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

Monday, November 30, 2009

Becoming a Not-Man, part 3

Of course it's purely coincidental, but the last months of a decade have often been major turning points in my life.

1999 - Yesterday, ten years ago, my late husband and I completed the move of my possessions and me to Texas.  Back to Texas, I should say; half my family is Texan, and my parents and I had lived in Dallas when I was a kid.  Well, I thought ten years ago, Now it's all smooth sailing from here on, the rest of my life will be spent happily and placidly in a little country town with my husband, we will grow old together here.  Whither thou goest, I shall go . . . and there shall I be buried.  We were so much in love.  But, as I've written before, fate had other plans in store for me.  All I can say is, boys, it's such a damn good thing we can't know the future until it gets here.  It would only scare the shit out of us.

1989 - Not much was going on at this time in 1989, just a comfortable routine.  A couple months before, I'd bought a house and was settling into a steady civil-service job, both of which were good developments because my mother had gotten to the point where she wasn't really able to live by herself any more, so I was able to make a home for her in a house where I expected I'd spend the rest of my life, probably.  But that happy plan was thwarted and smashed by fate, too.  What followed in the next five years was the death of my best friend from AIDS, my mother's suffering and death, huge medical and funeral bills, bankruptcy, and a disastrous relationship with my first husband, all of which culminated in losing my house and holing up in a tiny garage apartment, less than 400 square feet, into which I somehow managed to jam the contents of my former 3-bedroom house, with just barely sleeping room left over for myself - on a couch - and not much else, except a broken toilet and a drinking problem.  In my life, long-range planning has always been an entirely laughable concept; fate just keeps on throwing them curve balls, ya know?

1979 - Somewhere in the last few days of November, I attended my very first gay party:  that was my initial, very tentative step of coming out.  It was my senior year of college, and a couple of months before I'd finally worked up enough courage to get in touch with the local gay group on campus, who had a program of peer counselors, specifically trained to talk with and support closeted guys like me.  I lucked out and landed a really great guy for my counselor, very down to earth and easy to talk to.   Straight-acting.  In fact, he'd been married, had grown kids.  I don't know when I would have ever come out, if not for that very easy, gentle way of doing it; I would have been completely terrified of going to the one gay bar in town by myself, and in fact I'm not sure I even knew there was a gay bar there until I came out. 

After a couple of months of pleasant one-on-one coffeehouse chats, he invited me to come to the gay group's Christmas party, which because of the way holidays and finals fell that year, took place on the last weekend in November.  It was held at some faculty member's spacious house in a nice neighborhood, and perhaps fifty-odd people showed up.  A typical Christmas party:  a tree and a roaring fireplace, lots of yummy munchies (that was the first time country boy ever saw raw vegetables served as something to dip with, which seemed very strange), jingly music on the stereo, and lots of gab in a mixed crowd of gay/straight/male/female.  It's funny now, but I'm sure I must have looked like one of those goofy bobble-headed dogs:  I remember I spent the entire time either looking up at the ceiling or down at the carpet, so afraid was I of making eye contact with the other guys there.  Whenever I did, by accident, happen to meet another guy's gaze, I blushed right down to my boots.

Yeah.  I was that shy, and that scared.  But I got over it soon enough.  And boy, howdy.

And once again, here I thought life was finally going to straighten out - no pun intended - and run smoothly.  At last, I would be among my own kind; love and happiness would surely follow, right?  Who could have foreseen that just two years later at about the same time of year, the first news of the AIDS epidemic would filter down to us in the provinces; and all the horrors of that decade that followed.  And from a completely different point of view, who could have predicted that I would turn out to be so goddamn lousy at picking lovers/partners?  Or that I would finally finish college and get a real job (starting salary $17,000 ~ $35,000 today, a princely sum after scraping by on three or four thousand a year in college) - but be marooned thereby in a little hick town ninety miles from nowhere, you might say, just as I am now.  (God is such a practical joker.)  Which was as good as being shut away in a monastery.  Well . . . most of the time, anyway.  Certainly it put a great big halt to my social life and sent me right back into the closet for another half decade.

Oh, I can just feel it:  somebody, somewhere is thinking right now, Well gee whiz Russ, why weren't you more proactive, why didn't you take charge of your life, control your destiny, get a job in a big city like Dallas or Atlanta, have lots of dates and sex and friends and lovers, etc., etc. 

Answer:  Come sit a little closer so I can explain while I slap you silly, honey.  When I graduated from college, there was a big recession going on, just like now only it seemed even worse then.  Whole families were pictured on the nightly news, dragging around from one city to another in search of work, living out of a car, mom, dad, kids, baby.  For the first time, homelessness entered the national vocabulary.  Jobs were damn hard to come by; I counted myself very lucky indeed to be chosen for the one I got.  And then, fresh out of school with no professional experience, you feel the need, if you have any damn sense at all, to stay with your first job several years, build up your experience and skills, and get a good resume going.  

And then too, butthead, unlike some golden boys and girls in this world to whom everything seems to come so easily, your Head Trucker was starting from zero, financially, and I mean zero.  I went through college with holes in the soles of my shoes quite often - very ticklish in the wintertime, when your bare skin hits the frozen pavement at every single step - and living on dried beans and cornbread for weeks at a time.  My father was long dead, my mother's business had gone belly up in the previous recession, there was no one around to finance me; and certainly no money to flit around and jet around and live the highlife, gay or otherwise.  It was hard times.

Hell, I didn't even own a car when I got offered the job, had to rent a car just to go for the interview, in another state.  And it was only with great difficulty that I was able to scrape together enough down payment to buy a used car - an old clunker - to go to that job.  And I thought I would starve to death, that long, long first month of employment, waiting on that first paycheck to arrive.  Then when the salary did start coming in, I had to send a sizeable chunk back home every month to support my mom, who had a major stroke a couple of months after I started the job, and was never able to work again.  So there was simply no money left over to be "gay" with or even think about moving for quite a few years.  I just had to hunker down and work my fucking ass off, and do the best I could in that place, in that time.  Alone.  No friends, no family around, and not another gay person in sight.  Just me.  Lots of gay boys I've known couldn't have stood it.  I had to stand it.  And I did.

What I do remember is being amazed after being on the job a year or two, at how my young colleagues, hired at the same time I was, were suddenly able to buy houses - very nice houses - in good neighborhoods, with new cars, and all that sort of thing.  All I could afford, was to rent ($175/month) an old, tiny, one-bedroom, tin-roofed wooden shack down the street from the workplace, hardly big enough to swing a cat in.  (No, it wasn't wonderful to hear the rain on the roof; you couldn't hear anything when it rained, the landlord had stuffed the attic with insulation.  Thank God, or the heat and cold would have been unbearable.  The thin walls were still uninsulated; sometimes ice would form on the inside of the windows in the wintertime.) 

Eventually, by dint of some subtle questioning here and there, it finally dawned on me that my colleagues and their spouses all had affluent mommies and daddies somewhere who gave or lent them the money to make down payments on houses and cars and such.  I never did; I come up the hard way, I've had to work for everything I own.  It's still not much - even illiterate moving men sneer at my old beat-up furniture; but by God it's all paid for, I don't owe nobody a cent, and I pay off my one little credit card in full ever month.

1969 - A real turning point in my life.  This takes us back to the time of that terrible incident that I still can't bring myself to write about.  In fact it just took me five minutes to type that last sentence, which tells you so little about it.  It was actually a series of physical and verbal incidents that began in the fall of that year, and the bullies kept it going until the end of school the next year.  An eight-month-long ordeal.

That whole long time, I lived in daily fear - heart-pounding, sweaty-palmed terror - of being beaten or publicly humiliated.  Called a homo out loud, in front of God and everybody.  Repeatedly.  Before that year, once in a great while somebody would call me a sissy or a mama's boy, but usually in anger that blew over and was quickly forgotten.  Nothing like this:  daily, repeated, deliberate, going-out-of-their-way acts to humilitate and embarrass me at every opportunity.

[Correction: Though in memory it seems that way, these incidents might not have occurred daily in the literal sense, mainly because I learned to be very good at hiding out in places like the library where they couldn't attack me, zooming from one class to another via the shortest possible route, and otherwise avoiding the places they were likely to be. But the ennervating fear I lived in was most certainly a daily ordeal, palpable and unavoidable.]

That was a really big turning point in my life on several levels, and I can't write about them all tonight.  But I'll make this one point for now:  the fall of 1969 was the first time I consciously, with full understanding, put together the words "homosexual" and "me."  Because when these bullies started calling me that every day, I looked inside myself, and realized with a shock - and this is the terrible thing, the thing that did a lot of damage - that I had no defense against them.  I was indeed a homo.  So even though their taunts and cries were rude and hurtful in the extreme - they were true.  I had no mental/emotional defense I could put up in my own mind against their arrows; I was, in actual fact, a queer, a fairy, a pansy, a faggot, everything they said I was.  Cruel as those guys were, they were right.  Absolutely right, I had to admit to myself.  I had no defense.

(And in case you young folks are wondering, no, the Stonewall riots made absolutely no impression in the Deep South.  Nobody down here was really aware of it at the time, if it made the papers at all it would have been a brief mention on a back page.  I don't think I ever heard about it until a couple of years later; all that Gay Lib stuff was something strange, scary, and vague, far away.  Nobody at all was "out" in the South, not in 1969; homosexuality was still just a very dirty word.)

It's funny I've never thought of this before, but the image of St. Sebastian just popped into my mind:  tied to a post, an open, unresisting target for a hundred arrows.  Not being Catholic, it's not an image I've ever spent a lot of time looking at or thinking about.  But I guess that really does portray what it was like to be me at age 14 - no means of resistance, no means of defense, physically (I was the skinny, scrawny kid who liked to read books and was a total pushover in sports or fighting) - or even within the walls of my own mind.  When you can't even find shelter inside your own head, that's a very very bad spot to be in.  It twists you around and changes you.  Bad.

St. Sebastian, suffering the arrows.  I guess that was me, all right.  Though of course if you are a grown man, consciously suffering martyrdom for a righteous cause, you at least have that inward comfort of knowing you are doing the right thing, and some heavenly reward to look forward to.  If you are a terrified, isolated boy effectively trapped in a daily chamber of tortures that have no redemptive purpose whatsoever, the effect is rather different.  It does bad things to you inside, very bad things.

Because I realized not only that I was a homo, but also a very definite coward, and an effeminate Not-Man, as I've tried to write about a couple of times already.  My self-confidence, my self-esteem, were entirely crushed at that delicate stage of adolescence, ground into the dirt under the bullies' heels, with effects that lingered and festered for years, linger in fact down to this very day.

But there was, unknown to me at the time, little scared frightened mouse that I was, a redemptive note in those pangs of suffering after all; an element of moral courage in me, a streak of steel in my soul, that I did not come to realize until many years later.

But I've written and shared all I can for tonight, guys.  I'll pick it up here again soon.  I just have to catch my breath, you know?

Bullshit Alert: Sullivan Skewers Warren

On the anti-gay bill under consideration by Uganda's parliament:
World Leaders Debate Global Issues At Clinton Global InitiativeOne of Rick Warren's (and president George W. Bush's) longtime allies in Uganda, Martin Ssempe, is the author of a classic piece of minority-baiting legislation. Its details belong in the history of genocidal hatred . . . .  This is an act of terror and murder against an already beleaguered minority, and Warren is an accessory to it. As a powerful figure in distributing AIDS funding in Uganda, he cannot bring himself to oppose a law that would condemn someone in a gay relationship to death, and imprison him or her for touching another human being, and inciting a wave of informing on family members and friends and acquaintances in order to terrify a sexual minority. This alleged man of God cannot speak out on this - except to protect his own p.r. His schtick of actually being the nice evangelical - a schtick that got him to Obama's inauguration - is a lie. If he cannot condemn this fascist act of violence against a tiny minority of vulnerable human beings, then his position in this struggle is clear enough. . . .
On Warren's statement, "I never take sides":
He lies. He has taken sides, whenever possible, to stigmatize, demonize and now physically threaten the lives of gay people in his own country and abroad. And his silence on this issue means the deaths of others. Warren needs to come out and condemn this law as evil, which it is. And to stop hiding his own enmeshment with the most virulent forms of fundamentalist hatred under the veil of media-savvy benevolence.

Episcopal Bishop OK's Same-Sex Marriages

From Episcopal Life:
Clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts may now solemnize same-gender marriages.

Bishop M. Thomas Shaw SSJE said in a Nov. 29 statement that he and bishops suffragan Roy Cederholm and Gayle Harris based their decision on the terms of the "generous pastoral response" allowed to the church by Resolution C056 passed by the church's General Convention last July.

The resolution said that bishops, "particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church." The state of Massachusetts, whose eastern counties comprise the diocese, allows same-gender marriage.

"Your bishops understand this to mean for us here in the Diocese of Massachusetts that the clergy of this diocese may, at their discretion, solemnize marriages for all eligible couples, beginning Advent I [November 29]," Shaw wrote, referring to the start of the new church year that day.

Solemnization under Massachusetts law, he added, includes hearing the declaration of consent, pronouncing the marriage and signing the marriage certificate.

The Massachusetts diocesan convention in November had expressed the hope that Shaw would permit clergy to sign marriage licenses and pronounce marriages "for any couple that is legally eligible for marriage in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."

"Christian marriage is a sacramental rite that has evolved in the church, along with confirmation, ordination, penance, and the anointing of the sick, and while it is not necessary for all, it must be open to all as a means of grace and sustenance to our Christian hope," he wrote.

Noting that the Book of Common Prayer's rite of "The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage" may not be used for marriages of same-gender couples because it includes gender-specific language as do the church's canons (Canon I.1.18 and 19), the Massachusetts bishops asked clergy to use other liturgies. They recommended those included in "Pastoral Resources for Province I Episcopal Clergy Ministering to Same-Gender Couples."  [Presumably including such trial liturgies as those developed in 2004 by the Diocese of Vermont.]

Shaw said clergy must also follow all of the canonical requirements for marriage and re-marriage. The bishop said "any member of the clergy may decline to solemnize any marriage," as is currently the case for opposite-gender couples.
The Diocese of Massachusetts includes 190 churches and about 77,000 members; Boston is the see.
This is great news - if you live in Massachusetts.  I'm living in a seceded diocese here in Texas, effectively cut off from all the sacraments; all these gay-affirming developments seem very far away here, almost imaginary.  But I'm glad for my brothers and sisters in New England and elsewhere who are living the dream of equality.

WTF: Gays for Cheney?

Believe it.  Quislings.

Jesus Christ, people.  Is there no Dick too nasty for you guys to suck?

Obama may be less than he claimed to be.  But if this country returned to fascist Republican rule . . . what the hell would we do?

What Happened to Hope and Change?

Mike Signorille reports on a couple of disturbing topics that really make me wonder what the hell goes on in the White House.  First:
Rick Warren, who in the past had ties to the Uganda pastor who helped spearhead legislation that would execute HIV-positive gay men if enacted, will not speak out about the against the legislation, saying that "it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations."

On Meet the Press he said, "As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides." As Newsweek's Lisa Miller points out, this is a guy who called abortion a "holocaust" and who certainly does what he can to stop it in this country and around the world. Surely, he believes, as a self-proclaimed moral leader, that one must speak up against injustice. That is, if he sees state executions of gay men as a true injustice at all -- or at least one that is worth upsetting the apple carts he so neatly set up in Uganda.

And is it a coincidence that the Obama administration -- in which Warren has a fan at the very top -- has not spoken out loudly enough against what's happening in Uganda and that the man who doles out the AIDS dollars -- our taxpayer dollars -- on behalf of the president to Uganda, PEPFAR chief Eric Goosby, says pretty much what Warren says? According to Newsweek.com, Goosby says his job is "not to tell a country how to put forward their legislation."

That has got to be one of the most outrageous things I've heard so far from an Obama official: We're neutral on extermination.
And then this:
A report published on TIME's web site just before the holiday has an explosive bit of information: the chief judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a while back that a lesbian federal employee who reports to him be given federal marriage benefits, and it was actually going to happen until the White House, through the Office of Personnel Management -- headed by openly gay appointee, John Berry -- refused to comply and directed the health insurance carrier of the employee not to proceed. . . .

Now Judge Kozinkski has ordered that OPM stop interfering, demanding last week that the Obama administration comply with his order. . . .  If the Obama administration, which now has less than 30 days to respond, tries to fight this, not only will it undoubtedly cause another (and much bigger, in my opinion) firestorm within the LGBT community, but it's not clear that it actually can fight it, let alone win:
[Judge Kozinski's] order last week demanded that the executive branch reverse course, and gave the Administration 30 days to enroll Golinski's wife as her health-insurance beneficiary. He made clear that if it doesn't, he's ready to use the powers of his court to enforce his decree. University of California law professor Rory Little, a former Justice Department prosecutor and chief of appeals, called the order a "bombshell." "This is like exposing the tip of a huge iceberg that nobody knew even existed," he told TIME. "It's a fascinating question: Do the courts even have the power to do this? Where does it leave things procedurally? Where can the Administration appeal? I think there are five or six lawyers in the [Solicitor General's] office scurrying around right now trying to figure out what to do with this."
And of course, another bombshell here is that the Office of Personnel Management was ordered by the White House to refuse to give a lesbian federal employee her court-ordered rights. John Berry, as head of that office, was thus apparently forced as an openly gay man to deny another gay person, and the LGBT movement itself, of rights, even in the face or a court order.Is this how openly gay appointees must operate within the Obama administration -- not as advocates on behalf of civil rights but rather as lackeys charged with blocking equal rights for their own kind? That, if true, is enormously troubling.
Now, on the one hand, fellas, that last part is a childish question.  When you go to work for an outfit, any outfit, whether you are straight, gay, or extraterrestrial, of course you have to follow the rules and policies of that organization if you expect to keep drawing a paycheck.  And if that gripes your chaps, you need to go find another job.  If you ain't the big boss, you don't get to do and say whatever you think is right:  you take the company's pay, you're a company man, whether it's Wal-Mart or the White House.

On the other hand, what just what the hell does all this say about Obama and his highest advisors, the policymakers? 

God bless Gordon Brown, British Prime Minister, who just this weekend at the big Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting down in Trinidad, "raised concerns" about the draconian anti-gay laws directly with Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.  That's diplomatic talk for telling him he's full of shit.  In an extremely polite way, of course.

Your Head Trucker is also proud to report that Stephen Harper - Canada's Conservative Prime Minister, who tried unsuccessfully to roll back equal marriage in that country three years ago - also talked to Museveni and told the press he finds the anti-gay bill "deplorable."  I'm glad to hear you testify, Brother Harper.

The Advocate reports that the Ugandan embassies of both France and the United States have issued statements condemning the bill.

Ah, but what about our own President - you know, the guy who just won the Nobel Peace Prize?  The fellow the whole world is so in love with right now.  Has he said one fucking word about it?  Will he?

Or is he the kind of nicey-nice, don't-rock-the-boat, I'm-everybody's-friend kind of guy who won't say a goddamn thing until the bodies are already piled shoulder-high?*

While we're on that subect, would it have cost him so much of his precious time - I know, his plate is just so full, what with healthcare, the economy, the war, yada yada yada - but would it really have wrecked his day to speak just one sentence against stripping gays of their civil marriage rights in Maine?

I swear to God, guys, if Obama turns out to be fake and a fraud and a con artist like so many others, I will never, ever believe another sonofabitching politician again as long as I live, not if I live to be a hundred.

I used to say, I was never so disappointed in a man as I was in Bill Clinton.  But this could top even that.

* - Horrifying provisions of the anti-gay bill after the jump.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lovelight: True

The song itself is not one of my favorites, but the pics are pretty cool, and well integrated with the music.

Here's wishing true love finds its way to every one of my Truckbuddies.  Even if you have to lie a little.

Goodnight, guys.

Degenerate Christianism

Andrew Sullivan:
It's staggering really that modern American Christianism supports wealth while Jesus demanded total poverty, fetishizes family while Jesus left his and urged his followers to abandon wives, husbands and children, champions politics while Jesus said his kingdom was emphatically not of this world, defends religious war where Jesus sought always peace, and backs torture, which is what the Romans did to Jesus.

At some point these charlatans need to be chased out of the temple. Which these days means the Republican party.

Sunday Drive: You Are No Accident

christ love your neighbor as yourself Pictures, Images and Photos

Father Geoff Farrow:
The Prophet Jeremiah says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” and “before you were born, I consecrated you” (Jeremiah 1: 5.) Do you believe that about yourself? Do you believe that you are not “an accident” that your life has value and purpose? You are unique, gifted with a combination of talents, intellect; life experiences and attributes which no one else on earth possesses.

The two commandments [i.e., love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself], which Jesus teaches his disciples, serve to integrate us. First with our self. First, we must appreciate that we are created by a God who is love, a God who does not make mistakes, and a God who does not make trash. You are not defective, you are not disordered, and you are not deformed. Your gender, your eye color, the pigmentation of your skin, your intellect, and your sexual orientation is all willed by the Creator. You are willed by the Creator and the fact that you live and draw breath at this very moment is willed by the Creator.

The Creator has also created each other person on this earth as well as all other creatures and the planet and cosmos which sustain life. We are part of a larger organic whole. To hurt another person, creature, the planet, etc; is in fact, to hurt you. The consequence of hurtful decisions and choices creates a ripple effect in other lives and in the whole of the created order.

Once we learn to love and accept our self, we begin to move to greater personal wholeness and integrity within our self. We begin to see and actualize our yet unrealized potential. We begin to learn from errors of judgment. We become more sensitive to the hurts we have caused others and learn to ask for forgiveness and to avoid hurting others in the future.

We learn to become a living reflection of the Creator who is love itself. Who has moved beyond self to create others and me. We begin to see all of the created order and being ordered towards love, towards reintegration, towards potentials, which can only be realized in and through the other.

Sex is designed by God to require us to move beyond the self. If you look at the physical act of sex, it teaches you something of what is suppose to happen between two people in an intimate encounter. You undress, for intimacy to occur between two people it requires you to undress. Not just physically, but also emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. You reveal yourself to the other. Your true self, with all of your strengths and weaknesses. Your hopes/dreams and your fears and what haunts you. You become vulnerable to the other in this moment and they to you and the wonderful occurs when the other accepts you “as is.”
Lovely words, lovely thoughts, Padre. Perhaps I would find it easier to put faith in them if I hadn't spent years listening to these very sentiments being read out from the pulpit already.

And then the preacher turned the page and began, "Do you not know that the effeminate and men who lie with men shall not inherit the kingdom of God? . . ."

Which put the lie to everything he had just said. And left me sitting on the edge of the dark and terrible abyss.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Just Made Love

Okay, so maybe that's just wishful thinking on your Head Trucker's part.

But now you can record all them notches on your bedpost and share the love with the whole wide world.  Find out where people are getting it on today from Greenland to Tahiti here

Pretty cool, I think.  Geez, can't wait to put my little blue thumbtack on that map.

Too bad you can't order it like pizza.  Not out here on the prairie, anyway.

How to Make a Baby

Huh.  So that's how the breeders do it.  Who knew?

How to Make a Baby from Cassidy Curtis on Vimeo.

Mental Health Break: This One's for the Girls

That includes you and me, girlfriend.  I love this song.  Crank it up.

Becoming a Not-Man, part 2

Well, having slept on the idea and mulled it over some more, I've realized that I just don't want to revisit that horrible scene in print.  Even after all these years, it's just too upsetting somehow; maybe another time, but not today.  When I close my eyes and think about it, the time and the place all come back vividly to life, and I'm there once again.  And that was a very bad place to be.

So I'm just going to make some general observations and leave it at that for now.  It's hard to expose one's soul to the world, when it comes to the very deepest gouges, still raw and gaping and unhealed after so long a time.  Back in the 70's and 80's, there was this idea that "therapy" would cure anything and everything, and after I had left the fundamentalist church that drove me nearly to suicide, I clung to the idea of "therapy" with the same fervor I had formerly devoted to religion.

But though both are touted as a panacea that will cure whatever ails you, my experience has been that both are frail reeds on which to lean.  Seven years of Bible-thumping religion and then seventeen years, off and on, of therapy were both abject failures in my particular case.  It may be that the one or the other at different times kept me going over some rough patches in life.  Shipwrecked and adrift in the open sea, you clutch at anything that will keep you afloat, even a stray plank.  But neither one addressed, much less healed, the wound at the center of my being, the wound, the hurt, the tormenting, unremitting pain of not being a man.  A real man.

There.  I said it.  Oh dear God, do you have any idea how hard it has been for me these many years ever to put those words together and express to another person?  Because this is the ultimate shame, is it not, for persons of the male gender - not to be a "real man."  To be effeminate - to be a sissy.  That, nothing cures. 

I hasten to add, I'm not talking about being some kind of transsexual - though I can sympathize in general terms with those folks, and I just read today with sadness of the suicide of sportswriter Mike Penner aka Christine Daniels.  Nor am I talking about any physiological oddity; all the parts are there and in good working order, trust me - though alas, at this late date subject like all other parts of the body to the creeping, damnable infirmities that come with age.

No, I'm talking about being an ordinary little gay boy who was a sissy and still is, and though he has learned through years and years of imitation and practice to more or less "butch it up" in public, still feels utterly lacking inside of some essential "manly" quality.  Though time has softened the ache deep within - time does not heal every wound; some it simply wraps in bandages - it's still there, tender and throbbing if I uncover it.  So after I tell my story, for whatever it's worth, I ask you to be gentle in your responses.

I've told this story - with halting words, many tears, gasping for breath - to a dozen people over the years, and it was extremely hard to do each time.  It would be easier to admit to murder, rape, or theft than to admit to not being a man.  Most of those people were therapists of one stripe or another; a few were very close friends.  

And not one of them - not one of them, even the so-called professionals - was able to understand, to fully grasp what I was telling them.  The uniform response from all of them, even close friends who had more opportunity to know me in depth than some therapists, was either:  a) oh, that's not true; or b) that doesn't matter.

But it is true, and it does matter.  Terribly.

To have this gaping hole at the center of your being.  Bridge out.  No passage.  To feel forever incomplete, disconnected, impaired and imperfect deep inside:  like the Scarecrow with the stuffing knocked out of him.

That is what it's like to be a Not-Man.  To be some other kind of being, in a world where only being a Man is valid and admissible. 

That's what it's like to be me.

Okay, I have to take a break now, guys.  This is some hard shit to write.  I'll try to continue later.

Becoming a Not-Man, part 1

FdeF's posts that I linked to yesterday, about growing up gay and terrified by the Church are spurring me to get around to sharing a bit of my history I've been thinking about doing for some time.  I hesitate, first because it's painful to revisit scenes of cruelty and torment in one's life. 

And second, because I really don't want to have to slap some silly-ass, smart-aleck anonymous commenter who might drop in and proceed to preen themselves by telling me exactly where I went wrong in my life, and why, and how, and how much better, oh so much better, they have done, would do, could do, will do.  But I suppose that's the risk you take with blogging.

Anyway, I want to share my story with you guys, my Truckbuddies, triffling as it may be in the scheme of the universe, because by sharing our stories we affirm one another's experience, we validate each other's humanity.  And then too, it's important to tell these stories as a witness to the world, a record for posterity.  To speak the truth, in a world where lies too often inundate and suppress it.

So for whatever it's worth, I'll try to share what was the crucial, defining experience of my life, still to this day.  I'm sure it's pretty much the same story millions of other gay men can tell; this is just my particular edition of it.  If it speaks to you and your experience, I'm glad.  If you're just passing through the Blue Truck, and the story doesn't grab you, and you think you can tell a better one, why then you just keep right on going, buddy, and write your own blog - but don't piss on mine.

This may take several posts.  It's really too late at night here to embark on the whole thing.  So for right now, as a starting point I'm going to post a short selection from a fine book, Becoming a Man (1992), by Paul Monette.  The first half of the book, talking about his growing-up experiences in Massachusetts in the early 1960's, I think most gay men can relate to.  The second half is more about his early literary career, which to me is not quite as interesting.  But Monette is a powerful writer - whose voice is now sadly silent.

Here's the little passage that will serve as an epigraph to my story, just two pages:

The passage ends:  ". . . how sick with confused desire, the carnal thrill of degradation.  The only reality lesson in it for me was not to be recognizably Other."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Afternoon Drive: Passionate Kisses

Mary Chapin Carpenter is my favorite female singer:  an American classic. 

Y'all have a good one, see you down the road.

Gay Twins

Interesting stuff.  Take note, however, that nothing is as yet proven:  pay attention to all the times "may" and "might" are used.

And in any case, whatever the ultimate "cause" of gayness is, even when we find out - does it really, truly matter?  We are human beings.  We live, we love, we laugh, we work; we have our particular contribution to give to the life of the world.  Like every other mother's son on this planet.

Beyond that, what else matters?  Every flower that blooms adds its small touch of beauty to the world before it withers into dust.  Every bird arcing through the sky has its little song to sing before it falls, as it must one day, to earth.

Life is short.  We are all given a moment out of eternity to live and bloom and sing our song before we return to dust.  Science and knowledge are important, don't mistake me; but even more important is to live a decent, compassionate, unselfish life in the concert of humanity.

To add our warbled note, however tiny, however frail, to the beautiful, mysterious aria of Love that proceeds from the heart of things:  that's why we're here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

All Good Boys Go to Hell

Truckbuddy FdeF has written a fine series of moving posts about the religious terrors and tortures of growing up gay in a hateful, homophobic church.  Your Head Trucker was never a Catholic but I was and am a sissy boy; FdeF sounds like my twin.  Go read

An excerpt:
Until then, being a sissy meant that I might be a failure in gym class but I could at least be a relatively good Catholic boy. Learn prayers in Latin, imitate the Saints, turn the other cheek. But it became more and more inescapable that who I was, was among the most despised, vile and hated of humans, to be rejected, not pitied. Who I was, deep inside, was a sin. It was not just my sexual release that was sinful; it was my very identity, my being, which was unforgivable.

My religion was singling me out, making me sit on the bench when everyone else was in the game. My religion may as well have been calling me a faggot and making damn certain that everyone knew it. I was unforgivable and pathetic. I could not not sin. I had only a vague sense of this fusion identity; it was like telling a lefty that it was a sin to do anything with the left hand and expecting him or her to be just like all the righties. This reality began to resonate to my very core, referencing every perception, experience, thought.
Can you relate?

Silence Equals Death

David Mixner:
Not since Matthew Shepard was crucified on a fence in Wyoming has there been such a brutal hate crime as the recent one in Puerto Rico. Young, handsome and vibrant [Jorge] Steven Lopez Mercado was vicious killed, decapitated, dismembered, set afire and left like garbage along a road.  He was only 19 years old and from family reports was one of the most kind, thoughtful and humorous teenagers around. Sunday, thousands around the country held vigils in his memory determined that this not just be one more horrific hate crime chalked up on some cold statistic chart. . . .

As established institutions such as the Catholic and Morman churches have escalated their rhetoric and actions in order to stop civil marriage equality, their words have fallen on disturbed minds. When careless words are thrown around in order to prove a personal religious viewpoint, they have consequences. . . .

Of course they will throw up their hands and proclaim loudly that their spiteful words had no impact on the increase in particularly brutal hate crimes. After all, they love the sinner but hate the sin. Gandhi said that we have to measure our words as much as our actions. . . .

Equally disturbing is the lack of outrage from the straight community. Where is the Conference of Catholic Bishops condemning the death of this young teenager in Puerto Rico? Where are the Cardinals and Bishops as more and more young die horrible deaths because of hate? Where are the Mormans at the vigils in honor of young Mercado? Where are they? Where is their leadership? After all, if they have no responsibility for the deaths, then they certainly have the responsibility to speak out against such outrages.

Just in case those religious leaders who are forceful in their words against marriage equality didn't know, silence equals death and more death and more death.
What I say:  If you take your Bible straight out of the bottle, the inescapable conclusion from Leviticus and the Pauline letters is that gay people have no right to exist.  The plain meaning of the words cannot be any clearer:  "they shall be put to death"  . . .  "they will not inherit the Kingdom of God." 
Just trash.  Disposable.  Forgettable. 

No matter how kind,  how good, how talented, how intelligent, how selfless they might be.  None of that counts, none of that matters.  They are still just the turds of the human race.  So the Bible says.
Sullivan quotes some blogger whose ideas ultimately come from the same place:  gay unions are "a relationship based upon a sexual act which can never rise above entertainment."  Notice how that statement denies us any share whatsoever in humanity:  all our lives and all our works and all our loves are boiled down, reduced to mere sex; and that sex is worth less to the world than a dog's.
Now I know some of my gay brothers and sisters have found ingenious ways to interpret the Scriptures in a gay-friendly way - and God knows, like Jacob with the angel, I wrestled and struggled a long, long time with all that myself.  But lexicons and grammars and creative etymology aside, there is not the slightest bit of evidence that down through all the long centuries of belief, the Jewish or the Christian communities ever once granted gay people any breathing room, a place to stand, a miniscule hope of approval or tolerance, let alone acceptance. 
Until the modern gay rights movement began forty years ago, we have always been on the taboo list.  But Jews and Christians alike have, over the last century or so, found ways to reconcile their faith with the idea that women are not mere appendages and subordinates to men; also, with scientific discoveries about the creation and operation of the universe; and also, with the equal rights and dignity of non-white, non-European peoples.
And certainly, the Scriptural taboos against premarital sex and divorce, as well as some churches' teachings about contraception and abortion, straight people have merrily discarded or ignore at will.  If you brought the Scriptural prohibitions up to them on these matters, they would laugh and say, Oh well, after all, you can't expect us modern-day people to live according to those outdated, antiquated rules.  Hmm, how very convenient their thinking is, when it suits their purpose.  They ignore or reinterpret the Bible just as they please.
So they can damn well drop all the bullshit preaching against gay people too.  We have a life to live, and a right to live, just as much as any other human beings on this planet.  There is nothing intrinsically evil about loving the same sex; it's just one more happy variation of human existence, a very natural and normal part of the glorious multiform variety of life:  as much so as all the different kinds and colors of flowers, trees, and animals.

And yet those horrible, life-denying scriptures and sermons create, have long created, a poisonous atmosphere and prejudice against us:  when it all trickles down into the minds of the ignorant and violent, it literally kills us.
No more.  I used to think, Well I have to respect someone else's sincere religious convictions.  No.  Gays are hanged in places like Iran, or hunted down by gangs to be tortured to death in the most gruesome ways:  all of which is based on sincere religious convictions.  Punks and thugs who bash and murder gays in the West may not be consciously religious - but their hatred and viciousness is a direct outgrowth of the churches' antagonism towards us all these many centuries.
When Europeans began to colonize the New World, the native populations were hunted down, slaughtered, or stripped of their wealth and culture, turned into slaves and serfs, all in the name of God; "Holy" popes and "Most Christian" kings directed, authorized, and approved all that.  In the English colonies, the Church of England and others were very, very late coming to the anti-slavery side; by their silence and tacit approval, they encouraged the enormous misery of the slave trade for a couple of centuries. 
Until finally some decent-minded church people - not the leadership, oh no - of good conscience and clear vision stood up and said, No more.  This is wrong.  All men are brothers.  Nobody should be treated this way.  Enough.
Now, in our time, is the moment to say about gays and all the other "queer," unwanted, untolerated folk:  Enough.  No more hate.  No more death.  No more silence.
Nobody gets a pass anymore on the excuse, Oh well that's my belief, that's what I was taught, that's how I was raised.
Churches in the Southern United States with few exceptions actively supported slavery and preached in favor of it until the Civil War finally settled the matter for good.  Bible-believing Christians all over the South in my childhood stood on Scripture in their defense of segregation, with many solid arguments taken right out of the Bible.  But that kind of thinking, even if it were built on a mountain of Bibles, is simply no longer respected, no longer accepted, by any decent-minded person.  No more so than the idea that the world is flat. 

Granny may have waved her fan and harrumphed and heaved her lace-covered bosom over the idea that the "niggers" were going to the same Heaven she was so sure of entering.  But no matter how pious and proud and prayerful Granny was, she was just dead fucking wrong on the subject.
And so are the hateful homophobes running some churches today, about the gay thing.  You buddy boys were wrong about the blacks, you were wrong about women, you were wrong about native Americans - and you are so damn wrong about the gays. 
And if there is a God, you will stand in judgment for all the death and destruction and hate you've caused, if you don't sincerely repent.  You want me to quote you chapter and verse on that?

And even if there is no God, who the fuck are you to rain on my parade, piss on my life, deny me the same liberty and happiness you enjoy?  Fuck you, and your nasty little handpuppet-god too. 

The greatest sin is to look another human being in the face and say, "You are not human, you are no part of me, you have no right to exist."  Those who do - in the name of God - are drawing damnation down upon themselves, and nobody else.

"With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."  "What you have done to the least of these my brothers, you have done to Me."  "Judge not, that ye be not judged."

What goes around, comes around.

Waitin' for the Weekend

Rafael Monteiro

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Table Manners

Do you get into difficulties at the dinner table?  Are your parties ruined by worry, doubt, and confusion?  Do you know how to eat correctly?  Are you positive about that?

Better brush up on the old ettykit before the big feed tomorrow, boys.  You don't want to embarrass Mother and Dad in front of company, do you?

Jeezus Kerr-ist, what a freakin guilt trip.

Golly Gee, It's Thanksgiving

What to do if there's no turkey on the table tomorrow?  Just count your blessings: free books from the library, hot water from a tap, bill collectors knocking at the door . . . .

Produced in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1951 with nonprofessional actors.  And it shows.

Malia and Sasha Foil Dad's Plan



Obama hosts Indian Prime Minister Singh for State Dinner at White House

Michelle done us all proud at the Obamas' first state dinner Tuesday, in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur.

Nice to see the First Lady in something besides basic black.  Even as a gay man, I have to say fellas - she's a knockout.  Don't you agree?

BTW, a sign of the times:  among other prominent Indian-Americans invited to the dinner were lesbian activist Urvashi Vaid and her partner, comedian Kate Clinton.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What She's Really Like

One of Sullivan's readers explains why not nearly as many women like Palin as the men do:
Sarah Palin - 'Going Rogue: An American Life' SigningSarah Palin is the peppy cheerleader in high school all the boys thought was so sweet but the girls knew was really a vicious shrew. She's the new girl in the office who wears tight shirts and three-inch heels, is super-friendly to her male superiors, ignores the other women, and gets promoted sooner than her more capable and hard working peers. She's the outgoing PTA mom all of the other women are scared to cross because they will find themselves put on the worst committees. Only a woman knows how to give another woman a sweet smile and at the same time cut her down to size with an artfully crafted "compliment" without male observers having a clue about what just happened. It's like a dog whistle.
Um . . . ya know guys, I clued in on every single bit of that the very first time I saw the bitch.  

Does that make me a woman too?

This Damn Decade

In seven minutes, from Newsweek. 

Damn, what a fucking ride, huh?

Honk to Truckbuddy rptrcub.

Memo to Adam Lambert

You're not helping, shithead.

2009 American Music Awards - Show


 2009 American Music Awards - Show

Every mother's nightmare of what the horrible gays would be like if unloosed from their pen.  Thanks a lot, fucker.

You have a tremendous talent, and you're a fantastic showman.  And somewhere beneath the glitter and the mascara is a handsome man.  But all you can think to do is doll yourself up like a creep from a nighmare freak show, and be as gross as possible on nationwide television.

If you were doing a stage act in a gay nightclub, that might be different, though I wouldn't pay to watch you.  I prefer my porn straight out of the bottle and undiluted, thank you.

There's millions of people out there in big cities and small towns who also have talent but will never, ever get the breaks you've gotten.  And there's millions more people who would love to have a truly stellar example of gay talent to look up to and point to.  But little boy, you're just peeing on the carpet because you can.  I don't know who your daddy is, but he ought to set you down for a good talking - and a swift kick in the ass.

You would do well to man up and put that enormous talent to better use.  All you really need on stage is a white shirt, blue jeans, and microphone - and you could have the whole damn world at your feet every time you open your mouth and sing.  But you don't have the guts to do that.

Because the dirty little secret you think nobody knows is that you don't have enough confidence in your own talent - you think you have to use sex to sell yourself.  Buddy, you are so wrong, and I hope you find that out real quick.

Because if you want to end up as another hopelessly fucked-up, dead-early tragedy like others we could name - you're succeeding, big time.

Just an old country boy's thoughts - somebody who would like to admire you.  But doesn't.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Strong Enough

Your Head Trucker has just survived possibly the worst weekend of his life:  I'll spare you the gory details, it's just too gruesome.  All I can say is, whatever this bug is that hit me, it was a strong man.  But your Head Trucker, no candy-ass city boy, comes from a long line of good strong pioneer blood, and is happy to report that he was strong enough to prevail against the foe, and by the old-fashioned method:  sweating it out. 

(You young'uns don't know anything about that; you think you have to run to the doctor for some pretty little pills every time you have a pain or ache.  What do you think cowboys and country people did before there were pretty little pills, and a doctor on every street corner - or even paved streets?  Ask your grandmother.)

The proof being, I'm still alive and able to write these words to you this morning; though there was a time or two, all alone here, half-delirious with fever, running off from every outlet and seriously dehydrated, the outcome did seem a bit doubtful - but at those moments, you are so goddamn sick you don't really much care what the outcome is.

I'm still too shaky to work or concentrate for very long, but it seemed the crisis had passed by late yesterday afternoon, and I was able to eat (and retain) some solid food for the first time about 1 o'clock this morning.  The good news is, in four days I've lost 10 pounds; though I can't really recommend that as a diet plan. 

No pictures:  it would fracture your screen to show you my haggard, wild-eyed face after this ordeal.  So blogging may be light till I get my strength back but I'm okay.  Hope you guys are having a good week and preparing for a happy turkey day.

Here's Cher singing my motto for the week.  Skip the goofy visuals, just enjoy the music and the thought.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lovelight: Now and Forever

Goodnight, guys.

River of Denial

Sullivan quotes from a letter written by a fellow Texan to President Johnson just two days after President Kennedy's assassination - of which today is the 46th anniversary (emphasis mine):
There is a virus of disrespect and hate spreading here very rapidly. And unless one lives right here with it, day in and day out, it is unbelievable how quickly and subtly it infects reasonably intelligent persons. This is not too hard to understand only if one recognizes the unremitting, deep, bitter religious and racial prejudice existing today in this section of our land — I don’t know if any of them are similarly infected in other sections, but I know personally of what I speak as regards East Texas.

In fact, although nearly every one indignantly denies having any racial or religious prejudice to the point where he deceives even himself in this matter, after listening seriously to protestations of horror and shock one can almost hear a collective sigh in essence, "Too bad he had to die but after all a Catholic is no longer in the White House and this ought to set the 'niggers' back on their heels for awhile!" It is painful to some of us I know to give credence to such a condition so we blind ourselves and blame a mentally confused person — forgetting in our desire to remove the blame from ourselves that where religious and racial prejudice prevails, not just the killer but all are mentally confused.
The first sentence of the second paragraph confirms what I've been telling you boys in my posts about the segregated South I grew up in:  millions of otherwise decent, respectable people - my own family, for example - were in serious denial about their prejudice and its roots in hatred.  And completely unwilling to examine their thinking or their behavior.  In fact, that, you might say, is the history of the South:  ever since the first slaves were brought to Jamestown about 1614, the long, long windings of the dark river, the tragic story of master and slave, us versus them.

If it had been left up to a popular vote in the Southern states in the 1960's, not a single one of them would have passed civil rights laws, and especially interracial marriage.  I guarantee you.  I'm not sure those things would ever have been passed at the ballot box down to this very day.

Yet this same Southern land is the most religious in the country, speckled with churches, piled up with Bibles. So proud to be Christians and Americans.

The human ability to deceive oneself, to ignore one's true motives, is powerful:  and that is where the human capacity for evil begins.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Not the Full Johnston

The leaked set of Levi's Playgirl pics.  Doesn't do much for me, but what do you guys think?

Contest Winner

Your Head Trucker is pretty knocked out with a heavy cold this weekend, so blogging may be light in the Blue Truck.

But I did want to award the prize for last week's contest, which goes to David of Midwestern Malaise.  For getting all the answers right, David wins a set of really big screws:

Nuts included.  Enjoy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Film Buffs, Take Note

Timothy Bottoms and Cloris Leachman in The Last Picture Show, 1971

Your Head Trucker is happy to recommend a new blog by Truckbuddy Marty from the UK:  Film-Daily, which focuses on American and European cinema, as well as film history and world film festivals.  It's a pretty cool site if you're into movies, go give it a try.  Tell him Russ sent you.

Open Thread Friday: Thanksgiving

First there's the trip, then the relatives you're glad to see, then the other relatives, then the turkey and dressing, then the shopping, then the pooping out and the long trip home.

What's the gayest thing you're going to do next week?

Today's Quote: Not in My Throat

Sullivan and others have posted this around the blogosphere already, but it's worth reposting here:
"I meet with the gays here and there. They were in my house two weeks ago. I don’t mind gays. But I don’t want ‘em stuffing it down my throat all the time," - Utah Senator Chris Buttars, explaining his opposition to allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.
Have you noticed how very often this "stuff-down-my-throat" metaphor is used by straight guys when they are ranting against the gays?

Are they all really so clueless not see what this metaphor reveals about their deepest fears - or fantasies?  Hello?

Hilarious, if you ask me.

BTW, the patronizing remark about "they were in my house" reminds me very strongly of the Louisiana judge a few weeks ago who refused to marry an interracial couple - "but I have nothing against black people, I let them use my toilet."

That plantation mentality is like, so last century, ya know?  Whether about the blacks or about the gays.

Afternoon Drive: Cowboy Love

Need some cowboy lovin' this weekend? Well pony up, boys, and take your pick from this lineup . . . .

BTW guys, I just found out how to make my own music vids online.  Okay, okay, I know y'all are saying, "Well duh, Russ . . . ."

But hell, nobody tells me a fucking thing out here in BFE, ya know?  First attempt is not so great, but I'll work on it for next time. . . .

Sign the Uganda Petition

Encouraged by some U.S. evangelical preachers, the parliament of Uganda is poised to enact in January a draconian anti-gay law that some think could lead to a wholesale slaughter of LGBT folk in that country, where homosexual activity is already punished with life imprisonment.  The new law would:
  • Extend the definition of prosecutable homosexuality from sexual activity to merely “touch[ing] another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.”
  • Create a new category of “aggravated homosexuality” which provides for the death penalty for “repeat offenders” and for cases where the individual is HIV-positive.
  • Criminalize all speech and peaceful assembly for those who defend LGBT Ugandans with fines and imprisonment of between five and seven years.
  • Criminalize the act of obtaining a same-sex marriage abroad with lifetime imprisonment.
  • Add a clause which forces friends or family members to report LGBT persons to police within 24 hours of learning about the individual’s homosexuality or face fines or imprisonment of up to three years.
  • Add extra-territorial and extradition provisions, allowing Uganda to prosecute LGBT Ugandans living abroad.
As Integrity USA, the advocacy group for LGBT Episcopalians, says,
The new bill would outlaw Integrity Uganda and would put clergy, physicians and relatives who support their gay and lesbian neighbors and family members at risk for severe fines and possible imprisonment. The proposed law may mean neighbors who do not inform on each other for supporting LGBT civil rights are subject to punishment. We have not seen such a draconian system of isolation and institutional rejection of a minority community in Uganda since the anti-Jewish laws passed by the Third Reich.
Truth Wins Out has several articles detailing the situation in Uganda.  Only a handful of countries and churches outside Uganda have condemned the proposed law. 
If you're a churchgoer, why not ask what your church leaders are doing about this evil, murderous law - which is supported by the Ugandan Muslim Supreme Council, as well as the Orthodox, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist and Anglican churches in Uganda. 

And please sign the petition to religious leaders in Uganda; I have.

Warning: We Know What You Did

Couple things I've recently learned, and want to share with my Truckbuddies as a warning.

First, can you be fired from your job for posting an anonymous sexual comment online?

Yup.  It's just happened to a guy in Missouri.

Second, can somebody look up all the comments you've ever made online?

Apparently so.  Check out this Backtype website I just came across.  Type your screen name into the search box and see what pulls up.

Who knew? 


Probly there's even more ways to dig up everything you've said and done online that this country boy doesn't have any clue about.  So I'm thinking maybe starting up my Toolbox site under the same screen name wasn't such a great idea.

Well guys, think about your own cyberlife and act accordingly.  You have been warned.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Imaginary Playmate

Sarah Palin Launches Book Tour For Her Memoir, The mind of Sarah Palin is just too bizarre to figure out.  After trying to make sense of her autobiography, even the brilliant Andrew Sullivan has thrown up his hands:
I thought there might be some new facts in here that would illuminate my confusion and dispel the whole thing.

There is, rather, more barely-credible myth-making and descriptions of actions taken that really make no sense even on their own terms. But since we now know that Palin tells odd lies all the time even when she doesn't have to, we cannot hold her to common sense readings. The story she tells is largely incredible if you assume a rational actor at the center of it. But we do not have a rational actor in the center of it; we have an unbalanced, delusional, ambitious fanatic whose relationship to reality is entirely instrumental and can change from minute to minute. And so we cannot even say: that doesn't make sense so it probably isn't true. With Palin, anything is possible her world is so imaginary and magical. Much that makes sense with others may not make sense with her. And without external evidence, how can we tell which is which?
Clever women from Cleopatra on down have known that boobs and bravado will take you a long, long way:  as Mae West used to say, "Five will get you ten if you know how to work it."  She wasn't talking about the stock market. 

Which is, IMO, why Sullivan calls Palin "one of the most dangerous demagogues this country has seen in a long time."  Those straight boys would follow her anywhere.

But a new thought just occurred to me - isn't Palin the closest thing to a comic book/video game character you've ever seen in the flesh?  Trailing starbursts all the way . . . .

At Least Dolly Loves Us

Dolly Parton Live in London promotion

The Advocate reports on Dolly's chat with Joy Behar last week:

“Would you say that you are pro–gay marriage?” asked Behar, noting that Parton’s background might suggest otherwise.

“I know that’s true,” acknowledged Parton. “I always say, ‘Sure, why can’t they get married? They should suffer like the rest of us do.’”

Dolly also didn't think much of Houston megachurch pastor Joel Osteen's recent remark that gays are "not God's best work."

On why so many gays are fans of hers:  "I think they know I'm different too, and it took me a long time to be accepted also."

Video clip of Joy and Dolly here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Because of Who You Are

Last week, Sullivan had just this one criticism about the President's magnificent speech at Arlington on Veterans' Day:

It is not a right, military service. But it is transformative of a citizen's place in the world. We rightly see servicemembers as special - because they make possible everything else. Without defense, we would have no secure country. And without citizens prepared to risk their lives, we would have no defense. And when a country says that one section of its own citizenry is barred from service simply because of who they are, even though they may be fine soldiers, it is saying a very clear thing to them:

You are not real Americans. This is not your country. Because of who you are, you must take an observer's role in the defense of your own country. More to the point, if we discover that you are in the ranks, we will expel you. We will do this to you at any time, even if you have served honorably for years. We will strip you of your pension. We will allow anyone to expose you. And even if your skills - like fluent Arabic - are desperately needed, you are so repulsive to the military, and so disruptive to its cohesion, that we will throw you out anyway. There is nothing you can do to avoid this. There is no act heroic enough to overcome this. There is no record good enough to avoid it. You are beneath this ultimate act of citizenship because of who you are.

The sad truth, then, is that the president was wrong yesterday. When he said
We are a nation that is dedicated to the proposition that all men and women are created equal. We live that truth within our military,
he misspoke. We do not live that truth. We betray it.

And there are some Americans whose open, proud chance for glory is yet to come.

Guys, after all these years I'm tired as hell of being treated like a third-class citizen - the scum of the earth - in my own country.  Aren't you?

Radio Silence at the Daily Dish

Uncharacteristically, the wire has gone dead as Sullivan & Co. try to make sense of Palin's book, Going Rogue:
This is only the second time in its nearly ten-year history that the Dish has gone silent. The reason now is the same as the reason then. When dealing with a delusional fantasist like Sarah Palin, it takes time to absorb and make sense of the various competing narratives that she tells about her life. There are so many fabrications and delusions in the book, mixed in with facts, that just making sense of it - and comparing it with objective reality as we know it, and the subjective reality she has previously provided - is a bewildering task. . . .

There is a possibility here of such a huge scandal that we would be crazy not to take our time either to debunk it or move it forward for further examination.
Even without reading the book, it's always been obvious that she just makes shit up; and then can't keep her stories straight.  Sullivan has been on her case from day one, and it will be very interesting to see the results of his analysis.

Sullivan also explains the results of a survey that shows significantly fewer women than men have a favorable opinion of Palin:
Because they are not blinded by starbursts. Women always saw through Palin in ways that men didn't. That was most evident in the vice-presidential debate. Because many (straight) men found it hard to see past the boobs. Let's face it: if Palin looked like Golda Meir, there's no chance McCain would have picked her. And no one would currently give a damn. She is the Carrie Prejean of politics; and like the Ailes-tested fembots on Fox News. Women are not so dumb as to buy it. Men: well we all know what our weak spot is. We do not always think with our heads.
No shit, Sullivan.  At least not with our big heads.

Meanwhile, Baby Daddy Levi has this to say about his not-quite ex-mother-in-law's lies:
I just look at her in disgust. ... It's almost funny, that she's like, 46 years old, and she's battling a 19 year old, and I'm winning. And I'm telling the truth. She's lying and losing. ... If you look at her face, she's got -- she's really -- you can tell her mind's going 100 miles an hour when Oprah asked her those Levi questions. ... I've got a lot more knowledge and credibility than she gives me credit for.
The pics from his Playgirl photo shoot are due to be released this Saturday. I know you fellas just can't wait to see what Alaskan cod looks like . . . but Joe.My.God. says don't get your hopes up for full disclosure.  A teaser shot Joe posted:

Hmm, this just might be worth looking at after all.  Check back on Saturday for your Head Trucker's definitive opinion.
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