aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son
There are now over 3,000 Gay-Straight Alliance student clubs around the country. GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) is “the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for ALL students.”
“We were very much taught in the Southern Baptist Church that God was watching what you were doing with whatever gifts you’d been given. And if you didn’t use those gifts to help other people, he was going to remember, and you were gonna pay! There are many, many Bible verses that I would quote but there are two I’ll zero in on. One was my mother’s favorite, the story of the poor widow who put her only coin [into the temple offering box], and Jesus said it was the greatest gift because she gave all she had. And then there’s the famous story where Jesus says, “Whatever you’ve done to the least of my brothers you have done unto me.” So I was also taught to believe that it was how you treated the least valued people in our society that was going to determine your salvation. Those were very positive values I learned from growing up in a fundamentalist home.”
Together we dug through his memorabilia. I held in my hand the State Department letter confirming that it “does not hire homosexuals and does not permit their employment;” he showed me his photos of the first demonstration but I did not see the picket sign.
New insulation in my attic lead me to recently go through what’s left of my notes from that time; it’s piled in boxes here in my home office awaiting a move to the backyard storage building. Years of living in tiny New York apartments means there’s not much there.
Imagine my pleasure then at finding KamenyPapers.org. The Kameny project is led by Charles Francis and Bob Witeck:
To preserve and protect the archive of gay civil rights pioneer Dr. Franklin Kameny, we seek a donor(s) to acquire and donate the Kameny Papers to a major national archive. This site is a “sampler” of some of the items among thousands of pages of material in the collection.
I got a lump in my throat visiting the site. I was moved then too, very moved. I am lucky to have met him. I wish the project well.
What DOPA means to education
There has been lots of discussion here and elsewhere about the potentially devastating effect of DOPA on the lives of young people—especially those for whom schools and public libraries represent their only point of access onto the digital world. I have made the argument that if supporters of DOPA really wanted to protect young people from online predators, they would teach social networking in the classroom, modeling safe and responsible practices, rather than lock it outside the school and thus beyond the supervision of informed librarians and caring teachers. The advocates of the law have implied that MySpace is at best a distraction from legitimate research activities, at worst a threat to childhood innocence.
But Ravi’s thesis suggests something more—we are closing off powerful technologies that could be used effectively to engage young people with authentic materials and real world cultural processes. Here, social networking functions not as a media literacy skill but as a tool for engaging with traditional school subjects in a fresh new way.
“Ravi” is Comparative Media Studies graduate student Ravi Purushotma. His thesis is here.
Target terror world
Cory Doctorow - ”who’d have thought that putting signs everywhere telling you that you were in danger of terrorists and that terrorists were everywhere and that you should look out for suspicious terrorism behavior would turn normal people into witch-hunting racist mobs?” - points to the inevitable consequences of our fear mongering media (and politicians):
The extraordinary scenes happened after some of the 150 passengers on a Malaga-Manchester flight overheard two men of Asian appearance apparently talking Arabic. Passengers told cabin crew they feared for their safety and demanded police action. Some stormed off the Monarch Airlines Airbus A320 minutes before it was due to leave the Costa del Sol at 3am. Others waiting for Flight ZB 613 in the departure lounge refused to board it…
Passengers noticed that, despite the heat, the pair were wearing leather jackets and thick jumpers and were regularly checking their watches…
Half an hour later, police returned and escorted the two Asian passengers off the jet…
Websites used by pilots and cabin crew were yesterday reporting further incidents. In one, two British women with young children on another flight from Spain complained about flying with a bearded Muslim even though he had been security-checked twice before boarding.
Ready to run
What does Time know anyway?
So sensitive is the question of Hillary’s future that both Clintons refused to let Time interview them about it, and they discouraged those around them from talking, which explains why nearly all the people who did talk did so on the condition that their name not be used.
Apparently not much! This I believe:
Those close enough to know say that she is genuinely undecided but that Bill is not disguising his eagerness to see her make a bid for his old job. “He thinks that she should run, and he’s going to do everything possible to help her,” says Texas insurance mogul and philanthropist Bernard Rapoport, a longtime Clinton friend and backer.
I’m ready for the first woman president. I hope she picks an African American for VP.
LATER - They do have this:
This year the Republicans couldn’t even find a credible candidate to take her on, in no small part because of the inroads she has made in more conservative upstate New York. There are other unlikely places where she has won friends and admirers. When Hillary was first elected, General John Keane, then Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, sought an audience, hoping to acquaint the new Senator with some of the Army’s priorities in her state, including West Point and the perpetually deployed 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum. It didn’t entirely surprise him that it took three months to get on her schedule or that, once he did, her staff called his twice to remind him that she couldn’t spare more than 15 minutes.
When he finally got in to see her, however, the meeting did not go as he had expected. For starters, it lasted 45 minutes. “She committed immediately to West Point and the 10th Mountain Division, with follow-up on-site visits,” he says. “But it was her enormous depth of knowledge about the military and her sincerity about our people which surprised and disarmed me.” As First Lady, Hillary told Keane, she had traveled the globe and had often been able to see parts of the world that security prevented her husband from visiting but where the U.S. Army was always present. “She had an extraordinary grasp of our military culture, our soldiers, our families and what it was like for them,” Keane marvels.