Just A Link
1 week ago
The intimate lives of writers have always had a special attraction for readers, perhaps because we imagine that people who can shape ideas and arrange scenes on the page should be able to offer us some special insight into how to order our messy off-the-page lives. This has rarely been proven the case—writers often seem less, rather than more, gifted at the mechanics of everyday existence; all the same it has not stemmed our interest in finding out what Sylvia said to Ted or why Simone pimped for Jean-Paul. This interest speaks, I think, to a dream of coherence—a matching-up of intellect and emotion, of romance and reason—that continues to inspire us even as it eludes our grasp.And of course, that idea that we can truly know someone merely through what they write is utterly fallacious. As anyone who's ever tried online dating knows, or ought to know.
Spaulding said the allegations of abuse is the real case. Greene, he said, attacked Scull and the county stepped in to protect the elder man at his own request. In court documents, Spaulding said Scull was admitted to Kaiser Hospital in Santa Rosa on April 27, 2008 as a result of domestic violence-related injuries inflicted by Greene. The case was reported to the Sheriff’s Office, adult protective services and the county’s public guardian, who all conducted investigations, he said. Scull allegedly told officials he no longer wished to live with Greene, so he was placed in a nursing home. Greene was later deemed incapable of caring for himself and was sent to a different facility, Spaulding said. The men were given a chance to remove possessions from their rented Sebastopol house, he said. What was left was sold at auction to cover their expenses, Spaulding said.Which just goes to show how important it is for you and for me not to make snap judgments based on only one side of the story. And there are two sides to every story in the world.
This morning I stumbled upon something I read many years ago but had forgotten: an essay by the late, great Willie Morris, first published in 1986. (I was a charter subscriber to Southern Magazine - not to be confused with Southern Living - which, alas, folded after only a few issues due to a massive cancellation of subscribers: they had dared to publish an article discussing how the gays were gentrifying an old neighborhood in Birmingham. With pictures, even. Which of course was completely unacceptable for a family magazine down here, even in the Eighties.)Is there a South anymore?--Willie Morris
DOES THE SOUTH exist any longer? One has to seek the answer on one's own terms, of course, but to do that, I suggest, one should spurn the boardrooms and the country clubs and the countless college seminars on the subject and spend a little time at the ball games and the funerals and the bus stations and the courthouses and the bargain-rate beauty parlors and the little churches and the roadhouses and the joints near the closing hour.
I did not judge the South remotely dead in a roadhouse near Vicksburg on a recent Saturday of the full moon. The parking lot was filled with pick-up trucks. That afternoon, only a mile beyond the hill, they had put 20,000 miniature American flags on the Union dead in the battlefield for Memorial Day, and the bar talk was vivid on this and other things. Dozens of couples in all modes of dress gyrated on the dance floor to Willie Nelson tunes, and the unprepossessing interior echoed with wild greetings and indigenous hosannas. There was a pride in this place that I knew in my ancestral soul, a pride not to be unduly tampered with, and if you had had the mettle to ask one of those people if the South still existed on that night, he would have stared you up and down and replied: "Who you, boy?"
I know a black South African student whom the Soviets courted at the University of Moscow before he decided to take a fellowship here. I enjoy watching the South through his eyes. "When I first came, I was afraid I'd made a big mistake," he says. "But the South grows on you. It seems so removed, but it's vividly real. I'll miss it when I go home. I don't understand why your national media wants a uniform U.S.A."
Nor, for that matter, do I. But I can testify to the hostility and ambivalence toward the South that still exists in many areas of the nation. Is it the lingering fear of differentness? I testify also to my own self-ironies, for when I dwelled in the North I felt more Southern than I ever had before; back home again to stay, I feel more American.
Perhaps in the end it is the old, inherent, devil-may-care instinct of the South that remains in the most abundance and will sustain the South in its uncertain future. The reckless gambler's instinct that fought and lost that war. Snake Stabler calling a bootleg play on fourth down, a Texas wildcatter putting his stakes on the one big strike, a black mother working 16 hours a day to educate her children, a genteel matron borrowing from the banker to send her daughter to a university sorority so she can marry well. It is gambling with the heart, it is a glass menagerie, it is something that won't let go.
Here's my radical homosexual agenda: Let us get married, join the military and hold down a job. Very few radicals in history would have thought much of that.
“In the 33 years of our organization’s history, this case is perhaps among the most tragic NCLR has ever been involved in,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “Clay and Harold had taken all of the necessary precautions, including living wills and powers of attorneys, to protect them in a time of crisis. Not only were their relationship and legal documents ignored, Clay and Harold literally lost everything. These appalling events demonstrate how urgently same-sex couples need full equality rather than a patchwork of rights that can be dismissed and ignored in a culture that still treats LGBT people as second-class citizens. This never should have happened to Clay and Harold.”The couple lived in Sebastopol, Sonoma County, California, about fifty miles north of San Francisco. Ironically, according to Wikipedia, "the county's tolerant political environment have made the Guerneville area along the Russian River the home of a number of gay and lesbian resorts, which have catered to the San Francisco LGBT weekend-getaway community since the 1970s."
Clay and his partner of 20 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place—wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.Are you getting this picture? Notice that these guys had all the legal paperwork like wills and medical directives already done - and still they were trashed, spit on, walked over, and shoved aside.
One evening, Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital. Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold’s care from the first moment. Tragically, county and health care workers instead refused to allow Clay to see Harold in the hospital. The county then ultimately went one step further by isolating the couple from each other, placing the men in separate nursing homes.
Ignoring Clay’s significant role in Harold’s life, the county continued to treat Harold like he had no family and went to court seeking the power to make financial decisions on his behalf. Outrageously, the county represented to the judge that Clay was merely Harold’s “roommate.” The court denied their efforts, but did grant the county limited access to one of Harold’s bank accounts to pay for his care.
What happened next is even more chilling: without authority, without determining the value of Clay and Harold’s possessions accumulated over the course of their 20 years together or making any effort to determine which items belonged to whom, the county took everything Harold and Clay owned and auctioned off all of their belongings. Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from his home and confined him to a nursing home against his will. The county workers then terminated Clay and Harold's lease and surrendered the home they had shared for many years to the landlord.
Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county’s actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property. The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life.
With the help of a dedicated and persistent court-appointed attorney, Anne Dennis of Santa Rosa, Clay was finally released from the nursing home. Ms. Dennis, along with Stephen O'Neill and Margaret Flynn of Tarkington, O'Neill, Barrack & Chong, now represent Clay in a lawsuit against the county, the auction company, and the nursing home, with technical assistance from NCLR. A trial date has been set for July 16, 2010 in the Superior Court for the County of Sonoma.
President Obama mandated Thursday that nearly all hospitals extend visitation rights to the partners of gay men and lesbians and respect patients' choices about who may make critical health-care decisions for them, perhaps the most significant step so far in his efforts to expand the rights of gay Americans.Full text of the directive is here. Also, the President did a very touching thing:
The president directed the Department of Health and Human Services to prohibit discrimination in hospital visitation in a memo that was e-mailed to reporters Thursday night while he was at a fundraiser in Miami. Administration officials and gay activists, who have been quietly working together on the issue, said the new rule will affect any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding, a move that covers the vast majority of the nation's health-care institutions. Obama's order will start a rule-making process at HHS that could take several months, officials said.
Hospitals often bar visitors who are not related to an incapacitated patient by blood or marriage, and gay rights activists say many do not respect same-sex couples' efforts to designate a partner to make medical decisions for them if they are seriously ill or injured. "Discrimination touches every facet of the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, including at times of crisis and illness, when we need our loved ones with us more than ever," Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement praising the president's decision.
Obama's mandate is the latest attempt by his administration to advance the agenda of a constituency that strongly supported his presidential campaign. In his first 15 months in office, he has hailed the passage of hate crime legislation and held the first Gay Pride Day celebration at the White House. Last month, Obama's top military and defense officials testified before Congress in favor of repealing of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays in the armed forces. . .
The new rules will not apply only to gays. They also will affect widows and widowers who have been unable to receive visits from a friend or companion. And they would allow members of some religious orders to designate someone other than a family member to make medical decisions.
"The General Accounting Office has identified 1,138 instances in federal law where marriage is important," said one gay rights activist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity before the White House formally announced the directive. "We've knocked off one of them."
Officials said Obama had been moved by the story of a lesbian couple in Florida, Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond, who were kept apart when Pond collapsed of a cerebral aneurysm in February 2007, dying hours later at a hospital without her partner and children by her side.Well I don't know about you guys, but the President's stock just rose about a thousand points with me. I'm going to write and tell him so.
MW: Let me be more specific. What about the possibility of gay marriage?
Carter: That’s hard for me, because I’m very old fashioned, very old-timey. So that idea is hard for me. On the other hand, maybe the most loving marriage that I’ve ever seen is a gay marriage. It has not been codified as such by the church, but it is a marriage. And has been for years and years and years. But to answer your question, I have to work through what marriage means — and the first thing in my mind goes to is that marriage is for the procreation of the race. It’s a sacrament to unite people so that they can begin a family and have children. But Hal Holbrook and I got married at an age past when we can expect to have children. So here I am in a very happy marriage that I think is fine. So if I feel that way about my marriage to Hal, why would I have a problem with a gay marriage? Still, it’s hard for me. I’m very traditional.
Straight folks can get married again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again. And most of us can't get married once.
Married: Terrence McNally and Tom Kirdahy Tuesday in Washington. The Tony-winning playwright, 71, and lawyer, 46, tied the knot on the banks of the Potomac near the Kennedy Center, which is running a series of McNally's plays. The couple had a civil union in Vermont seven years ago, but wanted a marriage: Rev. George Walker of the People's Congregational United Church of Christ performed the ceremony -- Kirdahy read a scene from McNally's play "Corpus Christi" -- and actress Tyne Daly served as a witness. The couple live in New York City.
In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon the unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of the equality of all men, irrespective of race or color--a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of the Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy [here, meaning the United States as a grouping that can be seceded from, not a permanent union], the recognition of political equality between the white and the negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States. . . ."The debasing doctrine of the equality of all men." And black slavery is the Will of God. Right.
In view of these and many other facts, it is meet that our own views should be distinctly proclaimed.
We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy [here, meaning the United States] itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.
That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding States.
By the secession of six of the slave-holding States, and the certainty that others will speedily do likewise, Texas has no alternative but to remain in an isolated connection with the North, or unite her destinies with the South. . . .
--Blame the South. The argument, in a nutshell, is that a successful political coalition in America cannot be dominated by the South, as the GOP currently is. The South is a distinct region in America, significantly different in history and political culture from the rest of the country. Moreover, regional identity in the South is manifested substantially in opposition to the rest of the nation. A political movement dominated by the South will necessarily manifest a political culture that is more similar to that of the South than to that of the rest of the nation, and that political movement is also going to absorb this oppositional element of Southern identity, and will necessarily become overly invested in intellectual shibboleths. What looks like epistemic closure is really just identity politics.The more things change, the more they stay the same. If you listen to the Teabagger crowd and nearly all the rest of the Republican leadership, they sound just like the guys who wrote the Declaration of Causes. Just like them.
I don’t think this explanation can be dismissed out of hand – in particular, dismissing it out of hand as “insulting” to the South would be an instance of precisely the dynamic I’m outlining. The South does have a distinct history and culture; that culture is substantially oppositional; and the American right is dominated by the South in a way that it has not been before. Dominance of a party by an atypical and oppositional region is just a structural problem. And, if this is a problem, it is going to be a hard one for the American right to solve, because the South is now large enough and strong enough, and remains cohesive enough, that its leaders should expect to lead any coalition of which they are a member.
Put an underdog on top and it makes no difference whether his name is Russian, Jewish, Negro, Management, Labor, Mormon, Baptist he goes haywire. I've found very, very few who remember their past condition when prosperity comes.Now insert the word Gay into Truman's list, and you'll have something to think about.
People are often afraid of difference. They feel that anything that causes fear, should be turned away from. My brother represented fear for so many people, but caused joy in my life. From a very young age he made me laugh with his intelligence and wit, made me aspire to his strength and goodness. He was to be embraced. To many of the students of his school however he was to be feared. He was to be turned away from. I didn't understand it then, and I still don't know. As a race we humans are united and divided by emotions. The mother and father of all emotions, the queen and king are love and fear. Love unites, it brings us closer to an understanding of the possibility of beauty amidst all the confusion and pain that life can bring. Hate is a disease. It is fear's messenger and it makes us do terrible things in a shadow of our better selves, of what we could be.
Intolerance is not genetically encoded - it is taught. It is learned at home. It is learned in the classrooms and it is learned anywhere else we gather as a group. But it is usually learned early and added onto from there. If there is nothing to feared, there is nothing to hate. If there is nothing to hate there is no pain. My brother was so forceful in standing up for who he was, and for the good that he knew was inside of him. Many people missed out on an opportunity, not only to enjoy him, but to enjoy themselves by embracing his "difference". They missed out because they saw him as a threat - not as a testament to the kaleidoscope and diversity of this beautiful world. Bullying is torture, it is another betrayal of basic human decency and its scars reach way into the future of its survivors. But the saddest truth is that not all children survive it. It is a potentially fatal societal illness and must be respected and not feared. Respected and dealt with as a very real problem and as an adversary of a potentially harmonious world, that should have no place for bullies or bullying.
Broaching the subject and confessing desperation was like uttering the password to a secret brotherhood of beleaguered, overwhelmed, weary, or sometimes just resigned adult caregivers. But the sect seemed ashamed to be seen.
As I reached my own breaking point, two things happened. First, my father caught sight of my distress. He would not accept assisted living on his own account, but when I told him that he was already in assisted living but that I was the assistance; that I was overwhelmed, underqualified, and barely hanging on emotionally; that I wanted to be his son again, not a nurse and nag and adversary—when I told him all that, and when his sister and the social worker chimed in, he acceded. He was still, after all, my father, and it was still his job, he understood, to care for me. Second, the inevitable happened. As his disease overtook him, not even he could deny his incapacity. And so he moved, reluctantly, to a nearby assisted-living place, which gave me the help I needed and, to no one’s surprise but his own, gave my father more rather than less independence. Another phase of the story then unfolded, ending with his death in December. His last gesture to me, so very characteristic, was to wave me away. He wanted me to go on with my life rather than hover by his bedside.
I did go on, but I emerged from the whole experience not a little indignant. The medical infrastructure for elder care in America is good, very good. But the cultural infrastructure is all but nonexistent. How can it be that so many people like me are so completely unprepared for what is, after all, one of life’s near certainties?
Why is sexuality so precious? “Because it is the great enabler,” writes Diane Ackerman, “that allows us to commune with every aspect of being alive, with people and objects, landscapes and cities. One needs love to feel harmonious, to feel part of the rich landscape of one’s life.”
To say that sexuality is just an animal instinct, an obstacle to holiness, is to say that sexuality has nothing to do with our humanity. But in fact our sexuality is an integral part of our personal and interpersonal identities. From childhood it looms large in our lives, and we must deal with it one way or the other. Thomas Moore, in his best-selling book The Soul of Sex, writes:
We have a habit of talking about sexuality as merely physical, yet nothing has more soul. Sex takes us into the world of intense passions, sensual touch, exciting fantasies, many levels of meaning and subtle emotions. It makes the imagination come alive with fantasy, reverie and memory. Even if the sex is loveless, empty or manipulative, still it has strong repercussions in the soul, and even bad sexual experiences leave lasting, haunting impressions.There is an ancient wisdom, even within the Judeo-Christian tradition, that maintains that sexuality is primarily spiritual, possibly the single greatest source of spiritual vitality in the human psyche. Sexuality is a mode of interaction with divinity.
The Old Testament’s Song of Songs describes the relationship between Yahweh and humans in the most gloriously sensual and erotic images and poetry. Catholic mystic St. John of the Cross used sexual intimacy as the effective analogy for understanding intimacy with God. St. Augustine referred to the cross of Christ as a marriage bed, intimating that our sexuality has infinite redemptive dimensions. . . .
In short, our sexuality is a rich source of religious experience, a great and holy mystery that brings beauty, meaning and divinity to our lives. Human love is a shape taken by the love of God.
Alleluia. Christ is risen.To the glory of God and in memory of those I love but see no longer: a hymn without which, in these parts at least, it just wouldn't be Easter at all. I came across two kickin' versions of it, and couldn't decide between them. So I used both, hope you enjoy.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord--and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.My religious history is a long and winding road, from my christening at the age of six months down till now: a story much too tedious to relate in one sitting, and of no use or interest to anyone but me. Nor has it been a casual stroll down a blossom-covered lane; rather, times without number it has seemed a stony, uphill path leading only to Calvary. As C. S. Lewis phrased it, I have "learned my driving in a hard school"; though whether anything I have learned can be of the slightest help to anyone else, I cannot possibly say. I can only share and relate what has happened in this obscure life of mine, for whatever it may be worth to anyone else, and that is probably not much.
How bad is the situation? Really bad. We are not anywhere near there yet. By any stretch of the imagination. . . .
Well the time is over for poetic words and empty promises. Our patience has run out. If HRC has a master plan and time schedule, we at this stage, have a right to know what it is and what the Obama team promised them last year. Simply put, enough of these political games and giving our friends permission to take detours, prolong the trip and deny us our freedom.
As our president memorably said a while ago, "Enough." Really and seriously - enough.