Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Oh Dear

It's been many many days since I posted. I missed opportunities to post news on NGLTF's response to the NY Times coverage, impromptu reviews of the second to the last ever Pixies concert (yes I was there), and Kerik, Social Security... the latter two are rather grim so it may be just as well that I haven't had much to say. Mainly, I have been dealing with some transition in my job and have been desperately trying to make up for the fact that I am not a very well organized person and need to put several large file drawers in order than someone else can make sense of. This is my worst nightmare really and I have been putting in some long focused hours in the office.

How boring.

At just the moment I typed the word boring, my cat sunk his long claws into my arm in protest of being called off the couch. Be careful what you wish for.

Tonight though, after a long evening in office, where I ate a ridiculously large amount of Thai food much too quickly so I could get back to my cleaning, I came home and started wrapping Christmas presents. I seem to have developed some of my own single-person Christmas rituals. Not surprising since by parents are intensely ritualistic at Christmas: Advent candles and services every night for four weeks, decorating the tree with the same family friend every year, the Messiah every Christmas morning. My Christmas ritual involves the late afternoon when I unpack the Christmas presents I have managed to collect during the last Saturday before Christmas and I start wrapping presents with Christmas music. I make something hot with booze in it and I go from Grinch to Ms. Santa in 30 minutes. I forget my holiday depression and anxiety for a few hours while I play with tape and red paper. The angst and sadness always comes flooding back, usually on the 26th or 27th, but the lead-in to Christmas is very pleasurable. I buy my parents presents I can't afford, wrap things I bought while travelling for my cousin's children, and write Christmas cards. I pride myself on writing something in every card I send, although maybe I am just being a Christmas hotshot. Perhaps I should get over myself.

Tonight the Christmas music was Everything but the Girl's acoustic, which is not Christmas music, but you see, I was given that cd at Christmas, so I listened to that cd the two weeks after Christmas. I find it to be the perfect Christmas depression music, sweet, reflective, melancholy, and a tiny bit obsessive.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Why I Never Joined the HRC

The Times has a front page article about the "gay movement's" retrenchment in the face of the 11 ballot initiatives that were passed approving constitutional amendments to prohibit same-sex marriages.

"In the past week alone, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian advocacy group, has accepted the resignation of its executive director, appointed its first non-gay board co-chairman and adopted a new, more moderate strategy, with less emphasis on legalizing same-sex marriages and more on strengthening personal relationships."

Unfortunately, the headline and lead paragraph allows the reader to walk away with the impression that the gay movement is the Human Rights Campaign Fund. The article goes on to quote opposing views from the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force who are going to keep on fighting the good fight for marriage. It's too bad they didn't talk to Evan Wolfson from Freedom to Marry, who makes the most compelling case I have heard for why glbt folks should be working towards this. It also makes no mention of the more progressive-identified folks in the gay movement who have been raising the question of why should marriage be the priority civil rights goal.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Hey Teacher! Leave Those Kids Alone

The song being sung most all the time by me and my partner in Spain over the summer was Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd. Not my favorite song by them. Not my favorite band. But now I sort of love it because it reminds me of hiking around Catalunya and how I finally taught him a few more bars so he wouldn't repeat only one line incessantly, but two or three. (All in all/your just another/brick in the wall) Tonight, on the 42nd street subway station platform, ironically enough after teaching my English class, I was gratified to hear it again with a fresh new interpretation. There was a guy with a steel drum, playing along with a recorded bass and drum line to the very same Pink Floyd song. I have to say, I would never think this would be a good combination, but he was kind of jamming. He had a little jazz free form interpretation going on.

This was all while I was eyeing the young man who kept storming up and down the platform muttering at the top of his lungs that "he didn't need a C train or an E train, he needed a fucking A train and he was being held up!" The unfettered expression of rage might made have made me nervous, except that I know I have done that very thing, and expressed that same intolerable antagonism to to the New York subway many a time, so instead I just kind of felt sympathetic towards him.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Isabella Watch

Isabella Rossellini is on the Daily Show as we speak, talking about her new Sci Fi channel show in which she plays "a female pope." She is just so lovely. I'm not a big science fiction fan, but Isabella Rossellini playing some sort of spiritual leader is probably worth checking out.

Tonight, I went back to the salsa workout class at the Y so I am feeling very proud of myself. It was moderately easier for most of the class to follow the basic step. There was one point where I couldn't manage even that, but the teacher to her great credit, came over and put her hand on my shoulder and got me going the right way again without making me feel like a loser. It was a harder workout than the first time around, and the last fifteen minute, I wasn't sure I was going to make it. So I was pleased with myself when I dragged myself home from the gym.

There's not much else to report, except that it is a cold, rainy night here in New York. The Daily Show is ending and "Blue Collar TV" is coming on. Time for bed.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Why Do They Hate Us?

Juan Cole cites a new study from the Defense Science Board of the Pentagon.

"The two big policies of the US that people in the Muslim world mind most are knee-jerk support for Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories and the US invasion and military occupation of Iraq. Before the Iraq war, it was mainly the Palestine issue that drove poor opinion of the US. A further issue that annoys people is US support for authoritarian governments in the Middle East. Despite paying lip service to democratization, the US is if anything more complaisant toward strong-arm tactics by rulers like Tunisia's Zayn al-Din Bin Ali, since these are deployed against Muslims fundamentalists. Bin Ali just won a fourth term as president [for life]. Apparently Washington's insistence on democratization is reserved for states that take a posture of enmity or defiance toward the United States."

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Christian Left Stands Up

So I didn't blog all day and then I tuned in Talking Points Memo to find that the United Church of Christ has initiated an ad campaign focusing on tolerance and acceptance in the church and CBS and UPN have declined to run the ad.

"The debut 30-second commercial features two muscle-bound "bouncers" standing guard outside a symbolic, picturesque church and selecting which persons are permitted to attend Sunday services. Written text interrupts the scene, announcing, "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we." A narrator then proclaims the United Church of Christ's commitment to Jesus' extravagant welcome: "No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here.""

I couldn't view it with my Windows Media player, but the ad reportedly makes clear that one of the welcome populations are gays and lesbians. The Director of Communications Ministry at the UCC makes a good point:

""We find it disturbing that the networks in question seem to have no problem exploiting gay persons through mindless comedies or titillating dramas, but when it comes to a church's loving welcome of committed gay couples, that's where they draw the line," says the Rev. Robert Chase, director of the UCC's communication ministry."

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Standing in the Shadows of Motown is a great documentary currently on IFC. It tells the story of the Funk Brothers, who were the band for pretty much every Motown hit you might have ever heard.

World AIDS Day

December 1 is World AIDS Day. For great information on how to contribute some time and resources visit The Body's Policy and Activism page.

Over at Unfogged, Fontana Labs writes HIV some hatemail.
"Dear HIV,
Fuck you. It's been twenty-three years since your big debut, and I still hate you. Thanks for killing my friends.
Fontana Labs"