What I found in Paradise—what I found at Sidetrack, Little Jim’s, the Loading Dock, Berlin, Christopher Street—was the truth. It was a truth my parents, my church, the media, and the medical establishment all conspired to hide from me. I had been told that being gay meant being alone, that being homosexual meant being miserable, that being queer meant being loveless, friendless, and joyless.
Then I walked into a gay bar where I saw men with their friends and men with their lovers. I saw men dancing and I saw men laughing. I found a community that I had been told didn’t exist. I found love, I lost love, and I found love again.
My discovery of this truth wasn’t in the bar scene. Being raised in a Baptist household I had an ingrained reluctance to walk into a bar that lasted well into middle age. But my first Pride Day festival in Washington D.C. (I grew up in the D.C. suburbs), in 1977 on the street where Deacon Maccubbin’s Lambda Rising bookstore was first located, was a joy and a revelation. Later I found it in the first primitive computer bulletin board systems and FidoNet, the world wide computer network created by amature computer geeks before the Internet was opened to commercial use.
Before that first Pride Day, and the books and newspapers I found at Lambda Rising, everything I knew about gay people and what it was to be gay I had learned from the pop culture I’d grown up in, the vantage point of the heterosexual majority. It was like listening in to people talking past me, about me. A conversation that was about me but very little of it spoke to me. It’s hard to not think of yourself as some sort of damaged goods or tragic mistake of nature, even if logically you know that isn’t true, when that’s all you’re hearing about you from every direction. What I saw at that Pride Day, and later on the first BBSs was that we no longer had to see ourselves through heterosexual eyes anymore. We could see each other. We could see ourselves. Finally.
And that’s why those spaces were so important, and still are. We needed to be able to do that, to see ourselves as we are, as people, before others could see us as we are too, past the myths, lies and stereotypes. So we could be people. So we could be Neighbors.
by Bruce |
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June 15th, 2016
Cultivating An Atmosphere Of Hate
In the horror of what happened this week, I’d almost forgotten about this. Somebody on Capitol Hill needs to have this thrown back in their face.
by Bruce |
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June 13th, 2016
The Hate Excuser’s Song
This is par for the course, whenever an act of violence against gay people makes national, let alone international headlines. The pushback to erase the motivation of anti-gay hate from the crime, divert attention onto something else, real or fabricated, comes quickly after from all the usual suspects, and is forceful. And when challenged on it, they just dig their heels in. In a few months to a year there will be articles from right wing “think tanks”, and documentaries purporting to prove that homophobic animus had nothing to do with it at all, and that those of us who kept pointing it out are ourselves guilty of politicising a terrible tragedy to support the Gay Agenda. It is all so predictable. Because to acknowledge the hate that motivated it, might lead to questions about the climate of hate, and those who cultivated it for votes, and money.
And ratings. Perhaps in a few years ABC 20/20 will do a documentary explaining how it was all really a drug deal gone bad…
by Bruce |
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May 12th, 2016
The Proof In The Hate Pudding
Paul Krugman is, as usual, shines a spotlight on something that in normal circumstances wouldn’t need a spotlight for everyone to see it…
Both parties make promises to their bases. But while the Democratic establishment more or less tries to make good on those promises, the Republican establishment has essentially been playing bait-and-switch for decades. And voters finally rebelled against the con.
What Donald Trump has been doing is telling the base that it can order à la carte. He has, in effect, been telling aggrieved white men that they can feed their anger without being forced to swallow supply-side economics, too…
The truly interesting thing is how abruptly, how completely, the religious right became irrelevant in the Trump onslaught. Your gay and lesbian neighbors have questioned the sincerity of religious objections to gay equality for decades, and here I think is the proof in the pudding. It was, in the main, never about religious belief. Religion was just an excuse…something to wrap their bar stool prejudices in so they wouldn’t have to see a bigot staring back at them in the bathroom mirror. See it now. When it came time to choose between the religious fanatic and mount a grand crusade against Satan for the glory of god, or the fascist demagogue who gave them permission to glory in their cheapshit prejudices, the bulk of the voters ran immediately to the demagogue. And now the fundamentalist true believers suddenly find the pews are looking a tad empty.
There’s what was going on all this time. All that talk of a moral majority. All that talk of a Christian nation. All that talk about putting god back in the classroom, and in the seats of government. All those ten commandment monuments that sprang up all over the country in the years since Brown v. Board of Education…at the same time public swimming pools were being buried rather than let the colored kids swim there too. All those private Christian schools…with their prohibitions against interracial dating. I’ve no doubt that religious fervor moved a great many who gravitated to the republican party over the decades and felt nothing but contempt and scorn for the morals they saw in the world around them. But it is a peculiar sort of Christianity that has no charity either, toward the poor, the stranger, the outcast, and it was never a force in numbers. Not by itself.
It turns out that many who sat with them in the pews and sang the hymns and put some money in the plate had simply adopted the brand, for lack of anything else capable of preserving their self respect. We are not racists. We are not bigots. We are Christians. As soon as a messiah came to deliver them from that bondage they flocked to him in relief, without even a goodbye and thanks for all the grape juice and crackers.
There’s what was going on all that time. There’s what was going on.
The Last Clown Waves Goodbye To The Crowd, And The Darkness Outside The Circus Tent Deepens
On CNN Now…
Sources: John Kasich to drop out
Well…okay. Fine. As horrifying as the potential of a Trump presidency is, I feel this as a little tiny ray of light in the darkness. The corporate media kept presenting Kasich as a more sane breed of republican and that he is patently not. So good riddance!
But we’re not out of the woods. If anything now, the woods are closing in. President Trump… Stand in front of a mirror and say it while watching the fear in your eyes deepen. If Mrs Clinton can get enough of the disaffected republican vote to offset all the disaffected democrats who would rather shove a rusty ice pick in their ear than vote for her, we might not have to witness Donald Trump taking the oath of office next January. But at this moment in time I’m not at all sure that’s going to be enough. Mrs. Clinton’s supporters are still vastly misjudging the degree of antipathy toward her and the DNC in the grassroots, and I strongly suspect that’s at least partially due to cocooning. The disaffected are doing it too. And none of it is helpful. This nation…and the world…might be in for the sort of wild ride it hasn’t seen since the 1930s.
I’ve been what they used to call a Yellow Dog Democrat, ever since Connie Morella voted for the Defense of Marriage Act (signed in the dead of night by You Know Who!). And yet, if I had to choose between Ronald Reagan and Lyndon LaRouche, and it looked like LaRouche had a clear shot at winning it, god help me I’d have voted for Reagan. But then…I’m a cold war baby. I remember doing my duck and cover drills, and the sound the air raid sirens made at 11am on the first Saturday of the month when they were tested, to make sure they would be in working order at Armageddon o:clock.
by Bruce |
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April 20th, 2016
Weeee Dooon’t Eeeveeen Care!
Alex Jones no less…
Social Justice Warrior: Like Militant Homosexual but not necessarily homo. There. Now the rest of you kids can play too!
[Update…] A co-worker adds, “Includes Feminazi“
by Bruce |
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That’ll Show Them…
Seen on Twitter…
@cafedotcom: “Michigan Gov. Vows to Drink Flint Water, Cribbing PR Strategy from “Fear Factor””
Swell. Now somebody ask him if he would he make his grandchildren drink it too.
by Bruce |
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“When Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts teamed up with a convicted child sexual predator to pass a radical bathroom policy allowing men to use girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms, the Governor warned her the legislature would take immediate action to protect North Carolina families. If Jennifer Roberts, [Attorney General] Roy Cooper and the far-left Political Correctness Mob she’s unleashed really care about the economic future of her city, they’ll stop the misinformation campaign immediately and start telling the truth about this commonsense bathroom safety law before more damage is done to the city she was elected to lead and the state Cooper was elected to protect.”
The transparent subterfuge here is the bill was about bathroom safety. “Bathroom Safety” was the window dressing. Hate mongering toward transgendered people was the grease by which they deftly erased every civil rights law protecting women and minorities in North Carolina, and for extra added effect, also nullified local minimum wage laws. You find yourself wondering if the African American members of the legislature who voted for HB2 understood they were voting to erase their own civil rights protections in state law. But there are people who will cut off their own noses to spite their neighbor’s face.
By now anybody who can read knows it went much Much further than bathrooms, and never mind that the bathroom issue was bogus as well. But here they are, still spinning a tale that it was just a bill to protect children from bathroom predators. You may conclude that they’ve managed to delude even themselves as to what they were up to. But no…this is how the culture war game is played. And more to the point, this is how hate corrupts the human spirit. If they’ve deluded themselves about anything in North Carolina it’s this: the ends do not justify the means. The means rather, foretell the ends. There is no path to the greater good that is paved with lies. That path leads elsewhere.
by Bruce |
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January 6th, 2016
Some Days You Really Miss Rod Serling…(continued)
I think now my little Twilight Zone fantasy can be better. As I wrote it the other day it’s kinda obvious. What it needs is more of that humanity Serling and the writers he brought on board back in the day gave it. (and yes, I’ve been tweaking it ever since I put it up, but I think now I’ll just stop…). I think now that a better progression through the events of history would be if the men around Fearless Leader gradually began to see how wrong it was for them to appropriate the history of those events for themselves, and the tragedy of those who actually did come face to face with tyrannical state power, and as each change of scenery happens more and more of them begin to question what it was they were there to protest in the first place, and turn to the people they suddenly find themselves with and…apologize for comparing themselves to them.
And as they do this, fewer and fewer of them pass on to the next scene in history until the only one left is Fearless Leader, who never learns the lesson.
And maybe the last scene isn’t Tienanmen Square and instead of Sand Creek it’s that wildlife preserve but during the Indian Wars of the late 1800s and Fearless has been dropped in the middle of a roundup of the Indians who once lived there but were force marched out so the white land owners could move in. With the Union Soldiers is one of the old Land Barons mentioned at the beginning of the episode but he has his father’s face and he tells Fearless that they have to get off His land and Fearless says (not really getting that he looks like all the other Indians to this man) wait…not me…it’s our land…at which Land Baron shoots him…or the soldiers drag him off…and we get the closing narration…
by Bruce |
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January 5th, 2016
Some Days You Really Miss Rod Serling
This came across my Facebook stream, in relation to the militia kooks occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon…
In case you haven’t read by now, the militia heros that declared themselves ready to occupy the cottage at the preserve by force of arms for years if necessary until the government ceded the land to them…didn’t bring with them any food…
Internet ridicule has swiftly followed…
Somewhere else I read they were also asking for socks.
This is all very good snark material, but that picture of Rod Serling got me to thinking about what he’d have possibly made of all this. The Twilight Zone wasn’t merely comic book weird tales and amazing stories. Within its otherworldly take, Serling took on the social, moral and political issues of his time, and because his stories were so good as to be timeless, ours as well. The more you watch those old black & white episodes, the more you appreciate what he managed to accomplish in the Hollywood system, and the more you miss him. If TV was a vast wasteland back then, it’s a toxic landfill now.
You can imagine it opening with the militia, (which Twitter quickly dubbed Y’all Qaeda) talking to reporters from the front door of the cottage. Perhaps the local sheriff steps forward to beg them to leave peacefully before anyone gets hurt. The townsfolk don’t want you here, we’re a peaceful law abiding community, the men you’re defending were found guilty of setting fires on public land by a jury of their peers. They could have killed those firemen and rangers. Please…just go…before anyone gets hurt. And the militia spokesman with the cameras rolling (this is late 1950s TV) just recites his boilerplate about freedom, tyranny and the lawless federal government taking our land and persecuting the ranchers. Waving his rifle in the air he says he and his men will occupy the land for as long as it takes and like the patriots who fought for America they too are willing to die for their cause if it comes to it.
…at which point the camera might pan over to Rod Serling, who might say something along the lines of…
Meet [name of militia leader], American patriot, who with his men has just invaded a small wildlife sanctuary in a remote part of Oregon to defend freedom from the scarecrows contained within pamphlets and newspapers printed by extremist madmen. But tonight those scarecrows will step off the printed page and accept his challenge, because what he and his men don’t yet realize is the land they have occupied…is in the Twilight Zone.
The camera backs away from the militia news conference, and begins to pan over a gathered small crowd watching the proceedings. We hear the militia man arguing with the sheriff in the background, while various townsfolk express their opinion that they should leave before someone gets hurt. Others that they have a point, the federal government doesn’t seem to listen to the people anymore. Someone says they’d listen if more of us voted. Somebody else whispers that they’re not fighting for the ranchers, they’re fighting for the old land barons who owned everything here including the water, before the government cut them down to size.
The camera comes back to the scene in front of the cottage. The sheriff warns the militiaman that the longer they stay the more likely someone will get hurt. The man repeats his claim that they are willing to die in the fight against tyranny.
The scene changes to night. The camera pans from armed watchmen outside to the interior of the house, where we see these guys are just playing soldier. They brought plenty of ammunition but nobody figured on food and the water to the cottage had been turned off for the winter. There is some argument about what to do next, but the leader is still in control. Unfortunately, he’s just a schoolyard bully in a grownup body. He has neither military experience nor common sense. They bed down for the night.
Then they wake up to find themselves in a Jewish ghetto surrounded by SS men. They have some weapons, but now there is a military force arrayed around them, not a small town sheriff and a few men. Now we see what they’re really made of and none of them are even close to soldier material, nor martyr either: they’re cowards and it shows right away, first in the leader, who like all bullies collapses into a self pitying heap when confronted with anyone bigger and stronger. His men quickly follow. The Jews in the room with them look on in disgust. The soldiers outside begin firing.
They all die. Then they wake up again in teepees at Sand Creek surrounded by soldiers. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Then they wake up again and they’re in a southern black church during the civil rights days surrounded by a lynch mob led by the local sheriff. Again the cowardly behavior. Again the looks of disgust from the people in the church.
Then they wake up in a small house in ancient Rome, there is a makeshift cross on the wall…Roman centurions are outside. The men rend their togas and try to wave white surrender flags out the windows while the Christians inside look on in disgust. The centurions break down the door, charge inside with their short Roman swords…
…and they wake up in Tiananmen Square…
…at which point the camera pans over to Rod Serling, who might look into the camera and say something along the lines of…
Every tyrant is a thief and every thief a potential tyrant, and the items of value for their taking are more than simply money and land, but also culture, history, and valor. These things, intangible though they are, contain the sum of all wealth and human nobility that ever was and will ever be, and while they may be stolen and worn for a time, they can only be lived by the those who have earned them. A word of warning to anyone who would cast themselves in the role of martyr in the defense of liberty: you might just get an audition…in the Twilight Zone…
Of course, Rod Serling would write a better story and better words to speak to the camera than I could ever put in his mouth. But a kid who grew up in the black & white TV days can still imagine what it would have been like.
by Bruce |
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Yes, He’s A Kook…But What Do You Think That Means?
Just in case you’ve forgotten over the holidays how batshit crazy this man is, this clip from The Rachel Maddow Show is well worth watching. The clips of his news interviews over the birth certificate are instructive.
One hundred and four years of history is in the balance. If Trump is the Republican nominee in 2016, there might not be a conservative party in 2020 either.
But the suit and tie conservatives like Will, bellyaching that Trump might destroy the conservative movement, need to point their fingers in the mirror instead. Trump is what he is, because the kook pews are what they are, and the kook pews are what they are because the country club crowd found them useful enough to enable them. Will to this day idolizes Ronald Reagan, who began his successful campaign for the presidency in 1980 in a Mississippi city near where James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were murdered for registering black voters, with a speech about state’s rights. He knew perfectly well what Reagan was doing that day. They all did.
Yes, Trump is nuts. What do you think that means? The moral judgement attaches to those who knew better, or could have known better had they wanted to, but took the belly flop into the gutter anyway. Morality is choice, and Trump just is what he is and his followers just are what they are. The judgement on bargains made with the devil attach to the bargainer. Donald Trump is the face in the conservative mirror.
by Bruce |
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December 10th, 2015
Today’s Homeland Security color is Guarded. Rest assured our guards are on the job to protect you from practically all known security threats!
On Facebook a friend posted earlier today that Homeland Security was resurrecting its color code terror alert system. Coolness! Back in the Bush years when it was first rolled out I did an outline for an alert color system of my own, but beyond one sketch never pursued it. I should have. I think mine’s better than the official one.
This comparison is worth noting, but I’m sharing this for another reason. In the arguments over gun control, and people (men almost always) who commit acts of violence with guns, I keep seeing this one thing popping out at me: a history of domestic violence or brutality toward women, sometimes children, sometimes animal torture. And also this…look at how the Times phrases it: “…who occasionally unleashed violent acts toward neighbors and women he knew.” It’s like they’re describing a charming little eccentric personality quirk and not a scary indicator of a deeply rooted predatory nature that should have everyone concerned.
The NRA. its constipated culture warriors, its jittery paranoid drunken Ted Nugent following would howl loudly about it but I see an eminently reasonable basis to deny someone the ability to legally buy and own a firearm right there: domestic violence. Of course there would need to be due process, a right to appeal and have your case heard. Fine. But if that’s what you are then the rest of us have more than enough cause to be afraid of what you might do with that gun.
I’m saying this as a gun owner myself, and as someone who believes the right of individual citizens to own their own firearms makes sense in a democracy. Overall gun violence is down. But these mass public shootings are on the rise and, in my judgement, they’re showing a common theme that isn’t necessarily about religious fundamentalism. Background checks won’t prevent all shootings, but if done seriously and diligently they’d be a help. But this also needs to be taken into account: if children can’t trust you, if your lover can’t trust you, then who can? I would say this is even more telling about a person’s potential for violence than a criminal record.
Look at it in the context of the overall mindset toward women, particularly among GOP politicians these days. The shooting at Planned Parenthood and the smear campaign against it are of a piece. You would have to assume, given the number of chest thumping runts now walking the halls of congress and the statehouses, that inconveniencing people at the gun shop, who occasionally unleash violent acts toward neighbors and women, would seem baffling to them at the least, if not an attack on their rights as men. Boys will be boys… The stereotype of the gun owner as having small dick issues is crude and misses it. It’s not their dicks that are small, it’s their hearts. The gun isn’t a dick substitute. The dick is a heart substitute.
Bullies will be bullies. Guns don’t matter. I realize to many that seems an outrageous thing to say but I keep finding it to be true. They say guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Fine. But what kind of people? This ultimately I submit, is precisely why they imposed a funding ban on research into gun violence; because it is exactly what they don’t want science to pin down. They can already see themselves in that mirror. It’s not the gun that makes a person dangerous. It’s the lack of heart that makes a person dangerous. And you really see it in how they treat their spouses, their lovers, children, neighbors. There’s where it tells you that someone is not to be trusted. And maybe not just with a gun either, but also with a seat in congress. There’s the big red warning sign. A criminal background check is not nearly as telling as that is.
by Bruce |
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November 24th, 2015
They Have Always Existed. But Where Did Decency Go?
This came across my Facebook stream the other day, from Jim Wright, who you should follow…
It’s not that these people exist… …it’s that you live in an America where they are cheered
That’s it. I mean…the gutter was always visible to us, but in the same way the grotesque carnival sideshow tents were always there to peek into. You could tune in the screaming pulpit thumpers on the radio dial if you knew where to look. There were phone numbers you could dial to get recorded messages from Birch Society crackpots and white supremacists. Every now and then you got a pamphlet handed to you by a man whose stare made you want to stay out of arm’s reach. There were late night talk show on the UHF band, like The Joe Pyne Show, that you might tune in to for a laugh, only to switch channels soon after because you felt like you were suffocating listening to so much hate, so off-handedly spoken into the camera.
Now the gutter is front and center in the national conversation. Only it’s not a conversation anymore because the gutter doesn’t do conversation. It just screams in your face, and then laughs when it sees that it can still shock you in a place you thought you weren’t shockable anymore…
by Bruce |
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