Thursday, September 27, 2007

NPR Says Bush Can't Have His Lapdog

You gotta love it when a media organization refuses to let Bush be interviewed by his hand-picked lapdog who also works for Fox News.

That's apparently what happened when Bush wanted to spout some pablum in commemoration of the Little Rock Nine, but only to his favorite NPR reporter Juan Williams. I say, way to go NPR.

Juan Williams was, of course, shocked and appalled. He ended up getting it situated so that he could "interview" Bush about race relations in America on the Fox News network. I didn't watch the interview because I've been there before, and it makes my blood boil. I have heard Williams interview administration officials for years, and I'm always screaming at the radio. He asks softballs if he even poses questions. He'll sit there with draft-deferring murderer Cheney and talk to him like he's an actual human being with a heart who isn't hell-bent on deceiving the world. Despite my cries of "Ask him this, Juan. Ask him that, Juan! But what about issue X, Mr. Vice President!"

Williams said he was disappointed because he has experience with race relations. Yes, he has. He's a nice, safe, token on Fox News. (I'm not saying Juan Williams is a token period--he is a respected journalist, hence his stature on NPR. However, we all know Fox wouldn't have him if he were not milquetoast who makes them look more diverse. C'mon, the best thing Fox has in terms of anyone not rabidly right wing is Alan Colmes!) He further went on to add that he's often critical of the Bush administration when he's on the talking head show on Fox. Yes, he is in that capacity, editorializing and holding the place of someone who's not Bill O'Reilly level crazy.

But when he's reporting, Juan Williams wants to have his cock and suck it too if it's with a member of these fascists. I'm thrilled NPR took a stand.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Iraq Vet Says Medals are Bogus

I just read this great story about how an Iraq veteran is returning some medals he got as a result of his service in Iraq because he doesn't believe he did what the medals credit him for. Interestingly, it's in the Army Times. I've been frequently surprised that these military sites sometimes have the most damning stuff about the Bush administration that I see; they won't let them blog and cherry-pick the dumb chest-beaters for the photo ops, but somehow the military community manages to keep themselves abreast of developments.

Josh Gaines, 27, plans to mail the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and National Defense Service Medal to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He said he will do so during a protest scheduled for Wednesday in Madison.

“I’m going to give those back because I truly feel that I did not defend my nation and I did not help with the Global War on Terrorism,” said Gaines, who lives in Madison. “If anything, this conflict has bred more terrorism in the Middle East.”

I really admire someone who would make such a statement. While I agree with Mr. Gaines that he did not defend us, actually, or help with the so-called Global War on a Tactic. (Which I've always felt was a bit ironic--global war on terrorism, a canard created by an administration terrorizing American citizens nonstop since 9/11. The war is on a tactic that's the only trick in their bag--well, aside from voter fraud and those sorts of things.)

I've gone through a lot of personal growth since 9/11 with regard to servicemen. I grew up in an Air Force town, and never had much affinity for the military. I don't get into authoritarianism or chest-beating, uniforms, warfare--and I'm gay. My response to military personnel and their fans was always along the lines of "you're not doing anything for me, so I don't owe you anything. You chose to have a job that always had your kind better off than my hard-working family with the benefits and the housing and early retirement. You're not doing me any favors and you don't like my kind, so I could not care less about your "service"."

Since then, though, I've really come to respect and appreciate the members of the armed forces. I always draw a distinction between the soldiers and the people who've used them as pawns, sacrificing thousands (coming up on four thousand) of their lives in the process. The idea that they have not actually protected the "homeland" (which is, by the way, a very Nazi sounding way to describe our country), though, and that they are not actually keeping us or making us safer is a tough sell. I don't want to insult people who signed on to do that and were sent into hell for oil instead. I don't want to demean the intelligence of people who have to cling to something in order to survive the ordeal in Iraq.

Meanwhile, though, I was taught to believe that you don't repeat lies, that you speak truth to power. When I studied race in America during college, I came to believe that if you permit those around you to be racist, for example, you are perpetuating the system. So I don't want to remain silent, nor do I wish to insult folks.

My practice, when I encounter members of or supporters of the armed services, has been to thank them for making themselves available to risk their lives for all of us, but to qualify that by saying I don't believe they've actually done anything for us--but I don't hold them responsible for their having been sent to do something so contrary to their purposes; that's a vitriol I reserve for the lying chickenhawks in the current regime. (And, truth be told, I am working with that vitriol--I believe, as I heard Alice Walker say of the soulless bastards who run the country, that the best thing to do is to wish them loving kindness because there's no way they're at peace now, or will ever be. Just look at their photos: people like Giuliani, Rumsfeld, Chertoff (I know Giuliani is only in bed with them at this point, not a part of their "administration" per se.) look like their souls have been sucked from their bodies. They're all dollar signs in dead eyes.)

Meanwhile, though, if I did spend a year in hell under the impression that I was doing what I should be doing for my country, I don't know that I'd be man enough to make a statement so strong as this guy by returning my medals.

So, my hat's off to Josh Gaines. I'd like to see that thug George Tenet return his on the basis that it's not worth the materials of which it is composed. Similarly, because his payoff for biting his tongue about whatever really happened on 9/11 was that same worthless medal, Norm Mineta (former Secretary of Transportation) should follow Josh's lead. Ditto Alan Greenspan, who now seems to understand (in a lucrative book) that the fox is running the hen-house, though he pretended that fox was just a cocky rooster at the time. Ditto General Richard B. Myers. You too, Paul Bremer. (The estate of Ronald Reagan can keep his, though, as he's already burning in the fires of hell.)

And once again, thank you, Josh Gaines, for doing what you knew was right and then realizing that you had to do more to make right what you were duped into doing.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Still Heart Britney

[Many thanks to Gilmore over at Pretty On The Outside for his great illustration called Butts Up Britney.]

I totally still love her, y'all! Britney Spears is someone I never thought I'd care for even a little. When she first hit the scene, I was a snooty, post-collegiate hater who turned his nose up at any bubblegum pop. (I was, in fact, so fortunate as to be spared the entire boy band craze, having only learned of that weird historical valley in the intervening years.) Yeah, all the hetero boys I knew were crazy about her, but as far as I was concerned she was a blond chick from Texas who had somehow managed to become a canvas onto which people with actual talent had lavished production value until she was every sleazy old man's favorite schoolgirl fantasy.

I came to appreciate her as a phenomenon. I grew to love the fact that she would move through her choreography in live shows with a look of intense concentration on her face; you could practically feel the eight-counts. First, I realized I was totally hooked on her early hits, then the new ones would come out and I'd like them too. By the time "Toxic" came out, I was a fan of sorts. To see her dancing with that snake doing "I'm a Slave 4 u" at the VMAs was fan-fucking-tastic! Lookee, she can move and shake her hair and pretend to sing and hold a snake all at the same time!

Alas, though, the glory days are on hold. I think she totally could come back whenever she wants to--and in the mean time, bad marriages, dropping babies, horrible clothing, and the unfortunate VMA 2007 performance, the lower the bar so she'll freakin' blow our minds when she's ready.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Blue Friday: " I Want to See It."

[Illustration: Victor Juhasz--Biggo Viggo: Mr. Mortensen fights naked in Eastern Promises. From the New York Observer.]

I just read this great article in the New York Observer called "Members Only." It's about how a new trend in American moving images has men exposed and objectify-able as women have been since Lois Weber's The Hypocrites in 1914. Among other things, the article discusses a new HBO series called Tell Me You Love Me and an upcoming release called Eastern Promises, in which Viggo "Hunk" Mortensen does full frontal (again) in a fight scene.

I've always wondered about the double standard for male versus female nudity. I know, I know: women allegedly aren't as visually stimulates as men, so there's no need to show a man's jewels to sell tickets. Because--like--all moviegoers are straight people. So, maybe this is just a victory for the gays. But I don't think so.

And I don't mean to say that selling tickets is the only reason to show a man nude. I greatly respect David Cronenberg's work--that and Viggo's jewels are going to put this film on my list even though the trailer doesn't really appeal to me. (Unlike certain tween idols, Viggo could certainly bring sexy back if it had ever left--and since Viggo's been around since before such popfluffies were frosting their hair, there is proof that it never left.) Plusly, the conversations Viggo and he had about the nude scene seem to have been artistically motivated. I guess my interest in the topic is not why there is now a market for male nudity in films for whatever reason; I wanna know why there was some unwritten law about male nudity in mainstream films for so long.

Men walk around shirtless all the time. A woman has to wear a bra or something to cover her rack, but a guy can saunter down mainstreet in nothing more than cutoffs all over America. I wonder if it's something about an unwritten code among the men who have traditionally run (everything) Hollywood: don't make him show how wee he is. But even then, you'd think people like Frank Sinatra, rumored to be HUGE, would have pushed to have their business on display when in films.

Whatever the reason, I'm all over this new trend. If every other boy on the street can show plumber's crack or skidmarked boxers, it's high time we see the naughty bits of BOTH sexes when appropriate (or just plain yummy) in American films.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Nessun Dorma

May he rest in peace.

I was considering naming my Oliver after a tenor. The first morning in my house, he woke up (six a.m. on a SUNDAY) and sang me the most beautiful, sad aria. I think it might have even been "Nessun Dorma"--that means "let no one sleep."

Only days later, I hear the sad news in the morning and was moved to tears. Luciano Pavarotti was such a massive example of living life fully, loving passionately, sharing a gift with the world. We have lost someone precious, but fortunately, there's no shortage of archival material.

While I'd initially considered naming Oliver after Juan Diego Florez (because he's the hot new tenor), it became clear on that morning that the world lost Pavarotti that Oliver's middle name would be Luciano.

Maestro, wherever you are now, please know that you are missed and can never be forgotten. Thank you for all you have done.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Fatherhood is immediately transformative. I know he's just a puppy, and that I didn't sire him, but he's my boy now. When I wake up in the morning, I am eager to get out of bed to go provide for my guy’s needs. Moi! Nobody would have seen that coming.

And he has a name, tentatively--I mean, I think I'm going to stick with it, but I'm not engraving it on his sterling silver pet dish just yet.

In this photo, he's showing Daddy what I like to call "waggies." When that little tail gets going, any trouble I have completely disappears. How can one have any negative feelings when such a sweetie is clearly so happy to see you.

I have another photo of him that's one of my favorites as well. I was sitting on the couch yesterday and heard a noise on the other side of the coffee table. I peered over to find Oliver tricking out his carrier-bag. It has a mesh lining that cinches closed to keep the little guy from jumping free or falling out. I only needed to use that on the day I came home with him; usually, I just hook his collar to the mini-leash inside of it. Well, first he was chewing the crud out of the thing, so I sprayed some Bitter Apple (wonder-product) on it. When he realized he couldn't chew it, he started to get creative with how to remove it, trying to yank it out with his paws and teeth, bitter flavor be damned!

I looked at him and said, "What are you up to over there, Little Guy?" and he said, "Me?"

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