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Archive for August, 2017

August 24th, 2017

Eclipse Story Coming Soon…

I drove to Topeka Kansas to visit a friend and see the eclipse. I have a great story to tell about all that, but I seem to have brought back home with me a nasty flu and at the moment it’s about all I can do to post this short note and tell them at work that I’m taking a sick day.

So…more later…stay tuned…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Eclipse Story Coming Soon…

August 8th, 2017

The Inclusion Non Paradox

Google fires employee who wrote memo against workplace diversity, citing biological differences between men and women as the reason women cannot be engineers.

Predictably the howling begins from the right that liberals are intolerant, thereby providing yet another opportunity (as if we needed yet another one) to ponder the Barber Paradox. Or: how to redefine a thing in such a way as to make the thing you’re redefining impossible to exist.

Tolerance is not indifference. Inclusion is not indifference. Freedom of speech is not indifference.
 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Inclusion Non Paradox

August 4th, 2017

That Empty Place Where A Heartbeat Should Be But Isn’t

I came out to myself in December of 1971. I’ve been in this struggle ever since. When I got my first dial up Internet account in the early 1990s, I discovered Usenet newsgroups and for almost a decade engaged a spectrum of homophobic bigots and just very confused individuals on topics of gay people and our place in this world. There are very predictable patterns that keep emerging, certain expressions, mindsets, tautologies, circumlocutions that you just come to expect to see when some event, some pop culture thing suddenly takes hold, and gay people are seen for a brief moment as fully realized human beings complete with recognizable human emotions and motivations. For a brief moment the gutter seems a bit stunned and speechless.

But not for long. And then the usual tropes, the usual slogans, usual bile comes pouring out. And in the bedrock there is always this one, absolutely unmovable conviction, that homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex.

My new exhibit ‘A’ is In A Heartbeat. For most of the week since its Monday general release on Vimeo and YouTube the gutter was amazingly silent. I say amazingly because the howls of outrage usually come pretty fast and furious whenever something positive about gay people takes hold in the pop culture. But for almost the entire week the gutter was mostly silent. But it’s finding its voice now. Just this morning an article on the film from the Facebook page of People Magazine showed up in my newsfeed. Clicking on the link took you to the Facebook post complete with all the comments on it. I’d been expecting this sort of thing ever since Monday…

 

people magazine IAH comments-6

people magazine IAH comments-7

Produce a sweet little film about that first romantic crush, something that would provoke a torrent of how sweets how cutes how adorables if it was an opposite sex couple, but make it about a same sex couple, and the criticisms immediately fixate on sex, and a floodgate of sewage straight from the human gutter opens up.

Why are you introducing sex into a children’s cartoon? Why are you pushing sex on children? Stop trying to sexualize our children! The only thing about this routine that I’ve seen change over the decades, is nowadays it’s occasionally bundled with a Some Of My Best Friends Are disclaimer. We really have nothing against gays we just don’t want them flaunting it in front of the children. ‘It’ being sex.

What…you say there wasn’t any sex in that film? Yes there was. It was about gays, so it was about sex.

That’s the mindset. They can’t or won’t see the people for the homosexuals. And there’s a word for someone like that. Bigot. It’s not an ad hominem, it’s not an insult hurled at people for disagreeing, it’s a good old fashion English word and it means something. And a bigot’s mind is like an eye: the more light you shine on it, the tighter it closes. This sweet little film shines a light on gay hearts. Now see the eyes close tightly…tightly…more tightly…

So much, so obvious. But I’m not sharing this so you can go read the comments and stare into Nietzsche’s abyss. There’s actually some lovely sunlight in there. Because not everyone is a bigot, this sweet little film is getting all the how sweets how cutes how adorables from a lot of heterosexuals, many of whom are just now encountering that immovable denial of the humanity of gay people, and more specifically gay kids, for the first time and they are stunned.

I came out to myself in December 1971. I’ve lived under the cold icy gaze of that denial of my humanity ever since. Glad to see some of the rest of you are noticing it now. Oh…And you’re seeing it in people you might have otherwise thought were decent moral human beings too! Surprised? Appalled? Don’t take it too much to heart. If the human race was made of people like that there would be no civilization.

This is actually good. Let the gutter howl at this film. This is how things get better.

At the end of The Wonder Years the narrator, little Kevin Arnold all grown up now, says…

“Once upon a time, there was a girl I knew, who lived across the street. Brown hair, brown eyes. When she smiled, I smiled. When she cried, I cried. Every single thing that ever happened to me that mattered, in some way had to do with her. That day, Winnie and I promised each other that no matter what, that we’d always be together. It was a promise full of passion and truth and wisdom. It was the kind of promise that can only come from the hearts of the very young.”

There are people who will never see, no matter how often it gets in front of their noses, that this is something gay kids feel too, for the one that stole their heart. There’s a word for people like that. It isn’t an insult, it’s a description.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on That Empty Place Where A Heartbeat Should Be But Isn’t

August 2nd, 2017

In A Heartbeat

They released it last Monday, and I’ve been watching and re-watching it ever since. In some ways it lifts me up…like I never thought anything I might watch on the screen could. And in other ways it touches a very raw and hurting place deep down inside, that I’d rather keep the door shut on. But no…that’s not what I want to leave you with. This is about that magical wonderful terrifying first crush, and how especially terrifying it is for gay kids, because then you have to know yourself and maybe you’re not ready for that, let alone for others to know it too.

You should watch this…if you’ve ever loved it will touch you deeply. If it doesn’t then I feel sorry for you. Have some tissues handy. The two students who did this are exceptionally talented, not just as animators, but as storytellers. A short story is hard. There are very few writers that are really good at it. One of my favorite Ray Bradbury stories, Rocket Summer is less than a page. This little film is just under four minutes, a little over with credits rolling, and it packs a very big heart.

More later…

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on In A Heartbeat

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