I find myself unnaturally drawn to this gay marriage debate. I think it's a very compelling topic which is to complex to be decided quickly ore easily. There are a lot of reasonable positions which are getting excluded, which suggests to me that any action on this soon would be regretted. So with regards to the FMA, all bets are off. Of course I never took it so seriously that I thought it would get off the ground. Upon review it seems too clever by half and heavy handed - a sledgehammer for a ball peen job.
Still I think I have a point which bear repeating which is that the activism should not be in attempting for gays to get Married thus eliminating all of their issues in one fell swoop but rather for the emphasis on biting out the chunks of discrimination in the 'thousands' of areas where they are institutionalized.
For the record, I would stipulate that, despite the dubious sounding 3rd point (I doubt I've ever had a job with benefits that good) Debwire's List is real and significant:
- ability to make decisions on a partner’s behalf in a medical emergency.
- petition for partner to immigrate.
- up to 12 weeks leave from work to care for a seriously ill partner or parent of a partner.
- parenting responsibilities of children brought into a family through birth, adoption, surrogacy or other means.
- ability to purchase continued health coverage for a domestic partner after the loss of a job.
While I may sound like one of those footdragging Christian ministers MLK railed about from Birmingham, I wonder aloud if this is not a bourgie movement. King might have asked, if not now then when. I ask why now and not back then.
Long ago when I was putting together the Race Man's Home Companion, I found one Judge Frank M. Johnson. He authored a number of decisions which seem to be obvious. There's a case, for example, desegregating bus depots in Birmingham. Can gay couples muster the dozen or so most critical test cases and set up trials to test the constitutionality of these discriminations, or has that avenue been deemed futile? Where is the Bull Connor of the emergency room that is keeping gay partners from giving medical consent? Surely there's a wrongful death suit lurking somewhere just waiting for its day in the court of public opinion.
Independently of state issued civil unions, take it to the courts. Please.
My mother is living with us these days. It's really a pleasure. She has been on the road over the past two years as a Covenant Player. That is to say that she's done Chritian-themed dinner theatre acting in a couple dozen cities in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ontario, Quebec & Newfoundland. Now she has come back to rest and recooperate from her massive road trip here in Redondo.
Most of the time here, she has been resting and reading as well as being overwhelmed by the Lunatic, the Maniac and the Nutcase, but grandparents have a way of seeing in elementary school children, something we parents only see at Christmas. But what gives me a bit of an interesting thought today is how she's decided to consume various parts of my library. She's on her tenth book in two weeks.
I asked her if she might want to write about it and she thinks it's a halfway decent idea. It took me all of 10 minutes to setup another blog for her in MT. So while she gets cranked up, I just wanted to give a heads up to lookout for the Nani Nani blog. Soon come.
Stop a moment and give this a bit of noodling. America is the country best suited to handle the decentralization of power. There is something built into our culture that responds well to the increasing amount of capability that comes within our reach from the spoils of empire.
We have the communication networks, we have the enthusiasm, and we have the wherwithal to make singular creations through collaborations of interest. All that sounds a little theoretical and woolly until you read this.
The less you know about Hot Rodding, the more impressive a lot of this sounds, and it is from my ignorant perspective that this made me stop and think for a while. You've got to know a lot about a lot to build an automobile, and even more to build one which challenges all that have come before. But this is what these gnarley individuals and small companies have done, with results that speak of art and passion.
The damned thing does 0.98g on the skid pad! Miraculous.
I have stopped being open-minded for the moment about outsourcing and offshoring. When I open my mind again, I'll point first to Bob Cringely and start from there. For the time being, I have noticed that my particular niche of the IT business requires a lot of hands-on management. So I'm going to pretend that the ethics don't concern me and profit from the protectionist sentiment.
I am genuinely convinced, according both to my experience and commentary, that offshoring of software development is very difficult and is really a 'get what you pay for' deal. There are a lot of functions that can be offshored, and I think that if it were done logically, you would find some of the reverse of things being done now. Operations should be offshored - basically anything you would send to an ASP to manage, not building new things. Customer support, well I think that whole industry is lacking in the genuine common touch. Call Centers should be in Montana, not Mumbai. Why isn't there a Congressman hooked up with this?
Anyone who asks to offshore software development is asking for political trouble as well as quality control and management headaches. While I might not agree with some of the political sentiment, I don't mind that people get those headaches.
By the way, I want to say big up to Sprint PCS, because it is clear to my ears as well as personal conversations that they've hired a bunch of CSRs from the 'hood.
If I were elected president, I would create a cabinet level post and a new federal agency for the Ministry of Culture. I would fund it to the tune of about 2 Billion annually and I would revitalize the Arts. I would hire NOBODY FROM HOLLYWOOD.
What does GWBush have in common with half a dozen rappers? They're all studio gangstas.
Charles Dutton recently said of hiphop 'actors':
In that regard if you go through every corner, every ghetto in America, you ain't gon' find nobody standing on the corner with his arms folded, you know what I mean, like in a hip hop stance. I mean that's kind of media behavior. I said let's dispense with all that, just play a guy who is tough without being demonstrative. Most hip hop generation young African American actors have the tendency or they think that their personas have to be of this tough "I'm a gangsta, I'm a tough guy" thing and really none of them are for real in real life . . .
Kevin Drum has narrowed it down to a checkbox, only proving the power of the open source intelligence that the blogosphere has produced. But what are we to make of the perpetratin' fraud of machismo manhood? It's clearly going top to bottom.
Since I am a traditionalist and coming from the Old School, I don't believe we are in need of a great deal of psychology in this matter. Nor will its cure be found in drugs. We need to look to the wisdom of the ways of the warrior and understand the difference between those who fight for purpose and those who squabble in ignorance. As a necessary part of this, we need to recovery our archtype.
For me, Robert Bly's 'Iron John' was a watershed because it placed manhood in the context of many archetypes. If gave me a way to see beyond the contemporary measures of man. Even though much of our archetypes come from European feudal ways, there is a great enough body of work, if when properly interpreted demonstrates exactly what responsibility a warrior possesses.
This is the kind of responsibility which is personal and at odds with modernity. It is completely eradicated in bureacracy and regimes of legal compliance. GWBush of all people, who cannot show and prove in the Plame case, ought to shut his mouth about being any kind of warrior. Kerry, a fabulously wealthy 4 time Senator from the East Coast gets no warrior props in my book. He's undone it all.
There's much more to say about this. I have had the experience that proved to me that I am not willing to live by a warrior code, but I admire those who truly are.
The domestic political question about Haiti hangs on the gunwales of rickety boats. Are they coming or not? 'They' meaning black political refugees fleeing what would obviously be a brutal and repressive regime.
However 'brutal' and 'repressive' are hardly what one would expect to think of the government of Jean Bertrand Aristide, the man of the cloth who recieved heroic applause in these United States not long ago. As he replaced the despotic regime before him in elections ruled 'free and fair' by none other than Jimmy Carter.
The two tripwires have been broken to make this matter hit the television. The Florida politician has raised the spectre of boat people, subtly. The Black politician has called somebody racist.
I swear I'm going to hop off this gay marriage meme one of these days.
In the meantime, I want to issue a challenge, and the challenge is to show me where the denial of rights and privileges are affecting gay lives. I expect some real answers but I also am begging the question of the literal currency of marriage.
In ten years of marriage, I've never had to show my marriage license. A driver's license with the same last name, or a SSN is all I've had to show. The actual license is somewhere in my garage. In fact, my marriage license has the wrong date on it because a a bureaucratic foulup in the City of New York. That has never caused me any pain.
So I'm trying to determine where it is on the ground that documentable marriage makes or breaks and agreement, right or privilege, because all this time it has very easy for me and the spousal unit. Where is it legal and where is it social, this discrimination against gays? Again, I raise the question in the form of the most poignant analogy that I can.
If gays are being denied public accomodations, and I use that phrase purposefully, why must they be married to exercise recourse under existing equal protection laws? My answer is that they are not being denied rights, but privileges. I believe this society is quite willing to grant equal protection of rights and privileges if activists for the gay cause will simply leave the M word out of it. And since they are privileges, society is reasonable in asking.
Is it too much to ask? Apparently so, for all the moral posturing. This is the case where asking permission is easier than asking for forgiveness.
I also want to note in passing how much ignorant intolerance of the religious beliefs of 'phobes is flying through the air right about now.
Jack Balkin, legal scholar proposes amending the FMA to read properly. I agree with him. If it should be done, it should be done right. Damn lawyers! What they can do with a single sentence - they obfuscate purposefully.
If the FMA had been designed to do what its proponents claim it will do, it should have been drafted as follows:Section 1. Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.
Section 2. Nothing in the first section of this Article shall be construed to prevent either Congress or the legislatures of the several states from providing any other benefits, rights, or privileges, or combinations thereof, to unmarried couples or groups.
Thus, Congress and state legislatures may provide all of the incidents of marital status except marital status itself. As you can see, such an amendment is not particularly difficult to draft. The fact that there is a gap between what the text says and what the Alliance for Marriage says the text will do suggests to me that they are not being entirely forthcoming about the reasons for the Amendment.
Just going through some of my 70s pictures brings back a lot of memories, not the least of which is how seldom one ever saw photographs of black children which weren't sold in some context of ghetto depravity. My father shot literally thousands of pictures during the 70s and 80s of black kids, and taught me a lot about photography in the process. Now it's interesting to note how little that's changed. Even in our modern day instant access internet, try googling up black children... they remain a thing of myth and sociological experiment.
Raymond Curtis Bowen, Sr. died last Friday at the age of 91. As one of his many grandchildren and father of 3 of his 21 great-grandchildren it falls to me to carry on. I am writing this of my own accord as part and parcel of my own memories.
He taught himself Latin and Greek and was fond of explicating the meaning of words. We Bowens are autodidactic, back to Charles Sparrow the ex-sharecropper and Chico's father. Although Charles didn't survive the great flu epidemic, he did survive the migration from North Carolina to the horsey set of Connecticut. He was a squire, a horseman and from what I know of the scant family history, was the operator for the one elevator in the state, at the Statehouse in Hartford. But he and his wife both died and left his sons orphaned to be raised by the Miller Family several of which I have long heard of but have only recently met.
Chico was a Mason and an Elk. He had a large round head and a deep booming voice which was seldom raised. His knowledge of the intricacies of the black Episcopalians of New England was encyclopedic and I gather it is from that through my own father that our parsing of sermons and philosophies proceeds.
He was a man to have a drink and a smoke with and treated both with barely restrained enthusiasm. Every day was an opportunity to find a high backed chair, have a nip and speak in hushed tones about... who knows? Those things happened fairly high over the head of young Michael, but knowing my father and uncle I can certainly divine.
Chico was an old school gent, of course. He was the first black fraternity house manager at Yale. So his was the job of keeping the lid on the fracas of privileged white boys of the 50s. I presume it was the 50s, I don't really know the exact dates, but it was certainly before my father applied and got dismissed wthout appropriate consideration. Not that UConn Stearns was such a horrible alternative, but such was the typical humiliation of the times. When I think of Chico, I imagine such things.
Chico's room had books, a globe, a stand of pipes and a basket of canes. It gains focus in my memory as that of an officer in the East India Company. Wood, brass, tobacco, iron, vellum. My parents were raised hard. Chico would, no doubt be assailed as an abuser of children in today's persnickety terms. Those canes were not simply for assisting his progress down the sidewalk, but in assisting in ass whipping. He was most certainly a disciplinarian. A black child in the 40s was beat by loving parents in advance of beatings expected by hating whites. How could blacks be beat down by racist cops and maintain their dignity? It started in the home. We don't like to talk about such things, yet somehow being a combat veteran makes one Presidential.
The love of his life was my grandmother Lucille. They were married until she died, now almost 20 years ago. 'Miss Madam' was utterly proper and suffered no fools. It speaks precisely of the two of them when my grandmother was interviewed by some reporter back in the day after my uncle received his PhD in microbiology. Was she surprised that a black man could achieve such a thing? "No", she replied, "he's my son and that's what I expect of him." I went to visit him when I was about 13. It shocked and surprised them that I cut my spaghetti with a knife. She swore she let her son marry the wrong woman when she found out I had no idea that a spoon was to be used. At the time, they lived in new condos on the Sound. I recall grey icy days staring out of the window of their pristine building. Chico, just before I had arrived had put the finishing touches on a model ship. He had also built one in a bottle and challenged my poor brain to figure out how.
In those ways, my grandparents, unassuming as they seemed at a glance represented excruciating discipline. They had made it through the Depression. She had fought polio and won. There wasn't time for foolishness in life, not from an orphan. And in spite of all this Chico exuded warmth in a consipratorial twinkling of his eye. His respect for his wife and her rule of law was absolute, yet within the confines of that proper dignity was a jovial old fellow, and fellow is precisely the word he would use. He was full of good humor - I wish I could have known him as a man.
He worked troop trains, my grandfather. He stayed on after the war and worked for the New York, New Haven & Hartford for many years. He was in service as most working black men of his generation to the maintanence of things that kept the basics rolling. I didn't and couldn't know his politics but knowing my uncle, father and aunt, I know he harbored no illusions about what being colored meant. Still I imagine him stirred by A. Phillip Randolph. Pops says he was a fan of Marcus Garvey - I didn't know until tonight that Charles Sparrow was a serious Garveyite.
Such things are unfortunately shrowded in the mysteries of Alzheimer's. By the time I was ready to ask them, he was unable to tell them reliably. When he would come to visit California, my father would try to get him to write. My brother would record him on tape. The results often said less than anyone would expect. He would talk about his friends and not of himself. He would speak of the times but not their meaning. He would recite some breif genealogy of someone unknown to us all. He would describe the weather on the day that the Andrea Doria sunk.
In ways, he was only known to us through his expectations of us, and now can only be known in that way. He that holds great expectations and love. He that demands respect. He that minds us. Always distant as a man and now departed his presence is almost the same. He defined the gruff arrogance and hearty laughter that is a Bowen. He owned himself and watched many die before him. Now it is his turn to return to the dust. We'll honor him eternally.
It seems unlikely that an artist would put the hookiest hook as an mp3 on the web, but that's just what Jason Moran has done, halfway anyway. I cannot explain how cool it is to have this rendition of Planet Rock performed as he has, but there it is for the hearing. As sson as you hear it, you'll be hooked and want to buy the rest of the album, which is worth it, I swear.
Do download it, and tell a friend.
This is not the announcement it should be, but it is the precedent and must therefore suffice. My grandfather died last Friday and I've been thinking of proper ways to write about it. Nothing is forthcoming but the feeling that I am inadequate to the task as the days slide by. The magnitude of this moment hasn't quite hit me right and I don't know which mood should bear the lion's share of publication. Yet I cannot hold back any longer. Everyone who is supposed to know already knows, the rest is just what I say here to the readership.
Back in draft I have a couple of stupid stanzas, something about pouring a drink on the sidewalk - something he'd probably say was a waste of good booze. Nothing is quite right.
I suspect I'll be writing about him in several dimensions over the next few weeks so I don't mind this coming off weird. It was during the time I was searching for a good picture to put in the blog in an kind of obituary style when I ran across this one of myself. The expression on my face was just what I felt like, so I 'shopped the picture a little bit to enhance the feeling of watering grass that will never be quite green enough. Of course we are resigned to tending our gardens no matter how unpromising they may seem. It is the triumph of hope over experience.
I know that the best thing I can do to honor my grandfather is to do right by my family and my family name. I'm glad that I feel that I have no choice in the matter. So the words will come and the words will go but what matters most is that I spend the patient time watering. It's my duty. There is certainly joy in that, but there are times when rewards seem far away and all you can think of is frustration and loss. You keep watering but the grass stays brown.
I keep saving this and then rewriting it.
The City of San Francisco has decided to issue same sex marriage licenses in a power grab. When a justice of the peace in SF says, 'by the power vested in me by the State of California, I now pronouce you man and wife' to a gay couple, he is lying. A more truthful rendition would be, 'by the power arrogated by me under color of the authority of the State of California..'
But most gay friendly people think gay marriage is inevitable. It should be although it shouldn't be called marriage. We've been over that already. The primary reason for this positive regard for gay union is one of civil rights. Marrieds get things non-marrieds do not, and it's not fair.
As much as I hate analogies, I will use one here. What the justices of the peace (who are actually disturbing it) in SF are trying to do is to paint blacks white. They claim that their ulterior motive is to guarantee equal rights for gay couples, but if that were the case why not sue those entities which are discriminating against gay couples?
I want to leave that question hanging, but I'm coming to believe that there are a bunch of nutjobs who love living in analogy-land. And in that topsy-turvy universe they can start talking about MLK and unfair discrimination and try to make parallels between this aspect of gay liberation and the Civil Rights Movement. Fair warning, such crap will not be tolerated at Cobb.
The common sense stupid question is whether or not gay individuals as 'marrieds' seek to pass as het individuals. That is to say, if I were a gay man and I were to be 'married' would I wear a gold band on the third finger of my left hand? Would I joke about 'the old battleaxe' and tell my co-workers that I have to be home for dinner or the ball and chain will make me sleep on the sofa? Please tell me the answer to this is 'Hell no' (or 'Hells no!' if you're more like Essex Hemphill).
The Hell Yeah answer is whether or not gays should be free in their privacy. That was decided properly, thank God, in the Lawrence case. The Hell Yeah answer is whether gay couples should have the same legal benefits as married couples. But does this require Marriage? No it does not. It's exactly like saying you should be required to be white to own property.
As RT Ford writes in Slate:
Of course for many of the committed gay couples whom for the first time, if only for a few heady days, can claim to be "legally" married, none of this hand-wringing over doctrine and politics matters. To them, the only politics that matter are the politics of recognition�the city's actions send out the message that there is at least one place where the body politic takes gay couples and their relationships seriously. That message is worth something. But whether it's worth the litigation, political backlash, and stirring up of homophobia sure to follow is a matter of opinion, not of law.
There's a lot of crap hitting the fans over this, but it's definitely not worth it. And I think it is something of an insult to people who try to be tolerant (whining for myself) in the most serious multicultural pluralist way, for us to accept this granstanding as if it were a matter of life and death. Gays are not het, nor are bis or transexuals for that matter. There is no way that society is served by overloading what is well understood with the implications of gay love and life. They are not the same, and that's alright.
Fight the discrimination where it arises. Stop mucking with definitions.
Whoda thunk? Everyone.
Any sci-fi nut worth his whuffie has read Ender's Game. I read it just a couple years ago because I got sick of science fiction. No I don't want to explain why right now. But as it stands, this is a classic which is not to be missed, and soon enough it won't be, even by the less literate. This is a good thing.
There will be a movie. According to these guys, the folks who wrote the screenplay to X Men 2 will be adapting Card's work to the screen. Anyway, this is big news and all the geeks who made LOTR a smash will be back for a big hunking helping. Word is there will be videogames too.
Two key terms to keep in mind. Ansible and Battle Room. The movie hinges on its ability to make these two concepts look ultra cool as realized for the big screen. OK enough, I'm starting to sound Hollywood.
Now GWBush looks as if he's gone and done it by asking for a Constitutional Amendment. Just as Sebastian Holsclaw has predicted, Bush has spun against 'activist judges' and the grandstanding in San Francisco.
Bush is rhetorically, just slightly out of bounds. In a way, he is paraphrasing MLK. A Gay Marriage anywhere is a threat to Marriage everywhere. Legally, this is true, but where is the imminent danger? (hmm, where have we heard that before?) The nut of his speech:
Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society. Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all.
Today, I call upon the Congress to promptly pass and to send to the states for ratification an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and woman as husband and wife.
The amendment should fully protect marriage, while leaving the state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage. America's a free society which limits the role of government in the lives of our citizens. This commitment of freedom, however, does not require the redefinition of one of our most basic social institutions.
It sounds as if he's been skimming my notes. I think it's a clever ploy. A Constitutional Amendment is a difficult thing to pass and it probably won't need to. The 'threat' of Gay Marriage is clear and present, but it is not a danger. I think he has simply raised the level of debate and is rattling a sword. In the end, it is not he the president, but the Congress and the States who would decide such a thing.
That said, I'm not sure I see the harm in enforcing what the Defense of Marriage Act is supposed to be about. So long as civil unions will provide equal standing before the law, by what right do activists seek to expand the definition of marriage? Again, we need to hear from the Church, not that it is likely any blonde journalists know a prelate from a pastor.
One more thing, because I keep hearing the grumblings of people who are ready to whinge on about failed marriages. I think there is a red herring being spawned. We are headed towards the age of the the apocryphal story that won't die: the perfect gay couple's travails as not-marrieds, in yet another instantiation of model minority madness. Beware.
In the largest sense, Bush is correct.
On the topic of science and technology, depressingly few books were mentioned at all. The top sci/tech scorer was Hawking's A Brief History of Time, with three mentions. Also mentioned were Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Ridley's Genome, and, oddly, Brockman's Greatest Inventions.
I have five, almost. The thing is that I have lived almost all of my career out of a small few non-textbooks in science and technology. They were just that good.
Hare the books I'd recommend today.
The State has an interest, and in particular the Republic has an interest in the legal standing of domestic partnerships as part and parcel of its need to assist in the maintenance of civil society. It is the pursuit of domestic tranquility that acknowleges the value of domestic partnership. So a Civil Union or Common Law Union is perfectly acceptable to be recognized. But it is not the respectability of the State that concerns me so much as the moral authority of the Church. So while it makes perfect sense for me to accept a Common Law Union or a Civil Union, if the Church rewords the rite of Holy Matrimony to be gender neutral, I'm going nuts.
The State should not be obligated to recognize the standing of Married couples within the context of Christian sacraments or other religious rites. It is not for the State to say that 'Marriage is between a man and a woman'. The State should simply acknowledge this common universal understanding. I don't want the State nor any political movements to overstep their bounds with regard to making moral claims about their understanding of Marriage. That is for the Church to assert in the context of its traditions. It is a slippery slope for the State to say Marriage is X if the Church of the First Gay Anabaptists is founded out of schism. How then does the State reconcile its own definition of Marriage to that established by a religious rite? It cannot.
It is reasonable for chruches to defend the definition of Marriage in the context of the integrity of the rite. For example, I expect the Episcopal Church to defend its religious freedom by saying that Holy Matrimony is what they say it is and that any redefinition by the State in such a fundamental way as Gay Marriage would redefine impinges on the Church's free of exercise. But the Church does not have any claim on the legal status of a common law partner and cannot overstep its bounds. But proscribing the state's recognition of a Civil Union the Church crosses the line.
What society comes to recognize will depend upon these two actors doing the right thing. When I was a kid, none of the forms said 'Parent or Guardian' and I always thought it ridiculous to ask questions such as 'Mother's Last Name'. But I don't see such forms as a problem since I acknowledge the responsibility between children and their legal guardians. That doesn't make them parents any more than having a Civil Union between gays makes them husband and wife, but it does establish a vocabulary which is appropriate to their roles.
Maybe I'm parsing words a little too tightly, but I don't have a problem with 'domestic partner' nor much discomfort in 'spouse'. It's already gender neutral. If gays wanted to be recognized as spouses and seek spousal rights and privileges that is acceptable. It still does not make them Married, but civily united. Again, I think that it is crucial that Churches don't amend their rites to accomodate the political or economic needs of gays to secure their civil rights. Nor should the State try to assign value in recognition of religious rites in order to accomodate or reject moral positioning on the responsibilities gays already take for each other. Again, gays who do x and y as expressions of love, trust & respect in their domestic partnerships may or may not overlap with the cultural narrative of Marriage, but that doesn't make it Marriage.
There is none. To the extent my Christianity informs me, there is nothing more particularly sanctified about generosity in sexual gratification of a partner. If this were true, then the whores would be beatified, and sluts would be saints. The way I look at this, it limits the legitimate aegis of the Church's responsiblity for extramarital sex. Sex itself is not moral currency. Nothing depends upon the act itself, rather it is the context in which the act is performed which gives sex meaning (which may or may not be magnified by the degree of sexual quality). While there may be some sexual rites which offer purification in some religions, there are none in Christianity.
Therefore sexual gratification is a purely personal matter of expression, and as such should not be protected nor proscribed except to the extent to which it is a 'gateway' act to sin. But that would put the Church in the position of encouraging the right sort of sex in order that it be a gateway to acts of charity. Non-starter. Sex itself has no sacraments. So I don't buy into arguments that there is something special about gay sex which requires the protection of marriage. I don't buy it for het sex either. American Christianity has a big hole in it because it doesn't ritualize sex. It doesn't say what good sex is, or what holy sex might look or feel like. All it has is Marriage and a Puritan proscription against pre-marital sex, which is hardly a thick enough ethos for people to respect or follow with any detail. There is a difference between blessing the union and blessing the sex. This, ironically, is where I think those would would argue for a change in the Order of Matrimony have a case. I think it is a weak case, but a legitimate one. Sex is not the church's business; one's salvation does not depend on the manner in which you get your rocks off, but with the quality of love you give and receive.
But here's the kicker. I'm never going to ask to marry another man. But I could love a man as much has his gay sexual partner could. Simply think of that man as my brother. What is so special about the love of those gays who would marry that I do not have for my own brother? What indeed is so transcendent of gay love which ought to be recognized as a sacrament which is more transendant than that love of a mother to her son, or a daughter to her father, or between sisters? Nothing.
Sex does not make love more moral.
I have tried to pack everything into one post but my mind keeps rebounding and tangenting. I spent most of the day yesterday and a good amount of time today writing about Gay Marriage, then Marriage, then Sex, then Love. I wanted to do a DenBeste but I'm going to break it up. So here's the first installment off the top of the massive essay (which is broken down into segments anyway).
I've come to some fairly solid conclusions about what I think about the prospects for Gay Marriage. Basically, I think the idea is doomed. There is nothing fundamentally changing here and people need to calm down and think it through. I have and I've come to see it in the context of the following several themes. This is going to be a big post, so pack a lunch.
Rule #1. There is Marriage and there is Everything Else
Marriage, as I've said before, is an institution ordained of God, and by Marriage I mean the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. If you modify the vows, it ain't marriage. But I need you to think about it backwards.
The central proposition to the institution of marriage which makes it more than just a relationship is its aspect of permanent committment the basis of which is central to family. This is the essence of what is sacred and critical of Marriage, without which it is nothing more than a formal acknowledge of a relationship between people. So it is not religion that makes marriage sacred though we refer to it as Holy Matrimony, rather it is the transcendent aspect of love embodied in the ideals of Marriage that gives religion appropriates as a sacrament. That is why Marriage is universal and religious rites center on its transcendant aspects the most important of which are permanence and fidelity.
When I say 'central to family' I mean it in the context of the understanding that the Wedding Vow althought it denotes the love between two, connotes the role of parents. DINKs are Marriage Lite. Voluntarily sterile DINKs are life partners for sure, but that's not what we mean by marriage. If it were nothing more than a blessing on a 'significant relationship' then we'd respect the host of the Dating Game (or any of its variants) as much as ministers who marry.
There is a historical majoritarian argument about Marriage which makes it permanent in the culture. The experience of husbandhood is a subset of the experience of married fatherhood and it is this experience of married parenthood that informs what families pass on as knowledge about life. It is a fundamentally and extraordinarily challenging role in whose execution most of us ask ourselves, how the hell did I get here. Honoring of the wedding vow is critical in the enhanced morality and standing of Marriage.
It is this honor which is part and parcel of the transcendence of Marriage. In that way it is much like a soldier's vow or a doctor's creed. For the sake of not only the union of those dedicated but for the sake of others (children) the sacrifice is made.
Somebody two degrees away from VisionCircle passed this meme to me, so I'll play. Following PRS, I've landed at Cheesdip.
February 18, 2004
Speaking of hate, I like this 2001 interview with Kelis where she speaks about speaking about hate:
drDrew.com: What's interesting to me is that you sing "I hate you so much right now."
K: That's important, that's really important. No one ever notices that, but that's so fucking key; it's not forever. I say it all the time. It's that momentary feeling and it's a feeling of outrage. People say that hate is a really strong word and it is. "Right now" makes it so real. You can be in love with someone and at that moment you can hate them because of something that they've done or something they've said or however they've made you feel. Sometimes we don't say it because it's like, "Oh, I really love this person.' Fuck that: You've pissed me off really bad and I hate you right now. I can't say it any better.
If you've missed the reference, check out the lyrics to "Caught Out There" off her 1999 debut Kaleidoscope. Frankly that song terrifies me, although it's great to listen to when you're pissed off. Having said that, I'm not really a fan of hers although I think her current single "Milkshake" is an excellent piece of work. If you haven't seen the video for it yet, now's your chance.
Jolography collects the poems which won Paolo Manalo First Prize for Poetry in English at the 2002 Palanca Awards, as well as a special B-Side: an assortment of pieces in various genres, which includes the widely-circulated essay "Being the True, the Good, the Beautiful and Definitive Meaning of 'Jologs' (or When is the Squattah Not the Othah)."
Published by the University of the Philippines Press, Jolography comes in two editions: PLAIN SUCKY PAPER (the one available from National Bookstore and Power Books) and BETTER PAPER (available at the book launching). Cover designed by Melvin de los Santos.
Jolography will be launched on February 10, 2004, 5 p.m. at Cravings Katipunan Avenue together with the short story collections of Rosario Cruz Lucero (Feast and Famine: Stories of Negros) and Romina M. Gonzalez (Welostit and Other Stories).
Everything you know about Starbucks is wrong. Surprise.
People, please. Here are a few things to keep in mind. We are required to put sleeves on the hot cups and lids on all cups. We could get fired if we don't, because Starbucks could be sued if we don't. We do reserve the right to charge you extra when you ask for a whole fucking tube of caramel. We do reserve the right to hate you immensely if you want a Frappuccino, because those are the bane of every Barista's existence.
I am absolutely certain, having had a large bout of Anglophilia in the days as Granta was starting to live large in the American literary diet during the early 90s, that a bounder is most accurately described as someone who is attempting to subtly (or unsubtly) crash the gates of dignified society through artifice. Sometimes a bounder is easily discovered, other times they malaprop at an inopportune moment and play themselves. A bounder may or may not have good intentions, but he is certainly out of place and knowingly misrepresenting his pedigree.
I cannot be certain if it was I was informed of this through reading Ian Banks, PG Wodehouse, EM Forster, Martin Amis or Julian Barnes but of that usage I am surely correct. I began using it on occasion for precisely that meaning.
Bounders aren't necessarily cads, nor are cads necessarily bounders. Being one or the other might be tolerated under extenuating circumstances, but being discovered as both is damning beyond recovery.
I think all have rightly spun the proper interpretation of caddish behavior as that of a man particularly disrespectful of women, particularly as cads have in common with bounders that they are attempting to make an laudable show despite their more vulgar upbringing / proclivities. I employ the slash because I think it particularly marks the English class sensibilities as to bind those two irrovacably together. So an English gentleman would be constantly on the lookout for any subterfuge. It is thus likely that a bounder might be described as someone who wears the wrong sort of collar, thusly marking him as the wrong sort.
The perjorative of 'a bounder and a cad' underlines the double duplicity of such a certainly reprehensible character.
I always think of 'bounder' whenever I hear someone use the word 'paradigm'.
Kevin Powell says the first intelligent thing I've heard him say in an article on black leadership in the Village Voice that was passed to me. In trying to explain the troubles of hiphop politics he said that you can't treat voters like people who buy your CD. Suddenly the beauty of the insult of throwing $100 of cash at somebody was made apparent to me.
I didn't expect it, but Prince showed in just a few moments why he has earned the respect of millions, beyond which, if he was political, he'd have a lot more truth to speak than any handful of mic-grabbin' kids in XXXL shirts. Prince was the subject of Tavis Smiley's show this evening, and there he was. There's something about his bearing that let me know that I'm going to be listening to him when he is as old as David Bowie. I think he's complete.
I've actually been listening to The Truth recently, and along with Chaos and Disorder, it's one of my favorites of all his works. I haven't got a third of the stuff he's done since Emancipation, so I'm not really up on what other acoustic or jazz he has done since Madhouse other than The Truth. Still, it's plenty and it fits right into my groove, especially 'Don't Play Me'.
This is something of his mood in the guitar duet he played with Wendy(!) after his interview with Tavis. (Is it just me or has Tavis gone to a voice coach?) Real cool and sophisticated. Suddenly, and especially after hearing him talk to Tavis, you realize what fantastic things he can do with his voice.
I'm left thinking about what Prince said about the 'ignant niggas' for whom Lauren Hill threw in a motherfucker in her lyrics. You get the audience you deserve. It's something so simple and true. I'll be certain to use that phrase in the future. And it takes me back to something I should liked to have said about relative immaturity of De La Soul's AOI:Mosaic Thump featuring 'Bumpy Knuckles'. I don't know when they are going to finish that trilogy, it's been over two years since Bionix and I wonder if they are done debating whether or not a party's still a party if the gangbangers don't try to turn it out.
The merchants of the music industry control the hiphop youth, but there's a man in his 40s teaching turntableism at Berklee, and Prince is soully rockin'.
A purchase of a CD isn't respect. It's a youthful impulse. And I think nobody should be surprised that a lot of hiphop won't translate into politics (ok that's all the hiphop bashing for today). When the Master Ps of the world go broke people are going to ask was he a musician or an actor or what? He's a hustler. I thought you knew.
One more thing. What kind of music gets swapped the most on Kazaa? That commercial crap. Merchants of the Business can't even get $17 worth of respect. They don't deserve it.
But the music lives on. Thanks Prince. Your still as cool as the other side of the pillow.
UPDATE: Transcript of the show. Download file
Well those damnable scientists are at it again. They're sharing information and independently confirming their theories with emprical evidence.
"One potential strategy for competition is competitor derogation -- using tactics to make a rival inferior to oneself," says study author Maryanne Fisher, from York University in Toronto.
Yes, women who are hot to get a man's attention talk the loudest and longest about other women in the joint. That used to be a mack daddy's trade secret. We've got to stop this science thing soon.
Some undergraduate whiners have once again taken center stage in the national debate about race. Last time, if I remember correctly, it was about some scuffle over a bake sale. This time, NPR dedicated several minutes of its national news program to a $250 whites only scholarship.
The real Republican Party has officially cut all ties to and denounced the 'College' Republicans of whatever previously respectable university they attend. And in the great cause of 'free speech' some sophomoric showoff has made himself his fifteen minutes of [in]fame. Somehow this is supposed to show us how college is the place for the creative exchange of ideas. Please somebody tell him that's supposed to be weighty ideas.
Stuff like this makes me think that Janet Jackson isn't so dumb after all. Flash a boob and say 'Racism is Bad'. There you have it, the creative exchange of ideas.
I really do hope some hammer skins present this guy a big check to keep the scholarship rolling. Meanwhile, sarcasm is in order.
Although I exploit it only about once a month, I sometimes feel guilty about crossposting about VisionCircle. But I am pleased to announce that it's beginning to get some traction. On article has gotten 20 comments and we have a bit of a regular audience.
I purposefully don't have a hit counter at VC because I think it's more important to be correct than popular. So I resist the temptation to pander. The pandering I do here.
But seriously, I'm happy that folks are checking out VisionCircle. Spence is doing seriously good stuff.
John Lee is not only from Brooklyn, he is to Brooklyn. Guess what, on this coast we don't give a shit.
Somebody in the Hamptons got their panties in a twist off some obiter dicta from some NY verbal stylists who, like many if not most NY verbal stylists believe that there is no life west of the Hudson. Until today, I didn't know that we were all supposed to be Nick Denton wannabes or that the trajectory of substance was perturbed as it went through his orbit. Can you say radical sheep?
As it stands, gizmo junkie I may be, I don't need somebody who writes dinky paragraphs pointing to dinky paragraphs pointing to product release notes to get me through the day. Gizmodo sounds cool rolling off the tongue, but hey let it roll. Nor do I expect any [self]-possesed of NY metrosexuals to utter anything remotely useful or harmful to black politics which isn't identity-based teahouse blather.
I'm not going to spend a whole lot more verbiage on this, other to say that while this may be somebody's race problem, it aint mine, nor anyone else's born before 1970 or west of Hoboken.
Class Three, NEXT!
PS: Nick Denton vs Al Sharpton. Who wins?
As you can see, this target is full of holes. I have painted an upside down smile in the midsection of a virtual man. It's an interesting feeling.
Today is the first time that I fired a real gun. Doc and I have been promising to go shooting for over a year, today we finally went. This is what it's like.
The joint is in Torrance in one of those generic 90s looking business parks. There's a simple steel barred door with at least two dozen stickers on the glass one behind it: Glock, H&K, S&W and various ammo and gun supply manufacturers. Most notable is the big frayed paper sign saying that it's illegal to carry a loaded weapon into the facility. It's grey and rainy today, we step out of Doc's 4WD and head into the joint.
Doc had his backup .38 revolver, but for some unexplained reason, he had no ID on him at all. So he left it in the car and decided this would be all me. The buzz cut kid in the military green puffy jacket pointed us to the glass case of rentals - mostly Glocks. There were .45s, 9mms pistols and some revolvers on the lower shelves. Even though there were a number of interesting looking revolvers and one monstrerous one straight out of Dirty Harry, I was pretty sure I wanted a nice .45. I picked out a Glock 21, a full sized .45 caliber automatic pistol.
They guy took my California drivers licence, charged me 32 bucks and handed me a box of 50 rounds, several targets, some safety goggles and headphones. I signed in on a log, as did Doc and we headed to the range.
The range was behind a wall with large windows. The door was over on the right. There was already a man in one of the 14 lanes. We headed down to stall nubmer 7. I've done this a dozen times in video games and seen it who knows how many times on TV cop dramas. The motor on our target clothesline wasn't working so there wasn't a whole lot of automatic clickety precision in that. We just reached up and pulled the oily cables by hand.
These days have me working in an odd set of ways. I think that I'll never quite understand how it is that people know me or think about me. It's deep and basic and I think for me, fundamentally imponderable. It's why I'm a writer. I don't believe that I'll ever be certain things to people, and it keeps me explaining and expounding.
That's why searching for friends is always a fascinating compulsion for me, and it's what I'm in the middle of doing these days. Since I joined Orkut a week or so ago, as prompted by George Kelly (my Friend!), I've been sending out invitations like a madman, thinking about acquaintences past.
As part of this, I've hooked up with my highschool alumni network. (too late for the 25th reunion however) So now things are happening in my biorhythmic extreme. Mike T., whom I haven't seen in at least 3 years dropped by the house the other night. Rick just emailed me. If there is anyone to whom I owe a great deal, it is Rick. (He's Richard to me but goes by Rick, heaven only knows why). He is responsible for introducing me to Star Trek and is one of only three living witnesses to the first computer program I ever wrote, 'NUTZ'. Stewie is in the loop too. I haven't seen Stewie since '98, and then only for the reunion even though we live in the same town. He has two boys at the highschool, damn! Then I see in a completely different section of the Kwaku Network, an advert from Don G. He's now a meditative guru!
These wonders of wonders are not too much to take and I hope I deal with them well. As I wrote in my quick update at the alumni site, I've moved about 8 times in 10 years. I have yet to have in my life one refrigerator neighbor - there is nobody in my life to plop on my sofa as casually as I do. I think all those are the people who don't have email. The people who think that when I sit at the computer I'm not speaking to anyone but the computer. At the same time, I am taking my e-pals for granted as they play second fiddle for the moment to people who only knew me as a teen. When have I really spoken to EJ Flavors as a person and not as an audience? See? This is why I'm f'd up.
Along with my Rock Recovery, this Friend Recovery is, I think, an important part of my growing up. It's about making amends with those things and people in your life that you failed to give adequate attention as you were busy trying to get to where your step on Maslow's pyramid wasn't pinching your last nerve.
In my youth I always wondered when I was going to quit - when I was going to have the passion for things in my life that all the people around me were having. I think this is a very critical question for young black men in general although I can only be specific to my generation, and there's an excellent story that I'll write next tangential to this. But you see at some point I got used to young men around me failing in ways I couldn't allow my self to fail. I refused to become consumed with the anger and frustration attending that failure, consequently I couldn't be as much of a friend as ordinary circumstances would allow. I had to choose worlds because I knew that the small racially constricted one was not for me. In choosing worlds, one chooses game faces and allies.
But these men from my highschool past were always my choices and yet fate spread us across the country. Our parents should have been refrigerator pals, but we came from artificial ghettoes and fissioned with nuclear force from those places. Now, half a life away, I'm trying to recover.
I admit a fondness for slapstick video. Nothing quite doubles me over with laughter as some plaid jacketed slacker crunching his nuts on a handrail he tried to grind on his skateboard. It is this same twisted sense of humor that allows me to follow American politics with amusement. But since I have a respect for dignified sentences I don't get to laugh out loud as I should. Thankfully, Nick Gillespie has put the right soundtrack to the action on the Left. Big yucks man. Have a giggle.
It's probably old news to some hardcore PC gamers, but some of the founders of the XBox team at Microsoft defected early in the program. One of these lights ended up a joint called Infinium.
They've got a box called the Phantom which, with presumeably commonly available engines, will allow ordinary game programmers to develop games without jumping through the licensing deals and red tape of dealing with the big platform vendors. Nice
Found over at Howard Owens, a sensible rant against Proposition 13. The Republican party should be on notice that it's old fetishes aren't going to work a whole lot longer. This is a sacred cow ripe for sacrifice. With arguments like these, it's hard to shrug it off.
Prop. 13 is filled with loopholes that make it easy for businesses to avoid reassessment (which would increase property taxes) when the businesses change hands.
Meanwhile, individual Californians are overburdened with income and sales taxes that could and should be lower (stimulating growth), and corporations pay one of the highest tax rates in the nation (lower corporate taxes would help keep jobs in the state), and state and local governments are grossly under funded.
There are ways to fix Prop. 13 that would still protect home ownership, but also help the state fix the structural deficiencies in its budget. These changes could increase government revenue by $5 billion to $10 billion annually, minus any reduction in other taxes.