Friday, December 30, 2011

Love and autism

This article in The New York Times discusses issues arising when people with Asperger's syndrome and other autistic-spectrum disorcers enter into romantic relationships:
Only since the mid-1990s have a group of socially impaired young people with otherwise normal intelligence and language development been recognized as the neurological cousins of nonverbal autistic children. Because they have a hard time grasping what another is feeling — a trait sometimes described as “mindblindness” — many assumed that those with such autism spectrum disorders were incapable of, or indifferent to, intimate relationships. Parents and teachers have focused instead on helping them with school, friendship and, more recently, the workplace.

Yet as they reach adulthood, the overarching quest of many in this first generation to be identified with Asperger syndrome is the same as many of their nonautistic peers: to find someone to love who will love them back.
I believe that the mainstream LGBT community's emphasis on hyperemotionalism compounds the difficulty for queer Aspies. As one gay Aspie puts it:
In general normal gay men scare me. They're all feeling and illogical behavior and that just doesn't sit well with me.

But you told us that this sort of thing never happened.

In an article in The New York Times on African-American films, we read:

EARLY in Dee Rees’s film “Pariah” it journeys into a Brooklyn strip club where scantily clad young black women gyrate to a sexy, foul-mouthed rap song. Lascivious customers leer, toss money and revel in their own unbridled lust. It is a scene that could have been in any of “the hood movies” that once proliferated or even a Tyler Perry melodrama in which Christian values would be affirmed after this bit of titillation.

But in “Pariah” the gaze of desire doesn’t emanate from predatory males but A.G.’s, that is aggressive lesbians, who, in a safe space where they enjoy the fellowship of peers, can be true to themselves.
But I thought that lesbians' (supposed) lack of interest in such things was part of the evidence for lesbians' (supposed) moral superiority to us mere mortals, especially gay men. What gives?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The straw atheist and the straw Christian

We all love to debate about religion, but where's the fun if we have to debate what other people actually believe instead of some ridiculous straw-man version? I therefore present to you the straw atheist and the straw Christian, based on screamingly inaccurate assertions that "everyone knows" to be true.

The straw atheist

Atheism is an intellectual monolith. All atheists believe in the aspects that you find most objectionable of the writings of Richard Dawkins, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, and Ayn Rand (or, rather, what you think those people wrote). In particular, all atheists, without exception, are nihilists and moral relativists who worship science as their god and who think that there's nothing particularly wrong with adultery. It is therefore perfectly appropriate to put any atheist on the spot to defend any of those things.

Politically, all of atheism is the (circle whichever applies: Democratic, Communist, Libertarian) Party at non-prayer. Atheists claim to want to be left alone, but they're actually plotting to take over the United States Government and repeal the free-exercise clause. Atheists are particularly plotting to outlaw all Christian symbols, even on private property, and all public mention of Christmas.

Atheists are angry with God (and how that works is something that you will have to figure out for yourself) for not letting them fornicate and do drugs. They probably had something bad happen to them that made them even angrier with God.

Atheists are mostly either angsty teenagers or social-skills-challenged losers. The latter use atheism as cover for their inability to get laid.

Atheists are atheists because they have never been told about Jesus. Once they hear your superior arguments, they will immediately convert to Christianity.

The straw Christian

Christianity is a theological monolith. All Christians believe in the aspects that you find most objectionable of Catholicism, evangelical Protestantism, Pentecostalism, and Mormonism (or, rather, what you think those branches of Christianity teach). You needn't worry about Eastern Orthodoxy, since it doesn't exist. In particular, all Christians, without exception, take all of the following as necessary for salvation: young-earth creationism, transubstantiation, priestly celibacy, the use of priestly vestments, a rejection of everything not found in the King James Bible, and teetotalism. It is therefore perfectly appropriate to put any Christian on the spot to defend any of those things.

Politically, all of Christianity is the conservative wing of the Republican Party at prayer. Christians want to remove themselves from everything worldly, except when they're plotting to take over the United States Government and repeal the establishment clause. Christians all want certain passages of Leviticus written into secular law.

All Christians who are still Christians in adulthood are unintelligent, either because they have always been that way or because they did too many drugs before converting. Christians who somehow make it to good universities deconvert while there. They may pretend to remain in the faith to give themselves cover for their inability to get laid.

Christians hate not only gays and Democrats, but also people of different races, poor people, and the handicapped. Christians are superficially incredibly nice, but once they discover that you are not exactly like them, the knives come out.

Christians are Christians because they have never been told of any other options. Once they hear your superior arguments, they will immediately convert to your religion (or deconvert altogether if you are an atheist).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quote of the week

"[Y]ou cannot give politicians the power to impose good choices alone. When you give politicians the power to impose good choices, you necessarily give them the power to impose bad ones as well." — A. Barton Hinkle,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kim Jong Il was no true Scotsman

... although he supposedly enjoyed his Scotch.

Kim Jong Il's death has put North Korea into the headlines, and the true believers are trying to argue away the failure of their world view by saying that countries like North Korea are not truly communist or socialist. This is, of course, an example of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. If this argument is taken to its logical conclusion, then true communism, like a true Klein bottle, cannot exist in our world.

Quote of the week

“We are fighting the caste system with capitalism.” — Milind Kamble, a Dalit contractor, in The New York Times

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Today's vocabulary word: omniscience

omniscience, n. the state of knowing everything; a special privilege belonging to gods, undergraduates, talking heads, and no one else. Omniscience, while one of the most awesome divine attributes, is also one of the most fragile; it dissipates like the dew as soon as one has to do or say something that matters in the real world.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Quote of the week

"Sometimes we do find the words to express an idea, and only then realize what a stupid idea it is. This experience would suggest that our thoughts are not as clean and beautiful as we would like to believe. Instead of blaming language for failing to capture our thoughts, maybe we should thank it for giving some shape to the muddle in our heads." — Arika Okrent, In the Land of Invented Languages

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Your denial of X is evidence of X.

One of the favored thought-terminating clichés of the politically correct crowd is to assert that by denying something or failing to recognize it, you are thereby demonstrating it or even demonstrating that you suffer from it. I've previously commented on the application to privilege here. This blogger has also used it recently in another context:
The whole tranz thing boils down to old-fashion misogyny and homophobia. If you can’t see it, then I suspect you are a misogynist and a homophobe.
One could use the same non-argument to "prove" the most ludicrous claims, e.g., that Baphomet has spiritually blinded the world and that if you don't see this, Baphomet has spiritually blinded you, too.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Today's vocabulary word: fair

fair, adj. favorable to me; in accordance with what I want

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quote of the week

"In science, you insist most loudly on a fact based on how much it has withstood independent peer review. In politics, it's closer to the opposite—the more debatable a point is, the more it becomes necessary to insist (often in the face of contrary evidence) that the conclusion is backed by scientific consensus." — Matt Welch, Reason, January 2012

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Some gay men are from Venus; others are from Vulcan.

In discussing heterosexual relationships, people often say that men in general prefer report talk ("Just the facts, ma'am"), while women in general prefer rapport talk (conversation as a form of bonding). Gay men can fall into either camp; the difficulty arises when people assume that just because we are all gay men, we all communicate in the same way.

A good summary of the distinction between report talk and rapport talk can be found here:
When men talk to each other, they report. They talk about scores, highlights, events of the weekend, new car performance – the list is endless. In their report talk men condense their stories and edit out the details to get to the point quickly. Women, however, are wired for rapport talk. Details are important to women. We don’t want the abridged version; we want the whole nine yards. As we talk, we discover who we are and why we think the way we do. We process as we discuss. We resolve issues as we converse. We talk it through. Somehow our hearing, speech, and thoughts are all interrelated, and we need to have all three working at once to express ourselves fully.
I tend to fall into the report-talk camp. People have called me the strong, silent type; I say what I think needs to be said, and that's that. I have known gay men — all of them working in a scientific or technological field — who are the same way. Other gay men tend to be rapport talkers who process as they chatter endlessly about anything or nothing.

The problem arises when someone assumes that other gay men use the same communication method that he does or, worse, that they owe it to him to do so. He may feel emotionally walled off from his partner, or he may feel inundated by a tidal wave of irrelevant babble. He may even wander into "Never try to teach a pig to sing" territory and insist that his partner change to suit him. To bridge the gap, we should remember that different gay men think in different ways and that there's nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quote of the week

“Should we err today and remove some of the most important checks on state power in the name of fighting terrorism, well then the terrorists have won" — Rand Paul

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New and Improved Chess: Meet the new pieces.

The Pope moves like the Bishop, except that when moving the Pope, you get to change the rules as you go along.

The Evangelical Pastor moves like the Pope, except that the rules of New and Improved Chess strictly forbid you to admit that you have changed the rules. Therefore, you change the rules retroactively to the beginning of the game and pretend not to have done so at all.

The Politician can be moved to any space where your opponent can immediately capture it. When your opponent moves to capture your Politician, you select a Pawn to be captured in the Politician's place.

The Journalist does not actually move at all. Instead, when you wish to play the Journalist, you simply lecture your opponent on what has happened in the game so far, while seriously misrepresenting most of it. Your opponent can then either use his own Journalist or, more likely, simply ignore you.

The Crony Capitalist can engage in castling with the Politician, like the King and the Rook. Another way to use your Crony Capitalist is to wait until your opponent has gotten up to get a beer and then rearrange the pieces so that your Crony Capitalist can easily checkmate your opponent. Another new piece, the Lobbyist, helps here. If your opponent questions you on this, you should use either your Journalist or your Evangelical Pastor.

You can move the Route 1 Driver whenever you please, regardless of whether it's your turn. The Route 1 Driver occupies between two and four spaces on the board. You got a problem with that?

Everyone knows what a vitally important piece the Famous-for-Being-Famous is, although no one can remember the last time the Famous-for-Being-Famous was even placed on the board.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quote of the week

Ron Paul on profiling: "What if they look like Timothy McVeigh? * * * So I would be very cautious about protecting the rule of law. It will be a sacrifice that you'll be sorry for."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Religious right or P.C. left? Quotes 32 and 33

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.

This ethic [referring to the Mill harm principle], increasingly pervasive in culture and popular with Libertarians in particular (the intellectual children of Mill) has well documented flaws. Essentially utilitarian as opposed to deontological, it thus has strong appeal from those who do not wish to be "burdened" with "restrictions." An unfortunate result is that it is an ethic does not call us to higher personal or communal goods or goals.... It also levels all human relationships to that of human contracts mutually entered into by participating parties, leaving little in the way of thought of community good and charity for the poor and disabled.
[In response to someone bringing up the Mill harm principle] jonathanan, what a lovely explanation of the beginner’s understanding of human rights: everything you want to do is fine as long as you’re not “hurting” anyone. Perhaps when you grow up a bit you’ll realize how shallow and insipid that idea is. Until then, do consider from time to time that there are people who know far, far more about how the world works and that if you spend some time reading and thinking, rather than displaying your ignorance for all to see, you might be further along in your understanding some day.

Or stay shallow and ignorant, that’s an option too.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The bipartisan war on liberty, and why it matters to us

Today's Richmond Times-Dispatch has an op-ed column by A. Barton Hinkle, titled "Elites agree: Americans are too darn free." The following are the thesis sentence and the concluding paragraph:
The nation's high and mighty may be divided about many things, but on one point they often agree: Americans are still too darn free.

* * *

This is what power fetishists always do: assume the power will be used in ways they like. (And since the ends are noble, they surely must justify the means, right?) Sometimes it is. But power changes hands, and the inheritors may be a rather different sort. The people pushing for more government power never seem to think of that — until it's too late.
I have long tried to make the same point to the politically correct government-worshipers in the LGBT community. To show one of the reasons (but not the only one) not to increase government power, I have tried to explain to them that when a government (federal, state, or local) gains vast new powers while progressive Democrats run that government, those powers will not magically dissipate by the time power switches to Republicans or to socially conservative Democrats. Regarding some proposals for broadened government power, I have even said point blank, "Is that a power that you want (insert name of current Republican baddie) to have over your life?" For example, a government powerful enough to control whether businesses grant domestic-partner benefits can forbid them to do so, as Virginia did for a time.

In response, politically correct statists may try to argue that no matter who wins the next election, the government will for some reason observe the difference between government coercion against them (oh, the humanity!) and government coercion against someone else (shout glory!). More often, however, they use that all-purpose scathing rebuttal known as "La la la, I can't hear you."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Are rules meant to be broken?

Someone has asked whether rules are meant to be broken, in the context of inconsistent enforcement of rules, so here's my response:
The meta-rule states that the rules are written and enforced so that whatever you do, you are wrong. The meta-rule is never broken.
I could give examples. I'm sure we all could.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The wonders of Holy Mother Rome

The New York Times gives us back-to-back articles on the Catholic Church as the guardian of sexual morality and as a nest of pedophiles and their enablers. Didn't someone once say something about knowing every tree by its fruit or about casting the beam out of your own eye before casting the mote out of your brother's?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

We've made a slight change to tonight's Two Minutes Hate.

Remember when radical feminists seemed to spend every waking moment scrutinizing gay men's lives to find new things of which to disapprove? In particular, they regarded both gay men's supposed bigotry in choosing partners and gay male sexual liberation as moral enormities on the scale of the Inquisition.

But that was then, and this is now. Since the radfems have shifted the object of their hatred from gay men to transgendered people, at least one radfem blog now takes a slightly different approach to gay male sexuality in a post that mocks transgendered people:
First we have the big upset “Is gay male GPS site for casual hook-ups Grindr banning FTM profiles???” FTM accounts for casual sex hook-ups with gay men ... are being flagged by the gay men as spam! Well what a surprise there. How transphobic for gay males ....

* * *

Second we have the pressing issue (lol see what I did there) about whether a female who not-so-coincidentally-appears-female was discriminated against by being ejected from a windy city (that’s Chicago, yo) gay male bar’s “basement party space” because the gay men didn’t realize the female woman “felt like a male” on the inside and was there to have some hot gay male action with her inner self .... Haaaaaattttte Crimmmmeeee!!!!
I've edited out some of the saltier bits (do they worship their goddess using language like that?), but my point remains: Now that they've found a new group of people to hate, they've had to do a 180 on their previous set of eternal verities to accommodate that hatred.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quote of the week

"Things somehow seem more real and vivid when one can apply somebody
else's ready-made phrase about them." — Aldous Huxley, Crome Yellow

Friday, November 11, 2011

Things I wish I could tell my 18-year-old self

Don't listen to Bible-bangers. They do not have all the answers, nor do they even follow their own rules, and they will not be there to pick up the pieces.

Do not be afraid to reevaluate even your most cherished beliefs. A belief that requires willful ignorance to survive deserves to die. If you grew up with a belief, ask yourself whether it would make as much sense if you came across it for the first time in adulthood. Also, if "error" has all of the best arguments against "truth," you need to reevaluate which is which.

So what if other people have skills that you don't? You have skills that they don't.

Don't listen to the politically correct crowd. They do not have all the answers, nor do they even follow their own rules, and they will not be there to pick up the pieces.

True love at first sight doesn't happen. What simply looks like it is called obsessive love; when you see someone exhibiting obsessive love, run for your life.

Be in no particular hurry to find a long-term relationship. You do not yet know what's out there. You do not yet even fully know what you want, and there's nothing wrong with that. In that regard, if a potential relationship isn't working out, don't be afraid to call it quits. When you first meet someone, you need to take the time to find out whether you and he are compatible; that's what dating is for.

There is nothing shameful or otherwise wrong about being a bottom or a sub.

Different gay men are attracted to different things. Not everyone is into gympansies* (or whatever the media tell us this week we all like). Some gay men do like your particular look; even better, there are far more of them than of you. After having done your hitch as Daria, you will get to find out what it is like to be Quinn.

Of course, part of being Quinn is having to associate with Sandi. Your particular cross to bear is that there will always be someone trying to prove that he is smarter or otherwise better than you are. Just don't let those people get to you.

*Word stolen from the Redneck Fag.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The New Gay calls it quits.

The web site The New Gay has announced that it is shutting down. I saw its demise coming a while back, as articles other than "Song of the Day" slacked off. While I am sad to see TNG go, I believe that it did not live up to its original promise.

TNG's stated purpose was as follows:
While we have our differences, our common bond is that we choose to define ourselves instead of letting a narrowly defined mainstream gay culture do it for us. That is what’s new about what we’re doing here.
So far, so good, since someone needs to question the assumptions of the queer orthodoxy, but then we come to this:
We* all agree that the mainstream definition of “gay” isn’t just a sexual orientation, it’s a white male culture defined by consumerism, superficiality and anti-intellectualism.

* We = the handful of people who write for this site.
I am glad that they qualify "we" as the writers, since we as the potential audience all agree to no such thing. Mainstream queer culture shifted to politically correct puritanism, dogmatic leftism, and anti-rationalism before some of TNG's writers were born.

As a result, the site missed a ship that had sailed long before and, instead of genuinely challenging mainstream LGBT culture, challenged a small subset that no one was seriously defending anyway. Indeed, some of the authors seemed to accept without question the prevailing politically correct mindset. Challenging a mainstream is a worthy goal, but it is hard to do if you remain willfully ignorant of what that mainstream even is.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Quote of the week

Paula Poundstone on the Kardashians: "Why don't they buy Greece?"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Another one bites the dust.

Cuba is about to allow the buying and selling of real property:
MEXICO CITY — Cuba announced a new property law Thursday that promises to allow citizens and permanent residents to buy and sell real estate — the most significant market-oriented change yet approved by the government of Raúl Castro, and one that will probably reshape Cuba’s cities and conceptions of class.
There will soon be one fewer country to which the true believers would gladly emigrate, but for that mysterious, never-named thing that keeps them from doing so. They still have that beacon of liberty and prosperity known as North Korea.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Theocrats to the left of me, theocrats to the right

President Obama, reacting to Republicans who had played the God card, proved that he could play it just as well:
Delivering yet another speech in front of a bridge in need of repair, Obama said House Republicans should work to put people back to work, instead of focusing on other measures that don’t create jobs, such as debating a commemorative baseball coin or legislation reaffirming the “In God We Trust” motto.

“That’s not putting people back to work,” Obama said as he stood before the Key Bridge that connects Washington, D.C., to Northern Virginia. “I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work.”
It's funny how God always agrees perfectly with what the person invoking His name wanted to believe anyway. And no, you may not ask how that person knows what God wants.

By the way, "God helps those who help themselves" is not in the Bible.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I've been appointed ...

... to a three-year term on the Alexandria (Va.) Commission on HIV/AIDS. When I got home from the partner/counsel retreat last night, I found the big envelope from the city clerk's office waiting for me in the mail. I have been involved with HIV activities since the eighties, when I volunteered at a clinic and then started and ran a church-based HIV food-service ministry.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My neighborhood is unique, just like all the others.

Descriptions of neighborhoods, at least in the D.C. area, seem to be written out of a manual of form paragraphs. Residents of any given neighborhood will gladly tell you that their neighborhood has the feel of a small town, as opposed to the soulless suburban sprawl of that other neighborhood across the tracks. Who would like to guess what the residents of that other neighborhood across the tracks say?

Never mind that if all neighborhoods are unique in the same way, none of them are unique at all. Never mind either that by "small town," people typically mean "theme-park version of a small town for transplants whose closest previous exposure to small-town life was growing up in Queens rather than Manhattan." For example, my neighborhood, despite its vaunted "small-town" feel, has big-city attractions such as a wide variety of good ethnic restaurants and a gay-themed art gallery, things for which people do not normally move from big cities to small towns.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quote of the week

"It needs to be said that the era of capitalist accumulation, to adopt their lingo, has been the most prosperous time in the history of humankind. In the 800 years before 1820, income per head across the world was static and so was life expectancy. Life wasn't much more than a matter of choosing which noxious disease to die from. In the 200 years of industrial capitalism, income per head has risen by 800 per cent. Life expectancy has tripled and backbreaking work has declined, especially for children, who now do something unheard of in both the medieval era and Jerusalem, namely go to school.

* * *

"The thing to remember about the new Jerusalem is that we will never get there."

— Philip Collins, The Times of London

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Where the boys are

I've previously commented that in a subset of gay maledom, people want to self-identify as boys forever. Jung gave us a pertinent concept:
Puer aeternus. Latin for "eternal child," used in mythology to designate a child-god who is forever young; psychologically it refers to an older man whose emotional life has remained at an adolescent level, usually coupled with too great a dependence on the mother.

* * *

The puer's shadow is the senex (Latin for "old man"), associated with the god Apollo-disciplined, controlled, responsible, rational, ordered. Conversely, the shadow of the senex is the puer, related to Dionysus-unbounded instinct, disorder, intoxication, whimsy.
Between the puer and the senex, which sounds like the better fit to mainstream queerness, which favors the Dionysian over the Apollonian? This concept also explains many of us who have never fit in with the mainstream, particularly those of us who grew up being "old souls."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Religious right or P.C. left? Quotes 30 and 31

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.

The narrative of experiencing something “since childhood” implies that one’s experience is intransient, innate, fixed, possibly “hard-wired” and biological. This trope is usually substantiated by sex role evidence such as ” I never liked dolls and preferred to play with matchbox cars” or “until sex roles became more enforced as I grew near puberty I assumed I was not innately different from my male/female friends”. “I liked to hunt and fish and never understood or related to those conforming to the sex role demanded of females”. “I did not like being separated from girls and being considered “other” because of my biological status”. “I wanted princess things that the girls seemed so lucky to have”. “I was surprised and disquieted to discover myself different from other children due to my genitals”. Etc. This trope is called a testimonial. One’s feelings and experience, which anyone can relate to, is relayed to bolster one’s underlying assertion by using emotion rather than critical analysis. This is a deflection of critical thought.
Of course [sexual orientation]’s a choice–how could it not be? We make decisions (constrained choices, but choices nevertheless) about everything else in our lives–where we want to live, what we like to eat, how to dress. So we cannot make a decision about who we are lovers with? Of course we do.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Your body, your right to choose, but only when I so choose (2)

The radfem blog GenderTrender has taken a stab at explaining just what's so wrong about paying women for their eggs:
Co-producers even- in the generation of new knowlege”. Riggght. When no women agree to “partnering” with researchers unless they are paid $8,000, that is not a “partnership”. It is economic exploitation and unethical medical experimentation targeting the most vulnerable humans: impoverished females.
(Emphasis in the original.)

Now let's break this down. First, it may well be that no women agree unless they are paid $8,000, but how does that prove exploitation? Patent attorneys typically don't work unless they can get high salaries, so I guess that patent attorneys are cruelly exploited. The law of supply and demand cannot enter into either situation, since every right-thinking person knows that the law of supply and demand is a right-wing myth.

Second, the paragraph refers to "the most vulnerable humans: impoverished females." Yet again, we see that poor women are too stupid to make choices over their own bodies and particularly their own reproductive systems, so people of our social class, daahling, have to make those choices for them.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Quote of the week

"Muslims ... use circular logic to defend the Qur'an. They argue that the Qur'an is true because it is the Word of Allah, that it is the Word of Allah because it says so, and that we can rely on it because it is true. This is completely different from why the Bible is true." — Conservapedia article on circular reasoning (emphasis in the original)

Friday, October 14, 2011

This week's last acceptable prejudice

Out of the following groups, all of which I have seen advanced as the victims of the "last acceptable prejudice," which do you suppose to be the victims of the One True Last Acceptable Prejudice?

  • Catholics

  • Mormons

  • Christians in general

  • Irish-Americans

  • Italian-Americans

  • Southerners

  • The European-American working class

  • Fat people
People who want a gold medal in the oppression olympics, as well as people who complain about bigotry because they have been called on their own bigotry, often claim to be the victims of the last acceptable prejudice. The current last acceptable prejudice, thanks to the presidential campaign, is anti-Mormonism. You'd think that by now we'd have used up all of the last acceptable prejudices, but oddly, it doesn't work that way.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Your body, your right to choose, but only when I so choose

A recent article on Reason's Web site concerning inconsistent restrictions on women's freedom to sell their eggs reminds me of something that has long bothered me about the politically correct crowd. They make a stink about being pro-choice on abortion, but on just about every other issue — including whether women should make choices over their own bodies with regard to everything from pornography to home HIV test kids — theycan take an attitude that is paternalistic and anti-choice.

Do women have the right to make choices over their own bodies, and particularly their own reproductive systems, yes or no? If you answer, "It depends," explain what it depends on, and why. If you answer that minorities and poor people need special paternalism protection, especially if you are one of the middle- to upper-class white people who seem to dominate the P.C. crowd, you have the burden of explaining why they actually do need protection and why you don't just consider minorities and poor people too stupid to run their own lives without your guidance.

Today's vocabulary word: bigot

bigot, n. 1. one who calls me on my bigotry 2. one who disagrees with me on anything

Monday, October 10, 2011

Today's vocabulary word: cult

cult, n. a religion whose favor the mainstream media are not trying to curry

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quote of the week

"The people behind Occupy Wall Street could follow suit if they wanted. Yes, they have every right to protest. Marches and sit-ins have played an honourable part in American history. The right of the people peaceably to assemble is enshrined in the first amendment. Nothing in the constitution says that you have to have a 12-point policy plan from McKinsey, or the permission of the New York police. If nothing else, these protests highlight the misery of millions during the present slump. But to bring about real change in a real democracy you also have to do real politics. It just takes work—and enough people who think like you." — The Economist

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Crystals, forgive me, for I have committed political incorrectness.

It seems that persons of political correctness are such special snowflakes (or just flakes) that it's an outrage even to ask them in polite terms to explain, rather than merely assert, their positions. They may say, "You just don't get it," or they may just groan and walk away; on the Internet, your question may never even make it out of the moderation queue alive. If their positions are so marvellously true, shouldn't they want to demonstrate that truth, so that we unwashed masses may behold the truth that shall set us free?

Changing the world, one retirement party at a time

Sometimes social progress can be an unintended consequence of other changes, although not at a pace that we might prefer. One example is a certain large law firm that, under its old leadership, had a socially conservative outlook. When the leading Bushite retired, new leadership modernized the outlook of the firm, which is now aggressively pursuing diversity. While the firm could not reasonably be expected to do a 180 overnight — at the last partners' retreat, someone asked what "LGBT" meant — I'm certainly willing to take that bit of progress.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Political correctness explained in one sentence

Today's New York Times quotes David Brin as writing, “A relentless addiction to indignation may be one of the chief drivers of obstinate dogmatism.” That sentence describes the P.C. crowd perfectly. If one thing defines politically correct people, whether left-wing or right-wing, even better than obstinate dogmatism, it's the constant lookout for things by which to be offended.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Where is our institutional memory?

In a previous blog post, I urged people to consult the LGBT community's institutional memory before advancing their "new" ideas. Since then, I have realized that I raised the question, "What institutional memory?" Upon considering and researching the matter, I have come to the conclusion that despite our community's skill at horizontally integrated groupthink, we have no effective way of transmitting our accumulated facts, concepts, experiences, and know-how to successive generations.

Groups defined by parentage can transmit their narratives from parent to child. Religious institutions can enroll children in Sunday school or its equivalent and adult converts in membership class. Neither is an option for the LGBT community. Some commenters point to that reason when they flatly deny the existence of a queer institutional memory.

To remedy that lack, some people have attempted to set up an institutional memory, such as the Queer Resources Directory. However, that site, in addition to its user-hostile interface, never reached critical mass and has not received an update in over two years.

Others have held themselves out as our institutional memory, but have done so in a self-serving manner to rewrite our history in their own image. For example, politically correct columnists often use weasel words, half-truths, and outright lies to give the credit to the wrong people and otherwise to advance their views of what our history should have been.

In another example, as part of my participation in a local service organization, I had to attend a consciousness raising to enlighten gay men about lesbian issues (since, of course, the reverse never ever has to happen). We had to sit through seemingly interminable lesbian self-congratulation as well as attacks on gay men that could have been taken from The Washington Times.

Finally, reliance on the Internet, while necessary, is not sufficient. Information on the Internet can be too diffuse, posted by the same self-serving people whom I noted above, or just plain wrong. Also, despite the wealth of LGBT-related information on Wikipedia, we should not rely on that source. In addition to Wikipedia's issues with quality control and with vandalism, that site's policies on verifiability and original research and its guidelines on notability ensure that that site will not be able to capture oral histories or any other information not already documented elsewhere.

In summary, we need a comprehensive, intellectually honest, readily accessible repository for information on where we have been and where we are going. Some people will never consult any sort of institutional memory, but it would be helpful to have one for those who will.

Quote of the week

"The problem with education isn’t money — we spend plenty — but quality." — Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The re-remaking of the American urban environment

In Tysons Corner, Virginia — America's twelfth largest central business district and the classic example of an edge city — planners are planning to convert the suburban spaghetti road system into an urban grid. In decades past, however, urban planners saw the grid as the root of all evil and tried to convert urban street grids such as that of Southwest D.C. into cul-de-sac road systems befitting low-density suburbia. Progress appears to be chasing its own tail. It is a shame that something as slow and expensive to change as a street layout has to be so fashion-driven.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quote of the week

“I was always frustrated, and angry sometimes, about the stories that people were telling, which were either coming-out stories or frothy, sexy comedies which weren’t funny or sexy.” — Andrew Haigh, on the shortcomings of gay cinema, in The New York Times

Friday, September 23, 2011

WWMLKD? (What would Martin Luther King do?)

As with Jesus and Einstein, people often quote Martin Luther King to back up whatever point they are making, often without doing any work to find out what he actually thought about similar issues. For instance, here we read the following questions, asked purely rhetorically with no attempt to answer them, on what Dr. King would have thought about the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell":
As Martin Luther King day passes again, we as a community must look into the past fight for civil equality. What would Dr. King say of our movement? Would he be joyous that we have gained the right to fight openly in the US military? Or would he be telling us that it is time to work on reconciliation with the Iraqi and Afghan people?
Then again, perhaps King, like Jesus and Einstein, mystically agrees with whoever invokes his name on any issue.

Paging Rick Santorum

Hey, frothy one, regarding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," I've got your special privilege right here. You're quite welcome.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Religious right or P.C. left? Quotes 28 and 29

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.

[in response to transgendered people's issues] Personally I am a giant sea slug trapped in a [human's] body but I don't think I want to have species re-assingment surgery.
[in response to transgendered people's issues] I feel like a squirrel inside. You must address me with the correct squirrelific pronouns.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quote of the week

"[T]he ego protects its cherished illusions even when the truth is rising up before one's eyes." — The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide on homophobes who are aroused by gay porn and then deny it, not that the phenomenon is at all limited to that.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What LGBT voters can learn from Jews

The recent Republican victory in New York has Democrats on red alert. According to an article in today's New York Times,
Sensing trouble, the Obama campaign and Democratic Party leaders have mobilized to solidify the president’s standing with Jewish voters. The Democratic National Committee has established a Jewish outreach program. The campaign is singling out Jewish groups, donors and other supporters with calls and e-mails to counter the Republican narrative that Mr. Obama is hostile to Israel.
Can anyone imagine this happening if Jewish voters in that district had done what the queerer-than-thou activists keep telling us to do, which is to support Team Blue no matter what? While I do not agree with all of the expressed reasons for voting for Turner, those reasons do not change the fact that if politicians see no political downside to ignoring us, they will ignore us.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Theocracy when it suits me

Statists of both the left and the right often justify their statism by attributing it to their God. If we ignore the little detail that America is not a theocracy, we still have the difficulty that theocrats across the board tend to cite only those religious beliefs that suit them. For example, left-wing theocrats pound on the Biblical teachings of love and mercy while ignoring the thou-shalt-nots, while right-wing theocrats do the opposite.

Theocrats of all stripes assume that once church and state are united, it is their church that will prevail. They also believe with perfect faith that God agrees with them on everything and therefore worship competing Christs who would scarcely recognize one another. Finally, they resolve the difficulty of wildly differing "Christian" political views by accusing anyone who disagrees with them of not being a true Christian at all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today's vocabulary word: superstition

superstition, n. a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation; specifically, someone else's belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation. If you dare suggest any resemblance to my holy faith, I will play the religious-bigotry card.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Quotes of the week

"9/11 was a faith-based initiative." — George Carlin

"Civil liberties groups say the response is disproportionate and may even have handed al-Qaeda a victory by permanently altering the openness America once celebrated." — Catherine Philip, The Times of London

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What LGBT activists can learn from the Tea Party

Say what you like about the Tea Party, but it has greatly unsettled the political status quo. An article on Reason, "What the Left Can Learn from the Tea Party," explains that the Tea Partiers have gotten results by showing politicians that business as usual would come at a political cost and that the Tea Partiers were willing to sacrifice a few pieces if checkmating their opponents required them to do so:
The Tea Party movement was able to grind the gears of politics as usual by demonstrating to the McCains of the world that single issues matter more than whether the opposing party might win this or that congressional seat.
The article further notes that this lesson has largely been lost on the left:
Soros in particular is a case study in how giving blanket support to a political party can undermine your favorite causes. According to a 2004 New Yorker article about anti-Bush billionaires by Jane Mayer, Soros’ bill of particulars against Obama’s predecessor included Bush’s attempts to spread democracy at gunpoint, his expansions of presidential power, and his prison camp in Guantanamo Bay. In every one of those areas, as in the drug war, Obama has not been significantly better than Bush.

* * *

As Eric Sterling, president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, told Sullum, Obama has been able to pursue the war on drugs as usual partly because “those who care have not made him pay a political price yet.”
Queer activists in particular need to learn this lesson. Team Blue's cheerleaders often tell us that we must support Democratic candidates, no matter what, if for no better reason than to keep Team Red from gaining power. In doing so, however, we simply show Team Blue that it may do as it pleases on our issues, since we will not make it pay a political price. If the Tea Partiers will sacrifice a pawn now and then to win the game, we should be willing to do so as well.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Today's vocabulary word: know

know, v.t. to want very badly to believe, despite having just made it up with no supporting evidence

They're taking over!

We often hear that (fill in the blank) are taking over some part of the LGBT community. Most recently, it's effeminate gay men who are supposedly taking over one subset of gay maledom.

I've noticed that when someone makes this complaint, it's usually the (fill in the blank) who are making things happen, while the complainers are just sitting on the sidelines complaining. People have accused me personally of taking over organizations just by doing any of the work.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Stuff gay men supposedly like: 19. Witty conversation

As I noted earlier, a common misconception about gay men is that our conversations make the Algonquin Round Table look like a frat kegger. If only. Back when I came out*, people considered it the height of wit to screech, "Oh, please, Louise" as the rejoinder to everything. Now, we just speak in pop-culture-generated catchphrases. There is probably a gay section of hell where the demons answer everything with "Take the red pill, Mary."

*I heard someone say something about riding dinosaurs to gay bars. Stop that right now!

Quote of the week

"Magical thinking is no substitute for verifiable facts." — Steve Chapman, Reason

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Be careful what you wish for. (2)

In renewing the push for legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Maryland, people are revisiting the debate over religious exemptions. I heard someone argue today that forcing a homophobic florist to sell them flowers "by court order" is perfectly appropriate. Beside the fact that people in the wedding industry are salivating over the prospect of making money off of queer nuptials, advocates of forcing social change on that hypothetical florist are missing a more fundamental point.

Once you have declared that government imposition of a preferred outcome trumps individual liberty, you have conceded the religious right's entire argument. Once you have declared that government should force people to reorder their private affairs to adhere to a certain code of conduct regarding homosexuality, you do not have much ground to complain when the Pat Robertsons of the state or country choose that code of conduct. The government has spoken, so tough noogies for you. We can avoid that difficulty by accepting that society has enough room for both those who want equal rights for those in same-sex relationships and those who do not want to participate in solemnizing such relationships.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Religious right or P.C. left? Quote 27

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.

The best way for a trannie (noun, A person born with male genitals and has been privileged in society and who systematically participates in the oppression and blatant mockery of female humans) not to be sent to the wrong prison is to not commit a crime. Heard that one before, have ya?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Quote of the week

"People in this country need to learn how to use their left brains more, instead of living in some right brain dream world where anything goes. Both sides of the brain are necessary, yet way too many people in this country seem to not even know where the light switch is on the left side." — ThankGodForScience, comment on Christianity Today

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm a prophet.

After our building was evacuated for the earthquake, one of my first thoughts was "Someone will find a way to blame this on gays." Sure enough, Rabbi Yehuda Levin has done just that.

Aside: Regarding the point about "censorship," why does YouTube, as a private business in a competitive market, not have the right to make its own rules about hate speech?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Evidence: You're doing it wrong.

The other day, I had a conversation along the following all too common lines:

"We have evidence that [event described in holy text] actually occurred."

"What is that evidence?"

"No one has ever proved that it didn't."

When you try to reason with such people, arguments like this all too often elicit blank stares.

Things God hates (earthquake edition)

In light of yesterday's festivities, we need to add to the list of things God hates:

  • Rural central Virginia

  • The National Cathedral and the Washington Mormon Temple

  • D.C. (but you already knew that)

  • The Washington Monument. Maybe those preachers who call it a pagan symbol are right.

  • The tchotchkes on your shelves. Mine weren't affected, so God obviously prefers my tastes to yours.

  • The Smithsonian Institution. Maybe God is smiting them for kowtowing to social conservatives.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Name that Tea Partier (2)

Which Teabagger was quoted as follows?
The next day, at a rural economic forum in northeastern Iowa, he expressed a more limited view of Washington.

“America is going to come back from this recession stronger than before,” he said. “I’m also convinced that comeback isn’t going to be driven by Washington.”
Would you believe that it was Barack Obama? Now if only there were some way to nudge him past heresy by word to heresy by deed.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quote of the week

"Judicial restraint isn’t so appealing when it comes down to the other side’s legislation." — Damon W. Root, Reason

Today's vocabulary word: monogamous

monogamous, adj. characterized by being the biggest whore ever; term used as a self-description in personal ads

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stuff gay men supposedly like: 18. Frou-frou bars

Everyone knows that gay bars are full of ferns, chrome, Patrick Nagel prints, and effeminate, impeccably dressed men who sip blender drinks while saying things so witty that Dorothy Parker would be nonplussed, right? Not exactly. A lot of that stuff (not the witty conversation) sounds more like something in a chain restaurant in a suburb named after a prince.

For real gay bars, imagine the Mos Eisley cantina with a "Let's make it up as we go along" approach to carding and a TV playing either porn or terrible music videos that are at least a decade out of date. (If it's a leather or bear bar, and it's game day, the TV may be playing the game instead.) Imagine also that the restrooms look like the Star Wars trash compactor, complete with monster. You get the idea now, I trust. Also, most gay bars are BYOWB (bring your own witty banter).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Today's vocabulary word: jock

jock, n. a gym bunny who has never played a sport in his life; term used in personal ads

Friday, August 12, 2011

Quote of the week

"[C]apitalism, for all its vices, also brings better lives. In the past 25 years it has lifted perhaps 500 million Chinese and 400 million Indians out of absolute poverty. Want will be ended by the market, not Marx." — Sir Tony Benton, "Keep communism on the trash heap of history," The Times of London

Monday, August 8, 2011

Name that Tea Partier

Which far-right, loonytarian Teabagger do you suppose said the following?
The days when the debt-ridden Uncle Sam could leisurely squander unlimited overseas borrowing appeared to be numbered as its triple A-credit rating was slashed by Standard & Poor's (S&P) for the first time on Friday.

* * *

S&P has already indicated that more credit downgrades may still follow. Thus, if no substantial cuts were made to the U.S. gigantic military expenditure and bloated social welfare costs, the downgrade would prove to be only a prelude to more devastating credit rating cuts, which will further roil the global financial markets all along the way.

* * *

The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone.
So which reactionary freeper wingnut made such extreme statements? It was China's official news agency.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Quote of the week

"But I think traditionalists need gay people more than they know. In a world where (conservatives lament) old-fashioned values are always on the brink of some sort of fatal decline, it is gay people such as my sister and her girlfriend who are intent on upholding tradition." — Stefanie Marsh in The Times of London

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


After the deal on the debt ceiling, people are fretting about the prospect of smaller government. Nonetheless, the cuts, if they happen at all, will be only relative to a rapidly expanding baseline, with the result that spending will actually increase.

If you're old like me, you'll likely remember an episode of the comic strip Blondie in which Blondie tells Dagwood how much money she's saved him by hitting a sale at Tudbury's. Yes, I see the sex stereotyping, but bear with me. Baseline budgeting basically works in the same way as Blondie's "savings."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Be careful what you wish for.

According to an article in today's New York Times, the Detroit car manufacturers are backing stricter fuel-economy requirements. Buried in the article is a key reason why:
In the end, though, Detroit was faced with an undeniable political reality: there was no graceful way to say no to an administration that just two years ago came to its aid financially.
This turn of events offers a lesson for government-worshiping LGBT activists: By accepting government money, we invite government scrutiny. I pointed out the applicability to queer issues in 1994, and Dan Savage did so in 1999 (advisory: somewhat squicky accounts of barebacking).

Quote of the week

"Liberal bigots justify their prejudice against a group of people on the grounds of their own supposed bigotry." — Owen Jones, Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fish or cut bait, progressives.

Reason quotes liberal Columbia University historian Eric Foner as admitting to a fundamental contradiction in progressivism:
As I see it, the core tenets are somewhat at odds with each other. On the one hand you have the belief in governmental assistance to the less fortunate, governmental regulation of economic activity and very modest governmental efforts to redistribute wealth to assist those further down the social scale. So it’s active government, in the pursuit of social goals, when it comes to the economy. On the other hand, modern liberalism emphasises privacy, individual rights and civil liberties – keeping government out of your life when it comes to things like abortion rights. In other words, in the private realm liberalism is for autonomy and lack of government intervention.
Yes, those core tenets are somewhat at odds with each other, as surely as the Pacific Ocean is a somewhat moist spot on the earth's surface. If modern progressives are serious about privacy and individual rights, and that's a pretty big "if," those queer lefties who assert that all LGBT people should agree with them on everything have the burden of resolving that contradiction.

Obviously, conservatism often presents its own fundamental contradiction, which is a photographic negative of the one noted above. The difference is that I do not have to listen to hordes of people telling me that just because I like men, I must unquestioningly accept the tenets of social conservatism.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quote of the week

"If the average reader cannot make sense of what you're saying, it is not a badge of honor; it is a badge of solipsism, and it's a safe bet your writing just doesn't make sense." — Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman, How Not to Write a Novel

Thursday, July 21, 2011

But it's okay when we do it!

At least as long as I've been out, many lesbians have appointed themselves to be the queer community's Lady Whiteadders and have passed moral judgment on gay men for deviating from the ideal of sex only within long-term, monogamous, more-vanilla-than-Sealtest-ice-milk relationships. Now take a look at this (borderline NSFW: some explicit language). The lesbian liberation described in the second half of the article sounds an awful lot like the things that get gay men labeled as unworthy sinners. There can't possibly be a double standard at work, so there must be some other explanation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fabulous queer dating tip #25: Don't learn from experience.

What's that thing called when you keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time? Oh, yeah ... the dating game. Keep doing whatever screwed up all of your previous relationships, whether it's stalking guys who are clearly not even what you want, being a whiny manipulator, or trying to turn your boyfriends into something they're not. After all, all of your failed dysfunctional relationships have one thing in common, and it plainly isn't you, so surely the bad juju will wear off eventually.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The great big (non-zero-sum) game of life.

People tend to assume without analysis that some area of life is a zero-sum game. A zero-sum game is defined thus:
Zero-sum games are games where the amount of "winnable goods" (or resources in our terminology) is fixed. Whatever is gained by one actor, is therefore lost by the other actor: the sum of gained (positive) and lost (negative) is zero.
Conservatives rightly criticize liberals for viewing the economy and educational attainment as zero-sum games; liberals rightly criticize conservatives for thinking the same about individual liberty. A classic example of a false zero-sum-game is the task of dividing a cake among people when it is possible to bake another cake.

For example, the conflict between gay rights and the rights of religious organizations is commonly characterized as a zero-sum game, when there is no good reason why it should be. Religious people should be free to do what they like among consenting adults in the privacy of their own churches, on their own dime, and with no special privileges to protect them from competition from other churches that see things differently. Churches should be free to exclude LGBT people, but the people excluded should be free to start their own churches or other organizations and compete on a level playing field; it worked for Troy Perry. On the issue of whether churches should recognize same-sex marriage, both the Catholic Church and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches should get to set their own rules, and secular government should show no favor to either. In short, bake another cake.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Quote of the week

Veronique de Rugy on the red-state/blue-state paradox:
The second theory ... holds that Republican voters want to reduce federal spending only if it means cutting other people’s handouts. That would explain why elected Republicans in red states, such as Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), don’t let their limited-government rhetoric get in the way of voting for farm subsidies.

In the end, the red/blue paradox may be a product of our tendency to look for ideological consistency in politics when there isn’t any.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Identity crisis

The LGBT talking heads love to refer to the "intersection of identities." The people throwing that term around typically use it to mean that for any given person, you can go through a check list of identity groups to which that person belongs and feed the results into an algorithm that will tell you everything you need to know about that person. Do you see how that is different from a more elaborate way of stereotyping by race, sex, socioeconomic status, and the like? Neither do I.

Obviously, a person's life experience does affect who that person is now. But just as obviously, intersectionality as typically understood grossly oversimplifies human natures, as does politically correct reductionism in general. Just consider how differently siblings in a family can turn out.

Monday, July 11, 2011

To people who think I'm too cynical

I sometimes wonder whether I'm cynical enough. For example, I once had the idea to write a short story in which the main character committed suicide by crashing his car on Route 1, and in which all anyone else could think about was the effect on that evening's commute. I dismissed the idea as too far over the top. Now have a peek at this.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quote of the week

"While the Family Leader pledge covers just about every other so-called virtue they can think of, the one that is conspicuously missing is tolerance. In one concise document, they manage to condemn gays, single parents, single individuals, divorcees, Muslims, gays in the military, unmarried couples, women who choose to have abortions, and everyone else who doesn’t fit in a Norman Rockwell painting." — Gary Johnson

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ageism works both ways.

Allegations of ageism are a common topic of conversation in the LGBT community, but people who comment on the matter tend to leave out the fact that ageism runs both ways. While some twinks and twinks emeriti seem to think that only people within a narrow age range should ever leave the house, some younger gay men complain about being treated as decorative objects who could not possibly ever having anything useful to say, solely because of their age. That last part, however, does not fit into the reductionist P.C. world view.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

How to make enemies and influence people to think you're an idiot

By now, you've presumably heard of the vandalism of the HRC store in Washington. When I asked what that vandalism was supposed to accomplish, I got that all-purpose scathing rebuttal, "La la la, I can't hear you."

Of the explanations that I've heard, the one that makes the most sense is that the event was a plant intended to make radical queer activists look bad. It goes to show that Poe's Law is not limited to the religious right.

Today's vocabulary: "most of us" and "you"

most of us, n. phr. I (example)

you, pron. I (example)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Quote of the week

"Only in government do you spend money regardless of results. In the real world, you buy something, you spend money, you expect something in return...." — Governor Andrew Cuomo, on New York State's high spending on education and not so high results

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Today's vocabulary word: essential

essential, adj. convenient to whatever point I'm trying to make: This Bible passage is essential to our faith; those other parts just described the customs and norms of the time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What is going on at The Washington Blade?

I do not miss The Washington Blade of the eighties and nineties, which routinely published anti-gay-male screeds while graciously deigning to take gay men's advertising dollars. Now, however, The Blade often reads like a suburban advertiser newspaper, publishing advertisements disguised as articles for everything from real estate to Botox.

The Blade needs advertising because businesses need revenue sources and because newspapers have lost that money fountain known as the personals section. Nonetheless, the newspaper that calls itself "America's leading gay news source" is taking a big hit to its journalistic credibility by pursuing its present course.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Maryland isn't New York.

In the wake of the passage of New York's marriage law, people are calling on Governor O'Malley to follow in the footsteps of Governor Cuomo. The people making that call need to remember one big difference between the political cultures of the two states.

As I noted yesterday, Cuomo managed to gain the support of Republican financial backers because of "their more libertarian views." Where is the libertarian streak in Maryland's political culture, and who is Maryland's Paul Singer, Cliff Asness, or Daniel Loeb? Applying New York's lesson to Maryland will involve more than a simple one-to-one translation.

Religious right or P.C. left? Quote 26

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.

Things like "objectivity" and "rationality" and "logic". ... the men that want to argue in those terms!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Republican money men and same-sex marriage

From hearing the queer lefties talk, you'd think that moneyed interests spend all day thinking of new ways to expand their Europhallocentric, heteropatriarchal reign of terror. But look at this article in The New York Times:
Would the donors win over the deciding Senate Republicans? It sounded improbable: top Republican moneymen helping a Democratic rival with one of his biggest legislative goals.

But the donors in the room — the billionaire Paul Singer, whose son is gay, joined by the hedge fund managers Cliff Asness and Daniel Loeb — had the influence and the money to insulate nervous senators from conservative backlash if they supported the marriage measure. And they were inclined to see the issue as one of personal freedom, consistent with their more libertarian views.

Within days, the wealthy Republicans sent back word: They were on board. Each of them cut six-figure checks to the lobbying campaign that eventually totaled more than $1 million.

* * *

But, behind the scenes, it was really about a Republican Party reckoning with a profoundly changing power dynamic, where Wall Street donors and gay-rights advocates demonstrated more might and muscle than a Roman Catholic hierarchy and an ineffective opposition.
Things often look different when you take off the politically correct blinders.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Quote of the week

"I believe you can be wiser today than yesterday." — New York State Senator Mark Grisanti, explaining his change of position on same-sex marriage

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Writing effective letters to the editor

A letter to the editor of a periodical can easily get one’s message to a wide audience. Nonetheless, many publications have low rates of publication of such letters, e.g., 1.5% for The New York Times. Since my success rate has been considerably higher, I offer the following advice to those who wish to write letters to the editor.

1. Figure out what point you want to make, and focus on it. Having to say something is not the same thing as having something to say, and a focused letter has a higher likelihood of publication than a stream-of-consciousness rant.

2. Do your homework. Even if you do not know the subject well, one of your readers likely will, and speculation about the subject may well set you up for public humiliation. More than once, I have had letters published in response to letters, in which I corrected the previous letter writers’ understanding of the very things that they had sought to defend. For the same reason, once you have the facts, resist the temptation to cherry-pick the facts to misrepresent the subject; a half truth is a whole lie. If you determine that a fair reading of the facts does not support your point, go back to step 1.

3. Make your point, and make it plainly. The more work you require your readers to do to figure out what you are saying, the less likely that your letter will have an impact or will even be published.

4. Write your letter in an appropriate tone. Write as though you were writing a business letter, not a quick e-mail note to a friend. In particular, leave out the content-free rhetorical flourishes that so impress you; they will likely impress no one else. Also, avoid insulting others — your opponents, the author of the article to which you are responding, and, most importantly, your potential readers.

5. Don’t just tell your readers why you believe something; show them why they should agree with you. Appealing to your own emotions, while popular among the politically correct crowd, is an excellent way to get everyone else to ignore you. Instead, use examples and solid, dispassionate reasoning to make your point. In short, show your work.

6. Proofread, and boil down your prose. Check your letter for facts and logic, not just for spelling and grammar. Also, since periodicals typically have limited space for letters to the editor, make every word count, and eliminate those that do not. From my conversations with the people who select letters to the editor, I have learned that they almost never reject letters for being too short.

7. Do not fear constructive criticism. Someone from the periodical may suggest changes to your letter. If that person thought that your letter completely lacked merit, she would not waste her time making those suggestions.

While I cannot guarantee success, I believe from my experience that by following the above points, you will increase the likelihood that your letters are published and read.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Emperor's new argument, or: Oh, so that's why we should all be lefties

In this article on John Edwards, the author explains why we must accept liberalism as a whole:
Because one reason I was eager to back Edwards was there was no conflict in his campaign between the three tiers of modern liberalism, which often do fight each other. I see the three as:

1) Economic justice. This is labor movements, anti-poverty initiatives, fair taxation, health care reform, social services, government that is functional, etc. Anything that helps secure the middle class, bolsters the economy, and lifts people out of poverty.

2) Social justice. Feminism, anti-racism, gay rights, anti-colonialism, things like that---anything that divides people against each other on the basis of identity hierarchies.

3) Environmentalism and rationalism. Preserving the planet, promoting science, basically using the now to work towards a better tomorrow.

Obviously, a smart person sees how these are interrelated and that you really fail at anti-racism if you don't think about poverty and that you're not a good environmentalist if economic justice isn't part of your worldview, and you're not an effective feminist if you treat science like it's a lark.
In addition to the many proofs by assertion, the author throws in the "Emperor's New Clothes" argument (technically an appeal to personal interest), "Obviously, a smart person sees" that she's right. Try again.

All the nonsense that's unfit to print, or: The silly season at The New York Times

The New York Times has a reputation (heaven help us) as the best in American journalism. Yet The Times has recently engaged in an orgy of reason-bashing. As the latest example, this article quotes handwriting "experts" on clues to Anthony Weiner's personality from his signature. Never mind that graphology has been debunked and is now considered a pseudoscience. As several of the comments ask, can his star chart be far behind?

It's all gay men's fault (chapter 12,709)

Here we go again. Yet another Washington Blade columnist lambastes gay men — and gay men specifically — for what I thought were issues of human beings generally, not gay men.

The author proposes an "extreme makeover" for gay men:
Rather, this makeover is all internal – it’s about how gay men relate to and interact with each other. I call it Extreme Makeover – Pride Edition.
So what have gay men done to need such a makeover?
However, as the community began to break down societal barriers, to make gains and take its place at the table, gay men lost an understanding of another side to the meaning of Pride. Beyond rainbow flags and bumper decals, Pride should also stem from our actions. We forget that sometimes. Having lived from Boston to Austin, Texas to Toronto, I’ve witnessed and experienced how gay men can behave. It isn’t always pretty. In a culture of “A-lists” and attitude, where chiseled bodies set the standards by which we are judged, some gay men have forgotten that real Pride is born from within, and not in a gym.
Okay, so gay men can get carried away with the whole gym thing, but are we the only ones who judge people on the wrong criteria? At least the author referred to "some gay men" instead of making the all too common politically correct generalization to all gay men.

What solutions does the author offer?
Make good on your longstanding intention to volunteer. Donate to a cause that’s dear to you. Say thanks to an LGBT elder for setting in motion the civil rights our community has gained over the past 40 years.

* * *

So go ahead. Next time you’re at a bar or club, put a new spin on attitude. Smile to someone you don’t even know. Yes, really. It’s just a smile. You can do it. It may not feel like an extreme makeover, but you may just be making someone’s day, and changing someone’s else’s attitude at the same time. And that’s something to feel proud about.
Obviously, gay men, and only gay men, should do these things. In particular, it wouldn't do to tell a lesbian to smile.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Today's vocabulary term: quantum mechanics

quantum mechanics, n. phr. a branch of physics used by people who do not understand it to peddle woo to other people who do not understand it

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Quote of the week

“They don’t have to get married in a Catholic church, so I don’t think the Catholic church should have any bearing on what they do.” — Paulie Inchierchiera of Staten Island, NY, on same-sex marriage, quoted in The New York Times

Friday, June 17, 2011

Today's vocabulary word: vibrant

vibrant, adj. a content-free term of approval that lazy journalists routinely slap in front of the word "culture"

Thursday, June 16, 2011

We need more new thought and less "new" thought.

Reading queer Web sites could easily make one agree with Qoheleth that there is nothing new under the sun. Even on a site with the word "new" prominently featured in its name, many young pups are serving up "radical" "new" ideas that basically amount to warmed-over eighties political correctness. You'd think that someone would have consulted the institutional memory to see just how new the "new" ideas are.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Personal freedom in the blue states

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has released its latest study on freedom in the 50 states. I will concentrate on personal freedom, which is the aspect of freedom at which liberals are supposed to excel, and which cannot be written off as an artifact of federal wealth redistribution. Even on personal freedom, the most "liberal" states do not necessarily do well.

Here are the ten bottom-ranked states for personal freedom:

41. California
42. Ohio
43. Hawaii
44. Delaware
45. New Jersey
46. Rhode Island
47. Massachusetts
48. New York
49. Illinois
50. Maryland
Note the number of heavy-hitting blue states on this part of the list. Maryland, whose residents fancy themselves to be the ne plus ultra of liberalism, ranks dead last. Virginia — surprisingly, in light of this state's dreadful past — scored slightly better than average, at 22.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What's wrong with American political reporting in one sentence

From Beth Reinhard in The National Journal, and you don't have to be a Ron Paul supporter to see my point:
Ron Paul, the Texas congressman who has run for president before, did little to shake his image as a fringe candidate by talking too fast and dropping obscure subjects like “Keynesian bubble" and “monetary policy" into the conversation.
Maybe they're not quite so fascinating as Princess Beatrice's hat, but still.

Entries from my cat's blog

Mon 13 Jun 2011 0730 EDT
Woe is me. I've never been fed in my entire life.

Mon 13 Jun 2011 0731 EDT
A whole plate of wet food just for me! Yay!

Mon 13 Jun 2011 0735 EDT
Woe is me. I've never been fed in my entire life.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Quote of the week

"Permitting couples to marry when they are of the same gender is a step in the direction of equality before the law, but a truly free society would not have government in the business of defining relationships at all." — Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle

Friday, June 10, 2011

Are you a twink? Take this simple quiz and find out.

1. Describe your ideal boyfriend.

A. He has intelligence, integrity, and kindness.
B. He has perfect hair and knows all the latest dance moves.
C. He wears all the same sizes that I do, so I can double my wardrobe on the cheap.

2. When someone says that you look good, how do you respond?

A. "Thank you."
B. "Yes, I know already, duh."
C. "Too bad you don't."

3. What should this country's highest budget priority be?

A. Reducing the debt.
B. Concentration camps for unattractive people.
C. Public affairs ... yawn. Can't we talk about something relevant to our lives, like who wore what to J.R.'s last night?

4. How often do you visit a museum?

A. At least monthly.
B. Like, hello or something. Those places are for geeks.
C. A what?

5. How often do you visit a bar?

A. A what?
B. Every weekend.
C. I qualify for voting residence at J.R.'s.

6. A filthy rich, stunningly gorgeous man wants to take you to his island paradise tonight so you and he can spend the rest of your lives in rapturous love. On the other hand, the dance bar is having a special on those little blue drinks tonight, and all the "kewl doodz" in your apartment building are going. Which do you choose?

A. The man.
B. The drinks.
C. If my favorite TV show is on tonight, then neither.

7. How do you treat people who dance better than you do?

A. I watch their technique and try to learn from them.
B. I comment loudly on their clothes and hair.
C. I try to pick up their boyfriends.

8. How do you treat people who give off more attitude than you do?

A. I avoid them and associate with cheery, positive people instead.
B. I try to pick up their boyfriends.
C. No one gives off more attitude than I do.

9. How do you treat people of an advanced age, e.g., 24?

A. I value them for their maturity and experience.
B. I point and shout, "Ewww! A troll!"
C. I give them the address for the assisted-suicide league.

10. Why are you not concerned about reaching an advanced age, e.g., 24?

A. I have an inner beauty that transcends mere physical youth.
B. I wear baseball caps to hide my thinning, graying hair.
C. Since I can't count that high, I can't even imagine reaching that age.

Scoring: This involves some rather advanced math, so sweet-talk some troll daddy into calculating your score for you. Have him give you no points for each "A" response, one point for each "B" response, and two points for each "C" response. Your total number of points tells you how much of a twink you are.

0-10 points: Troll daddy. Like, duh and stuff—you are totally not a twink. Leave us alone and go back to your boring old grown-up life and your stupid high-paying career.

11-15 points: Twink potential. You are on the right track, but you still have some work to do. Go to the bars more often instead of throwing away your life doing that thing ... what's it called again? ... oh, yeah, reading.

16-20 points: A true twink. All that dancing in front of the mirror at the dance club has led you to true depths of shallowness. Well done! Kewl!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Religious right or P.C. left? Quote 25

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.

There is no such thing as "spontaneous mutation" into a strain that is resistant to the top eight classes of brand-name antibiotic drugs being sold by Big Pharma today. Such mutations have to be deliberate.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Malta, divorce, and the Catholic Church

The voters of Malta have voted to legalize divorce in that country. The Catholic Church campaigned against legalization of divorce:
"By this vote the citizen will either build or destroy," the letter said.

"A choice in favour of permanent marriage is an act of faith in the family, built upon a bond of love which cannot be severed."

The anti-divorce movement's campaign attempted to capitalise on these traditional Catholic concerns, posting billboards around the country which said, "Jesus Christ - yes; divorce - no".
Here in America, where that particular ship sailed away a long time ago, the Church uses similar arguments against same-sex marriage. You'd almost think that moralizers who used religion as a pretext for social control tailored their immutable and universal moral principles to whatever they thought they could get away with in each time and place. Unsurprisingly, Catholics who oppose marriage equality do not appreciate having such things pointed out to them.

Monday, May 30, 2011

More on New York vs. D.C.

One thing about New Yorkers that visitors from Washington tend to notice right away is a frankness about sexuality that much of the country lacks. A friend who has lived in New York since the seventies tells me that that frankness has been toned down since the seventies, but it is still there. In D.C., by contrast, no matter what happens on the back porch of the leather bar, we observe the polite fiction that we are all asexual and that the goddess has assigned us our sexual orientations solely as a social statement.

My friend also mentioned an aspect of growing up in New York, namely, exposure to viewpoint diversity. Such diversity has traditionally been anathema in D.C., although we see more of it as a more diverse crowd moves into the capital.

Quote of the week

"[F]reedom of speech is not freedom for the thought you agree with, but the one you hate the most." — Larry Flynt, quoted in The Times of London, May 28, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

President Barack H. Bush (3): The Patriot Act

Now that Obama has signed the extension of the Patriot Act, Obama voters are expressing regret over having voted for him, Bush supporters are gloating, and the true-blue Obamapologists are oddly silent. According to the one-dimensional political spectrum so beloved by one-dimensional political thinkers, Obama has placed himself to the right of that person whom progressives love to hate, Rand Paul.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quote of the week

"[We're winning the younger generation on abortion, at least in theory. What about same-sex marriage?] We're losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage. I don't know if that's going to change with a little more age—demographers would say probably not. We've probably lost that. I don't want to be extremist here, but I think we need to start calculating where we are in the culture." — Jim Daly, President and CEO of Focus on the Family, interviewed by WORLD Magazine (June 4, 2011, issue).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Religious right or P.C. left? Quote 24

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.

I believe, however, that sadomasochism--both on the part of its practitioners and of the community of media voyeurs which propagates it--is not a deviation from the philosophical origins of liberalism but a realization of them.

* * *

We have become reluctant to be labelled as moral crusaders in an age when human potential has degenerated to "doing your own thing." We are conditioned to making bland observations and cynical jokes in response to obscenities of a national scale and perversity of universal magnitude. We are numbed to the point of being at home with cruelty and despair. Sadomasochism is but one more absurdity to be greeted with a blank stare. But to do that is to yield to yet another assault upon our own decency. Whatever contempt the human race may have merited in the past and may have brought upon itself, we are not destined to live by the traditions which perpetuate it. We cannot capitulate to the liberal dogma which treats as normal and neutral the volitional debasement and humiliation of one human being by another. If this is the logic of liberalism, then [our] philosophy can and must do better. Traditional philosophy would be well served by such revision.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My first post-Rapture post

The Rapture happened just as scheduled, but I'll bet you were too busy sinning to notice. I'm still here, as are, I'm sure, all of Congress and the Virginia General Assembly.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Power failure

One aspect of the undergraduate navel-gazing that passes for analysis in much of the LGBT community is the talk of power. While I realize that power imbalances exist in the real world, they do not work the same way in the real world as in the politically correct world. In the latter, broadly defined groups of people (e.g., younger vs. older gay men) have more or less power than others, strictly on the say-so of the person talking about such power. The talk of power has the earmarks of politically correct silliness: exalting emotion over reason and speculation over evidence, painting with an extremely broad brush, presenting a cartoonish oversimplification of an issue, "knowing" all about the lives of people whom one has never met, and proclaiming one's own martyrdom.

Today's vocabulary word: starve

starve, v.t. to feed with fattening food bought on credit: We mean to starve the beast to reduce the size of government.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Religious right or P.C. left? Quotes 22 and 23

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.

You have to understand what a human is. The modern Western person thinks a human being is an evolved monkey who came by accident from a piece of mud.
Many, many of their advocates do not really believe in God at all - that is to say they reduce [God] to something psychological or ultimately human-based (as the evolutionist/scientistic mythology demands).

Religious right or P.C. left? Quote 21

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.

[In response to someone who defended those who had created the experimental method on the ground that their efforts had led to the discovery of DNA:] You believe in DNA?

President Barack H. Bush (2)

It's a good thing we have a Democratic President, since Democrats aren't at all like those nasty Republicans, who try to impose their morality on the rest of us. Then again, according to this, the Obama administration is busy restricting our individual liberty for our own good. Someone has to protect us from such horrors as salty food and online poker.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fabulous queer dating tip #24: Once you've fouled your own nest, try to find a new one.

If you've faithfully followed the all too common dating protocol, you may well have unaccountably developed an entirely undeserved reputation for being an emotionally unstable drama queen. Let's look at some ways in which people have tried to overcome this problem.

1. Abruptly move to a larger metropolitan area. While I've known people to do so, it isn't for everyone. Some people are actually saddled with totally not kewl things like careers and home ownership. Also, if you've managed to pick up a stalker, he may get the same idea (I've seen it happen).

2. Start a new online profile. Get a completely different user I.D., and change your stats enough to avoid detection. It's not as though anyone expected stats in online profiles to be anything but bald-faced lies. This is bound to work, but only until someone asks to trade pictures with you.

3. Start running with a new crowd. Become involved in a different organization, change your church membership, or go to different bars. But since LGBT communities can be like small towns, in which everyone is constantly in everyone else's business, this will work only so long.

4. Live the life of a hermit until everyone has forgotten you. This one may actually work. The drawback is that it will give you time to ponder your past mistakes, something that you must under no circumstances ever do.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ron Paul, Democrats, and marriage

While Ron Paul's waffling on marriage does not thrill me, Democratic politicians routinely take positions to the right of Paul's on that and other topics. Yet the politically correct crowd excoriates Paul while making endless excuses for those Democrats, who presumably are using the issue as the next move in their 4D Vulcan chess game, or whatever the rationalization du jour is. Yet again, we see one standard for the anointed ones and another, vastly higher one for everyone else.

The gilded mean

The golden-mean fallacy, otherwise known as the middle-ground fallacy and the appeal to moderation, holds that a middle ground between two extreme positions must be true simply because it is the middle ground. It differs from actually proving that the middle position is the sound one.

Lazy thinkers can use the golden-mean fallacy to discount any position they don't like, without the bother of having to disprove it on its merits. For example, local journalists have been known to pair a pro-LGBT argument with an argument from the American Family Association or some such organization and grandly declare, with no further analysis, that because the truth is in the middle, both sides must be wrong.

Quote of the week

"When the voters penalize candor and reward pandering, what are politicians going to give them?" — Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I am shocked, shocked!

American officials have reported finding a huge amount of pornography in the computers and storage devices in Osama bin Laden's compound. It seems that yet another puritanical religious fundamentalist preached one thing and practiced another.

The article says,
But the disclosure could fuel accusations of hypocrisy against the founder of Al Qaeda, who was 54 and lived with three wives at the time of his death, and will be welcomed by counterterrorism officials because it could tarnish his legacy and erode the appeal of his brand of religious extremism.
I'd like to think so, but true believers have a way of blocking any reality that interferes with their beliefs, including revelations of sexual sins by their leaders.

To people who have commented recently

I did not delete your comment; the recent Blogger failure ate it. I have deleted comments only for spam; since I am neither a Freeper nor a radfem, I do not delete comments for the sin of disagreement with me.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sixty years together (2)

In the comments section of the article to which I linked yesterday, someone brought up "God's commandments." I responded thus and got 28 "Recommended" clicks:
#18 is right. Marriage should be exactly as set forth in the Holy Bible: the union of one man and as many wives, concubines, POW sex slaves, and rape victims as he can afford to support, with no remarriage after a divorce between believers. How dare mere mortals try to redefine marriage from that holy and perfect standard.