aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Gay media today
In 1980-something (I can’t precisely recall anymore but it was the early 80s) I produced a weekly “Stonewall Minute” for the then “first” gay TV show in New York, “Our Times” with Vito Russo (nary a mention in his bio). It wasn’t the first and I don’t know on what grounds we called ourselves the first but we did. I recall the one that was the first, from the 70s, whose name I’ve now forgotten (something to do with Oz I think).
Our office was in the turreted northwest tower of the municipal building and we came out of WNYC (TV, sold off by Rudy Giuliani in 1997). It was great fun. I so wanted a gay network then, and confidently foresaw the day that it would come about.
Alas, now that it’s here (and it is here on my rural Georgia cable system, though I don’t subscribe) I’ve stopped wanting it. Reading about what will be on is only part of it:
Shows like “Momentum,” will focus on first-person experiences of real-life gay folk. Profiles of a gay rugby team, gay rappers, lesbian surfers, as well as gay Muslims and Latinos… Touted as a “reality series,” the channel will serve up “Open Bar,” an original series that follows one man’s coming-out process as he works to open a West Hollywood, Calif., gay bar.
My focus is really not banal shows (someone, I think it was In The Life, actually had a profile of what it was like to be a gay decorator). Rather it is that I don’t want to be ghettoized. Today what I want is for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to be part of the accepted mainstream of American life. And if a gay show is loved by America (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, first season) that’s even better.
So gay media today—once so important to me and those like me who left our small towns and headed for the city to find freedom and acceptance—is in a bind.
My last job in New York was with a gay internet company, Mediapolis. I interviewed one of the partners who started that company when I was there last week. Here’s Carl Pritzkat’s comment on gay media today.
NOTE: I’m still working on how to deliver the best video. When I find what I’m looking for, I’ll update links and remove this note!
1/20/06 UPDATE: Finally updated link to Google video.
A Catholic shift toward Intelligent Design
An influential cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church, which has long been regarded as an ally of the theory of evolution, is now suggesting that belief in evolution as accepted by science today may be incompatible with Catholic faith.
The cardinal, Christoph SchÃƒÂ¶nborn, archbishop of Vienna, a theologian who is close to Pope Benedict XVI, staked out his position in an Op-Ed article in The New York Times on Thursday, writing, “Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not.”
And how did it come about?
Mark Ryland, a vice president of the [Discovery Institute in Seattle, which promotes Intelligent Design], said in an interview that he had urged the cardinal to write the essay. Both Mr. Ryland and Cardinal SchÃƒÂ¶nborn said that an essay in May in The Times about the compatibility of religion and evolutionary theory by Lawrence M. Krauss, a physicist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, suggested to them that it was time to clarify the church’s position on evolution.
The cardinal’s essay was submitted to The Times by a Virginia public relations firm, Creative Response Concepts, which also represents the Discovery Institute.
Comments Andrew Sullivan:
I expected reactionary radicalism from Benedict. But this kind of stupidity? I fear there’s much more to come. Remember that Ratzinger was an anti-intellectual intellectual. Free thought not controlled by Vatican diktat is anathema to him. And so we return to the nineteenth century. The thinking may also be nakedly political. Benedict - in order to pursue his secular war against freedom for gays, or reproductive freedom - needs an alliance with the Protestant right. This is exactly a way to bolster the new anti-modern Popular Front. It would be depressing if it weren’t also infuriating.
RELATED: My post, Teaching in the age of belief.
I don’t mean to complain, but this video thing is making me crazy!
It turned out I was uploading the wrong file type to Google. It reminds me of when I first learned graphics. Having (basically) figured out the correct file type, I got the files uploaded to Google Video, where they still sit waiting to be approved. I hope the approval process will one day be quicker.
So today, acting upon the good and valuable advice of commenter Sooki, I set up an Our Media account, which requires setting up an Internet Archive account (and a whole new set of bios, links, blogs and profiles), then downloaded the Our Media Publisher.
Having completed all of that, I went to upload my video files (more forms with required descriptive data, copied from the Google Video pending entries) and clicked “Next.” The program crashed. Did it again, got a bit further. Crash. A third time. Crash. I sent error reports.
A wannabe geek, I have several computers here. I can try it from another operating system; I can save the video in yet another format. I will try and try again and I will one day have video on my blog. But for now, much as I hate to say it (ah to be a technologically adept 20 year old!), if the future is already here, I’m oh so stuck in the past.
Coddle the intellectuals!
LAMB: What’s life like here for you?
SOWELL: In a sense, I shouldn’t even be answering that, because I am here so seldom. I work at home, miles away. But that’s part of, a great part of the freedom of the place.
I mean, right now, if you asked the director of the Hoover Institution, what is Tom Sowell working on, he’d say, darned if I know, you know.
From time to time, they find out what I’m working on. And if they like it, I continue to stay on. I suppose if it went a couple of years and I did nothing, they’d say, why is he here?
But it’s really a wonderful place, and I’ve had the most productive years of my life here.
LAMB: What’s a day like for you?
SOWELL: I have great freedom, since I don’t have classes to teach, I don’t have any things (ph) and people to meet.
On a given day, I may do a lot, or I may do nothing at all.
I can remember once I was sitting here and I said, you know, I haven’t been to Yosemite in a while. I just ran out to the car and got in the car and drove to Yosemite and stayed the rest of the week.
Where’s the liberal equivalent?
Thomas Sowell on “black rednecks”
I have found Sowell a fascinating character ever since reading, and being utterly convinced by his arguments in, Ethnic America, which was published in 1983.
A comprehensive overview of immigration in America, the book’s conclusions are apparently echoed in his Black Rednecks And White Liberals, published last April. From the Publishers Weekly review:
The title essay posits a “black redneck” culture inherited from the white redneck culture of the South and characterized by violent machismo, shiftlessness and disdain for schooling. White liberals, gangsta-rap aficionados and others who lionize its ghetto remnants as an authentic black identity, Sowell contends, have their history wrong and help perpetuate cultural pathologies that hold blacks back.
In the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal in April, Sowell writes:
For most of the history of this country, differences between the black and the white population--whether in income, IQ, crime rates, or whatever--have been attributed to either race or racism...Three decades of my own research lead me to believe that neither of those explanations will stand up under scrutiny of the facts. As one small example, a study published last year indicated that most of the black alumni of Harvard were from either the West Indies or Africa, or were the children of West Indian or African immigrants. These people are the same race as American blacks, who greatly outnumber either or both.
If this disparity is not due to race, it is equally hard to explain by racism. To a racist, one black is pretty much the same as another. But, even if a racist somehow let his racism stop at the water’s edge, how could he tell which student was the son or daughter of someone born in the West Indies or in Africa, especially since their American-born offspring probably do not even have a foreign accent?
What then could explain such large disparities in demographic “representation” among these three groups of blacks?
The redneck culture proved to be a major handicap for both whites and blacks who absorbed it. Today, the last remnants of that culture can still be found in the worst of the black ghettos, whether in the North or the South, for the ghettos of the North were settled by blacks from the South. The counterproductive and self-destructive culture of black rednecks in today’s ghettos is regarded by many as the only “authentic” black culture--and, for that reason, something not to be tampered with. Their talk, their attitudes, and their behavior are regarded as sacrosanct.
The people who take this view may think of themselves as friends of blacks. But they are the kinds of friends who can do more harm than enemies.
I tend to agree. And I think liberals should take the culture argument on.
For example: I support abortion rights because every child should be a wanted child. Abortion improves society. I support same sex marriage because gay marriage strengthens all marriage and marriage means a more stable, productive and healthy society.
And I’m inclined to think Bill Cosby is a liberal (I don’t know how he self-identifies) who’s taking on the culture argument. From Nightline last week:
June 29, 2005—It came as a shock to many last year when Bill Cosby, one of America’s top TV dads and comedians, strongly criticized low-income African-Americans, and then took that message on the road.
In a series of “Conversations with Cosby” held in cities with large urban and poor populations, Cosby has said African-Americans are not “holding up their end of the deal” and need to take more responsibility for their families and communities.
Critics call it the “Blame the Poor Tour,” and consider Cosby’s remarks “hurtful and stereotypical.”
Cosby calls his town meetings “call outs” and has traveled to 12 cities so far, spreading his message of personal responsibility.
He has lambasted “lower-economic people,” parents who spend more on athletic shoes than education, and children who use poor English and curse constantly. He has said blacks need to stop blaming whites and take control of their children and their communities.
I respect Cosby for putting his money, his name and his reputation on the line for something he believes will help Black America.