Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The innocent have nothing to hide.

Since this post, I've seen the light. The government should have an expanded ability to get the plain text of Internet communications. The innocent have nothing to hide.

While we're at it, let's place a surveillance device (the name "Telescreen" comes to mind) into every room of every residence, or just build all residences out of glass. The innocent have nothing to hide.

All correspondence must be public. If you have something to say to someone, say it on a bulletin board (physical or electronic). The innocent have nothing to hide.

We should copy whatever surveillance techniques the Warsaw Pact countries used. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Let's repeal the 4th-6th Amendments. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Stuff gay men supposedly like: 6. Forthrightness

I've heard people outside of the gay male community express frustration with their dating scene by saying that it could use a little gay male forthrightness. So could we. Our dating rituals tend to be more stylized than kabuki. Heaven forbid anyone should ever say what he means.

Monday, September 27, 2010

President Barack H. Bush

I thought we were supposed to vote for Democrats to protect ourselves from this sort of thing. The Obama administration is seeking to expand the security state in a manner of which Dubya would be proud. For that matter, even the rulers of those famously freedom-loving countries, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, would be proud.

Today's vocabulary word: deficit

deficit, n. the amount by which current government spending exceeds current government revenues. Deficits run by that other party will destroy the country, while deficits run by our party are harmless or even beneficial. No, you may not ask how that is supposed to work.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

More on HIV

A study by the CDC purports to show that 19% of men who have sex with men in major cities are infected with HIV. While I have commented before on the difficulty of such studies, we should still be alarmed over the spread of HIV.

While we need education on how to avoid HIV exposure, this is a perfect example of the basic truth that "necessary" does not mean "necessary and sufficient." People know the dangers of barebacking -- just as we know the dangers of smoking, not eating enough vegetables, eating too much of everything else, and texting while driving -- and yet many people do all of those things anyway. Instead of just scolding people, and therefore being tuned out, HIV educators should address the reasons why people bareback.

Also, we should look to privately funded solutions. Since the Reagan administration, government funding on HIV prevention has shortchanged men who have sex with men. We must ensure that HIV education is evidence-based rather than conservative-P.C.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: lol

lol or LOL, interj. Internet slang that can safely be translated as "I am an idiot." Emphatic forms such as lololol, meaning "I am a great big idiot," are sometimes used.

How to read the Bible (3)

So the Bible says that slavery is acceptable but regulated? You cannot make any sense of Scripture without taking into account the historical context.

So the Bible says that the earth is on pillars and cannot be moved? That is obviously poetic language.

So the Bible says that insects have four legs? You're an anti-Semite for even bringing that up.

So the Bible says gives God the credit for David's harem and even provides an inheritance rule for polygamous families? Just because the Bible says that polygamy happened, that doesn't mean that God approves.

So the Bible says that the Rapture was going to happen in the first century? You need to interpret that correctly.

So the Bible sets forth two creation stories that contradict both each other and modern science? Those stories are allegories that you cannot understand without a thorough knowledge of Biblical Hebrew.

So the Bible says that rape victims may be forced to marry their rapists or sometimes must even be stoned to death? That was an old ceremonial rule that was nailed to the Cross.

So the Bible says that women must remain silent in church? That was meant for a specific situation in the church back then.

So the Bible teaches faith healing? You have to remember the doctrine of cessationism.

So the Bible says that sex between men is an abomination? The Word of God is the Word of God, and it says what it says.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Religious right or P.C. left? Quote 3

In this series of blog posts, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read each quote and guess, before doing a Web search, whether someone in the religious right or the politically correct left said it.

Gay men engaged in consensual mass murder “the AIDS epidemic” and could care less about the results. Their entire urban culture have become one vulgar sexual scene. Where once the guys talked about liberation, now you see signs all over the place in West Hollywood talking about the dangers of meth addiction.

Don't ask, don't tell, don't feel any shame.

Until the recent vote on DADT, the standard socially conservative excuse for opposing LGBT rights was an appeal to democracy. Now, when confronted with the fact that a majority of Americans favor repealing DADT, I hear social conservatives say that America is a republic, not a democracy, and even that democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner. It must be nice to have had your sense of shame surgically removed.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quote of the week

"The Washington-based gay rights groups made a decision early on that they were better off going along with the president's timeline and that right now that looks like a serious miscalculation." - Richard Soccarides, quoted in The Washington Post

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Orwell would be taking notes.

Social conservatives in Iowa are complaining that if the state supreme court can engage in "judical activism" by applying equal protection to the state's marriage laws, then it can take away gun rights and property rights. So by protecting constitutional rights, the court is preparing to take away constitutional rights? Then it's true: Freedom really is slavery.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The self-appointed spokespersons for queerdom

It appears from an email that I've received today that the National Stonewall Democrats speak for me, whether I like it or not. The email trumpets the National Stonewall Democrats' endorsement of One Nation, Working Together. The latter organization supports a fairly predictable laundry list of liberal causes, some of which I support, but others of which I do not.

The email includes the following:
You spoke and said we need to stand together as One Nation.
I did? It continues:
The LGBTQ community values align with the values of One Nation:
Who is this LGBTQ community, and who gets to decide what its values are? If we form some sort of hive mind, I have somehow been left out. When I was involved in mainstream LGBT organizations, the people in charge responded to my feedback with an attitude of "Sit down, shut up, and let us do your thinking for you." So much for diversity, inclusivity, and consensus-building.

Stuff gay men supposedly like: 5. Opera

This was once true, and opera and queer sensibility share an over-the-top emotionalism. Nonetheless, it's difficult to imagine the current crop of twinks spending hours listening to music not spun by this month's superstar DJ. The opera house where I live attracts a straighter-than-straight audience, and there might be a reason.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: ruler

ruler, n, a device for measuring length. The fact that a ruler is typically marked in inches along one edge and in centimeters along the opposite edge causes confusion among people composing personal ads.

Religious right or P.C. left? Quotes 1 and 2

In this new series of blog posts, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read each quote and guess, before doing a Web search, whether someone in the religious right or the politically correct left said it.

When male sexuality is not controlled, the consequences are considerably more destructive than when female sexuality is not controlled. Men rape. Women do not. Men, not women, engage in fetishes. Men are more frequently consumed by their sex drive, and wander from sex partner to sex partner. Men, not women, are sexually sadistic.
Manipulating and calculating mentally ill males who set themselves up as women will use their positions to make life of any female in association with their love interest a living hell. Yes, these males are mentally ill. The desire to mutilate your body is a mental illness.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: stereotype

stereotype, n. a monstrous slur when it's about me, but the definitive statement of truth when it's about someone else

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quote of the week

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." — Susan B. Anthony

Some certainties in life

  • Death
  • Taxes
  • True believers who have never read their own holy book
  • Apostates who have
  • That guy who looks drop-dead butch until the first time he either walks or talks
  • Tourists who think that traffic laws are only for locals
  • Road closures in D.C. for any reason or no reason
  • People who "know" your inner life better than you do
  • An item that goes on sale right after you buy it
  • A special that applies to everything except what you want to buy

The backlash against the backlash

In response to the Tea Partiers' calls for smaller, less intrusive government (and the matter of how many Tea Parters are genuine libertarians is a matter for a different rant), old-school liberals are circling the wagons and praising big government. I am not sure that we should uncritically join in.

For those seeking personal individual liberty, including LGBT people and women seeking greater reproductive autonomy, big government has traditionally been our enemy far more often than it has been our friend. A government powerful enough to give you what you want is powerful enough to take from you what you have, and history shows that such a government will unhesitatingly do so.

Nor will it do to believe in only those individual liberties that we ourselves want to exercise. I have heard progressives argue for their own rights and then dismiss others' rights with comments like "There are no objective rights" and "That's the sort of thing that the government decides for all of us." Such hypocrisy can only help their opponents' cause.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: Judeo-Christian

Judeo-Christian or Judaeo-Christian, adj. relating to the religion of the Mayor of Dallas-Fort Worth, who drives a Lincoln-Mercury.

For some reason, this term offends those who take their religion seriously and don't just use it to back up their secular political beliefs.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stuff gay men supposedly like: 4. An aversion to sports

As someone who lives in a metropolitan area with both a gay sports bar and a leather bar that effectively becomes a gay sports bar whenever da gaaaaame is on, I beg to differ. Also, Andrew Christian* evidently has a market somewhere.

*Do not do a Web search for that name from work, unless of course you work at the American Institute for Twink Studies.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quote of the week

“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” - James Bovard

Welcome to Alexandria. Now pay up.

It's not just D.C. anymore. Small-business owners in Alexandria are complaining that increased parking rates and aggressive parking enforcement are driving away customers.

Explain to me again how government at all levels gets to pick people's pockets as much as it likes because doing so won't affect people's economic behavior. Also, we keep hearing of the need to stimulate consumer spending; is this the best way to do so? On second thought, I'm sure that Alexandria's policies will do wonders to stimulate consumer spending in Arlington and Fairfax counties.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" declared unconstitutional

A federal judge has declared "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" unconstitutional on the ground that it denies LGBT soldiers substantive due process and freedom of speech. With regard to freedom of speech, some of us saw that coming a while ago. Also, thanks for nothing, Fierce-Advocate-in-Chief.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fluffy-bunny Christians, but not of the left (2)

I've written about those who cherry-pick just enough Christianity to back their secular agenda. Since then, this article has come out, saying:
What passes for American Christianity today is increasingly counterfeit. It appears more focused on a transient earthly kingdom, rather than a heavenly eternal kingdom.
Yet again, people want to hold the rest of us accountable to a body of doctrine that they themselves only play-act at following.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stuff gay men supposedly like: 3. Ruffly, blousy shirts

This stereotype has been dated to the 19th century and believed with perfect faith ever since, but rumor has it that this is the 21st century. For one thing, how would gay men wear those things and still show off the bodies that they've developed by devoting their entire adult lives to working out? In real life, when gay men can be made to wear shirts at all, the uniform includes snug, value-priced jeans and t-shirts. A standard joke has it that one should not arrange a blind date and say, "I'll be the one in jeans and a t-shirt."

Today's vocabulary word: scripture

scripture, n. a textual Rorschach test, into which each believer projects her or his own personality in the process of "interpreting" it. Syn.: Torah, Bible, Qur'an, Journal of Discourses (oops, no, not that last one).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Quote of the week

"[T]he middle class gets the bohemia it deserves." -- Ross Wetzsteon, Republic of Dreams : Greenwich Village: The American Bohemia, 1910-1960

Today's vocabulary word: tolerance

tolerance, n. something that only my intolerance merits.

The latest transmission from The Blade to earth (2)

Here we go again. This article in The Washington Blade reads less like responsible journalism than like some sort of conservative-P.C. attack piece against gay men. The article opens:
Despite booming sales of the iPad, Kindle and other digital book readers, some see a disturbing trend among gay men: We are reading fewer books today than previous generations.
Yes, that's it exactly: Gay men, and only gay men, are reading fewer books. As evidence, the article cites the closure of gay bookstores. That phenomenon couldn't possibly have anything to do with the increased space given to queer literature in mainstream bookstores. Also, we know that it's completely gay men's fault because lesbian bookstores like Lammas have ... um, never mind.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: less

less, adj. or adv. more, but not so much more as the other side wants: We believe in less government intrusion into this aspect of our lives.

Fabulous queer dating tip #18: Talk, but don't communicate.

Learn to chatter for hours on end without actually saying anything. When he asks you a question, ignore it. If you can't ignore it, give a stock non-answer like "You just don't get it, do you?" or "If you have to ask, there's no point in my telling you." If the topic is vitally important to the relationship or to him personally, brush aside the question with "That's none of your business." The last is especially appropriate if he's caught you snooping in something that's undeniably none of your business.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Growing up gay, then and now

A recent conversation with a friend about substantially younger gay men on Facebook got me thinking about the differences between being a young gay man now and my own experiences with growing up gay.

For one thing, social attitudes have changed dramatically. Today, urging tolerance for LGBT people is de rigueur in many areas of society. While the "liberal" mainstream media can still be conservative on our issues, they have mellowed somewhat, and besides, they have far less influence than they did. By contrast, in the seventies, in the blue-collar neighborhood where I grew up, urging such tolerance was just not done; I was the only one who did, and my point was not exactly well received. When I did officially come out, it was into the world of the politically correct Savonarola clones, who led me out of one closet only to shove me into another.

Moreover, the Internet allows queer youth to form virtual communities with people like them around the world as well as to receive unfiltered information about sexual issues. Such things can be useful to anyone and vital to someone growing up in Baptistville, Texas. Back then, by contrast, not only did we not have social-networking sites or even Usenet newsgroups, but we did not even have the access to unfiltered information about homosexuality that exists today. Instead, we had to rely on rumors or at best those gatekeepers of right thought, the "liberal" mainstream media, which seemed unable to mention gay people without using the word "predatory." Those who criticize technology as isolating and dehumanizing should take note.