Voice of Opposition Lip-biting spunk-shooting shit-smothered animalistic anti-rants and free-association non-linear thought trashcan.
Friday, August 19, 2005
The Old Man sat alone in his bedroom, his head in hands, weeping bitterly. As his body gently shook with soft sobs, he thought for a moment about rising from his bedside and going downstairs to the kitchen where he would mightily shatter the bottle that stole his youth. But his weakness kept him seated and this consequence made him angrier, more bitter, and thirsty for a drink.
The man had much to mourn. His life was mis-spent. He had made his path through time taking lovers and wives with a scythe, harvesting their hearts and throwing them to the side like chaff. By the accounts of friends and acquaintances, he was a wonderful lover and an incredibly giving individual. But his wives knew otherwise. They knew how selfish he could be. They knew him as an untrustworthy man that had difficulties controlling his libidinous heart. He took infatuations with too much seriousness and destroyed homes with his desire. His drunkeness was tiresome and oftentimes when he was alone he would threaten to take his own life.
This man was born to desire. As some men are born to play an instrument, others are born to become librarians, and still others are born to teach, the old man was in his niche only when he was busying himself with an acquisition. His eyes and heart caressed with profound longing all that he did or could not have. Once he caught the object of his lust, he quickly bored of it. Many days he thought that his heart was designed to destroy him. On this grey late summer morning such thoughts haunted him accutely.
He thought of a woman he had always loved, or at least thought he had always loved. The first time he met her was through an introduction on behalf of an old mutual friend of theirs. Immediately the man was taken aback by this woman's lovely youthful features. Her gaze was stern. Though her face was no mark of perfection, her conspicuously flawless pale skin held fast to her bones, resisting the pull of time. She spoke with a throaty rasp that demanded attention by virtue of it's novelty. The man remembered how he had to dip into the bottle to find enough courage to speak with this woman. They had very pleasant conversation that night. The following night they met again and though she resisted his gentle advances, they both enjoyed themselves watching the moon rise over a nearby lake.
For the following week the two of them spent quite a bit of time together. As they grew more familiar with each other more time passed between visits and eventually the man took his third wife. Through the gossip of others the woman learned of the old man's reputation. Although he was widely admired for many things by many people, negative qualifiers and footnotes amended much of the good that was said. After two years the old man playfully mused that he would take this lovely woman to be his next wife. She gently slapped him on the shoulder, smiled bodly, and cavalierly replied, "I know you too well to let you do that to me." The words stung his heart in some small way, and while he was laughing himself, he felt a deep pain inside.
After watching countless suns pass the horizon, the charming and ageless woman left. Several years later the man received news through the gossip of others that the woman died. The man took another wife, loved her, and loved several other women, and for a time forgot about the gaze and complexion that placed an itching in his soul he thought he would never lose.
Then yesterday his grand-daughter, a full grown and established woman, came to visit him. She brought pictures of his great grandchildren who were born only months ago. She did not knock on the front door. Instead she opened the front entrance and called out his name as she made her way through the large, lonely home. Her voice stirred the old man, waking him from a nap. Realizing his guest was welcome he immediately stood from his chair and opened his arms to give her a warm embrace. She leaned in, standing on her tip toes to reach the side of his face, and with a quick dry kiss on the cheek whispered raspily, "I love you." As she pulled back her cheek brushed his and her odor brought a powerful rush of memory.
Immediately the man scolded himself silently for the incestuous nature of this experience. Then, as the two sat in the kitchen and made talk with each other, he found himself irresistibly distracted. A fantasy played in his head of that ageless woman leaning in close, kissing him sweetly on the cheek, and saying those words which he had heard so many times from so many other women. And though those words should have lost all meaning by now, ruined as they had been by divorce and infidelity, he thought with regret that if he had ever managed to coax those words from the mouth of that lovely woman that his life would have been altered as the air is shook by a thunderclap.
Grand-daughter remained for a couple hours, making dinner for the two of them and reminding the old man to take certain medications at certain times. She breezed through the cupboards while she cooked, pretending to look for ingredients and utensils but in reality looking for alcohol. Her investigation was unsuccessful and after her departure the man sat in his chair and drank heavily.
The expression, "all things considered," as in the following sentence, "All things considered, my cats are very well behaved;" is an extremely arrogant turn of phrase. It communicates to the listener that the user of this term is god-like in omniscience; able to casually consider ALL THINGS.
When I walk into Quiznos for my Turkey Bacon Guacamole sandwich, I dont want to see the lady making it on the other side of the glass weigh my meat on a small foodservice scale. I used to make pizza for Domino's as a teenager, and I understand that certain guidlines exist concerning food portions and appropriate distribution of ingredients. However, when was the last time any of us had a pizza delivered and as soon as the box is opened, the first thought we have is that the actual number of sausage and pepperoni units is doled according to corporate guidlines? This is quite an unpleasant thought to have. So unpleasant in fact that it would drive me to lose my appetite. The effect is similar when I order an oven-toasted sub from Quizno's.
Nothing is more refreshing than finding an interesting person to speak with.
The Scotsman that goes to my gym has an hilarious work-out ensemble.
If you work in a bar--even a gay bar where most of your co-workers have a college degree--and write the word "Magnanimity" on a dry-erase board, you will have mystified the entire staff.
Florid writing is repugnant.
Cats are more jealous of books than any other thing.
I think I like to sweep the carpet so much and so often because it reminds me of mowing the lawn for my parents. In a way, I am regressing every time I clean. This proves that you dont have to grow up to learn responsibility.
When I was young and coming to the conclusion that I was gay.....still grappling with my sexuality and confused, angry, frustrated, and defiant, I thought of one particular thing: HIV.
My parents, upon learning that I was homosexual, immediately thought about HIV, and the seeming guarantee that I would contract this terrible illness.
I see so much weakness in my community. I see weakness manifest itself as evil. I see it in my face as snobberey, obtuseness, irretractible hate, unforgiving judgment, and callous, cynical scrutiny. I see all my people resorting to the only thing they know in the face of the original and individual: Hate. All my people were taight to hate themselves and everyone like them. Why cant we be free of this?
Then there is the stubborn yet infinitely solvable problem of HIV. Why cant we learn to be safe? Why do so many of us younger ones regard HIV as little more than a treatable bother...........a disease that will surely be cureable in our lifetime............a stigma that can be removed given the proper propoganda........an inconsequential that deserves no attention whilst we are consumed with physical desire.........
I want boys all over the world to learn of their homosexuality without fear of HIV infection.
I want parents everywhere to accept their gay children without apprehension.
I want the ultimate stigma, the stigma of deadly STD, to be permanently disassociated from homosexuality such that gay-ness is viewed with every bit of hopefulness that straight-ness is.
And now my personal plead to my boys out there: USE A CONDOM. Barebacking isnt worth it.
It has always seemed to me that there are a lot more homophobic men than women. Women who hate gays tend to be those who were told to do so by their churches, but with men, fear of male homosexuality cuts a much longer and wider path. And this brings me to a subject I don't think gets enough discussion: Men who freak out over men being together in a romantic/sexual relationship freak out because for them, it all comes down to their own fear of being someone's butt-boy. Which would be really humiliating and would turn a man into something truly loathesome--a woman. The fear of being made "a woman" by another man will send an otherwise shallow and apathetic man into a letter-writing, Focus on the Family-contributing, Republican-voting lunatic. Show me a man who hates gay males and I'll show you a man who despises women.
First of all, the above is little more than speculation. There is no hard evidence establishing a positive correlation between homophobes and misogynists. Having said this, should you ask a misogynistic man how he feels about homosexuals, Im willing to bet he would be hostile to say the least.
Having experience with this as a gay man myself, I would break the mysoginist group down like this: First there is the set of all Misogynists. Second, there are the Homophobic Misogynists and Non-Homophobic Misogynists (stay with me here). In the set of Homophobic Misogynists you have Gay Homophobes and Straight Homophobes. The Gay Homophobes are usually the ones that are loudest and most insistent concerning their masculinity. They are closeted, sexually frustrated, and mentally ill. Straight Homophobes are homophobic most likely because their religion demands it of them (just as their religion demands a certain level of misogyny).
On the other side, and more interestingly, we have the Non-Homophobic Misogynists. In my experience these men are almost always gay. Openly gay men that strongly dislike or hate women are exceedingly common. The media stereotype of the gay man as an effiminate party boy that loves "girl talk" and shopping with the fag hags certainly has some grounding. But even a simple examination of what a gay man's female friends are called is revealing: Fag Hag. Rather than "girlfriend," or, better yet, "friend" (a gender free term liberated from certain prejudices), gay men call their lady buddies "hags."
Webster has some delightful information concerning hags.............. Etymology: Middle English hagge demon, old woman1 : an ugly, slatternly, or evil-looking old woman2 archaic a : a female demon b : an evil or frightening spirit : HOBGOBLIN3 : WITCH- hag·gish /'ha-gish/ adjective
Homosexual icon Margaret Cho contributed to the popularization of the term Fag Hag on tour: "....I am a fag hag....we went with you to prom....we helped you through the underground railroad.... The only people left at last call in a gay bar are straight women."
Here Cho characterizes Fag Hags as being little more than accessories, abandoned in the gay bar as soon as the Fag in question finds a sex partner.
Gay men often use slang to refer to women of all kinds. This slang includes words like, "gash," "tuna," and "hatchet wound," to name a few. All these terms communicate not only the gender of the person or group referred to, but a violent distate for their sexual organs as well.
What explains this hatered for women? I seriously doubt it is rooted in a strong desire to appear masculine and strong vis a vis a weak, subservient individual. Many very effiminate (and proudly so) gay men diplay this same dislike for women.
I think the cause is found in the gay community's willingness to objectify almost everything. Gay men are extremely promiscuous. With few exceptions, a gay man will make first-impression style judgments about someone based on that person's attractiveness (this probably holds true to some degree for most people, but gay men tend to exaggerate the importance of attraction and subsequent sexual activity). With this in mind, a woman hold absolutely no sexual importance for a gay male, and thus can only hold his attention for a limited time (if at all).
It might sound politically incorrect but it is the truth. Put simply, guys like to fuck and they want to do it a lot.....gay or straight. Hell, some guys want sex so badly they will partake in gay sex even though they characterize themselves as straight (given the opportunity for sexual activity is more probable with a gay man than a straight woman). So if you get a community of guys together that are attracted to other guys, naturally there is gonna be a whole lotta fuckin. Combine that with sex being the tie that binds a community together and defines it both inwardly and outwardly, and any deviation from that definition is going to be regarded with scorn.
Its not all very well thought out yet, but this will have to do. Until then, Ill keep thinking.
Sometimes when I am doing the dishes my mind wanders and I start thinking about writing my own animated series. I make little scenes in my head. I would love to string them together but the episodes I come up with are too short to even be called vignettes. Anyhow, the last one I came up with was a bartender laughing histerically. Then, gradually, his laughter breaks down into unconsolable sobbing.
I dont know why, but the laughter isnt the funny part. The sobbing is.
My husband recently completed one of his law school finals. The exam consisted of going to a posh diner's club (The Midday Club, Chicago) on the 56th floor of the Bank One Building, and enjoying the open bar and breathtaking view courtesy of his professor. About 12 students made it to the final exam, making the occasion a rather intimate affair. Two of them, a female couple, got my husband's attention. They were both blonde, scantily clad, buxom (or at least dressing in a manner that encourages a perception of buxom-ness), and intoxicated. These are the kind of women one looks at and immediately draws the conclusion that they were members of the same sorority in college, the same cheerleading team in high school, and grew up three houses away from each other in some god-forsaken conservative upper-middle class suburb where plastic surgery, sporty BMWs, Blink-182, and clumsy lesbian experimentation are the pastime du jour. My husband heard, with little difficulty, a snippet of their conversation where they both, with Valley Girl style, gasped and extolled the magnificence of gay bars.
At this point my husband intrudes and says, "It is women just lke you!" Now of course these two women are quite unaccustomed to being the target of attack (at least knowingly so.....courtesy drinks at a straight bar on any given saturday night arent "attacks" to these women--they are fringe benefits). Given their upbringing and worldview, they both have a hard time believing either one of them could in any way be the source of a problem. In astonishment one of them musters language and says to my husband, "What do you mean?"
He goes in for the attack: "It is women like you...Straight girls that feel safe in the gay bars so they stroll in as if they own the place, get sloppy drunk, vomit in our bathrooms, leave shitty tips, get loud and obnoxious, and then start crying because none of the attractive men at the bar want to have sex with you." That last point is particularly un-nerving for this gaggle of tits, lips, and hair as it reminds them of the pain of rejection.
"Way to stereotype." One of them retorts in her marvellously practiced, Clueless style.
My husband fires back: "Stereotypes exist for a reason. An element of truth exists in them otherwise they wouldnt endure. Now my boyfriend works at a gay bar, Ive frequented his bar enough to see it with my own eyes. You girls waltz in with a bloated sense of self-worth, get sloppy, and make yourselves a pain in the ass for everyone else there."
In a perfect world Mary Kate and Ashley would have at this point unsheathed samurai swords and attempted Hari-Kiri. My husband would have stopped them, and they would break down in shame and start weeping uncontrollably, vowing never again to return to the gay bar.
Of course this isnt what happens. A third girl interjects and says, "Like you said, we just feel safer there. We know if we go to the gay bar that no one is going to bother us." This is where the issue dies and my husband moves on.
Though it was wise for my husband to choose not to waste any more time on this upper-middle-class-white trash, I probably would not have done the same thing. I would have stuck around and pointed out that while it is all well and good for a woman to feel "safe" and free from other guy's advances, this in no way justifies their behavior which always deteriorates into exactly the thing they wished to escape. Rather than suffering the unwanted preditorials of straight men, us gay men suffer the unwanted predatorials of shit-faced, self-indulgent, un-disciplined straight women. Each time I hear the question, "Why do you have to be gay?" or worse, the incredibly insulting, "You are too hot to be gay," I want to vomit.
Then I politely retort with, "Why do you have to be dumb," or "You're too stupid to speak with me." and I move on.
Though the particular way the Chicago Tribune reported on the Spongebob Squarepants/gay brainwashing fiasco is slightly offsetting, it cannot compare to the hallucinatory paranoia so lovingly nurtured by our most fanatic Christian groups. First, to pick a bone with the Trib, and excerpt:
In many circles, SpongeBob needs no introduction. He is popular among children and grown-ups as well who watch him cavorting under the sea on the Nickelodeon cartoon program that bears his name. In addition, he has become a well-known camp figure among gay men, perhaps because he holds hands with his animated sidekick Patrick and likes to watch the imaginary television show "The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy."
This paragraph has to be one of the most misleading passages in journalism I have seen in quite some time. It introduces Spongebob as a character loved by children, adults, and..*gasp*......GAY MEN! Furthermore it makes the largely unfounded claim that Spongebob is a camp figure in the gay community. The best the author can do is offer some bland conjecture as to why gays would "identify" with Spongebob. Lamely as much is evidenced because the Sponge holds hands with a STARFISH of (one would assume) the same "sex," as it were, and enjoys a television show called, "..blah blah MERMAID MAN..blah blah...BARNACLE BOY."
For any thinking person, the above expungency would require no elaboration. In fact, the above would most likely not be required at all. But there are a lot of non-thinking persons out there so I feel compelled to spell things out--if only for my own clarity. Keep in mind we are talking about illustrations on celluloid. One of them is a freakin SPONGE and the other a STARFISH. If one were to entertain sexual relations between the two characters it would smack more of cross-species fetishism than gay sex. Furthermore, Lucille Ball is a camp figure in the gay community. You wanna know why? Because she is a camp figure in the WORLD community. Everyone knows who Lucy Ball is and among every population and micro-community, subculture, shadow society, and closet-kabal you will find members of each that enjoy "I Love Lucy." Pop schtick becomes just that because it appeals to human universals, not particulars. And my final bone to pick with the Trib: When I grew up I watched Batman and Robin--the cartoon and the live-action show. Does this make me gay? Does every boy guilty of consuming the Boy Wonder and his Bat-tastic Daddy on saturday mornings turn out queer?
Now, for the real entertainment. I think Ill let these megalomaniacal Christian know-nothing, love-nothings speak for themselves:
Paul Batura, assistant to Dobson at Focus on the Family, said the group stood by its charges, even as it acknowledged that the "tolerance pledge" was available only on the We Are Family Web site and not in material sent to the schools."We see the video as an insidious means by which the organization is manipulating and potentially brainwashing kids," he said. "It is a classic bait and switch."
Now now Paul, if I wanted to make your little boy gay I wouldnt send him a cartoon. Id wait until he was of age and plow his ass like a field begging for seed! Soon enough your little boy's spunk hunger will grow so powerful he won't be able to resist the indulgent lures of man-harpies, and by the time he is 40 he'll be sitting on a loveseat, luxuriously buried under unnumberable accent pillows, watching re-runs of "I Love Lucy" and "Spongebob Squarepants," fighting the cold grip of AIDS pulling him closer towards the filthy sort of demise every faggot boy deserves. Tell him now you love him, because your self-righteous indignation isnt going to be of any comfort when his frail constitution succumbs to its final seizure and Satan pulls his eternal soul down into the pits of unending pain and damnation.
Today I saw A Series of Unfortunate Events, the film adaptation of the first three novellas authored by a certain Lemony Snicket. The translation from book to film is not always an easy one. Many times the author has greater play with the audience than the director. For example, a line such as, "...and the Baudelaire children spent the evening wishing their parents were still alive..." can be more consicely conveyed in the written word as opposed to the image. Whereas words alone are digested efficiently, the image--or an entire scene--can require more thought and time. Indeed, the mood of the Lemony Snicket series is un-interrupted by such a turn of phrase. Unfortuantely the same cannot be said of the film. Alas, thoughts are shaped by words and words shaped by thoughts however. Therefore being creatures molded with language, the image alone is a greater abstraction and therefore harder to interpret correctly--or more open to interpretation if you will.
Before I continue I want to explain to those who are not Lemony Snicket readers just how tough it would be for any director to turn these books into cinematic works. They are ambiguous to an extreme. Although marvellously macabre and brilliantly understaded, the books do little to "set the scene" as it were. The reader can never be certain what time period the events are taking place in, and likewise with geographical concerns. The tone of the book is definitely English, perhaps early twentieth century post-industrialist. But certain quirks emerge that push the reader forward several decades (such as the employ of "walkie-talkies," the author's term). However the predominate themes in the Lemony Snicket collection are gloom, dry wit, and foreboding in the midst of happiness. In other words it is as if every silver lining has a dark cloud.
Being the sort of person that expects directors to take certain creative liberties whenever they attempt to capture books in celluloid, I began my viewing with high hopes and anticipation. Many of the same film crew that worked with Tim Burton during the making of Sleepy Hollow contributed to Series. I thirsted for a flick that was full of mist, implied horror, subtle humor, and lots of monochromatic tones ranging from the very black to the very white.
Instead I was given the visual equivalent of the "impulse buy" section that always borders your right when standing in line at the supermarket check-out: Lots of sweetness, lots of color, and lots that looks all right on the surface but when you really start to peel it back and compare it to something that is worth a damn, is ultimately worthy of little. So much is to be expected I suppose from American "Christmas time" cinema, where revenues trump relevance, and Box Office is the wintertime Christ child.
The greatest error made in the film, however, was one of race. More accurately, casting. The children performed well enough. The infant was especially endearing. However, in the portion of the film devoted to The Reptile Room: Book the Second, the investigating officer is black. More than that, he is black and acting "street."
When I see a film, I want to be wholly engrossed and encounter nothing that removes me from the escape that the film can create for me. I want to be engaged in imaginary worlds. I want to care about the welfare of the characters. I want to see a movie that justifies the existence of pop. Anything that removes me from these circumstances is bad. Poor CGI is bad. Poor acting is worse. Race diversification for the sake of itself when it means sacrificing the tone of the overall picture is unforgivable. Had the black character simply been a black man, speaking in the same syntax as all other actors (I suppose in a "white" way?), had he not been a Bernie Mack look-alike which implied someone of color thrown in for comedic (or more accurately, "tension") relief, had he had any basis in the book at ALL to be the sort of person of the actor's description I wouldn't have noticed his presence. And THAT, by the way, is how film is SUPPOSED to be. You shouldnt be able to point out actors. Instead you should remember only characters whilst the film is playing.
I suppose if the same movie was made by an English director, in a location where so many sets were not required, then the result would have been altogether different. Certainly some differences would be apparent simply because English culture, and therefore English film, is distinct from that in America. Yet the English care little about race. Im lead to belive then that an English director would not cast a black man for no other reason than casting a black man. Furthermore I think that if a black man were to appear in a movie of this sort he would blend in quite naturally, in part because the British dont have our American hang-ups and in part because his speech would most likely blend seamlessly with that of his white counterparts.
"They ruined it, even the villian looked pink and cheerful," said Frank Capra when he was asked his opinion of the colorization of Its a Wonderful Life. Capra mirrors my sentiment as regards Series. On many levels Brad Silberling's interpretation of the first three Snicket novels throws color where black and white were the intention; if not black and white, then at least 120 minutes of grey.
"In 1999, the Kansas board voted to erase any mention of evolution from the state science curriculum, opening the door for the teaching of creationism. That was reversed in 2001, after three board members who supported the move were defeated in a Republican primary. Kathy Martin, a newly elected member of the board who favors teaching alternatives to evolution, said the board would probably take a different route this time, like introducing the teaching of "intelligent design," a theory that holds that the development of the universe and earth was guided at each step by an "intelligent agent."
State Representative Cynthia Davis of Missouri prefiled two bills for the next session of the Legislature that she said "reflect what people want." One would remove the state's requirement that all forms of contraception and their potential health effects be taught in schools, leaving the focus on abstinence. Another would require publishers that sell biology textbooks to Missouri to include at least one chapter with alternative theories to evolution.
"These are common-sense, grass-roots ideas from the people I represent, and I'd be very surprised if a majority of legislators didn't feel they were the right solutions to these problems," Ms. Davis said.
"It's like when the hijackers took over those four planes on Sept. 11 and took people to a place where they didn't want to go," she added. "I think a lot of people feel that liberals have taken our country somewhere we don't want to go. I think a lot more people realize this is our country and we're going to take it back."
First of all, I find it absolutely reprehensible that Cynthia Davis would compare the liberal agenda to the agenda of the 9-11 terrorists. Where exactly did the 9-11 hijackers take their victims? Where was it these innocent people "didn't want to go?" They were taken to death in an eruption of flames in an event that should strike us all as so horrifying, so spectacular, and so inspiring of awe that the act of politicizing it with blatant, tasteless, and manipulative language should be immediately repulsive to anyone that watched what unfolded on that particular morning. More than that, Davis frames her speech in a way that implies the liberal agenda is an agenda of death (as it has been called by Bush on more than one occasion) and the logical end of said agenda is a tomb of fire.......imagery not unlike that of Christian hell. Obviously had John Kerry been elected America would be hell-bound! Therefore Bush must be the Jesus President Sitting on the Right Hand of the Lamb feeding on Mannah, Milk, and Honey.
Also, let Missouri remove the teaching of "all forms of contraception" in their schools and lets examine the result. "Tax and spend liberals" my ass. It will be MY tax money and YOURS that pays for the thousands of teenage single parents Missouri is about to create.
And just to demonstrate how totally insane and out of touch with reality the Conservative movement is, they want to stop teaching evolution in schools altogether. Sure, they pay lip service to moderate steps like including "chapters on alternatives to evolution" in textbooks but their goal is clear: To indoctrine your child whilst you cannot monitor what is being placed in his or her mind. And liberals are the ones doing the hijacking.
Conservative and mental Tantric, Andrew Sullivan writes on Red State / Blue State statistics of great interest:
Marriage was a key issue in the last election, with Massachusetts' gay marriages becoming a symbol of alleged blue state decadence and moral decay. But in actual fact, Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country at 2.4 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants. Texas - which until recently made private gay sex a criminal offence - has a divorce rate of 4.1. A fluke? Not at all. The states with the highest divorce rates in the U.S. are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. And the states with the lowest divorce rates are: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Every single one of the high divorce rate states went for Bush. Every single one of the low divorce rate states went for Kerry. The Bible Belt divorce rate, in fact, is roughly 50 percent higher than the national average.
Sullivan taps a variety of facts supporting his final conclusion that Red State politicians, knowing "sin" personally in their own lives and in the lives of their constituencies, seek to draft legislation designed to prevent the spread of sin in their states. Thus the Defense of Marriage act, and a host of other laws designed to regulate heterosexual and homosexual behavior.
Sullivan implies that Red State Evangelicalism causes higher divorce rates. The opposite is true. Higher divorce rates (or, in general, more relaxed attitudes towards sexual behavior) cause Evangelicalism. Now, I dont want to simplify a complex subject like religion by claiming its parent as sexual liberalization. However, I feel it is sound to state that sexual liberalization is a major factor in the rise of Evangelicalism in the U.S.
A casual viewing of the 700 Club broadcast, along with attentive attendance in any Evangelical church will reveal Evangelicals as people in the grip of social paranoia. Themes of persecution, violence, and mutilation are repeated time and again as Evangelical leaders and ministers seek to exploit (knowingly or not) the fears of their beholden. They say, "you are surrounded by encroaching sin." In a state such as Texas, with its comparitively higher divorce rate, this statement has more resonance. In Massechusetts, with its remarkably low divorce rate, this statement find little salience. Divorce is a powerful tool of societal corruption. Single parent homes, child abuse, wayward youth, and poverty are some of the byproducts of divorce. Thus it follows that Texans are likely to see more single parent homes, child abuse, wayward youth, and poverty than those in Massachusetts.
Therefore, when mired in so much social dissonance, people naturally will seek some sort of framing device by which the world may be explaned (and perhaps prevent the rise of such dissonance in their own lives). Evangelical Christendom is happy to provide that device, explaining that divorce and all its side effects are the result of sin. Still, as mentioned in my previous post, Christianity perceives sin as inevitable. Therefore, we are all doomed to sin and as such, we are doomed to bear witness to divorce. Only upon the return of Christ will divorce [and all sinful acts /thoughts(?)] disappear. This sort of relaxed resignation does not translate well into every sinful act though, which may be one reason homosexuality is so reviled by the Evangelical movement.
Simply put, to the regular Evangelical, divorce is statistically a greater threat than homosexuality. One is more likely to live as a divorcee than as a homosexual. The facts being as they are would lead some to draw the conclusion that divorce should receive the lion's share of attention. This is not the case precisely because the Evangelicals are content to defer to the "relaxed resignation" I mentioned above. Texas Evangleicals probably dont see themselves "surrounded" as such by homosexuals--and dont want that to change. Most likely, the bulwark of their knowledge regarding homosexuality comes from pop culture and the media (which does a piss-poor job of accurately representing gays by the way). Therefore homosexuals are abstracts and make a lovely target for their theological munitions as such. Say what you will against homosexuality and homosexual marriage, the worst in terms of human suffering you will ever see is a mournful mention of the denial of marriage on next week's Will and Grace. And the Fab Five will continue to wow us all with their imitations of what amounts to little more than Blackface Theatre. No real human cost is perceived, no pain witnessed, and the status quo is undisrupted.
To the average, liberal Massachusetts-ian, gays are more prevalent. Being a far more educated state than Texas, the citizens of Massachusetts consume less of the pop-culture homosexual ciracature and more person-to-person retail homosexual experience (not to imply anyone is whoring himself out there on the East). More people in Massachusetts know homosexuals (or more accurately, "out" homosexuals). They relate to them, find common ground with them, and realize the sexual preference of any man or woman is actually a minor personality trait (which, by the way, would make the characterization "homosexual" a bit of a misnomer as sexual preference does not define anyone).
[This harkens back to a previous post in which I claimed that the tolerance of an individual for homosexual marriage can be predicted by population per square mile in any given state. The smaller the population in any given region, the more likely that population is to condemn homosexual marriage (if not homosexuality itself). I will amend this statement to qualify it as unique to the United States. Homosexuality exists in a shadow society in China, and is outright illegal in India--two of the most populous nations in the world. ]
In disagreement with Sullivan, I claim that sexual liberalism (divorce), combined with population density and the salience of the Evangelical message contribute to the rise of Evangelicalism and thus the voting behavior of the majority of any given state.
Ive stumbled upon a blog with a conservative bent--and not in the Andrew Sullivan self-hating homosexual completely contridictory sense, nor in the "Im so mired in the nostalgia of classic conservativism Im having trouble dealing with the concept of neo-cons" David Brooks sense. Actually, to think on it, Brooks has trouble wrapping his mind around anything more complex than an abacus. To get to the point, however, the link to the blog is here. The author has obvious skill at writing. His conservative viewpoint fuels my liberal fires. Besides, all the left-leaning world wide web word wizards are still reeling from the election and dreaming up ever more outlandish doomsday scenarios that fatigue me. Please, hit the link provided and give a quick read.
Robert (the author of said weblog) is opposed to gay marriage, which is enough to consider him a "conservative" in my book. However, in all fairness, Im perhaps one of the most liberal persons I know. Still, rightist or leftist in general, his argument against gay marriage has the familiar Republican ring. Portions of his writings are as thus:
First: my worldview. I am a Christian (a very bad one). I am not a fundamentalist. I believe the Scriptures are the inspired word of God, but I acknowledge that the Word was taken down by the hands of fallible men... It's not a self-contained laundry list of God's law, although it is critically important in formulating a law code for humans here on Earth. To take the example most often used by advocates of gay marriage, there are laws in Scripture which we have decided were meant for a time and a place, and are no longer binding. There are other laws in Scripture that we believe are eternal and unchanging. It's OK to eat pork or wear blended fiber clothing now; it will never be OK to engage in adultery.
Second: my position on homosexuality per se. Homosexuality is not a sin. It is a condition, a state of being, a fact about an individual's makeup. Homosexuality is not a sin any more than dwarfism or blue eyes or a fondness for reggae music are sins. If you hate tall people or spit at the brown-eyed or steal your reggae music, then your state of being may have led you into a sinful act, but the state of being itself remains morally neutral. Homosexual behavior is sinful. So is a whole lot of other behavior.
Robert goes on writing that homosexuals are no different than any other person because we are all united by an innate sinful nature. This is one of those "love the sinner hate the sin" sorts of positions that I have a hard time making sense of. Why?
Firstly, Christian teachings are predicated on an expectation of failure. Robert claims that certain Biblical doctrines (though he fails to determine by which selection regime he chooses any one doctrine above any other in terms of relevance and power) are a basis for law and good living. In other words, from the Christian perspective, a recipe barring homosexual behavior from the set of acts permissible under God's law is a formula for spiritual success. This is a notable departure from every other human venture. From scientific discovery and advances in medicine to the crass and temporal nature of modern-day global business, success has not been built on an expectation of failure. Yet protestant American Christendom acknowledges every human as helplessly sinful; even after we accept Christ as the Saviour we will continue to fail God time and time again. Essentially, Robert is writing that all of humanity is united in failure before God. In other words, God created a species of animal doomed to displease Him. More than that, He created the devices humans exploit toward that displeasurable end. I find the conservative Protestant American Christian approach to divinity and perfection quite curious.
Second, Robert negates the possibility of a secular system of laws and ethics that could lead to the same sort of what I will term, "humanitarian and spiritual success" that he implicitly champions in his religo-centric argument. He does this by qualifying the Bible as a "guide" to good laws and living. This smacks of a mutually exclusive relationship between religious and secular values which simplifies what he conceeds is an already complex and contentious issue. Perhaps Robert should think a bit more on this point.
Third, Robert compares homosexuality to three things: dwarfism, eye color, and musical taste. Two of the three are determined by genetics. The third is most likely linked to vast amounts of pot smoking which in and of itself reveals a genetic predisposition to chemical dependence. This sort of analogy leads me to think that Robert entertains the possibility that people can be born with a "gay bent," but by acting on that bent, they are committing a sin. I find this logic hard to swallow. No one is born with a "bent" toward worshipping another God other than the Judeo Christian sky ghost. No one is born with a "bent" toward stealing or adultury. No one is born in a condition forcing him or her to resent or disrespect a mother or father. Finally, no one is born with a genetic predisposition that encourages a deficiency of Sabbath observance. These are socially created phenomena that result from the environment in which one grows. The jury is IN on the gay question. People are born gay plain and simple. There are sufficiently diverse groups of gay men and women raised in a multitude of environments and households as to reach the conclusion that homosexual behaviour is less the result of one's society and more the result of one's genetics. How the issue is discussed by any given community is the result of society, but that does not mean that, say, homosexuality (and corresponding behaviours) in 1950's America did not exist. Quite the contrary is true.
Yet Robert still flirts with the nurture over nature notion, which places him firmly last in the "progressive thinking mind of the 21st Century" competition and 1st in the "knuckle dragging, uninformed Red-state brute" event.
Finally, and most importantly, am I the only person on earth that is sick and tired of straight people pontificating this way and that on what it is to be gay and whether or not it is moral? Sure, there are plenty of gay activists out there but as of late I see an awful lot of non-gays saying such and such is right or wrong. This is the paramount of condescension as far as Im concerned. As a healthy white male Im not about to write on the subject of what it is like to grow up black in America and what behaviours we should expect from blacks, deeming some as correct and others as incorrect. To do so in public would ignite a fury of derision as I would be instantly pigeon-holed as a racist, arrogant prick.
So, to all the breeders out there that are fighting for my cause, thank you. Your help is appreciated. Im happy to know you are all secure enough in your own existence to realize that mine and the possibility of marriage to my partner does not jeapordize the legitimacy of your lives and marriages. However, when speaking on this subject, at least keep a gay man in a booth behind you with a remote that delivers a certian amount of electric shock lest you say anything, oh...........arrogant.
And to the rest of you: Ive little more than this: Strom Thurmond, famed Dixiecrat, racist, bigot, liar, and consummate politician came to his death as you will too........and you know as well as I that each succeeding generation in this country grows more liberal......with each passing member of the AARP and NRA we all become a bit more tolerant. I will outlive you and the children I adopt in your spite will outlive your agenda. How many senators do we read about in the history books when we are children?
You arent as important as your Church, donors, constituency, and sychophants claim you are. Soon enough you will be on the slab with nothing more than a death rattle and the lethal illness that killed you. Cheers to that mates. Thus speaks the voice of a better tomorrow.
NOTE: ALL ENTRIES MADE HEREIN COPYRIGHT MARK MILLS...ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
"Though they won't admit it, women were much happier when all they had to do was bake shit and pump out kids."--AMERICA (THE BOOK, pp. 127
"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."--W aide in interview with Ron Suskind of the New York Times
"I dont know why they call it Hamburger Helper, it works just fine on its own!"--National Lampoon's Family Vacation
"Welcome to Kyoto: The Anagram-Lover's Tokyo"--Futurama
"Senator John Kerry courted his Southern audience by saying, 'I am one of you.' Candidate Dennis Kucinich did the same when speaking before the League of Pacifist Vegan Dwarves."--The Daily Show
Mark is an art student born the same year of Elvis Presley's death. His
mother is a nurse, his father is an automobile manufacturer. He is the
first of six children. According to his grandmother's extensive geneological
investigations, Mark is the progeny of Irish horse-theives and French noblemen.
Moreover, Mark has twice been honored by the United States government as
"National Symbol of the Spirit of the Renaissance" and was knighted at the age of 13
by Her Majesty the Queen of England for exceptional performance in the service
of spectacular duty. Mentioned twice in Ronald Reagan's famous memoir, I Remember
Quite Clearly, Mark is thought by Washington insiders to be indirectly
responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Empire.
Being an avid chess player, Mark is known for his strategic skill, patient planning,
and devestating attacks both on and off the board. Besides chess, Mark's hobbies include
international diplomacy, weight lifting, writing, reading, and megalomaniacal bullshitting.
You can often find Mark either at Galway or Callahan's pub enjoying a Guinness or eight.
Currently Mark spends his winters in the Bahamas and his summers in London.