2009 12 01 archive

Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Time for Wine and Roses, or, a Boy’s Decade in Concise Review

At the start of the year 2000 I was barely 9 years old and already calling bullshit on the Y2K insanity. I loved Kenan and Kel, thought Rugrats jumped the shark with Dil before I even heard of the phrase, believed everything my parents told me, and thought America was the greatest country in the history of forever, bar none. I thought that even though Gore was a boring puss Bush stole the election (“I don’t want a man named after a plant as my president!” I remember telling my parents in my best sassy black bitch voice). CNN really was The Most Trusted Name In News, Jimi Hendrix was a stranger, and I was writing a series of 3 to 10 page short stories about an anthropomorphic giant pumpkin monster named Jack-O that slaughtered people by the millions. I dreamed of having it published.

For a long time I was of the fierce opinion that 9/11 didn’t change anything. I still think that the Constitution holds true in the face of security challenges that clear and sunny Tuesday morning posed, and I hope most people do. But it took nine years to realize that in terms of everything else 9/11 was my generation’s Vietnam, World War II, Kennedy Assassination, all that and more rolled into one neat package with only 2900+ dead. How can such a defining moment not upturn everything once considered normal? Not a month later strangers were sending some white powder through the mail. Next year, around the same time, two guys in a white truck white boxy van blue Chevrolet Caprice took a semiautomatic assault rifle and made walking to my bus stop 3/4 of a block from my house an adventure. My parents were splitting; most of the time they argued they didn’t know I was awake. I wouldn’t admit it at the time but I missed my father every day. Six months later we invaded Iraq. A year after that my grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer. Half a colon and gallons of painkillers later she moved in with us and her Alzheimer’s came to light. And yet, I felt fine.

My mom waited until I would be old enough to a) remember it and b) not be a nuisance to take me to Disneyworld. Epcot’s fucking awesome. A year later with the money from the sale of my grandmother’s apartment we went on a Hawaiian cruise, and on the way to Maui our plane ironically flew directly over Hurricane Katrina. Flying over hurricanes is pretty cool. Art turned out to be a lot of fun even if I wasn’t very good at it; in my art class I bonded with one of my future best friends over a mutual hatred for some Pakistani asshole that (thankfully) moved halfway through 8th grade. Staying true to my love for the arts, I skipped my 7th grade English class’ performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream because I didn’t want to wear a dress in front of everyone (I was cast as Hermia). A year later a different English teacher singled me out in front of the entire class for having self-esteem issues.

Thanks mostly to years of effortless good grades on my part, my GPA tanked in high school. I scraped by with a D- in 9th grade biology, and the first and only class I’ve ever failed was algebra 2 with analysis in 10th grade. For the record I still hate math, and summer school fucking sucks. To stay sane I spent my breaks reading 1984 and analyzing it in my head as best a 15 year old could. English, history, the arts; all the specializations useless in the real world I still understood with a familiar ease. At some point in there I started a silly blog with a silly title, the media began boring me, old people told me I had an old soul, and girls quietly stopped being pretty. In 11th grade I did better academically and I met new people, and because it was going so well for me life after high school didn’t really exist in my mind. I didn’t even apply to colleges until January of 2008 (around the application deadline for most schools). My first choice was Howard in DC, but as it slowly became more evident why girls had stopped being pretty a while back I figured going to an HBCU with one foot in the hood probably wouldn’t be best for me. So naturally I chose a school in gay heaven, Appalachian Ohio.

Before showing up at Ohio University I nervously asked a (pretty cute, very gay) native about life in Athens over facebook, something else I was new to. It wasn’t just that I was talking to someone I found attractive, the thought of going away to college scared the shit out of me. He was happy to answer my questions and deal with my unreasonable fears but we never really talked after that. Until, through a truly odd set of circumstances, I wound up becoming friends with one of his roommates. Even now it’s hard to find eloquent words to describe how things unfolded, but I suppose confusing events don’t always wind up making more sense over time. Part of me doesn’t want to admit to love but how else do you describe hopeless attachment? Someone with such direct control over my happiness, or lack thereof? I’m sure what I felt for him will some day seem trivial in the face of other friends and lovers. But for now, I think about it every day.

One thing’s for certain, the Bobby that’s heading into 2010 is vastly different than the one that rolled into 2000. I still adore Kenan and Kel and Bush turned out to be the abject failure I thought he would be. But Hendrix, Lennon, Clapton, Marley, and even Spektor, Winehouse, and Gaga are no strangers to love my ears. I know all sorts of unknown unknowns that The Most Trusted Name In Bullshitwould have never told me. And I might not have my future planned out very well but I’ve met some truly amazing people while trying to figure it out. Some of them I even came to love. And while I carry the weight of a torn heart healing itself, a father mostly MIA, and a grandmother who doesn’t remember my name anymore (some call all of that “growing up”), one thing that never fails to give me solace is how infinitesimally small and insignificant we are in the universe. Maybe for a more ego-driven–or perhaps just successful–man this would pose a problem. But I’m just wandering through life at the moment, and remembering most of the big things really aren’t that big puts a little more confidence in my step.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

“A Prophet of the Gospel of Justice for All Nations” (especially the U.S.)

Not since President George W. Bush have we seen a major American political figure with such a striking ability to capture the imagination and attention of millions. She may stumble and bumble every now and then, but even then the words come out with such a gracious elegance that you can’t help but smile. Only in America, the shining city on a hill, could someone like Sarah Palin rise to the national consciousness on nothing but her own ego boobs bootstraps. What more is there to say about her? It never does get old but surely there must be some other reason for my lauding her great vision for this country again.

Well, as you may have heard, Sarah is waxing philosophically again about Obama and the fascist Democrats’ death panels passing judgement on whether or not its worth the Obamessiah’s dollar to pay for dear old granny’s operation. A common misconception the liberal media holds is that Sarah was originally talking about a literal group of Senators, headed by His Darkness himself, voting yea or nay on someone’s life. To you and me–people who really know Sarah– we know she was actually warning of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel of bureaucrats tasked with reducing Medicare costs by 2% over the next twenty years. How will they do that? Increase the efficiency of the health care system? Buy products on the cheap from China? Get the fuck outta here. Clearly they’re going to do this by denying coverage for your father’s liver transplant. There’s no other possibility when it comes to liberals.

According to Sarah, the health care bill is unpopular with conservatives and liberals as a ‘big government takeover’ (surely liberals aren’t upset because of the total removal of the public option they were promised). Socialism is on the great red march people, threatening to trample American values as it has never done before. But perhaps the most outrageous part of this Marxist coup? As Sarah points out, “though we will begin paying for this bill immediately, we will see no benefits for years.” Waiting is for college students and single mothers. If something doesn’t provide immediate gratification, then why bother with it?

A great conservative once said, “If freedom is short of weapons, we must compensate with willpower.” And when we’re fighting for God and Country, our willpower is infinite. With socialism pressing our throats more and more with each passing day, who else can we turn to for leadership but Sarah Palin? Her devotion to the preservation of proper, limited American government is so strong she quit her governorship early to write a book and maybe get a talk show, all to spread the word of American Conservatism. Now that’s devotion. Needless to say, we need more Sarah Palins in the United States.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Look Good In Latex

I will grant the Teabaggers and other assorted right wing crazies this (and only this): this czar fetish the US government has is really out of control. Did you know that we apparently have a “safe schools czar”? Maybe it’s just me, knowing history and what not, but I don’t think the words “safe” and “czar” belong in the same breath much less the same phrase. At any rate, Obama’s “safe schools czar” is Kevin Jennings, founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educational Network. I’m sure the noble people with nuts proudly displayed on their foreheads are up in arms about a queer enabler being in a position of power but there’s something else at play here. Do you know what fisting is?

That was the question GLSEN leaders asked a group of 14 year olds during an educational workshop on the practice at the organization’s 10th anniversary conference way back in March of 2000, where Obama’s safe schools gruppenf hrer was the keynote speaker. Having grown up with unrestricted internet access I know what too many things are, and holding an educational forum on fisting just strikes me as intensely lulzy. The fact that later on they handed out latex gloves for the practice and visual instructions on how to make a dental dam out of the glove is just that extra sprinkling of insanity on the already delicious cake of hilarity.

Originally I had a more contentious post planed for this issue, until I saw the claim that favorite right-wing punching bag Planned Parenthood was the one issuing the so-called fisting kits and I realized the sources I was dealing with. The link I first got emailed to me, Big Government, is associated by name with Andrew Breitbart, editor for The Drudge Report and columnist for The Washington Times, the kind of paper that would run editorials defending Hitler as a spirited nationalist. One of the links in BG’s article leads to a site with an ad reading: “Ancient Christian Doctrine: A New Patristic Commentary on the Nicene Creed. Subscribe now and save 30%!” What? Andy’s blog also cites an editorial entitled “Queering the Schools”, published in March of 2003, as a source. Lovely. And the people they credit for breaking the story? “Undercover journalists” at Mass Resistance, whose own manic headline for the matter is (emphasis not mine) “FISTGATE: WHAT HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVISTS DO IN SCHOOLS WITH CHILDREN“. I think I have a feeling of what I’m dealing with.

Did GLSEN talk to kids about fisting and whether or not its rude to spit instead of swallow? I don’t know; I wasn’t there and I can’t trust those sources. But even if they did I’d be willing to bet that sticking your arm in someone ass wasn’t the organization’s primary focus for the discussion group. Partisan blogs, no matter how intelligent their writers, have a nasty tendency to horribly distort facts to fit whatever agenda its author believes or pushes. They can be a fun read–the fistgate post certainly was–but as far as researching goes, my teachers have taught me since third grade to seek out as impartial a source as possible if you want to get as close to the actual facts as possible. Any website screaming in bold caps like, well, a 14 year old kid, about homosexual activists is about as unbiased as Perez Hilton’s reviews of Lady Gaga records.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Sodom, USA

Sunday night the budget for the District of Columbia was passed by the Senate without the country’s legislative body batting an eye. Normally this wouldn’t be worth mentioning (other than pointing out how strange it is that the federal government has to sign off on a city’s non-federal budget), but among the programs scheduled to be funded by the D.C. city government next year are a needle exchange program (added to the budget by Republicans), abortions for poor women, and the legalization of medical marijuana. Again, the budget breezed through Congress without a hitch. The benefits of seeking passage on a Sunday night in the middle of December, I suppose.

The D.C. city council is hoping to pull a similar trick with more legislation slated to transform the capital city of (easily) the most conservative first world nation into a shining New Sodom: same-sex marriage. The council had previously passed the resolution with an 11-2 vote, and after a strange let’s-sit-on-our-vote period, they voted earlier today to pass it again, with the same 11-2 vote. However, previously unbeknownst to me, the bill the council passed must undergo 30 working days of Congressional review after Mayor Adrian Fenty signs it in to law as he has promised. Is this review period worth worrying about?

Well, it is technically possible that this could explode into a national issue and be voted down by the House and Senate under intense pressure from people blinded by hate, money, and misguided religious beliefs but this is extraordinarily unlikely. It’s late December, these people want to go on their Hanukwansmas breaks. Then it will be January, and they will want to go back on their breaks. Democrats are busy organizing a lynch mob to torch Joe Lieberman’s house and hang his entire family from the White House Christmas tree. Democratic leaders have already implied they don’t really want to get involved in another same-sex marriage debate. 30 working days is an awfully short period of time to turn nothing into something, to convince already preoccupied senators that they will lose their jobs if they affirm a gay marriage bill for a city of 600,000 people that they don’t seem to care much about anyway. Congress has only overturned a DC law three times in the past 25 years.

While we have plenty of reasons to assume that Congress won’t touch this law, we can’t get ahead of ourselves and write of the seemingly impossible as actually being impossible. A lot of people, myself included, didn’t think Proposition 8 had a chance in hell of passing. Be cautiously optimistic, not certain. When I checked my iTouch for any news updates from the AP, I did get a good sign that DC’s same-sex marriage law will stay under the radar. Rather than it saying “Breaking: D.C. city council votes 11-2 to legalize same-sex marriage,” it read, “Breaking: A spokesman for Oral Roberts says the evangelist and university founder has died at age 91.” Oh, the irony.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Eight Girls A Week

Tiger Woods has always been something of an oddity. His birth name is Eldrick. He’s thainegro (like my chinegro only with thai instead of chinaman, even though he’s got some of that too). He’s a not-white man who plays golf professionally. He’s a not-white man who plays golf better than the white men he’s not. He’s the world’s highest paid athlete. He is one of the most recognizable people in the US, famous for playing a sport famous for how boring it is. He’s got a hot body with a funny looking face. And he apparently had more mistresses than normal men could keep track of. Then again, Tiger Woods is anything but normal.

What drives such an extraordinary person to fuck up so spectacularly? Obsessed with keeping everything about his life outside of golf private, Woods never had to do anything resembling damage control. When the opportunity presented itself he did damage control about as well as the Army Corps of Engineers did flood control. Having so many goddamn women on the side he deserves to get shat on from the very highest mountaintops. If that rumor that he’s offering his wife millions to stay turns out to be true it’s a sign of a stupid, desperate man who doesn’t know what he would do without someone to help him through life. I almost feel bad for him.

But at the end of the day, it’s just another celebrity with a twisted sex life. Kobe allegedly raped a girl, settled the case out of court, and is still one of the most lauded and loved basketball players ever. For a country that allegedly prides itself on second chances, one has to wonder realize: if these men and others like them weren’t so ridiculously rich and famous, they would be buried.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Marriage Is For Yanks

Apparently that’s the message of the Texas state constitution. (In)famous for maintaining a sense of independence fiercer than that of South Carolina, the great state of Texas has gone to extreme measures to prevent New England liberal ideas about marriage from penetrating the proud state’s law books. Like many before it, Texas adopted in 2005 a constitutional amendment explicitly outlawing same-sex marriage. However, unlike other states, the wording in Texas’ marriage amendment technically outlaws all marriages–straight, gay, or otherwise. Read for yourself (emphasis added):

The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

Any sensible person can say that’s not what the law meant to say, but what the law meant to say doesn’t really matter in the face of what it does say. This laughable oversight by Texas state legislators was spotted by Democratic candidate for Attorney General Barbara Ann Radnofsky and (naturally) blamed on the current Attorney General, Republican (naturally) Greg Abbott, who could have and should have spotted such suspicious wording from a mile away. To top it off, before the amendment passed a group by the name of Save Texas Marriage warned that a “liberal activist judge” could easily–and legally–interpret the second part of the then-proposition as outlawing heterosexual marriage, potentially voiding all marriages ever performed in the state. Coming from the state with one of the longest and most nonsensical constitutions in the union, the state that executes the mentally retarded, and the state that brought us George W. Bush, this only comes as a moderate surprise. Texas never fails to bring the lulz.

This post adapted from this post.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

That Sharp Scratching Sound That Makes Your Right Eye Twitch

So there I was, in the passenger seat of my mom’s truck (yes she drives a truck, no she is not a lesbian). She was fishing through her wallet for my credit card, and hoping the management at the department store would understand she accidentally left with more than she bought. We were in the parking spot right by the sliding, motion-detected doors and after turning on the battery wasn’t sufficient she had to turn on the engine, and then she got out with my wallet and oddly enough no clear bag of clothes. Even though the store was still open, it was literally dark as midnight with not a soul around. After she got out of the car, my mother vanished behind the sliding doors. I was depressed about something or another–not to mention wondering how that boy in LA can get guys naked for him without doing or offering anything in return, the bitch–and it only seemed natural to listen to some Queen. What should come up, but Radio Ga Ga. Someone still loves you…. I’m sure they do.

The casino appeared off in the distance as a tower of glorious capitalistic excess. The ladies and I geared up for the assault of our lives as we landed on the helipad and stormed in through the roof access. The gambling floor was dark, quiet, and oddly office-y. Nobody in the cubicles noticed us running through the aisles with semi-automatic M1014 shotguns. But on our way out, the security team showed up. Lady Gaga’s namesake song started playing again as we blasted our way through wave after wave of unarmed Gaga clones, clad in white leather leotards, matching boots, and jet black sunglasses. Let me tell you, they were persistent. Her head exploded fantastically when I capped her with a shotgun blast; she was only crawling towards me because I had blown off her legs previously. We made it back through the gilded roof access doors to our helicopter, and we took off into the night. To keep the remaining Gagas from following us we made sure to blow up the helipad on our way out, much to their displeasure. You could see them waving their disco sticks in anger for miles.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

“It Was Like a Rectangle!”

(And no, I’m not talking about the Washington Monument)

When I’m in Rockville, one of the things I frequently bitch about is that there’s nobody to hang out with and thus not much of anything to do. Once I started college I lost contact with a lot of friends from high school, and when I did come home I found myself missing their company, but (with a few exceptions) I didn’t find myself missing them. Who wants to get lunch or see a movie alone? In between eating a sandwich I really should have gotten mayonnaise on and sharing stories of unfortunate sexual experiences, that was how I explained my gross excess of free time to our friend BB BB on the steps of a Baptist church in downtown D.C.

We talked about BB’s (real name Adrian Monk, no relation) childhood in Soviet Arabia being raised by American expat parents in Riyadh, the capital city. He told me he came to the states in the summer of 2001 when his father had a strange feeling that shit in the middle east was about to hit the fan. While in his native sand country, Adrian developed a strange affinity for an n-word: nutmeg. Once he got to America, the boy (it feels weird calling someone older than me “boy”) developed a strange distaste for Uncut. As far as magazines go they have decent articles, in my opinion. When he asked me to keep all the newly uncovered details of his life private, I told him I’d just make up something fantastic for the blog.

But the above paragraph of bullshit does go to show you the far reaching nature of our conversation; I was out with him for a good 3 1/2 hours or so and things never really got stale. Anybody who talks about gay sex at the front door of a Baptist church is a friend of mine. We would have discussed sodomy at the back door (har har) but one of D.C.’s homeless was occupying that stoop. According to our friend BB the homeless in DC have a special glow about them. They may be homeless but dammit they’re the most ironic homeless people in the world. Citizens of the capital city of the richest, most powerful nation in history and they don’t have a roof over their heads.

We went down to the National Mall where, surprisingly, the actual grass was closed to the public because they were “refurbishing” it. In December (for the record, it’s snowing today). I found a nice metro exhaust vent to stand on top of but eventually we got moving down towards the Washington Monument, whose mammoth size up close I forgot about, and the White House which is surprisingly small in person. I’ve lived in the area almost all my life and I’ve never been to a lot of the monuments so to an extent I was as much a stranger to them as he. However, he is not a stranger to love distasteful photos. ‘Flying into the White House’? “Too soon,” I said. He retorts, “it’s been eight years.” The boy’s got a good (and hairy) head on his shoulders.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Under the Radar

One of the five schools I applied to in my senior year of high school was Howard University, right in the heart of D.C. In fact, it was my first choice–in November of 2007 (seems like such a long time ago) I was afraid to leave my unhealthy home environment, and I really wanted to stay local or even be a commuter. Being right on the green line, Howard fit everything I wanted. But Ohio offered me too much money to turn down, so off I went. Conveniently enough however, by the summer I had figured out I was gay and I was afraid of a young homosexual’s fate at a predominantly black university in a predominantly black–and poor–neighborhood (gentrification hasn’t quite made its march to Howard). However legitimate that fear of mine, I didn’t wind up going to Howard and for several reasons I don’t regret turning them down. I’m still not 100% on how the people of the nation’s capital, despite being host to some of the largest gay neighborhoods on the east coast, feel about the lgbt community.

So imagine my surprise when I read on Tuesday night that the D.C. city council voted 11-2 to legalize same-sex marriage in the city, despite threats from the Archdiocese to drawback its social services from a DC with gay marriage on the books. Comments from councilmembers were drenched in grandstanding rhetoric about equal rights for all, how this is the culmination of years and years of work, how the District is a haven for equal rights–exactly the type of thing you’d expect. The only two dissenting votes came from Yvette Alexander of Ward 7, and, everyone’s favorite, Marion Barry of Ward 8–both representing impoverished black districts of the city. Barry said of the vote that his constituents don’t support the measure so neither can he, and that he doesn’t want this issue to become a litmus test for his otherwise “strong commitment to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community”. For once, he does have something of a point.

Before you go and break out the bubbly, the measure has to undergo another council vote on the 15th before it actually gets signed into law by Mayor Adrian Fenty. But perhaps what’s more surprising to me than the bill passing (after all, the council has two openly gay representatives) is how little attention it got. Maybe groups like the HRC had other priorities, or were hoping Nom (nomnom)’s lobbyists wouldn’t notice the DC vote if it flew under their radar. More likely, however, is that since it wasn’t a referendum accompanied by massive media campaigns nobody cared. When the idea first came up a couple months ago to vote on same-sex marriage again (it was previously proposed, and shouted down by the Catholic Church, in 1975) the biggest coverage it got was an article in the Washington Post and maybe a mention on CNN’s stupid little news ticker. Evidently people only care about gay rights if it’s accompanied by more public drama than a CSI episode (does anybody still watch that?).

Then again, when the New York Senate voted down its own same-sex marriage bill yesterday, that got pretty considerable coverage–especially considering it was the day after Obama’s Afghanistan address–and that didn’t involve massive media campaigns. Certainly nothing on the scale of California, or even Maine. Then why the utter lack of attention on what seems to be the movement’s surest chance for a victory? Is it because D.C.’s so small in comparison to an actual state like California, Maine, New York, or (soon enough) New Jersey? If you’re wandering through a desert and suffering from dehydration, you can’t turn down an oasis you stumble upon because it’s too small and too dull for your grandiose tastes. Water is water, and beggars can’t be choosers.