Friday, October 29, 2010

One Reason Blogging May Be Bad For Me...

I don't know exactly what's going on with me physically, but it wouldn't surprise me to find out that I'm having heart problems. I've been a heavy drinker for many years -- that isn't exactly good for one's heart. But I'm certain there's more to it than that -- whatever that is.

I'll keep y'all posted. In the meantime, hope that nothing else pisses me off to the point where I can't think straight. I'm not really sure I can weather that sort of horseshit anymore...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

First, I Had To Calm Down...

I got home from work last night, did this and that around the apartment, then went online. And that was when I first heard of that cowardly asshole of a Rand Paul supporter, Tim Profitt, stomping on Lauren Valle's head and giving her a concussion. I started to write a post about that, but these days, whenever I start to get so pissed off that I can't think straight, I stop whatever I'm doing.*

That's why I'm not going to bother with the story about Profitt wanting Valle to apologize to him for attacking his foot with her head. I'm not going to bother with the ridiculous Big Journalism reader who likened Valle to Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, the Manson family woman who tried to assassinate Gerald Ford, either. And I'm definitely not going to paint Lauren Valle as some sort of martyr. I've seen the video of her holding that sign up a few feet away from Rand Paul -- by now, everyone has -- and as far as I'm concerned, she's a complete fucking idiot for doing that.

This is about what pissed me off so bad that I couldn't think straight last night, and that was seeing the video of Profitt stomping on Valle's head. And the way that footage looks to me, if it wasn't for that guy who was holding Valle down raising his hand and going "No, no, no" after Profitt did that, I'm almost positive he would have stomped her a second time, maybe even a third. Ooooo, what a big man he is.

Plain and simple: You, don't, do, that, here. EVER! Politics has nothing to do with this shit -- if it had been a male MoveOn activist stomping on the head of a female Tea Partier, I would have been just as blindly pissed off. This isn't Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy, Pol Pot's Cambodia, or Stalin's Russia. This is the United States of America. YOU, DON'T, DO, THAT, HERE. EVER!

That's all I have to say. I'm starting to go blind again...

{*: That, by the way, is also one big reason why I no longer blog over at skippy's place -- the last few posts I wrote over there, before deleting a whole slew of posts I'd written for him, contained some of the ugliest shit in them that I've ever written. I have no wish to repeat that behavior...}

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Like We're Watching A Phoenix Rise Up From The Flames...

Something is unfolding in this country right now that is giving me tremendous hope. I should know better than to grow too hopeful by now, having been sorely disappointed too many times to bother remembering all of them, and being more than a little mercurial in temperament to begin with. But something is definitely going on, and regardless of how it plays out, you have to be made of stone not to notice it and be astonished at the reception it's been getting.

I'm talking about the sudden surge of support for gay teenagers in particular and gay people in general coming from other people all over the country. It almost seems like we've reached critical mass, and it's no longer a question of if we'll win the same equal rights everyone else has, but when. I've been saying, within ten to fifteen years, we'll have those rights, but deep down, I've had my doubts -- there are still millions of bloodless, backward-assed people in this country running around loose who yearn to have the entire LGBT community rounded up and exterminated, I reasoned, but they can't get away with that anymore and they know it, so they will grudgingly settle for making our lives as miserable as possible. It's people like them that have kept me from growing too hopeful about... well, about anything.

Then, one day, an 18-year-old college kid named Tyler Clementi jumped off of a bridge. I think that horrible tragedy was where this awakening, if I can call it that, began. It galls me to no end that this poor kid, and countless others, had to die before more people would wake the fuck up and start to acknowledge the incessant harassment, bullying, and demonizing we've had to put up with all our lives. It galls me because the only reason Tyler's suicide has gotten everyone's attention concerns the circumstances that led up to it: he was video streamed over the Internet having sex with another male, and he didn't know it at the time.

That bothered trainloads of people who normally wouldn't give a second thought to a news item about a gay kid killing himself or herself to escape constant torment. Why? Well, what would you do if you found out you were video streamed having sex with another person without your knowledge, much less your consent? Worse still, what if you were 18 and gay to boot?

Yeah. That's why trainloads of previously obtuse individuals suddenly give a fuck about us.

But amazingly, it didn't end there. Fort Worth, Texas Councilman Joel Burns seized on this uptick in support and delivered his own message of hope to gay teens. He took the crack in the ice Tyler made and turned it into a spreading spiderweb. Mr. Burns is a saint as far as I'm concerned, for getting the snowball rolling.

Then Dan Savage took that cue from Joel Burns and produced the It Gets Better Project. From there, the snowball started turning into an avalanche -- and I started thinking, wait, something is different this time.

Things are different. Have you visited Savage's site lately? He's a one-man wrecking crew when it comes to dealing with the bloodless and the obtuse these days -- and believe it or not, this hit is actually winning.

Check this progression out. A reader says this about Savage's frustration with Christians who are anything but Christ-like when it comes to gay people:

...As someone who loves the Lord and does not support gay marriage I can honestly say I was heartbroken to hear about the young man that took his own life after being humiliated by people who should have known better. I think you need to be aware of your own prejuduces and how they might play into your thinking. At best I think your comments were hypocritical.

If your message is that we should not judge people based on their sexual preferance, how do you justify judging entire groups of people for any other reason (including their faith)? There is no part of me that took any pleasure in what happened to that young man and I know for a fact that is true of many other people who disagree with your viewpoint. Please be aware that your words are powerful and people are listening to you...



Savage responded, appropriately, "Fuck your feelings, pal"...

Being told that they're sinful and that their love offends God, and being told that their relationships are unworthy of the civil right that is marriage (not the religious rite that some people use to solemnize their civil marriages), can eat away at the souls of gay kids. It makes them feel like they're not valued, that their lives are not worth living. And if one of your children is unlucky enough to be gay, the anti-gay bigotry you espouse makes them doubt that their parents truly love them—to say nothing of the gentle "savior" they've heard so much about, a gentle and loving father who will condemn them to hell for the sin of falling in love with the wrong person.

The children of people who see gay people as sinful or damaged or disordered and unworthy of full civil equality—even if those people strive to express their bigotry in the politest possible way (at least when they happen to be addressing a gay person)—learn to see gay people as sinful, damaged, disordered, and unworthy. And while there may not be any gay adults or couples where you live, or at your church, or at your workplace, I promise you that there are gay and lesbian children in your schools. You may only attack gays and lesbians at the ballot box, nice and impersonally, but your children have the option of attacking actual real gays and lesbians, in person, in real time.

Real gay and lesbian children. Not political abstractions, not "sinners." Real gay and lesbian children.


Game.

This prompted a response from a second reader...

...In my experience, the majority of Christians are apathetic or "tolerant" towards people of alternative sexualities. But there are certainly Christians who fully accept and believe that our society should be truly equal, just as there are those who truly hate anyone who differs from the norm. What I'm trying to say is that it really upsets me to see such a small minority being given so much power and attention, which just serves to widen the rift between gay people and Christians. Why not give some time and attention to the churches that welcome and love gay people? For someone who is gay and Christian (or any other religion with some element of anti-gay rhetoric,) I can't even imagine how heartbreaking it would be to feel you have to choose between two strong aspects of who you are. Wouldn't knowing that there are churches that believe that it's normal and okay to be both be more beneficial than reinforcing the need to choose?...


To which Savage replied...

...I'm sick of tolerant, accepting Christians whispering to me that "we're not all like that." If you want to change the growing perception that "good Christian" means "anti-gay"—a perception that is leading many people to stop identifying themselves as Christian because they don't want to be lumped in with the haters—stop whispering to me and start screaming at them. Until there are moderate and "welcoming" Christian groups that are just as big, well-funded, aggressive, and loud as the conservative Christian organizations, "welcoming" Christians are in no position to complain about the perception that all Christians are anti-gay. Your co-religionists have invested decades and millions of dollars in creating that perception. You let it happen...


Set.

Then a third reader chimed in -- and, basically, gave the game away...

...I'd love to get into a debate with you about this. I'd love to be able to argue that you're wrong. I'd love to lay out my proofs that the majority of Christians around the world are working our collective asses off to support and celebrate gays and lesbians and folk who are bi and transgendered... but I can't.

Because you're right.

That isn't to take away from the individuals, groups, congregations and denominations who do stand up—both in the world and with our "co-religionists"—and scream, "SIT DOWN, SHUT UP AND LISTEN, there is nothing wrong—nothing sinful—about being lesbian, gay, transgendered or bi." It isn't to take away from the Christians (like the United Church of Canada) who argued in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in favour of Same-Sex Marriage. It isn't to take away from Christians (of what ever sexuality) who are doing all they can to create places that are NOT simply tolerant, but celebratory. Because there are. And they are working their asses off, and putting their money and their life into that fight.

Sadly, I believe that a majority of Christians world-wide, here in Canada, and in your own country either tacitly or overtly support homophobia.

It hurts to recognize that. It hurts even more to know that our voice is always going to be drowned out by the majority of our Christian siblings. Because we don't have the numbers or the money to build the "moderate and 'welcoming' Christian groups that are just as big, well-funded, aggressive, and loud as the conservative Christian organizations..."

And, yeah, it hurts that people are going to be pissed off because we're not doing enough and others are going to be pissed off because we're doing anything at all...


Match. Period.

This is what I meant when I said I didn't care whether or not I got the same equal rights everyone else has. All I really want is for the stalking harassing, beating, and killing of gay people for being gay to stop. Yes, getting those same equal rights will go a long way in making that happen. But it's not the struggle for those rights that moves me.

It's the suicides. I've stood at the edge of that abyss and looked down. What I saw scared the shit out of me. The fact that far too many gay kids have looked into that same abyss and jumped anyway...

Man...

The bullying must be stopped. That's all there is to it. We're all human. We all deserve a chance -- even the neanderthals who habitually make our lives miserable.

It gets better. Believe me, it gets better...

This Is Funny To Me...

The New York Yankees got beaten in the AL playoffs by the Texas Rangers. I'm enjoying this for two reasons. One, the Rangers have never been in a World Series before, and I always like it when any team gets into one for the first time. And nine teams have done this in my own lifetime: the Mets, the Royals, the Brewers (this one I remember -- I don't remember the times the Mets or the Royals did it), the Padres, the Blue Jays, the Marlins, the Diamondbacks, the Rockies, and the Devil Rays. The Rangers will make it a nice and even ten.

And the other reason I'm enjoying this is much more primal: I'm a lifelong Red Sox fan. That right there tells you everything you need to know about what I think of the Yankees. Basically, I'm just sadistic enough to love it when someone rubs salt in their wounds:



...Before I first moved to New York, I hadn't fully understood what sad, wretched front-runners the legions of Yankees fans really are. I always knew they were awful people, the most obnoxious fans in sports, but I hadn't grasped how weak-hearted they were. When the Yankees lose, there is no defiance, no residual pride, no we-want-a-rematch resolve. (The closest the Yankees come to that is their annual scheming to hire anyone who beats them.) People root for the Yankees because they want to identify with a winner—not just a winner, but the winner—and when the Yankees are losers, it blows a hole in their identity. They didn't sign up for this to root for a loser...


Not only is every word of that true, it applies to Yankees fans who don't even live in or anywhere reasonably near New York. Back in 2001, when I was just an assistant at the print shop, I was paired up with an operator who was born and raised in Virginia, but happened to be a Yankees fan. When he found out my team was the Red Sox... well, it's not like I need to tell you what he commenced doing, is it?

What I will say is that he immediately stopped badgering me after the Red Sox came back from a 0-3 record in the 2004 AL playoffs to beat the Yankees, then go on to win four games in a row in the World Series for their first championship in 86 years. For the next five years, this guy kept his trap shut. Then the Yankees won the World Series last year. First words out of his fucking mouth the very next time he saw me: "How about them Yankees?!"

Well, this year, they wound up suckin' dick, buddy. That's how about them.

And that's it, I've had it with this guy. The next time he sees me, I'll be wearing a Rangers cap. Any team who beats the Yankees to get to the World Series -- especially after New York spent a quarter of a billion dollars to get into it and FAILED (AHH, HA HA HA HA!) -- is my favorite team for the next two weeks.

And knowing this Virginia fair-weather Yankee fan, he ain't gonna like it. Like all Yankees fans, he can dish it out, but he cannot take it...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pictures of a City...

Just to prove that I ain't blogtopia-dead yet. Granted, I've been real quiet this week. But that's mostly because I work too much, and when I get home, I simply don't feel like doing jack shit with the Medley -- or my own music, come to think of it. But that's a story for another day.

In the meantime...


Enjoy...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Your Rubber Room Is Ready, Mr. Beck...

From The Christian Science Monitor: "Did Glenn Beck's rhetoric inspire violence?" Gee, I dunno -- does a bear shit in the goddamned woods?


Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, who’s honed being provocative – even outrageous at times – to a fine and lucrative art, is the focus of criticism for inciting violence.

Specifically, his dozens of comments attacking the Tides Foundation are being linked to the attempt by a heavily-armed man to assassinate employees at the San Francisco-based foundation, which funds environmental, human rights, and other progressive projects. The attack in July was thwarted in a shoot-out with police in which two officers were wounded.

Since then, alleged attacker Byron Williams has said in jailhouse interviews that he wanted to “start a revolution.” He says Beck was not the direct cause of his turning violent. But he does say: “I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn't for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind.”

At various times, Beck has referred to Tides as “bullies” and “thugs” whose mission is to “warp your children's brains and make sure they know how evil capitalism is.” More recently, Beck (who describes himself as a “progressive hunter”) has warned the foundation “I’m coming for you.”

This has drawn criticism from various quarters.

'People are turning to guns'

Referring directly to Beck, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence issued a statement this week: “Too many people are turning to guns to remedy their grievances. And they are being fueled by rhetoric from leaders of the extreme gun rights movement.”

Some law enforcement officials agree.

"The Becks of the world are people who are venting their opinions and it is inflammatory, it generates a lot of emotion and generates in some people overreaction that apparently happened in the California case," Rich Roberts of the International Union of Police Associations, which represents some 500 local police unions, told the progressive media watchdog Media Matters for America. "Inflammatory speech has a tendency to trigger those kinds of emotions"...


It has an even greater tendency to make people turn violent in uncertain economic periods like the one we're going through now. And of all the right-wing noise machinists playing with people's insecurities, fears, and resentments, Glenn Beck is easily the worst offender. His incendiary talk and imagery were repellant enough when he was working for CNN. But once Beck went over to FOX News, he escalated it all to appalling levels -- and now we have one guy in jail saying Beck's ideas helped influence his decision to do what he tried to do.

Yet Beck still has a high-profile platform at FOX. I can't decide whether that's because people over there from Roger Ailes on down believe that Byron Williams was just another lone nut, or if the whole purpose of giving Glenn Beck so much leeway is to cause as many viewers to resort to violence against left-leaning people and institutions as possible. Whatever the case, Beck ought to be stripped of his show -- he, like all Americans, has a right to free speech, but what no American has is the right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater, and he has basically been doing that on show after show after show for far too long. It's irresponsible, it's obscene, and it's indefensible.

It's also insane, given the size of the audience he can reach. I've watched Beck do his conspiracy theory act with that blackboard prop of his a few times, folks. It reminds me of a couple scenes from the movie A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe as John Nash, the brilliant but mentally unstable real-life mathematician. Far as I'm concerned, Glenn Beck is John Nash without the brilliance -- or, for that matter, a sense of human decency. And if the powers that be at FOX News won't reel him in, well, that shows you where their minds are at, doesn't it?

Has Beck always been this nuts? Or is he just some dime-a-dozen huckster who heard opportunity knocking while pandering to the feverish far-right, and has been doing that for so long, he's developed the same fever?

Maybe I'm asking too many unnecessary questions. Everyone knows what a bear does in the woods...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"It Gets Better"...

Joel Burns, a gay Fort Worth, Texas councilman, had some words to say about the epidemic of gay teen suicides in America and the factors which ultimately drove them to end their own lives. It's a topic I'm extremely familiar with, one that I've very rarely touched on in all the time I've been blogging. Burns managed to relate his personal take on this very sensitive subject while sitting in a government chamber with a video camera pointed at his face. I sure as hell couldn't do that...



At around 4:20, as he made his plea to any and every gay teenager watching, Burns started to choke up. As he told of his own experiences of being bullied and feeling that something was very wrong with him, I started choking up as well. It sounded very much like what I had to endure during my own teen years. I've been pretty open about myself in many ways as a blogger, but again, these are the things that I very rarely talk about with anyone -- things which played a large role in preventing me from even admitting to myself that I was gay until I was 37, even though it's perfectly clear to me now that I've always been gay.

But everything Joel Burns said in that clip is true. I did what he said the gay teens suffering in isolation will do one day, if they give themselves a chance -- I got out of that high school, I got away from that town, and though I think it took a hell of a lot longer than it should have, my life did, in fact, get better. And yes, people's attitudes toward homosexuality have, generally speaking, improved dramatically, just in my own lifetime.

I've never attempted suicide, but many are the times when I seriously considered it, both as a kid and as an adult. It was hard for me to watch that whole clip, but I'm glad I did. "It gets better." I hope every gay boy and girl takes that message to heart.

Thank you, Councilman Burns.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Now There's An Idea That Just Might Work...

Here's a good Toledo Blade editorial calling for ending the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Within it is this little nugget:



...Few in the military even try to argue that discriminating against gays is right. Instead, the argument is that treating gays equally would make life more difficult for officers. Discipline would be undermined, they say, and esprit de corps would be damaged.

But many of the problems related to gays and lesbians serving openly in the military will be logistical, having to do with training, revising regulations, and changing benefits. And soldiers who are uncomfortable serving next to gays will have to get over it, as previous generations of soldiers got over their reluctance to serve next to blacks and women.

But just as there continue to be a few racists and misogynists wearing the uniforms of America's Armed Services, there will always be a few homophobic service members as well. That's not a rationale for continuing to punish the victims, as the current policy does. The better policy is for the military to weed out the bigots.

And the better policy for the White House is to do the right thing, to defend constitutional rights, even when it's inconvenient.


Basically, when Robert Gates says there will be enormous consequences if gays and lesbians are allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military, he means that a lot of the homophobes in uniform are going to lose their shit. So maybe the military should start discharging the homophobes instead -- as well as the racists and misogynists. I'll bet that would go a long way in raising the esprit de corps of the military. Most likely, the total number of discharges for being bigoted would be lower than expected. Prejudice often spreads within a person's mind like cancer -- if you find out that someone of your acquaintance is, say, a racist, you shouldn't be surprised if you find out he's a misogynist and/or a homophobe as well. At bottom, it's all hatred and fear.

Unlike homosexuality, homophobia is an acquired form of behavior. Which means that if it can be learned, it can be unlearned, too. I've done it myself -- I speak as both a former racist and a former homophobe here, and I know full well what I'm talking about. Ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is going to hurt the bigots far more than anyone else. But that's just the short-term effect. Over the course of the long-term, those bigots who decide to deal with their new environment will gradually shed their fear and hatred of gay people, and will become better and happier human beings in the process. The only ones who will ultimately lose out are those who choose to cling to their prejudices. Oh well. Some folks you just can't reach. Those are the ones you have no choice but to shun.

Really, this whole issue is far beyond ridiculous now. It's time to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," let the chips fall wherever they fall, and grow the fuck up. If some homophobic asshole can't handle the idea of serving alongside gay soldiers, he won't be of any use whatsoever once the shooting starts. Cut him loose...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Homosexuals and the Gay-friendly Straight People Represent Life; the Homophobes Represent Death...

From Michael Lassell's The Hard Way, which I've mentioned here before:

...They called us sinful, and we made monuments to the beauty of God. They called us insane, and we healed ourselves and go merrily along feeling whole and healing our fellows. They make us illegal, and we change the laws. They beat us; encamp us; murder us, one at a time and in groups; they lie about us with impunity and without conscience; but we keep surviving as a people. Because for every one who has died, there are gay people somewhere determined to live...

It seems to me, the more the homophobes try and fail to destroy us, the stronger we become. By my count, they've been trying to destroy us for some sixteen centuries -- and they have made, approximately, zero progress to date.

I think that's because we homos, in general, have an overarching urge to create, create, and create. We indulge this constant urge to create music, literature, paintings, poetry, theater, sculptures, monuments, what have you, because we simply can't help ourselves. Those, and other ways, are how we celebrate life.

Then there are the homophobes. What do they create? Babies that they have this unrelenting need to gradually turn into carbon-copy homophobes of themselves, and that's it.

That's why I titled this post what I titled it. There really isn't anything more left to say about these oxygen wasters -- the only substantial difference between them and the human immunodeficiency virus is, the latter can't thrive within a cold human body.

Period.

Make of that assertion what you will...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Spoken Like A Typical Teabagger...

There was a Tea Party gathering in Richmond yesterday. Naturally, I didn't bother to go. But now part of me is wishing I had gone. Turns out Gary Aldrich was in town. Boy, did I miss out on this:

In 1996, former FBI agent Gary Aldrich published Unlimited Access: An FBI Agent Inside the Clinton White House. It was an account of his days running background checks for the Clinton White House, and like every pre-2001 book accusing the Clintons of strange things, it was a hit. Aldrich faded into the background after that, but he's emerged at the Tea Party Patriots Convention, under the banner of his Patrick Henry Center, as a punchy political veteran who can teach activists how to avoid being screwed by the media.

"This is a typical liberal," said Aldrich at his morning session, pointing to a slide of Hannibal Lecter. "They're some of the nastiest people you could possibly imagine." He switched up the Lecter photo with photos of enemy reporters, like Chris Matthews, "perky"Katie Couric, and Rachel Maddow, pausing briefly to make fun of Maddow's haircut. And on the way into the room, he said, he browbeat a reporter for filming an interview with a goofy-looking tea party activist who was carrying a gun. "That's what's going to show up on the nightly news," he said. His audience nodded their heads knowingly.

And so Aldrich's advice to activists fit cleanly under the heading of "ways to seem paranoid." Don't travel alone, he said: He himself had advised a prominent Tea Party leader to stop traveling solo around the country. Choose friends wisely, because allies can betray you and leak to reporters. Demand conditions from the media before agreeing to interviews. Also, learn to use a gun, especially if you live in an open carry state. (The friction between this and his previous statement was not noted)... {boldface mine}

I got to that boldfaced part above, and I immediately thought of what David Brock had to say about Aldrich and Unlimited Access in his own tell-all book Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-conservative:

...Regnery [Publishing, Inc.] put on a full-court press for Unlimited Access, hiring veteran conservative publicists Greg Mueller, a former spokesman for Pat Buchanan, and Craig Shirley, whose clients included the NRA, the American Conservative Union, PaulaJones, and the American Spectator, to manage the promotional campaign. On the day of publication, Mueller saw to it that its most sensational revelation -- the Marriott story -- was plastered across the front page of the Washington Times. What jolted me that June morning as I sipped my coffee and read my copy of the Times was Aldrich's description of his source on the Marriott story: "a highly educated, well-trained, experienced investigator who is conducting his own investigation into the Clintons." Although I wasn't really any of those things, I had a nauseous feeling that I was in the middle of another comedy of errors: While I thought I had been interviewing Aldrich, he had been interviewing me.

Brock's account of the Marriott story, and how he told it to Aldrich, appears a few pages earlier in the book...

...I had heard about Clinton slipping out of the White House for late-night trysts. Supposedly, Clinton hid under a blanket as he was ferried to the downtown Marriott Hotel in the backseat of a sedan driven by his trusted counselor, Bruce Lindsey. As these things often went, I had heard the tale from a Republican investigator on the Hill, who had heard it from a friend who was in town visiting for the weekend, who had a friend who worked at the Marriott. When I asked Aldrich if it would have been possible for Clinton to slip his Secret Service detail to visit the Marriott, Aldrich told me no -- the first and only firm answer I had gotten out of him. Given his law enforcement credentials, I took Aldrich's word as definitive, and soon forgot about the Marriott story...

Returning forward in time to the day Unlimited Access was being showcased by the Moonie rag...

A few hours later, I received a call from Newsweek's Michael Isikoff, who was writing a piece on the election year furor incited by the Marriott allegation.... Coincidentally, Isikoff and I had had lunch a few weeks before; we learned that we had bith pursued Aldrich as a source, and we had both concluded that he was pretty much worthless. So Isikoff knew I knew Aldrich, and acting on a hunch, he asked me if I was possibly the journalist who told Aldrich the Marriott story. When I said I thought I was, Isikoff asked if I was willing to go on the record. Uhhh... yes, I was. I spoke to Isikoff from my gut. I had firsthand knowledge of a smear being broadcast nationwide, and I felt I had a responsibility to tell what I knew.
After hanging up with Isikoff, I decided I had better get in touch with Aldrich to make certain that I was his source... When Aldrich came on the line, I asked him if I was te source of the Marriott story, and when he told me I was, I protested that I couldn't be the source because, as I had explained to him some months before, I had never been able to verify it. I had no firsthand or even secondhand knowledge of the story; it was repeated to me thirdhand. "Well, why can't you be the source," an enraged Aldrich asked me. "Because you're a journalist?" So far as I knew there was no story, I said for the final time. I then told Aldrich I had given Isikoff an interview disavowing it. "What are you doing to me?" Aldrich wailed...



Brock's account from eight years ago, coupled with Aldrich's statements from yesterday, remind me of what Susan McDougal, whom Ken Starr ran through Hell and back in his blindly partisan desire to have Bill Clinton impeached and removed from office on the basis of a fabricated real but not-at-all-impeachable sex scandal, once said about her experiences and how she ultimately addressed them: "If you start to lie, you'll be lying for the rest of your life." To her credit, Susan went and took the hard road -- and in doing so, she preserved her integrity.

Gary Aldrich, on the other hand, has obviously chosen to go on lying for the rest of his life instead. I am not saying that it was David Brock's refusal to go with the conservative movement flow that drove Aldrich to the sorry state he's in now, but it might as well have been. I fail to see how he's any different from the likes of Andrew Breitbart or James O'Keefe at this point. All three of these clowns seem to have no ability to distinguish what they believe to be true from what is true.

The same could be said of the followers of Jim Jones and Marshall Applewhite. Decide for yourselves how those folks fared...

Me...

You know, probably the hardest thing for a gay American man to do in this country is to be the person he is. I'm not talking about the "we're here, we're queer" types -- the ones who are to the LGBT community what the Religious Right is to Christendom, the ones who get all the media attention during the gay pride parades to the continuing detriment to the rest of us. I'm talking about... well, myself.

I am much interested in and feel an affinity with and attraction toward certain types of guys, especially other gay guys. I have similar feelings for certain types of women as well -- redheads, for some reason, in particular. But in my world, it's other gay guys first, redheaded women second -- at best. So basically, I think of myself as gay, if not 100% so.

What I don't think of myself as is someone who has to choose between dressing in drag or dressing in leather because I'm gay. I have no interest in either those kinds of clothing so gaudy and outrageous that even a lesbian wouldn't wear them or the S&M gear that would have been stunningly and distressingly appropriate had it appeared anywhere in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. I do live in a society that, to a still great extent, views homosexuals and homosexuality as aberrations at best, evil manifestations to be destroyed at worst. But that's the enemy without -- the enemy within demands that I adhere to the "we're here, we're queer" way of living, no matter that the homophobic part of the rest of the world looks at how that shit often pans out and invariably concludes, "Well, there's your proof that the homosexual lifestyle is a one-way road to death."

No.

What I am, is a 40-year-old guy whose body is beginning to break down on him in numerous ways, and like it or not, he is fully aware of each and every change and sensation in his body that is messing with his head, and metabolism. I don't give a fuck about drag or leather -- what's pissing me off are the cool flashes in my lower back and ass, the chronic ache in my left shoulder and down my left arm that mess with my concentration, these strange sensations in my head that don't make me dizzy, blind, or weak, but nonetheless bug me to no end, and what the fuck is up with this recurring spasm in my left leg? My body is slowly but steadily going batfuck on me -- but what does me wanting to find the fellow gay man I want to spend the rest of my life with have to do with any of this?

I repeat, all I want to do is be myself. Preferably with the one I wish to spend the rest of my life with. Now if I can just find the gay bastard...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

One Time...

Damn if that ain't the two-word description of my entire life...

Thank You, John Lennon...


Period.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Just a Post...

When it comes to religion, I'm basically an agnostic. That means, I think that maybe there is a God, maybe there isn't, I just have no idea of knowing one way or the other -- and I have no reason to believe that I ever will know one way or the other in my natural lifetime.

All the same, the older I get, the more I tend to believe that there is a God. And it has nothing to do with any concern about any possible afterlife. Having no way of knowing whether or not there is a God, I likewise have no way of knowing whether or not there is an afterlife. Even if there is an afterlife, I don't know with any certainty how it would relate to the life I'm living now -- for all I know, I could be living an afterlife right now, and if so, then since I have no memory of what my previous life was like, what's the point?

All I know falls under the rubric of what's here and what's now. And when it comes to the here and now, there are only two things I know for certain: what I think ought to be, and what I know is.

And that's where my growing tendency to believe that a God exists comes in. I keep looking at the way this world works, and I keep saying, "It is what it is." I keep saying that only because I cling to my notion of how things ought to be against all odds and common sense. Can't help it -- I'm human, therefore I keep fucking up. Thing is, if there's a God, then maybe there will come the day when I'm given the explanation of why things are the way they are as opposed to any other way that I think I'm owed. If there is no God, then I'll never get an explanation.

Well, I don't think God owes me anything when it comes to how I think things ought to be. That's sheer vanity -- I don't dare go there. But at the very least, I do think I'm entitled to an explanation.

Richmond's North Boulevard used to have a black billboard with white print that read: "We need to talk." -- God." Yeah, well... I'm all ears, God. Whenever You're ready...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Even Better Than The First One...

I just watched the second episode of Outlaw. And the jury has reached a verdict: I'm guilty of getting hooked on this show.

First five minutes: a story about an Arizona cop who, working under that law that passed in Arizona in the real world not all that long ago (you all know which one), ends up shooting a Latino man two miles from the U.S.-Mexican border, and the incident gets national attention -- along with national outrage from civil rights groups screaming racism, racial profiling, and just-about bloody murder (the Latino man survived). Cyrus Garza, the ex-Supreme Court Justice who cleared the name of an innocent African-American man on Death Row in the pilot episode of Outlaw, decides to get involved in this case -- representing the Arizona cop.

"Fuck me running," I muttered to myself, "this I gotta see." I did not expect to see this turn of events at all.

However, this might explain something I didn't see over at the Daily Kos after coming home from work on Friday night: the heavy promotion of Outlaw I'd seen on that site the two previous Friday nights. As it turned out, the Arizona cop was found not guilty, and the evidence of his innocence was pretty clear, although how Garza produced some of that evidence goes a long way in explaining why the show has the name that it has. But the underlying point behind his tactics and the show itself is one of the ideals that we as Americans are supposed to hold dear, but all too often do not: every man is innocent until proven guilty. And that ideal applies to everyone -- not just the people who are targeted by unjust laws, but also the people who have no choice but to uphold them when these awkward situations arise.

Maybe I'm going way out on a limb here, but is there a possibility that Markos Moulitsas didn't take away the same kernel of truth that I did here? Is it possible that he let his political opinions on this episode's subject matter -- opinions almost totally identical to my own -- get in the way of the primary point that everyone is innocent until proven guilty? If I'm wrong, then why was there no heavy promotion of Outlaw on his site this past Friday? Is it really all about politics when all's said and done, and nothing more?

Because if that's the case, then we're all just pissing in the wind. This isn't the fall of Rome we're reenacting anymore. We're reenacting the fall of Easter Island now...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pam Spaulding on the Suicide of Tyler Clementi...

Simply put, an excellent post:

...Tyler Clementi's story may be high-profile because of the circumstances of the alleged bullying, but the fate of this young man is not a solitary incident. This parents' nightmare is repeated around the country as our society grapples with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) youth coming out at earlier ages -- and being visible from grade school to college.

While they may find acceptance by loving parents and be encouraged by a culture increasingly embracing their identity, these young people find that "being themselves" is not always well-received by an important slice of their world -- school administrators, children who bully, and even teachers who subscribe to the "toughen up" philosophy. This world has not caught up, even as anti-bullying policies are being passed across the country.

In the coverage of this incident, I have seen discussion about the legal angles of prosecution, the psychological impact of the alleged heinous violation of privacy, but not enough about the festering social ill that brought us here. Who creates the bully? Who is accountable?

These behaviors start young, and whether they're manifested in homophobia, as they seem to be in this case, or in teasing others because of their faith, clothing, race or weight, we need to ask: Where do the parents and other influential adults in these bullies' lives fit in?

It's cold, this learned anti-social attitude towards being different and it has a striking impact on university campuses. Campus Pride, a nonprofit organization that engages student leaders and campus organizations to create safer, more LGBT-friendly colleges and universities, reissued its national report of findings on harassment at campuses, in light of Tyler Clementi's suicide...


The circumstances behind Tyler's suicide are definitely unusual, probably unique: his roommate and another student (whom he considered a friend) not only secretly filmed Tyler having sex with another male, they live-streamed it over the Internet. Obviously, Tyler found about it, and... now he's dead.

He's not the first closeted person to be outed. But the way he was outed is probably why millions of people are paying attention to and talking about this incident, as opposed to their marked indifference toward the countless prior incidents where young gay people, and many older gay people as well, end up committing suicide as a result of being outed. No one wants to have any private sexual encounter filmed, much less broadcast on the Internet by some unsuspected third party.

I'd like to think that this tragedy will be the one that finally breaks the spell that the homophobia still lingering in those who were poisoned with it while they were still children remain under. I can't, and I don't, because African-Americans, Latinos, and Asians are still dealing with racism, and women are still dealing with sexism. I'm pretty sure that homophobia is here to stay.

But I don't hear about any African-Americans, Latinos, or Asian being driven to suicide due to constant abuse from bigots for being African-American, Latino, or Asian, and I don't hear about any women being driven to suicide due to constant abuse from misogynists for being women. This sort of bullshit only happens to gay people in this country.

And that's why few people outside the LGBT community seemed to care, until Tyler Clementi jumped off of that bridge. It isn't the homosexual aspect within the violation of his privacy that disturbs people, or drove him to kill himself; it's the this-could-happen-to-you aspect of it that's behind both. It's no more or less destructive due to one's sexual orientation. It seems to me more than a few non-gay people have recently tumbled to that idea now.

Here's to hoping the idea sticks...