aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, April 04, 2008
McCain explains his King holiday vote. Poorly.
John McCain voted against the Martin Luther King holiday in 1983. Steve Benen:
The vote wasn’t the only problem. In his home state of Arizona, conservatives in the state legislature blocked a measure to create a holiday honoring King, prompting then-Gov. Bruce Babbitt (D) to declare one through executive order.
In 1987, Republican Gov. Evan Mecham’s first act in office was to rescind Babbitt’s order on the King holiday. John McCain endorsed Mecham’s decision.
Complicating matters, McCain, no doubt embarrassed by his previous positions, is being less than truthful about them now. [watch video]
If McCain “began to learn” and “studied” after his opposition to the King holiday in â€˜83, he was a very slow learner. Four years later, he didn’t fight against a governor or his own party; he endorsed the governor’s move to eliminate a King holiday.
Six years after his House vote he began supporting a state holiday, but still opposed a federal King holiday. Eleven years after his vote, he tried to strip federal funding from the MLK Federal Holiday Commission. Seventeen years after his vote, McCain publicly endorsed South Carolina’s right to fly the confederate flag over its statehouse.
Now, in the interest of fairness, it’s worth noting that McCain ended up, years after the fact, in the right place, and reversed himself on practically all of his previous positions. Better late than never, I suppose.
But for a presidential candidate running almost exclusively on his background and personal history, this is one part of McCain’s past that he would just as soon we forget. We won’t.
TWO DAYS LATER: And this post sticks in my craw. If I believe in social change, and I do, then I should applaud McCain for going back and apologizing for his mistake. And I do.
I have watched the clips of his Memphis speech again and again. He won’t get my vote but he has earned my sincere admiration for going there, apologizing, and facing critics. I stand with the person in the crowd who called out, “We all make mistakes… We all make mistakes!”
Violet Blue, Jay Leno & the Homo Homophobes
Violet Blue had a wicked fun column in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday. It begins:
It happens every time I innocently go to the neighborhood grocery store for soy milk. You see, I live in the Castro, in San Francisco, and everyone knows what that means.
The streets are teeming with homosexuals. It’s just like in those horror-movie fundamentalist videos: Everyone’s in leather with their bits and butts on display; murderous Baby Jane drag queens run amok day and night; gay sex is happening in the streets at all hours. There’s a huge lube slide at the corner of 18th and Castro by the Bank of America, where of course, virgin straight men are sacrificed should they wander haplessly into our own little Sodom-by-the-Bay. And because I’m a heathen too, every once in a while I lure and toss a straight boy into the fray, just for kicks. It’s like a zombie movie, but gayer.
Don’t get your homophobic hopes up; It’s not really that fun in my neighborhood. But the gaya hatas love to obsess, their imaginations running wild with Bacchanalian scenarios far more creative (or physically impossible, a la “South Park") than anything Falcon or Raging Stallion’s best porn screenwriters can come up with. Unfortunately, as we all know, homophobes get so lathered and frothy about the things they hate that they take action, sometimes political, sometimes physical and occasionally with murderous intent.
The reason for Violet’s rant? Jay Leno’s recent homophobic run-in with Ryan Phillippe. She goes on to point to the 1996 UGA Homo Homophobes study last seen a couple years ago in the Know + Tell section of Details magazine (pictured above).
The authors investigated the role of homosexual arousal in exclusively heterosexual men who admitted negative affect toward homosexual individuals. Participants consisted of a group of homophobic men (n = 35) and a group of nonhomophobic men (n = 29); they were assigned to groups on the basis of their scores on the Index of Homophobia (W. W. Hudson & W. A. Ricketts, 1980). The men were exposed to sexually explicit erotic stimuli consisting of heterosexual, male homosexual, and lesbian videotapes, and changes in penile circumference were monitored. They also completed an Aggression Questionnaire (A. H. Buss & M. Perry, 1992). Both groups exhibited increases in penile circumference to the heterosexual and female homosexual videos. Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli. The groups did not differ in aggression. Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.
Gay people are well aware that those most vociferous in their anti-gay attacks are typically covering their shamefully guilty tracks. If they’d just fess up, honestly and forthrightly, about who they are we’d all be better off.
Meanwhile, I am sorry to learn that Professor Adams passed away in 2000.
LATER: Neither I nor Violet Blue is implying that Leno is a homo homophobe. No, he’s just clueless! In my first post on this topic I called him a washed up unfunny has been. Confirming both that he’s clueless and a washed up has been, he’s unapologized for the Ryan Phillippe remarks.
It’s long past time we all got to the promised land
More from the last speech:
You know, several years ago, I was in New York City autographing the first book that I had written. And while sitting there autographing books, a demented black woman came up. The only question I heard from her was, “Are you Martin Luther King?”
And I was looking down writing, and I said yes. And the next minute I felt something beating on my chest. Before I knew it I had been stabbed by this demented woman. I was rushed to Harlem Hospital. It was a dark Saturday afternoon. And that blade had gone through, and the X-rays revealed that the tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery. And once that’s punctured, you drown in your own blood--that’s the end of you.
It came out in the New York Times the next morning, that if I had sneezed, I would have died. Well, about four days later, they allowed me, after the operation, after my chest had been opened, and the blade had been taken out, to move around in the wheel chair in the hospital. They allowed me to read some of the mail that came in, and from all over the states, and the world, kind letters came in. I read a few, but one of them I will never forget. I had received one from the President and the Vice-President. I’ve forgotten what those telegrams said. I’d received a visit and a letter from the Governor of New York, but I’ve forgotten what the letter said. But there was another letter that came from a little girl, a young girl who was a student at the White Plains High School. And I looked at that letter, and I’ll never forget it. It said simply, “Dear Dr. King: I am a ninth-grade student at the Whites Plains High School.” She said, “While it should not matter, I would like to mention that I am a white girl. I read in the paper of your misfortune, and of your suffering. And I read that if you had sneezed, you would have died. And I’m simply writing you to say that I’m so happy that you didn’t sneeze.”
And I want to say tonight, I want to say that I am happy that I didn’t sneeze. Because if I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around here in 1960, when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch counters. And I knew that as they were sitting in, they were really standing up for the best in the American dream. And taking the whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around in 1962, when Negroes in Albany, Georgia, decided to straighten their backs up. And whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been here in 1963, when the black people of Birmingham, Alabama, aroused the conscience of this nation, and brought into being the Civil Rights Bill. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have had a chance later that year, in August, to try to tell America about a dream that I had had. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been down in Selma, Alabama, to see the great movement there. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been in Memphis to see a community rally around those brothers and sisters who are suffering. I’m so happy that I didn’t sneeze.
And they were telling me, now it doesn’t matter now. It really doesn’t matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us, the pilot said over the public address system, “We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we’ve had the plane protected and guarded all night.”
And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say that threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
Dan Ariely says, “Test the stimulus package”
The field of behavioral economics has rather convincingly shown that money given in different forms can have different effects. For example, paying for dinner in cash feels very different than paying the same bill with a credit card. And an increase in monthly salary has a different effect on a person’s spending than the same amount in an equivalent yearly bonus. [...]
We force drug companies to test the efficacy of their drugs before rolling them into the market. So shouldn’t we ask the government to first test its ideas before it invests billions of dollars of our tax money into some stimulus package?
Experiments like these aren’t easy to do. But in order to learn what is truly most effective, we must select a few possibilities. We should try them out in different markets or market sectors and compare their effectiveness over time.
For instance, I suspect that giving people a prepaid debit card will do more to rejuvenate the economy than mailing out checks, but direct deposits wouldn’t be nearly as effective. I also suspect that if we added a line on the debit card that reads “spend the government’s money” this would work even better.
SEE ALSO: Dan Ariely’s “Self-Control” credit card.