aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Raymond Rodriguez might have expected some feedback. When he showed up at the Boise Gay Pride parade carrying a sign that read “Homosexuality is an abomination,” he was not, as you might imagine, the most popular guy on the block. But now he’s filed a report with the Boise Police Department because he said he was attacked by gay-rights supporters who thought his presence was, to say the least, inappropriate.
Rodriguez, who is a regular fixture outside Planned Parenthood (BW, News, “The Sign People,” March 24) said he was “hit, spit on, and attacked with metal crutches.”
Maybe we can get him interviewed on Fox News by Julie Bandera.
The Right never did like the EPA
Now they have another reason: their calls brought down the phone system, but didn’t stop sponsorship of gay pride events:
[A] deluge of phone calls triggered by an “action alert” from the anti-gay American Family Association temporarily disabled the phone system at the agency’s Office of Civil Rights.
The e-mails flooded the offices of several EPA divisions, including the civil rights unit, which issued an announcement in May recognizing June as Gay & Lesbian Pride Month at EPA.
“We’re moving ahead with these events as planned,” said EPA spokesperson Bob Zachariasiewicz. “There are no plans to change anything.”
During those rare moments I find myself feeling uneasy about the course of the war on terror, I take consolation by looking back at America’s unconditional victories in our two previous crusades against abstractions—the war on poverty and the war on drugs. As far as poverty goes, it seems incredible now to think that there was ever a time when Americans had to worry about health insurance, affordable housing or quality education. No wonder we’re deconstructing safety nets faster than a bankrupt circus.
As for drugs, that victory has been even more decisive. Ever since Richard Nixon ordered an “all-out war, on all fronts” against narcotics over a 1972 Oval Office cocktail with H.R. Haldeman, the drug menace has been swept from the land. One need only look at the millions of POWs we have taken in daring raids on such hotbeds of enemy activity as Detroit, East St. Louis, Ill., and Newark, N.J. Or the 10-year prison sentence handed down to enemy propagandist (and MC5 manager) John Sinclair for selling not one, but two joints. Or the imprisonment of comedian Tommy Chong for engraving his countenance on glass bongs—a man who, as his prosecutor pointed out in her closing arguments, “was a bad example because he made fun of drugs and cops in his movies.” You’d have to be smoking something to worry that a government that conducted these campaigns will falter in securing us from Islamic terrorists.
OK, seriously—do people actually believe in the war on drugs anymore? Did they ever? If so, I suggest they read Dean Kuipers’ “Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went up in Smoke,” which captures the paranoid absurdity of our current drug laws as well as does any book in recent memory. This well-researched, compassionately written study of the 2001 killings of pot activist Tom Crosslin and his lover, Rollie Rohm, by FBI and police snipers on their Michigan farm is a memorable portrait of the war on drugs at its ugliest. It is also a timely reminder of the dangers inherent in ceding our basic civil rights to combat a nebulous menace. Read on.
Service lets people rip videos
I just think, if you make art of any kind, any media, and put it out into the world, part of the bargain of cultural production is you don’t get total control. If you want total control, as I’ve said many times, keep it in your bedroom. Play it for your friends. That’s it. That’s how you keep complete omnipotent godlike control of your work. But if you’re going to put it out there...you just don’t get total control. And if you think you do then I’d say you’re not really thinking for the good of culture and art you’re just thinking like a corporate lawyer.
He explains he’s not anti-moneymaking, he just believes sampling is “utterly none of my business.” Watch it. I agree completely and totally.
I was reminded of Hosler’s comments as I read this, from CNet:
A pair of services run by one person in Australia are giving people new ways to access and use video content from sites like YouTube and Google Video, and copyright holders may well find themselves up in arms about it.
Known as Peekvid and Keepvid, the sister services are designed, respectively, to aggregate and index copyrighted YouTube content, and allow users to rip content from YouTube, Google Video and other services to their hard drives.
Now, we’re always told that the market gives us what we want. Does anyone doubt that this is what we want??? What do you think the chances are that we’ll be allowed to keep it?
The slippery slope
I’m looking forward to the slide down it!
High-achieving college kids are reportedly [link] dipping into “brain-steroids”—drugs like Ritalin and Provigil, which focus attention. No one really knows how widespread this practice is, since it’s uncommon for anyone to get busted for peddling smart drugs, and the side-effects of “abuse” are minimal.
This strikes me as the canonical cognitive liberty fight: why shouldn’t you be allowed to make an informed decision about what state of mind you’d like to be in? Why will the law allow people to kill brain and liver cells with stupefying booze, but not smart drugs?
You know I agree. I’m all for enhancement. Which reminds me, I’ve passed The Age of Spiritual Machines on to friends and am knee deep in The Singularity is Near. I’ll be 90 in 2045 and, like Ray I, plan to do what it takes to be here.
For more, here’s Kurzweil in The Great Debate - Enhancing humans: how far do we go? with Baroness Susan Greenfield. And here’s Kurzweil with Dr. Moira Gunn talking about the book.
21st Century “flyers on corkboards”
Craigslist is brilliant because his main activity is something that posters are inherently promiscuous with—personal spamming. In any other context, the bulk of the material on Craigslist would be considered spam. In my email box, on another message forum, heck even on one of google’s spam-ridden Blogger sites. The posts are the equivalent of those indiscriminately posted flyers on corkboards at universities.
Buy my mattress..need a ride to Chicago...come see my band. People put these flyers up fully expecting only a handful to see or care about them enough to rip off a tab with the phone number at the bottom. The expectation of response is low but it’s cheap to try.
Now Craig’s lead-into-gold trick is that he gets his posters to accurately classify their spam. Into 160 categories. Holy Toledo Jacob Nielsen. You can’t have a pulldown with 160 things in it. Half of your users wouldn’t get a pulldown with 3 things in it right. Ah, but it’s not a pull-down. Half of the entire homepage is a giant selector devoted to classifying posts.