Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: special

special, adj. equal: said of rights that someone else wants

Impossible standards of ideological purity

Someone recently criticized me for having listened to the music of Hildegard of Bingen, given her stance on homosexuality. How ideologically pure do we have to be? Do we have to drink milk only from lesbian cows? Besides, would it be such a sin unto death to give a 12th-century nun the same amount of slack we so freely give to modern Democratic politicians?

Fluffy-bunny Christians, but not of the left

Yet again, we see members of various denominations that in other contexts might disparage or even flatly deny one another's Christianity -- in this case, Mormons and evangelical Protestants -- join forces for a supposedly Divinely sanctioned political cause. Having been called on doing so, they are now concocting elaborate excuses that essentially amount to backpedaling. If I didn't know any better, I might start to think that some people start with a secular ideology, or simply a lust for secular power, and then cherry-pick just enough Christianity to back it up.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Quote of the week

"Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth." - Karl Ludwig Börne

Friday, August 27, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: opinion

opinion, n. a fact that contradicts what I want to believe:
"This proves that your statement is wrong."

"That's just your opinion."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

No double standard there

When a company otherwise known for exemplary pro-LGBT policies strays from the straight and narrow, we must call the wrath of the heavens down upon it. When a beloved Democratic politician opposes our equality, and when his administration uses shockingly homophobic arguments to do so, we must make endless excuses for him.

Stuff gay men supposedly like: 2. Shaved chests

While a few gay men still follow one of the more regrettable fads from the nineties, many of us did not follow it even then. Pardon my blasphemy, but some of us think that being a gay man has something to do with being sexually attracted to men, including the things that make men look like men and not women or children. After all, it's not as though all of those Carl Hardwick* calendars went begging.

*Do not do a Web search for that name from work.**

**Unless of course you work at a leather bar.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: lie

lie, v.i. to transcend small-t truth in pursuit of my own personal opinion of what big-T Truth is: So what if we can't defend our belief system without lying? What's that got to do with whether our belief system itself is a lie?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Needlessly alienating potential allies

In light of the recent protests against Target and Best Buy, people are asking whether we are needlessly alienating potential allies. Some people say that this is not a serious worry, since the anti-gay crowd will find any reason to oppose us, while those who already support us will still do so. Nonetheless, one problem with the "preaching to the choir" mindset is that not everyone is in the choir. How shall we regard the fence-sitters or those whose support for us is wavering? If everyone's mind were already made up, what would be the point of protesting at all?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: irony

irony, x. a random series of vowels and consonants, having no meaning, at least so far as we can discern.

Our workout routines, ourselves

The joke used to go that gym is gay church. In that case, it has gone from being a C&E social-club church to being a cult. In both talking to other gay men and reading online profiles, I notice increasingly that working out is not just something that many gay men do, as has long been the case, but instead evidently at or the near the core of their self-definition. Many religious leaders would be elated to see their parishioners give such a central place in their lives to their god or gods.

Once, when I noticed a handsome, very muscular man sizing me up, and I finally got the nerve to talk to him, I tried unsuccessfully to get him to talk about anything except his workout routine. While one person does not make a trend, my experiences with other gay men lead me to believe that he is far from unique.

Gay men used to work out to be attractive to other men. After all, being gay men, we cannot simply put on an expensive watch to get a date. Nonetheless, I suppose that eventually, gay men will start hooking up just so that they will have workout partners. Also, leave it to gay men to develop a sexual fetish for forced workouts (no, really -- do a search for it).

On this issue, the queer theorists, with their love of speculation over observation, have gotten it spectacularly wrong. They often advance arguments -- necessarily convoluted and necessarily untouched by empirical reality -- that only upper-class men have the time and resources to devote to working out. If so, an awful lot of gay men of my acquaintance will be surprised to learn that they are upper-class. What is left of a rule in the face of so much counter-evidence?

Full disclosure: Yes, I exercise. I do so because my doctor said that I needed to lose weight. It is not gay church for me.

Stuff gay men supposedly like: 1. That "must-see" TV show

There is always at least one TV show that supposedly has all gay men glued to the set. Mention it, and you will get a chorus of "Am I the only gay man who doesn't watch ____?" I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that we can't all be the only gay man who doesn't watch it. The last show that "all gay men watch" that any gay men of my acquaintance admitted to watching was Absolutely Fabulous, and that was a while ago.

Quote of the week

"We are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution. And freedom of religion is part of that Constitution." -- An Army spokesperson, on a prayer space used by Muslims near the site of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fabulous queer dating tip #17: Make him damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

Badger him into talking to you. As soon as he starts, interrupt. When he complains, say that he never says anything of interest to you anyway. When he clams up, go back to badgering him into talking to you.

In terms of sex, accuse him of never wanting to try anything new. When he does try something new, tell him how much his kinkiness grosses you out.

Call him a rube from the foothills for not wanting to try different restaurants. When he suggests that you go, tell him that by dragging you to different restaurants, he's keeping you fat.

If only!

WND has dropped Ann Coulter as a keynote speaker for its Taking America Back National Conference because of her plan to address HOMOCON. Said Joseph Farah,
The drift of the conservative movement to a brand of materialistic libertarianism is one of the main reasons we planned this conference from the beginning.
What drift into materialistic libertarianism? How far into the Narnia of theocratic statism do you have to be if modern conservatism looks to you like materialistic libertarianism? Finally, if conservatism ever does drift into materialistic libertarianism, where do I sign up?

Today's vocabulary word: people

people, n. a hive mind capable of forming opinions, but only when those opinions agree with mine. Otherwise, the people must have been prevented from forming an opinion by the evil machinations of (circle all that apply: the liberal media, the corporate media, anti-Christian persecution, global capitalism).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fabulous queer dating tip #16: Talk to him. And talk. And talk. And talk.

Relationships are all about communication, so be sure to communicate to him non-stop. Whether the subject is of even the remotest interest or use to him is beside the point; it matters to you, and that's all that counts. It's a good way to introduce him to that other great love of your life, the sound of your own voice.

If you've ever seen the episode of Daria in which Quinn spends several hours on the phone to her boyfriend, babbling about fashion and boring him to tears, you know what to do. Actually, Quinn Morgendorffer is a good role model in most areas of life.

Today's vocabulary word: balance

balance, v.t. to tilt toward my side. We must balance our newspaper's coverage when we quote someone pro-gay, but not when we quote Bishop Harry Jackson.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: need

need, v.t. to want, and to have the clout to get.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Traditional family values, but not of the right

Yet another area in which the P.C. left comes across as a parody of the religious right is its obsession with relationships. We've all surely had them try to beat into our heads the notion that a long-term relationship should be our number-one priority. Is that really the best advice to give to someone who may well be in an abuse relationship? Then again, no cost is too high for ideological rectitude, at least when someone else is bearing that cost.

Your own personal Jesus

While Wiccans may have originated the term "fluffy bunny," nominal adherents of more mainstream religions, particularly Christianity, are often fluffy bunnies as well. While they may have rejected anything resembling the theology of their chosen religion, or may not have bothered learning it in the first place, they believe with perfect faith in their self-identification with that religion, as well as in their homemade God who backs up everything they say.

For example, on another site, I have encountered many self-identified Christians who believe that the Bible is only partially God's Word; by some odd coincidence, the parts that they like are both Divinely inspired and Divinely preserved, whereas the rest of it isn't. They know this because "God" speaks to them and tells them which parts to follow and which to ignore. If you know such people, you know that it does no good to point out that "God" speaks to many other people, including other people on the same board who hear from "God," and tells them mutually exclusive things. They either don't understand or don't care that any "God" that so consistently contradicts both itself and its own holy book isn't God at all.

Quote of the week

“I am incapable of saying what people want to hear” - Kang Zhengguo

Monday, August 9, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: hypermasculine

hypermasculine, adj. failing to conform rigidly to my preferred the only conceivable way to be a gay man

"I watched one episode of Glee and didn't care for it."

"Then obviously you're putting up a hypermasculine front as a way to compensate."

Related entry

Is sexual orientation a choice? Does it matter? Should it matter?

In light of the Proposition 8 decision and of recent media accounts of fluidity of female sexuality, people are discussing the significance of the question of whether people choose their sexual orientation. I will ignore the ignorant conflation of fluidity with choice and will instead give my views on whether it should matter and whether it does matter.

For multiple reasons, it should not matter whether people choose their sexual orientation. It is undeniably true that people can choose to convert to a different religion or to abandon religion altogether, yet no one claims that that freedom to convert makes people having politically unpopular views on religion fair game for discrimination. Also, in libertopia, people would have the freedom to choose their sexual orientation insofar as they could do so, unless in doing so they somehow initiated force or fraud against someone else.

Nonetheless, "should not" does not mean "does not." While libertopia is a long way off, the 14th Amendment is the law now, and immutability of a characteristic has a lot to do with the level of scrutiny that courts will give to discrimination on the basis of that characteristic. We must also consider political reality; if we can use that reality to our advantage without committing intellectual dishonesty, why should we not?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bishop Harry Jackson strikes again.

Suburban Maryland's favorite religious flim-flam man has blessed us with a tirade that turns the concept of equal protection of the laws on its head. In Jackson's alternate universe, we have a "core civil right to vote for marriage" that Judge Vaughn Walker took away from us. If you didn't know about such a right, don't feel bad; neither, I suspect, did just about anyone who had stayed awake during first-year constitutional law. Then again, I have yet to see any evidence that Bishop Jackson lets the truth get in way of his dogmas.

Jackson also accuses Walker of having "misread history and the Constitution...." That comment alone contains toxic levels of irony.

Quote of the week

"For if the constitutional conception of 'equal protection of the laws' means anything, it must, at the very least, mean that a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot constitute a legitimate governmental interest." - United States Dept. of Agriculture v. Moreno, 413 U.S. 528, 534 (1973)

Today's vocabulary word: democracy

democracy, n. the right of the voters to run the government however I want. We must defend democracy on the subject of marriage, just as surely as we must defend the Second Amendment and religious groups' freedom of expressive association to discriminate.

"Contradictory" marriage rulings actually aren't.

In light of recent rulings on same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and California, some people have asked how those rulings can be reconciled. If one court says that the state has the right to define marriage, while another limits that right, are those courts not saying exactly the opposite things? Actually, no, they are not.

The Tenth and Fourteenth Amendments are both the law; the former protects the rights of the states against the federal government, while the latter protects the rights of individuals against the states. Since states have rights against the federal government that they do not have against their own people, the rulings can easily be reconciled.

In the machinery of government, the Tenth and Fourteenth Amendments can be envisioned as ratchets connected in series. Each can turn in only one direction, namely, the direction of greater protection for rights against government. The turning of both of the ratchets controls the machine's output.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

At least our side is better on this issue.

People like to excuse the excesses of their party by saying that at least their party is better on certain issues than is the other party. Even when that would be a valid excuse if true, it isn't always true.

For example, Republicans like to say that their party is better at holding down the growth of government. Alas, the factual basis for that assertion seems to have escaped Veronique de Rugy, who has actually analyzed the growth of the federal government and come to a somewhat different conclusion. For example, federal spending increased more under George W. Bush than even under Lyndon B. Johnson.

Similarly, Democrats like to say that their party is better at protecting civil liberties, including Fourth Amendment rights. By some accounts, however, Obama is outdoing Bush on such issues.

On same-sex marriage, we're still behind Argentina ...

... but less far behind Argentina than we were this morning. In response, people are still whining about their supposed right to vote away the rights of whomever they don't like. We therefore need to make the case that in a constitutional republic based on individual liberty, people do have certain rights that are beyond the reach of the majority. It won't hurt if we point out that those who sing the praises of unfettered majoritarianism don't believe their own talking point.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You might be a liberal if ...

(A companion to "You might be a conservative if ...")

  • You think that ATM fees are too high and that taxes are too low.
  • You think that prosperity is something that politicians can just decree into existence and that some politicians refuse to do so because the plutocrats keep lobbying for poverty.
  • You want politicians at the national level to decree prosperity into existence and politicians at the county level to protect you from it.
  • You give all of the credit for the 1990’s Clinton and Gore and all of the blame to someone else. You insist that the Clinton-Gore new economy and the dot-com Dutch tulip mania had nothing to do with each other.
  • You think that small is beautiful, except in government.
  • You regard local home rule as an outmoded, unworkable, and even racist concept, except in the District of Columbia.
  • You think that while the point of diversity is to let people of differing viewpoints learn from one another, the way to achieve diversity is to suppress those same differing viewpoints.
  • You want to improve our public schools by doing the things that made them a mess in the first place.
  • You oppose road construction but support the tax increases proposed to fund that road construction.
  • You think that corporations frequently oppress us and are often monopolistic, whereas government never does and never is.
  • You consider yourself to be down with the working class, even though you never interact with any actual working-class persons except those whom you are paying to serve you. You regard people less economically fortunate than you as the virtuous working class when they say what you want to hear and evil redneck trailer trash otherwise.
  • You think that tax cuts cause deficits in a way that spending increases don’t.
  • You are sure that the plutocrats are behind everything bad. You resent that big companies like P&G and HP lobby for anti-gay laws, over the objections of the Joe the Plumbers of the world.
  • On those many occasions when a member of the religious right and a member of the P.C. left say exactly the same thing, you have no problem simultaneously disbelieving and believing it.