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August 5th, 2021

Guess Which Headline Is Fox

My morning Google News page. Can you spot the difference between how these various news sources are covering this story?

by Bruce | Link | React!

April 6th, 2021

They Spread Disease Don’t You Know

As a gay man who came of age in the late 1960s, endured every filthy lie the righteous could throw at us, which only got even worse when AIDS began killing so many of us, this is from Digby is…just amazing…to read about…

Conspiracy theories in the pews

…there have always been conspiracy theorists among us and one of the most likely groups to fall down a rabbit hole are conservative evangelicals many of whom are ready to believe that liberals are satan worshippers and that abortions are being used as a form of genocide.

Considering their fealty to Donald Trump, it isn’t surprising that they would be among the most vaccine resistant…

She quotes from this New York Times article

White Evangelical Resistance Is Obstacle in Vaccination Effort

Millions of white evangelical adults in the U.S. do not intend to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Tenets of faith and mistrust of science play a role; so does politics.

As I said…for a gay man of a certain age this Times article is absolutely fascinating reading. Let me just quote this one passage…

The deeply held spiritual convictions or counterfactual arguments may vary. But across white evangelical America, reasons not to get vaccinated have spread as quickly as the virus that public health officials are hoping to overcome through herd immunity.

The opposition is rooted in a mix of religious faith and a longstanding wariness of mainstream science, and it is fueled by broader cultural distrust of institutions and gravitation to online conspiracy theories. The sheer size of the community poses a major problem for the country’s ability to recover from a pandemic that has resulted in the deaths of half a million Americans. And evangelical ideas and instincts have a way of spreading, even internationally.

There are about 41 million white evangelical adults in the U.S. About 45 percent said in late February that they would not get vaccinated against Covid-19, making them among the least likely demographic groups to do so, according to the Pew Research Center.

“If we can’t get a significant number of white evangelicals to come around on this, the pandemic is going to last much longer than it needs to,” said Jamie Aten, founder and executive director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, an evangelical institution in Illinois.

As vaccines become more widely available, and as worrisome virus variants develop, the problem takes on new urgency…

Wariness of mainstream science?? I think the word you’re looking for is hostility. They’ve been waging an all out war on science ever since Darwin at least. And on any form of government and public education that does not bow to their peculiar institution. It makes them perpetually antagonistic toward the rest of the country that isn’t part of the tribe. And indifferent, completely and utterly indifferent, to the harm the practice of their beliefs may cause others. The teenage girl sexually assaulted by an older male. The gay kid thrown into an ex-gay camp. The gay couple beaten by young thugs hopped up on the righteousness coming from the pulpit. Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven. They’re the right hand of god almighty, and gods don’t feel shame.

But never mind that. It is an old, very old, anti-gay trope of the religious right propaganda machine, that homosexuals spread disease…often deliberately.When HIV was killing us they not only turned their backs on us, and insisted so should everyone else, they accused us of spreading it willfully, to the rest of the country. We were a threat to the family, to civilization itself. What had come down on us was merely the fruits of our own abominable sin. We had it coming, the bible said so. Their propaganda war on The Homosexual Menace took a darker, and bloodier turn.

I remember those days. I remember how we took care of each other, and made the country take notice, and doing that discovered a strength and dignity within ourselves that we had been told since childhood was not ours to have. I remember.

Now look at who is spreading disease. Deliberately.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on They Spread Disease Don’t You Know

March 25th, 2021

Everything Old Is New Again…(continued…)

Checking my server logs this morning, I find that someone in Colorado dug up via Google my blog post from ages ago about “The Mormon Gulag”, and promptly went down a Google rabbit hole I probably shouldn’t have here in the Happiest Place On Earth. No I won’t link to it here…no sense in getting everyone else miserable and nail splitting angry again. But you can probably find it in that handy search box to the right.

Besides…that’s all in the To Be Forgotten And Let Bygones Be Bygones past. Seriously. Just try to find out what’s in the lawsuit settlement agreements. They’re probably buried so deep even the Angel Moroni couldn’t find them again. And anyway they’ve changed their wicked ways. Or at least their name. What was once the Utah Boys Ranch is now the West Ridge Academy, with an attached charter school that is in No Way a part of the old and infamous residential treatment center (we give your child the treatment), and now they can take in hundreds of kids instead of just a few dozen. And besides look at our new name. We’ve Changed. Yeah, yeah…and so did Comcast when they became xFinity. And so did Clear Channel when they became iHeartRadio. Because nothing fixes the reputation of a poisonous toxic culture, let alone a pack of child abusers, like a name change. Certainly not accountability.

At least Clear Channel was only poisoning our parent’s hearts and minds, not terrorizing and beating the crap out of teenagers while bragging they could do it without leaving a mark. I stopped surfing when I started wondering what the youngest age is in Utah that a kid can go buy an AR-15.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Everything Old Is New Again…(continued…)

March 22nd, 2021

That Joke About The Man Whose Truck Left Him…

Speaking of that joke about how, with the advent of self driving cars, the day is coming when someone writes a country western song about a man whose truck left him…  It seems the gay mayor of Fort Lauderdale Florida has stepped into it…

Antigay Florida Activist: Same-Sex Marriage Like Marrying a Volkswagen

After Fort Lauderdale, Fla.’s gay mayor honored an anti-LGBTQ+ church on its 60th anniversary, an activist who has a relationship with the church has likened same-sex marriage to marrying a Volkswagen.

At Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, Mayor Dean Trantalis presented a proclamation recognizing the 60th anniversary of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and the 50th anniversary of its affiliated private school, Westminster Academy. Both were founded by D. James Kennedy, an anti-LGBTQ+ minister, and are located in Fort Lauderdale.

Kennedy died in 2007, but his D. James Kennedy Ministries continues spreading homophobia and transphobia…

You have to wonder what Trantalis was thinking. Well no…we know what he was thinking because he said it when it hit the gay news networks earlier…

It’s time to build a future based on love and not hate. And it’s time for those who still harbor resentment to let go of it. I know I have. And I know our community is better off for it.

And just who would that community be Dean? Anyone who never walked among the Names Project quilt, terrified of spotting one someone made for their high school crush? Someone who doesn’t bother to read the newspaper stories about gay bashings and murders by young heterosexual males all hopped up on the religious hate fed to them by churches like Coral Ridge, because they know it will never happen to respectible and discreet homosexuals such as themselves?

But it gets better. When the wholly predictable torrent of criticism from the rest of the gay community came rushing in, naturally Coral Ridge just couldn’t keep its mouth shut…

Wright claimed that gay activists are pawns in a socialist plot to destroy marriage and the family, and make everyone dependent on government. “I hate to break it to them, but many of our gay and lesbian friends, they’ve just been used by the left to destroy the historic definition of marriage and changed the criteria to only be that of love,” he said. “If two people love each other, or some guy and his Volkswagen, he loves his Volkswagen, he ought to be able to marry his Volkswagen.”

I know how difficult it must have been for you to break it to us Frank. On a scale of 1 to 10 how painful was it? Less than zero?

I swear there are days when you start thinking that everything old is new again. But no…it’s still old. This is such an old trope among the kook pews. If a man can marry another man, why not let him marry a car…or a TV set…or a toaster…or his dog…? You say you love each other? Well I love my dog but it doesn’t mean I can marry it. I’ve been hearing this one ever since my days on USENET. And never mind how it speaks to their total dehumanization of the homosexual Other. Pull it apart and you find that it’s instructive as to how they themselves perceive marriage. If love isn’t critical to marriage, as it turns out neither is consent.

Automobiles can’t consent. They’re not living things, as often as we owners anthropomorphize them all the same. Yes, I’ve even given my car a name. I’ve given names to all my cars. But…hear me out now…they’re cars. Machines. Machines can’t consent. Nor can any other inanimate object or animal or child. And it seems in that subset of American religiosity, neither do wives. What wives do is gracefully submit to their husbands.

Real men take wives…they don’t do something as sissified as ask for their hand in marriage. That is why love cannot be the central fact of marriage. The central fact of marriage is the authority of the man over the woman. Nothing else matters. Certainly not love.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on That Joke About The Man Whose Truck Left Him…

March 18th, 2021

Of Course It Couldn’t Possibly Be A Hate Crime…Because Then Fingers Might Start Pointing…At Us…

Balloon Juice has a good takedown of the Not Hate chorus…

Atlanta has a very, very large number of strip clubs, gentlemen’s clubs, massage parlors, sex shops and emporiums. That the only three places that the possible sex addict felt the need to target were the ones owned by Asians/Asian Americans and predominantly employing Asians/Asian Americans should have been what is known as a clue…

Every time a Republican elected or appointed official or a conservative movement official or a conservative “news” personality – from the anchors on Fox News to the commenters – refers to COVID-19 with a derogatory slur instead of “COVID-19” or insinuates that immigrants – documented or undocumented – as well as those seeking asylum or refugee status are somehow bringing COVID-19 in and will make things worse, all they’re doing is feeding the fear, grievance, and victimization of their political base, their supporters, and their viewers. If you want to know where Long was radicalized, the answer is simple. Right here in the US, by Trump, Stephen Miller, Peter Navarro, Kevin McCarthy, at least 2/3rds of McCarthy’s House Republican Caucus, at least 1/2 of the Senate Republican Caucus, by hundreds of elected and appointed Republican officials, by Fox News, OANN, Newsmax, Breitbart, Ben Shapiro and his execrable writers and commenters at the Daily Wire, by right wing talk radio, by right wing social and digital media.

Paul Campos over at Lawyers Guns and Money adds that even if you accept the premise that the killer was motivated by a sex addiction… “….Oddly, killing women because they’re sources of “temptation” (i.e., women) doesn’t count as a hate crime, for reasons. . . Also the odds that these women weren’t murderously fetishized because of their ethnicity seem pretty low.

Ya think? Of course the usual suspects want everyone to believe it couldn’t possibly have been motivated by prejudice and hate. Especially not the torrent of hate they’ve been poisoning the American civic dialogue with for decades now. Maybe the folks at ABC News who did the 20/20 segment whitewashing the murder of Matthew Shepard will do one in a couple years about how the Atlanta murders were really just a drug deal gone bad.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Of Course It Couldn’t Possibly Be A Hate Crime…Because Then Fingers Might Start Pointing…At Us…

August 20th, 2020

Thief

 

There is not an honest person among them. But we knew this. Because racism takes that from you. It has to. If you can take the black man’s humanity from him, then taking someone’s, anyone’s money, regardless of race, becomes trivial. The Rubicon has already been crossed. You became a thief the moment you refused to see a human, a neighbor, in the Other.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Thief

May 5th, 2020

Jesus Died For Our Sins, Now You Must Die For Mine

This came across my Facebook news stream this morning. Of course Maryland couldn’t avoid being targeted by the right wing death cult…

Maryland governor sued by state lawmakers, pastors and businesses over stay-at-home orders

In the complaint (there’s a PDF link to it in the article) are two actual businesses, both recreational: Antietam Battlefield KOA and Adventure Park LLC. They have at least a plausible claim to economic damage. The others are preachers, one church member, a couple delegates, and one of those shadowy astroturfing groups that’s probably behind it all. The right wing billionaires behind it could probably afford to pay the preachers for missing their tithing plate money but would rather attack the idea that government has anything to do with securing the safety and welfare of the common man and woman. Government is for securing their prerogative to use the rest of us as they see fit.

The preachers have zero concern for their flocks and don’t seem to care at all if a percentage of them, particularly the older sicker ones die horribly.  That really says it all for their ersatz Christianity. Perhaps they need their collection plate money. But more likely it really is just simple tribal hatred of science and knowledge and those of us able to cope with this pandemic by using our brains. That is after all, the unforgivable sin.

I never really started paying attention to this reflex in the kook pews until I was older and more invested in the gay civil rights struggle. The science that said we were as normal as anyone else was the enemy. They built entire massive artifices of junk science to wave back at us. It took me a while to realize that providing a counter argument, even if it was completely nuts, wasn’t the point. Propaganda doesn’t merely serve to make people question what the facts really are, it exists to make people stop believing in facts altogether. The point was to erase the notion that any of us in the pews let alone the outside world could decide for ourselves what is and is not factual and true. It wasn’t just about Teh Gay, it was everything that challenged their authority over the hearts and minds of the people. This is appalling in any religious denomination, but especially so when it’s coming from a Baptist pulpit. But I suppose, not a Southern Baptist pulpit. If I saw this when I was a teenage boy I’d have turned atheist a lot quicker than I did.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Jesus Died For Our Sins, Now You Must Die For Mine

February 8th, 2020

The Devil Wears A Respectable Republican Cloth Coat . . .

I said it once before (on twitter) but it bears repeating: Bret Stephens is bad but he’s just the frat boy who yells dumb stuff at women, pulls Cs in his classes, and coasts through life on daddy’s money and connections. David Brooks is the fraternity president who lies to the cops about the pledge’s body they stuffed in the chimney.

One thing that I’ve had the misfortune to learn as I’ve gotten older is that some people are bad. Not bad on the outside/good on the inside, not “flawed”, just bad, irredeemably, sociopathically bad. David Brooks is one of these people.

Doug at Balloon Juice.

That learning as you get older, or more specifically accepting, that some people are just rotten to the core, as my bitter Baptist grandmother would often say, is one of the sadnesses about old age. Also one of its benefits.

It seems like a cop-out, just writing some people off as irredeemably, unchangeably, bad. And it’s true that you should always allow some degree of uncertainty about it, even if microscopically small. We are neither gods nor angels equipped to pass eternal judgement on anyone. But when someone tells you what they are, and does it again, and again, and again, and again, it’s probably time to start believing them. The benefit to being old is you stop being so shocked to see it in someone who looks so very respectable on the outside.

I’m a gay man. I came out to myself December 15, 1971, after my high school crush put an arm around my shoulders and I went into the stratosphere. It was magical. I was twitterpated. I have never doubted ever since that there is nothing wrong with us gay folk. But the world I was growing up in back in the 1970s had a different view. And ever since then I’ve seen probably hundreds of decent, respectable Sunday Go To Meeting people take that belly flop into the sewer with their eyes wide open every time the facts collided with their cherished prejudices. The difference between the kid I was and the oldster I am now is I believe it when I see it.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Devil Wears A Respectable Republican Cloth Coat . . .

December 28th, 2019

Deathstyle by Dick Hafer – A Review

 

Possibly the most homophobic comic ever published, apart from Jack Chick’s little tracts. Now a part of the Casa del Garrett library of homophobia. I collect antigay pamphlets, tracts and assorted publications, even or especially when such like appear in the mainstream magazines I grew up with. It isn’t all fringe like this from religious right cartoonist Dick Hafer. Back in the day Everyone threw garbage at us. That was the pop culture environment this gay guy grew up in.

So why would a gay guy want to collect this awful stuff…I hear you asking. Many years ago I read an article about a collection of racist artifacts from the U.S. civil rights struggle gathered by a black gentleman over the years of his life. He kept it all he said, so people would remember what it was like fighting for equality in the days of separate but equal, and to insure that the hatred black Americans faced would not be erased.

That’s one good reason. I have another more personal one. Back in the days when I had my first Internet account, I followed a USENET newsgroup that was basically an unmoderated forum for gays and homophobes to argue with each other. I joined to better learn the methods of the enemy, and test myself against them. What I discovered, like those who would later follow the Proposition 8 trial, is there is no There there. They would lie shamelessly, then deny having lied. They would throw out this or that latest piece of junk science, which was pretty much the old junk science given a fresh coat of paint, demand our respect, then after it was debunked, throw something else equally vapid out…wash rinse repeat…over and over. They would thump the bible, then thump some junk science, then back to the bible. You came to understand pretty quickly that the argument was just an excuse to spit in our faces and remind us that we’re hated.

And yet…and yet…you could also see the gay bystanders being encouraged by the sight of gay people standing up to the bigots. If the bigots were arguing just to spit in our faces, we could call out their myths, lies and superstitions not because we had any hope of changing their minds, but to tell others that these lying conniving runts were nothing to be afraid of…and show them that the moral high ground is ours, and always was.

Why dig up old wounds? Why keep revisiting an unpleasant past? Well for one thing it’s not all in the past. Yes, gay folk have made great progress. But if bigotry and hate have anything going for them it’s persistence. The old beliefs haven’t declined, they’ve dug in for the long war. Resentfully. Bitterly. What’s changed, and it’s only this, is anyone open to the evidence of our lives can see the haters for what they are now. But that’s only because now we’re able to live our lives openly. Thank Lawrence v Texas for that. And because of that, because we can live openly without the sodomy laws hanging over us, people can see the joy and beauty, the honor and the dignity of our love. The Proposition 8 trial, where we fought for the right to marry, all the way to the Supreme Court, opened a lot of eyes; not only to the depth of our commitments, but much more importantly to the utter vacuum of the case hate made against us. There was no there, there. It opened a lot of eyes. But not every eye will be opened.

If you’ve ever wondered how the xenophobic religious right could embrace Putin and his russia screwing with our democratic institutions take a long look at his gay propaganda law. It effectively locks Russian gay people in the closet…but not the voices of prejudice and hate. Now in Russia those voices are free, free at last to throw every filthy lie they can think of at us, at our families, friends, neighbors, while we cannot speak our truths for ourselves without risking prosecution. The Franklin Grahams and Tony Perkins here at home would love to have such a law on the books here. Only that pesky first amendment and the Federal courts stand between their dream and our lives. And given what Trump and McConnell have done to the courts, they may get their wish after all.

The comic book above would be my exhibit 1 in the category of filthy lies about homosexuals…more so than the Chick tracts since, so I’m told, the Hafer comic has been widely passed around among the kook pews. And its essential hate is more polished than Chick’s. Hafer wraps the open sewer of his prejudices with a technique that allows him to present it as though it were the living waters. There’s the usual junk science, but also he employs two foils he can work against…a low class fag baiting bigot and a scarecrow militant homosexual. Between these two he can present what is essentially the same blind hostility toward gay people as the low class bigot as reasoned and measured…and then ultimately as godly and righteous.

Soon after this arrived in the mail, I began flipping through its pages. I’d already seen many of them posted here and there in the Internet tubes, but I was unprepared for the unabridged wholeness of its contempt and hate. If Orson Scott Card was a cartoonist this would probably have been the comic book he’d have produced on homosexuals and homosexuality. It’s deeper in the dark night of the soul than even R. Crumb or S. Clay Wilson ever went. All the feelings of growing up gay while hearing this crap thrown at me over and over and over again came rushing out as I began reading it.

So in the interests of my own sanity, because I just can’t let this crap slide without speaking out about it, and because debunking this stuff is a never-ending chore, and in tribute to Fred Clark’s amazing series review of the Left Behind books, I’m going to do a chapter by chapter series review of this piece of shit comic. 

Fasten your seatbelts and remember…there is no bottom to the human gutter. None.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Deathstyle by Dick Hafer – A Review

November 14th, 2019

Fascists: Even Crazier Than You Thought

Wow…this is just stunning. I was following this post by Fred Clark on his Pathos “Slacktivist” blog…

Erik Loomis visited the American grave of Wernher von Braun, thereby sending me down a Google hole…

And Fred’s post eventually sent me down into Nietzsche’s Abyss.

Fred’s post was Wernher von Braun and his alleged conversion to Christianity, American style. In it Fred notes a passage where von Braun seems to be a supporter of creationism, which has made him a recent favorite of the creationist kook pews. I commented that the fascists of the period had really strange and screwy ideas about nature and physics and noted something I’d read about Himmler and his proposed academy that would teach that the stars are made of ice, which suggested to me that he was a believer in an earth centric universe.

Then another commenter linked me to this Wikipedia article. Wow. It was even crazier than that…

Welteislehre (WEL; “World Ice Theory” or “World Ice Doctrine”), also known as Glazial-Kosmogonie (Glacial Cosmogony), is a discredited cosmological concept proposed by Hanns Hörbiger, an Austrian engineer and inventor.

Hörbiger did not arrive at his ideas through research, but said that he had received it in a “vision” in 1894. According to his ideas, ice was the basic substance of all cosmic processes, and ice moons, ice planets, and the “global ether” (also made of ice) had determined the entire development of the universe.

Oh lord have mercy…

By his own account, Hörbiger was observing the Moon when he was struck by the notion that the brightness and roughness of its surface was due to ice.

Sounds logical…

Shortly after, he experienced a dream in which he was floating in space watching the swinging of a pendulum which grew longer and longer until it broke. “I knew that Newton had been wrong and that the sun’s gravitational pull ceases to exist at three times the distance of Neptune,” he concluded.

Being an efficiently well organized and hardworking German doesn’t automatically mean you are right in the head. But then the entire 1930s is proof of that.

According to the idea, the solar system had its origin in a gigantic star into which a smaller, dead, waterlogged star fell. 

A smaller, dead, waterlogged star. A smaller, dead, waterlogged star. A smaller, dead, waterlogged star. Reading this Wikipedia article makes me want to put a fork in my brain. Apparently the Fascists, including Hitler and Himmler, embraced this intellectual lobotomy because it stood against Jewish influences in science and astronomy. Not to mention everything humanity had accomplished since our line began walking upright. And how did Hanns take criticism of his master work? Pretty much as you would expect…

Hörbiger had various responses to the criticism that he received. If it was pointed out to him that his assertions did not work mathematically, he responded: “Calculation can only lead you astray.” If it was pointed out that there existed photographic evidence that the Milky Way was composed of millions of stars, he responded that the pictures had been faked by “reactionary” astronomers. He responded in a similar way when it was pointed out that the surface temperature of the Moon had been measured in excess of 100 °C in the daytime, writing to rocket expert Willy Ley: “Either you believe in me and learn, or you will be treated as the enemy.”

Calculation can only lead you astray. Yes. Quite. Bronowski was spot on when he said (paraphrasing), When we discard the test of fact in what a star is, we discard it in what a human is. But that is exactly what the fascist mindset demands. It wasn’t so much the Jewish influence in the sciences that the Nazi’s wanted to erase but the human identity, and not just in the sciences but throughout German culture. So they wouldn’t have to see anymore the empty void they’d made of their own souls staring back at them every morning in the bathroom mirror.

The fascists threatening civilization today are much the same as the ones our grandparents faced back then. Same mindset. Same bottomless hatred of the human identity, trying desperately to protect the void inside themselves where a person could have been.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Fascists: Even Crazier Than You Thought

August 10th, 2019

The Final Escape Hatch

I’m not saying it wasn’t arranged…those of us who came of age during the Nixon years understand perfectly well the futility of believing that there are limits to what powerful people in positions of power are capable of. They get that notion of godhood into their brains and it’s absolute power corrupting so on and so forth.

But consider Epstein until very recently had a life few people who have ever lived will ever grok. He had his own island, jets, a staff, socialized with billionaires and powerful men who considered him one of their own, lavish estates, and teenage girls at his beck and call. Also apparently well positioned people in the Administration, the Justice Department and the courts. He had more than enough reason to believe he was beyond the reach of the law. Until a few weeks ago.

Now he finds himself in a cell, looking at spending the rest of his life in prison, and so I’m told child molestors don’t do very well in prison. You might think of him all alone in a tiny cell where before he had his own island to enjoy, but he is not alone, and his companions are not the sort of people you find in the pages of The Robb Report or Elite Traveler. And he has to know it isn’t even rock bottom. Not yet. But rock bottom is coming.

It really isn’t surprising he would consider suicide as the only way forward. To assert it was impossible because he was on a suicide watch is to believe in a kind of prison bureaucratic infallibility I just can’t buy into. Say it would be very hard, sure. But Epstein was very smart, and so they say, affable. How do you think he got young girls to trust him? And…rich people with their money. He was a schemer and a manipulator and you don’t get to the heights he did without being good at it. Means and opportunity. A man like that could figure it out. After his near miss with the law last time he probably spent a lot of time thinking about it.

And knowing his suicide would throw grit into the machinery of justice, and even better, spawn a bazillion conspiracy theories to bedevil everyone who brought him down forever, might have actually given him some comfort on his way to oblivion.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Final Escape Hatch

August 5th, 2019

Lowest Common Denominator Politics

This came across my Twitter feed today…

Yeah…that. As a gay man having lived through the times I have, I’ve often read these manifestos to try and understand the mindset. But it always comes back to how stunningly alike they all are. You read the manifestos, the pamphlets, the long drawn out posts on various online social forums (I joke that I’ve done my time on USENET…) and such…even on their damn cars and trucks you can sometimes see the brain dump…and the one thing you’re struck by is their disturbing similarity, regardless of the specific target of hate.

Some years ago I was watching a documentary on the history of San Francisco’s Chinatown, beginning with the railroad’s importing large numbers of Chinese men to work on building the first transcontinental line. There was an editorial in one of the city newspapers concerning the “Chinese Problem”, and it recited a litany of things Chinese people did (so it claimed), that degraded city life. Drugs, crime, sexual predation, they were ignorant and lazy, but also clever and sly and took the jobs of decent white folk. What struck me about the editorial was how you could have replaced every usage of “Chinese” with a letter “X” and it could have been about any hated minority, then or now.

It’s as if this sort of blind reflexive hate is what you’re left with when you peel away the higher brain functions and we’re back to being east African plains apes that see everything that isn’t the tribe as either something to kill, something to fuck or something to eat. Australopithecus waving a gun, or a bible, howling into microphones on the TV, or throwing ink like it’s shit on the editorial page.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Lowest Common Denominator Politics

March 2nd, 2019

This Didn’t Just Happen Overnight

GOP’s anti-Muslim display likening Rep. Omar to a terrorist rocks W. Virginia capitol

Angry arguments broke out in the West Virginia statehouse on Friday after the state Republican Party allegedly set up an anti-Muslim display in the rotunda linking the 9/11 terror attacks to a freshman congresswoman from Minnesota.

One staff member was physically injured during the morning’s confrontations, and another official resigned after being accused of making anti-Muslim comments.

The display featured a picture of the World Trade Center in New York City as a fireball exploded from the one of the Twin Towers, set above a picture of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is Muslim.

“‘Never forget’ – you said. . .” read a caption on the first picture. “I am the proof – you have forgotten,” read the caption under the picture of Omar, who is wearing a hijab.

The article is about how some West Virginian republicans put up a poster in their statehouse with a picture of one of the Twin Towers being hit on 9/11 and below it a picture of Omar with the caption that she is proof we’ve forgotten 9/11. Something else at the end of the article caught my eye…

Another Republican delegate, Eric Porterfield, was hit with calls to resign last month after he called LGBTQ groups “the closest thing to political terrorism in America” and “a modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan.”

“Let me (be) very clear with my statement,” Porterfield told NBC News then. “The LGBTQ — not homosexuals — are the modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan.”

Well I’m glad he cleared that up.

All this has been a long time coming. And don’t just be blaming talk radio and Fox/Sinclair and all the open sewers deep in the dark corners of the Internet. It is still fresh in my memory how Jimmy Carter called out the Reagan campaign’s racist dog whistles and our liberal news media nearly crucified him for being so rude. And even now they’re still hanging on to their he said/she said both sides boilerplate. The republican speaker of the West Virginia house said We have allowed national level politics to become a cancer on our state . . to invade our chamber in a way that makes me ashamed.” Cancer…maybe. Or a cesspool that nobody cared to shine a light on when it might have made a difference, because that would have been rude.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on This Didn’t Just Happen Overnight

February 24th, 2019

Still Discovering Our Past

I’ve written previously on this life blog of the importance of uncloseting gay people in the history books, and especially uncloseting the history of anti-gay bigotry and persecution. And I’ve asked anyone dropping by this blog and those posts to consider how many times they’ve heard comparisons of the struggles of gay Americans and black Americans denounced because gays never were sold into slavery, never had to ride the back of the bus, never were denied the right to vote. Or comparisons with antisemitism denounced because gays were never herded into extermination camps. How many times have you heard the struggle for gay equality dismissed as the pastime of privileged rich white men. How often have we heard, and still hear, that laws protecting gay people from discrimination are unnecessary, are really just about seeking social approval.

The naked fear among bigots isn’t that homosexuality will be normalized, but that their crimes against so many innocent people will at long last get put under the spotlight of history and they will finally be seen for what they are, not righteous defenders of decency and morality, but predators, proudly ignorant, stunningly immune to any reflex of human sympathy, hungry, ravenously hungry to fill the empty void within them where a heart should have been, with the hearts of others, and all their hopes and all their dreams.

If you don’t have a gay history bookshelf at home, I strongly recommend you start one. Find a little corner somewhere in your nest, get a nice little bookcase from Ikea or some such, and prowl the second hand book stores for titles like And The Band Played On, The Celluloid Closet, A Glimpse Of Hell, The Verdict of You All, Anything But Straight. Or look for some titles more recently published and still in print. Loosing Matt Shepard, The Lavender Scare, Sex Crime Panic, Hoover’s War On Gays. No matter how well you think you know our history, every corner of the gay chronicles has something in it to stun. How did I not know this?? And if it makes you angry, so much the better. Put that anger to use in the voting booth, and in activism to make sure it is never closeted again, along with all of us.

Today I learned something new, courtesy of Peter Thatchell

Sodomy at the time was already a crime in Britain. Labouchere’s amendment to the law criminalized any sexual activity between men. This man’s work is why Oscar Wilde, Alan Turing, and so many others went to prison. It has some resonance with one of the books I recommended above, The Verdict of You All by Rupert Croft-Cooke, who was arrested in his home in 1953 and charged with a “homosexual offense”.  

“Croft-Cooke was a homosexual, which brought him into conflict with the laws of his time. In 1953, at a time when the Home Office was seeking to clamp down on homosexuality, he was sent to prison for six months on conviction for acts of indecency. Croft-Cooke’s secretary and companion, Joseph Alexander, had met two Navy cooks, Harold Altoft and Ronald Charles Dennis, in the Fitzroy Tavern near Tottenham Court Road in London, and invited them to spend the weekend at Croft-Cooke’s house in Ticehurst, East Sussex. During the weekend, they consumed food and alcohol and had sex with both Croft-Cooke and his assistant. On their way home from the weekend, they got drunk and assaulted two men, one of whom was a policeman. They were arrested and agreed to testify against Croft-Cooke to get immunity from prosecution for the assault charges.” –Wikipedia

After Oscar Wilde was convicted, Labouchere expressed regret over the shortness of his two year sentence, which was actually the maximum but not the seven year maximum Labouchere had originally proposed.

This man’s evil remained on the books until 2003, and to this day remains on the books in many former British colonies around the world, where the U.S. religious right keeps itself busy inflaming religious passions against gay people who cannot speak out for themselves without risking a knock on the door and being disappeared. The sodomy laws not only erase us, and our history, they give bigots free rein to tell any filthy lie they can think of about us, without fear of the open sewer they call a conscience being exposed for what it is.

Those fears are now being realized, at least for some that still live. This is why they fight so fiercely against the teaching of this history in the schools, why they support maintaining sodomy laws still on the books, and dream of reestablishing them where they have been repealed. Labouchere is in the grave now, safe from the judgement of history, and one can wonder if karma ever came to visit him while he still lived. But that question is less meaningful for us today than how we remember the lives he managed to destroy for the sake of the emptiness within where a heart should have been, where their should have been kindness and sympathy and love, that no amount of feasting on the hopes and dreams of others can fill. Living our lives openly and proudly is only half the work. Our history must come out of the closet along with us. We must tell our stories, and also the stories of those who came before us, who could not speak openly of their lives while they lived.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Still Discovering Our Past

February 19th, 2019

Oh We’re Not Getting You Wrong Mr. Wayne…

The day Brokeback Mountain got an Oscar nomination, and the stately senior members of the Screen Actors Guild, appalled, said that John Wayne was rolling in his grave, they knew who it was they were talking about…

John Wayne’s Racist and Homophobic Playboy Interview Resurfaces, Twitter Reacts

At the top of the interview, the then 63-year-old is complaining about the “perverted” movies currently being produced, when the interviewer asks him which films he means.

“Oh, ‘Easy Rider,’ ‘Midnight Cowboy’ — that kind of thing,” he horrifyingly replies. “Wouldn’t you say that the wonderful love of those two men in ‘Midnight Cowboy,’ a story about two f–s, qualifies?

“But don’t get me wrong. As far as a man and a woman is concerned, I’m awfully happy there’s a thing called sex. It’s an extra something God gave us. I see no reason why it shouldn’t be in pictures. Healthy, lusty sex is wonderful.”…

Go read all of it. None of this would have surprised anyone the day that Playboy interview was published. Wayne’s hard core right wing kookery was an public joke even back then. Except of course among his fellow Hollywood nutcases like Reagan, Linkletter, DeMille and various studio heads to the right of McCarthy and Nixon. Scratch a homophobe, find a racist…

“I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.”

None of this would have been surprising or controversial to Wayne’s associates in the industry. They would have been nodding their heads in agreement reading it, and telling themselves it was the communists, the New York Jews and all those dirty fucking hippies who were causing trouble with the coloreds. And outside of there, everyone just about knew where Wayne stood. He never made any bones about it. 

None of that registered on me when I was a kid watching raptly whatever was playing in the theaters that week. Back then movie theaters were Palaces where a schoolboy’s dreams and adventures came to life. I used to make a bee line for every new John Wayne flick that hit the theaters. They were Fun. Lots of things were back in those days.

Then I got a bit older, puberty switched on my hormones, and one day I found myself completely twitterpated by a classmate, a junior with long hair, dark eyes to drown in, a smile that made my knees weak, and long legs that moved his hips in ways that made me shiver every time we crossed paths. One day as we walked together out of school he put an arm around my shoulders and I didn’t come back to earth for hours, and when I did I knew something about myself. And also that movie stars I watched raptly on the silver screen, and Science-Fiction writers whose books I devoured, and rockers whose albums I bought and listened to over and over until I wore the groves out…all of them probably thought I was disgusting human garbage.

But I was in teenage love, and nothing had ever felt so healthy and thrilling and wonderful. And if you asked me to trade the good graces of the entire fucking world for just one smile from the guy I was crushing on, I’d have done it in an instant. And perhaps I did, the moment I realized it.

I am in my middle sixties and looking back on that summer crush I am magnitudes more likely to make that trade now. Nothing I ever felt before or since was more pure. I would do it all again. Roll in your fucking graves…all of you.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Oh We’re Not Getting You Wrong Mr. Wayne…

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