C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Unmasked

By Chris Ware for the New Yorker.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

After the Storm

From the New York Post, earlier today; click to enlarge.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the many people who were in the path of Hurricane Sandy, and are now dealing with the effects of it. As of 7 pm Texas time today, I'm hearing that fewer than fifty people have died in the U.S., and of course every death is a tragedy; but considering the intensity of the storm and the density of the population in the Northeast, such a low figure seems nearly miraculous, and says good things about preparations that were made in the affected areas.

Some folks lost their homes or cars, but for several millions, the worst thing is having to live without electricity, cell phones, TV, public transport, or internet for some days or weeks to come. Which will be pretty fucking miserable, certainly; but I'm not hearing that thousands of people are dead, injured, or homeless and starving - such as happened in the Haiti earthquake a few years ago - and it kind of grates on the nerves to hear hysterical broadcasters and bloggers carrying on as if the End of the World had arrived.  As bad as they are, things could still be much, much worse.

In much of New York City, some extra fallen leaves on the ground are the only sign that there was any storm last night. So even in the midst of disaster, a little balance is necessary. The other 90 percent of the country is still in good shape, the damage will be repaired, people will pick up the pieces, and life will go right on along, as is always the case after hurricanes - of which we have had beaucoup down here in the South in my lifetime.

However, other kinds of commenters are definitely unbalanced, and were long before the storm struck. As witness the following vid:



On the other hand, the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, heretofore "one of Mitt Romney's most aggressive surrogates," had nothing but grateful praise this morning for all that federal help and for President Obama's close support through the crisis:



Oh and by the way - of course you do realize, don't you, that just as with every other fucking disaster in the whole entire world . . . IT'S ALL TEH GAYZ' FAULT! God hates us so much, he is "systematically destroying America" as punishment. Now aren't you ashamed of your bad self?


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Born This Way - How?

Here's a great 60 Minutes piece on the origins of gayness, which was first shown in 2006. Maybe it's old news to you guys but I've never seen it till now, so just thought I'd share.

And just to forestall any criticisms - yes, Virginia, there are "gay" mannerisms, which are feminine traits distilled through a man's body. Not every gay man has them, or to the same extent, which is the important thing to educate straight people on. And some guys largely grow out of it. But if there weren't any such "gay mannerisms" at all, how would your gaydar ever work, huh bud?




BTW - Purple is not my color, I never was into decorating my room, and even at my girliest, I would never have said that I wanted to be a girl. But I can relate to the fingernail painting. When I was in about 4th grade, I went through a phase of being a little fascinated with nail polish, and once or twice I went to school with some of my mom's perfectly transparent nail polish on - thinking, it's transparent, so nobody will know, right?

Somehow, though, all the little straight boys noticed. And gave me shit about it. Bummer.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Waitin' for the Weekend

Something different:  the members of the Brighton Swimming Club assembled in all their, uh, finery on the beach in 1863.  And you thought the Victorians were all stuffy and humorless.

Do click to enlarge.

Now which were the gay ones, do you think?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Like Voting for George Wallace

from Salon.com


Playwright Doug Wright in Playbill:
I wish my moderate Republican friends would simply be honest. They all say they're voting for Romney because of his economic policies (tenuous and ill-formed as they are), and that they disagree with him on gay rights. Fine. Then look me in the eye, speak with a level clear voice, and say," My taxes and take-home pay mean more than your fundamental civil rights, the sanctity of your marriage, your right to visit an ailing spouse in the hospital, your dignity as a citizen of this country, your healthcare, your right to inherit, the mental welfare and emotional well-being of your youth, and your very personhood." It's like voting for George Wallace during the Civil Rights movements, and apologizing for his racism. You're still complicit. You're still perpetuating anti-gay legislation and cultural homophobia. You don't get to walk away clean, because you say you "disagree" with your candidate on these issues.


Via Joe.My.God.

Barney Slams Log Cabinites

I love Barney, he always tells it like it is:




BTW guys - don't let's get too blasé about the election. Nate Silver's latest calculations show Romney with a slight lead for the last two days:


(NYT via Joe.My.God.)

A good read on "The Limits of Forecasting Elections" by the New Yorker's John Cassidy is here. Bottom line: You never can tell.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's Tricky

From the New Yorker.


Cf. this story.

Why Marriage Matters: Meet the McLaughlins

From Freedom to Marry:  a very nice video with the plaintiffs in McLaughlin v. Panetta, one of several military-family cases contesting the constitutionality of DOMA that are headed for the Supreme Court.



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Choice


Well, the third and final presidential debate has now passed into history as a victory for Obama, yet as we enter the home stretch towards Election Day, the polls seem to show the American electorate about evenly split between the two candidates.

I can hardly believe that a question exists in the minds of any regular Blue Truck readers. Still, if you need or want to be reminded of what Obama has achieved in the last four years, as well as a resume of the ghastly doings of his predecessor and the promises of his opponent, I can do no better than to refer you to the excellent article written by the editors of the New Yorker endorsing the incumbent. It's well worth your time.

On the other hand, if you need only a quick and wishful summary of last night's debate, you will certainly enjoy the short summation by Andy Borowitz.

Or if coherent thought is just too haaaard for you, consider this apparently genuine voter guide by a very earnest young auntypinoor who followed the debates on Twitter, yay!




Monday, October 22, 2012

The Cuban Missile Crisis

Department store employees and customers pause to listen
to the President's address on October 22, 1962.

It was 50 years ago today that President Kennedy alerted the nation to the possibility of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, during a nationwide broadcast at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I don't remember the President's broadcast itself, but I do remember the fear I felt that something awful might happen. My parents didn't let on that they felt afraid, but I can remember them discussing the situation with their friends, in tones of indignation over the Russian actions down there. The nerve of them!

Also, we started having air-raid drills at school for the first time. At first, my third-grade teacher taught us to listen for the alarm, then crouch under our desks. Which of course we kids thought was great fun, and a neat break from lessons. Then it was thought that we were in too much danger from being lacerated by flying glass from the bank of tall windows in our classroom, so were directed to go out into the hallways and crouch against the wall; and finally, we were all told to bring a white towel from home to use in our drills to cover ourselves with - teacher said that scientists had discovered that a white towel was the best for deflecting radiation away from us.

I'm not making this up.

As there were a number of military bases in the vicinity of where we lived at that time, everyone took it as a given that if war came, the bombs would surely fall on our town. We were never shown any of those "duck-and-cover" films that you've heard about; but I remember I developed a fantasy in my own mind of how I would rescue my stunned or wounded parents from the worst of it all by driving the family car myself to take us all to safety through a dismal, bombed-out landscape. It did not occur to me then that I was still too short to reach the foot pedals, nor did I ever quite figure out exactly where in the ruins of civilization we would go to - but it was a comforting little fantasy anyway.

Thanks be to God, nothing bad ever happened, and eventually our air-raid drills were quietly forgotten. But to review the whole situation now, as an adult, really brings some chills to my spine when I think of all that might have happened. Here's the first part of a PBS report on the crisis that was first aired in 1992. Scary stuff.



By coincidence, tonight's third and final presidential debate is to be on foreign policy. Quite apart from political leanings, I just can't imagine Romney handling a crisis like this one without losing his shit - can you?


CIA map from the crisis period, showing strike ranges of Soviet missiles in Cuba.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Drive: Handel, Largo from Xerxes

An instrumental version of the famous aria "Ombra mai fu," written in 1738.




FYI: This is the first piece of music ever broadcast on radio - in 1906.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Romnesia!

The President nails it. Stay tuned for the punch line.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Sign of the Times: Newsweek Abandons Print

The cover of Newsweek's first edition in 1933.

For good or ill, it seems an historic tipping point has been reached, as Newsweek magazine announces its exit from paper-and-ink format:
We are announcing this morning an important development at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Newsweek will transition to an all-digital format in early 2013. As part of this transition, the last print edition in the United States will be our Dec. 31 issue.

Meanwhile, Newsweek will expand its rapidly growing tablet and online presence, as well as its successful global partnerships and events business.

Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context. Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.
Andrew Sullivan, whose Daily Dish blog appears on the Daily Beast website, is anxious to trash all printed media right away. An excerpt from his longish meditation on this subject:
The shift in my own mind has happened gradually. Even up to a year ago, I was still getting my New York Times every morning on paper, wrapped in blue plastic. Piles of them would sit in my blog-cave, read and half-read, skimmed, and noted.

Until a couple of years ago, I also read physical books on paper, and then shifted to cheaper, easier, lighter tablet versions. Then it became a hassle to get the physical NYT delivered in Provincetown so I tried a summer of reading it on a tablet. I now read almost everything on my iPad. And as I ramble down the aisle of Amtrak's Acela, I see so many reading from tablets or laptops, with the few newspapers and physical magazines seeming almost quaint, like some giant brick of a mobile phone from the 1980s. Almost no one under 30 is reading them. One day, we'll see movies with people reading magazines and newspapers on paper and chuckle. Part of me has come to see physical magazines and newspapers as, at this point, absurd. They are like Wile E Coyote suspended three feet over a cliff for a few seconds. They're still there; but there's nothing underneath; and the plunge is vast and steep. . . .

Print magazines today are basically horses and carriages, a decade after the car had gone into mass production. Why the fuck do they exist at all, except as lingering objects of nostalgia?

Your Head Trucker thought about writing a short eulogy here for the printed word, which sustained his spirit for so many years - but the modern world has no sympathy for such tristesse over antiquities like books and magazines, so I'll just keep my thoughts to myself. Besides - it's all about the money, anyway, as it always is.

Bonus: Just for fun, a report from 1981 on the future of online newspapers, then just barely a reality for a select few, as television was in the 1930's:



Waitin' for the Weekend






Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Revealed: Romney's Tax Plan



Click for details, you really should.

Honk to Joe.My.God.

FYI: The second presidential debate begins tonight at 9 Eastern, 8 Texas time. You can watch it live on YouTube, choosing from among several live streams.


BONUS: A couple of must-see videos:






Saturday, October 13, 2012

Memo: FDR to Obama



Or, how to get your mojo back, Mr. President. From the New Yorker:
In 1936, Franklin Roosevelt was faced with a vicious reëlection campaign. He was vilified for the New Deal reforms. The word “boondoggle” was popularized in the U.S. the year before to describe alleged abuses of the New Deal. Opposition politicians and critics compared F.D.R. to Lenin. The Depression was still on, and unemployment, which had dropped significantly, was still high, over fourteen per cent. (It would rise again in 1938.) What Roosevelt had going for himself was a real set of policies and the capacity to speak on their behalf—a willed capacity to state things plainly, forcefully, and effectively. Never more so than on September 29, 1936, at the New York Democratic State Convention, in Syracuse. Here is the most famous passage of the speech, which came in the thick of the national campaign:
Let me warn you and let me warn the nation against the smooth evasion which says, “Of course we believe all these things; we believe in social security; we believe in work for the unemployed; we believe in saving homes. Cross our hearts and hope to die, we believe in all these things; but we do not like the way the present Administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us. We will do all of them—we will do more of them, we will do them better; and, most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything.”

But, my friends, these evaders are banking too heavily on the shortness of our memories. No one will forget that they had their golden opportunity—twelve long years of it.

Remember, too, that the first essential of doing a job well is to want to see the job done. Make no mistake about this: The Republican leadership today is not against the way we have done the job. The Republican leadership is against the job’s being done.

The full speech is here, and it's well worth a read. Which will prove to you that today's politics are nearabouts identical to what was happening in the 1930's - same song, different verse.

And one more thing - Guys, nothing at all is ever guaranteed in politics. You should be planning NOW not only to cast your own vote, but to do what it takes to get your friends and family to vote too, either on Election Day, by early voting, or by mail. Make it a point to find out the wheres and whens for all that in your precinct, today.

You should be aware that the Republicans all around the country have been doubling down on voter ID laws, hoping to substantially suppress the Democratic vote. Remember that Bush won the entire country in 2000 by virtue of just a few hundred votes in Florida.

History can and does repeat itself. So be fucking sure to get yourself and your nearest and dearest to the polls. Don't think Romney can't win - it takes only your smug complacency to hand him the keys to the White House.

Click to enlarge.  Fanatical FDR-haters didn't accuse him of being a Muslim Communist - they swore he was a Jewish Communist!  (Roosevelt being orginally a German Jewish name, i.e., Rosenfelt - so they said.)  Take a look at this sick anti-semitic shit, and you'll understand that today's ignorant, raving-loon Tea Party is nothing new at all in American life. 



Friday, October 12, 2012

Waitin' for the Weekend

Black and white party:







Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Cross in the Closet


Just in time for National Coming Out Day, straight dude Timothy Kurek has written a book that describes his experience as a straight man pretending to be gay for a year. From his website:

Timothy Kurek, raised within the confines of a strict, conservative Christian denomination in the Bible Belt, Nashville, Tennessee, was taught the gospel of separation from a young age. But it wasn’t long before Timothy’s path and the outside world converged when a friend came out as a lesbian, and revealed she had been excommunicated by her family.

Distraught and overcome with questions and doubts about his religious upbringing, Timothy decided the only way to empathize and understand her pain was to walk in the shoes of very people he had been taught to shun. He decided to come out as a gay man to everyone in his life, and to see for himself how the label of gay would impact his life.

In the tradition of Black Like Me, The Cross in the Closet is a story about people, a story about faith, and about one man’s “abominable” quest to find Jesus in the margins.

Here's the trailer for the book:



Also, Thomas Roberts of MSNBC did an interview with Kurek:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The book is available via Kurek's website and on Amazon in paper and various electronic formats as well.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rachel Interviews Boies and Olson

Via Towleroad: Last Friday, in an interview at NYU Law School, Rachel Maddow spoke at length with David Boies and Ted Olson, attorneys for our side in the Prop 8 case (Perry v. Brown) now pending review by the Supreme Court. It's 55 minutes, but a fascinating discussion of the fundamental principles of equality at stake in this and other marriage cases about to be considered by the high court.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Australia: PM Gillard Calls Out Sexist Opposition Leader


It's only tangentially gay-related, but I love this and had to share it with you guys. In the middle of a somewhat convoluted political uproar, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard lays it on the line for her sexist, mysogynist counterpart. You go, girl! Tell it like it is. President Obama should take notes on how to make a debating point here.



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Kentucky Wedding: Robert and Nathaniel

This beautifully produced video is sweet, for more reasons than one - I think my truckbuddies will love it too. A little background to the story here.



Monday, October 8, 2012

Married but Not Equal


From In the Life, a look at the families and legal issues involved in several same-sex marriage cases now awaiting review by the Supreme Court:



Also, check out this quick summary of how the Supreme Court is likely to handle the marriage cases, written by New Yorker legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

James Meredith: Still at War, 50 Years On

James Meredith arrives on the Ole Miss campus, guarded by U. S. Marshalls

For us queer people, especially those like your Head Trucker who have lived well along into the afternoon of life, the progress of our struggle for equal rights and the equal protection of the laws often seems to be moving at a snail's pace. And yet we can take heart to some degree that such progress is always slow to come, for any group asserting its claim to the fullness of citizenship. The reason being, people in every age and clime are all too often fearful of losing their grip on the comfortable division of society into Us and Them.

This and other reflections may come to your mind too when you watch this excerpt from a BBC interview with James Meredith, who on October 1, 1962, became the first black person to register at the University of Mississippi, an event that was a major milestone in the Civil Rights Movement.



This excerpt from Episode 2 of the documentary Eyes on the Prize fills in the background of the Ole Miss riots, in which two people were killed, more than 300 injured, and 35 federal marshalls shot by snipers on campus.



Those of you who didn't grow up in the South should note that this kind of conflict and violence was local and infrequent - not an everyday thing, as you might think. Your Head Trucker remembers the days of segregation vividly from his childhood, the separate restrooms and drinking fountains and all the rest.

Yet, despite living, you might say, the first 20 years of my life in a small city of nearly a quarter-million population, there was never once any such demonstration or violent conflict as you see in documentaries of the period. All through the sixties, life went on as calmly and quietly as you could want - sometimes, to a kid, rather boringly so. (I was alternately excited and a bit ashamed of myself when one afternoon the oldest high school building in town burned down - of course, I had to go watch the flames and firefighters in person. What fun, in a place where everything was usually very routine and predictable.)

The big marches and demonstrations and riots and bombings, etc., that you see pictures of history books and films all happened far away. The grown-ups talked about those things sometimes, and of course they all deplored what Dr. King and other civil rights leaders were trying to achieve - the casual evil of indifference and ignorance - but the dramatic conflicts and violence were not an everyday sight for the vast majority of people living in the South at the time; it was something you read about in the paper, or saw on the evening news. The ironclad rules and customs of segregation kept everyone, white and black, in their places until, bit by bit, the laws changed, the schools integrated, and despite all the muttering and grumbling by whites, before you knew it, the seventies were here, and the revolution was over and done with, fairly painlessly in most places.

The old-time segregationist leaders sort of faded away, and the few who remained reinvinted themselves politically and began actively courting the black vote. All of this is not to say that there was no suffering and struggle on the part of black people - far from it. I'm just making the point that for most people the mainsprings of destiny lie somewhere beyond the confines of ordinary day-to-day life - the dramatic events, the turning points of history, tend to happen in a few specific points of space and time, not everywhere and at all times. And thank God for the courage of those who do take a stand when and where they can - otherwise, change and progress would never take place.


"So the Fuck What?" Sally Field Praises Gay Son at HRC Awards Dinner


I'd been wondering whatever happened to the delightful Sally Field; turns out she's been raising a gay son, Sam Greisman, and boy is she proud of the fact. Just listen to what she has to say about parenting a gay child "to be what nature intended" - and maybe keep a kleenex handy:



Sunday Drive: Vivaldi, Autumn

Well boys, the weather has finally changed here in Texas. Last night the thermometer dipped all the way down to 49 degrees, and your Head Trucker was sure feeling it when he crawled into a cold bed. I piled everything on top of me that I could grab, including my housecoat, and eventually got cozily warm and drifted off to sleep.

Uncannily, this change from summer to autumn nearly always seems to happen during the first weekend of October, for some reason. Tonight it's going waaaaay down to 38 degrees, brrr! I reckon you fellas up in the frozen Nawth are laughing your asses off at this news, no doubt, but it means something to this Southern boy. To mark the occasion, here's Vivaldi's classic:



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Suppose Your Yearbook Labeled You FAG


That's just what happened in 1970 to Robin Tomlin in Vancouver, British Columbia. Tomlin is not gay, but the intimidation kept him from attending his prom as well as his graduation. Now he's finally gotten an apology from the school board, 42 years later - but even that took some doing, since it was such a "difficult" decision for the board to make. CBC covers the story and a couple of other bullying cases up there in kinder, gentler Canada:

Debate Wrap-Up

1.



2.




See also this cartoon.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hating the Gays in Small-town Texas


Well boys, wherever you are and however much you love it or hate it, be glad that you are not stuck in a small town in Texas, as some of us are.

A couple up in Clarendon, which is about halfway between Childress and Amarillo, if that means anything to you, awoke on Monday morning to find "LEAVE OR DIE FAGS" painted in red letters on their front porch. Pronews 7 in Amarillo has the story, along with raw footage of the couple and the Church of Christ pastor who published a warning article about the horrendous "gay agenda" in the local paper a couple of weeks ago:








What I Say: Your Head Trucker's heart goes out to those guys. I have been that scared one time myself, many years ago, following a physical assault. It's a terrible feeling that you aren't safe in your own home, and all you can think to do is get as far away as possible.

Now at this late age, I know enough of how the world operates to believe that the probability is that this was done by some bored teenager who is having a big laugh with his friends now over "scaring the fags," and nothing more will come of it. Still - you never know.

You come for me, be prepared. But it's a mighty lonesome feeling to be gay in a small town far from modern civilization, and surrounded by people who hate your guts and think you are the devil's own spawn. I hope the guys find a new home in a better place real soon. Like my Mama always said - "Texas is a good place to be from." She was right, of course, as usual.

BTW - that Church of Christ in Clarendon is not to be confused with the very gay-friendly United Church of Christ, which has been conducting same-sex weddings for some years now. This Church of Christ is, I believe, the one that doesn't allow any musical instruments to be played in church, and thinks they are the only ones going to Heaven - like so many other half-baked, self-righteous fundamentalists who blacken the name of the one they claim to follow with their smug hatred and deep ignorance.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In the Life: Beyond the Rhetoric


An interesting couple of reports on gay Republicans and school bullying in Minnesota from In the Life, which will produce its last video this December.




The Associated Press reports that a record number of gay candidates are running for Congress this year. What is it with gay Republicans? Do you know one? Would you date one? Would you vote for one?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: The Snows of Kilimanjaro


Steve Hayes reviews the 1952 film:
Gregory Peck stars with Ava Gardner, Hildegarde Knef and the incomparable Susan Hayward in Henry King's adaptation of Hemingway's THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO (1952). Peck plays an author searching the world for subjects to write about while ignoring the fact that they're right in front of him. This eventually leads him to Africa, where an accident forces him to review his life and see where he lived, who he loved and where he lost out. Shot in Technicolor, it's a big adventure, with big stars and big ambitions. It's also a great ride!



Catch more of Steve's fabulous movie reviews at his YouTube channel.


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