church camp somewhere far away, where they can pray their unspeakable sin away…
Ah…Valentine’s Day…when all the lonely hearts ponder writing new songs about the one that did them wrong. I have a different thing in mind. How about stories of that which might have been, but for the cheapshit prejudices of the world we were thrown into. I have a few stories of my own to tell. Pull up a chair. Sit a spell. Love is in the air. Let me pour you a drink. There is a box of Valentine’s Day candy over there on the table, pieces of the moon rattling hollowly inside…angry, angry candy…
Let us pause in our (my) reminiscences to acknowledge that however better it has become for gay kids just discovering what all that love and desire stuff is all about, many of them still get the knife in the heart, with LOVE engraved on its blade…
Several parents, students, and others who believe gays should be banned from the Sullivan High School prom met Sunday at the Sullivan First Christian Church.”We don’t agree with it and it’s offensive to us,” said Diana Medley.
So now they’re organizing their own Gay Kids Not Allowed prom…
“If we can get a good prom then we can convince more people to come and follow what they believe,” said student Kynon Johnson.
“We want to make the public see that we love the homosexuals, but we don’t think it’s right nor should it be accepted,” said a local student.
Feel the love, as Dan Savage says, because nothing says love like “you’re not wanted and God hates you.” The people organizing this “traditional prom” had a Facebook page up about it, but took it promptly down when their efforts suddenly became an Internet news item. Here’s what a couple of them had to say for themselves…
An issue has been raised in the Southwest School Corporation where a same sex couple or couples have requested acceptance of their marching together in the Grand March for the High School Prom. There have been a number of students, along with their parents, that have expressed their dislike over this venue for demonstrating this kind of behavior, which is offensive to many in Sullivan County.
Our first suggestion would be that the school administration ask the same sex couple or couples not use this venue (the Grand March) to demonstrate their sexuality because it is offensive to many and would be demonstrating before minors. So our wish is that the school officials and board return to the traditional couple stance in the same way Indiana only accepts traditional (man and wife) marriages.
We encourage you to show support for the teens in our community that are standing up for what they believe is right. Their position is based on the Bible’s stance against homosexuality and its acceptance in society and in our schools. It is very difficult for many of our high schoolers to stand up against peer pressure, our permissive culture and main stream media and yet many teens are standing up concerning this blatant demonstration that is not in accordance with God’s Word.
Please keep in mind that we love those who participate in homosexuality but that does not mean that we love homosexuality. Just as it has become their civil right (according to our society today) to attend the Grand March as a homosexual couple, it is our teens right to speak out against such a public demonstration. Many believe, as our teens do, this is not the venue to demonstrate a homosexual lifestyle.
A meeting for those in support of these efforts will be on Sunday, February 10, 2013 at the Sullivan First Christian Church at 1:30pm. This event and these efforts are not being organized by the Sullivan First Christian Church but the building is the gathering location for the meeting. Students and parents who support this effort are encouraged to attend. May God bless you as you pray over these efforts.
And this…from another member…
We would like to stress to everyone that this is not a hate group. We do not hate anyone, we are not judging anyone. We are choosing to stand on the word of God. The bible says the truth will set you free. All we can do is stand for what we believe and let God do the rest. We will not judge or hate anyone for their choice. We simply choose the entire word of God. The unchanging living word of God. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
[emphasis mine] Those who participate in homosexuality. Those who participate in homosexuality. Those who participate in homosexuality. Do these people ever listen to themselves yapping? Oh…and there’s Homosexual Lifestyle, right on cue. And the ostentatious avowals of love for those who participate in homosexuality. We are not a hate group, we only want those who participate in homosexuality to know they are not welcome at the prom. Because homosexuals don’t love, they participate in homosexuality.
Feel the love, because the gay kids who go to that school sure are.
Worse though than a bunch of bigot parents, are the bigot teachers. And especially bad if their job is caring for the kids who are among the most vulnerable among them…
A teacher of special needs children in Indiana is speaking out with other Christian parents and students by demanding LGBT kids be banned from a Sullivan High School prom.
Here’s a direct quote from that interview, courtesy of Dan Savage…
PAIGE PREUSSE: A gay person, um, do you consider them, maybe, do [you believe] they have some sort of purpose in life?
DIANA MEDLEY: I don’t. I personally don’t. I’m sorry.
Imagine you are a gay kid and you are hearing your teacher, or someone else’s teacher, say that your life has no purpose.
I notice this morning that the headline on that Wabash Valley Channel 2 page has changed from “Local Students And Staff Want Gays Banned From Prom” to “Local Students Want ‘Traditional Prom’, Gays Banned”, and I strongly suspect that’s at the request of the school that doesn’t want any of its knuckle dragging staff caught in the backwash of all this, let alone the school facing a lawsuit when a gay student takes Ms. Medley’s opinion their life has no purpose to heart and kills themselves. And of course you just know that at the end of all this, the homophobes will be bellyaching that they were the bullied ones. Certainly not the gay kids who wanted to bring their dates to the prom, just like any other kid does, and were told they weren’t wanted, that God hates them, and that their lives have no purpose, condemned as Joseph Epstein would have said, to a state of permanent niggerdom among men.
Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day. We love you. Can’t you tell by the knife we’ve stuck in your heart?
[Edited a tad... Edited some more to correct a name...]
January 31st, 2013
Still Not Getting It…
by Bruce |
…and probably never will. Mother Jones tweeted just now (as I am typing this…):
In 2010, nearly 6x more women were killed by husbands, boyfriends, and exes w/ guns than by armed male strangers.
Yes. And what do you think this means?
Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com