The Real Depravity of 2012

square781Let me get this clear: I am not gay. But according to the Radicals of the Tea Party (who really don’t care about gay marriage except to excite the fear-driven) I must be homosexual because I support same sex marriage. And I have supported it for many years — about 24 to be precise.

To tell you the truth, the idea of sleeping with a man repels me. I much prefer checking out women — adult women. But I accept that there are people who are drawn to their own sex and that it is innate to them, not the result of rape or poor parenting or whether they drink lattes at Starbucks. I do not accept marriage as a child-producing union, though it is probably a better idea that you have a partner when you start having children. This idea categorically places Lynn and I out in the cold, yet we have remained partners for 25 years.

Marriage is about choosing a person to be a relative that transcends blood relations. It cannot change facts of fatherhood: one DNA test can undo the presumption of parenthood. But what it does is ensure that my wife and I can form a financial corporation of a sorts together. It lets me say that Lynn can make medical decisions for me — recognize the fact that I trust her before most of my own blood relatives in these affairs. When I die, it ensures that my share of the wealth generated by our household goes to her. Where do there need to be children in this?1

Why not let people of the same sex have these same contracts without resort to legal legerdemain? Homophobia — which is hatred and fear, nothing more — just isn’t a reason.

But let’s get back to the real issues: we have a candidate for office who is a corporate raider. To hide his moral depravity, he trots out this issue. He has put people out of work, destroyed companies, and wrecked communities for the purpose of amassing wealth. Mitt Romney is a dangerous man and he is playing a dangerous game by playing the gay card.

Focus on him for what is he is: the champion of the 1%, the man who picks your pocket and wrecks your home life with his financial manipulations and favors to the rich and corporations.2

  1. Though marriage does help recognize children and preserve family wealth for them, too. []
  2. And if you are religious, God does not like the rich. And He expects the state to protect the poor. Read the prophets like Jeremiah, Isaiah, and the minor prophets. To believe otherwise is heretical and unChristian/unJewish/unMuslim. []

On Fake Lesbians and Online Games: Personal Experience

square744The news that at least two prominent net lesbians were men left me only a little bit surprised. As a gamemaster on a MUSH1 I was familiar with the practice. Some men liked crossing genders. When they did it, many of them chose to be lesbians. How secretive they managed to be varied. We knew of several “online lesbians” who went on the prowl for women. It was always a tremendous laugh for us when two of these found each other and engaged in rapacious cybersex, fully believing that they had found a female target for their lust.

There there was the gamemaster of another [[MUSH]] broke up with her boyfriend and accepted the offer of a female friend to come to her home to console her. When the friend arrived, she discovered she was a he. This encounter did not go well.

At one point, I ran a character who was a [[cross-dresser]]. There was a thrill in playing the female role while still being a male. I got to experiment with various female behaviors and dresses. There was the thrill of being chased and yet not surrendering. When my secret got out — as I knew and planned that it would — reactions were mixed ranging from outright hostility to hilarity, mostly the latter. Still, the hurt of those who had lusted after my character (“she” was chaste unlike most characters in this particular venue and meant as a commentary on the faux lesbians) was profound and I decided never to do this again.

“Lindsay Eustace” as I named my character2 was not destined to be [[Andrej Pejic]].

Roleplaying games allow us to be people we are not. The timid and lanky geek becomes the brave and massive warrior. The plain girl becomes the busty supermodel wizard. People cross the lines all of the time, but in the old days they were sitting around a table and everyone could see who was holding the mask. In this brave new world, you can’t see who is behind the mask. That may be almost OK in online gaming (as long as you keep the sex out of play) but what happens when the chameleon abilities of the game are brought to the real world as happened with Gay Girl in Syria and Paula Brooks of Lez Get Real?

You get many like those who didn’t find my gender changer funny with next to no one finding it funny.

My friend Lezzymom spoke of how extreme “Paula Brooks'” lie had become. At one point, “Brooks” asked her to watch the site over the weekend so she could spread the ashes of her dead lover over the Outer Banks. When confronted with the truth, all Lezzymom could say about her hurt was “What a joy to look back and see all the lying.”

So why did 58 year old Bill Graber do it? We can only speculate. Perhaps he had a real commitment to LGBT rights and felt the only way he could participate was to assume this identity. Perhaps he was a former MUSH inhabitant who missed the old days, couldn’t afford [[Second Life]], and created a new character out on the web. Perhaps he got off on being a lesbian. Perhaps he was conducting an experiment in fiction. Or perhaps he craved the attention that most men who blog don’t get.

From Day One of this blog, I have sought to be myself.3 If there is any revelation to be made, it is that I am really the guy who you read about on the About page. I know many men are frustrated by the relative lack of attention paid to their blogs — some women are, too. This is a serious issue, I think. There is a double standard for confessional blogs: in my experience, women do tend to attract more sympathy when they speak of their problems. This suggests that we need to labor towards more inclusiveness on the whole when it comes to blogging, to stop to leave a comment to let the person know that we have acknowleged their labor and their life. But the lack of this does not justify outright lying about who you are in the real world where there are not supposed to be any masks.

UPDATE 6/18/2011: Lezzymom tells of a conversation she had with Bill Graber, author of “Paula Brooks”. Graber appears to have thought of himself as a kind of blog auteur, inventing his character as he went about four days in advance of publication.

Reflecting on Graber’s dead lover, she writes:

To use this death to essentially gain more readers for the blog. It was all about the blog. It seemed that anyone could be sacrificed or hurt to move the blog forward. I was a fairly new writer for the blog when this happened so I wasn’t as emotionally wrapped up in it as the others. But to hear him talk about using it simply to promote on the survivor blogs really showed me a new reality. There were no boundaries to who could be hurt.

I agree with Lezzymom: what Graber did is an insult to all of us who survived — be it a death, an illness, a mental breakdown, abuse, a suicide attempt. How can we who live what is real hope to compete and get the truth out there for others to see when there exist those who will make anything up just to draw in more readers for their fictions?

Will he sell his story? is my next question.

  1. Multi-user Shared Hallucination []
  2. Yes, after [[The Eustace Diamonds]] []
  3. It would take too much effort to be this guy. []

This Ohio Congressman is Dead

square738I saw it over and over again, the clarion call of progressive Democrats angered by the unjust denunciations of Anthony Weiner and his amazing penis. His Monday press conference hurt. Ever since he admitted he lied, progressives have sought to salve their disappointment by reciting a litany of Republican sex crimes.

This particular story blazed across Twitter like a tangible blessing direct from the hand of God: Ohio Congressman Is Convicted in Sex Case, but Aide Says He’ll Run for Re-election. Here on the very day of our disgrace it seemed that the game was even again, even ahead a little. This guy had slept with a 16 year old and he had no qualms about putting his name out before the voters again. The Republicans could be silenced!

If you go to the article and examine the fine print beneath the headline, you will see the date: May 27, 1989. No one noticed this. The matter becomes even more comical when you realize that not only has the Congressman resigned, but he has been dead for over a year.

I hated beating this parrot on the counter, but someone had to do it before we choked on its feathers.1
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  1. I disagree both with the people who are pressing for Weiner’s resignation and those partisans who are trying to even the score. The end of this affair takes place in 2012 when Weiner’s seat comes up. His constituents — not the House or the media — should decide what is to be done with him. []

Steps and Leaps

square584The left has racked up a few disappointments lately and is ready to jump the ship if some voices are to be believed. Pulling out the blender of metaphors, I think we need to hold our horses and stay in the game. Too many leftists elect officials and then do nothing other than express their views in opinion polls and fail to show up for elections to remind them that their issues, their power is important. This strategy always fails. One tweeter I know feels that the left has failed to build serious infrastructure, meaning “policy/advocacy machinery that can use majorities to advance policy and govern.” I agree. And I also believe that members of the left discount the value of steps as opposed to leaps. The Left only seems to want leaps.

Two issues: health care and gay rights. I am for both of these. I believe that health care is the principal issue that the Left needs to push today. The public option is supported by 72% of Americans. We need to push our representatives and Senators to use our majority to establish this. Americans have wanted this for years. A leap is demanded by the public. Screw the AMA. Screw the Republicans. No compromises and no prisoners on this one. We have established the consensus, so we need to take advantage of political reality to demand that what we voted for be enacted. End of story.

Gay rights. We have not yet established political hegemony on this issue. Many are upset that “don’t ask, don’t tell” hasn’t fallen with the breath of our words. There are signals of change, but we need to build on them more. I suggest that the issue of the day be same sex marriage. When we have enough states allowing same sex marriage, we can take the next step: putting pressure on the military to drop “don’t ask, don’t tell”. Or otherwise forbidding soldiers/sailors/airmen from talking about their married lives — even mentioning that they have wives and girlfriends. The key word is fairness, a key moral value for the Left. The military should do one or the other. The second option that I have proposed is more likely at this moment. In the meantime, focus on same-sex marriage.

Consensus is what we must build. Twenty years ago, when the Quaker meeting I attended considered same-sex marriage, it was realized that we were well ahead of the curve. We did this small thing in the hope that our state would one day invite same-sex couples to receive the same protection as the rest of us. It was a small step and we should not kid ourselves that we need take no more small steps on the issue. On the matter of health care, the last small step was mental health parity, the idea that insurers had to treat mental illness on the same par as other syndromes. Now we must challenge the insurers themselves. They are spending $1.4 million a day to defeat a public option for health insurance. This indicates to me that they have far too much money to play with.

In the meantime, we should also consider what we can do to change the way lobbyists operate on Capitol Hill. I believe in One Person, One Voice. But the idea backed by courts and Congress is that money equals free speech. Defeating this notion will be key in our struggles ahead.

Fucking the Gay Family

square149James Dobson is about as unethical a pundit as they come. I will not call him an expert in anything aside from prevarication. The inestimable Dr. Dobson has struck again, this time selectively quoting research to lambast Mary Cheney for having a baby. “Two mommies do not equal a mother and a father,” Dobson cries out, leaving out citations that suggest that two gay parents may be more than adequate to raise a healthy and ethical child.

The miscited researchers have written to the amoral autocrat of Christian morals asking that he cease quoting them. (See here and here.)

Dobson’s vollies on the so-called Culture Wars have picked on the likes of Sponge Bob, a suspected agent of tolerance for homosexuals. The pop psychologist took it upon himself to publically announce world forgiveness for Mel Gibson’s anti-semitic outburst last August. And he was in the vanguard of deception in the Foley scandal when he suggested that the accusations were nothing but a joke by Congressional pages.

His attacks on Mary Cheney may signal a shift in Republican politics. The extreme Right may be showing signs of dispensing with the so-called family values crowd. And a desperate Dobson may be attempting to be the glue that fills the chasm. One must wonder about a man who spends hours of him time upholding a few stray and sometimes unclear phrases about sexuality while ignoring the multidinous retorts against greed, the far more prominent sin of our day. But then, one cannot trust a man with a media empire to speak out against his profits. He will sooner dispense with prophets.

A Street Fight

Are women incapable of practising hard science? A transexual thinks not:

[Ben] Barres’ experience as a female-to-male transgendered person led him to write a pointed commentary in the July 13 issue of Nature rebuking the comments of former Harvard University president Lawrence Summers that raised the possibility that the dearth of women in the upper levels of science is rooted in biology. Marshalling scientific evidence as well as drawing from personal experience, Barres maintained that, contrary to Summers’ remarks, the lack of women in the upper reaches of research has more to do with bias than aptitude.

“This is a street fight,” said Barres, MD, PhD, professor of neurobiology and of developmental biology and of neurology and neurological sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, referring to the gang of male academics and pundits who have attacked women scientists critical of arguments about their alleged biological inferiority.

Where Summers sees innate differences, Barres sees discrimination. As a young woman—Barbara—he said he was discouraged from setting his sights on MIT, where he ended up receiving his bachelor’s degree. Once there, he was told that a boyfriend must have solved a hard math problem that he had answered and that had stumped most men in the class. After he began living as a man in 1997, Barres overheard another scientist say, “Ben Barres gave a great seminar today, but his work is much better than his sister’s work.”

The Ignorance Factor

This might explain why women vote Democratic and men Republican:

Statistics released by the U.S. Department of Education suggest that men are less likely than women to earn bachelor’s degrees.

Educated people tend to have a better sense of ethics and vote for liberals over conservatives.

Pro-Ana Reconsidered

Yet another of my critiques of insensitive leftist sacred cows. Not all leftists are insensitive and most insensitive people are not leftists. And I eat cows.

square285Great wails went up when it was discovered that anorexics were using the web to exchange methods for keeping weight off. This author witnessed pretty much what I have seen over the Internet: a lot of cruel attacks on sick women and men. When you think of it, why the outcry against these sites when we remain silent about the fatty recipes posted throughout the InterNet?

Eating disorders are symptoms of a disease. We’re not going to get places by posting horrid photos and making wise cracks every time a thin woman makes a pass in a fashion show. We’re not attacking the fashion industry: we’re attacking the women on the gangway.

The abuse-them-until-they-change model just doesn’t heal. On the contrary, virulence encourages defensiveness and promotes stigma. As a sufferer of mental illness, I feel I must make a stand for sanity and effective treatment. We should look to this model for guidance.

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