aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Jimmy Carter OpEd: Undermining Peace
By abandoning many of the nuclear arms agreements negotiated in the last 50 years, the United States has been sending mixed signals to North Korea, Iran, and other nations with the technical knowledge to create nuclear weapons. Currently proposed agreements with India compound this quagmire and further undermine the global pact for peace represented by the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
At the same time, no significant steps are being taken to reduce the worldwide arsenal of almost 30,000 nuclear weapons now possessed by the United States, Russia, China, France, Israel, Britain, India, Pakistan, and perhaps North Korea. A global holocaust is just as possible now, through mistakes or misjudgments, as it was during the depths of the cold war. [...]
Nuclear powers must show leadership, by restraining themselves and by curtailing further departures from the NPT’s international restraints. One-by-one, the choices they make today will create a legacy - deadly or peaceful - for the future.
50 year ago in Britain
Tomorrow marks the 50-year anniversary of the publication of the Wolfenden report on homosexual offences and prostitution. It emerged at a time of great sexual ignorance. In the 1950s there were no manuals for the young, and we had to do our best with baffling encyclopaedia entries. Our elders wanted to re-establish the imagined values of Britain’s lost empire. They were full of warnings about VD and how Rome fell because of its tolerance of homosexuality. So as well as the disastrous Suez campaign of 1956, there was a tripling of prosecutions for homosexual offences after 1945.
The police frequently obtained their convictions by offering not to charge a man in return for the names of his partners, until they had a whole “ring” to bring to court. Suicides before these mass trials were common, and those found guilty usually received long prison sentences. As a result queers, though as numerous as today, tried to be largely invisible, conducting furtive lives under the constant threat of blackmail, exposure, prison and disgrace.
But when the recently knighted John Gielgud was caught cottaging in London, and Lord Montagu was accused of assaulting boy scouts in Hampshire, homosexuality suddenly became visible. Gielgud was fined a token Ã‚Â£10, but was, to the dismay of the authorities, cheered when he next appeared on stage. The case against Montagu was dismissed when the police were shown to have altered his passport in their eagerness to get him.
Furious at this public disgrace, and probably encouraged by the home secretary, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, the police obtained confessions from two young airmen in return for immunity from prosecution and arrested Montagu again, along with two others. Their houses were searched without warrants. When all three were sent to jail, the ordinary public showed what it thought of this vindictiveness by cheering Montagu and his friends and booing and spitting on the airmen. READ ON.
Via Gay News Blog.
On Jodie Foster
Graced with a preternaturally husky voice and unusual poise, she had, as a child, always appeared older than she was. She didn’t widen her eyes and beg for love or mercy. She didn’t play cute or look lost, helpless. She seemed self-possessed, in control of her lithe body and alert mind. Her characters drank, stole, cursed, vamped, whored and killed. They were jailbait for sophisticates and smart directors, like Martin Scorsese, who first worked with her in the 1974 film “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.”
In time, the jailbait entered the age of consent, won a couple of Oscars and dodged the gossips, which insisted that she discuss her sexuality so she could join the ranks of the desecrated celebrities whose bodies and sins litter the tabloids. Her refusal to discuss her personal life remains an affront to some, but it comes off as refreshingly sane in a world that values gynecological close-ups of sloppy party girls giving their greatest, most lasting performances in a limo and on the red carpet. Along these lines it’s worth noting that Ms. Foster, who starred in the original “Freaky Friday,” has thus far survived the magnifying glass of fame far better than Lindsay Lohan, who starred in the recent remake
That a celebrity keeps her private life private has nothing to do with whether or not she identifies as lesbian. I am inclined to think that if Foster were a decade younger, she’d be an out proud lesbian and still be just as private as she is now.
Max Blumenthal on the “crisis of blackness”
I keep wishing and wanting the democratic party to do something more about addressing the issue of race in America. I finally got around to reading the Veracifier Max Blumenthal interview from the week before last:
Do you think America’s ready to elect a black man?
I don’t know the answer to that. My answer to that is that racism is still very real and that particular black man is stuck between a rock and a hard place because he has to be black enough; he has to be authentically black. His blackness has been challenged because he’s biracial, at the same time he can’t be too black or he’ll be pigeon-holed as Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, and he won’t win over voters in Iowa. So I just think there’s a crisis of blackness in the political arena right now that Barack Obama embodies, and if he is elected, he will redefine America’s concept of blackness; it’s an interesting issue. [...]
Do you think Hillary’s going to face the same thing being a woman?
Max: I think Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are really distractions from the real question, which is: Is America willing to embrace women’s rights and is America willing to embrace black men on their own terms? Which means talking about issues like abortion, which democrats are scared to talk about, and issues like prison, which Democrats, particularly at the state level; a lot are in the pocket of the prison guard’s union. So you have an enormous amount of black males basically warehoused in prisons for non-violent crimes, over 50 percent of the federal prison population is in jail for nonviolent drug offenses, what’s basically going on is a war on young black men.
It’s a quiet war that everyone’s afraid to talk about, and America is not, I don’t know if America’s ready to resolve this war in a just fashion. And Barack Obama’s election isn’t going to do it, if anything, it’s just going to be a way of papering over what mainstream America’s opinions are of black males. And I’m speaking as a white Jew.