Tag Archives: gay men

The coronavirus and its metaphors

The baby boomer doomer (a.k.a. the baby boomer remover) is kind of pretty, isn’t it? Kind of like a Christmas tree ornament…

I remember the hysteria when HIV/AIDS first emerged in the 1980s. There were calls to quarantine gay men, even though HIV is not at all spread through casual contact — I remember the wholly unfounded hysteria that perhaps HIV was quite easily spread — and, of course, there were the innumerable pronouncements that AIDS was God’s punishment. (“AIDS kills fags dead,” one slogan put it succinctly.)

Because we gay men were — and still are — considered to be expendable, of course the Reagan regime dragged its feet on doing anything about HIV. The “right” people (if we can even call them people) were dying, after all.

So now comes along a new virus, one that curiously takes out primarily older people. According to data from China, where the new coronavirus first hit, the death rate for the virus breaks down by age group thusly:

The chart is astounding. It suggests that newborns to those aged 9 have a zero percent chance of dying from the new coronavirus, and the death rate goes up with each age group. My age group (the 50s) is 1.3 percent. Of course you don’t want to be part of the 1.3 percent, but that’s still a pretty low death rate for a plague.

As soon as you are in your 60s, however, the death rate is approaching 4 percent, and in your 70s, you’re looking at 8 percent — and approaching 15 percent for those 80 and older.

No wonder they’re calling the coronavirus the “baby boomer doomer” and the “baby boomer remover.”

Not that the herd couldn’t use some culling, and not that I would be torn up if a huge chunk of the baby boomers were offed, but the psychosocial dynamics of a plague sure are interesting.

Because this plague is killing baby boomers, we’re seeing much swifter governmental action, of course; we must save every precious baby-boomer ass, right?

But if HIV/AIDS felt like “justice” to the right wing and to other homophobes (such as the Joe Biden voters of today…), well, the coronavirus seems to me, at least in its initial stage, to perhaps offer some poetic justice.

I mean, the cruise is the bright, shining example of baby boomer over-privilege: The baby boomers’ parents passed their wealth down to their baby-boomer offspring, and today, the baby boomers are passing “their” wealth down to the likes of cruise-line companies. (To be fair, they’re also putting the nation’s wealth into McMansions, recreational vehicles, world travel, unnecessary home improvement, bright shiny new cars, time shares, golf, fine dining, expensive wines, etc.)

Boomers ostentatiously spend the nation’s wealth on cruises, on which they expect to be treated like royalty. They are to be catered to exhaustively by wage slaves who aren’t paid anything even like a living wage — and woe to those wage slaves who don’t smile the entire time of their servitude.

I listened to a recent local NPR interview of a baby-boomer-sounding woman who was on the infected Grand Princess cruise liner stopped first in the San Francisco Bay and then redirected to Oakland, and its passengers quarantined at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California.

The whiny, impossible-to-placate baby boomer acted like she was Yelping Travis Air Force Base as though it were just an extension of her fucking cruise experience. Clearly, the entire world is supposed to be designed (just like a cruise liner!) to cater to the whim and whimsy of every single fucking baby boomer; it’s their world, and the rest of us are here only to serve them.

In the baby boomers’ world, you’re either a feudal overlord (a baby boomer) or a serf (everyone else).

So: While I usually don’t wish people pain and suffering, given all that I have experienced and observed in my Generation-X lifetime, including, as a gay man, seeing how my fellow gay men were treated (and not treated) during the AIDS crisis, and including how I have been under the baby boomers’ thumbs for my entire fucking life, am I going to shed a tear for the baby boomers (and those older) felled by the coronavirus? No, not really, unless one of the vanishingly few good older people, such as Bernie Sanders, were to be taken out by the virus.

Coronavirus, as plagues go, is pretty tame. The flu pandemic of 1918 to 1920 killed anywhere from 20 million to 50 million people worldwide, with a death rate of 10 percent to 20 percent, and, very much unlike the new coronavirus, most of its victims were young adults.

That said, should we read into plagues? That is, should we see “signs” in them, including which portions of the population the plagues take and the plagues’ body counts?

No, probably, we should not, and there probably is no greater meaning in pandemics — no moral meaning, anyway — but it sure is fun to interpret them, as it were.

For instance, I kind of like to think of the coronavirus as like the earth trying to shake off the parasitic baby boomers in a global act of karmic justice. But that very well might be much more my own private fantasy than anything like fact, which I recognize. (Surely those who proclaimed that “AIDS kills fags dead” didn’t doubt whether or not that stance — that gay men have deserved to die of AIDS, probably as a death sentence handed down by An Angry God Himself — has been anything like factual.)

All of that said, even though I’m not in one of the highest risk groups for death from the coronavirus, I’m still at 1.3 percent.

Ironically, just Friday morning I had a routine check-up with my doctor. I felt fine. My vital signs were normal, including my temperature, and the doctor examined my throat and ear canals and apparently found nothing out of the ordinary.

But just later Friday, I started to develop an upper respiratory infection, which I’d avoided all of this past winter until now. I’m experiencing a lot of mucous production, nasal congestion, a bit of a headache and now, a mildly sore throat and an occasional cough. It’s annoying, but not severely debilitating.

Is it the coronavirus?

I’m guessing that it’s not, that it’s one or more of a myriad of other pathogens, viral or bacterial, that cause upper respiratory infections, the vast majority of which my body will conquer on its own, but even if it is the coronavirus, a death rate of 1.3 percent isn’t high.

Besides, as a Generation X’er, I’m used to life not being like I’m on a perpetual cruise. Entirely unlike the over-privileged and overly comfortable baby boomers, I can handle some pain and suffering — and even death, if it comes to that.

Ironically, the boomers, quite unintentionally, over the course of my entire lifetime have prepared me to face the worst while they avoid — like the plague… — even the least amount of trouble, inconvenience or unpleasantness.

P.S. Seriously, though, the coronavirus exposes how incredibly fucking stupid the masses are, hoarding such bullshit like hand sanitizer, bleach, rubbing alcohol and even toilet paper.

The ignorant masses excel at seeing risk where it does not exist and at not seeing risk where it does exist. And accordingly, they take actions that they don’t need to take and fail to take actions that they do need to take.

P.P.S. The title of this blog piece, if you didn’t catch it, is a riff on the late Susan Sontag’s book AIDS and Its Metaphors. (Sometimes something just comes into my mind like that…)

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I briefly break my hibernation in this presidential election season snoozefest

Breaking through: Palle-Jooseppi has been in his den for months. this is the moment he emerged

I knew that after Bernie Sanders was out of the presidential race, this thing would be a fucking snoozefest.

We witness Billary Clinton and Donald Trump, the most disliked presidential candidates in U.S. history, duke it out when it’s most likely that Billary will emerge as president in November. Fivethirtyeight.com right now puts Der Fuhrer Trump’s chances of winning the White House at 19.1 percent and Queen Billary’s at 80.9 percent.

Billary leads that much not because anyone actually fucking likes her, but because The Donald is that fucking bad. 

This is what the wonderful baby boomers, whose cohort includes Billary and Trump, have brought us to: the two most hated presidential candidates in our nation’s history in what probably is our most utterly uninspiring presidential race in our nation’s history.

Leave it to the fucking baby boomers to fuck up pretty much everything that came before them.

Anyway, Trump’s record level of despicability aside, as I’ve noted before, in my lifetime of almost five decades, no U.S. president had not first been vice president, a U.S. senator or a governor of a state (or some combination of these) before being elected president. The likes of Donald Trump always highly unlikely was to going to break that streak of presidential prequisites.

One recent tangle between boomer Billary and boomer Donald is representative of the evil and the lesser evil that they represent.

Der Fuhrer Donald uber-ludicrously recently told black Americans and Latinos (even though there were precious few of them in his mostly white audience) that they should vote for him. His fuller-than-usually-reported remarks were:

“Our government has totally failed our African-American friends, our Hispanic friends and the people of our country. Period.

“The Democrats have failed completely in the inner cities. For those hurting the most who have been failed and failed by their politician — year after year, failure after failure, worse numbers after worse numbers.

“Poverty. Rejection. Horrible education. No housing, no homes, no ownership. Crime at levels that nobody has seen. You can go to war zones in countries that we are fighting and it’s safer than living in some of our inner cities that are run by the Democrats.

“And I ask you this, I ask you this — crime, all of the problems — to the African Americans, who I employ so many, so many people, to the Hispanics, tremendous people: What the hell do you have to lose? Give me a chance. I’ll straighten it out. I’ll straighten it out. What do you have to lose?

“And you know, I say it, and I’m going to keep saying it. And some people say: ‘Wow, that makes sense.’ And then some people say: ‘Well, that wasn’t very nice.’ Look, it is a disaster the way African Americans are living, in many cases, and, in many cases the way Hispanics are living, and I say it with such a deep-felt feeling: What do you have to lose?

“I will straighten it out. I’ll bring jobs back. We’ll bring spirit back. We’ll get rid of the crime. You’ll be able to walk down the street without getting shot. Right now, you walk down the street, you get shot. Look at the statistics.

“We’ll straighten it out. If you keep voting for the same failed politicians, you will keep getting the same results. They don’t care about you. They just like you once every four years — get your vote and then they say: ‘Bye, bye!'”

Now, a white billionaire running on the Repugnican Tea Party ticket claiming to care so much about the impoverished (of any race) when impoverishment is what keeps the billionaires billionaires is, of course, incredibly fucking ludicrous, but what can make a ball of lies dangerous is when that ball contains some degree of truth.

I agree with Donald Trump that most Democratic politicians, especially the high-level ones like President Hopey-Changey and Queen Billary, don’t truly give a shit about African Americans, Latinos (we call them Latinos, Senor Donaldo, not “Hispanics”), the poor, and other historically beleaguered minority groups, including my own (gay men).

The Democrats cynically, slimily pander to historically oppressed minority groups in order to get our money and our votes. But once in office, they don’t do anything for us until and unless public opinion fucking forces them to, such as on same-sex marriage (which Billary didn’t publicly support until March 2013, for fuck’s sake).

I probably wouldn’t go so far as to call Billary a “bigot,” as uber-bigot Trump uber-hypocritically has done, but I would call her a big-time panderer, and I have to at-least-mostly agree with Trump’s recent assertion that Billary “sees people of color only as votes.” As a gay man, I fully sense that she values me and my group only or at least primarily for our money and for our votes.

That said, of course Trump is no less such a panderer than is Billary, and it’s not at all believable that billionaire Donald Trump cares about any of us commoners any more than millionaire Billary Clinton does.

Yes, the Repugnican Tea Party is worse than is the Democratic Party, but the Democrats (at least the ones in D.C.) don’t lead. They follow. They love the status quo, because it’s great for their bank accounts, and, again, any progress that actually comes under them comes only after it’s unavoidable because of public opinion and activism (public pressure).

Queen Billary even brazenly, shamelessly openly promotes her center-right brand of incrementalism — progress moving along at a pre-global-warming glacial pace — which, again, is great for her and her cronies but which is not so wonderful for the rest of us.

And how have black Americans done under our first black president?

The record is mixed, but one indisputable statistic is that under President Hopey-Changey, income inequality between white Americans and black Americans is at its worst point in the past 25 years. And that’s because the Obama administration has done little to nothing to substantively tackle the problem of income inequality. Indeed, Obama has been, at best, a caretaker president, no progressive champion.

The Democrats, of course, don’t want to talk about any of this. We members of the rabble are supposed to buy the myth that poor people, non-whites, women, gay men, lesbians, et. al. are better off under Democrats by definition.

Of course Donald Trump isn’t the solution. That goes without saying, but in this debased day and age it must be said. Trump is the solution to our problems like like Colonel Sanders is the solution to the chickens’ problems.

But our commoners’ “choice” on November 8 remains slower death and destruction under Repugnican Lite Queen Billary or faster death and destruction under Der Fuhrer Trump.

There is a part of me, methinks, that almost would rather get it all over with more quickly under Trump.

Not that I would vote for him — of course I wouldn’t.

But nor would I vote for Billary.

The lesser of two evils is still an evil.

I’m going back into hibernation from the presidential race now.

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For gun massacres, it takes a village

<p>Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse night club, where as many as 20 people have been injured after a gunman opened fire, in Orlando, June 12, 2016. (REUTERS/Steve Nesius) </p>

Reuters photo

Distraught individuals comfort each other at the Orlando Police Department headquarters after the United States’ worst gun massacre in history at a gay nightclub early this morning in Orlando, Florida. Because most of the victims were gay men, whose lives are expendable, this latest gun massacre won’t be in the national discussion for very long, though, and this latest American massacre demonstrates that although same-sex couples’ constitutional right to marry finally was recognized a year ago this month, plenty of ignorance surrounding and hatred toward non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals remains.

What a quandary for American wingnuts and other homophobes! The largest slaughter of innocent Americans on American soil since 9/11 — perpetrated by a Muslim man, of course* — must be condemned, but at the same time, most if not all of the Muslim’s victims were queers!

Seriously — this is a conundrum, since most American haters of Muslims hate non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals, too; homophobia is something that fundamentalist Christians, Muslims and Jews all have in common.

I say this with confidence: Even though early this morning we saw the largest shooting massacre in American history (50 fatalities [including the gunman] at the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida), we won’t talk about this gun massacre for nearly as long as we talked about the last gun massacre, the one in San Bernardino, California, in which 14 people were slaughtered by a Muslim man and his Muslim wife in December.**

And that’s because heterosexual (and gender-conforming) lives still are valued much more than are non-heterosexual (and non-gender-conforming) lives in the United States of America.

I’m confident that just as millions of Americans (most of them self-identified “Christians”) believe that fags deserved to die of AIDS, millions of Americans (most of them self-identified “Christians”) believe that fags deserved to die in Orlando this morning. (These individuals of course would take issue with my use of the word “innocent” in the first paragraph.)

You know, though, even though I’m a gay man, I don’t feel a bunch of hatred toward the perpetrator, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, who was the son of immigrants from Afghanistan and a U.S. citizen (and who was shot dead by police after he’d committed his carnage).

Nor do I feel a generalized hatred toward Muslims, although I believe that their belief system, along with Christians’ and Jews’, is bullshit (with their “God” essentially being a Santa Claus figure on crack [He sees you when you’re sleeping/ He knows when you’re awake/ He knows if you’ve been bad or good/ So be good for goodness’ sake!]), and although I recognize that a relatively tiny percentage of them are capable of great evil (as is the case with all human beings).

I do, however, blame toxic, backasswards, patriarchal, misogynist and homophobic religion, with its hocus-pocus, bullshit beliefs, and I blame the fact that Omar Mateen was born and raised in a nation whose highest court not even a full year ago finally ruled that under the U.S. Constitution, non-heterosexual individuals have the same human and civil rights that heterosexuals do.

When it comes to massacres, it takes a village to make them happen, people.

We need to examine the village much more than we need to examine the perpetrators.*** They are the symptoms of the village that creates them.

*Actually, of course, it remains that case that a typical American is significantly more likely to be shot and killed in a mass shooting by a white person who considers himself to be a Christian than by a Muslim.

Um, yeah.

**The Los Angeles Times put out this graphic of past gun massacres in the United States:

Note that this latest gun massacre took a real leap in the body count from the previous record. The L.A. Times grimly keeps a growing, running roundup of gun massacres in the United States here.

***That said, I’m confident that Mateen was mentally ill (his ex-wife has said that he was) — you can’t massacre people unless you are mentally ill (and the mentally ill widely don’t get the help that they need in the United States) — spurred on by the ignorance and hatred within his environment (including, of course, the ignorance and hatred that routinely is spewed within religion in the name of “God”), and, of course, I have to wonder if he was battling with homosexual urges himself.

I mean, reportedly he went ballistic when he saw two men kissing in public in Miami recently.

Why? Why would that drive you to shoot up a gay nightclub, if you were heterosexual and comfortable with your heterosexuality?

It seems to me quite possible that the sick and twisted Mateen, by killing gay men who unabashedly were being who they are in public (at least in the nightclub), was trying to kill the homosexuality within himself.

Finally, I don’t wish to exclude lesbians from mention, but the official list of victims in the Orlando massacre that has been released thus far indicates that most of the victims were male and Latino. I don’t know if any lesbians were killed, too. I see one female name on the list, and I don’t know what her sexual orientation was, and of course not all of the males slaughtered there necessarily were gay, but, it being a gay nightclub, I’m guessing (safely, methinks) that most if not all of them were.

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Pink triangle proposition won’t become law in California, but it’s the thought that counts

History repeats itself. Above are shown victims of fascist Nazi Germany’s persecution of accused gay men, tens of thousands of whom were required to wear an inverted pink triangle marking them as non-heterosexual. A theofascist California lawyer has submitted to the state’s attorney general’s office a ballot proposition to “put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method” “any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification.”

An Orange County, California, lawyer has paid the $200 filing fee to start the process for his “Sodomite Suppression Act,” which would, at its most merciful, prevent any non-heterosexual from being a public school teacher, a police officer, an elected public official or any other public employee, and which would, at worst, “put [non-heterosexuals] to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

My reading of the fairly short “act” gives me the impression that the sentiment is not entirely unlike the Catholick Church’s or the Mormon cult’s: Merely having same-sex attraction is bad, but actually acting upon it is the worst, because the fuller phrasing of the “act” is: “the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

In a shout-out to Vladimir Putin, the “act” also mandates that:

No person shall distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority. Sodomistic propaganda is defined as anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman. Every offender shall be fined $1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.

Although this modest proposal first emerged weeks ago, this past week it has hit the media as “news.”

The legal consensus is that California Attorney General Kamala Harris, whose office is the first stop for any ballot initiative in the state, does not have the legal authority to shut down the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” even though it patently violates the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution. The legal consensus also is that the office of the California secretary of state, the second and final stop for a state ballot initiative, does not have the legal authority to stop the “Sodomite Suppression Act.”

Of course, the right-wing lawyer who has proposed the “act,” a Matt McLaughlin, has cleared the easiest, lowest bar in the California ballot initiative process: he paid his $200 to the state’s attorney general’s office to obtain his ballot title and ballot summary, which he first must obtain from the attorney general’s office before he may begin to collect the 365,880 valid signatures of registered voters in order to qualify his ballot initiative for its placement on the November 2016 statewide ballot.

Collecting that many signatures would require some resources; McLaughlin would have to print his own petitions in a strict format dictated by state law and would have to get the bodies to go out and gather all of those signatures, be they paid or be they volunteers or some mixture of both.

Vox.com posits that the “[California state] Supreme Court is likely to step in and stop the [ballot] measure, particularly if the proposal gets enough signatures to qualify for the ballot,” but doesn’t cite its source of this assertion.

Oddly, though, neither Vox.com nor Slate.com, in their explainers on the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” notes that even though the majority of California’s voters might adopt a ballot initiative (for which only a simple majority is required), a federal court always can rule that the ballot initiative violates the U.S. Constitution (and, to my knowledge, the state’s Supreme Court can rule that a ballot initiative violates the state’s Constitution).

There is precedent for this: The hateful, anti-immigrant California Proposition 187, passed by the state’s voters by a disturbing 59 percent to 41 percent in November 1994, was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in 1997 (indeed, most of the law never even went into effect, because the same federal judge had imposed a permanent injunction on most portions of the law in December 1994).

And in November 2008, California’s voters narrowly passed (52 percent to 48 percent) the hateful, anti-non-heterosexual Proposition 8, which then was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2010. (The federal judge’s ruling was challenged legally but ultimately was left intact by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2013, and same-sex marriages in California have been legal since then.)

The California Supreme Court declined to prevent the unconstitutional Proposition H8 from appearing on the ballot, so it would be interesting to see what the court would do if it were asked to prevent the “Sodomite Suppression Act” from appearing on the ballot. Indeed, while Prop H8 “only” sought to outlaw same-sex marriages, the “Sodomite Suppression Act” calls for the Nazi-style wholesale slaughter of non-heterosexuals who ever have acted upon their same-sex attraction.

But, Wikipedia notes, citing a 2006 California Supreme Court case, “As a general rule, it is improper for courts to adjudicate pre-election challenges to a measure’s substantive validity.” In other words, the state Supreme Court apparently believes that voters get to weigh in on a ballot measure first, and the constitutionality of the measure, if it is passed, is to be hashed out in the courts only after the measure’s passage.

Thank Goddess for the federal court system and its ability (indeed, its duty) to weigh in on whether laws passed by the states’ legislatures or by the states’ voters violate the U.S. Constitution, as history has shown that even the states’ highest courts are fairly toothless, by choice or by design (to my knowledge, the states’ highest courts have jurisdiction only over their states’ constitutions, and state judges don’t have the legal authority to determine whether a state law violates the U.S. Constitution*).

True, it took years for the odious and unconstitutional California Prop H8 finally to be undone by the federal court system (that said, while today same-sex marriage is legal in California and in 35 other states, the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage once and for all), but, even if the “Sodomite Suppression Act” were to make it to the November 2016 California ballot (unlikely, given the amount of money that is required to get anything on the statewide ballot in the nation’s most populous state) and pass (which is highly unlikely in this blue state), a federal court (if not also the California Supreme Court) immediately would halt its implementation, of course. Not a single bullet would be fired into the head of an accused non-heterosexual (not by the state government of California, anyway).

But, you know, it’s certainly the thought that counts, isn’t it?

Apparently wingnutty lawyer Matt McLaughlin is unlikely to be disbarred by the state for his ballot proposition. While proposing a law that blatantly violates the U.S. Constitution by proposing the wholesale murder of an entire class of human beings amply demonstrates McLaughlin’s blatant moral turpitude (if not also his blatant incompetence) as a lawyer, whose duty is to uphold the state and federal constitutions, not propose to violate them, McLaughlin should, in my book, be disbarred, but apparently he will be able to hide behind his First-Amendment “right” to propose, Nazi-style, that a whole class of people be executed.

Still, if you believe, like I do, that McLaughlin should be disbarred, you can sign, as I have, an online petition calling for his disbarment by clicking here.

Even if McLaughlin were just pulling an attention-grabbing stunt, his “Sodomite Suppression Act,” whether he means it seriously or not — to be safe, I assume that he is quite serious** — is hate speech, and lawyers who practice hate speech (which does not warrant First-Amendment protection, since it so obviously so easily can result in violence, even death, or other injury against its intended targets) should be disbarred.

I might thank McLaughlin, however, for demonstrating quite publicly that his Nazi-like mentality, although a minority mentality, still exists. And shudderingly, I surmise that while many if not most homophobes wouldn’t go so far as to execute an accused non-heterosexual individual with their own hands, the worst of the homophobes, if such execution were routine even here in the United States of America, wouldn’t much care and would do little to nothing to stop it.

*Alabama state Supreme Court Chief “Justice” Roy Moore, for instance, has claimed, quite incorrectly, that he has the legal authority and ability to override and ignore a federal judge’s ruling on the federal constitutionality of same-sex marriage in the state. Moore was removed from the post of Alabama Supreme Court chief “justice” in 2003 for having ignored another federal judge’s ruling on another federal constitution issue, but he was not disbarred, as he should have been, and thus he legally was allowed to run for the post again, which, insanely, is filled by popular election in the backasswards state of Alabama.

**Not much is known of McLaughlin, but the San Francisco Chronicle notes that “McLaughlin, a lawyer since 1998, tried to qualify an initiative in 2004 that would have added the King James Bible as a literature textbook in California public schools. He was quoted at the time as saying he was promoting classroom use of the Bible for its ‘rich use of the English language’ and was not trying to indoctrinate students.”

So McLaughlin apparently has a history of toxic, theofascist fundamentalism and apparently wishes for a theocratic state, much like the members of ISIS, whose mentality is the same but whose bible is different.

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No queer duck for the American Taliban!

Interview Creates Controversy For Duck Dynasty Star

Culture war heats up over 'Duck Dynasty' controversy

“Duck Dynasty” “patriarch” Phil Robertson looks a bit like Osama bin Laden to me, which isn’t that shocking, I guess, given that you could call him and his ilk the American Taliban — “Christo”fascists instead of “Islamofascists.”

I’ve never watched A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” and probably never will. A “reality” show is bad enough, but a “reality” show about rednecks is even worse.

Go into a Wal-Mart (yes, I’ve seen the insides of a Wal-Mart — recently) and you’ll see “Duck Dynasty” merchandise all over the fucking place, and given Wal-Mart’s main target audience — the redneck — you don’t have to have seen the show to have a good idea about what it’s all about.

So, was I shocked to learn that the “patriarch” of the show, 67-year-old Phil Robertson — who, on top of being a redneck, is a baby boomer — is a homophobe?

Um, no.

Does Robertson, who has been suspended indefinitely from “Duck Dynasty” apparently primarily or entirely for his homophobic remarks to the magazine GQ, have the First Amendment right to publicly vocalize his bigoted views?

Absolutely, yes, he does, just as the members of the Ku Klux Klan do, but does A&E, which is a joint venture of Disney and the Hearst Corp., have to keep Robertson in its employment, especially if Robertson, as I suspect he did, violated the terms of his contract with A&E?

Fuck no.

The Associated Press notes:

… Sarah Palin posted a picture on her Facebook page of her with the reality show clan with the message, “Free Speech is an endangered species.” And Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also lamented the suspension on free speech terms.

“It’s a messed-up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended,” said the governor in a statement [today] (the show is filmed in his state). …

Well, of course, to my knowledge, Miley Cyrus never publicly made an offensive, bigoted statement about an historically oppressed minority group — she might be a bit skanky, but I’ve never heard that she has uttered hate speech publicly.

But Bobby Jindal is a stupid fucking piece of sell-out shit who can’t lick the asses of the whiteys who hate him because he isn’t white ardently enough — you know, in order to “show” them that he’s one of them — so that’s to be expected from the likes of him.

But what about the whining and probably-faux hand-wringing about “free speech”?

The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Fact is, only the government may abridge your free-speech rights as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Did Phil Robertson have to accept a gig with A&E? No. But he signed some contract, I’m sure, and when millions of dollars are at stake, I can’t imagine that the team of lawyers who drew up his contract did not cover what A&E and/or its parent companies may do in the event that Robertson should make public statements and/or commit certain actions that A&E and/or its parent companies deem damaging to them.

If Robertson has been legally wronged, then, of course, he can sue his employer. (I wish him luck with that…)

I find other comments of Robertson equally as interesting as his homophobic ones, which include his apparent assertion that the definition of “sin” begins with “homosexual behavior.” (Wow! Does he really think of “homosexual behavior” that much? I, a gay man, don’t think of heterosexual sex all that much, so why would an alleged heterosexual man think of male homosexual sex so much?)

According to the AP, Robertson also stated in an interview published in the January issue of GQ “that in his Louisiana youth he picked cotton with African-Americans and never saw ‘the mistreatment of any black person. Not once.’

“‘We’re going across the field. … They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, “I tell you what: These doggone white people” — not a word!’ Robertson told the magazine.”

Wow. 

So blacks in the South didn’t need the Civil Rights movement because they all loved whitey? They were all “singing and happy”? Really?

Assuming that Robertson’s report is true — that he heard “not a word” uttered by a black person against “these doggone white people” — could it be that they were so powerless and so terrified of retribution that of course they were very careful about what they uttered around whitey?

Could it be that Robertson’s memory is faulty? (He does, after all, admit to having done his share of drugs during the Sixties.)

Robertson also reportedly said this to GQ: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God.”

Um, did he omit female prostitutes from his list of the hell-bent on purpose? What about heterosexual “offenders”?

Straight white men seem to benefit an awful lot from Robertson’s selective list, don’t they?

What’s most shocking of all, I think, is that A&E ever decided to put this man and his family on the tay-vay in the first fucking place.

P.S. In more good news for equal human and civil rights, it’s great to have heard today that former Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano finally came out (we all knew, but it’s great that he now has talked about it openly), and it’s hilarious that he and out lesbian athletes Billie Jean King (the tennis great, of course) and Caitlin Cahow (a medalist in women’s hockey) will be part of the United States’ delegation to the homophobic Russia’s 2014 winter Olympic games in Sochi, of which no high-ranking members of the U.S. government will be a part. (The Associated Press notes that “For the first time since 2000, the U.S. will not send a president, former president, first lady or vice president to the Olympics.”)

And, of course, today the state of New Mexico became the 16th state to institute same-sex marriage.

The “Christo”fascists and other assorted haters can slow progress down, but they cannot stop it altogether. It marches on!

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New pope, same as the last pope (take two)

The new pope still will have none of this, but at least he would let them keep their heads. Yay!

Yes, it could be much worse, I suppose.

At least the new pope isn’t calling for the beheading of gay men, like the 89-year-old dictator of Zimbabwe is. (Robert Mugabe might believe in equal opportunity and believe that lesbians should be beheaded, too, but his rhetoric apparently is aimed primarily or solely at gay men. [“If you take men and lock them in a house for five years and tell them to come up with two children and they fail to do that, then we will chop off their heads,” Mugabe bizarrely proclaimed recently.])

But despite the news today — I guess that it was a slow news day — that the pope has done some 180 on the matter of homosexuality, know that Pope Francis apparently still upholds the Catholick Church’s doctrine that “under no circumstances can [any homosexual acts] be approved. … Homosexual persons are called to chastity.”

“Asked for his position on gay marriage,” Time reports, “[Francis] answered: ‘You know perfectly the position of the Church.’”

This is supposed to be a kinder, gentler pope, yet there has been no policy change on homosexuality. None. Nada, zip, zilch, zero.

“It’s Not What the Pope Said About Gays, It’s How He Said It,” the headline for the Time news article is.

Really?

We must be nice to gays, Francis said. Yes, he did say that, more or less.

But how, exactly, can you uphold an oppressive set of policies* yet still be considered to be such a swell fucking guy?

What if heterosexuals were told that they weren’t to be mistreated for their unfortunate affliction of opposite-sex attraction, but that should they ever act on that opposite-sex attraction, even within the context of a marriage, that would be a sin?

What if heterosexuals were told that marriage only is the union of two men or two women?

What if Catholicks were told that sure, they can be Catholicks in their heads, but that for them to actually practice their belief system — go to confession, kneel, eat that wafer, whatever it is that they do at Mass, for instance — would be wrong, forbidden?

I don’t know… At least Robert Mugabe is pretty fucking direct about his feelings about homosexuality. Sure, he’s a pathetic, addled old dictator who just wants to steal another election on Wednesday, and is throwing some red meat to his fellow backasswards homo-haters, but at least in Zimbabwe, you, as a gay man (maybe you, too, as a lesbian) would know exactly where you stand.

But here is the Catholick Church saying, “Oh, you can be a fag or dyke — just never, ever do what fags and dykes feel compelled to do!”

That’s just backdoor hatred and bigotry and discrimination. The message from the Catholick Church is the same: If you aren’t heterosexual, you are defective. If you aren’t heterosexual, God doesn’t accept you. If you aren’t heterosexual, you can’t ever have sex, even within the context of marriage, because you can’t get married!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Fuck the Catholick Church. And fuck the pope, who is no nice guy (and who, for all we know, is a gay man himself…).

P.S. My first take on Pope Francis is here.

*Pope Francis also firmly opposes women being able to enter the priesthood or, apparently, the Catholick Church’s all-male hierarchy.

How can this woefully outdated patriarchal policy not give women and girls the clear idea that they are inferior to men and boys?

This is sick shit, not love.

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Only a Wayback Machine can save the Repugnican Tea Party now

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors should consider hiring Mr. Peabody as a consultant, and they’ll need to go back to even before 1900…

So the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ talking point now is that in order to win over voters from now on, they have to communicate better.

Wow.

They’ve been communicating quite well, actually. Anyone who has been paying attention should be quite clear on where they have stood. Take the Repugnican Tea Party’s platform that was approved from its last national convention. This is Faux News reporting, too (in August):

Tampa, Fla. — Republicans emphatically approved a toughly worded party platform at their national convention Tuesday that would ban all  abortions and gay marriages, reshape Medicare into a voucher-like program and cut taxes to energize the economy and create jobs. …

There alone, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors alienated most women and almost all non-heterosexuals (there are some self-loathing non-heterosexuals who support the Repugnican Tea Party, but there aren’t a lot of them). There’s no way to “better” “communicate” such stances as that the embryo’s or fetus’ “rights” always trump those of the mother (even, very apparently, in such cases as rape, incest or when the mother’s life would be at risk should the pregnancy continue) or that the U.S. Constitution should be amended to ban same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Those are the hard-right, misogynist, homophobic and patriarchal stances that the Repugnican Tea Party took in its latest party platform, which wasn’t passed nearly long enough ago for the fascistic traitors who comprise the party to claim now that they just didn’t “communicate” well enough.

It’s not just women and gays whom the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have alienated, of course.

Most of the traitors still are beating up on the brown-skinned immigrants from south of the border, whom they regard as subhuman, much as how the Nazis regarded the Jews and how the Israelis, ironically, now regard the Palestinians.

Ohioan “Joe the Plumber,” one of the poster boys for the stupid white man, who last year ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on the Repugnican Tea Party ticket (of course) declared in Arizona — Ground Zero for the anti-immigrant bigotry and hatred in the U.S.; indeed, Arizona is the South Africa of the Southwest — in August that the U.S. government should “put a damn fence on the border going with Mexico and start shooting.” Those were the words of a candidate for a federal office.

Let’s not leave out black Americans, of course.

A huge chunk of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors still maintain that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and thus his presidency is illegitimate — as though if there had been any problem with Obama’s constitutionally mandated qualifications to be president, neither Billary Clinton nor John McCainosaurus, who must have spent plenty of dough on opposition research and who both wanted to be president very badly, would have discovered it and then worked to oust Obama from the 2008 presidential race.

Michelle Obama can’t do anything without being criticized for it by the white-supremacist wingnuts as being un-first-lady-like. What if Laura Bush — or (shivers) First Lady Ann Romney — had announced the Oscar for Best Picture? Would the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have brayed that that was “inappropriate”?

Of course not — because their main problem with Barack Obama and his wife is that they’re blacks who are in the White House.

And even while we have some of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors claiming that they just need to “communicate” “better,” as I type this sentence we have most of the members of the Repugnican Tea Party publicly hoping that the right-wing-controlled U.S. Supreme Court will eviscerate the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — because despite the fact that the Repugnican Tea Party still advocates measures that keep blacks and other non-whites and other Democratically leaning individuals from voting, such as strict voter identification requirements (in the name of preventing the “voter fraud” that does not exist — that’s in their party platform, too) and insanely long voting lines for black, non-white and other Democratically leaning voters (coupled, of course, with short lines for Repugnican Tea Party voters), race-based voter suppression is a relic from the past, you see.

And if the Repugnican Tea Party traitors can’t suppress enough Democratically leaning voters, fuck it, they’ll just at least try to change the way that we divvy up the electoral votes in the Electoral College, but only in those states that will boost the Repugnican Tea Party. (We’ll leave Texas and the other dark-red states alone, you see.)

It’s clear that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors like, respect and support democracy only when they win/“win” elections. (The quotation marks are for such elections as the 2000 presidential election.) You can’t “communicate” that obvious fact “better.”

We also have Mittens Romney’s comment in October that “47 percent” of Americans are mooches, when, in fact, it’s the 47 percent who voted for Romney who are the takers, while the denizens of the blue states (the “47 percent” whom Romney was referring to) always have been and always will be the makers, supporting the welfare states that are the red states.

Muslims, too, have been bashed relentlessly by the Repugnican Tea Party — aside from advocating the continued mass slaughter of Muslims (such as by incredibly stupidly attacking Iran and by stupidly blindly continuing to support the mass-murderous wingnuts of Israel in their continued Nazi-like mass slaughter of the Palestinians), the Repugnican Tea Party traitors call President Obama a Muslim as a slam — and I can’t see most Muslims ever supporting the Repugnican Tea Party any more than I can see myself ever supporting the Repugnican Tea Party.

As a gay man, am I to just forget what the Repugnican Tea Party just put in its fucking party platform — that my equal human and civil rights guaranteed to me by the U.S. Constitution should be denied to me by an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that specifically singles me out for such discrimination? Am I to just forget that George W. Bush made opposition to same-sex marriage a centerpiece of his 2004 “re”-election campaign? (Speaking of Gee Dubya, am I also to just forget that he blatantly stole office in 2000 and then started a bogus war for which he should be executed as the war criminal that he is?) Am I to just forget that the House Repugnicans right now are spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars to try to keep the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” alive because the Obama administration refuses to defend the blatantly unconstitutional — and thus the infuckingdefensible — act?

Are women just supposed to forget the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ clearly articulated stances on such issues as abortion, birth control, rape and violence against women?

Are Latinos just supposed to forget the brown-skinned-immigrant bashing that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have been using to induce ignorant, bigoted white voters to vote for them?

Are blacks just supposed to forget?

“We need to be asking for votes in the most powerful way possible, which is to have people asking for the vote who are comfortable and look like and sound like the people that we’re asking for the vote from,” Karl Rove (a.k.a. George W. “Bush’s brain”) said just yesterday just in my backyard, here in Sacramento, at the California Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ convention.

How has that tactic been working for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, though?

They fronted Sarah Palin after Barack Obama had picked Joe Biden (and not Billary Clinton or another woman) to be his running mate. The message was supposed to be that the Repugnican Tea Party is the party that wuvs women.

Women didn’t buy it, and probably were insulted that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors think that they’re that fucking stupid. (I was thusly insulted, and I’m a male.) Despite Palin’s supposedly having demonstrated that the Repugnican Tea Party overnight magically became the party of and for women, Obama in November 2008 won a higher percentage of the popular vote than George W. Bush did in 2000 or in 2004, and he couldn’t have done that without women.

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors then put Michael Steele in charge of the Repugnican National Committee — as the first black head of the party, in obvious cynical response to the election of the nation’s first black president. (Steele, before he became the head of the party, had been only the lieutenant governor of Maryland. That’s how few blacks are in any real position of power within the Repugnican Tea Party.)

Although on Steele’s watch (from January 2009 to January 2011) the Repugnican Tea Party traitors won back the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 (in the “tea party” “revolution”), the Repugnican Tea Party traitors nonetheless dumped Steele in January 2011 and replaced him with white frat boy Reince Priebus — the usual face of the party.

And although the Repugnican Tea Party traitors lost seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, on white frat boy Reince Priebus’ watch, just this past January the Repugnican Tea Party traitors nonetheless granted the stupid white man Priebus a second two-year term as head of the Repugnican Tea Party.

As George W. Bush amply demonstrated, the bar is set much, much, much lower for stupid white men than it is for anyone else, perhaps especially for blacks.

Now the Repugnican Tea Party traitors cynically are fronting younger Latino male candidates, such as U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, as a presidential hopeful, and, here in California, Abel Maldonado as a gubernatorial hopeful.

Rubio is a 41-year-old Cuban American, and of course Cuban Americans, being (1) the rich Cubans who had exploited others for their own selfish gain before they had to escape from Fidel Castro’s anti-capitalist revolution or (2) their spoiled spawn (such as Rubio), predominantly are right-wingers who believe that the lighter-skinned should continue to exploit the darker-skinned.

Yet almost two-thirds of Latinos in the U.S. have Mexican roots and only 3.5 percent of them have Cuban roots. So how representative is Marco Fucking Rubio of the nationwide Latino community? (But he’s Latino — close enough, right? Is that not how the white supremacists think? Kind of like how 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and not one of them was from Iraq, but let’s invade Iraq because that’s close enough, right?)

Californian Repugnican Tea Party member Abel Maldonado is 45 years old, and while unlike Marco Rubio he is Mexican-American, he couldn’t win even the post of state controller in 2006 or lieutenant governor in 2010. And he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives last year but lost. And he is Californian Repugnicans’ Great Latino Hope.

When will the Repugnican Tea Party traitors realize that the voters can recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Will Marco Rubio (and others who fit his demographic) magically work to win over Latino voters to the Repugnican Tea Party any more than Palin and Steele worked to win over women and black voters?

And is Karl Rove not blatantly asserting that appearance is all that matters when he advises his fellow Repugnican Tea Party traitors “to have people asking for the vote who are comfortable and look like and sound like the people that we’re asking for the vote from”?

Fuck substance, right? Fuck the Repugnican Tea Party’s continuing history of oppressing certain groups of people, right? Just put a right-wing sellout like Sarah Palin or Michael Steele or Marco Rubio out there and the voters won’t know the difference, right?

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors can find a wingnut or two (or maybe even three) among any minority group and front him or her or them as a candidate. It’s not nearly enough, though, to wipe out decades of the party’s bigotry and discrimination that not only is historical but still continues as I type this sentence.

Perhaps especially when the Repugnican Tea Party then blames its electoral losses on the tokens whom it once fronted and then replaces them with the traditional stupid white men (there was no Palin repeat in 2012 — no, it was two stupid white men on the Repugnican Tea Party presidential ticket, the way that it always had been pre-Palin, and, as I noted, Reince Priebus kept his job as the party’s head even though the booted Michael Steele apparently had done a better job than Priebus did) the party loses even more ground with the groups whose votes it claimed it wanted. You won’t score points with these groups by turning your tokens into your scapegoats.

Even Mittens Romney, for fuck’s sake, reportedly has manned up enough to blame his campaign for his loss in November.

“I lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anyone else did,” Romney reportedly said on Faux News today.

However, while Romney reportedly quite correctly identified his “47 percent” remarks as being damaging to his campaign — insulting almost half of the nation’s voters on video isn’t a great idea — he also reportedly attributed his loss to the loss of black and Latino voters.

As much as I don’t want to defend Mittens Romney, who would have been a disastrous president, the fact is that there was nothing that his campaign could have done to win over black and Latino voters, given his own fucking party’s disastrous historical relations with those groups.

Actually, I guess that I’m not defending Mittens, because his apparent belief that there was anything that he could have done to magically win over black and Latino voters demonstrates, I think, how stupid he and his ilk believe black and Latino voters are, and how superiorly crafty and clever the white man is, that black and Latino voters are just going to forget decades of bigotry and discrimination at the hands of the Repugnican Party because some white-male Repugnican Tea Party candidate comes up with just the right hocus-pocus, mindfuck rhetoric to hypnotize them into voting for him over their own best interests.

No amount of attempted-Jedi-mindfuck rhetoric and no amount of tokens (like Marco Rubio or Sarah Palin) are going to help the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in future elections. Only a small percentage of the members of the minority groups that historically have been oppressed by the Repugnican Tea Party (and women, of course, are no minority group) are going to fall for this the-foxes-actually-wuv-the-chickens bullshit.

No, what the Repugnican Tea Party traitors sorely need now is a time machine so that they can go back in time — waaay back in time — and treat certain groups of people a whole lot better than they did over at least many decades.

I wish them luck with that.

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On Jodie Foster and ‘privacy’ vs. shame

This image released by NBC shows Jodie Foster, recipient of the Cecil B. Demille Award, during the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 13, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/NBC, Paul Drinkwater)

NBC/Associated Press photo

Actress Jodie Foster kind of officially, publicly came out of the closet the other night when she accepted an award at the Golden Globe Awards. Thankfully, the 50-year-old Foster’s apparent shame over her sexual orientation is rarer in our youthful non-heterosexuals today — no thanks to Foster, of course.

I don’t want this to be a repeat of what I wrote about lesbian astronaut Sally Ride’s posthumous outing in July, so I’ll quote what others have said about actress Jodie Foster’s recent quasi-coming out.

Matthew Breen, the probably-too-pretty editor of The Advocate, wrote this about Foster:

… Everyone should come out in her own time, but Foster was angry last night. One reason could be embarrassment at not having come out publicly (at least in her own estimation) until 2013. Last night’s speech clearly took a lot of guts for Foster to undertake. But too much anger was directed at a straw man of her own creation.

“But now apparently I’m told that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a prime-time reality show. You guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo child. No, I’m sorry, that’s just not me, never was, and it never will be,” she said.

There’s where she’s got it wrong. By referencing Honey Boo Boo, a stand-in for all that is shamelessly confessional about celebrity in 2013, Foster’s implication was that the choices she faces as a public figure are few: (1) stay closeted, never acknowledge your sexual orientation in public, or (2) tell the world every sordid detail of your intimate life.

That’s a bogus comparison, and it’s one that reinforces the idea that being LGBT is shameful, worthy of being hidden, and that saying you’re LGBT is an invitation to the whole world to come into your bedroom. That’s patently wrong. There are numerous out celebrities who guard their personal lives: David Hyde Pierce, Anna Paquin, Zachary Quinto, Amber Heard, Anderson Cooper, just to name a few. … [Emphasis is all mine.]

Breen states in his piece on Foster that The Advocate’s policy on outing is this: “While we encourage everyone who doesn’t risk his or her own safety by coming out to do so, The Advocate has a policy of not outing people who are not actively doing harm to LGBTs through word or deed.”

That’s pretty much my personal view on outing, too. Those who can be out should be out, in my book. You can’t assert that someone who might face real physical danger and/or who might be tossed out of his or her home (or maybe even his or her job) should come out if you’re not the one who would have to face the consequences — but often closeted individuals exaggerate how awful it might be should they come out.

Still, that said, even if I strongly think that an individual should be out, in the end, in many if not most cases it’s up to the individual as to whether or not he or she should be out (assuming that everyone doesn’t already know or strongly surmise the individual’s orientation anyway — there are so many closet cases whose self-awareness is so low that they seem to think that no one knows that they’re not heterosexual when pretty much everyone does).

In my book, the individual deserves the “protection” of the closet until and unless he or she does not deserve it, such as if it’s a closeted guy who is not keeping to himself but is sexually harassing others at the workplace (as happened to me) or, of course, if it’s a closet case who actively is working against the “LGBT community,” such as a “Christo”fascist “leader” or a politician. No traitor deserves the “protection” of the closet.

Most people agree on that point, but there remains a sticking point — that of “privacy.”

I like what LGBT writer Nathaniel Frank has to say on this:

… It’s true that hiding [one’s sexual orientation] hurts. Research shows mental health consequences to holding major secrets over time. And yes, it’s absolutely a wasted opportunity for powerful, visible people who probably could come out unscathed to deny young LGBT people the nurturance of knowing that an admired public figure is gay.

Privacy and shame are closely connected. Adam and Eve covered their “privates” the moment they gained moral consciousness, an awareness of good and evil, setting the tone for a truism ever since: You don’t cover up stuff if there ain’t something wrong with it.

Any step a gay person takes to hide their identity that they wouldn’t take to hide the fact that they’re, say, Irish, vegetarian or left-handed is probably not a neutral quest for privacy but reflects their own doubt about just how OK it is to be gay. Foster’s reluctance to just pull an Ellen (“Yep, I’m gay”), and her tortured speech, with its resentful tone and its ultimate avoidance of the “L” word, made being gay and coming out seem tortured things in themselves. … [Emphasis mine.]

And that’s the deep and profound problem that I have with the widespread argument that one’s sexual orientation (if it is not heterosexual, and only if it is not heterosexual, of course) is “private”: The vast majority of heterosexuals don’t go around asserting that their attraction to members of the opposite sex is “private,” do they? And why is that? Because they’re not fucking ashamed of their sexual orientation, that’s why.

So to assert that one’s non-heterosexuality — not one’s specific sex acts, but one’s basic sexual orientation — is “private” is to keep alive the toxic, ignorant, bigoted, harmful belief that to be attracted to members of one’s own sex is shameful, abnormal, “sinful,” etc.

And to contribute to that toxic, heterosexist and homophobic environment — and yes, all of us are responsible for the environment, since all of us make up the environment — is only to add to the number of non-heterosexual people who become addicted to drugs and alcohol, who contemplate or commit suicide, who don’t protect themselves from STDs because (in their low self-esteem) they don’t find themselves to be worth protecting, and who are the victims of hate crimes, since they exist in such a heterosexist, homophobic environment that encourages such hate crimes.

You are contributing to the problem or you are contributing to the solution.

Lying that your basic sexual orientation is a matter of “privacy” — and lying that what others really want to know are the “dirty” details of your sex life when, in fact, no one is inquiring as to such details — is to try to excuse yourself for your own laziness, selfishness and cowardice for which there is no fucking excuse.

That is the problem that I have with Jodie Foster and with others like her who toss out the red herring of “privacy” instead of manning the fuck up already and working to make things better for everyone.

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Cooper tarnishes his coming out with ‘no one else’s business’ business

Anderson Cooper arrives at the 39th Daytime Emmy Awards in Beverly Hills

Reuters photo

“The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud,” CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who long had been rumored to be gay, proclaimed in his official coming-out e-mail that was released today. Cooper’s explanation for why it took him so long to come out, however, indicates some degree of internalized homophobia that perhaps even he isn’t aware of. (Cooper is photographed above at last month’s Daytime Emmy Awards in Beverly Hills.)

While I’m pleased that CNN anchor Anderson Cooper finally came out of the closet — and pleased with most of what he has stated in regards to his coming out, such as that “visibility [for non-heterosexuals] is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy” — damn, he just had to say just one “little” thing that, for me, tarnished it.

“In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted,” he stated in his coming-out e-mail to his long-time friend the right-wing gay blogger Andrew Sullivan, who published the e-mail with Cooper’s approval.

While I agree with that latter part — that there is value in standing up and being counted as non-heterosexual, because otherwise some (presumably heterosexual) people might otherwise think that there really aren’t that many of us non-heterosexuals — what the fuck is “In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business”?

Heterosexuals generally don’t assert that their sexual orientation is no one else’s business. Heterosexual celebrities (actors and other artists, politicians, TV news/“news” anchors, et. al.) generally have no problem being seen in public with and/or talking publicly about their opposite-sexed mates, if they have an opposite-sexed mate, whether they are married or not. They generally don’t take the stance that their heterosexuality is no one else’s business — because they aren’t ashamed of their heterosexuality.

Heterosexual journalists aren’t seen as violating some journalistic ethic if they let the world in on the “secret” that they are heterosexual, so why does Anderson Cooper essentially state, in his apparent justification for his having dragged his feet for so long in coming out of the closet, that he had thought that to do otherwise would have been unprofessional?

Why would a gay man assert that his homosexuality is no one else’s business, and why would a gay male journalist act as though divulging his sexual orientation would be unprofessional, unless, at least on some level and to some degree, he is ashamed of his sexual orientation?

True, whatever the silver fox Coop likes to do sexually (or whether he even has an active sex life at all) is none of our business. It’s none of our business if he’s a top or a bottom, if he spits or if he swallows or if he won’t allow a dick inside of his mouth at all, if he’s ever done anal or if he’s anal-phobic, if he’s chocolate or if he’s vanilla, whether he masturbates (of course he does) and if so, how and how often, etc., etc.

But if there is nothing wrong with being gay, as Cooper says he believes — he proclaimed in his coming-out e-mail:

It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something —something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.

— why, then, the rather revealing counter-statement that “In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business”?

Cooper has, I suspect, residual shame over his homosexuality, which, in such a homophobic and sex-shaming society, I can’t entirely blame him for — neither he nor none of us exists in a vacuum — but I would hope that all of us gay men and lesbians and other assorted non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals do the self-examination that is necessary for us to identify the homophobia that we all too often carry, to some degree, within ourselves.

Most of us non-heterosexuals, I believe, have some degree of internalized homophobia, and it is worth it for us to identify it and to work to dig it up by its roots. But until we first identify it, we can’t eradicate it.

Yes, our sexual orientation is everyone else’s business. It is an important and a basic part of ourselves, of who and what we are.

To assert otherwise is to lie — to lie to others, and worse, to ourselves.

Man up, Coop — your sexual orientation, as mine and everyone else’s, always was, is, and always will be our business.

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Thanks to Obama, Jesse Jackson, et. al., seem to have evolved

Um, let’s not call Barack Obama “the first gay president,” but let’s credit him with being influential within the black community where equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals are concerned.

Newsweek’s May 21 cover pronouncement of Barack Obama being the nation’s “first gay president” is typically-for-Newsweek hyperbolic — Obama is no more the “first gay president” than Bill Clinton was the “first black president” — but Obama’s belated pronouncement of last week that he supports same-sex marriage (although he hasn’t changed his “states’ rights” “argument” and thus he has not argued that same-sex marriage should not be prohibited by any of the states) might have the benefit of easing some of the homophobia within the black community.

Seventy percent of the black voters who voted on California’s Proposition 8 in November 2008 voted “yes” and thus voted against same-sex marriage here in California — on the very same election day that brought us the nation’s first black president, mind you.

Seventy fucking percent. (Overall, 52 percent of the state’s voters passed Prop H8.)

The Washington Post at the time of Prop H8’s passage reported that “Similar [anti-same-sex-marriage] measures passed easily in Florida and Arizona. It was closer in California, but no ethnic group anywhere rejected the sanctioning of same-sex unions as emphatically as the state’s black voters, according to exit polls.”

This, I think, was for two primary reasons:

One, most black Americans have adopted the toxic, backasswards, ignorance-, hatred- and fear-based religion of those who once were their enslavers. They and their equally fucktarded and bigoted white counterparts call this patriarchal, misogynist and homophobic bullshit “Christianity,” but I’ve read the New Testament, and Christianity this ain’t.

It’s unfortunate that so many black churches are just like white churches. The only significant difference between the black Protestant churches and the white Protestant churches, it seems to me, is the race and the racial identity of the churchgoers. The ignorance, hatred, bigotry and the us-vs.-them, fear-based bullshit pretty much are the same.

Two, many if not most blacks refuse to share the victimization pie. These blacks don’t want to acknowledge that any other historically oppressed minority group also has been oppressed in the United States of America. Their victimization (real and/or fabricated) is their identity, after all.

Of course we cannot exactly compare gay rights and the historical oppression that non-heterosexuals and the non-gender-conforming have experienced to race-based rights and the historical oppression that blacks and other non-whites have experienced in the United States of America.

Slavery, and being discriminated against for your race, are a whole other ball of wax from being discriminated against for your sexual orientation and/or your gender expression. Obviously and of course.

However, it’s also true that gay males and lesbians and other non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals are the only minorities who routinely are rejected even by their own families. Racial minorities, on the other hand, almost universally are accepted by the members of their own families. (There are exceptions, of course, such as in the cases of biracial children; a white supremacist white family probably would to some degree reject a biracial child born into the family, for example.)

But getting into arguments over which historically oppressed minority group has had it worse probably isn’t very constructive, and fuck it, I will say it: Those blacks who make stewing over the injustices that were done even primarily to their forebears their second or even their first job probably are quite stuck in their development, and since they have a difficult time living in the present, but remain stuck in the past — even others’ past — their chance of making significant progress in the present is slim. They are sad cases who not only are miserable themselves, but who do their best to make those around them miserable.

I mean, shit. I can’t marry my same-sex partner of five years here in the supposedly liberal and progressive state of California, and I can think of no other minority group that isn’t allowed to get married. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1967, in Loving vs. Virginia, that no state can outlaw mixed-race heterosexual marriage, but here I am, decades later, and I don’t have marriage rights. Gay indeed apparently is the new black. (Maybe that is reason No. 3 for rampant black homophobia: Many if not most blacks want to ensure that there is at least one minority group that they still can shit and piss upon. In this dogpile that we call the U.S. of A. it’s still better to be next to the bottom than to be at the very bottom of the dogpile, isn’t it?) I could stew over this gross injustice a lot more than I do, but I would like my life to be about more than stewing over this injustice.

All of that said, same-sex marriage rights and other equal rights and human rights for non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals are civil rights.

Civil rights is a large umbrella — an umbrella that doesn’t cover only blacks. Wikipedia notes in its entry “civil rights”:

Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals’ freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.

Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples’ physical integrity and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as physical or mental disability, gender, religion, race, national origin, age, status as a member of the uniformed services, sexual orientation or gender identity; and individual rights such as privacy, the freedoms of thought and conscience, speech and expression, religion, the press, and movement.

Fuck it, I’ll say it: If you maintain that civil rights cover only your group, you’re a selfish fucking hypocrite who demands that your group be treated with fairness and with justice, but you don’t give a flying fuck about other groups. Therefore, you don’t fucking deserve the same respect that you demand that others show you.

Therefore, I was incensed when Jesse Jackson announced some time ago that gay rights (or at least same-sex marriage rights) aren’t civil rights. As recently as two years ago, Jackson reportedly declared, “Many African-Americans believe gays are discriminated against, but they don’t believe marriage is a civil-rights issue. [Really? Loving vs. Virginia, which allowed mixed-race heterosexual marriage, was not over a civil-rights issue?] There are issues of acceptance [of gays], but there is no back of the bus; there are no lynchings.” Um, Matthew Shepard and countless other non-heterosexuals who have been killed for their sexual orientation and/or non-gender-conformation have not, in effect, been lynched? Jackson at that time added that being non-heterosexual “is not immutable” and “is not an externally observable characteristic unless you want to flaunt it.”

Actually, for most non-heterosexuals it is not a choice, any more than heterosexuals have a choice as to who they are and are not sexually attracted to, and of course, that word choice — “flaunt it” — reeks of homophobic bigotry (the only way for effeminate males and masculine females not to “flaunt it” is to [try to] pretend to be who and what they are not, which is soul-crushing), and of course the “immutability” “argument” is bullshit where civil rights are concerned. Civil rights protect one’s religious beliefs, for example, and certainly one’s religious beliefs are not immutable. (And why, oh, why, must so many “Christians” flaunt their mutable, bullshit, backasswards beliefs that they wish to inflict on all of us? And why do the “Christians” want to convert our defenseless children to their perversion?)

However, Jesse Jackson seems to have evolved on the issue of same-sex marriage since his earlier effective public proclamations that blacks have the monopoly on civil rights.

The Los Angeles Times on Thursday surreally reported (emphases are mine):

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Thursday praised President Obama’s decision to support same-sex marriage, comparing the battle for such unions to the fight against slavery and anti-miscegenation laws intended to keep blacks and other ethnicities from mingling and marrying with whites.

“This is a bold step in the right direction for equal protection under the law for all citizens,” Jackson told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday morning. But, he said, he wished the president had gone further, pushing for federal protection for all citizens instead of leaving the controversial issue of gay marriage up to the states to decide. [!!!]

If other hard-won civil rights battles had been left up to the states, Jackson said, African Americans would have been on the losing end of those battles.

“If the states had to vote on slavery, we would have lost the vote,” Jackson said. “If we had to vote on the right [for blacks] to vote, we would have lost that vote.” …

Wow. Here is Jesse Jackson now more or less comparing the fight for same-sex marriage in all 50 states to the fight to eliminate slavery in all 50 states, a comparison that I recently made myself and was expecting to get shit for (but miraculously did not).

Of course, not being allowed to marry the one you wish to marry absolutely is not just like being involuntarily owned and involuntarily worked like livestock instead of being treated as a free human being, but the idea of allowing any of the states to put the treatment of and the equal human and civil rights of any minority group up for a fucking vote is anti-American. And I do believe that while of course we cannot directly compare the prohibition of same-sex marriage to slavery, we can more or less directly compare laws that banned mixed-race marriage to laws that ban same-sex marriage. Yes, marriage rights are civil rights.

I have been critical of Barack Obama for still not having gone far enough on same-sex marriage — and, by and large, most Americans, even non-heterosexual Americans, seem to be letting him off of the hook for his willingness to go only so far thus far — so it is gratifying to see Jesse Jackson’s proclamation that Obama hasn’t gone far enough on same-sex marriage.

The L.A. Times reports further of Jackson’s recent pronouncement (emphases mine):

His statement comes as a growing number of African-American leaders and civil-rights activists are stepping forward to voice their support for same-sex marriage. Their positions are significant because there is a stronghold of opposition to same-sex marriage within African American communities. This week alone, African-Americans voters were instrumental to passing North Carolina’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. [Deja vu all over again…]

Acknowledging that gap, Jackson called on religious leaders nationwide to address the issue with their congregations.

Jackson said gays and lesbians are among the ranks of soldiers dying for their country, the teachers educating the nation’s children and even the pastors guiding parishioners through the Bible. It’s time to reward gays and lesbians with equal protection, he said.

He urged opponents to remember that same-sex marriage isn’t about taking rights away from anyone else, but rather extending those rights to all. He also recalled a painful time in America’s not-too-distant past when African American men in the South faced swift punishment or even death if they tried to date a white woman, even as white men boldly dated across racial lines.

With such history in the rear-view mirror, Jackson said, it’s time to stop dictating the actions of others.

“You may choose your mate, but you cannot deny someone else the right to choose their mate,” he said. “The law protects you from being abused. It doesn’t threaten your lifestyle for someone else to have the right to exhibit their lifestyle,” he later added. [“Exhibit” — I hope that that’s not just a euphemism for “flaunt”… And your sexual orientation, in the vast majority of cases, is not your “lifestyle.” Your lifestyle, by definition, is your choice. Your sexual orientation, in the vast majority of cases, is not your choice.]

Other African-American leaders were also vocal this week in their support for gay marriage, joining Jackson in reframing the issue as one of civil rights.

“I salute President Obama’s statement today supporting same-sex marriage,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement that went on to add: “This is not about mine or anyone’s personal or religious views. It is about equal rights for all. We cannot be selective with civil rights. We must support civil rights for everybody or we don’t support them for anyone.”

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, seen as a rising [black] star in the Democratic Party, appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC Wednesday to lend an impassioned voice in support of gay marriage rights. [I saw that interview, and I like fellow Gen X’er Cory Booker, and he is, I think, an example of the fact that one’s age largely determines his or her stance on same-sex marriage. Younger Americans, as a whole, are more accepting of same-sex marriage than are older Americans, such as Jesse Jackson, regardless of their race.]

And, earlier in the day, the social media savvy leader tweeted: “Historic day for justice and equality. Our United States President Obama endorses marriage equality. I rejoice in this announcement.”

I suspect that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, et. al., wouldn’t be as on board with same-sex marriage as they are now if our “first gay president” weren’t black and if our “first gay president” hadn’t first made his (limited) support of same-sex marriage public, but I’ll take their (belated) support anyway.

Truth be told, their support of my equal human and civil rights makes it much easier for me to give them my support of theirs wholeheartedly.

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