Tuesday, December 30, 2008

what a day this has been yesterday was

i haven't written much lately about...oh, anything.

i haven't written about the media still falling all over itself to link obama to the scandal in illinois. or the circus that is the franken/colemen recount in minnesota (think your vote doesn't count? this senate election will likely be won or lost by 50 or so votes.) or the "barack, the magic negro" story continuing to unfold in the race for leadership of the we're just kidding, we like black people! we really do! never mind that we belong to all white country clubs and we tell jokes about negros! republican party.

or...grandma palin.

but now, the christmas party that is blogojevich! has taken an unbelievable turn. blogo appoints a 71 year old african-american man (former illinois attorney general roland burris) to barack obama's senate seat (something he'd promised not to do) and at the announcement, african-american congressman bobby rush asks the senate, the media, et. al. "to not hang, or lynch this man" and deny burris of this appointment.

with those words rush could push race relations in this country backwards two or three steps. here is "the race card" played before anyone could possibly bring up the issue; even before the game has begun. blagojevich, rush, and burris should all be ashamed. but of course, shame is something blagojevich is obviously unfamiliar with.

it will be fascinating to see how the democrats handle this, how the republicans use it against them, and how the media froths in trying to turn it into more trouble for the incoming obama administration. wait, that last part won't be fascinating, it will be sickening! ladies and gentlemen, contessa brewer!

Friday, December 26, 2008

that funny old rnc!

good, light-hearted, political parody? or a racially charged mis-step? you decide.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

what's missing?

for me, this christmas is marked by one particular absence, one particular stocking not hung on the mantel.

new holiday traditions

it just wouldn't be christmas without the aunt barbara christmas special.

how's obama doing?

the answer can be found in the comments section of pretty much any blog post on his transition, his selections for cabinet, his handling of the blagojevich affair, or the choice of warren to read the invocation at his inauguration. some folks on the left are kinda grumpy, and that makes me think the country made the right choice. no pun intended.

old holiday traditions

happy holidays to all...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

rickrolled by the p.e.

have we been rick-rolled by barack obama?

well, sort of. but not astley. warren.

barack obama's choice of rev. rick warren to give the invocation at his inauguration has created a firestorm of noisy opinion from both the left and the right. how can obama invite a man who a) compares same-sex relationships to incest and polygamy, b) believes that not only homosexuals, but jews, catholics, and non-believers are all going to hell, and c) fought vociferously to pass california's proposition 8, to play a significant part in this important event? conversely, how can a pastor who so vehemently opposes abortion rights accept an invitation from a man who vehemently supports them?

not long ago i took part in a fairly in-depth conversation with a friend who is a biblical literalist. believe it or not, i know several folks who share these same beliefs. in a world full of theater folk, liberal upper-west-siders and progressives, i am lucky to have a diverse array of friendships that enrich me, confuse me, and sometimes frustrate me to no end.

this particular conversation turned into a bit of a free-for-all: the original topic had been barack obama and his candidacy for president but, with my guidance i suppose, it shifted to gay civil rights and abortion. (we'd already covered dinosaurs, shellfish, and the great sea monsters.)

i was and remain convinced that the way to move the bar forward on gay civil equality is to engage in debate and conversation. isolation is never a good thing. in these back and forths, i am not always the best at keeping my feelings in check, and sometimes my emotions get the best of me. still, i try.

i try, i think, because there is a part of me that finds it unfathomable that in today's world there are still those "my way or the highway" people. that highway, in many of their minds, leads only to hell. (where i will be someday with my catholic, jewish, and athiest friends, actually discussing life, sans brick walls.)

i have always been a practical person. from childhood my religious and spiritual beliefs were formed more by what i saw and experienced than what i was "taught." i was born with a healthy dose of skepticism, but also a sincere desire and willingness to learn and grow and believe.

i still believe, in my heart, that the only way to reach those people who judge my "behavior" and "lifestyle" (whether they do so in public or in private) – the only way to convince them that i am not a threat to them, their beliefs, their marriage, or their children – is to live openly and honestly among them in the real world. after all, they are as much a part of it as i am. i disagree with them as strongly as they with me.

so let rev. warren speak. let him be an example of how we on the left are willing to engage those we disagree with. i may not be welcome in warren's church, but he is welcome in mine.

we can live with people like warren. work with them, argue with them, and even pray with them. and truly, is it not rev. warren's followers who should be in an uproar about his agreeing to speak for a president who claims to be a "fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian americans?" (and yes, obama said "fierce.")

and who knows? if we're nice, maybe we'll get more water and donuts.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

warren peace

you'd think i might have something to say about barack obama asking reverend rick warren to deliver a prayer at the presidential inauguration.

well, i don't.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

the media is unbiased

have you noticed the mainstream media tripping "all" over itself to link barack obama and his staff to the blagojevich festival in illinois? the parsing and examining of words and meaning is remarkable and educational. (yes, three "ands" in that sentence. and...?) not since i learned (or didn't learn) the meaning of "is" have i been so non-entertained. it makes watching cnn, msnbc and fox 24-hours a day downright annoying. isn't this the same liberal media that got obama elected? it's as if the rnc isn't doing it's job. (oh wait, they are.)

in the words of the esteemed wolf blitzer, "get this": after obama's brief presser today (his daily presser, one might say) msnbc's david shuster (who's photo appears in webster's three times – next to definitions of "annoying," "annoyingly nasal" and "shut up") and bob franken (just...old) basically picked apart the meaning of the word "all."
shuster: obama said that in a week there would be answers to all reporters' questions about the blagojevich scandal. all? does he really think he's going to answer all questions about this scandal? all?

franken: all?

shuster: all.

franken: no, really. all?

shuster: he said all. i heard him.

franken: david, what do you think he meant by all?

shuster: one could only assume he meant...all. as in "all." as in "all people find me annoying," or "all your teeth are falling out."

franken: did he mean all questions? or all reporters?

shuster: (nasally) uhh...yes.


franken: maybe he meant "awl." you know? "awwwwl."

shuster: awl?

franken: shoemakers use it to punch holes in leather.

shuster: i wear crocs. besides, i think it was pretty clear: "all."

franken: do you wear socks with your crocs?

shuster: nylon support hose. helps with the edema and vericose veins.

franken: well, to your point. i've been doing this for 127 years, and i've never...all?

shuster: let's play that part if the news conference again.

franken: all of it?
imagine if the press had asked this many questions in the lead-up to the iraq war. or about torture, and war-crimes committed by cheney, bush & rumsfeld (whoops! no need to ask anymore, cheney just confessed.) of course, it's much more important to speculate endlessly on the possibility of a scandal in the not-yet-inagurated president elect's not-yet-installed cabinet. obama's on that pedestal, no time like the present to start knocking him off it. somebody give me a tomato.

if only the press would drag down the people who were really involved in this scandal. people like jesse jackson jr, who...whoops again! only days ago, jackson's political career was over, according to folks like msnbc's chuck todd. today? over-schmover.

if there is some "there" there, if obama or his staff are more involved than we know, if rahm emmanual was the closer in the "sale" of obama's former senate seat, that's a problem and we should re-hold the presidential election to get sarah palin in there.

so far, it's actually not a problem. patrick fitzgerald said it's not: the criminal complaint "makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever -- his conduct." fitzgerald also cautioned the press to "not cast aspersions on people for being named or being discussed or if you learn they're being interviewed." so much for caution. barack obama said it's not: the president-elect had "no contact with the governor or his staff, and that the president-elect's staff was not involved in inappropriate discussions with the governor or his staff over the selection of his successor as us senator." parse that. caroline kennedy said...well, she hasn't said much. but as far as obama-rahm-blago goes, let's know more before we pole-vault to conclusions.

in the meantime, can we stick to the important issues? i wanna know if that was really caylee's skull they found in florida.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

toto, i don't think we're in kanagawa anymore

or a christmas tree, a three-dollar bill, and me.

last night, less than 36 hours after returning to the united states, i was seated in the mezzanine of the palace theater watching liza minnelli make her triumphant return to broadway. and – this makes me extra gay – i cried. twice.

look. judy garland has special meaning to those of us in the "community." she's our mother. and at the same time, she's us. she's dorothy, she's tragic, she's strong, she's weak, she's tortured, she runs away from home only to find there's no place like it, she's been over the rainbow and back, and, well, there are plenty of other reasons. some super top-secret reasons that we just can't divulge to the straights. so stop asking. sorry.

and – now i don't know if you knew this – liza minnelli is judy garland's daughter. she might be 102 years old, enjoy plastic joints where even barbie doesn't, and warble with a voice that...well i can't. (and neither can she anymore.) but no matter, she is liza. she just is. there's no one like her, and there ain't gonna be another. she's the last of a dying...or dead...breed.

last night she told jokes about her gay husbands. she performed a song as a man in drag. she giggled and laughed that crazy liza laugh ("your really t-scherrific!") the first time she said the word "mamma" the audience erupted into applause, basically crying out "we're a part of your life, liza! we're a part of your family! damnit, we're a part of you!" and she agreed. she strutted and posed and mugged and said "cha!"

and she performed (sang would be generous) "cabaret" and "maybe this time" and "the world goes 'round." and "new york, new york." on a broadway stage. at the palace theater. and i was there. she did an encore that took even me by surprise and had me spontaneously sobbing like a big gay baby. of course, i'm still suffering from some serious jet-lag. i'm sure that contributed.

but this means i'm basically one degree from dorothy.
and i'm as queer as a...well. you get it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

let the past flow away like the river

so says a japanese proverb often used in response to questions about world war II. it is not lost on me that i am in tokyo on december 7th. war is a horrible, complicated thing and, proverbs aside, we need to remember what happened on this day in 1941 (and before) as well as our eventual, some would say disproportionate response in august of 1945. there are fewer and fewer left to remind us.
UPDATE 12/8/08 – in a move that's being called everything from clever to brilliant to stunning, president-elect barack obama appoints gen. eric k. shinseki, a japanese-american, to head the veterans affairs depeartment, and he does it on december 7th.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

what would jesus abraham, jacob, or david do?

does the bible argue for gay marriage? newsweek's cover story poses the question, along with this: how does the bible define marriage?
"Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists."
modern marriage is defined in two separate institutions: civil marriage, and religious marriage. atheists, people too old to have children, the infertile, and – on a whim – a couple in las vegas, wasted out of their minds, can marry. god probably has little-to-nothing to do with any of those marriages. (i'd guess the couple in vegas does not have god on their minds. nor do the atheists, certainly. and while the infertile couple might be believers, they have no intent, or ability for that matter, to be "fruitful and multiply".)

while i am perplexed at the notion that because you believe something to be true, i must follow those same rules, no matter my beliefs, i wonder what would happen if i decide not to follow your rules? maybe i'll pull some tom ackerman on you:
I no longer recognize marriage. It’s a new thing I’m trying. Turns out it’s fun. Yesterday I called a woman’s spouse her boyfriend. She says, correcting me, “He’s my husband,”

“Oh,” I say, “I no longer recognize marriage.”
and if you really, really, really want to protect families, and children...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

prop 8 - the musical

corky st. clair meets proposition 8, via marc shaiman and friends (margaret cho, andy richter, maya rudolph, john c. reilly, allison janney, kathy najimy, jack black, neil patrick harris and more.)
UPDATE 12/5/08 – one week in the making, and 1.2 million hits in less than 24 hours: marc shaiman talks to the new york times and the advocate about his mini-musical.