aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, June 30, 2006
On the day that a judge extended the ruling that puts the new Georgia sex offender law on hold, it’s worth remembering a major article in Counter Punch from this past March, Sexual Fascism in Progressive America: Scapegoats and Shunning, authored by the pseudonymous “Pariah:”
The writer remains anonymous because he writes and is politically active in several completely unrelated social justice movements. He fears that the shunning and marginalization he describes for those who write about this topic could compromise (unfairly) his other work.
I quoted extensively from the article at the time, fearing that in modern freedom loving America it might disappear from the web. It’s still there, complete with this damning passage:
Even before Judith Levine’s Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex was published in 2002, a massive campaign by fundamentalist Christian groups, including Concerned Women for America, attacked the publisher, the University of Minnesota Press. While the book was published, the Press created a new process for reviewing its books before publication. Levine spoke publicly about how she was humiliated time and again in public. She said the manuscript for her book had been turned down by many publishers, treated as if it were “radioactive.” Among other insights, Levine wrote that “obsession with pedophiles stems for the reluctance to confront incest and the rampant sexualization of children” in American culture. “Adults project the eroticized desire outwards, creating a monster to hate, hunt down and destroy.” Of the outcry against her book she added, “What happened to me is a perfect example of the hysteria my book is about.”
After reading that passage I realized that I see no discussion anywhere of appropriate reaction to this society’s mainstream eroticization of youth; no notion of how one handles attraction appropriately. Denial is the order of the day. In this instance, denial is destructive.
I oppose the Georgia law because it gives the illusion of protection when, in fact, it is most likely to catch those least likely to be a real danger. Meanwhile it drains law enforcement resources away from those that are the serious threat and drives those same people further underground and away from treatment.
A municipal court judge from Milledgeville who has been charged with having sex with two teenage girls has resigned from his public positions.
Jon Philip Carr, 53, resigned Monday from his role as municipal court judge in McIntyre and as prosecutor for Milledgeville Municipal Court, officials said. Tuesday, he resigned as municipal court judge in Ivey.
Carr is charged with six counts of child molestation and four counts of statutory rape, Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee said.
Carr’s Milledgeville law office declined to comment on the matter.
The victims, ages 13 and 14, escaped from Project Adventure, a halfway house for troubled youths in Baldwin County, Massee said.
This guy also fits the more typical profile: a respected individual (a judge and prosecutor no less!) known and liked in the community but leading a dark double life. Keeping him from living near a bus stop just doesn’t cut it.
We prefer to characterize these people as sick monsters who should be hung but they are our fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends and neighbors. They should pay for their mistakes, certainly, but the punishment should fit the crime and emphasize prevention and rehabilitation rather than retaliation and vengeance.
GA sex offender law on hold
A judge extended the ruling that puts the Georgia sex offender law on hold, but the prospects for a more sane and effective prevention and sentencing policy are not good. The AJC headline, since changed, read Federal Judge sides with sex offenders:
Georgia today appealed a federal judge’s decision to revoke a portion of new Georgia law designed to prevent sex offenders from living near school bus stops.
Attorney General Thurbert Baker filed the appeal with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
The voided legislation, scheduled to go into effect Saturday, would have made it illegal for any person on Georgia’s sex offender registry to live within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper entered a temporary restraining order preventing enforcement of that provision of the new law, meaning registered sex offenders who live near school bus stops can stay in their homes.
The voided provision would have forced many felons to leave their homes or face possible arrest and 10 years or more in prison. [...]
Last week, DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown said all 490 sex offenders in his county would have to move. On Thursday, Brown said Cooper’s order “gives us an opportunity to better research the implications of that particular piece, and I think the judge was wise. And he was wise with a great deal of courage.”
More from me here (it didn’t work in other states, it won’t work here, and they’re not as likely to re-offend as we assume). Here’s the restraining order, the Southern Center for Human Rights (which brought the lawsuit) litigation materials, the Georgia law and the official profile of the judge.
blog comment spam
FINAL UPDATE: Comments are back, the spam is deleted and I will be implementing a new spam prevention plug-in in the next few days. ICDSoft has been absolutely super helpful in working with me to resolve this problem. They truly are the ultimate in web hosting! I’ve still got some real work to do, but they got me through the worst of it.
UPDATE: Still no resolution. My ISP isn’t giving me the resources to delete the comments (I can do it one by one - for hundreds of them). They have shut down all comments to help me out; I am trying to find a way to run the plug in on old posts and get comments open again on new posts. This problem only recently overwhelmed the Movable Type spam filter…
I’m not so happy about Movable Type right now, though it is as much my fault as anything else. The improved Movable Type spam filter had been working ok up until about a week ago. now I’m hit with hundreds of spam comments a day. When I try to declare them “Junk” I get a server 500 error.
Asking my hosting service, ICDSoft, about it, they tell me I’m hitting my memory limit, that they’ve already raised it for me and can’t raise it any higher, and that Movable Type makes unreasonable demands on the server so I should consider WordPress.
Yes, I know about WordPress. And the work it takes to change. In any event I’ve got to get rid of that spam and close down comments on those old messages. That will take a good long time; that’s what I’ll be doing much of today.
No TV: a trend?
Yesterday I said that I’m seeing two trends out there that I hope and expect will continue. In one, people are buying large screen high-definition home theater systems on which they want to display high-end high-quality professional media. In the other, screens are getting smaller and more widely distributed and ubiquitous but with lower resolution. On them it’s anything goes.
Then last night over dinner with two couples here I learned that neither has television at home anymore. One couple cancelled cable, the other cancelled satellite and they don’t bother with over the air. Both have wide-screen high-definition units that they use only for their Netflix DVDs. And both watch The Daily Show and Colbert Report online.
So I’m wondering, we all know people who have dropped their landlines in favor of cell phones, do you think there’s a similar trend developing where people will cancel their television services and replace them with DVDs and web surfing?
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Hillary has to prove she’s a woman
Hillary doesn’t have to prove her guy chops. She doesn’t have to prove she’s a man, she has to prove she’s a woman. No one in America thinks she’s a woman. They think she’s a tough little termagant in a pantsuit. They think she’s something between an android and a female impersonator. She is not perceived as a big warm mommy trying to resist her constant impulse to sneak you candy. They think she has to resist her constant impulse to hit you with a bat. She lacks a deep (as opposed to quick) warmth, a genuine and almost phenomenological sense of rightness in her own skin. She seems like someone who might calculatedly go to war, or not, based on how she wanted to be perceived and look and do. She does not seem like someone who would anguish and weep over sending men into harm’s way.
Et Tu Bono
I just signed the Bono petition. You should too:
You have dedicated a major part of your life’s work to fighting for good causes, bringing pressure to bear on the powerful and political elite to effect positive change. In the same way that you have called for action from world leaders, we now call upon you to look at the facts surrounding Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), and join us in demanding an end to handcuffs on technology and culture.
The recording industry claims that if they don’t impose these handcuffs, online music distribution will be disastrous for artists. We have heard these arguments before. In the early 1900s, music publishers cried out that the fledgling recording industry was usurping the profits of musical composers. We heard it again in the 1980s, when industry executives vehemently assured us that the VCR would destroy the movies, and audio cassettes would kill music.
In all these cases, people copied, swapped and shared, just as they do today. In each instance there was an explosion in the amount of art enjoyed. More, not less art was created. More, not less, money was collected by business - though the music companies did not always care about supporting the musicians. The fact is, the more art we are exposed to as a society, the more art we appreciate. The act of copying and sharing creates more art lovers who can support more artists. Copying and sharing have been vital protagonists in the flourishing story of music.
The art of music changes with technology. With the digital tools now available to them, young people are remixing and “mashing up” music and visual art to make new original works. Copying and manipulation of the media are necessary to do this, but DRM restrictions prevent it.
Your record label’s parent company Vivendi-Universal plays a leading role in imposing these restrictions on digital technology. Meanwhile, trade groups like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lobby continuously for ever more draconian restrictions and pursue intimidating lawsuits against fans they accuse of circumventing them.
As technologists we have come together in an effort to help raise public awareness of the threats posed by DRM. Because of your past accomplishments as a musician and activist, you command the respect needed to bring this debate to the public. Musicians in Canada have already formed a coalition to stand up against the actions of their record labels (musiccreators.ca), but we need artists everywhere to be conscious of what is being done in their name. We the undersigned urge you to speak out in favor of technology and culture free from digital restrictions.
Answering Jean: We the People want to make our media
In response to my post remembering 1994, Jean asks:
I’m curious - your history should give you really interesting context here: do you really believe the maajority of people really want to “publish”, and - even if you do - don’t you think that the fact that most people don’t have anything of interest “for others to consume”, the concept of community publishing falls apart under it’s own weight of junk and disinteresting content? Aren’t we forgetting the art and value in trained/well done journalism?
Where to begin?
Yes, I really believe that the majority of people - at some time under some circumstances - want to publish. Back in 1994 that may have been a hard sell; today it seems self-evident. Whether it’s Blogger or Wordpress or MySpace or Facebook or Flickr or PhotoBucket or YouTube or Google Video or Craigslist or eBay or Wikipedia or whatever comes next, people have demonstrated that they want to publish.
But the really nettlesome point of what you had to say is found in this belief “that most people don’t have anything of interest ‘for others to consume.’” Setting aside for a moment the examples above, let’s look at what the content industry has given us. I invite anyone to look at the schedule of any media channel - broadcast, cable, satellite, radio; you name it, any channel - I think you will find that the majority of what is on that schedule is of no interest to you. Add it all up and you will find that the majority of what the content industry gives us we, individually, have no interest in.
I’m guessing that what we the people produce and put out there probably stacks up about the same. But the content industry has an interest in selling us new improved versions of the same repackaged movies and rerun series or tired sequels and all the while marginalizing the media that we the people make. This is nothing new. I just happen to have some examples from 1991: here an MTV segment and here one from Entertainment Tonight, both trashing our media. And both followed by my commentary which, if you happen to be a regular reader, you will have heard it all before.
As producers of uninteresting junk, I assure you that we the people can hardly hold a stick to you the cable industry (here a random example that happened to be forwarded to me by an in-law). And please spare me the “we’re only giving the people what they want” argument. I’ve argued before that the lowest common denominator fallacy is demeaning and destructive. It’s circular reasoning faults the public for choosing among the only options presented, and blames us for the poor quality of the options!
Now, about the “art and value in trained/well done journalism.” I am not forgetting about it, I am an avid consumer of it. I appreciate, admire, read and enjoy professional journalists. I do not aspire to and make no claim to being a journalist. Blogging for me is a process: to document, develop, deliberate and deepen my thinking. And also to engage - though not solely to engage. I am happy to be a citizen who happens to participate in civic life and the world of issues and ideas, both with far away friends and with strangers like you, Jean. It all adds up to a creative outlet that I enjoy (even more than watching TV).
In sum, I’m seeing two trends out there that I hope and expect to be born out. In one, people are buying large screen high-definition home theater systems on which they want to display high-end high-quality professional media. In the other, screens are getting smaller and more widely distributed and ubiquitous but with lower resolution. I will gladly cede you the professional that large-screen high-resolution space if you will only please not disparage me and my ilk for enjoying ours.
Steven Berlin Johnson’s having no fun with his universal remote:
...Because of all that irritation, I ordered a Logitech Harmony universal remote (the 680) I think—mostly because I saw that Chris Anderson was using it. It sounded cool—you plug it into your computer for the setup process, and the software walks you through all your media consumption habits and equipment, and configures the remote for you. So I get it from Amazon yesterday, and start going through the installation process. Early into it, the software tells me I need a firmware upgrade for the remote, which I download and install. And then, halfway through the installation, the remote appears to crash, and it’s now completely unresponsive.
Let me just repeat this for the six of you who are still reading: I buy a new remote control to simplify my media experiences, and it crashes during a firmware upgrade! And then stops working altogether! I suppose that’s one way of simplifying your media experience—use a remote that literally does nothing. At this point, I think it’s preferable to the alternative.
It’s not that I don’t agree with him that there’s an opportunity for Apple in the Home AV space, rather it’s that I fault Apple for going too far in the other direction with manuals and support.
Just the other day a commenter on a year old post complained about Apple’s poor service. And my own experiences with iPods once lead me to complain that iDon’t (though I actually do continue to use mine daily).
Much as I enjoy the Microsoft produced parody, If Microsoft Had Marketed The iPod, what it illustrates for me is that we need a middle way. I’d like to see a new company emerge as the next Apple to fill that other space.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
The Pentagon takes it back: homosexuality NOT a disorder
The Pentagon no longer deems homosexuality a mental disorder, officials said on Wednesday, although the reversal has no impact on U.S. policy prohibiting openly gay people from serving in the military.
After a 1996 Pentagon document placing homosexuality among a list of “certain mental disorders” came to light this month, the American Psychiatric Association and a handful of lawmakers asked the Defense Department to change its view.
The Pentagon said in a statement: “Homosexuality should not have been characterized as a mental disorder in an appendix of a procedural instruction. A clarification will be issued over the next few days.”
Golly, let’s be sure to watch for that.
Gay brother says no to being best man
As my partner and I sat with my family bubbling over at news of my niece’s engagement, I was tempted to make a statement. I chose not to interrupt her moment by making her aware of mine, but I was saddened that my family could not have the opportunity to celebrate my relationship in that way.
I am being married this summer to my fiancee of five years, “Beth.” I had always assumed that my brother “Mike,” who is also my best friend, would be my best man. Mike is gay.
When I asked him, I was stunned at his response. Mike said he loves me and Beth but refuses to be part of a ceremony celebrating something for which he is discriminated against emotionally, financially and socially. He refuses even to attend.
Now that I have been forced to confront this issue, I realize my brother is right. Beth thinks he should “get over it” and he needs to accept that it’s just “the way things are in the world.”
As hurt as I am, I can’t hold against my brother his refusal to participate in what he refers to as a “reminder that he is considered a second-class citizen without the same civil rights” as I have.
How can I handle this without turning it into something that could overshadow what is supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life?
DISAPPOINTED in Westlake, Ohio
By respecting your brother’s decision, and reminding your bride-to-be that accepting the status quo is not always the best thing to do. Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain have recognized gay marriage, and one day, perhaps, our country will, too.
Hillary hires Daou: Smart move
I have been offered - and accepted - what I believe is a unique opportunity to help close the triangle: joining Senator Clinton’s team as a blog advisor to facilitate and expand her relationship with the netroots. There are endless possibilities for Clinton-netroots collaborations, from Net Neutrality to the Privacy Bill of Rights to voting reform to so many other critical issues. [...]
As a true believer in the importance of the medium, I’m thrilled about Senator Clinton’s interest in building this bridge with the online community and I intend to do everything I can to make it as productive as possible. And as a New Yorker, I look forward to aiding Senator Clinton’s re-election efforts this November.
I like Hillary more and more.
NBC on YouTube: Smart move
Coming around to the notion of YouTube as smart marketing vehicle:
Just months ago, NBC Universal was demanding that clips of its shows be removed from YouTube. In the time since, YouTube has emerged as an Internet tour de force, and now NBC has changed its tune.
A network representative confirmed a report Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal that NBC has plans to upload promotional video clips of some of its TV shows, including “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” The entertainment company, owned by General Electric, will advertise on YouTube and promote the site on some of its TV shows. Financial details were not disclosed. A YouTube representative did not return calls for comment.
Via James Joyner.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Paey v Limbaugh again
It should; exacerbated by his lawyer’s excuse that the prescription was “labeled as being issued to the physician rather than Mr. Limbaugh for privacy purposes.” His deal permits doctors to issue prescriptions in other names to an admitted drug abuser for privacy purposes??? That’s quite a deal.
It’s worth remembering here that while Limbaugh was caught pocketing pills to pump up his penis, on his way back from a country plenteous with prostitutes, the wheelchair-bound car-crash victim Richard Paey, who also was prosecuted in Florida for the use of prescription painkillers, is sitting in prison serving a mandatory 25 year sentence.
Limbaugh is back on the radio making jokes while Paey sits in prison victimized by a system that errs on the side of seeing pain killers as criminal narcotics rather than as medicinal relief from suffering. Paey’s doctor changed his story after being threatened by prosecuters and sold him down the river. What will Limbaugh’s doctor do?
I ran a cable access operation and was negotiating a new franchise on a TCI cable system in 1994. I know and have feared the name Leo Hindry. So I read with interest John Batelle’s reaction to Hendry’s claim today:
that the Yahoo and Google’s of the world are temporary phenomena - and that soon all that will matter is distributors (the cable and telco guys, natch), and content (their pals at Disney, of course). Yahoo and Google, et al, will fold because they don’t own rights to content packages like movies, and they don’t control distribution, like cable companies and telcos.
This guy is deeply, hilariously wrong. TechDirt points out the first reason - he’s missing that folks don’t go online for content alone, in fact, they go online to communicate, converse, and to declare who they are in the world. Sure, they also expect content to be there, but increasingly, it ain’t Time Warner’s or Disney’s, it’s YouTube or blogs. And if the Disney’s of the world want to succeed on the Web, they best learn from the habits of the web natives, and not shove mid 1990s media models down their throats.
I’ve been thinking lately that The Cartel is doing advocates of a cultural commons - a place where we are all producers of content rather than merely consumers - a great big favor. While they’re busy locking up tight all of their content, they’re leaving a void online that is being filled by us.
In 1994 when I was working in community media production we had only our television habit. We couldn’t understand or conceive of television as anything other than what we knew it to be. Right now we’re defining a new media platform, and we’re defining it as something homemade and remixed.
The problem in 1994 wasn’t a lack of talent or creativity. It was the time, money and complexity of production, the constant battle for (cable) distribution, and an audience that wasn’t allowed out of its cable box. Each and every one of those issues has been addressed.
What the media industry doesn’t see is that it is forcing us away from those 6 hours we used to spend in front of the TV, and giving us the opportunity to grow into producers who will use those hours making media of our own. Let’s run with it!
AJC’s “Borrower Beware” recognized
I didn’t know - but it doesn’t surprise me - that Georgia has “notoriously anti-consumer lending laws.”
The Associated Press won a Loeb award, the highest honor in business journalism, for a story examining a government loan program, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution won for its series on Georgia’s notoriously anti-consumer lending laws.
The Journal-Constitution’s Ann Hardie, Carrie Teegardin and Alan Judd wrote “Borrower Beware,” which documented links between state lawmakers, regulators and the lending and auto industry. The series also revealed that the state often blamed consumers for the unscrupulous tactics to which they fell prey.
Labeling Avery: conspiracy theorist extraordinaire
I’ve pretty much ignored them all. I am surprised to find that some smart students I know don’t, they actually believe these theories. It was one of those smart students who showed me 22 year old Dylan Avery’s documentary film, ”Loose Change,” which posits that 9/11 was a government sponsored gold heist. Or something like that.
Predisposed to be unconvinced, I nonetheless found it interesting for its production values and the fact that 21st century conspiracy theorists have access to such sophisticated means to get their message heard. Today Salon takes a look at the success of “Loose Change” and shines a spotlight on the thousands of online sleuths who believe the U.S. government was behind the terror attacks.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Court blocks GA sex-offender law
A federal judge in Atlanta today halted a sweeping law that would bar sex offenders from living near school bus stops.
U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper’s ruling applies only to eight plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit filed by the Southern Center for Human Rights.
But the paintiffs’ lawyers were encouraged by his decision to temporarily block the law from going into effect Saturday for the eight.
Lawyers for both sides will be back in court July 11, armed with evidence on the number of school bus stop in the state and the impact on offenders.
If the law had been allowed to take effect Saturday as scheduled, it would have made it nearly impossible for Georgia’s more than 10,000 registered sex offenders to live in urban and suburban areas, said Sarah Geraghty, a lawyer for the Southern Center for Human Rights. The act will ‘’banish people from their homes,’’ she said.
But lawyers for the state said the law is necessary for public safety. Joe Drolet argued that while the law is inconvenient for offenders, the law recognizes that sex offenders get out of prison and offend again.
[O]utside of the high-risk cases, sex offenders are unlikely to repeat their crimes, studies suggest. Sex offenders over all are less likely to be rearrested than drunk drivers, drug offenders, and domestic violence offenders, [Dr. Karl Hanson, a Canadian researcher and leading authority in the field] said.
In Iowa, a similar measure went into effect last year, and now some of its loudest critics are prosecutors and police. They say the state law barring sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or child care center has driven offenders from cities and caused many to become homeless, cluster in motels or vanish from authorities’ sight. Iowa prosecutors are calling for a repeal.
On the ad elephant’s charge
I’m seeing a lot of avoidance of the elephant that isn’t quite in the room yet but is banging at the door:
Advertising is the next big industry to suffer huge upheaval thanks to the internet. They may think they’re already there, but they’re not, not by a long shot. In fact, it is the ad industry that is holding up the progress of other industries - newspapers, TV, radio, cable - that are already getting tromped on by that elephant. Advertisers can get away with moving slowly - for now - because they are the ones with the money. Funny how that works. But this won’t last for long, as one client and then one agency discovers that the lazy, traditional, one-stop-shopping of TV upfront and the big-media lunch circuit is inefficient, wasteful, untargeted, irrelevant, and ultimately damned irritating to your customers. READ ON
Are you lonesome tonight?
If you get sick, stressed or just plain sad, you are going to want the sort of friend you can rely on. Maybe you’ll be able to convert an acquaintance into a soul mate when you discover you need one. But this just-in-time approach to emotional crises isn’t always going to work. Look at the way the slow decline of friendship has been mirrored by the rise of emotional problems. Over the past half-century, the prevalence of unipolar depression in affluent countries has jumped tenfold.
People’s myopia on friendship is like their myopia on saving. They know that jobs are insecure, that a health problem can cause bankruptcy, that retirement is fabulously expensive; but the household savings rate has fallen below zero. Equally, people know that spouses aren’t immortal and that divorce is common. But nearly one in 10—a much higher share than in 1985—reports that their husband or wife is the only person they confide in.
I’ve heard it all before from a sociologist “friend” here but I’m skeptical. Not that the numbers are true - I’ve no doubt they are - but I wonder is a correlation being mistaken for causation? I’ll have to be convinced.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
SLDN on McCain on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
Senator McCain has long stated that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is the right policy, and is working. He’s just plain wrong. More than 11,000 well-qualified men and women, including Arabic linguists, pilots and medical professionals, have now been fired because of the ban on gay service members, and the number grows daily. Thousands more decline to enlist because of the prohibition on open service. All the while, our military readiness suffers and the government continues a discriminatory law that punishes gay Americans because of who they are.
Senator McCain would do well to listen to the counsel of military leaders who have said it’s time for the policy to be repealed. Lietuenant General Claudia Kennedy, General Wesley Clark, Brigadier General Pat Foote and others understand the absurdity of keeping this law in place. And he may learn important lessons from our allies, who have found great benefits, and no negative side effects, in lifting their bans.
Our gay and lesbian service members in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world deserve respect for their sacrifice. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ isn’t working, but they are, every day and with great pride in their service.
Conservatives like Hillary as “Warrior Queen”
I probably don’t pay close enough attention, but I’m not seeing liberal bloggers take the position I hold: I was for the war because I bought into the media hype brought on by conventional wisdom and manipulated intelligence. Looking back, it was a mistake.
Still, I oppose pulling out and leaving the country at the mercy of insurgents, rival factions and chaos. It occurs to me that had we waited, we might still have invaded, but possibly years later with a Clintonesque coalition that would have conducted the war differently, won and stayed to help build democracy and peace.
So had I been in the audience at the Take Back America conference I would not have booed Hillary. And today I note that on The Chris Matthews Show Joe Klein says that we should “give her credit for taking a position that she might actually believe in rather than doing this as a matter of political calculation.” I do.
Klein also said that “the period of Hillary as the inevitable candidate has ended.” But the best Hillary quote of the morning was this from Andrew Sullivan:
I think Hillary as the warrior queen is a fantastic iconography for the country. I mean, warrior queens always do well - Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth I - there is a very deep mythology in the back of our heads… that warms to that figure. Now if Hillary can pull it off, it’s the one way I think she could win the hearts of the people that are currently polarized against her.
Sounds like conservative appeal. The Harrisburger (is that the same ultra-conservative Harrisburg, PA I was raised in?) says:
I’d like to see her lose and would never vote for her, but let me say that I don’t fear a Hillary presidency as much as I did a Kerry presidency. Her opinions on Iraq and Iran—minus the sometimes unduly harsh criticisms of Bush (which are, in any event, to be expected; she’s a Democrat, after all)—do not distress me too much. Plus, she has always come across to me as cold and ruthless—ideal qualities for taking on our enemies. So count me unpersuaded by anyone who might argue that Hillary could not adequately prosecute the war.
It looks like Hillary’s on the right track to me.
When my straight friends - who lived on a heavily traveled downtown corner and flew a gay flag in their large living room window - moved away last year, I pointed to a post on Larry Lessig’s blog, Gay Like Me , by Jennifer Brown, co-author of Straightforward: How to Mobilize Heterosexual Support for Gay Rights. In it she suggests that by “permitting confusion about whether or not they are gay...heterosexuals can promote gay rights.”
This week my straight friends here - aware that I watch TV in TiVo-time - have been very eager for me to sit down and watch The Colbert Report from last Monday. I finally did last night. In it Stephen Colbert hilariously illustrates Brown’s point. bitter_crimson provides the excerpts. From the intro:
“You know, I am really steamed. I marched in a parade this weekend; the poster said it was in honor of my favorite emotion: Pride. Well it turns out it was a gay pride parade. And I didn’t find out until after I’d marched for three hours shouting, “I am Stephen Colbert, and I am proud to be out.” By which I clearly meant outside: it was a lovely day.
“Apparently this whole week is Gay Pride Week. Now, I’ve got no problem with gay people, except for my many problems with gay people. But why do they have to steal the word “Pride”? It’s yet another attempt by the homo-lexicographical agenda to turn our dictionaries gay. They already took the word “gay” and gayed it all up. I used to use that word all the time - then they stole rainbows and closets. Back in college, when I was young and gay, I threw the gayest rainbow-themed closet parties around. Jimmy, put up that picture! [above]
God I miss those short-shorts. They really cooled down my upper thighs!”
Then came Threatdown: Homo-Sexy Edition:
The number FIVE threat to my heterosexuality is “Gay Superheroes.” Thanks to stories about Superman Returns in the gay monthly The Advocate and the LA Times, the media is all abuzz about a possible shift in Superman’s orientation. Take a look. ...
“Now, I don’t trust most rumors, but where there’s smoke, there’s flaming fire. This has got me nervous: Americans mimic the behavior of their heroes, so if Superman turns out to be gay, he’ll turn America super-gay. We’re talking gayer than a speeding bullet. Sure, there were hints in the old comics, but when I was a kid he stood for everything that was good about America. He even fought a member of the nerd patrol named Braniac. And he came here after his home planet Krypton was destroyed, most likely, by gay marriage.[...]
[Threat number two is the “ex-gay movement."]
“As a straight man, I should never be told that same-sex attraction can be cured, because if it can, what’s stopping me from taking a dip in that end of the pool? The hot, salty end. And then when I’ve had enough, I can just read Leviticus and *snap* presto, I’m cured. The idea that it’s temporary makes it all-too-tempting. The only thing holding me back is that I don’t desire men.
“Which brings me to threat number ONE: “Desirable Men.” Okay. For the sake of argument, let’s say there’s a gun to me head, and I’ve gotta pick somebody. I’ll say it: George Clooney, Denzel Washington and Johnny Depp. Okay, that’s three. I’ll throw in a fourth! A young Sean Connery. Lord help me if they ever build a time machine. But the worst offender? Brad Pitt. Specifically from the movie Fight Club. Look at these abs: that is beyond washboard. You could grate reggiano parmesan on that stomach. I have thrown out five copies of that DVD, but every Friday night somehow it’s back in my player. Congress, if you wanna preserve marriage, you will ban that movie and make Brad put on some weight. I’m not gay, but come on, I’m human.
“And the other number one threat? BEARS.” [Oh, I love him so much it’s insane.]
BONUS VIDEO: Colbert, “manning the baricades at fort marriage” ... “I got no problem with people marrying snakes, as long as they’re not marrying gay snakes” (with fun opening flub).
I had planned to be in New York today; I’ve enjoyed the pride parades (my preferred terms, for me it’s more a celebration than a protest march) since the 80s (prior to that Fire Island had been my preferred venue for pride). I’m sorry I’ll miss it.
ATLANTA - When Atlanta’s Gay Pride parade begins Sunday afternoon, a White County teenager will be at the head of the line.
Kelly [sic] Pacer was chosen several months ago as grand marshal for this year’s parade.
Pacer is the teenager who was thrust into the national spotlight last year when she tried to organize a gay support club at White County High School.
As we reported in the spring, members of her family are also expected to march in the parade.
Kerry’s dad, Bill Pacer, said at the time his daughter is excited about the parade. “She’s absolutely elated; it’s quite an honor.”
Pacer added that Kerry “wants to be an attorney who will fight for the little people; fight for people’s rights.”
Kelly and the students fighting with her, gay and straight alike, are our proud future. More here.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Bring on the Right-sizing!
It’s true for newspapers and goes double for the future of the movie, music and television industries:
Whatever you do, don’t mistake the decline of newspapers with the decline of journalism. Much of what we’re witnessing is the delayed right-sizing of newspapers and newspaper publisher and editor egos in the multimedia age.