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October 16th, 2014
Don’t Hate Me Because I Disagree With Your Right To Exist.
by Bruce |
Yesterday after work I got into some old color slides I’d previously scanned in of a picnic I’d been to back in the late 80s with other members of a gay BBS system, and posted them to my Facebook stream. A bunch of folks in my friends list who were there, and their friends because I’d made the photos seeable to friends of friends, chimed in with details on faces I didn’t recognise and reminisces. Many reminisces. Some folks in the photos had passed away and we remember them. The rest of us had merely aged a tad and we remembered how it was back in the day when we were young. And for a wonderful few moments of life we could all be people. Just a bunch of folks remembering a lovely picnic we’d all once had together once upon a time. Thankfully those moments aren’t now as few and far between as they were that day back in 1989 when we had our picnic.
This morning I see this fragrant old crap from Bristol Palin in my Facebook stream…probably bellyaching about the fact that same sex couples in Alaska can get married now, just like the opposite sex couples do…and I have to remember that the human gutter still can’t see the people for the homosexuals, still regards all the decades it spent kicking us in the face as a mere disagreement, something we should all just take in neighborly stride.
Yes, we hurled every filthy lie about you we could manage during the Proposition 8 campaign, but you shouldn’t be so mean and hateful to us. Yes, for decades we’ve waged a multi million dollar scorched earth political campaign to deny you equal rights, smearing you as child molesters, destroyers of the family and civilization and spreaders of disease and social decay, but you shouldn’t be so mean and hateful to us. Yes we’ve incited violent religious passions against you here in the U.S. and now since that act is folding here, in Africa and Russia, where we tell anyone who will listen that homosexuals want to rape their children and destroy their families and their countries, and wherever we go we do our level best to see to it that gay people are brutalized, beaten and murdered, but you shouldn’t be so mean and hateful to us because after all we are only disagreeing with your lifestyle. We have a right to disagree with your lifestyle.
Fine. We have a right to our lives. Understand this you pathetic bigots, bullies and cowards, the days when we suffered in silence in the closet are over. Those photos I posted to share among some old friends weren’t just a bunch of homosexuals having a picnic; they were photos of a bunch of homosexuals who were using the emerging computer technologies to reach out to one another. And the day we started doing that was the day we no longer had to see ourselves through heterosexual eyes anymore.
I remember that transition time vividly. When I came out to myself back in December of 1971, everything I knew about homosexuals and homosexuality I’d learned from the heterosexual majority. Then came PCs and modems and in a heartbeat that all changed and we could talk to each other, could see ourselves for the human beings we actually were, not the monsters we were taught we were. And we stopped listening to the likes of you.
You think it’s hateful of us to stand up for our own human dignity do you? Well we’ll just have to agree to disagree about that. Now fuck off!
October 14th, 2014
by Bruce |
This was making the rounds this morning…
This is the gutter’s response to the head of the the National Institutes of Health’s comments the other day that a decade or more of republican assaults on science and research has had consequences. Oh no, says Erickson…we were simply reigning in all that wasteful spending on frivolous things like why lesbians are overweight.
Of course, obesity is a health concern, and it’s a fact that Americans are generally heavier now than in decades past, so that makes it a public health concern. And if we can get a handle on the causes of obesity we can improve the health of Americans and Americans can live longer and healthier lives and hopefully it reduces public spending on health care. But Erickson’s kind don’t think that way. To really understand how they think, you have to get past the gratuitous insult to lesbians in what he’s saying. Because beneath that what he seems to be saying is he really thinks it’s tragic the money didn’t go to an Ebola vaccine.
And if that doesn’t make you laugh out loud you haven’t been paying attention to Erickson and his kind, because without a doubt if that money Had gone to Ebola research he’d have been loudly bellyaching about all that money being spent on Africans and the republicans in congress would have gleefully cut the funding for it…ostensibly on the grounds that the money should be spend on the health of Americans instead. But of course…Africans!
Because disease doesn’t matter unless it’s killing people who matter, and black Africans don’t matter any more than homosexuals matter. And when disease Does start killing people who matter, then it’s Why Aren’t You Doing Something!!!
October 13th, 2014
by Bruce |
Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has “slowed down” research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe.
“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,’” Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”
“I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
September 29th, 2014
Ultra Rich United
by Bruce |
This from Rolling Stone…
The update [to the documentary film The Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition], which is now available free online, is centered on their influence in (and outpouring of money since) the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. While researching and producing it with his small staff at Brave New Films, Greenwald says he was “surprised by not just the sheer numbers, but the extraordinary lengths they go to legally to hide the amounts they’re giving.”
The Rolling Stone article goes on to document three areas where the Kochs are surreptitiously funding “Think Tanks”, lobbyists and astroturf groups to achieve their political goals. This is the problem with the argument that even billionaires and corporations have free speech rights too. Yes they do, but they also have a power that the rest of us do not: they can drown out the national dialogue in their own manufactured noise and make it seem like it’s the sound of Americans talking to each other when it isn’t.
September 24th, 2014
Karma Is A Bezos
by Bruce |
@paulconstant: “Remember that brief moment when people thought he’d save newspapers? RT @aaronbrethorst: Real classy, Jeff. “
SLOG writer Paul Constant tweeted that the other day, along with this link…
The changes will hit hardest at employees hired before 2009 who could plan on receiving pension payments based on their income and years of service. Each of those employees could see scores — or hundreds — of thousands of dollars less over the course of a retirement. More recent hires do not have traditional pension plans.
The Post’s pension fund is running a surplus. Jeff Bezos, the new owner, is cutting benefits so he can raid it. I don’t know why anyone should be surprised. Just take a look at how he treats his Amazon workers. Or better still, listen to the workers on the picket lines in Europe, where American billionaires haven’t yet managed to succeed in strangling people’s sense of self worth and pride in their jobs…
No you’re not. You’re Jeff Bezos’ lunch and your future is his dessert. Bezos is classic predatory rich, pure and simple. And naturally he calls himself a libertarian, which is how the rich assure themselves that with great power comes no responsibility whatsoever. Greed is good. Selfishness is a Virtue. Eat or be eaten.
So here’s another example of the rich raiding the pension funds of working people, perhaps a more blatant one than most but then hey, Bezos is a libertarian after all and they have a moral code that says it isn’t you stealing from your employees it’s the invisible hand of the marketplace and if they would only stop being so lazy they could be billionaires too. All those city employee union pensions that have gone bankrupt over the years we’ve been told, made unrealistic promises they couldn’t keep and all those elderly workers will just have to learn to like eating cat food. But look closer and what you see are a lot of tax breaks to rich people and businesses that cities and counties could not afford, and so pension plans were raided to make up the difference, until there wasn’t any left to raid. For decades now a lot of worker retirement money has essentially gone straight into the pockets of the rich who couldn’t need it less but for whom more is never enough.
Which brings us back to The Washington Post, which has been tilting more and more to the republican party and the right ever since Reagan. There is some degree of poetic karma going on here I can’t help but appreciate with delight. You get into bed with vampires, don’t complain when you wake up one day with holes in your neck.
September 3rd, 2014
Renewable Energy Is A Good Thing…Pouring Sludge Into My Car’s Engine, Not So Much…
by Bruce |
Link to this post here on my blog about the problems with running biodiesel in modern diesel automobiles, from a MB Sprinter owners forum, leads me to this MB fact sheet (PDF document).
I had a brief argument with a guy in Kansas about all this. The problem here is the religious zeal of the ideology behind it. Weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels is a Good Thing. Mandating bio fuels without regard for what they’ll do to modern engines isn’t getting us there if what people experience is catastrophic engine failure and massive repair bills. Two winters ago, before taking the drive out to California in my new ‘E’ class diesel, I worried about what I was hearing regarding the proliferation of biodiesel my car can’t drink. What I was told by a mechanic at a Mercedes dealership, was I could always get pure petroleum diesel at an oil company owned filling station because that was all they sold. Truck stops and independently owned filling stations might sell bio, but the oil company ones didn’t. Now the oil companies are not very high on my list of things I approve of, but I found this to be a big relief. Not any more. Several states have apparently now mandated at least B10 only, everywhere. I suspect paying for the repairs to people’s engines when a steady diet of B10 has completely trashed them, let alone paying owners for the lost value of their automobiles, because basically those states have made all the passenger car diesels that can’t take that fuel worthless, isn’t in the cards.
There’s a lot of bullshit going on here in the biodiesel camp, and a lot of deliberate misrepresentation of what some diesel automobile makers are saying. In the above document Daimler makes it abundantly clear that they do Not approve biodiesel in their vehicles in percentages above B5, and even then only those biodiesel blends that meet ULSD specification ASTM D975. The document says straight up: “Diesel fuels between B6 and B20 or higher pose risks of engine and fuel system damage, and are not approved by Mercedes-Benz.”
I don’t know how you can interpret that as “Mercedes approves B20 so long as you keep an eye on the oil level” but that is what some people are saying glassy eyed on that MB Sprinter forum. No…what they are saying is if you can’t avoid using diesel higher than B5 (thank you jackass state legislatures!) then here is what you can do to minimize the risk of damage to your engine:
• Fill up with ULSD (B5 or less) whenever possible, from a name–brand fuel station.
• Regularly monitor your engine oil level if you have to use B20 fuel. (this is because biodiesel has a tendency to accumulate in the crankcase oil)
• Strictly follow the oil change intervals quoted in the instrument cluster and within your maintenance booklet, and use
ONLY engine oils and filters approved by Mercedes-Benz for use in the vehicle.
• If you do not plan to drive your vehicle for several weeks, fill your vehicle’s fuel tank completely in advance with ULSD
fuel. (this is because biodiesel has a tendency to sludge up when it just sits in the tank for not very long periods of time. Even the states mandating B10 or higher are saying during the winter months filling stations can sell B5 because it does not have the cold weather sludge characteristics higher percentage biodiesel blends do.)
That does not constitute approval of B10-B20, it only acknowledges a problem they have no control over…the one H.L. Mencken noted when he said that an idealist is someone who, noticing a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes it will also make a better soup.
The Fine Art Of Inciting Violence While Looking Like A Victim
by Bruce |
Most heterosexual Americans probably don’t have the Google “personalized” news page I do, which has a custom section powered by a google search that seeks out stories relating to Gay people. That custom news section gets me a torrent of news stories from news sources here in the U.S. and all over the world. And much of it is about violence directed at gay people.
I’ve been reading the news about my people, that goes largely under the radar of most Americans, for decades now. Back in the BBS days I did volunteer work for a nonprofit Gay BBS that involved sifting through wire service stories and reposting them for the other BBS users. As my online world expanded, so has my ability to seek out news that would otherwise get lost in the background static. So I have decades of awareness under my belt that maybe you don’t.
So it might be hard to really appreciate how to read crap like this from Life[sic]site…
He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it
“John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint. While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.
“According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, ‘It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,’ Herodias became ‘furious’ with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech…”
“The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice…”
…but I’ll give you a clue: The vast majority of violence directed at gay and gender nonconforming people, nearly 100 percent of it, is religiously motivated. Either the perpetrator acted from a violently twisted religious passion, or they acted knowing they have social permission to attack gay people. Sure I might get caught, I might even get sent to jail, but it won’t be like I killed a real person… And that permission comes directly from the pulpit.
Not all pulpits by any means…I am not pointing my finger at Religion capital ‘R’ or Christianity capital ‘C’. But you need to understand this: not all predators actually like having blood on their hands. Some predators do, others enjoy watching. There are the rapists, and there are the voyeurs. The relationship is a simple one: thugs beat the living crap out of gay people, sometimes killing us, because they hear the permission they’re being given to do exactly that from the pulpits. “Their blood is upon them…” And those voices from behind those pulpits know exactly what they’re doing, exactly what effect they want their words to have. It’s a symbiotic relationship, that benefits both parties.
So it may look superficially like Lifesite is warning Christians to beware of the impending gay holocaust, but what they’re actually doing is inciting the mob in the traditional, old-fashioned way, with whatever tools are handy at the moment. Militants in Iraq and Syria beheaded two American journalists recently, so here comes Lifesite with a story about how John The Baptist was beheaded after condemning a pagan king’s ungodly false marriage…AND YOU KNOW WHO ELSE DOESN’T LIKE IT WHEN CHRISTIANS STAND UP FOR GOD’S PLAN FOR MARRIAGE…
The homosexuals want to behead Christians…just like those scary people you see on TV…you know what to do…
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 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 23rd, 2014
This Article On Soil Conservation In Oklahoma Proves That Same Sex Unions Are Unstable…
by Bruce |
Over at Waking Up Now, Rob makes this catch…
Mark Regnerus has gotten a lot of flack lately for publicly criticizing a positive Australian report on same-sex parenting, a classic example of the pot calling the kettle incompetent. Hidden in his critique, though, is a little nugget that deserves more attention.
Regnerus writes that
On the one hand, we know that same-sex relationships in general—across multiple datasets—remain more fragile than opposite-sex ones (and to be fair, no group is performing all that well).
…and the link there goes to a study whose author actually says…
In this paper I show that while same-sex couples in the US are more likely to break up than heterosexual couples (Hypothesis 1), the difference in couple longevity is explained by the lower rate of marriage among same-sex couples. Once marriage (and marriage-like unions) are controlled for, same-sex couples and heterosexual couples have statistically indistinguishable rates of break-up…
So…dig it…he uses a study to boost his claim that same sex unions are instable, that itself concludes they are just as stable as heterosexual unions when they can legally marry. The study he cites actually makes a strong case For same-sex marriage, and that instability is due to discrimination, not anything innate about being homosexual.
Citing studies that actually prove the opposite of what they claim is such common behavior now in the kook pews that it’s tempting not to even bother following the links. But this example shows how it’s always a good idea to follow the links. Yet you watch people scratching their heads over it. Did he not read what he just linked to?? Understand…it isn’t stupidity, as the commenters of this post suggest, and it isn’t intellectual laziness. Eric Hoffer said propaganda doesn’t fool anyone, it allows people to fool themselves. Regnerus knows his audience isn’t going to follow the links because cites don’t matter, cites never matter, cites have never mattered. What his audience wants from him isn’t facts, what they want is an excuse to keep hating homosexuals. He could have linked to a Consumer Reports article on washing machines and they’d all be nodding their heads in agreement that it proves same sex unions are unstable.
June 12th, 2014
by Bruce |
My cartoon for Friday’s Baltimore Pride issue of Baltimore OUTLoud. Oh you think she was a nice lady do you…?
June 6th, 2014
The Degeneration Of The Republican Party
by Bruce |
In 2004 they swift boated a presidential candidate. In 2014 they’re swift boating a POW.
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…]
May 4th, 2014
My Boot On Your Neck Is Proof That I Love You!
by Bruce |
You find yourself just staring in awe and wonder at the rags people will dress a pig up in, as though it’s actually hiding the fact that it’s a pig. This bullshit from Rick Warren for example…
Swear to god if I see that in my Facebook stream one more time I’m going to explode. Yes, yes…you just Love gay people don’t you Rick. And your love is worth its weight in gold.
The weasel word there is “disagree”. Yes, Rick…you Dis A Greeee with my Lyfe Sty El. And if I call you a bigot for reducing my humanity to a Lyfe Sty El that would be so unfair of me. And I suppose it would also be unfair of me to call Al Capone a crook just because he disagreed with the police about things like robbing banks and murdering people. They threw Al Capone in jail just because he disagreed with them! People just aren’t fair are they Rick.
And oh goodness I know Exactly what you mean there about agreeing with every fucking little annoying thing people do. Like for instance watching football. I know so many otherwise lovely people who can’t tear themselves away from the TV when football is on. It just boggles my mind how they can get any pleasure out of watching that. I can’t begin to tell you how much I loathe having to watch football. I go into a nice local bar for some good drink, good food and a little company, and the goddamned playoffs are blasting at me from every fucking screen in the room. I absolutely hate it. That said, people would have reasonable grounds to doubt how much I loved them if I waged a ferocious multi-million dollar political campaign to deny any of them the right to marry, simply because I can’t stand their entertainment choices. And if I went to Africa and stirred up violent religious passions against people who like football, those people could reasonably doubt how much I loved them while the mobs were beating them to death. So many doubting Thomases in this world aren’t there Rick?
I know…I know…God forgives you because you love Jesus. Poor Jesus doesn’t know what he’s in for.
May 2nd, 2014
Sliding Into The Trench Of Republican Governance
by Bruce |
Baltimore got a little rain earlier in the week. And by a little I mean about half a foot over a couple days. It was the same system that spawned tornadoes that killed a bunch of people in western south, and it seems generally part of the same disturbed weather patterns we’ve been having here in North America, thanks to the energy companies and republican reticence to do anything about preventing ecological catastrophe that might take money out of the pockets of needy billionaires. But lurking in the weather that’s been pummeling us is something else besides the looming effects of global warming. Ironically, the pulpit thumpers are right, our civilization is crumbling. Well…in a manner of speaking…
I point my finger at two culprits, but maybe they’re both one and the same: That Randian-libertarian notion that taxation is theft, plus that government regulation of the marketplace is also a kind of theft and anyone who advocates it is a moocher who wants a free lunch. I swam in libertarian waters for most of my twenties, until Reagan cured me of it, and I’m here to tell you there are a lots of useful tools in that pool who really believe the invisible hand of the marketplace will create a Heaven on Earth if we would only let it. Well…right up there is your Heaven.
My little village made the network news about this one! It’s not like other parts of the city aren’t falling apart too, or for that matter other parts of other cities all over the country, but you can see how something like this unnerves even people who don’t live in the slums. Tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, my God those things can happen to the nice neighborhoods too. What strikes you listening to the chatter is how the little details that make things make better sense go missing from the conversation of people you don’t live in the vicinity. I saw several people talking about how Baltimore streets are sinking. Well, yes and no.
One thing to understand about Baltimore is it kinda straddles the boundary between the coastal plains and the Maryland piedmont…those lovely rolling hills of Maryland. (Our oddly shaped little state is very diverse in its geography, and there is beauty everywhere) Parts of the city are actually way higher up than other parts but you don’t really notice how big the elevation changes are because they are gradual in most places, unlike say San Francisco, and you don’t see the grade change until you get somewhere you can look a distance. The streets and sidewalks gently slope up and down, up and down and the walk isn’t difficult and you look back and you notice the city core off in the distance is now almost entirely below you. The north-western part of the city is in the hills and the rest of it is on the coastal plains. That’s how my house can be something like 60 feet higher than the Jones Falls River even though on the map I look like I’m right next to it.
Which all means laying tracks for a railroad through all this can be a tad complicated, particularly when your running stock are steam engines which don’t do steep grades all that well. A little history…
In the 1890s what was the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, the first common carrier railroad company in the U.S., dug a bunch of tunnels and trenches through the city including one really big tunnel going under Howard Street, to connect with points north from its Camden station because that was actually the less expensive way to do it, compared with a surface line through the center of the city or going around the city. This is why now you might be walking along a city street and suddenly there’s this deep trench on the other side of a cast iron fence and it’s not one of our little rivers down there, it’s a set of tracks coming out of a tunnel.
Building those tunnels and trenches bankrupted the company shortly after the lines opened up, and it was in receivership for about three years because the economy tanked and all their profit forecasts went down the tubes. It’s tough to run a railroad in bad economic times. It costs money to cut the grades a train can run, and lay some tracks down, let alone cut tunnels and dig trenches out of the middle of a large city. And then you have to maintain all that.
But money is tight these days…for some reason…and everyone in the city who was here when the Howard Street tunnel caught fire in July 2001 knows what is going to happen now. People were complaining about the retaining wall that collapsed last Wednesday, years before this, and CSX kept telling them there was nothing to worry about. If it was ever inspected at all in the past decade I’m guessing someone didn’t want to tell the board of directors their yearly bonuses would need to be spent shoring up a hundred plus year old stone wall. Now CSX is probably going to sue the city for damaging its tracks and the city will sue CSX back for damaging its street…and so on and so forth. And none of it needed to happen. But it did, because what was fifty years ago a reasonable rate of return on investment is woefully inadequate today. We want our double-digit returns and we want them now.
So the factories close and there is less for the rail companies to carry. So the businesses close because workers don’t make enough to buy things like they use to and there is even less for the rail companies to carry. So the economic heart of the cities shrivels, and with it, the city itself.
Maintenance is expensive. The city has a hard time keeping its infrastructure in good shape because it’s lost the massive industrial economic base it once had like a lot of old east coast cities did. But look around…the problem is Everywhere…
(Reuters) – More than 63,000 bridges across the United States are in urgent need of repair, with most of the aging, structurally compromised structures part of the interstate highway system, an analysis of recent federal data has found.
Meanwhile the banks and Wall Street keep demanding instant and ever higher returns on investment, and Grover Norquist wants to shrink government to a small enough size he can drown it in a bathtub. But government is a communal thing as in Community, and what is being whittled down to size is that sense of community, that we are all fellow Americans…neighbors. It is America Norquist and his pals are drowning in that bathtub, so they can feast without being presented a bill. And everyone is putting off maintenance because the money done all trickled up and the rising tide didn’t so much lift all the boats as sink the cars. And nature doesn’t care why you didn’t shore up the wall and improve drainage around it.
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