aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Dean fires Dems’ gay outreach chief
What’s going on with the Dems and the gays? I don’t get it. SoVo:
Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean on May 2 fired the party’s gay outreach advisor Donald Hitchcock less than a week after Hitchcock’s domestic partner, Paul Yandura, a longtime party activist, accused Dean of failing to take stronger action to defend gays.
Dean immediately hired gay former Democratic Party operative Brian Bond to replace Hitchcock, according to DNC spokesperson Karen Finney, who called Bond a “proven leader.” [...]
Hitchcock’s dismissal came after Yaundura created a stir among party activists, both gay and straight, by sending an open letter on April 20 to gay Democrats criticizing Dean and the party for not getting involved in state ballot measures seeking to ban gay marriage.
Yandura charged that the DNC failed to counter efforts by Republicans to promote the anti-gay ballot measures as a wedge issue to win elections. He suggested that gays withhold donations to the Democrats until the party formally addresses issues he raised.
Matt’s right, “There isn’t a strategy for dealing with those ballot measures, and we need one.”
From my vantage point here in the red, red center of the real rural South, I honestly believe that this issue could backfire on the Republicans. I’d like to see a Democratic strategy with the guts to take it on.
Was Colbert funny?
It’s silly to debate whether Colbert was entertaining or not, since what’s “funny” is so subjective. In fact, let’s even give Colbert’s critics that point. Clearly he didn’t entertain most of the folks at the dinner Saturday night, so maybe Scheiber’s right—he wasn’t “entertaining.” The question is why. If Colbert came off as “shrill and airless,” in Lehman’s words, inside the cozy terrarium of media self-congratulation at the Washington Hilton, that tells us more about the audience than it does about Colbert.
Colbert’s deadly performance did more than reveal, with devastating clarity, how Bush’s well-oiled myth machine works. It exposed the mainstream press’ pathetic collusion with an administration that has treated it—and the truth—with contempt from the moment it took office. Intimidated, coddled, fearful of violating propriety, the press corps that for years dutifully repeated Bush talking points was stunned and horrified when someone dared to reveal that the media emperor had no clothes. Colbert refused to play his dutiful, toothless part in the White House correspondents dinner—an incestuous, backslapping ritual that should be retired. For that, he had to be marginalized. VoilÃƒÂ : “He wasn’t funny.”
This is a battle that can’t really be won—you either got it Saturday night (or Sunday morning, or whenever your life was made a little brighter by viewing Colbert’s performance) or you didn’t. Personally, I’m enjoying watching apologists for the status quo wear themselves out explaining why Colbert wasn’t funny. It’s extending the reach of his performance by days without either side breaking character—the mighty Colbert or the clueless, self-important media elite he was satirizing. For those who think the media shamed itself by rolling over for this administration, especially in the run-up to the Iraq war, Colbert’s skit is the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you, Stephen Colbert!
Nancy Grace on Capitol Hill
Nancy Grace testifies before Congress today against the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet. On GMA this morning she said she wants parents to be able to - for a fee, of course - get a detailed listing of every page visited by their child on the Internet when they get their bill. “It would be so simple… just like you get with your cell phone...”
Rebecca Dana writing in the New York Observer tell us that the Georgia native and CNN cable-star superhero is a former prosecuter turned media crime-fighter who roots her “crusader for victims’ rights and professional vilifier of the criminal-defense industry” persona in the 1979 murder of her fiance in Valdosta, Georgia.
But it turns out that this “Bill O’Reilly of legal analysis” has played fast and loose with the facts. Much of the story she tells isn’t true:
Nancy Grace was engaged to a man named Keith Griffin. He was murdered in Georgia. And the man who killed him is serving a life sentence. In that, Ms. Grace’s version lines up with the official records from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, newspaper articles from the time of the murder, and interviews with many of those involved in the case.
But those same sources contradict Ms. Grace when it comes to other salient facts of the crime and the trial-the facts that form the basis of Ms. Grace’s crusade against an impotent, criminal-coddling legal system.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Griffin was shot not by a random robber, but by a former co-worker.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The killer, Tommy McCoy, was 19, not 24, and had no prior convictions.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Mr. McCoy confessed to the crime the evening he was arrested.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The jury convicted in a matter of hours, not days.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Prosecutors asked for the death penalty, but didn’t get it, because Mr. McCoy was mildly retarded.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Mr. McCoy never had an appeal; he filed a habeas application five years ago, and after a hearing it was rejected.
Ms. Grace has also misreported the date of the incident-it was in 1979, not 1980-and has given Griffin’s age as 25 when it was 23.
The justice system, in other words, apparently worked the way it was supposed to.
On Gay Ads in Straight Places
Two gay guys holding hands. He reads some age issues into it that wouldn’t otherwise have occured to me. His friend in the advertising industry thinks he’s reading too much into it.
I don’t much care, in that I’m not in the market for a new computer, let alone a Mac. I do, however, wonder why advertisers would employ gay themes when designing ads not specifically targetted to gay audiences.
I happen to live in the ‘Ew, gays are icky’ South but I watched all of the ads and there was nary a homosexual overtone to be found. (Macworld apparently missed it too.) It took some time to even find the guys holding hands (duh, networking) but, going with it for a moment, I would see such an association for Apple as a positive one.
Living here in rural Georgia I’m not nearly so plugged into this dynamic as I once was, but in my day everyone knew that gay people were the leading indicator of which was the hot club, the best restaurant, the most promising neighborhood, the latest trend and the highest style in town.
Richard Florida wrote the book that documented and quantified the phenomenon, The Rise of the Creative Class: Why cities without gays and rock bands are losing the economic development race. My first encounter with his thinking was this 2002 Washington Monthly article:
[I]n 1998, I met Gary Gates, then a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon. While I had been studying the location choices of high-tech industries and talented people, Gates had been exploring the location patterns of gay people. My list of the country’s high-tech hot spots looked an awful lot like his list of the places with highest concentrations of gay people. When we compared these two lists with more statistical rigor, his Gay Index turned out to correlate very strongly to my own measures of high-tech growth. Other measures I came up with, like the Bohemian Index---a measure of artists, writers, and performers---produced similar results.
Talented people seek an environment open to differences. Many highly creative people, regardless of ethnic background or sexual orientation, grew up feeling like outsiders, different in some way from most of their schoolmates. When they are sizing up a new company and community, acceptance of diversity and of gays in particular is a sign that reads “non-standard people welcome here.”
A gay association works only to enhance and affirm Apple’s association with style and leading edge technology. If it affirms people like Joyner’s antipathy to Macs that’s no great loss.
Now I hasten to add that I take Joyner’s point on the Dolce & Gabbana ads (his post has the whole series) in GQ and Esquire and raise him one: these ads do not represent me or my lifestyle and do a disservice to gay people.
I am a big advocate of the notion that gay is not just about sex. That ad is merely the gay equivalent of a “Chicks dig guys who drink Miller Lite!” ad, but placing it in straight publications only serves to affirm stereotypes that I would like to move away from.
NOTE: be sure to read the comments on Joyner’s post. Very interesting back and forth.
Linda Paey on Limbaugh
Limbaugh is not suspected of selling pills, and is instead given rehab/medical treatment, in circumstances that are similar to Richard Paey. Yet my husband, Richard, a typical Joe, was never offered rehab, he was instantly charged with selling pills and was given 25 years in prison. There is an obvious problem with enforcement. Many thanks for having focused attention on his case.
Contrast how they arrested Richard to how they dealt with Limbaugh. From the 60 Minutes piece, Prisoner of Pain:
“They had guns and ski masks and, like, five, six people ran into the house and half of them took the kids and my mother in law. And the other one grabbed me,” says Linda Paey. “And Rich kept on saying, ‘Please, call my doctor. Can you call my doctor?’ You know? ‘Everything’s fine. Call my doctor.’ And they said they already have.”
Indeed they had. The doctor was originally a suspect.
Linda, I only wish there were more that I could do.