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May 5th, 2024

There Is Nothing New In The Human Gutter

Every now and then I drop in on my Twitter account (Oh…did I just deadname X? Sorry…not sorry…) to check out the doings in the hate lounge. Actually by now I have a massive block list, so my Twitter feed is probably a lot less fragrant than what others see.

When I opened my feed, the first thing I saw was Ari Drennen’s post as follows…

Forcing trans kids to pretend that they are somebody else until some arbitrary age when their lives are allowed to start for real is not a neutral act either. There are, in fact, no neutral acts in life. Not one second is reversible.

So of course I did what you’re not supposed to do: I looked at the comments. Certain topics are ripe for finding more morons to block, and this one didn’t disappoint. But some of what I saw was, in a way, stunning. Lots of commenters telling her that transgender kids do not exist. And I mean the exact same verbiage which normally leads you, regarding Twitter, to think you’re seeing the activity of bots. But I remember when it was plain to see not all that long ago, and further back on USENET, how some new proverb would get posted to a right wing blog and it was like the bat signal had been given and suddenly everyone was just mindlessly repeating it. But then again you could say those were bots too. Human bots, but bots nonetheless.

And it reminded me of what is so spooky about the wave of winger harassment transgender folks are experiencing now…that it is almost play by play the same exact script they were using not all that long ago to harass gay people: There are no homosexuals, only broken heterosexuals. It’s like they took the script for online gay bashing and just removed all references to homosexual and replaced them with transgendered. Otherwise it’s the same exact script, page for page, play by play, argle bargle, argle bargle, argle bargle.

Nothing ever changes with them. Nothing. Just the names and faces and where the right wing money is coming from.

by Bruce | Link | React!

December 12th, 2023

I Don’t Do Pornography And Especially Not Your Pornography.

This entry today in my website server logs comes from Hohhot, Nei Mongol, China, where Baidu, a Chinese AI company, seems to have pointed to my website with the following search string:

“Pornographic movies of little boys around the world”

What the hell!? Here’s their mission statement:

Our mission is to make the complicated world simpler through technology. Founded in 2000 as a search engine platform, we were an early adopter of artificial intelligence in 2010 to make content discovery on the internet easier. We have also used “Baidu Brain,” our core AI technology engine, to develop new AI businesses. 

Today, Baidu is already a leading AI company with a strong Internet foundation. We are one of the very few companies in the world that offers a full AI stack, encompassing an infrastructure consists of AI chips, deep learning framework, core AI capabilities, such as natural language processing, knowledge graph, speech recognition, computer vision and augmented reality, as well as an open AI platform to facilitate wide application and use. We have put our leading AI capabilities into our products and services, as well as innovative use cases. 

So it looks like yet another AI scraper, but all they got was my blog link. I’ve no idea why that search string got them my blog but it’s disturbing. Also in a very dark way, amusing, given the puritanical nature of totalitarian states. When you suppress normal, wholesome, sexual expression in people what you usually end up with is a lot of broken sexuality, deranged sexual predation, and depravity. Orwell nailed why totalitarians like to suppress natural wholesome sex in this passage from 1984:

Unlike Winston, she had grasped the inner meaning of the Party’s sexual puritanism. It was not merely that the sex instinct created a world of its own which was outside the Party’s control and which therefore had to be destroyed if possible. What was more important was that sexual privation induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into war-fever and leader-worship. The way she put it was: “When you make love you’re using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. They can’t bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. If you’re happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and the Two Minutes Hate and all the rest of their bloody rot?”

That was very true, he thought. There was a direct intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy. For how could the fear, the hatred, and the lunatic credulity which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right pitch, except by bottling down some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force? The sex impulse was dangerous to the Party, and the Party had turned it to account. 

So why is it not surprising I’m getting searched for pornography from China? And the worst, most crudest predatory kind of pornography at that. Because this isn’t the first time I’ve seen it coming from that direction. Also from Russia, Singapore, Indonesia, and certain eastern block and middle eastern countries.

There’s nothing porngraphic in my blog or anywhere else on my website, unless you think anything gay is by definition pornographic like homophobes do. So maybe that’s why they think I’ve got some of that here. I’m an openly gay man so of course I must be into that. That’s how bigots think.

I don’t do pornography, let alone child pornography which is evil. I do sexy, and in fact I’m working now on a new set of pages for this website to showcase my pure artwork, apart from the cartoons, only some of which will be beautiful sexy guys. I try to make those drawings playful and joyful. Sex is wonderful. Pornography is sexual junk food. Maybe having some every now and then is fine, but a steady diet of that stuff can’t possibly be good for the soul.

Maybe I should just block everything coming out of China…

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

November 22nd, 2023

One More For The Gay Studies Bookshelf

This came in the mail today…

 

Growing Up Straight: What Every Thoughtful Parent Should Know about Homosexuality, by Peter and Barbara Wyden (January 1969). My copy of The Columbia Reader calls it a veritable encyclopedia of homophobia. (“The book draws heavily on the theories of Irving Bieber and other psychiatrists of the mothers-did-it school…”) I did not know about this book, and was just scanning the Reader for anything around the time of Midge Dector’s “The Boys on the Beach” (which I’ve already quoted once in A Coming Out Story) when I found the reference.

I think I have everything I need for the Mirror Episode, but it’s not too late to add some more.

by Bruce | Link | React!

November 21st, 2023

Hafer’s Homosexuality: Legitimate Alternate Deathstyle – A Personal Review (continued…)

Chapter One – (The Bell & Weinberg Study)

Hafer casts his comic book as “A basic primer on the homosexual movement for those who do not know the Facts.” His problems with Facts begin almost immediately at the start of Chapter One. 

I’m going to have to split up my review of Chapter One into multiple parts, and possibly all the other chapters too, but this one especially because the very first thing Hafer does is lie about the book that became the seed of my own Gay Studies bookshelves. I’ll explain when we get to it.

But first…you may recall in our last episode…Larry, the very model of an impartial middle between two extremes (Chester and Sodomite) invites his foils and the reader to listen while he tells them what a homosexual Is. “Do you know what a homosexual couple is?” He asks.

Chester, with a thought balloon over his head of gay domestic bliss, avers it’s when one does the cooking and the other does the cleaning.

NO.” Says Larry. “It’s two men who prefer to have sexual relations with each other rather than a woman!”

Chester is appalled. “That’s sick!!” he shouts. You have to suspend belief for a moment and actually think that someone like Chester, who was just bellyaching about fags and homos couple of pages ago, does not know that homosexuals have sex. And not only sick, he says, but impossible. “Not if you’re imaginative!” replies Sodomite. Larry agrees  they’re both right…to a degree. “By any ‘normal’ biological standards it is impossible.”

There is so much to unpack here. What are the “biological standards” he refers to? Hafer doesn’t say at this point, but I’ll hazard a guess that it involves reproduction. But sexual relations to the point of orgasm between same sex couples is not only possible, it’s simple. You don’t have to be imaginative, just…well…homosexual. What’s missing from Larry/Dick’s definition is desire. Homosexual males sexually desire males. That is why they prefer to have sex with them. Simple, yes? But if you’re trying to convince everyone that homosexuality is a sickness, and an acquired one at that, that’s much easier when you erase desire from the equation. As we will see, Hafer later tells the reader that homosexuals don’t really like having sex with other homosexuals, but are trapped in a behavior they can’t escape. There is no desire, only behavior.

Let’s take a look at that unspoken definition of “homosexual couple” (Do you know what a homosexual couple is?). In Hafer’s view that’s any two men who hook up for sex. What is strikingly missing from Hafer’s definition is any recognition that love and romance might be involved.

Vito Russo, author of The Celluloid Closet, puts it this way:

It is an old stereotype, that homosexuality has to do only with sex while heterosexuality is multifaceted and embraces love and romance.

So right at the starting line we see where Hafer intends to go with this. Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. He makes that explicit almost immediately. But even the sex they have isn’t what they want. It’s a sexual behavior not a sexual desire.

Sodomite says it’s no different from the love between a man and a woman. Hafer can’t help but have Sodomite add under his breath “A woman? Ugh!! Icky poo!!” Because that’s how homosexuals think and talk.

Now we start getting down to brass tacks. Mr. Impartial Middle Ground Between Two Extremes Larry tells him “There’s one of our first major disagreements,” and asks if you would call it love if a man had sexual relations with six or eight different women in his life. To which Chester angrily replies that would be lust pure and simple, adding that a man who is unfaithful to his wife…or promiscuous…is not a decent man in his book. Larry adds that such a man would not be very decent in God’s book either. This is the first hint of the religious basis for everything about the comic book, but Hafer wants to add that to the mix slowly, probably knowing that if readers see the book is nothing more than an extended Jack Chick tract they’ll discard its message. 

I’m unable to determine Hafer’s exact religious denomination. He was a Maryland resident (sorry) and the bulk of his output is of a religious nature. There are religions that forbid divorce and remarriage, my mom was a Baptist (Yankee, not Southern…I have to make that distinction these days) who believed to her dying day she could not remarry after divorcing dad. But that may have been an excuse not to. She loved dad to her dying day and just didn’t want anyone else. When I was finally able to meet him in my teens, I could tell they still loved each other very much. All this is to say that I can see where he’s coming from on a religious basis. But not on a human one.

Many good and decent people practice a kind of serial monogamy. Other’s simply want no strings, just a good time in the sack. That does not preclude things like trustworthiness, honesty, kindness…decency. In fact it only goes to show that monogamy is not a moral value, it’s a temperament. Probably one confined largely to those of us, like myself, with very mild libidoes. The moral values are things like trustworthiness, honesty, kindness. Without those things we don’t have civilization. But for the religious fanatic, the only value is obedience. 

So in Hafer’s book, since his religion apparently forbids having multiple sex partners, that automatically determines a man as indecent if he has many, and never mind how well he treats them. But to be homosexual is even worse, and Hafer has to make sure we all know it.

“How can it be called ‘love’ when the average homosexual has 300 to 500 sex partners in their lifetime?” Middle Ground Larry asks. And here Hafer gives us the first of his citations:

A.P. Bell and M.S. Weinberg, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women, NY : Simon and Schuster 1978.

Ah yes…this book. I know it well. Notice Hafer does not include pages numbers in that cite. Probably because he understands his target audience isn’t going to bother fact checking him, and the militant homosexuals like me who will aren’t anything to care much about.

That quote about homosexual men having upwards of 500 sex partners was a go-to point among the kook pews back in my USENET days. They would wave it in our faces whenever we tried to assert our feelings of love and devotion against their insistence that homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. I heard it over and over and eventually, being the geek child I am, I had to go find a copy of this book so I could see what the monkey tree was howling about. I found it, and serendipitously also a copy of the Kinsey Report, “Sexual Behavior In The Human Male” in a second hand bookstore in Havre de Grace. And I snapped them both up and took them home.

It was immediately clear why the Kinsey Report was so easy for them to lie about….it’s page after page after page of dry statistical analysis and tables and charts. He was speaking to other academics. Few were going to wade through all of that, and fewer still with the statistical understanding to look at it critically. So it’s easy to pluck something out of it (they call it “proof texting” when they do it to the Bible) and wave it in people’s faces, confident you won’t be fact checked.

Homosexualities is something like that. A lot of dry analysis, but at least there is something of a narrative to it. I found the quote the kook pews were waving in our faces pretty quickly…it’s on page 85 (Findings: Men (table 7))…

Almost one-half of the white homosexual males(WHMs) and one-third of the black homosexual males (BHMs) said they had at least five hundred sexual partners during the course of their homosexual careers. Another third of the WHMs and a quarter of the BHMs reported having had between one hundred and five hundred partners.

Sounds pretty promiscuous. I used to joke that there was a gay guy out there who got my share of the sex we were all having and I was going to throttle him when I got my hands on him. Actually I find having that much sex a bit creepy, but then my libido doesn’t go there. I need the romance along with the sex. But as I read that, I saw a footnote next to it. You almost never hear them read the footnote when they quote these numbers, but it’s right there on the page:

We are aware, of course, that these figures may reflect exaggeration on the part of some respondents.

Well who the heck exaggerates about having that much fucking? To understand that, you need to read the whole fucking thing.

Tell me you’ve never read Homosexualities without telling me you’ve never read it. Like they do with the Bible, these people simply mine a source for good quotes to throw back at everyone, and Homosexualities gave them a motherlode. But it’s also stunningly clear they don’t bother to even read the Introduction, or if they do their eyes just glaze over. And the irony is that Bell and Weinberg did their study to show the diversity of experience among homosexuals, that there is no one single gay lifestyle, but many. It’s in the friggin title of the book! 

What they try to make the reader understand about their study is right there in the Introduction:

The present investigation was undertaken with several purposes in mind. First, we attempted to identify various sexual dimensions of homosexual experience and then to indicate the whereabouts of our homosexual respondents on each of these dimensions. Of course, as with heterosexuality, homosexuality encompasses far more than the direction of one’s sexual preferences… (page 21)

And so of course the howling monkey tree uses it to prove the opposite. Because that’s what they do.

Most heterosexuals, unfamiliar with homosexual adults, tend to believe that homosexuals – regardless of their sex, race, age or socio-economic status – are alike in how they manage their homosexuality. These folk notions, or stereotypes, are reviewed in the present volume and examined for the extent to which our data support them… (page 21)

But there’s a problem with the data, and Bell and Weinberg freely acknowledge it up front. They couldn’t get a representative sample. Even in 1978, almost a decade after Stonewall, that would have been nearly impossible. 

The problem for science, then and to a degree even now, is how do you do verifiable, repeatable, science on a subset of the human family that is largely terrified of being discovered, and especially in the 1970s. It was still a time when you could be arrested, lose your job, lose your professional licenses, your family, your children. Why would anyone want to out themselves in that sort of environment for the sake of science. For all you know science is your enemy, since it’s been telling everyone that you are sick and dangerous…telling you that, regardless of what you know about your own life. Making you believe it.

It should be pointed out that not every member of a homophile organization welcomed the study or volunteered to be interviewed. In fact, some very active members of the gay community claimed that time time and energy they had invested in other research projects had done little to enhance the quality of life in the community. Some, indeed, had felt that previous researchers they had assisted were prejudiced against them. (page 32)

Mind you, they are talking here about gay people who were willing to join these organizations. In 1979, how do you reach the ones living quiet lives of desperation in the closet. Perhaps they have found their significant other and settled down with them. Perhaps they cruise the bars if they happen to live in the urban zones where there are gay bars. Perhaps they have a network of friends whose company they enjoy, and with whom they occasionally have sex with. And they emphatically don’t want the rest of their families and neighbors finding out that they are homosexual. It’s a matter of survival. So they’ve blended in. Perhaps they’ve even married. How do you even find them, to ask them if they want to help the science better understand them? Why would they want to?

What is a representative sample? How to you even know that you have one? Bell and Weinberg understood this, and right in the introduction to the book, tried to tell their readers their sample was not, could not possibly be, a representative sample.

It should be pointed out that reaching any consensus about the exact number of homosexual men or women exhibiting this or that characteristic is not an aim of the present study. The nonrepresentative nature of other investigators samples as well as of our own precludes any generalization about the incidence of a particular phenomenon even to persons living in the local where the interviews were conducted, much less to homosexual in general. Nowhere has a random sample of American homosexual men and women ever been obtained, and given the variety of circumstances which discourage homosexuals from participating in research studies, it is unlikely that any investigator ever will be in a position to say that this or that is true of a given percentage of all homosexuals. We cannot stress too much that ours is not a representative sample. (page 22 – emphasis mine)

Now look again at what Middle Ground Larry said, “How can it be called ‘love’ when the average homosexual has 300 to 500 sex partners in their lifetime?” The average homosexual. The average homosexual. Really? And for this…fact…Hafer cites Homosexualities. But it doesn’t say that. The authors take pains to say their study cannot say anything like that. Hafer’s very first cite in his comic book he says is for those who do not know the facts, is a lie.

We cannot stress too much that ours is not a representative sample. You look at how they went about recruiting their participants and this becomes staringly obvious. They set up their field office in San Francisco, because, obviously, that was where they knew they were most likely to get respondents. They recruited with advertisements in the local San Francisco newspapers, recruited among the members of gay organizations, in gay bars and gay baths (pages 30-31). Let me repeat that: they recruited in the bars and baths

It was the 1970s. The summer of love had segued into the summers of disco. Short-shorts and tight low rise blue jeans were the fashion among heterosexual and homosexual twenty-somethings (lord how I miss those days). A real man had lots of babes. Urban gay men in their thirties were emerging from their closets and getting caught up with all the sex they’d been missing out on. Do you get now what Bell and Weinberg thought some of their respondents might have been bragging?

Well guess who doesn’t think so. Middle Ground Between Extremes Larry, who says that if a heterosexual had an obsession with sex like that they’d be considered a pervert. Tell you what Larry/Dick, lets go interview the heterosexual men down in Baltimore’s “Block”, or any major city’s red light district, we get some figures we won’t distinguish from bragging, and I tell you that they represent the average of heterosexual sexual contacts, and oh by the way if you’re one of them you’re probably a pervert too. Then let’s go watch some movies from the period aimed at heterosexual men. How many babes do you think James Bond has fucked? But he’s not a pervert, he’s a hero.

Ah yes…I know…I know…you condemn that behavior among heterosexuals too. But you’re a bigot Dick…you can’t see the people for the homosexuals. You cracked open the pages of a study meant to illuminate the diversity among homosexuals, and you saw only want you wanted to see. Because…as Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. once said (and I’m paraphrasing it a tad here) a bigot’s mind is like an eye: the more light you shine on it the tighter it closes.

Years ago, back in my USENET days, I got an eyeful seeing firsthand how bigots routinely lie about the sources they quote, the better to lie about their homosexual neighbor. What ninth commandment? It wasn’t even a matter of differing opinions about the source material: these were just straight up lies. I admit to being stunned by how blatant it was. They knew they were lying, they had to. But they also knew their readers didn’t care. Hafer says his book is for those who do not know the Facts. No. It’s for those for whom the facts are unimportant. Hafer’s comic book is for those who want something…anything…they can throw back at the people they hate. They don’t care whether any of it is true. They care that it feels good to throw it at that hated Other.

One of my favorite authors, Jacob Bronowski, wrote in his book Science and Human Values, the following as a social axiom:

We OUGHT to act in such a way that what IS true can be verified to be so.

You will never find anyone on the religious right who believes that, let alone behaves that way. But that is the way of science. It depends on those things without which we do not have civilization. Trustworthiness. Honesty. The courage to ask questions, and let nature speak for itself. The integrity to change your mind about something when new facts emerge. If a bigot’s mind is like an eye that closes, the mind of the civilized person is one that is always curious, always looking at what it sees, always asking what do I know and how do I know it.

And so began my collection of books, newspapers, magazines and articles about homosexuals and homosexuality. And it keeps growing a little every year. And staring into that open sewer Hafer’s kind calls a conscience still manages to shock. But calling out the lies is good honest work and I’m going to go on with it.

Let’s continue with Chapter One later. I’ll probably put up other posts in the meantime but I am not letting go of this. I’ve been looking over your appendixes Hafer, and I’ve got the receipts.

by Bruce | Link | React!

November 20th, 2023

Hafer’s Homosexuality: Legitimate Alternate Deathstyle – A Personal Review (continued…)

Introduction.

Hafer begins the comic book with a brief introduction to get his main characters on the stage, and establish the plot of what is to come. He begins with a page that warns us thusly:

WARNING
This book has been written as a basic primer of the homosexual movement for those who do not know the FACTS.

Hafer warns us his facts are not pretty facts. We shall see in the chapters to follow how remote Hafer’s relationship with Facts is, pretty or not. But as a kindness to the reader he tells us he’s chosen to present them in an easy-to-read illustrated style. That’s one way of describing it.

We shall see that throughout the book Hafer keeps having trouble deciding whether to illustrate his facts as locker room jokes or as seriously awful truths. This repeated switch in perspective, from ha ha isn’t that funny, to darkly serious, and back again is jarring. But also…well…illustrative. The reader quickly begins to feel  as if Hafer doesn’t really believe half of what he’s saying, and Hafer’s problem with facts begins right away, almost at the very beginning of Chapter One. But first we have to get through the Introduction.

He ends his warning by praying that many young people will be diverted from “experimentation” by the facts presented in this book. But any gay kid living in the sort of fundamentalist household likely to hand this book to them is already living in terror of being outed. All reading Hafer is likely to do for them is push them closer to suicide.

So now we’re done with the WARNING. The Introduction opens with the character Chester sitting on his porch steps fuming about a newspaper article about the opening of a school for gay kids in New York City. 

I have a first printing of Hafer’s book and its print date is January 1986. So he’s complaining about the first Harvey Milk School which opened in the East Village of Lower Manhattan in 1985. Given the time it probably took for Hafer to get his comic book drawn, edited and sent to the printer (it was published by the Paradigm Company of Boise Idaho) he probably started work on it right after the school was founded. Maybe that was the match that lit his fuse.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about it:

The school was originally run by the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), an organization that provides social support to at-risk LGBT youth. After becoming a fully accredited public school in 2002/3, the high school is now administered by the New York City Department of Education, separate from HMI. The school and the non-profit still share space in the same building, with the HMI providing a majority of the school’s arts and culture programming.

The school was founded in 1985 as a small, two-room program with just over a dozen students by HMI in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education’s Career Education Center. The Department of Education administers the school and is responsible for admissions. Harvey Milk was created as an alternative education program for youth who find it difficult or impossible to attend their home schools due to threats, violence, or harassment.

The school was opened to give gay kids a safe place where they could get an education. Hafer takes no notice of this Fact. In fact, throughout the book, Hafer takes no notice at all, gives no hint that he even knows or cares one whit about violence toward gay and lesbian adults, let alone to schoolkids. That’s not hard to understand, given the book is intended to be a warning that the very existence of homosexual people constitutes a danger to everyone. It’s right there on the cover:

What consenting adults do in the privacy of their homes CAN hurt you!

So presumably those gay schoolkids at the Harvey Milk School are endangering everyone just by going to class where they’re safe and not letting themselves get beaten up every day. Given that, Chester is justifiably angry.

Chester is one of the two foils for Larry, who is presented throughout as the voice of reason. Chester, initially, plays the part of the uninformed cranky crank, which allows Larry to recast what would otherwise be Chester’s knee jerk prejudices as reasonable truths. Chester is furious. “They opened a School for those people” he fumes. And Larry walks over to ask him what he’s grumbling about. Chester growls that “New York has a high school for Fags!”

Larry, taking on the mantle of the calm, measured, voice of reason, replies noncommittally. “The homosexual community has really made huge strides in the media and public opinion in the past few years”, he says. Chester isn’t having it. “I don’t want a bunch of homos living around me!!” Pay attention here…Chester is calling them fags and homos. Larry talks of “the homosexual community”. Hafer is pulling a fast one.

Now the other foil enters, stage left. A deliveryman cames along with a package for Chester, just as Chester is telling Larry he “liked ‘em better when they were in the closet.” The deliveryman tells them he couldn’t help but overhear them talking, and asks how many gays do you know? “I can’t imagine one would want to live near you.” When he reveals himself to be a homosexual, as if the way he’s drawn doesn’t telegraph it, Chester freaks out. “Larry! He’s one of them! Did he touch me?!!”

You have to have read the entire book and then come back to this introduction to see how shifty Hafer is being there. Chester is playing the part of the knee jerk ignorant bigot, which allows Larry to be the calm, measured voice of reason. “Easy Chet,” He says. “He might just have a point. How much Do you know about homosexuality?” And then “I think you’re both off the mark. Are you willing to learn what homosexuality is Really all about?”

And with that, Hafer has sprung his trap. Now the reader sees Larry as an impartial giver of the facts, as opposed to the ignorant knee jerk reactions of a guy like Chester. But by the end of the book, the distance between Larry and Chester is nonexistent, and they are both ganging up on the homosexual foil…because his role in the story is to be the two dimensional militant homosexual stereotype who really hates being a homosexual deep down inside. Because that’s what homosexuals are for in these tracts.

Another of Hafer’s devious little ploys is dressing the homosexual foil in a uniform. He appears on stage as a deliveryman, so naturally he’s in his work clothes…right? Hahahaha… Hafer clothes the foil in a uniform…because he’s a militant homosexual! Get it? Get it? 

The only name Hafer gives his homosexual foil is Sodomite. That comes in Chapter One.

So now we have our main cast of characters: Chester, Larry, and Sodomite. And we know that Larry is the giver of impartial facts, unlike the Archie Bunker character named Chester, and the militant homosexual named Sodomite. So when Larry says “Let’s start with what is a homosexual”, the readers is ready to uncritically accept whatever Larry tells them about homosexuality, because Larry is the sensible middle ground between two extremes.

And now we are about to discover that a homosexual is…starting in Chapter One. 

Stay tuned…

 

by Bruce | Link | React!


Hafer’s Homosexuality: Legitimate Alternate Deathstyle – A Personal Review

Back in December of 2019 I promised in a blog post to review the Hafer comic book. Back then I wrote:

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.

Which is probably why I never got around to doing my chapter by chapter review, a’la Fred Clark’s takedown of the Left Behind books. It was just too damn depressing, too many old wounds being reopened. 

But in working on the “final” episode of A Coming Out Story I had occasion to revisit this comic book for quotes to illustrate the climate of hate I grew up in. And once again the unabridged wholeness of its contempt and hate managed, even now, to shock me. But this time I dug a little deeper.

Hafer helpfully provides an appendix to back up his “facts”. It only took me a couple glances at it to see how much he was bullshitting his readers. I’d seen this kind of thing back in the USENET days and it’s why I have my “gay studies” bookshelves. 

And I thought…I really need to do the review I’d intended…if only to get it out there.

As I said in a previous post, these things, like the Chick tracts, are basically Tijuana bibles for prigs, allowing them to ogle their neighbor’s sex lives, indulge their own sexual fantasies, and feel righteous about it. We are the sexual scapegoat they need, so they don’t have to reckon with the empty wasteland they’ve made of their own sex lives. But that doesn’t mean turning a critical eye on it is pointless. 

They posture as defenders of godly truths and moral values, and these things, truth and morality, are emphatically not theirs. Like the swords of myth and legend that refuse the hand of the unworthy, time and again when confronted with reason and morality, the hate pews flee back into their chapels of fantasies, lies, and superstition. It is worth exposing them, the better to see that the moral high ground is ours.

Let’s begin in the next post.

by Bruce | Link | React!

October 30th, 2023

The Only Thing That Matters

“A bigot’s mind is like the pupil of an eye. The more light you shine on it the more it contracts.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Many years ago when I was a guest blogger on another website, I got into a wee kerfuffle (not very badly) over an opinion piece I wrote saying that it really did not matter to bigots whether our sexual orientation is chosen or biological. Nobody doubts that skin color is biological and that hasn’t stopped racists from being racist. Homophobes, when they finally can’t deny the science any longer, will simply pivot to acknowledging we can’t change and that makes it even more imperative that society keep us separate and marginalized. Ex-gay therapy then becomes not a way of forcing change on us, as a way to shame us into self hate and celibacy and isolation. And also, to validate and exalt their own cheapshit prejudices, like it always was anyway. We have seen, since the collapse of the big ex-gay outfits, that drift into celibacy over change.

I think back then people mistook what I was saying as I thought the nature versus nurture argument didn’t matter at all and I have never believed that. Firstly, facts matter, and by that time all the science was saying our sexual orientation was a biological fact, and the only question remaining was is it determined in the womb or by way of genetics or some combination of the two. But on a personal level, ever since I came out to myself I just knew intuitively that my being drawn to guys had to be an innate part of my makeup, not something I drifted into because of family life or fear of the opposite sex. I could look back all the way to my preschool days and see that it was always there.

All this came back to mind as I was reading this May 2021 article in Baptist News Global about Southern Baptist theological dictator Al Mohler’s defense of conversion therapy. Here then, is Mohler’s current stance, being essentially what I’ve been telling people for decades now that it would be:

In We Cannot be Silent, Mohler argued that even if same-sex orientation is innate and immutable, it remains sinful. Even the discovery of a “gay gene” wouldn’t change his thinking. If the Bible calls something sin, that’s what it is. The fact that it might be “natural” changes nothing. Because we live in a fallen world, what is “natural” still may be wrong. The natural world, he says, is “tainted by sin.”

Therefore, if the case for banning conversion therapy implies that gay is good, Mohler’s against it.

See the pivot? Okay, yes, it’s natural and immutable, but so what? We live in a fallen world. Science only proves that, not that we have to stop tormenting them over something they cannot change. It remains our godly duty to keep sticking knives in their hearts. With love of course.

Because at bottom whether it is nature or nurture does not matter. And I tell you this: the bible does not matter either. If the day ever came they’d have to admit the “clobber passages” did not mean what they’ve been saying they mean, the pivot would be to other passages that they’ll say still uphold the godly duty.

Because what matters, the only thing that matters, is the mindless knee jerk prejudice. Nothing else. They’ll dress it up however they have to.

“An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.” -Eric Hoffer

by Bruce | Link | React!

October 18th, 2023

Thieves

Something that, for some reason, I only posted to my Facebook page a few years ago, that I came across the other day via its “Memories” function and decided it needed a place here…

Back in 2004 I observed Orson Scott Card getting all enthusiastic over the music of K.D. Lang while reviewing what was then her new album, “Hymns of the 49th Parallel”. I wrote at the time…

“You’d almost never know that this is the same man who said that “Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.” Lang has never bothered to hide her Lesbianism, and has taken many a public stand against anti gay discrimination. Yet here Card tells his readers she is “brilliant”. More obscenely, he wishes she could sing just for him, “as a friend.”

It’s one of those long standing grievances LGBT folks have with the majority culture, that we as individuals contribute to it in so many ways, contribute to it with our work, lift it with our art, secure it with our service, and then get spit on whenever someone needs to feel righteous, and maybe build themselves a few more stepping stones to heaven. Expropriation. Something that I wrote about back when Card was bellyaching voraciously after the Massachusetts Supreme Court said that same sex couples have the same right to marry that opposite sex couples do, and he said Homosexuals were stealing something precious from him. Stealing from us however is a right.

And they know what they’re doing. All those righteous cake bakers, that want our labor and our art in their world, but won’t pay us the living wage of decency, civility and respect. All the pious frauds taking our services and then stiffing us Trump-like on the social bill. All the culture warrior hate mongers who just love them some K.D. Lang, Elton John, Tchaikovsky, Copland, Haring, Housman, Andersen. This came across my Twitter stream just now. It’s hilarious. And then it isn’t.

When you need the devil to help bake a cake and get thee behind me when it’s done…

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 9th, 2023

Like Al Capon Suing Chicago For Letting Him Tarnish The City’s Reputation…

We all remember Stephan “Goebbels” Miller…right…?

Stephen Miller’s legal group sues Target over LGBTQ Pride collection backlash

A conservative legal nonprofit led by Stephen Miller is suing Target on behalf of one of the company’s investors, saying it should have anticipated public backlash to its LGBTQ Pride displays in June.

America First Legal — founded by Miller, a former senior adviser to former President Trump — claims the company misrepresented the adequacy of its risk monitoring after its Pride month campaign led to employee harassment, bomb threats and a conservative online hate campaign.

A conservative group. A conservative group. Yeah, and the Al Capon mob was a private investment fund. You gotta admire the brazenness of the anti-gay industrial complex. First they start a hate campaign against retailers that support Pride Month, then they sue them for the damage to the investors that they caused. Nice work if you can get it.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

June 16th, 2023

Who is John Ga…er…Roy…Er…Donald Trump…?

The more I am forced to consider this man due to current events, the more stuff like this keeps bubbling up from memory. 

First…the Sage of Baltimore:

He was, in fact, a charlatan, a mountebank, a zany without sense or dignity. His career brought him into contact with the first men of his time; he preferred the company of rustic ignoramuses. It was hard to believe, watching him in Dayton, that he had traveled, that he had been received in civilized societies, that he had been a high officer of state. He seemed only a poor clod like those around him, deluded by a childish theology, full of an almost pathological hatred of all learning, all human dignity, all beauty, all fine and noble things. He was a peasant come home to the barnyard. Imagine a gentleman, and you have imagined everything that he was not. What animated him from end to end of his grotesque career was simply ambition – the ambition of a common man to get his hand upon the collar of his superiors, or failing that, to get his thumb into their eyes. He was born with a roaring voice, and it had the trick of inflaming half-wits. His whole career was devoted to raising those half-wits against their betters, that he himself might shine.

Sound familiar? That was from H. L. Mencken’s killer obituary of William Jennings Bryan. But then, and annoyingly because it really embarrasses me at this age to have to admit that I once enthusiastically read Ayn Rand (Ronald Reagan cured me of this), and even kept my hard bound copy of Atlas Shrugged, this passage from said novel (thousand plus page political tract-rant…) came poking into my thoughts this morning. It’s about one of the villains in her story, Wesley Mouch (“mouch”…mooch…Get it? Get it? No Charles Dickens this lady…), who eventually becomes the nation’s economic dictator by way of trading favors and betraying every benefactor he ever had for the better deal he could get from someone else…

From then on, people helped Wesley Mouch to advance, for the same reason as that which had prompted Uncle Julius: they were people who believed that mediocrity was safe. The men who now sat in front of his desk had been taught that the law of causality was a superstition and that one had to deal with the situation of the moment without considering its cause. By the situation of the moment, they had concluded that Wesley Mouch was a man of superlative skill and cunning, since millions aspired to power, but he was the one who had achieved it. It was not within their method of thinking to know that Wesley Mouch was the zero at the meeting point of forces unleashed in destruction against one another.

One small benefit I retain from my dalliance with Rand is that whenever she comes up in a discussion about the degradation of American politics I can easily tell who is and is not talking out of their ass. Paul Ryan for example, when he said some years ago he was both a Christian and a follower of Ayn Rand. Really? REALLY?

But I’ll give the lady this: she had some really good lines (but then so did Reagan). That “zero at the meeting point” of powerful forces warring against each other metaphor has kept tapping me on the shoulder ever since Donald Trump sat down in the oval office.

Ever since that day people, pundits, and political junkies have been trying to suss out what the hell is going on inside that man. I think it’s somewhere there in the paragraphs above. A cup W.J. Bryant, a tablespoon of Wesley Mouch…and a pinch of Roy Cohn (just a pinch because that spice is Intense…).

From Tony Kushner’s Angels In America:

ROY: Your problem, Henry, is that you are hung up on words, on labels, that you believe they mean what the seem to mean. AIDS. Homosexual. Gay. Lesbian. You think there are names that tell you who someone sleeps with, but they don’t tell you that.

HENRY: No?

ROY: No. Like all labels they tell you one thing and one thing only: where does an individual so identified fit in the food chain, in the pecking order? Not ideology or sexual taste, but something much simpler: clout. Not who I fuck or who fucks me, but who will pick up the phone when I call, who owes me favors. This is what a label refers to. Now to someone who does not understand this, homosexual is what I am because I have sex with men. But really this is wrong. Homosexuals are not men who sleep with other men. Homosexuals are men who in fifteen years of trying cannot get a pissant antidiscrimination bill through City Council. Homosexuals are men who know nobody and who nobody knows. Who have zero clout. Does this sound like me Henry?

HENRY: No.

ROY: No. I have clout. A lot. I can pick up this phone, punch fifteen numbers, and you know who will be on the other end in under five minutes, Henry?

HENRY: The President.

ROY: Even better, Henry. His wife.

HENRY: I’m impressed.

ROY: I don’t want you to be impressed. I want you to understand. This is not sophistry. And this is not hypocrisy. This is reality. I have sex with men. But unlike nearly every other man of whom this is true, I bring the guy I”m screwing to the White House and President Reagan smiles at us and shakes his hand. Because what I am is defined entirely by who I am. Roy Cohn is not a homosexual. Roy Cohn is a heterosexual man, Henry, who fucks around with guys.

HENRY: OK Roy.

ROY: And what is my diagnosis, Henry?

HENRY: You have AIDS Roy.

ROY: No, Henry, no. AIDS is what homosexuals have. I have liver cancer.

(pause)

HENRY: Well, whatever the fuck you have Roy, it’s very serious, and I haven’t got a damn thing for you. The NIH in Bethesda has a new drug called AZT with a two year waiting list that not even I can get you onto. So get on the phone, Roy, and dial the fifteen numbers, and tell the First Lady you need in on an experimental treatment for liver cancer. Because you can call it any damn thing you want, Roy, but what it boils down to to is very bad news.

There’s the man. Clout. It’s all about clout. And pecking order. And favors. Who owes me favors? What can I get from them? What animated him from end to end of his grotesque career was simply ambition. You could almost rewrite that scene as between Donald and some fictional last man standing political advisor and it’s about the latest current indictment over this nation’s nuclear secrets and get on the phone and tell Vladimir you need help with some witnesses in a very unfair witch hunt, because you can call it any damn thing you want, Donald, but what it boils down to is very bad news.

by Bruce | Link | React!

May 16th, 2023

The More Things Stay The Same The More They Stay The Same

This came across my Twitter feed today (Yes, I still lurk there…)…

Yeah…it surprised me too considering it’s from the New York Times. That is, the same New York Times that just a few weeks ago was still carrying water for the TERF battle against transgender people, and threatened staff reporters who signed a letter publically protesting their anti-trans coverage with write-ups in their employee files. What has changed? Who knows? Who cares? It’s the New York Times. Not just the gold, but the bitcoin standard of journalism.

Some of us still remember how for decades the New York Times refused to refer to gay and lesbian people with any other word but “homosexual”, long, long after other media began using “gay” and “lesbian”. They have standards to uphold. What are those standards? That’s not news that’s fit to print.

But this…this speaks perfectly to how cut-and-paste the right wing attacks on transgender people map to their attacks on gay and Lesbian Americans decades ago. This is Ex Gay claptrap repurposed and aimed at transgender rights. Back in the day they threw up “I Questioned Homosexuality” billboards…not in the gayborhoods across America where you might think they’d want to spread the Good News but in the swing states where family and friends of gay and lesbian Americans might need an excuse to put a knife into their neighbor’s hearts. They founded PFOX (Parents and Friends Of eXgays) as a counter to PFLAG, and wherever gay people told their stories in the media, PFOX demanded ex gays be equally represented. They created professional psychological shell organizations that invented diagnoses out of thin air, like Same Sex Attraction Disorder. Get it? Get it? We’re not gay, we’re SSAD!

So it goes. Now hear the same old song and dance with a few transgender verses added. Nothing is new in the human gutter, it only has a new coat of paint.

by Bruce | Link | React!

May 14th, 2023

He Inspires Me!

Saw this in my Twitter feed this morning…

…and I was inspired to reply thusly:

I’m at the point now where ridicule is the best I can get out of me toward thugs like him these days, and it might as well be fun. I kind of modeled it on how NAFO responds to Russian disinformation on the Internet Tubes, but with Disney characters instead of the dog because if anything DeSantis’ temper tantrum at Disney really shows what a weak little bullying prick he is.

by Bruce | Link | React!

February 27th, 2023

The More Racists Change The More They Stay The Same

This from the Washington Post…

Musk defends ‘Dilbert’ creator, says media is ‘racist against whites’

The Tesla and Twitter chief blasted media outlets for dropping Scott Adams’s comic strip after the cartoonist’s rant against Black people

It’s to the point now where all you need to see is the name associated with the news item and you know pretty well what it’s going to be about before you even read it. Musk is is one of those and so is Adams and that still hurts a bit because I used to love Dilbert. But that was back when I saw it as Dilbert being a somewhat naive computer geek like myself, surrounded by assholes the cartoonist was making fun of. It seems that over time Adams began to identify more with the assholes than the geek. I think it was when I saw the cartoon comparing a woman breast feeding a baby in public with a man pissing on flowers to water them that I began tuning him out. It was one of those things that tap you on the shoulder saying look at that…no really look at that… But there was still the occasional cartoon strip I found hilarious. Then he went all in for Trump, who was like the pointy haired boss personified and amplified and I just closed the book on him, wondering how much of what I enjoyed in his cartoons was really there to begin with.

That’s the way it is with artists and creators you come to love and enjoy. What you see in their art is what you experienced seeing it and it’s mostly you. It isn’t necessarily what the artist themselves put into it or intended. But at least Adams was a creator. Musk on the other hand, is just rich.

He bought his way into Tesla and eventually kicked out its founders. SpaceX was born on his money and his need to cut the cost of rocket launches so he could start a garden on Mars. But it was built with the rocket engineering talents of others who came from the industry. Both those companies, so I’m told, had a board of directors and staff whose only job was to manage Musk’s mood swings and nutty ideas and try to keep him focused. In Twitter we’re seeing him totally in control and unfiltered, really for the first time. And it’s really a squalid sight to see. 

They say men don’t change, they reveal themselves. But if money is power, then absolute money also corrupts absolutely. This is a man who never really developed any internal brakes, and now all the possible external ones are gone. Maybe that’s what happened to Adams too, but with a lot less money.

Replying to tweets about the controversy, Musk said it is actually the media that is “racist against whites & Asians.” He offered no criticism of Adams’s comments, in which the cartoonist called Black people a “hate group” and said, “I don’t want to have anything to do with them.”

I’m sixty-nine years old and knocking on the door to seventy. You have to appreciate how familiar this all feels to someone who actually lived through and remembers the civil rights protests of the 1960s. The white backlash rhetoric has never changed. Every tiny improvement in the status of racial minorities in this country, every miniscule effort to uncover and learn from the history of slavery and race segregation in America, has been met with howling about reverse racism from the usual suspects. None of it sounds any different than it did back then.

I did not expect my golden years to look so much like my childhood…

We are not anti-negro…

by Bruce | Link | React!

December 31st, 2022

Oh…Were You Still Here…?

Ex Pope Ratzinger leaves the stage. If, as Shakespeare writes, the evil that men do lives after them while the good is oft interred with their bones, Ratzinger’s bones are going to have a lot of space to themselves in that grave.

“In 1986 Ratzinger issued a letter to the Catholic Bishops in which he wrote that homosexuality was a ‘tendency’ towards an ‘intrinsic moral evil’. A few years later, in 1992, he rejected the notion of human rights for gays, stressing that their civil liberties could be ‘legitimately limited’. He followed up by remarking that ‘neither the church nor society should be surprised’ if ‘irrational and violent reactions increase’ when gays demand civil rights.” –New Internationalist 327, September 2000.

Death only closes a Man’s Reputation, and determines it as good or bad.” -Joseph Addison.

My cartoon upon his ascension to Peter’s throne…April 19, 2005.

by Bruce | Link | React!

December 21st, 2022

Kinda Small All This Time Weren’t You…?

Digby asks thusly…

What made Elon mad?

Elon Musk used to be a rather typical soft libertarian tech weirdo, eccentric but basically socially liberal. He didn’t seem to be someone strongly attracted to the fascist right although he did whine from time to time about the supposed “illiberal left.” Obviously he’s changed. He’s a full-blown wingnut conspiracy theorist now.

I was doing some research and came across this article from last spring which I’d totally forgotten about that looks to be the turning point for him. It is from last May…

According to Digby it was the 250k settlement for sexually harassing a SpaceX worker…

That context came on Thursday night when Insider published a story reporting that SpaceX, the company founded by Musk in 2002, paid a flight attendant $250,000 in 2018 to settle a sexual-misconduct claim against him. According to reporter Rich McHugh, the attendant, who worked as part of the flight crew for SpaceX’s corporate jet fleet, had accused Musk of “exposing his erect penis to her, rubbing her leg without consent, and offering to buy her a horse in exchange for an erotic massage.”

There was the usual NDA, but a friend of the victim went public with it and that’s how it got into the press. 

I suppose a lot of people lately are wondering what happened to Elon Musk. But a better question would be did anything happen to Elon Musk, or is this who he always was.

A few days ago this tweet came across my Twitter stream and I just had to jump in…

 

Most of the replies involved that rescue of those kids trapped in a cave and Musk throwing a tantrum and calling the rescuers pedophiles when they rejected his brilliant idea of using a mini sub. One of the rescuers died trying to save those kids and I thought Musk’s behavior was disgusting. But it wasn’t the first time I had second thoughts about the man I’d admired for forging a real path for the automobile off fossil fuels, and getting America back into space.

As I mentioned there, for me the knock off the pedestal moment came when I read about him firing his personal secretary after she’d asked for a raise…allegedly so he could see if he really needed one. It was an explanation I found too cute for words and it made me a much more skeptical observer. In the time since that moment it’s all looked to me like the usual story of absolute wealth corrupting absolutely.

So I’m told, actor and comedian Bill Murray once said of fame that when its spotlight first shines on a person it can turn them into an asshole, Then he said, they have two years to work themselves out of it or else it sticks and that’s what they will be from then on. I think (besides that he was probably talking about Chevy Chase) that’s maybe true to some degree, but more that fame, like LSD, does to you what you do to it. If there is an asshole inside, when the brakes come off that’s what comes out.

And if you find yourself wondering how a man who did so much good for the human future could become such an unmitigated knuckle dragging lout…that’s a very good question and you should dig into it.

Look at that. Really look at it. Then keep looking…eyes wide open this time…

by Bruce | Link | React!

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