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The Public Blogging of Pomosexuality, Homotextuality, Homophobiaphilia, and Drear Theory (aka Career Theory) [aka Gay4Pay]. We also read the Corner and OpJournal so the right buttock will be punished as well.
All comments subject to publication. Or dismissal. Or Both.
Two days late but, Happy Birthday Google! You are only 4 but you have already accomplished more than search engines 1.38x's as old as you!
Your new news page is almost alive, its sliding puzzlepopularity algorhithms are shape shifting marvels. It is already my home page! And it's still only in Beta! Good Boy! Your little brother, Images, is out of beta and now in short pants you must be proud of him! I just feel honored and special that one of the select 2,469,940,685 pages you search is humble Agenda Bender. Ignore the taunts from the other, lesser webcrawlers. Let them call you spoogle and gaygle, gargle and goofball. Jealousy, envy, spite and malice--you know the score, you keep the score. You are the score.
Now I feel ashamed. It's YOUR birthday but you give a gift to me. This true crime mystery story from your front page this morning is a sliding puzzle all its very own. Liquid names, disappearing people. Exotic locales--Tahiti, Tijuana, Chula Vista. Unknown patients on their anonymous deathbeds revealed! Goog bless you Godle.
Friday, September 27, 2002
Two Planetout stories for paradoxical Paul Harvey's consideration:
The first major party candidate for federal office to feature their support for gay rights in a campaign ad is from Oregon. His name is Gordon Smith--Senator Gordon Smith, he's campaigning for re-election. He is running ads touting his support for a federal hate crime that is broadened to include gays in the protected category. Matthew Sheppard's mom stars in the spots giving Smith her son's somewhat creepy posthumous support, "Matthew would have liked Gordon a lot". And now for the rest of the story....
The military appears increasingly NOT to be discharging military personnel who DO tell and come out as gay. So the organization formed to protect the rights of gay service men and women, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), is objecting to the military's refusal to abide by the don't ask, don't tell provisions and discharge openly gay soldiers. My brain hurts, let planetout explain:
The military's apparent reluctance to enforce its own policies has put SLDN in a position of pressing for enforcement of a law that it simultaneously lobbies to get repealed.
"SLDN works vigorously to ensure that military leaders enforce the 'don't harass' provision of the current policy and will continue to do so until the ban on GLBT personnel is lifted," Ralls said.
Now my mind hurts. You see, they want the military to kick out gay soldiers until such time as perfection reigns and there's no need for the military anyway. Or more charitably they think that soldiers who come out as gay and feel that the military is a hostile environment should get an automatic honorable discharge because they might indeed face harassment as gay soldiers. The problem with this is that they would almost certainly face harassment if "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed tomorrow and the military welcomed openly gay recruits.
Pioneering out gay soldiers are going to have a rough time, period. The SLDN should fight to protect soldiers from official harassment (or official disregard of private harassment by fellow soldiers) but how can they champion full equality for gay soldiers and the official repeal of DA, DT but object to it's de facto repeal. It can't be both an unconscionable barrier to patriotic gay Americans who want to get in AND a wormhole escape hatch for already enlisted gay Americans who want out. If there are gay soldiers suffering intolerable harassment then make the argument for their safety and release from service on the basis of their civil rights as Americans not on the basis of their secondary status as gay Americans.
Sorry I can't be in DC this week to welcome the state anarchists. Always a few cute gay ones among my black flag brothers and sisters. Cute and easily led--a great combination. And the straight ones can probably be guilted into temporary anti-capitalist sexual transgressiveness. Anyone who is in DC and in the mood for a little culture jamming can download the always unpopular anarke logo I designed a couple years ago. Make copies and paste them up where the anarchrists can see and appreciate them. The black blocks especially enjoy this kind of humor.
Go to the Mirror, Boys
Is Jonah Goldberg an idiot? Glib, facile, more clever than wise sure, but he never seemed dumb to me. He has even, on increasingly rare occasion, struck me as devilishly bright. Yet he quotes a Mark Twain letter in the Corner today, a letter so blindingly obvious in its self-refuting irony that you feel a little let down. Twain is winking with every orifice. It's only because this private letter was a throwaway not meant for publication that you end up being generous and giving Twain a pass. But Jonah G. somehow manages to miss this track jumping freight train of substandard goods bearing down on him. Or he sees it but mistakes it for a baby lamb offering it's fuzzy head for a petting. He not only doesn't get the joke, he doesn't even know that he's in the general vicinity of a joke. And he's quoting MARK TWAIN.
I read Goldberg's post again and again looking for the smallest hint that HE was being ironic. There is none. His misapprehension is so absurd that I think we can find its origin not in a failure of intelligence but in a failure of will. I'm betting that Goldberg was so embarrassed by his makework column defending (make that, extolling) local censorship as a good that he suffered from psychological blowback. He read Twain in shame and thus misread him. Goldberg is in danger of following Vidal down the figure 8 highway to inconsequence. Cleverness in pursuit of nothing. Contrary because he could.
Update: Arthur Silber at Light of Reason copies Jonah's entire post and expounds further (emphasis on pounds) on Mr Goldberg and the case of the missing reading skills.
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Dude of the Day
You see the name Peter Tatchell in the British gay press but he doesn't get much ink over here. He's a lefty I can half love. Not sure if I'd love him at all if I lived in the UK, but from a safe distance he can make me smile. I especially like his recent free speech defense of an antigay street preacher Harry Hammond, who was fined 300 pounds for displaying the sign, "Stop Immorality, Stop Homosexulaity, Stop Lesbianism." The sign was judged "criminal' under the public order act. Tatchell has been arrested under similar provisions, most notably for standing outside a gathering of Muslim fundamentalists at Wembley Arena (a LOT of Musfundies) with the cheery placard, "Isalm Nazis Behead and Burn Queers." This was in 1994. Tatchell's charge was eventually dismissed and he wants the same for the street preacher.
His argument: "Mr. Hammond's placard merely stated his opinion. In a free society isn't that his right?" Simple enough, that insight, and vanishingly rare on the left lately.
Peter has also been chasing Robert Mugabe all over Europe attempting to arrest him for his various crimes against humanity. The first attempt:
"In protest at President Robert Mugabe’s homophobic policies and other human rights abuses, Peter Tatchell and three OutRage! activists ambushed his motorcade in central London in late 1999, attempting a citizen’s arrest. Running out into the road, they forced the President’s limousine to halt. Peter Tatchell opened the car door and grabbed Mugabe, declaring that he was under arrest on charges of torture under the 1984 UN Convention Against Torture. When he summoned the police to formally arrest the President, officers knocked aside his Amnesty International dossier on human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Peter Tatchell and his OutRage! colleagues were arrested instead, while Mugabe was allowed to go Christmas shopping at Harrods."
He keeps doing this, or trying to, most recently in Brussels. Maybe I three-quarters love him.
Yeah he's predictably socialist in his economics, he's abandoned Labour because he thinks they sell out gay issues when convenient but his heart still beats as one with the Labour welfare state. Even here though I like the goofy localism that somethimes shines through. Like this plank in his "Manifesto" (All hail Roxy Music) for his race for London Assembly:
"London on Ice - close The Mall to traffic and transform the former roadway into a long lake which would, in winter, be frozen artificially to create the world's biggest, free open-air ice rink"
Um, OK. I guess Peter likes to take a twirl on the ice of a winter's eve. I'd enjoy seeing him chase Mugabe around the rink some Christmas day. Be a gift to the world. Better than anything you can find in Harrod's.
The Planetout story that announces Some sex lubricants may help spread HIV confirms what I thought was already widely known: the spermicide nonoxynol-9 (N-9), which was once believed to be an effective agent against HIV transmission is anything but--that it may in fact make transmission MORE likely in unprotected sex. It reminds me again of the always low scientific standards of the medical profession. Doctors must be second only to school teachers in being suckers for professional fads.
I can remember when the first wave of skin cancer hysteria hit. Every TV news health segment and newspaper fact sheet about preventing skin cancer quoted a dermatologist's warning that sunscreen was a necessity and to use ONLY sunscreen that contained PABA. A few years later this was revealed as bad advice and all the sunscreens started labeling themselves as PABA FREE!
Hold onto your N-9 lube. It's sure to become collectible as the new N-9 FREE! lube hits the market.
Monday, September 23, 2002
I followed instapundit's link to this piece by Michael Berube last week under the mistaken impression that Berube was the clockwork lefty whose movie reviews I would skim in the Boston Gay Guide years ago when I used to read that pretty regularly. I was going to post here that finally there were some interesting second thoughts by someone on the gay left since Berube's piece turned out to be good. I googled Berube and also found this entertaining article about the battle of the southpaw titans. I'd read references to the the Tariq "Le Freak" Ali Vs. Hissin' Chris Hitchens fight card but I'd never seen any ringside coverage of the match. Again Berube does a pretty good job. But as I googled I noticed that there was no mention of Michael Berube writing movie reviews for the Guide. I realized that I'd somehow mistaken Berube for the Guide's critic, probably conflating his name with Allen Berube's, the gay historian. I still couldn't recall the movie critic's name.
Then I saw Matt Welch's mention of a Boston Phoenix piece entitled "Brain Drain" that laments the intellectual carpet bombing Chomsky, Sontag and Vidal have suffered this last year. I read the author's name, Michael Bronski, and the three cherries clicked in a row, lights flashing. The payout was a little disappointing though. Here was my boyo and he hadn't rethought a thing. Maybe that's not fair since I couldn't really tell you what Bronski's current thoughts are beyond the premise of his piece: it is rude and anti-intellectual to criticize these THREE particular intellectuals. If there is a deeper point it is submerged at depths my sonar can't reach. Bronski really appears to believe that this trifecta's status as noted public intellectuals confers some kind of immunity on them. How dare anyone call Vidal a "moral idiot" an economic "know nothing", Chomsky an "anti-american" and name a "loony left" award in honor Susan S.?
According to Bronski's child's garden history of American anti-intellectualism it all starts with Ichabod Crane cast as a geek and ends with Dubya "stomp[ing] on the intellectual integrity of the UN." You read that right "THE INTELLECTUAL INTEGRITY OF THE UN." I'd never heard that phrase or seen it in print before either. It's a mystery how George W. found this fourth dimensional chimera let alone held it still long enough to stomp on it. But it gives you the measure of Mr. Bronski's worldview that he can earnestly type it.
I'll clue Mikey B. in on something. Smart people don't necessarily stay smart. You want pellucid prose and crystalline thoughts? Check out Bertrand Russell's early 20th century essays. You want an unhinged crank reduced to a traveling ventriloquist dummy and doddering animatronic sidekick to an iron minded Maoist hack? Check back in with Bertie 2/3rds of the way through the twentieth century. Vidal's descending flightpath seems a match for Russell's. There were days above the clouds close to the sun but the engines seized and the spiral commenced, I'd say about 10 years ago now. What could be less anti-intellectual than pointing out the intellectual disrepair into which Vidal has fallen? You want anti-intellectual? Then ignore Vidal's current intellectual squalor, value flat-lined fandom over honest reappraisal. Vidal always had his flaws, I can remember reading him as a teenager and thinking despite my admiration, he really didn't know anything about economics. Even then I could tell that Vidal was fooled by his own cleverness into thinking he knew about things he'd never really taken the time to investigate. But then he would get back to the things he really had read and thought about and there was no one better. He must have run out of those things though since in recent years it's all just threadbare recapitulations of patrician disdain and bored omniscience.
The only thing that saves Chomsky's and Sontag's decline from being as stark and as sad is they didn't have as far to fall.