aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
An outed liar is fired
Speaking of Jeff Gannon and people who gain fame, fortune and acceptance for despicable, craven, cowardly and profoundly immoral behavior, I was happy to see Gannon was canned by Kevin Naff:
I made the decision...Basically, my concern is that he has a huge credibility problem, for obvious reasons, and if a member of my staff lied about their identity, lied about their name, lied to their editors, lied to their sources, I would fire them. I wouldn’t publish them.
Parental anxiety should be treated with counseling, not surgery
The Times Magazine this weekend will feature a profile of Intersex activist Cheryl Chase. Still locked up behind the TimesSelect wall, here’s an excerpt:
Chase’s position - that cosmetic genital operations on intersex children should be stopped and that children should be made to feel loved and accepted in their unusual bodies - is still considered radical. Most people believe, reflexively, that irregular-looking genitals would be extremely difficult to live with - for a child on a sports team, for an adult seeking love and sex - so why not try to make them look more normal? Katrina Karkazis, a medical anthropologist at the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford, interviewed 19 clinicians and researchers of various specialties who treat intersex individuals, 15 intersex adults and 15 parents of intersex children, and she found that a majority of the doctors and parents felt surgery was a good idea. “We chose surgery for my daughter mainly because we did not want her to grow up questioning her sexual identity,” one mother explained about her baby, who was born with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a genetic defect of the adrenal glands that causes girls’ genitals to appear masculinized at birth. “We felt that she should look like a female, so we chose the clitoroplasty and the vaginoplasty. We felt that she would have a better self-image if she did not have a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœphallic structure’ and ‘scrotum.’ “
Within the medical community, Chase has been successful in tempering the explicitness with which people publicly make this argument. As Chase has explained innumerable times, intersex babies are not having difficulty with sexual identity or self-image. The parents are, and parental anxiety about the appearance of a child’s genitals should be treated with counseling, not with surgery to the child. When I met Melvin Grumbach, one of the doctors who cared for Chase as an infant and who went on to become one of the most respected pediatric endocrinologists in the country, he’d clearly heard Chase’s line of reasoning many times. He participated in forming the consensus, and he also signed it. He knew what he was supposed to say. “We say, ‘Don’t do surgery unless it’s necessary, unless it’s important,’ “ he told me in early summer in his office at the University of California in San Francisco, where he’s now an emeritus professor. “But I think if the external genitals are really masculinized, you work it out with the family. I mean, good grief. What about the parents? The parents are raising the child. Don’t they have some say?”
Georgia Republicans are sometimes brutally honest. Sonny’s had a couple of doozies recently - ”I like land” and ”Get elected Governor” - but Congressman ”I-can’t-name-the-comandments-but-we-should-post-them” Lynn Westmoreland (he claims to have named seven) has gone and done Sonny one better. Said he, ”I voted for torture:”
The vote he referred to came last year on an amendment reaffirming the United States’ commitment to the U.N. Convention Against Torture. The measure passed the House 415-8, with Westmoreland among those opposing it. The U.N. convention defines torture as intentionally inflicting “severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental,” to obtain information or a confession.
Westmoreland said that definition is too vague and that he believes intelligence professionals deserve more flexibility.
“I think they should use the methods necessary to get the information from the people who know the information,” he said. “We’re fighting people that don’t wear a uniform. They’re not from a country. They’re not a recognized military. So I don’t know that the Geneva Convention even covers them.”
Pressed on whether that means he supports torture, he said, “What’s torture? Torture is many things to many people ... people have different breaking points.”
Asked whether he would support using electric shocks, he said, “Electric shocks are given to people during initiations to different clubs ... Is that torture? I don’t know.”
It’s good to see that the Atlanta Journal Constitution knows:
Somehow, we managed to defeat Nazi Germany, a regime of immense cruelty, without stooping to torture as a weapon. In that same war we also defeated Imperial Japan, perpetrator of the infamous Bataan Death March and medical experiments and other atrocities on wartime captives, again without sacrificing our own standards of conduct.
A few years later, in the Cold War, we faced off against the Soviet Union, ruled by cold-blooded killers seeking world domination and armed with thousands of nuclear warheads pointed in our direction. Our citizens built bomb shelters in their backyards; our schoolchildren practiced hiding under their desks. But despite the threat, our leaders nonetheless insisted on adhering to the Geneva Conventions, to our own laws against torture, to our own basic beliefs in the inherent dignity of mankind.
FCC boobs and Eyes on the Prize
With the FCC’s maximum fines for “bad” language having increased to $325,000 for each infraction, PBS is flagging member stations about possible offensive words in scheduled repeats of broadcasts that didn’t cause a ripple in previous airings.
PBS has reason to be cautious. In March, KCSM in San Mateo, Calif., became the first - and only - public TV station to receive notice of a possible FCC fine since Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction in 2004, according to a PBS spokeswoman.
KCSM faces a $15,000 penalty for airing a repeat episode of Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed ‘03 documentary, The Blues, which included profanity. The station is appealing the decision, and PBS filed comments in its support.
Looking to avoid a repeat, PBS is being exceedingly cautious with the critically lauded Eyes on the Prize, a seminal 14-hour documentary series on the U.S. civil rights movement that debuted in 1987. (It was repeated once, in ‘93.)
Three two-hour episodes are set for Oct. 2, 9 and 16, from 9 to 11 (Eastern time) each night. The other eight hours will air at a later date.
PBS’s warning to stations concerns a single utterance of the F-word in archival footage in episode six, “Bridge to Freedom.” The Oscar-nominated “Freedom” chronicles the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., in 1965. The segment’s first broadcast will be at 10 p.m. Oct. 16 on WHYY.
Though the FCC allows “indecent and/or profane material” to air in the so-called safe harbor between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., PBS is concerned about the time slots in which its 348 member stations will schedule their remaining three “plays” of the six episodes.
WHYY, for example, will run back-to-back episodes at 2 p.m. Sundays on Oct. 8, 15 and 22.
[D]id Lance’s mom really learn he was gay from reading Page Six?
“Yeah, basically, yeah. It was just a question she had to my sister, actually, was the one who had to tell her,” Lance revealed/
Lance also opened up about how his People Magazine outing came to be.
“They contacted me,” he explained.
And as for the cover with the headline “I’m Gay,” Lance replied that he had no control over that.
“I thought they did a great job with it and they did. It was great. I feel, you know, there’s a great weight lifted off,” Lance added.
Long removed from the days of *NSYNC, Lance is currently working on a book.
“Experience is everything with *NSYNC, all my experience with space travel and Russia and the whole coming out thing. I have a lot to say so I decided to go ahead and start writing it down.”
Block the Vote update
For the third time a judge has blocked a Republican-sponsored effort to require Georgia voters to present government-issued photo identification cards before they can vote. Washington’s watching:
State officials vowed to appeal Bedford’s ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court before the Nov. 7 general election.
The timing of the judge’s decision could have political ramifications in Washington. The House is set today to vote on legislation that would require voters in 2008 to present a valid photo identification that “could not have been obtained without proof of citizenship.” [...]
Like the Georgia law, the federal legislation would almost certainly be challenged in court. A coalition of interest and civil rights groups, including the NAACP, AARP, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, denounced the bill yesterday, saying it would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of minority and elderly voters.
Georgia’s law was challenged by Rosalind Lake, an elderly black woman who was left partially blind after being nearly electrocuted in her home, is unable to drive and could not easily obtain a voter ID, her attorney said.
Recall that the area of proven fraud is absentee balloting, which trends Republican. The Bill does nothing about absentee balloting.
BTW, where does it describe the state-issued ID process in the Constitution?
Will Tom Sue?
Tomorrow at 10 Comedey Central will be replaying the Trapped in the Closet episode of South Park. To mark the occasion I’m reposting Will Tom Sue?
Could Cruise successfully sue “South Park”? And more broadly, should he continue his campaign of directly combating the claim that he’s homosexual, or rethink the ethics of bringing such lawsuits?
The relevant “South Park” episode—entitled “Trapped in the Closet”—self-consciously skirts the outermost edges of the First Amendment’s protection for parody. A court would probably deem it constitutionally protected, but only barely.
Defamation requires a “statement of fact”—and for this reason, most parody, because of its fictional nature, falls outside defamation law by definition. But this is the rare parody that, fairly read, does make a statement of fact.
In the episode, the animated version of Cruise literally goes into a closet, and won’t come out. Other characters beg him to “come out of the closet,” including the animated version of his ex-wife, Nicole Kidman. The Kidman character promises Cruise that if he comes out of the closet, neither she nor “Katie” will judge him. But the Cruise character claims he isn’t “in the closet,” even though he plainly is.
Should it even be considered defamation to call someone gay?
Imagine a white person in the Jim Crow South suing to counter rumors that he was hiding African-American ancestry, and the problem with such a claim becomes plain: The purpose of the claim is to restore the plaintiff to a prior, undeserved position of societal privilege, so he can avoid the maltreatment, racism—and if he is a racist himself, the shame—that he would otherwise suffer. The claim itself, then, rests on a malicious societal hierarchy.
The same is arguably true of a claim by a straight person that he has been falsely labeled as gay: Such a claim takes advantage of the courts so that one person can escape bias that others unfairly suffer.
It also caters to societal bias by saying, in effect, “Stop thinking less of me; I’m not really gay.” But imagine, again, the parallel claim: “Stop thinking less of me, I’m not really African-American.”
For the record, I’m not one of those who has ever believed the Cruise is gay rumor.