aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Fear and Loathing On Our Side of the Pond
Guest post by Brew.
This morning, like much of the rest of the country, I awoke to find that someone had tried another round of terrorist bombs on London transit. Unlike the last round - today’s London attacks were essentially failures. Few were injured, the wide-scale carnage of the last attack was averted, and Britons, quite used to the Provos throwing a wrench or a bomb into their everyday lives, pretty much went about their normal business.
On our side of the pond, we’ve decided it’s time to panic. Tomorrow morning in New York, Metropolitan Transit Police and NYPD will begin random searches of Subway passengers bags - admittedly slowing things down, and probably contributing to already burgeoning fears of another attack.
Mayor Bloomberg and NY Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly say the searches are - to paraphrase - “sadly necessary.” Of course the odds of an attack are actually fairly slim. The odds of an attack effecting any particular individual amongst the approximately 4.5 million people who use New York’s transit system are even slimmer. And finally - the odds that an officer will randomly search the bag of an individual planning to do harm - and by harm I don’t mean trying to sell you massively overprices M&M’s or convince you their selling sandwiches to help the homeless - are slim to none.
Why are we so quick be scared? Are we really “better safe than sorry?” or are we likely to be no more safe, and a great deal more sorry?
Most Americans, when asked, indicate that they’ll willingly give up a bit of their civil liberties in exchange for “security” - of course defining that security is at best a amorphous task. But the liberties we’re willing to sacrifice for that indeterminable amount of undefined security - those are very easily defined. In New York tomorrow, thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, will give up a part of their Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure to try to reduce an already very slim chance they might be victimized.
It obvious that we actually enjoy a measure of fear. From the dark confines of a theater showing the latest slasher flick, to the amped-up chatter and camaraderie of travelers in the ever growing lines at the nations airports - we get off on being a bit scared. We like roller coasters. Fear with a buffer. And there are those willing to take advantage of that. Tomorrow afternoon, when asked “what have you done for me lately?” Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly will have a quick answer, President Bush’ll be able to say that we’re fighting the terror, and some two bit dealer who got picked up in a random search of his messenger bag will be on the bus to Rikers Island.
And we’ll all be safer, right? Were we ever really in enough danger to begin with? Are you willing to scare yourself silly just because the opportunity exists? Are you willing to trade away your civil liberties for a measure of safety so small it can’t be measured?
Tonight, I’ll get on the train home - now that the station’s been re-opened - and ride home crammed in like a sardine. Then I’ll call my Mum & Da (who’re in London on
vacation holiday), and ask them - “what’s it like?” ‘cause I guess I want that little measure of fear too.
Why Can’t We All Just Get Along
Guest post by basil.
So, why would a gay New Yorker living in the rural south turn the keys to his blog over to a straight, white, Georgia-born, fundamentalist Southern Baptist “son of ... the South?”
Let’s see. Maybe because we see eye to eye on so many issues?
Nope. We disagree on most of the issues of the day.
Well, maybe it’s because we have so many other things in common?
Nope. Have you looked at Joe’s description of Joe and basil’s description of basil? (Yes, I know; proper names are supposed to be upper case. I don’t care.)
So what, then?
Can’t be. When have flaming liberals and an extremist conservatives ever shown any respect for each other?
Well, maybe here.
Here’s the deal:
Vacation guest lineup
I’m just back from the beach. Vacation’s almost over and now I get some guest posters! Better late than never; it honestly hadn’t occurred to me earlier that I could…
My blogger patron and friend Basil of Basil’s Blog, “a real son of… the south” and a fellow Georgian, has agreed to do some guest postings. Basil’s also the mover behind It’s A Pundit, where I am pleased to be among the blogger contributors. Basil has supported me and my little blog from the beginning; I’m grateful to have that support and looking forward to reading what he has to say here.
Brew of I’m Just Waiting for the Robot Invasion has also agreed to help out for the next few days. Brew is out on the left coast, in San Francisco, so will bring a bit of that perspective here. He’s also one of the bloggers on DraftWarren.com. Brew too has been a supporter of this little blog for a good long time, and I’m grateful to have him posting here.
I may poke my head in from time to time and post something, but for now this blog is in their able hands and I’m off to tea-dance at the Boatslip, out to dinner, then to see Varla Jean Merman. We don’t have anything quite like her back home in my little town.
Salon concludes its four-part investigation into the Christian netherworld of “reparative therapy” today:
On the front page of the Exodus International Web site is a photograph of several dozen men and women. The allegedly changed homosexuals, or newly minted ex-gays, are beaming at the camera, apparently celebrating their newfound freedom from homosexuality. Standing in the center of the photograph is 29-year-old Shawn O’Donnell, who was enrolled in Exodus programs on and off for 10 years.
Exodus is the umbrella organization, information clearinghouse and referral service for “ex-gay ministries.” These organizations claim they can help gays and lesbians become heterosexual. Exodus was founded in 1976 as part of a backlash against the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 determination that homosexuality is not a mental disorder. Exodus leaders are embraced by the religious right, including the politically influential Focus on the Family, which holds conferences touting the success of the “ex-gay movement.”
The only problem with the Exodus photo is that O’Donnell is still gay.