aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Cass Sunstein gets Wiki
In the past year, Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that “anyone can edit,” has been cited four times as often as the Encyclopedia Britannica in judicial opinions, and the number is rapidly growing. In just two years, YouTube has become a household word and one of the world’s most successful Web sites. Such astounding growth and success demonstrate society’s unstoppable movement toward shared production of information, as diverse groups of people in multiple fields pool their knowledge and draw from each other’s resources. READ ON
One Year Ago: the onset of my Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss
On this day last year, in a post entitled ”Uh Oh,” I wrote:
I woke up this morning with complete deafness in one ear. This is the “I’m feeling lucky” Google hit. That’s lucky?
LATER: Better hit, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, “Some patients recover completely without medical intervention.”
Of course, they do say, “It should be considered a medical emergency.” Have you ever tried to get a doctor in rural Georgia on a Saturday?
LATER STILL: Option 1) drive an hour each way to wait 2 to 5 hours ("best guess") to see a random doctor with no particular expertise at an “Urgent Care” facility. Option 2) wait until Monday.
My doctor and Doug’s doctor’s advice, wait until Monday. Expect a smattering of future posts grumbling about health care in America…
One year later I’m still totally deaf in my right ear. I’m now completely adjusted to that reality. Some conclusions:
- - My expectations that I’d be grumbling about the American medical establishment were spot on. I’ve been through a year’s worth of tests paid for by my insurance company, many that I now believe were unnecessary. Most recently I drove four hours round trip to a research hospital in Augusta for a ten minute chat in which the doctor tried to persuade me that a titanium screw in my skull was a good idea. It’s not. He told me to come back in a year. I might.
- - My own doctor, one of the two that told me to wait until Monday (I later learned that one should, in such a situation, seek emergency care immediately), has still not seen me. I see her, on the other hand, in television commercials for some expensive franchise weight loss
gimmickprogram. She looks much better than when last I saw her, apparently the beneficiary of another franchise money-maker, non-surgical laser face-lifts offered through her office. You can’t get an appointment for a physical, but if you need an eye job you’re in and out in a jiffy.
- - Doctors have embraced the Internet. When I would ask the doctors - GP, ENT, neurologist - if there was something they would recommend I read, to a person they answered, “Do a Google search.” Somehow that didn’t sit well with me. Then again, rereading today that very first I’m feeling lucky Google find, it was about as good as anything I’ve read since.
Net Neutrality Open Source Documentary
Save the Internet | Rock the Vote
New Dallas DA to review decades of convictions
Morning Edition reported yesterday that the new Dallas DA, Craig Watkins, a 39-year-old former defense lawyer who led a Democratic sweep of Dallas County offices in November to become Texas’ first black district attorney, says he’ll reopen hundreds of cases from the past 30 years to see whether DNA tests might reveal wrongful convictions:
“It’s a whole different world in the Dallas criminal justice system,” says defense attorney Gary Udashen. “It is a world where if a client of ours is innocent, we feel like there’s openness in the District Attorney’s office to hear what we have say, to look at what we have to show them, where we don’t anticipate resistance every step of the way.”
Udashen’s firm alone has had seven Dallas clients who were convicted, sent to prison, exhausted their appeals and then ultimately - with the pro bono help of Udashen and his colleagues - were found to be innocent.
Udashen says Dallas used to be like many other cities in Texas when it came to the DA’s office. If it got a conviction, it defended that conviction to the bitter end, even if strong scientific evidence was later uncovered that the convicted was wrongly convicted. [...]
In a twist of irony, Dallas has long outsourced its lab work. And instead of destroying evidence post-conviction like many law enforcement labs, the private labs preserved all the evidence. Blackburn says as a result, Dallas has a treasure trove of potentially exonerating DNA evidence.
The Houston Chronicle has more on Watkins:
By all accounts, he represents a sharp break from the law-and-order conservatives who have held the office for decades, starting with Henry Wade, who retired in 1986 after 36 years in office.
Wade prided himself on a high conviction rate and stiff sentences, but along with the office’s hard-nosed reputation came accusations of a win-at-any-cost attitude and a history of wrongful convictions that shadows it to this day.
In addition to Waller, 11 others have been exonerated since 2001 through new DNA testing, more than in any other U.S. county. Nine of those date to Wade’s administration.
“I’m not part of that failed system,” said Watkins, who twice tried for a job in the office. “I’m fresh. I have nothing to protect.”
Dallas was number 1 in crime for 8 of the past 10 years, they elected this guy. I can only hope it says that voters there saw that what they were doing was not working. Arresting and jailing people for crimes they did not do does not make for a safer public.
Hardaway’s homophobia: “Just my belief”
I did not move away from home; I jumped out of my bedroom window (not all that high on a suburban split-level) and ran away. Years later when I decided to mend relations, I made a trip home to tell my parents, my brothers and my sister that I was gay. Each is its own story but for today I’ll share that one brother went on a rant that ended with, “You’re still my brother so I still love you but if one of my sons ever tells me he’s a faggot I’ll throw him out on the street because I hate faggots!”
I hardly recall my reaction to that; he was stuck in his stuff. He is to this day. And guess what? One of his sons is gay. When said son told his father, my brother, that he is gay, my brother answered that being gay was worse than murder, “but you’re still my son and I love you.” Huh? Talk about tough love!
I’m reminded of this by reading Scoop Jackson’s ESPN interview with “Timmy Hardaway.” In it we hear how hard this is on poor Timmy, how he apologized to his grandmother, that he was “just having fun on the radio,” that he’s “not sleeping at night because of what someone may do.” And here his friend Scoop asks what might happen if Timmy had a friend come out to him:
OK, so let’s say one of our boys, or better yet for the sake of this interview, what if I told you that I was gay. We’ve known each other all of our lives, came up together, we boys and all, and out of nowhere I spring that on you. Told you that the wife and kids were all a facade and that all of this time I’ve been gay. How would you accept that? Or would you? Would you end the friendship?
Wow. I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. Wow. I’d probably be or say something like, “Me and Scoop was tight until he told me this.” Our friendship may not continue to be as tight as it is but I’d let you know that you could call me, talk to me whenever, something like that. I really wouldn’t know how to react to that.
But would you be more mad at the fact that I violated a trust issue because I never told you or that I was gay?
Trust issue. I trusted you. We talked like boys for years and you had plenty of opportunity to tell me something like this. It’s always a trust issue. It wouldn’t be because you were gay or bisexual. My issue with you would be because of trust, because you never told me.
Odd, that particular interpretation of where trust lies. It is, of course, precisely because gay people can’t trust that those they know and love will still love them after they reveal a gay identity that some will choose to hide. But to the Tim Hardaways of the world, they’re the ones betrayed.
Scoop asks what caused Hardaway’s resentment towards gay people:
Lemme ask you this, because I’m really trying to get at where this is coming from, the way you came across on the radio, your choice of words, your anger. I’ve had people roll up on me and say that something must have happened to you in your life to make you feel the way that you do about gays. Now I’ve been through everything that’s gone on in your life with your family—the substance abuse, the alcoholism, you riding the CTA [Chicago public transportation] at 8 years old, surviving Altgeld Gardens, all of that. But did anything happen to you? Was there any homosexual experience that triggered any of your resentment toward gay people that happened when you were young that none of us knows about?
When we was growing up Scoop, if we saw gay people or whatever, we ran across the street. We got away from them. Our parents, our friends, our families knew that that wasn’t right. We didn’t want to be around that and they definitely didn’t want us kids around it. And it’s not that they hated gay people, they just felt they it wasn’t right. Let them do what they want to do. And that was my experience when I was growing up. Not acknowledging them. Now did something happen to me? No. But I did have a friend that something happened to him in a Catholic school, but that is another can of worms that it’s not my place to open because it’s not my life. But to answer your question, “No.” Nothing happened to me. I just don’t condone [being gay]. When I see gay people holding hands or kissing in the streets, I just don’t think that’s right.
Is there some religious factor behind your thinking or is this just your belief?
Just my belief.
The self-serving (and I suspect, false) allusion to “a friend” in Catholic school aside, he’s telling it like it is. He just believes it. He was taught it. He grew up in it. He had no idea his statements would cause a stir. He had no reason to rethink it. Now he does. And maybe he will.
Even if he doesn’t the discussion is out there. Some (my brother) will be pushed deeper into their beliefs by all the attention. Others will begin to question their assumptions. Meanwhile, we should all thank Hardaway; John Amaechi’s book will enjoy the kind of sales it could hardly have without him.