Monday, December 13, 2004

Gerald Allen: the blood on his hands.

Once again I am proud to be from Alabama. The state I love comes up with new and more insane ways to aggressively defend the national and international perception of it being the most bigoted backwards-ass place on the planet. Thank you, representative gerald allen (tuscaloosa, 50 miles from my parents' home) for making sure that bigotry remains the number one association that people have when they hear the word "alabama".

a little on how he has done us so proud (from the Guardian)

Guardian Unlimited | Arts features | 'We have to protect people'

>What should we do with US classics like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or The Color Purple? "Dig a hole," Gerald Allen recommends, "and dump them in it." Don't laugh. Gerald Allen's book-burying opinions are not a joke.

Earlier this week, Allen got a call from Washington. He will be meeting with President Bush on Monday. I asked him if this was his first invitation to the White House. "Oh no," he laughs. "It's my fifth meeting with Mr Bush."

Bush is interested in Allen's opinions because Allen is an elected Republican representative in the Alabama state legislature. He is Bush's base. Last week, Bush's base introduced a bill that would ban the use of state funds to purchase any books or other materials that "promote homosexuality". Allen does not want taxpayers' money to support "positive depictions of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle". That's why Tennessee Williams and Alice Walker have got to go.

I ask Allen what prompted this bill. Was one of his children exposed to something in school that he considered inappropriate? Did he see some flamingly gay book displayed prominently at the public library?

No, nothing like that. "It was election day," he explains. Last month, "14 states passed referendums defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman". Exit polls asked people what they considered the most important issue, and "moral values in this country" were "the top of the list".<

By 'moral values' did you mean anything about caring for the poor, or helping the sick, or caring for the depressed and hurt among you? When you invoke moral values, are you invoking caring for your fellow man as you do for yourself? Does this mean calling for honesty and openness from our public officials and holding them accountable for how their policies affect our fellow man, at home and abroad?

No, when you say 'moral values' you mean 'bigotry'. Plain and simple, the 'moral values' vote was the bigot vote. You meant ostracizing and punishing the 'different' people. It is harder these days to get away with flat out, overt racism (although you already know how I feel about folks who like to say it isn't still a problem), so cultural bigotry is the new, acceptible racism (find Mason's rant in the archives on Abu Ghraib for more on this). Domestically, homos are the big easy target.

And when the representatives put us in their bullseye, so do others. Other alabamians decided to skip the book burnings and go straight on to burning the faggots:

Scotty Joe Weaver and Billy Jack Gaither

Billy Jack was killed around the time of Matthew Shepard, but he was older and less pretty, so the national media didn't really care when he was beaten to death and burned on a pile of kerosene soaked tires. Only the gay media really covered it at all and alabama turned a largely blind eye to what happened.

So it happened again. Scotty Joe was attacked and killed and burned as well. And yes these deaths happened before you got it in your fool mind that there should be no positive representations of homosexuals available to kids in alabama, and no you didn't commit these crimes, representative allen, but when you say there should be no positive representation of us available, you are painting a big bullseye on the head of every poor gay kid who stays stuck in what you are determined to keep a violent, bigoted backwater of a state. The blood of these men is on your hands and so will be the blood of the next. You are loading bullets in the guns that troubled homosexual adolescents will be blowing their own brains out with; you are pouring the kerosene on the pile of tires that will be used to burn the next victim.

Lynching niggers is out, so lets burn the faggots.

You can cry all you want that that isn't what you meant, but you be very sure of this: it is what you are doing.

And you better be very thankful of your relationship with Jesus, because he is the only one who might forgive you.

And yes, I do take this very personally. I got out in one piece, but it wasn't a given that I would and there were more than a few that I know that didn't. I am well educated and mobile and able to chose where I live and who I surround myself with, but that is not the option available to every (or even most) gay kid(s). The average gay person isn't like the representations on Will and Grace. Most gay people aren't wealthy and happy and educated. Plenty of us are, because we aren't given much of a choice (find a way out or die), but so many more are still hacking it out in hostile environments. Being able to get married isn't their biggest issue and whether or not the hot guy at the gym noticed them or which party they should go to are not their biggest dilemmas. Their lives just became a little more dangerous.

I am sad tonight...

I haven't really used this whole blog thing much for personal emoting; generally not my thing. I am much better at bitching about politics and such. But everyone else in the house is asleep and I am sad.

The things I want to say and can't won't let me sleep.

A child at camp who claimed to be able to see others' auras, once told me my aura was black and looked creeped out like if he looked at me too long his soul would be sucked away. He had been telling everyone else that their auras were happy pretty colors and meant fun nice things like they were very understanding or good empathizers or were more interesting than they first appeared. And he told everyone about their 'psychic' abilities. "You sometime can feel things before they happen" or "Your orange inner aura reveals that you have strong psychic powers" or whatever. All the kids were eating the shit up, whch was amusing and all and we were having to wait while folks did some individual stuff in the diving class we were teaching, so anything that keeps the idle kids from trying to entertain themselves was a welcome diversion even if half a dozen teenage girls trying to practice their psychic abilities can quickly become annoying.

Point being, after looking at me in horror and declaring my aura (inner/outer/all of it) black, one of the other kids asked if I had any psychic ability, to which he responded, "No, he has absolutely no psychic ability whatsoever. None, not a bit." which struck me as a bit rude and the kids started making fun until he followed up with, "He doesn't need any; he just knows things." That struck me as kind of nice.

but as our title declares, sometimes awareness is painful.

sometimes i wish i didn't just know things.

tonight i wish i didn't.

but i do and sleep won't come.

Friday, December 10, 2004

He's too insensitive to notice discrimination, let's make him head of the civil rights panel.

Here is your reason to throw up for the day:

"I just assume somewhere in my life some knucklehead has looked at me and my brown self and said that they have given me less or denied me an opportunity," said the chairman, Gerald A. Reynolds, 41, an African-American lawyer. "But the bottom line is, and my wife will attest to this, I am so insensitive that I probably didn't notice."

The New York Times > National > Shift Toward Skepticism for Civil Rights Panel

A conservative black lawyer who says he has never noticed any discrimination in his life? Were he and dr. rice hatched out of the same damn pod?

A man who called affermative action "a big lie" is now in charge of the government watchdog panel for civil rights. Yes, we can expect much from him.

Can we talk about affirmative action for a minute? This back to my earlier post on WASPs in this country who are the biggest fucking babies about so much. Any time the scale isn't tipped in the white, christian's blatant favor on any issue, there is a call to arms. If one more comfortable upper middle-class butthole start crying over affirmative action to me, I am going to kick them in their shins. You don't get an advantage? It should all be merit based? Like hell you don't get an advantage and their are other things besides GPA's. The stinking nekkid emperor got everything in his life on affirmative action instead of merit. He got into an ivy league school because his father went there, not because of his grades. He got business deals, and hauled out of them when he was a miserable failure, because of who is father was. He got political backing and the 'extra' help he needed to take the presidency because of his family. He did not accomplish on thing on his own or by merit his whole life, but he will bitch about Affirmative Action. Affirmative action in my book is anything which gives you an advantage to help you get ahead which is not based on your personal accomplishments. He (and every middle-class white person in America) has recieved it in spades.

And for Mr. Reynolds, you take a good look around and you will see the bigotry. This last election hinged on it. But really, man, just because every instance hasn't crippled you doesn't mean it isn't there. You are from New York? Do you ever take cabs? No, they aren't that tough to hail. If you are in the city, watch a black person, well dressed or not, try to hail a cab. I have on more than one occassion seen cabs with their lights on drive past a black man in a suit just to pick up a white kid in ratty jeans down the block. Trouble with cabs may be an annoying thing, more than threatening, but it is symptomatic.

Racism is not what it was in 1950, but if you think it doesn't play a role in your daily life today, you are an idiot. You can refuse to let it stop you or weigh on your mind and choose to just do with what you have. Fine, all admirable options, but don't try to tell everyone that they are crazy and life is fair and race isn't an issue any more in America.

Monday, December 06, 2004

sick and tired christian 'victims'

My cousin sends from time to time what are often the most obnoxious stupid forwards I have ever read. The silly forward-this-and-microsoft-will-give-you-money letters are annoying, but easily enough deleted without ruffling my feathers. It is the white-people-who-call-themselves-christians-and-worship-a-fictional-version-of-the-past-but-now-cast-themselves-as-victims letters that make me want to puke.

For two main reasons:

1) If you are a christian, white person in America, any oppression you may feel has nothing to do with either being christian or white. If anything, you are given advatages that other people can only dream of. If you are truly being oppressed or marginalized, it is because of your lack of wealth or education or both. Otherwise, you are probably just whining and you need to stop bitching about the way things used to be and be happy about what you have and help those who have less.

If you find that people have a negative reaction to you because you are a christian, you might take a good hard look at what kind of christian you are. Saying you are a christian and running around swinging your religion like a weapon won't make you any friends except among the other greedy, warring types. Most people I know who wear their christian mantle like a banner wouldn't think twice about passing a homeless person who is begging in the streets without so much as looking their way. Everyone seems to have lost their 'WWJD?' bracelets these days, which leads to my second complaint...

2) If you claim Christianity as your faith and Christ as your spiritual leader, but do not give to the poor, you are a hollow excuse for a Christian. When I say give to the poor, I mean truly give when someone needs without all the stupid judgemental excuses and contorted reasons for not helping. What do YOU do? If you are wealthy and comfortable, you have no (nada, none, zero) place lecturing anyone else about Christian values. You can share your abundance, you can share your peace and your joy, you can offer to help them, but shut the hell up about how you deserve what you have and how others should work harder and how the lord blesses you.

In the letter that my cousin sent today that got me all twisted and pissed off, it included this line:

"Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights."

WTF?!?! "Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek..." is damn near the stupidest rant I have ever heard. Turning the other cheek wasn't supposed to be fun or easy. It was supposed to be the right thing to do. It was supposed to be a testament to your selflessness and your faith in God. It was supposed to be symbolic of your faith in God's plan, an unflinching personal response to worldly conflict. These sad misguided invocations of bastardized christian values are pathetic and craven at best. 'Blasphemous' is probably the better description.

Too many people do not want to believe in free will or personal responsibility. They want their 'christianity' handed to them, inherited from their superior parents and as a testament to having been chosen. Christianity is not a birthright or a weapon. Those who treat it as either belittle and slander what is beautiful in its message.