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December 10th, 2013

Yes Actually, Religious Freedom Means You Have To Treat All Your Customers Equally

Another day, another Fox News martyr in the homosexual war on Christians…

The first civil rights laws, so I hear, were passed not to protect black people or red or yellow people, but to protect Irish Catholics in New York from the religious passions of their protestant neighbors. And in point of fact, religious freedom is only possible where government does not take sides in religious disputes and where the rule of law protects minorities from the hostility of others, whether or not that hostility is motivated by religious passions.

Jack Phillips is not a martyr, he is a bigot attacking the rule of law because it grants people he loathes a little human dignity.  Okay…fine…but in the eyes of the law he can be no different from a bar owner who would like very much to keep selling beer to teenagers because it makes him money, and who regards laws against selling alcohol to minors as an infringement on his freedom to do business as he pleases without regard to the consequences to the rest of the community.  The law does not, can not, care what the religious beliefs of Jack Phillips are, only whether as a businessman he’s abiding by the same rules everyone else has to live by, or whether he’s a greedy predator, caring not whether he tears his community apart in the process of making a buck, just so he can pick through and live quite nicely off the wreckage.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

The Persistence Of The Closet…(continued)

Slate today runs an article riffing on the New York Times article I linked to yesterday. They headline theirs The American Closet Is Bigger Than We Thought.  I assume the ‘we’ in that headline is “heterosexuals’, with maybe a side of ‘those of us also in the closet’, because you don’t live in this country as a gay person without seeing or at least glimpsing that vast nation of the closeted first hand. No kidding there’s more of them than you thought…

But if that Times article helps the heterosexual majority to see, really see, the damage that was done, and is still being done, then good.  Seems a lot of folks are noticing that bit in the Times article, about wives in less tolerant states checking Google for advice on whether their husbands are gay. But there was also this…

Craigslist lets us look at this from a different angle. I analyzed ads for males looking for “casual encounters.” The percentage of these ads that are seeking casual encounters with men tends to be larger in less tolerant states. Among the states with the highest percentages are Kentucky, Louisiana and Alabama.

Back in the 1980s, what I think of as the BBS days, I did volunteer work for a gay community BBS whose creator intended it not to be a hookup site but a serious information and educational resource for gay people.  He realized back then, as I did when I connected to those first primitive amateur computer networks, what they could do for us as a people.  The BBS advertised in the local gay newspaper, and I think in one of the alternative City Papers, and the ads included a phone number for help getting connected.  He told us he would get desperate phone calls on that number in the middle of the night, from men who’d been caught in police vice stings…trolling the parks or some public lavatory…needing emergency legal advice.  He said without exception, without exception, those men were all married, and none of then identified as gay.  At least, they wouldn’t over the course of that phone call.  That was the 1980s.

It’s still going on…

One could leave these findings angry at all these men for not coming out, but Stephen-Davidowitz’s concluding anecdote—about a retired professor who has been married to a woman for 40 years and “regrets virtually every one of his major life decisions”—articulates my overwhelming emotion: sadness.

That’s fine, but anger is still a good reaction to have and I hope the heterosexual majority cultivates it…not at the closeted, but at the Righteous and the Upstanding who keep teaching young gay people to hate themselves, so that they can have scapegoats, someone to gloat over, so they don’t have to look at their own failures of moral character. Be angry at them. Ask yourselves what kind of person turns anyone’s basic human need for intimate companionship against them, makes them deeply ashamed, even fearful, of their own human heart…

Sometimes even I get tired of looking at aggregate data, so I asked a psychiatrist in Mississippi who specializes in helping closeted gay men if any of his patients might want to talk to me. One man contacted me. He told me he was a retired professor, in his 60s, married to the same woman for more than 40 years.

About 10 years ago, overwhelmed with stress, he saw the therapist and finally acknowledged his sexuality. He has always known he was attracted to men, he says, but thought that that was normal and something that men hid. Shortly after beginning therapy, he had his first, and only, gay sexual encounter, with a student of his in his late 20s, an experience he describes as “wonderful.”

He and his wife do not have sex. He says that he would feel guilty ever ending his marriage or openly dating a man. He regrets virtually every one of his major life decisions.

He regrets virtually every one of his major life decisions… What kind of person does this to another, takes pride in doing it, and can look in a mirror and see a righteous person?  Look at that.  Really look at it.  It’s okay to get angry after looking down into that Pit.  But don’t look into it for too long, because Nietzsche was right about an abyss gazing back into you.  Just remember what you saw the next time you hear one of them yapping about their sincerely held religious beliefs.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
December 8th, 2013

The Persistence Of The Closet

Via John Becker at Bilerico, I see this New York Times article on that age old preoccupation of the heterosexual majority, How Many American Men Are Gay?

What percent of American men are gay? This question is notoriously difficult to answer. Historical estimates range from about 2 percent to 10 percent. But somewhere in the exabytes of data that human beings create every day are answers to even the most challenging questions…

While none of these data sources are ideal, they combine to tell a consistent story.

This is probably where the answers come from, finally. Because it was true before Stonewall, it was true in the post Stonewall gay lib phase, and it’s still true now, that many gay people will simply not tell even anonymous surveys the truth about themselves, let alone tell themselves the truth…

Additional evidence that suggests that many gay men in intolerant states are deeply in the closet comes from a surprising source: the Google searches of married women. It turns out that wives suspect their husbands of being gay rather frequently. In the United States, of all Google searches that begin “Is my husband…,” the most common word to follow is “gay.” “Gay” is 10 percent more common in such searches than the second-place word, “cheating.” It is 8 times more common than “an alcoholic” and 10 times more common than “depressed.”

Searches questioning a husband’s sexuality are far more common in the least tolerant states…in fact, in 21 of the 25 states where this question is most frequently asked, support for gay marriage is lower than the national average.

This is unbearably sad. I’ve said before that for a lot of gay people in my generation it will always be a time before Stonewall.  But it’s Still happening.  And unsurprisingly, it’s happening where the ideal of married life is being systematically denied to gay people.

How I escaped this trap is part of the story I’m telling in A Coming Out Story. But I came out into a world where the soulmate, the beautiful lifelong love story, was almost impossible to find. I still haven’t found it and now I’m 60, and looking at the end of a lifetime of being alone, not having that intimate other.  And that was not, as the stereotype would have you believe, because gay culture was and is obsessed with casual no-strings attachment free sex, but because so many gay men who would have been searching for the same things I was, were instead desperately searching for a way not to be gay.

We were taught…By The Righteous…to believe that homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex.  And for many gay men as it also is for many heterosexual men, that’s just dandy. But for others it meant, and still means, “a huge amount of secret suffering”.  We believed because we were taught…By The Good People, the Decent Upstanding Citizens we looked up to…that homosexuality was a tragic psychological perversion, a denial of normal healthy functioning heterosexuality.  We were taught, not by gay culture but by heterosexual culture…that to be a homosexual was to be trapped in a hopeless cycle of empty sex searching for fulfillment we would never find.  We were weak contemptible faggots, or we were dangerous sexual psychopaths.  What we never were was people in love.  The first crush, the first date, the prom, the Big Question. None of it was ours to have. Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex.

For some people that life of casual sex and serial loves is just fine. They live, they love, they go their separate ways, they remember fondly and are remembered fondly. But other hearts have other needs.  And for those, to be told that the One Love, the soulmate, the intimate other, is not possible, is a heartache that never heals. It is always there, just below the surface. You would do anything to make it not so. Because without that intimate other, life is so very very desperately lonely.

…in 21 of the 25 states where this question is most frequently asked, support for gay marriage is lower than the national average.

So many hearts that could have found their beloved other, instead locked themselves in the closet and watched their love lives wither away to graveyard dust all the same. But at least nobody knew their terrible secret…that their desires were foul, that they were unfit for love.  So many hearts turned finally to stone, so the righteous could make their stepping stones to heaven out of our dreams of love.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
November 5th, 2013

Spitting Into The Mirror

From Politico today, which I will not link to because…Politico…

Reince Priebus: President Obama’s ‘culture of hatred’

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus ripped President Barack Obama for creating a “culture of hatred” in which Democrats are likening the GOP to the Ku Klux Klan.

“It’s the culture that the president’s cultivated here. A culture of dishonesty, a culture of hatred,” Priebus said Monday on Fox News’s “Hannity.”

You don’t say…  A culture of hatred…

Hatred…

Hatred…

like the ku klux klan…

Carefully cultivated…

Carefully…

Carefully…

Carefully…

Carefully…

Cultivated…

And your problem with cultivating hatred for votes is…what exactly?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
October 22nd, 2013

Today In Connect The Dots…

This came across my Twitter stream just now…

@ThePlumLineGS: “WaPo poll shows that protected House Rs, while safe themselves, are doing huge damage to GOP’s nat’l appeal”

He links to this article of his on the Washington Post site…

The Morning Plum: Outside the conservative bubble, GOP sustains epic damage

Now…perhaps you’ve read those stories that started appearing right after the shutdown ended, about various Tea Party groups agitating for a repeal of the 17th Amendment.  That’s the one that overrules prior clauses of the Constitution by which senators were elected by the state legislatures.  Nowadays they’re all elected by statewide popular vote.  That’s a problem for the extreme fanatical right.  Here’s why:  Gerrymandering only gets you wins in local elections.  So in red states the hard right can dominate the legislatures and in congress they can get enough people in safely gerrymandered far right districts to make it difficult to do anything in that one branch.  Batshit crazy tea party representatives in the house as we have seen, can wreak havoc without a care because their seats are safe because they only have to answer to their batshit crazy voters in that one gerrymandered district.  But in statewide or nationwide elections you’re screwed.  And especially so if you’re pissing off everyone outside of your little gerrymandered districts.

But repealing the 17th amendment would allow those little gerrymandered districts to capture the Senate, by way of control of their state legislatures.  Or at least enough of the senate to insure control by filibuster indefinitely.

And take note, they’ve been making this move on the Electoral College too, with propositions in some states to give all that state’s electors to whoever wins the most Districts not to whoever wins the popular vote.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
October 15th, 2013

Wrong Song

Robert Reich in my Facebook stream this morning…

House Republicans sang “Amazing Grace” at a closed-door meeting this morning after deciding they’ll stick to their plan to alter the Affordable Care Act and risk a government default, according to Darrell Issa, a Tea Partier from California. But if they were once lost and blind, they’re giving no hint of being found and seeing what a mess they’ve created.

I’d have thought Nearer My God To Thee more appropriate…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
October 14th, 2013

What Won’t They Think Of Next?

Via Paul Constant over at SLOG

Ladies and Gentlemen…I give you the Sarah Palin Portable Teleprompter…


@rubycramer: “Sarah Palin’s note to herself yesterday
(captured by the @AP): “Leader not tweeter”

Constant adds that the photo “…tells so many stories, about authenticity, about hypocrisy, about idiocy.”  Yes, and so did the confederate battle flags flying in front of the White House, and the protestors mocking the race of the White House police.  You hear them say they want to take back their country. But this was never their country. That was settled at Appomattox in the parlor of a house owned by Mr. Wilmer McLean on the afternoon of April 9, 1865.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
October 12th, 2013

Deadbeats

This came across my Facebook stream just now…

Big tax cuts for the rich and big business, two wars on the card, and now they’re bellyaching about paying for it.  But no. They’re bellyaching that the democrats won’t let them make the poor, the sick, the elderly and the unemployed pay for it.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
October 2nd, 2013

I’ll Take ‘Who Poisoned The Well’ For $1000 Alex…

This, from Der Spiegel this morning…

German Press Review on US Government Shutdown

“What Washington currently offers up is a spectacle, but one in which the spectators feel more like crying,” writes the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.”Because Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate, Congress and president could not agree on a stop-gap budget, hundreds of thousands of federal employees were sent on involuntary leave and many agencies were forced to shut down,” continues the editorial. “The main actors in this dispute, which brings together many factors, both ideological and political, took a huge risk and, unhindered, proceeded to validate everyone who ever accused the political establishment in Washington of being rotten to the core — by driving the world power into a budgetary state of emergency. The public is left wondering how things could have been allowed to get to this point and why there is so much poison in the system.

(Emphasis mine…)  Poison in the system…did you ask…?


I became an American citizen only so I could own some U.S. TV stations…

Oh…I dunno…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
September 28th, 2013

There Is A Reason Why The Ungentlemanly Art Is Ungentlemanly

Cartooning. I’m trying now to get back into the routine of regularly producing my political cartoons, at least biweekly for Baltimore OUTLoud. This next issue’s cartoon will be the first I’ve done in nearly a year. It’s topic is the Met Opera’s giving the stage to several Russian opera stars, putting on an opera by Tchaikovsky, and refusing to condemn the horrific outbreak of anti-gay violence in Russia. In its way it’s similar to what the International Olympic Committed is doing. They’re all looking the other way to protect their profits and their access to power.

But in order to do this cartoon I needed to go online for images I could reference in the cartoon, images we’ve (most of us paying attention) all seen from the wave of violence in Russia. Images that will stick in the collective memory of our people for generations I am convinced. And that is reminding me now why I needed to take a break from doing the cartoons. Looking at all those pictures makes me so angry I keep having to walk away from the drafting table.

I keep telling myself it’s okay if I can just channel that anger into the cartoon. I keep telling myself that this kind of thing is Exactly where the political cartoon art form can be at its most effective, and that I need to get this out because it’s necessary. But it’s difficult trying to work when I’m this angry.

When you gaze long into an abyss…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
September 25th, 2013

Makes Sense…

Headline this morning on Andy Towle’s blog…

Family Research Council VP Says Same-Sex Unions ‘Threaten…The Well-Being Of Countless Families’

I suppose so, since zero means there is nothing to count.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
September 11th, 2013

Knock, Knock. Who’s There? False Dilemma…

Surely one of them is an honest man…

Florida Police Chief: Either George Zimmerman Or His Lawyer Is Not Telling The Truth

Not necessarily.  George says he didn’t have his gun on his person.  His (ex) lawyer says he did, but he didn’t pull it out and wave it around.  I think there’s room here for another fairly obvious possibility.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
September 10th, 2013

Please…Not The Briar Patch!

Think Progress headline this morning…

Florida can prosecute George Zimmerman even if his wife doesn’t press charge

Sure could. Just like the last time they prosecuted him. I’ll bet he’s quaking in his boots at the prospect. They’re birds of a feather with that resentful angry thug and you don’t seriously want your soul brother going to jail just because he waved a gun at his spouse, or killed an unarmed kid who’d just gone out for some snacks.

[Added some text for clarity of meaning...]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
August 25th, 2013

They’re Not All Closet Cases

It’s a stereotype of homophobes that they’re closet homosexuals, acting out of fear of discovery and/or self loathing.  And we’ve all certainly seen evidence in recent years that it’s often true.  But it isn’t always.

This came across my Facebook stream this morning…

Anti-LGBT columnist warns men: Lesbians will have your children and make you slaves

The Council for Marriage Policy (CMP), a Christian anti-LGBT group that is a division of the right-wing Renew America PAC, issued a frantic warning on Friday that if same sex marriage becomes legal in all 50 states, lesbians will trick gay and straight men into fathering their children and turn them into economic slaves. According to Right Wing Watch, the 37-pragraph column was written by CMP president David R. Usher and was entitled “Our last chance to save traditional marriage.”

On the face of it this is a rant about same-sex marriage, taken to extreme right wing dystopian fantasies.  But look closer.

Usher’s dystopian screed warned that the Supreme Court will create multiple classes of marriage. In a section called “Class 1: Mother-Mother marriages,” he predicted that “[w]hen two women marry, it is a three-way contract among two women and the government. Most women will bear children by men outside the marriage – often by pretending they are using birth control when they are not.”

Gay men, he said, will have the worst time of it under legalized same sex marriage because “[i]n most cases, these men will become un-consenting ‘fathers’ by reproductive entrapment,” although how the devious Class-1 lesbians will accomplish this is left to the reader’s imagination.

I find his concern touching.  But I don’t think what he’s suggesting there is that lesbians will offer to be surrogate mothers for gay male couples and then back out of the deal once they become pregnant.  He’s saying there that they’ll lure gay men into having sex with them.

Now, we gay males are not all perfect Kinsey 6′s, and a lot of us have tried desperately over the course of our lives to be straight, often with hostile clergymen and/or family members pressuring us into it. It isn’t that a homosexual man can’t have sex with women, it’s that he’d much rather have it with men.  But the decent humane society is one that encourages self honesty, trustworthiness, and a habit of truth seeking and truth telling in its own.  The decent society also treats its women as the equal of its men, and this is what I think Usher has a problem with.  It isn’t homosexuality or even lesbianism specifically.

Usher writes…

Men will be forced to labor for the economic benefit of marriages between women – marriages men have been “redlined” out of – by the choice of two women who married with intention to have children by men outside the marriage. This approaches the definition of slavery – and perhaps sexual trafficking or bondage

It’s a crude stereotype that gay men are gay because they’re afraid of women. I am not afraid of women nor do I hate them, they were just never on my radar the way they are for a straight guy.  For most of us, gay and straight, sexual desire is what makes life sweet and we love and cherish the ones that do that to us.  But as some never forgive their libidos for making them gay, and go on a never ending warpath against The Homosexual as a proxy for beating up on themselves, some straight guys never forgive their libidos for giving women power over them.

Usher might well be a closet case but I suspect he’s a straight male supremacist who really hates how a pretty girl can make him all hot and bothered. The homophobia of men like that is really misogyny; gay males draw his contempt for making themselves into woman. That his libido recoils at the thought of having sex with another man makes him feel justified in that contempt.  But really, that contempt, or fear, or loathing, or all of it mixed together, is directed at women.

Usher writes;

“Progressive terminology morphed from “gay marriage” to “same-sex marriage” over the past five years because the feminist power-agenda is not attached to orientation. The feminist goal has always been to create an institution where any two women can marry each other, have children out of wedlock, and force individuals who cannot be part of the marriage to support it economically, with government as a statutory guarantor.”

Look at that…really look at it.  This isn’t about lesbians…it’s not about homosexuality…it’s about women.

[Edited a tad for clarity...]

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)
July 18th, 2013

A Wee Correction

“The attorney general fails to understand that self-defense is not a concept, it’s a fundamental human right of white people.” -NRA Executive Director Chris Cox

Fixed it for you Chris.  You’re welcome.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
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