Tuesday, May 31, 2005

a few gems from the past: the collected hits of Mason.

I originally started this blog mainly as an archive of the extended discussions which Mason and I have been having over the years. I had saved every stinking email but on a couple of occasions, had those email archives wiped out, so I wanted to cache them elsewhere, but also open them up for public consumption. I had (and still have) every intention of taking some of the better of our old discussions and putting them here.

But over time this became more a place that I used for cathartic ranting and Mason moved to NYC so we were having more of our rambling discussions in person, leaving little textual residue for web preservation. Also, there were only a very few people looking at the site, so there didn't seem to be so much urgency to put new old things up.

Mason has always been intended to be an equal partner in this enterprise but has only occasionally contributed. This will suprise no one who knows him, but neither will the quality of the few things he does share.

Since his recent post seems to have generated a flurry of comments/links/hits (not that many to some blogs, but we don't get a lot of traffic around these here parts), I thought I would point out his past posts:

Sacrificial Design

-this one was written right before the republican convention attacked NYC and played around with "industrial design, my high-school self, straight edge punk, and the upcoming Republican National Convention."


borrowed words on Abu Ghraib

-and this one was originally a personal correspondence, with Mason letting fly in un-characteristically brutal fashion on American perceptions of and response to the Abu Ghraib mess. If you read only one thing on this blog, this is it.

Listen while you work : The Magnetic Fields in Concert

I spend an awful lot of time doing fairly mind-numbing work at a computer, so I am always looking for good sources of interesting things to listen to. I've really been digging on the Creators at Carnegie series on NPR. The Caetano Veloso/David Byrne concert, the kd lang concert, and the Emmylou Harris concerts really stand out in my mind. They just put up the Magnetic Fields show on the website and I am listening to it right now.

NPR : The Magnetic Fields in Concert

I've only seen them live once (although I have seen Stephin doing wrong word kareoke on more than one occassion), but it was really nice hearing some of the songs without all the synth. Nothing against the synth and production on the albums, but naked songs are nice every once in a while.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Original Sin (The Ideology of the Right pt. 1)

Well, this blog just passed its’ first year mark a couple days ago. And while Daniel has dutifully set himself to writing consistently, posting constantly, and really making something out of this site over the past year, I think that my sum contribution has been something like three posts. Which is pretty pitiful. So, in order to start rectifying this sad state of affairs, let’s have an ongoing series exploring the culture and ideology of today’s right-wing America! Yippee!

I
“When fascism comes to America, they will call it anti-fascism”
Huey P. Long

In proper Orwellian fashion, the political parties in this country espouse most ardently the very things they hope to destroy. In the case of the American Right, they clutch Tradition and the Greater Good so tightly in their fists because they are seeking to obliterate them utterly. They do not believe in history. They do not believe in community. And for ostensible Christians, they certainly don’t believe in Original Sin.

Close scrutiny must be paid, therefore, to the political and rhetorical strategies that the minions of the Naked Empire deploy, the masks that they assume and the themes that they trumpet. For instance, at last year’s Republican National Convention, one theme that subtly wove its way through most of the speeches was particularly forceful and insistent. It was the idea that America was a place where, if you kept your head down and worked hard, you could achieve success in life (i.e. material success). The cultural weight of this idea should not be mis-underestimated, as it were. I think it’s one of the foundational narratives of our country, and I believe it’s particularly important to the ethos of the Republican Party.

The absolute primal myth of American culture is the so-called “American Dream,” where a poor man picks himself up by his bootstraps and achieves fabulous wealth through diligence, innovation, and a good Protestant work ethic. What this story teaches us about the world, if viewed sort of retroactively, is that everyone is where they deserve to be. A person’s economic status is completely within their own control, and is directly proportional to the amount of resourcefulness and effort they put into their work.

It follows then that the rich have become rich because they work harder and smarter, and the poor are poor because they don’t work hard enough or waste their money on foolish things (one begins to hear the faint echo of Social Darwinism rising from the depths). And of course, this outlook holds true for the way in which America views itself in the world. We are the most powerful and wealthiest nation on the planet because of our own great merits, our American can-do spirit and our love of freedom. And naturally, we believe that the inverse holds true for the Global South, but more on First World / Third World relations later.


II
“And one thing I learned about America is that if you work hard and if you play by the rules, this country is truly open to you. You can achieve anything”

Arnold Schwarzenegger
RNC Speech, 8-31-04

One can immediately see why this is among the most attractive narratives to those in power, because, in a sense, it justifies their privilege and wealth. It’s also attractive to those who desperately crave privilege and wealth, since it tells them that their dreams are not only achievable, but, in point of fact, darn near inevitable given that they follow the well-trodden path of working within the system. I suspect that this story becomes less and less compelling the further one travels down the socio-economic ladder, with the cold needle of reality working its way closer and closer to the soap-bubble of the self-made man.

(Incidentally, I think this goes some way towards explaining why the Republican Party, the party of the American Dream mythology par excellence, is appealing to upper and middle-class whites as well as the “new” minorities. I think recent immigrants to this country are more likely to buy into the promise of a meritocracy than those who have been around long enough to have that particular illusion painfully dispelled. This is a gross generalization, I know, but I think this (along with a confluence of socially conservative values) does help to explain the Latino flirtation with the Republican Party while illustrating why there is no similar flirtation from the (equally church-going) African American community).

It was said famously of George W. Bush that he was born on third base but acts like he just hit a triple, and I think that this a pretty accurate description of the attitude engendered by the ideology of the self-made man. It’s a smug mix of entitlement and a sense of accomplishment. And this attitude has a particularly complicated set of ideas about the past and about history, which is what I would like to try and explore for a bit (provided I can curb my Rampant Tangent Penchant (which doesn’t really rhyme, but sounds like it should)).



III

“If you’re determined and you want to work hard, you can do anything you want to. That’s the beautiful thing about America”

Laura Bush
RNC Speech, 8-31-04


The American Dream is predicated on the existence of a level playing field. But in a world where some people are born millionaires and some people are born addicted to crack, the idea that we all get an equal shot at things is about the most vulgar lie I can think of. And it’s a lie that is dependant on obliterating the past, on eliding away what came before, and pretending that the past has no bearing on the present.

And I think that this urge, to make the present completely autonomous from the past, has everything to do with control and responsibility. The idea that we might come into this world with debts already established is anathema to an American culture dedicated to the perfection of its own narcissism. It just wouldn’t be fair if we can’t take complete and sole credit for our wealth and status because of the fact that out wealth and status was secured by our forbears and conferred to us through innumerable privileges. And it certainly wouldn’t be fair if those privileges came with any trace of responsibility. It just wouldn’t be fair if we all didn’t start off immaculate and free. Waah waah waah, my pussy hurts.

This is what I mean when I say the American Right doesn’t believe in Original Sin. Or rather, they have some serious misconceptions about it. The basic lesson they take away from the Fall is that sex is a disgusting act. People are born in a filthy burst of sin and need the Messiah to redeem them from their nauseatingly fallible state. However, what the idea of Original Sin really means (using the Daniel Method of speculative theology) is that we all start out implicated in the world. We are enmeshed in what has come before us, whether we like it or not.


To Be Continued...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

"Dobson is the most dangerous man in America today."

Steve Gilliard says something I have been saying for years (much to the chagrin of my mother).

The News Blog: "Dobson is the most dangerous man in America today. He has money, followers and access to the White House and Congress. And he is an absolute idiot. He understands nothing about America which is complex or subtle. 24 would confuse him, Desperate Housewives would be slander, Queer as Folk, gay propaganda. His vision of Ameica would be foriegn to most of us."

Dobson can move more votes on his word than any other person in the country. But one of the dangers is that he and what he will bring about given the chance are every bit as serious as Steve and others say but how he appears to the casual observer is much more benign.

He speaks in a sympathetic voice to the majority of protestant christians. He made his name speaking to the frustrations of keeping a family together in modern america and all of his writings don't sound as extreme as he is characterized by the left. My mother regards him as a voice of moderation!!! And she is someone who thought regan was an awful president and pat robertson a moron and often votes Democrat (or used to).

This appeal to the benign issues of everyday life is how he gets otherwise reasonable folks to swallow his crap. He crams his politics in with his more everyday fare.

dobson and american family radio are going to give us more trouble than we are ready to admit right now not just in this country but globally. Their radio broadcasts are translated and broadcast in hundreds of languages and they are targeting heavily developing nations. They are very, very dangerous and they are very, very political. This is what my mother misses. They ceased to be primarily a family or religious organization a long time ago, even though this is what most of their followers signed on for. Politics and influence is their main game.

More on Dobson later...

No, we get it. We got it all along.

Cowboys and Indians - New York Times: "YES, as that anonymous officer said, the Bush administration's policy in Iraq could indeed still fail. But too few American liberals seem to grasp how high the price will be if it does."

Ferguson is making an all too common mistake. He assumes that liberals simply want to walk away from the war, all war and are blind to the consequences.

That is a stone cold stupid assertion.

Liberals were against the war precisesly because we were very aware of what could go wrong if we failed in our undertaking as well is what was wrong with it if we didn't. Our problem with this wasn't just military use. We want a strong military as much as anyone and I wouldn't hesitate to fight and kill to defend this country if the threat were real and direct. But I'll be damned if I will let some retarded man-child and his neo-con handlers start some international boondoggle for profit and smokescreen and try to pay for it with my ass.

Yes, liberals get it. Iraq has no easy solutions and pulling out without leaving any stability is a disatrous option. But it is the one that most of America voted for last November. They voted to ensure that it remained a mostly unilateral undertaking and that the people who had failed to properly plan for the realities of this conflict before rushing in remained firmly in place calling the shots. It wasn't the liberals who cast that vote so don't you dare go accusing us of being all starry eyed about how things will go if we pull out. We no there are no easy answers and there never were. If you need someone to call an idiot polly-anna, look in the whitehouse. The administration is full of them.

Damned Idiots

at least they aren't from Alabama or Mississippi for once.

New Rule on Endangered Species in the Southwest - New York Times: "In a telephone interview from the Albuquerque fish and wildlife office, Larry Bell, a spokesman, said that Mr. Hall's interpretation meant that 'the only thing that we have to consider in recovery is: does the species exist?'

'We don't have to consider whether various adaptive portions of a species exist,' he said."

The endangered species act is by no means perfect, but fuck the assholes who further screw it up. We have to get rid of this culture in this country that we should be able to do any damn thing we please and screw the consequences and that the only value that we measure is private, economic value. If someone can't own it or slap a patent on it, then there is a huge chunk of the population that would just as soon see it turned under with a bulldozer.

I won't even begin to touch the stupidity of the assertions by these Fish and Wildlife officials that current science shouldn't be used in considering issues about the preservation of endangered species; it is too blatant to bother. The ownership society strikes again. They had better be careful: one day they are going to wake up and realize they got exactly what they paid for.

Friday, May 20, 2005

the virgin ben deserves our pity...

So little ben shapiro has written a book about his generation, the 'porn generation.' World O'Crap looks into this must read summer hit: World O'Crap

Why doesn't this strike me as one of the dumbest things ever? Really, I am tired of those creepy 'christian' freak-a-zoids who only think about sex. Are all Christians crazy sex-minded freaks? No, but there is a good portion that are really demented and make you feel dirty just talking to them. When my sister was in college, her social center was the campus Wesley Foundation (the Methodist group). They were less of jocktard greek types than the baptist group and mostly pretty decent, even if a little over the top for my tastes. But there were a chunk of guys in that group who creeped me out, because you could tell that all they thought about was sex. They would talk to me about 'getting married' and really they meant 'having sex'.

I'm not the biggest fan of marriage anyway (not most marriages at least, or the way people act about marriage these days), but hearing some creepy twenty-something talk about how he has been dreaming about 'getting married' since he was 13 and getting a funny look when a pretty girl talked to him kind of made my skin crawl. Yes, most guys can be annoying hornballs, but most guys are not that retarded about it.

little benji is one big public sextard who is putting his creepiness in print. Really, someone out there should tell him that he is a perv and that this is embarassing. ben, most people who regularly have sex do not think about it as much as you. Most people can treat it as just another thing and not the big center of their life, the only thing they care about. An important thing, but not the only thing. Sure, it takes some folks a little while to figure that out when they first suddenly start dealing with sex first hand, but it takes somekind of warping to keep it that kind of an obsession.

And this is coming from a gay man. One of the interesting things about gay culture is that when gay people become more casual about their 'gayness' - being out, not caring if people think they are gay or look gay or act gay, being able to talk about relationships, talk to their family about their life, whatever - the less it all becomes about sex. I'm not going to try to tell you for a second that gay culture isn't plenty obsessed with sex, but not all of it is and the more open the community gay people find themselves in, the less sex centered it becomes.

One of the things which makes gay life the sex centered monster that it sometimes is, is that for most of us above a certain age (and still for lots of gay kids finding their way today), the idea of being gay was only presented to us in sexual terms. It was about having sex with men and that part of you was separate from everything else. Sex was sex and it was shameful and secret and having sex with other men was completely different from everything else in your life. That desire was treated as deviant and the chance that it would ever be fulfilled was supposed to be very slim and opportunities rare, so you would be constantly vigilant about keeping your eyes open for other interested men. Other gay men are just opportunities for sex, not friendships, not emotional connections, just sex.

When gay guys begin to come out and realize that sex isn't this rare thing, that they aren't alone, that their desires for companionship and intimacy with other guys isn't more scandalous than their sexual attraction, sex loses its grip as a controlling factor. You will have a hard time finding a gay man who doesn't still consider sex an important factor in a relationship and many who don't have many qualms about partaking of it casually, but the same could be said about a lot of straight folks. The point is that this partitioning off of sexuality and the subsequent obsession with it is the same thing that religion often does with it. ben shapiro is a perv who thinks everyone has sex all the time and thinks about nothing else because he has this belief system which tells him that sex is this dirty amazing thing that should be hidden and make you ashamed.

Which, of course, it can be, but it really is just another biological human function, which our adult brain is going to have to deal with one way or another. You treat it like this crazy secret club that only adults can get into, and of course kids go crazy and want to have sex and drink and do drugs or whatever. But you educate people and give straight information and some folks will still be pervs and idiots about it, but most folks will find some balance and moderation and be much healthier. Keep treating it like crazy vodoo devil magic and you end up with warped-ass adults who don't know how to deal with other people.

like the virgin ben.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

shot across the bow

there's a shot across the bow if I ever saw one:

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth: "Oh, and Senator Coleman: Before you go attacking other people's character based on a single source under questionable circumstances, you might want to take a peek in your own closet. I've received lots of info from sources claiming all sorts of things - well, actually, one specific thing - about your character. Think really hard (no pun intended) if you really want that to be the standard for public personal attacks on politicians' character."

Something about the way that is worded rubs me the wrong way, but none the less I am always happy to see some asshole get his chain yanked a little even if he had already had his ass delivered to him by another fellow earlier in the day.

Monday, May 16, 2005

just desserts: dennis miller dropped.

Ha ha.

Gay Bashing: the new public face of bigotry.

Frank Rich has an interesting new article on the crazy right's trouble with all the homo's getting yanked out of their woodwork. I want to consider the overall phenomenon and two passages specifically:

Just How Gay Is the Right? - New York Times: "Today's judge-bashing firebrands often say that it isn't homosexuality per se that riles them, only the potential legalization of same-sex marriage by the courts. That's a sham. These people have been attacking gay people since well before Massachusetts judges took up the issue of marriage, Vermont legalized civil unions or Gavin Newsom was in grade school."

and

"Those were the dark ages, but it isn't entirely progress that we now have a wider war on gay people, thinly disguised as a debate over the filibuster, cloaked in religion..."



First, what's up with all the homos who are running down other gay people and gay rights in general, like ken melman or jeff guckertt (or what ever the hell his name is)? Two things:

When you don't like something about yourself you try to change it. If you are taught that it is a mortal sin, or that you are evil because of it, you try one or a combination of two things (leaving out the third option of understanding it and reorienting you assumptions about it), repressing it or destroying it.

1) Repression

Learning to control and channel biological urges in a contructive and healthy way is something we all have to do; you don't just let everything you feel take over or you are going to end up in an unhappy place, but on the flip side of that, if you try to just deny biological urges completely or deny their existence, then you are going to end up a basket case or a monster. Just look what has happened with so many Catholic priests over the last several hundred years. Not that a man can't be celibate and serve the Lord, but that not every man can and ask any gay person you know with a traditional Catholic mother what she said when he came out or got caught with another boy: join the clergy and forget about sex. But it doesn't work that way and the Catholic church will be paying for it for years to come. But not every repression is as complete as that or has as severe consequences. Most gay men (not just gay-identifying men, but men who have sex with men) either speak very little about their sex life or compartmentalize it completely. The quiet ones are the ones who just learn to be vague and switch pronouns or never speak of romantic interest. They take the asexual public-persona route and may or may not be known to be gay, but it isn't spoken of.

The double-lifers are a little more difficult. They have wives and kids or girlfriends, and then sleep with guys on the side. Much has been made of the whole 'down-low' thing, but the assertion that it is a uniquely black/latino phenomenon is ridiculous. Anyone who believes that is plain stupid. There may be a difference in how these demographics (black urban/white rural-suburban) play out their publicly disavowed sexual desires, but both groups are out there screwing other men and lying to their wives/girlfriends/families about it.

2) Destruction

Then there is the inclination to destroy it. The more honest among us kill themselves. When they believe the lies that they have been told, that homosexuality is an abomination and that they are the lowest of the low and unlovable by God or others, and they recognise honestly that this isn't just a phase they are going through and that they aren't one day going to meet the right girl who will change them or the hobby or political cause with can keep their mind off of sex, they take the logical step: destroy this evil. And they begin and end with themselves.

The dishonest and selfish try to destroy it in other people. They keep their families and they keep their gay sex and they keep it divorced from public acknowledgement and scrutiny and they try to destroy other gay people and the opportunity for gay people to have sex. It can be very direct, like Billy Jack Gaither getting brutally murdered by an alleged ex-lover. Taking it all out on someone else and destroying what you can't stand about yourself by destroying someone else who you recognize it in. Or it can be less personal and still violent: taking a baseball bat to some random gay kid or throwing rocks at a passing car with rainbow stickers. But with gay folks taking a more prominent position in the public eye, we have a new beast, those homos who want to destroy public reference to gay life to protect their secret life. This is particularly suited to the republican closet cases: they have their money, their power, their position, their families, AND their gay sex and they want to keep all of it secure. The problem isn't that they want to keep gay people from having sex, in fact it is the opposite: every gay man who is out of the closet and publicly acknowledging his homosexuality is one more man who won't be getting fucked by (or fucking) him. Because when your sexuality ceases to be this intensely private thing, divorced from the rest of your life, it is no longer just about the sex and you aren't going to settle for the fucker who just wants you to come in his mouth and then pretend like you don't know him so he can run back to his wife. You are going to have to deal with public scrutiny to what you do and you start to concider emotions a part of sex and it all becomes less two-dimensional.

When everyone knows someone gay and everyone knows there are gay people out there and starts to wonder if there are any in their neighborhood, it gets harder to have those 'special' friends and not have your wife get suspicious. So these selfish fuckers decide that they are going to just try and make sure being gay continues being treated as criminal and continues to be a subject too crude to be discussed. If you can keep the general public against it being visible, then staying invisible in your double life is much, much easier.

And to my second big point (which I will try to keep shorter) which concerns the excerpts from the article: with the exception of the above mentioned groups, it isn't just about homosexuality. It certainly isn't just about gay marriage or religion either, the attack on homosexuality is just the currently acceptable outlet for popular bigotry. The public expression of racism isn't considered really acceptable right now and the popular line on racism is that it is a problem of the past. This is horse-shit, but you go on tv and talk about blacks as being more morally depraved than white people or that if black and white people were allowed to get married that next you would have people marrying dogs and box turtles and see how long it would take for every member of the Kool Kids Klub to denounce you and shove you out of sight. Where I am from in Alabama every damn redneck starts off every racist statement with a disclaimer, "I'm not racist, but..." Actually, so do the racists here in New York, but there are more people here and I can usually choose who to be around so I don't have to bother with people who offend me quite as much. Sometimes the bigots will say the same shit about gaybashing ("I'm not homophobic, but..."), but often times they won't even bother ("Hell yeah I'm homophobic; I don't want queers around my kids!"). You can introduce a bill into congress saying that gay people matter less to the law in a way that it is harder to do with regard to people of color, so we are were the bigots are focusing their attention now.

But it isn't just about being gay, it is about dissillusionment and shirking of responsibility. It is about someone to blame. The people for whom life isn't going as well as they wish it were want someone to blame. They would prefer an easy target and someone weaker than them so they can have their cathartic lashing out without risking too much themselves. And the powers that be are eager to deliver. Black people and poor people are perennial favorites, but the recent rise to prominence of gay people in the national consiousness has made us the new big target and fundraiser bogey man. Locally, colored folks are still getting the short end of a lot of sticks and given more hoops to jump through, but you can't say that on television. So you need a new scary scape-goat: the faggot/dyke. Bigot preachers can still go on the radio and say gay people are more depraved and should be shunned. Politicians can say that our jobs shouldn't be protected from a boss's prejudices. They can say we aren't fit to adopt children, to teach in schools, to live in their communities, to be protected by the law. They can say this on national TV! Don't for a second think they wouldn't be saying the same things about black people if they could get away with it (look at how Middle Eastern people are often characterized in the media). The used to and they wish they could again.

Because the greedy fuckers at the top growing fat on corporate welfare and screwing over the rest of us need someone to identify as a public enemy to keep eyes off them. So we get the war on drugs and the war on tara and the war on fags and the war on Darwin. And the miserable greedy bastards in the religious right are more than happy to oblige because it buys them entry in to this class (in the cases of a few top dogs) or they can profit off these popular bigotries. Just listen to the american family radio network or focus on the family when they are having a fund drive. If you hear them mention the need for more funds, you may be very sure that you will be hearing a lot about homosexuality in their programming for a while. And the war on drugs has never been about the realities surrounding drugs on any but the local level and often not on that. It is an excuse to arrest black people and trouble causing students and poor people. It is an excuse to interfere in Central and South American governments.

These bastards hate gay people, but it is a symptom of a larger plague: the blame of others for their miserable lot and their exlusion from some fictional past paradise which they should have inherited. They hate. Period. Homos are just the group they are allowed to publically bash without having to really veil the bigotry too much.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Call a spade a spade: the nekkid emperor's priorites, what over what?

James Wolcott, as always, has some entertaining and thought provoking things to say today and this little snippet struck me as particularly pretty:

James Wolcott: Bend This :

----------
"To reward Blair and express his gratitude, Watson said, don't be surprised if Bush bends a little on issues significant to Blair, such as global warming and international aid.

Allow me to hazard a counter-prediction.

George Bush will do fuck-all nothing about global warming.

He may exercise his tonsils and make concerned noises, but he will dedicate himself no more vigorously to global warming than he has done for the last four pissed-away years. Like his party and the rightwing media that pimps for it (about which voice of sanity Molly Ivins has more to say), Dubya places religion over science, refuses to acknowledge that global warming even exists as a planetary peril, and has never shown the slightest interest in conservation, mass transport, or anything else that might prevent the paving over of every inch of countryside. He would plant oil rigs in Arlington Cemetery and shovel straight through the bones of dead soldiers if reserves were discovered beneath the rows of white crosses, and chainsaw the last tree in the rainforest out of pure spite. (Just this morning USA Today ran a frontpage piece about new rules that will enable more logging of national forests. I mean, could the current energy bill be more ghastly and backward-looking?)"
----------


BUT, unsuprisingly, I have a bone to pick. Not with the sentiment or tone, but with the single assertion that "Dubya places religion over science..."

Nope, not even close. He cares for religion less than he does for science, it is just that the real scientists get kind of uppity when he tries to run around in science drag. The real Christians do too, but they don't have the national microphone in the religion corner. Calling him a Christian is like calling him a scientist. It is just so much bad drag. He is interested in power and his own damn ego, the rest is all dress-up.

He warbles on about science too and tells everyone that it will all be ok, trust him. If you believe what he has to say about the environment, his opinion on global warming is based on science and his assertion that ANWR will be fine when the drilling starts is too. He talks to scientists. It's hard work.

All his religious supporters are like his scientists: paid stooges for an immoral industry complex. james dobson? He cares none too much for Christ or his flock. dobson cares about his influence and his money. He is a modern day money changer, plain and simple. His ministry is just as much an industry as the oil folks paying bush to let them provide the presidential science. He doesn't offer hope to people in Christ's teachings or help for the afflicted, he sells it. And he doesn't offer religious guidance to the prez, he sells him influence and mailing lists.

To every member of the reality based community out there, stop referring to the president's faith and 'religion' as anything but what it really is: poorly done drag. He didn't win on 'moral values,' he won on bigotry and fear; he isn't a good christian man, he is a theif in the temple and if he met Jesus to day, Jesus wouldn't know him. Jesus would turn over his table and chase him (and dobson/robertson/falwell) out of the temple.

We already know he wouldn't recognize Jesus; he turns away from him everyday in every starving man/woman/child he could feed and doesn't, in every homeless person he could give shelter to and doesn't, in every American soldier/Iraqi citizen that dies in the war he chose to begin. Jesus is a name he says, not anyone who lives in his heart or mind and not a philosopher who guides his actions or thoughts. Anyone who calls themselves a Christian and supports this man either knows very little about him or very little about their religion.

and one final note to make sure my criticism of bush's bad sci-fi/religious drag is not taken as a slight against drag in general: I appreciate wearing something which most might not at first expect one to wear, be it drag or costumes or whatever, for fun or in all sincerity but I will hold them responsible for what they do in that costume. If a man were dressed up in drag and tried to go into the ladies room to sneak a peak at the ladies, pretending that he was a woman all the while, everyone would be pissed off at him even if they could see it was just a man in a dress and kept telling him to get out (like bush in his science drag) but if he could actually pass and went about his lechery in all sincerity and made it inside? People would be pretty damn offended and probably ready to string him up, depending on how long he managed to pass and what he did with it, but that is exactly what bush is doing with religion, although following the said analogy, the religious ladies room he hangs out in for photo ops is already full of a bunch of boys in dresses wearing their momma's make-up. This is why bush doesn't actually go to church except to campaign: it wouldn't take a real congregation too long to figure out he belonged there about as much as he belonged in the ladies' room.

a few thoughts on being obsessive-compulsive.

I am working late (well, now I am just staying late to blog, but I was working late) and am in a lab which I normally work in and am often the last to leave, but to which I do not have a key. Even faced with the danger of locking yourself out of a room if you leave, there is only so long one can go without visiting the restroom. No big deal, I made sure it was unlocked before I allowed it to shut behind me.

About 8 times.

One must make sure a doornob will open again when they leave it, so trying out the lock (lock, try handle, unlock, turn handle, repeat...) isn't too out of the ordinary; it is appropriate cautiousness. But since checking locks and shutting and reshutting things has taken up a larger portion of my life to date than mere caution warrents, it got me to thinking.

I won't bore you with the details, but in college, when my bacon/corndog/salad/cereal/hawaiian punch/french fry/milkshake diet joined forces with my hypoglycemia to seize control of my mental health (never under estimate what your diet can do to your mind) while I was straddling being out/not out and attempting the reconciliation of my deep religious faith/wreckage of rural southern upbringing with my liberal arts/science education, I found myself on the receiving end of more than a few psychoanalyses. Which didn't really bother me too much, some of the tests are kind of fun, but the point is I was sudden faced with several pages detailing the specifics of what most people who have ever known me have known all along: I am smart and I am crazy. Specifically, suffering from anxiety, depression, attention-deficit, and obsession/compulsion. I don't like using the suffix 'disorder' when talking about these things, because I consider them pretty fundamental to who I am, even if there have been times when they have gotten the best of me. I have seen friends with their 'disorders' medicated out of them and I think I would rather just keep my crazy, thank you very much.

Anyway, playing with the door and feeling my blood rise and trying the lock a few too many times, it struck me how little of my time these days I spend retreading menial tasks and rechecking everything and began thinking that my tendency towards compulsions were rooted in what level of security I had that I could escape/undo the consequences of my action.

With this door, I realized that I retried it as a response to not having a key (if I had a key, I would have been feeling for it in my pocket before shutting the door) and what it would mean if I did lock myself out:

1) computer left on

2) workspace not cleared (workspace is shared; would affect other people)

3) planner and jacket trapped overnight

None of this is very interesting, but I was reminded that my compulsions don't affect me nearly as much as they used to. I still retry things and double (triple, quadruple...) check things sometimes, but not like I used to. I don't lean away from telephone poles as I pass them or meticulously avoid stepping on cracks or rearrange everything on my desk to sit at right angles. Why not?

Because I am less convinced that whatever disasterous consequence follows my lack of attention to detail will be permanent. Not that I ever thought that I would suffer forever for getting lost in conversation while driving and not leaning away from a telephone pole which I was passing, but there was some impending fear that something was missed and it was missed FOREVER. I should have leaned away from that telephone pole, and didn't and now couldn't. And at that point, I had generally missed a few more dire opportunities to lean away from more telephone poles but I couldn't care because I had already not leaned away from one, so what did it matter? But if missing one was bad, then isn't leaning away from even one good, so I should start leaning away from them again, right? Maybe I should also lean away from solid double lines and stop signs?

Whether you want to or not, the obsessive-compulsive finds himself with more of an understanding of rockslides and avalanches than one generally wants. If you have ever tried walking over loose gravel or dirt on an incline, what your legs feel like is what my mind felt like most of the time.

I find the world around me less inclined to avalanche lately, having been blessed with a few floods and earthquakes to move on some of the loose ground and crud that wouldn't support my weight, but tonight was struck that it isn't only that so much of the unsubstantial had been eliminated, but that I didn't really care so much if the door didn't open back up. That I have gotten to a place where I can believe that there is always another chance, that anything can be fixed or even if it can't, there will be something else. One indiscretion is no longer seen as the beginning of a disaster, but just one more thing.

This isn't coming out as clearly as it seemed in my head as I walked away from that door which I knew was unlocked, but there will be other times to sling around musings about obsessive/compulsive tendencies (or the lack there of).

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Hit it til it breaks: focus on the network!

The focus on the family ad during the season finale to Super Nanny... can we just say 'WTF?'

Those folks are crazy. The organization is about power and money, Jesus is just a prop. I attended one of their 'love won out' seminars (the ex-gay things, and I went as an openly hostile combatant to supervise well-meaning and misguided relatives, not to 'straighten' myself out) and the whole thing was worse than I thought. It is a money changing operation, pure and simple. Thieves in the temple.

Anyway, MAX BLUMENTHAL is calling on folks to call the FCC, which i think is great, but I really don't have a whole lot of faith in the FCC these days and don't really feel like I have a whole lot of leverage with them.

But I can tell ABC to shove it if they piss me off. So I did.


this is the email address I got from their contact page: netaudr@abc.com

and this is what I sent them...

To whom it may concern,

In light of the rejected United Church of Christ ad promoting tolerance last year, I have to regard the decision to air a Focus on the Family ad during the season finale of Super Nanny hypocritical. For your network to reject an ad by a major denomination suggesting that they welcome everyone at their churches for being too 'controversial' but to then turn around and allow a religious group who agressively promote bigotry against homosexuals and the use of dominance and intimidation to control children as completely ok.

Super Nanny is an excellent show, and the child rearing techniques espoused on your show stand in stark contrast to what is espoused by dr. dobson and his organization, but you couldn't have told that from the ad. Seemingly, I was not alone in being horrified that this ad was shown during the finale, as several of my friends called during the comercial break to express similar sentiments and more have brought it up in later conversation. Had your company not earlier taken a stand against airing controversial religious groups ads (I still fail to see what the controversy of a church professing openess is), I would just consider this in poor taste and put myself on notice to change the channel next time I saw FOTF ads, but as it stands I felt this required a formal complaint. Please accept this letter as a formal complaint about the censorship of espressions of tolerance and the promotion of bigotry and abuse. I do believe that perhaps no one at the network may have understood previously that this is how this group is perceived in the country at large, but I consider focus on the family a hate group which is more political than religious and more facist than Christian and want to you to be very aware that the presence of their ads will affect my viewing habits. I would hate to give up Super Nanny and some of the other excellent programs on your network, but I will turn away and never look back if this becomes a regular occurance.

Thank you for your time,

FU MTA

When you have a 3-borough commute to start with and the two lines you take are already insanely crowded, you don't have much of a sense of humor about the delays that are incurred while the mta is 'improving' the lines. I originally wanted to believe that they really are trying to make things better and that they are concerned about the riders and how the system works, but I don't. You just can't ride the trains regularly and thing that the folks running the show are doing things right. They are jacking prices, reducing service, cutting maintainence crew then blaming delays on the riders, removing service booths, and screaming about money problems while they try to give away valuable propetry to an unpopular project. I'll bet you a dollar that none of the upper management has taken a pay cut in the last few years and those are the morons fucking things up for the rest of us. Not the drivers or the maintainence crews or the folks in the booths; they do their jobs and the assholes in suits who can't seem to run things in an effective way blame us and fire them.

Sorry, guys. An hour is too long to have to wait on the next train when you are inexplicably ushered out of your car at 125th to wait on the next train. People have to get to their jobs. If you can't do yours, you should resign.

FU MTA.