Wednesday, June 29, 2005

writing well vs. oh what the hell ever

I will make no claims of turning out sparkling prose, but I think in general my writing is passable and I can polish it alright when I care to. And I like to believe that my logic is generally fairly sound even if sometime convoluted. I certainly have no aversion to being told my writing or reasoning is crap when it is. And sometimes it is. I think I am better off for it. I have some of the best friends in the world who wouldn't bat an eye at calling me out in public for any manner of embarrassing behavior, which keeps me on my toes and either alert to how I come across and able to correct myself before I get too ridiculous or thick skinned enough that I don't get flustered when confronted unexpectedly. Right now, if any of my friends are reading this, they are preparing to tell me that my sentences are too long and I could use fewer words to make my point.

Anyway, I think most folks in the reality base community function similarly, putting out sincere effort and welcoming deserved criticism and deflecting the ridiculous and petty gripes. So I am never suprised when I follow a link (this time from Steve Gilliard) and find something well-written and entertaining on the other end:

Miblog Weighs a Ton

I'm linking to his main page, not the specific post that had apparently already been blitzed Steve and Jesus' General because they have already passed on more traffic to him than I get in a year and the rest of his stuff is plenty good. (Nordy, if you are ever up in NYC, I'd be happy to buy you a beer.)

From there, I ended up on this fellow's site:
Shot In The Dark He needs a beer dumped on his head. It isn't so much that I disagree with him (which I do) but that his blog is bad. The writing is at the bottom end of mediocre and the logic is worse. I kind of wanted to leave some comments, but in the end, why bother? I guess if someone put a keyboard on the ground and let a chicken walk around on it, I would sit around with my friends and giggle and laugh if it managed to punch out anything coherent and probably prod it back towards the keyboard to see if it could make another word, but I don't think I would expect the chicken's gibberish to become any more humorous or enlightened if I sent it an email and tried to engage it in conversation.

If you can not do it, don't do it.

I quite obviously don't use this blog as a straightforward journal or diary, but it does serve as something of an archive of ideas and impressions and influences. I have mumbled a few times about why I am doing this and what my aim is with it, so this isn't exactly new territory. Specifically, with my writing here it has become something of a cathartic coping mechanism for dealing with political frustration and rage as well as standing in stead of my and Mason's ongoing online discussions about the world and everything. But things aren't always as simple as such easy answers suggest.

My friend C has a livejournal that I don't read quite as often as I might. He writes well and his thoughts on things and experiences are usually entertaining. His is more a running play by play than an online rant, but today he asks that same question:
why am I writing this?

I won't take the time to delve deeply into this question, but I always come back to an André Gide quote when I begin to question the time I spend pounding a keyboard: "If a young writer can refrain from writing, he shouldn't hesitate to do so."

I have found over the years that I CAN'T refrain from writing, so having failed on that account, I try to buckle down and see what I can glean from what my mind requires laid out in text. All other excuses aside, this is the fundamental force behind it, I write because I don't have a choice. Figuring out what I should write and toward what audience and toward what end are all details that I figure I will spend the rest of my life sorting out.

I suspect that, having found himself similarly unsuccessful at not writing, my friend will too.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

So are we.

andrew sullivan should be hit by a bus:

Issue Number 942 | Still here, so sorry |

Signorile's reaction:

Dear Bareback Andy, June 11, 2005

I pray that Harvey Fierstein prints a response.

When trying to explain to Mason a while back who Sully was, I told him that he was our (the gay community's) tom friedman (Mason is a Middle Eastern studies scholar): smug, self-important, commentator who is often published in prominent mainsteam media sources (like the NYTimes) and often treated by people with little personal dealings with gay issues as a voice of our community.

Which invariably makes me want to puke, much in the same way Mason does whenever someone invokes tom friedman in a discussion of the middle east.

They parade around and pretend to be moderates while in truth they are demogogic jerks who glibly comment on serious issues and denigrate those who treat said issues with more concern.

Although I have had the unfortunate experience of having well-meaning straight people attempt to show solidarity be telling me about "this article that I read in the NYT's written by this gay guy," I have yet to find anyone in the gay community who likes him. Early in my stumbling around in my gay adult identity, a friend recommended reading the first chapter of _virtually normal_ because of sullivan's descriptions of struggling with being gay. He never read past that little bit of the book, happy just finding someone else able to describe their experience. I, sitting in the library at U of A during some break read further, skipped around and basically walked away with a feeling of something akin to pity or embarassment. The self-centered whining and desperate want to be recognized as just as 'normal' as all the straight people struck me even then, as a not quite out kid, as pathetic and contemptable.

andrew sullivan is the epitome of everything that is self-centered and visionless about the leadership of the gay community. He is the embodiment of the best-little-boy-in-the-world approach to gay rights, if we just act good enough, straight enough, normal enough then the bullies would leave us alone. An understandable approach in a child, a ridiculous one for an adult.

He does not speak for me; he does not speak for my community. He speaks for the only person he cares about: himself. If only he would just shut up.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I blame Tbogg.

I don't know why I suddenly feel the need to blog about the hideousness that one may stumble across on the internet, but I do know why I stumbled across this hideousness: ��TBogg��

I like Tbogg and peruse his blog far too frequently. He keeps up with america's worst mother so I dont' have to and how else would I get my much needed basset porn pics. But don surber I could do without. But try as I might not to, I still end up hanging with Tbogg one minute and next thing you know, I clicked a link and that gnarly face is staring at me with a smile 3 times too small for the head and there is all this inane writing which shouldn't have been shared in public. Or in private.

I'm not going to go into all his inane writing, but against my better judgement I am going to link to it so you can read it yourself:

Don Surber

But what singularly stupid statement inspired me to bother with this crap? This one: "Too much of the left is stuck in the Sept. 10 world. " Honestly, I am so tired of this 'everything has changed' bullshit. Yes, it was a big event that most of us watched live on tv or out your window if you were in the city. National tragedies are not something to be taken lightly and this city is still dealing the trauma and won't be done dealing with it any time soon, but you know what? It wasn't the first bad thing to ever happen and it won't be the last.

What was "too much of the left" too "stuck in the Sept. 10 world" to do according to this sage mind? Blog. Yes blog. Because we didn't start screaming for revenge over the internets, we obviously didn't take the collapse of the WTC seriously. Well, fuck you.

What an asinine thing to say!?!?! And then this little tid bit that is going to get a moment's brimstone treatment from me then I am leaving the computer and going out to enjoy what is left of the beautiful after noon and plant my new flowers:

"But Republicans being duly elected to Congress is something to blog about? That shows what the priorities are. Screw the national security. Winning is everything to the left, which is why the left loses. You have to stand for something besides a lust for power."

The double speak makes one's head spin. And what is it that the Republicans stand for? You have the nerve to talk about winning being everything to the left after the right just forced a war through by misleading the American public, Congress, and the international community and then once in the conflict, made military decisions based on election concerns? Your idiot right actively and aggressively, during a time of war, smeared the service and character of a decorated veteran of a previous war for political gain. I could go on...

Mr. Surber, with all due respect, if you belive the things you write, there is something wrong with your head and if you don't and write them anyway, something is wrong with your heart. Either way, we have the president YOU deserve.

Don Surber, a proud citizen in the nekkid emperor's nation of retards. .

Now I have flowers to plant (some lovely Lychnis haagaena), and it will grow as well now as it would have before 9/11. Lefty pinkos aren't in denial about what happened that day or the reality that tragedies do happen in this world, but we aren't going to forget that there are still some of us left and there are still beautiful things to be found and cultivated here. We saw the tragedy and still morn and are trying to prevent the next. You and your opportunistic brethren saw an opportunity to push for a grand war and to drop some big bombs on some brown people and you took it and you ran with it for all it was worth. You sent other people's kids off to die in another country so you could reap political gain and further the consolidation of wealth and power in this country. So don't you fucking dare lecture anyone about the left being too blase about 9/11.

Wanker. I hope you can sleep at night.

Sorry, didn't mean to get off track again. I have flowers to go plant.

Friday, June 17, 2005

"Why aren't you married?"

Why does MSN have those insanely stupid 'Today on MSN' articles that pop up when you use hotmail?

More importantly perhaps is why do I ever click on any of them? The writing is always crap, the subject stupid, the titles misleading. Must be done by republicans.

Anyway, I made the grievous mistake of clinking on one today about how to answer the question 'Why aren't you married?' This is not a question which weighs heavily on my mind or one which I have trouble answering. I am not married for the same reason I am not in the military: bad attitude and an almost pathological aversion to sacrificing personal autonomy. There are a multitude of new reasons to avoid both like the plague, but these are the ones that keep getting me. My parents have always known that these things would get in the way of me marrying and strangely enough never bothered me about marriage growing up when I would say things like, "I'll never get married," or "I'll never have kids." My mother would just quietly slip in her, "Well, that's ok, but you never know how things will turn out." The only dating advice she ever gives is "Never date anyone you couldn't see yourself marrying, but cause you don't know who you will fall in love with."

Now that they know I am gay though, they occasionally (very rarely, but from time to time) slip in little unsubtle hints when the subject is brought up and I am around, "You would make a great dad." or just to make sure that the point isn't lost that they mean with a woman, "You have great genes. It would be selfish not to pass them on." I argue that it is selfish to reproduce in an already over-populated world, which by the way is a comment which doesn't go over well with parents who have 6 kids. But just to get their goat, I bait them with comments like, "Even if I could get married, I don't think I would." Which leads to the inevitable, "You COULD get married." Which is very intentionally implying marrying a woman, so I very intentionally remind them that if I were going to marry, it wouldn't be to a she, "Not to anyone I would marry. Remember, everyone voted on that in November." "No, they voted on who should be president." "The only reason people voted for bush was because they were greedy, bigoted, and want to blow up brown people."

Anyway, blah blah blah. My parents are actually great and I salute their sly efforts cause it just gives me an excuse to make them sweat a little. The point of this post is that msn's stupid articles are retarded and today's is particularly retarded. I do not want advice about how to tell someone why I am not married from someone who is just trying to convince herself that she has good reasons. The question is dumb in the first place.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

if all else fails, appeal to vanity.

the New York Times had an article on the nasty oral effects of crystal meth:

Grisly Effect of One Drug: 'Meth Mouth' - New York Times

I have long been wondering why anti-meth ads didn't push this angle. Meth users have seriously N A S T Y breath that no amount of brushing or gum will cover up. The stuff will rot your teeth out faster than if you sucked on sugar cubes all day everyday. It destroys you gums and will rot a hole straight on up into your nasal cavity. And it doesn't waste time doing it. It pisses me off that the gay community isn't going apeshit about the dangers of meth right now, with its use on the rise and with its close association with unsafe sex pratices. But I have always thought that the easiest angle to tackle this from is the it-will-fuck-up-your-grill angle. Go with the immediate, go with the one that will make them ugly quick. Meth makes your breath smell nasty, and it will destroy your teeth. Say it everytime you hear the drug come up in conversation.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Class is the new Race.

Steve Gilliard has been following the story of the Alabama girl who disappeared in Aruba and used it to further illustrate the point he had made earlier with the crazy run-away bride: the media treats a missing pretty white woman as national news, but when is the last time you saw national news coverage of a missing black lady?

I don't mean to suggest that his analysis is one dimentional, but he has been looking at what this and other news stories suggest about how race influences coverage and prosecution of crimes. I like how Steve digs into things but I also find this one particularly interesting (outside of the racial issues) because the girl is from Alabama and I had a roommate from Mountain Brook and I remain close to him and his family and some of their friends, so there is a good chance that I am separated from this girl by only one or two degrees of separation. I won some good money in a poker game in Mountain Brook last Christmas.

Anyway, now I'm rambling, but the point in writing is to direct everyone to this article that Steve comments on:


Mason and I have been discussing the move to treat culture as the new race. Same thing with class; both are being used as the new means for keeping the 'others' in their place. Welcome to the new face of bigotry. An awful lot like the old face, but we seem to be slow about calling spades spades in this country.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Application denied!

In a perfect world I would agree with : Gene Stone. It would be great to tell some folks acting like idiots about gay shit to just go stay in the damn closet and leave the rest of us the hell alone. Really, who approved andrew sullivan's gay card? Will someone please cut it in half?

but fun as it is to joke about "inning" comfortable celebs, when the notion hits reality it gets ugly, as we saw in the last post. As to Tom Cruise, who really cares?

Well, except for maybe Katie Holms. But long as he don't say nothing nasty 'bout the homos, I don't care one lick where he puts his pecker.

if you have never seen me mad, you are about to...

Mason (and everyone else), go read this now:

Majikthise : Queer Action Coalition pickets Refuge

Majikthise also reminds us of the dobson bible whoring empire's foul extension into this market of paying others to destroy your children to assuage your bigotry:

Majikthise : Focus on the Family's latest project

which is a group which puts on conferences to hurt gay kids. They may not state this as their purpose, but you damn well better know that it is the effect, whether pushing kids one step closer to suicide or towards lashing out at other gay folks or to promoting hostile environments in the community and classrom, these folks mean to have us in our place or dead.

I had the unfortunate experience of attending one once, so please, if you disagree with my characterization of the organization or what they do, step to it.

Thankfully, my interaction with these folks was after I was a finacially independent adult with a bad attitude instead of a scared teenager. But kids have it fucking hard enough without some money-grubbing pricks trying to get their scared parents to let them beat their head to a pulp with a bible and a smile. The whole day there at the conference, in some giant Atlanta baptist church with its halls lined with booths selling books and tapes and seminars and whatever the hell else they could slap a price-tag on, I could help but think of Jesus in the temple throwing out the money changers and overturning their tables. These assholes don't know Jesus and they never will; as the Good Shepherd warns in the Good Book, we see him everyday in the face of every person in need of help, but since he can't be found on the back of a dollar, dobson et al will never recognise him.

I will come back to all this. The shit going down in Memphis is too far beyond the pale and too close to home.

But I need to calm down first.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Not if you are doing it right...

I've been blogging here for a little over a year. I can't say I have had quite the regularity that one might hope for, but looking back through it all, quite alot accumulates over that period of time, even with only posting a couple of times a week. I am also no technical wiz, so it has taken me a while to figure out some of the simple things. Adding the site meter at the bottom wasn't done so long ago, so I have a only a very short record of who has visited but I am fascinated with who is finding my site and how. Not so very many people link to the site, so the stray visitor is a significant demographic for me.

I am constantly amazed at what search words lead folks here. Apparently, the big one is "Tianamen" , which of course is not the most cheerful thing to come into this on, but interesting none the less. The most fun are the folks who find this searching for more lacivious things, like "butt sex" or "hot gay porn fucking". I guess I have written all those words (not necessarily in those combinations) but I somehow don't think this is exactly what they were trying to find and am flattered that they took a moment out of their wack-off time to peak at my blog.

Yesterday, when checking to see who had come by, I noticed two new searches: "'straight edge' gaybashing" and "Is gay sex painful?" Something about straight edge gaybashing just seems wrong and I doubt Fugazi would approve, but this one of those quandries that I file under heard-something-about-something-googled-it. "Is gay sex painful?" strikes me as a little more personal.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

okrent: a prime example of what is wrong with our media.

this is from the okrent v. Krugman slap fest (from okrent's flailings):

The New York Times: Public Editor's Web Journal (Forum/Message Board): "But I laid off for so long because I also believe that columnists are entitled by their mandate to engage in the unfair use of statistics, the misleading representation of opposing positions, and the conscious withholding of contrary data. But because they’re entitled doesn’t mean I or you have to like it, or think it’s good for the newspaper.

he did what???!?!?!?

If you are the editor of a newspaper, you should not 'lay off' correcting or confronting one of your writers if they are being misleading. It is your damn job! Sorry, dude, but whether or not you are right about Krugman playing fast and loose with the facts, you are a chicken-shit, passive/aggressive coward who didn't do his job and then wants to bitch about it later and blame someone else. Yes, you should give your opinion writers a wide berth for their opinions, but when they start throwing around questionable statistics and facts or using them in unseemly ways, you need to confront them and push til you get a clarification or a correction. If you think they are acting innappropriately, you should address it then.

Is our country being run by 13 year-olds?

Actually, please don't answer that.