Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Grammy Backlash: Time to Face the Music

I did not watch the Grammys live. I work overnights and I don’t have cable TV. I did watch the highlights the next morning, including the marriage ceremony administered by Queen Latifah (who I’ve been a fan of since I heard “U.N.I.T.Y.” as a teenager). And then I saw the punditry trolls come out in force to piss on the happy moment. All this vitriol being vomited out into the interwebs is because the Grammy marriage ceremony had heterosexual and homosexual couples.
Perhaps anti-gay conservatives saw this moment and thought of Colonel Kurtz’s horror in Apocalypse Now.
The pundit outrage seems to think that this was an event worse than any other televised event. I disagree. Watching these classless morons stumble through half-baked commentaries on the dangers of the “homosexual agenda” is worse. 33 couples got a wedding they will remember for the rest of their lives, even if the marriages themselves don’t survive.
But marriage equality is a cause of mine and, me being me, gives me reason to tear some people a new ass.
Starting with Todd Starnes, who I’d never heard of up this point. Apparently this fucker is one of the lesser pundits on Bullshit Mountain (and I will love Jon Stewart forever for coining that phrase). Starnes had some harsh tweets concerning the Grammy event, particularly when he wrote “Here it comes- the Grammys are mocking marriage” or “This was not about marriage. This was about bashing God and the church. #grammys”.
To Mr. Starnes, I say this: you are an asshole, sir, a gaping asshole. You claim to back traditional biblical marriage but neglect to remember or acknowledge that biblical marriages run the gamut from monogamy to polygamy, not mention incest if you take the creation account to be literal. If your bible is the inerrant word of an all-powerful deity and you’re not pursuing multiple wives, you’re standing in defiance of your god’s holy words. You, Mr. Starnes, and Christians like you are the reason many of your fellow Christians refuse to identify themselves as Christians, preferring instead to standing among the Non-affiliated with atheists like me. They don’t want to be associated publicly with a religion that they share with spiteful, hate-filled assholes like you.
And before it’s mentioned by anyone, No True Scotsman.
To borrow a line from Penn Jillette, and then there’s this asshole, Jim Hoft. A writer for thegatewaypundit.com had this little quip, “[The Grammys] were all about true love- as long as you agree with them. If you don’t agree, you get ridiculed and attacked”.
The LGBTQ community is attacked and mocked. Christians like Hoft are just butt-hurt that their religious preferences aren’t treated like gospel by the majority of Americans anymore. Every time a parent casts out their teenage son or daughter for being gay should be considered an attack. A mass wedding with straight and queer couples is a joyous event. Hoft would recognize this if he had chosen to not yolk his humanity and morality under the burden of a narrow-minded, hateful version of religion.
Then there’s Bryan Fischer, mouthpiece for the American Family Association. Fischer and I have traded words on Twitter more than a few times. If there was a Batshit Christian Bigotry Award, this asshole would be in a neck-and-neck race with Kirk Cameron and Ken Ham (the dark horse of the race would be Tony Perkins). Fischer went to Twitter to inform his legion of homophobic Neanderthal followers that the Grammys will “feature sodomy-based wedding ceremonies”.
He’s such a charming bigot, isn’t he?
Let me ask a few questions. The ceremony had a mixture of straight and queer couples. Is it wrong if the straight couples engage in some wedding night sodomy? (If they do, more’s the better for them!) Or is it only evil when a man fucks another man in the ass? What about the lesbians, who have to buy extra equipment for a proper night of buggery (unless fisting is on the menu)?
Fischer is a troll of the highest order. Part of me is cynical enough to think Fischer doesn’t believe the bullshit he spews out and is in this strictly for the money. Unfortunately, I think that’s wishful thinking on my part. Escaped abortions like Fischer are Christians that make Christianity as undesirable as a case of herpes. Why anyone would associate with a faith teeming with clowns from the recessive end of the gene pool stretches my imagination at times.
(On a side note: if you’re Christian, don’t message me that you’re not all like these assholes. I know that. Tell them.)
And finally there is Kirk Cameron, that strange, strange little man. I saw his Facebook post about the Grammys. Obviously being a Christian doesn’t stop someone from shamelessly shilling their products like a used-car salesperson.
I take that back. Used-car salespeople are more honest.
The last time I saw this much blatant product placement, I was watching a young George Clooney in Return of the Killer Tomatoes. Obviously Cameron forgot the part of the bible that commands Christians to not judge lest they be judged along the same measure. Perhaps he skipped the part of the bible that say only their god gets to decide who is and is not part of his family. Most importantly, Cameron and Christians like him have forgotten one simple truth: LGBTQ people are human beings who deserve the same rights and privileges they take for granted.
To Kirk, I say this: you are an oxygen-thief and you need to stop stealing the air of the collective human race. Take your pre-millennial dispensationalism, your crocoduck bullshit, and your shitty films and go away. Your backwards superstitions and blatant bigotry have no place in the 21st century. Some of us actually want peaceful relations with other human beings. Some of us don’t care what you believe in as long as you don’t try to force the rest of us to live according to your colossal blunder of a religion.

To the people I’ve mentioned above and the millions of people who share their batshit bigotry, you’re on the wrong side of history. Be prepared to be lumped in with the KKK, skinheads, and myriad racist groups in a few decades as examples of despicable and small-minded we humans can be. Enjoy the derision of history, assholes. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Real Men, Political Nuts, and Poetry

Here's a link to the politician referred to in the essay: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/01/22/illinois-gop-candidate-says-god-put-autism-and-dementia-on-earth-as-punishment-for-marriage-equality-and-abortion/

And here's the poem I read "10 Things My 30's Taught Me"

Real Men: You Mean Misogynists, Right?

There’s a trend I’ve seen in the last year or so with websites directed at “real men”. I’ve touched on this before in a previous essay (found here) but it bears a re-examination. Sites like Return of Kings and people like Mark Driscoll are rampant on the internet now. The democratization of the internet has allowed the trolls free rein to put out vile garbage. It also allows men like me to chew them up and spit them out.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Literary Vs. Genre: Snobbery for All

All literature is genre literature.
I wish that sentence was enough to settle the argument but it isn't and it won’t. The separation of genres is the result of the writers, the critics, academics, and universities. Essentially it breaks down like this: literary writing is art and is the only form of writing worthy of praise. Genre writing is meant as simple escapism and worthy of derision by serious writers and critics. Literary writing is all that is good, right, and noble about the written word. Genre writing is the dregs thrown out for the unwashed masses to consume. The divide between literary writing and genre writing is artificial, like most ideological divides.
Elevating one genre of writing (and literary writing is a genre) over all the others is complete bullshit.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Free Floating Rant- Essay and Podcast

As should be apparent by now, I take frequent issues with the numerous religious numbskulls and idiots out there. This may sound like harsh language but it’s better than calling them fuckwits and assholes. The common refrain I’ve heard is that I should be tolerant of others’ religious convictions. For the most part I am. When there are important issues at stake or demeaning language is hurled with impunity, I do what I do best: take up my keyboard and GoMic and speak.
This essay and podcast are in response to some bullshit I’ve recently come across on the web. There are multiple targets and plenty of ire on my part.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Writing Reviews: Negativity

The tag line for The King’s Crier: Book Reviews is “Book Reviews without Snark”. I’ve never been clear on what that means, though. Since the site started in the summer of 2012, I have not written an incendiary, negative review of a book. There have been parts of books I haven’t enjoyed and those are reflected in the reviews. Writing scathing reviews serves no purpose other than to satisfy the reviewer’s superiority complex.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

E is for Eros

When I originally conceived of this essay, I was just going to discuss my love life and romantic experiences. I still plan to do just that but from a different direction. Eros love or passionate love is all about romance, at least to the ancient Greeks. Romantic love takes many forms and evolves with the culture one lives in. There are always traditional approaches and fringe ideas. One fringe idea I hold dear is simple and complex in the same breath: Love is not a finite resource. Personally, I see humans as being socially monogamous but biologically randy.
I’m the product of late 20th-century America. Born during the Reagan years but raised during Clinton’s, I’ve seen my country shift from conservative to liberal to conservative again. I’ve also seen an explosion (no pun intended) of sexual expression in that time. The fight of the LGBT community to gain recognition and full citizen rights grew during my teen years. I wasn’t comfortable with alternative sexualities for two reasons. One, I was a fundamentalist Christian and while my pastor never openly spoke out against homosexuality (that I can remember, at least), I saw how known homosexuals were treated by the parishioners. Disdain would be the polite word. Revulsion would be more appropriate. The second reason was that I had a difficult time dealing with my own sexuality.
Bisexuality isn’t easy to live with. More than a few straight people say you’re not straight enough. Some in the gay community will say you’re not gay enough. My older brother, upon discovering my bisexual pronouncement, told me to pick a hole and stick with it. Sexual orientation is not a choice. There are several dozen different animals that exhibit homosexual behavior. As Gaga wrote it, I was born this way. For anyone who claims it is a choice, I issue this question as a challenge: When did you choose to be straight? It’s either a choice for all sexuality or it’s innate. The only choice involved with sexual orientation is which person is going to end up in the bed, not their gender. It wasn’t an easy transition to accept what I know my sexuality is.
My mother did not make the adjustment well. I’ve wondered which was more difficult for her: accepting that her son has sex with both men and women or accepting her son doesn’t believe in god. What was a liberating moment for me seemed to me to feel like a slap in the face to her. It didn’t help that we had a shitty relationship at that time. For years, our conversations were tinged with amounts of unspoken shame, both shared because we felt we had fallen below her expectations. Part of me feels that she saw my sexuality as simply acting out, one more rebellion from a constantly defiant child. Being honest with myself, that was a factor initially. As I said, a shitty relationship. Now, we’re able to talk about it somewhat. She’s accepted me for who I am and loves me as her son.
As I met more people who were open and honest about sexuality, I came to accept my desires as well. Sometimes boys want to fuck both girls and boys. Accepting alternative sexual behavior (the legal kind) becomes easier over time. Having a plethora of romantic options helps as well. Dan Savage made an observation at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas 2013 that discussing and confronting “kinky” behavior is easier for LGBT people. To paraphrase Savage, it’s easier to discuss kinky or “aberrant” sexual ideas after revealing same sex attraction to a parent.
Currently, I lean more hetero than homo. You could call me heteroflexible. Or to use the Kinsey Scale, I’d say I’m a solid 4 when it comes to sexual attraction and orientation. My preferences also shifted with regards to romantic love. A close friend suggested I read The Ethical Slut. It changed how I viewed sexual openness. I’ve never been a jealous person. My time spent around swingers and open relationships helped change that view. The Ethical Slut codified my views on polyamory and non-monogamy.
I’m not against monogamous love. Monogamy is, however, a social construct rather than a biological one. The logic behind my stance is simple: you don’t have to threaten harm for someone to follow their innate nature. The social and law-based admonitions against multi-partner relationships are there because it is not in our nature. I would suggest taking a look at The Ethical Slut as well as the work of Jesse Bering (Perv and Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That) if you’re interested in the basis for my views. I don’t advocate cheating. In point of fact, when I’ve been monogamous I’ve not wandered once. I’ve also not cheated with another person who was in a monogamous relationship with another person. Open doesn’t mean cheating. It means discussing the need to have new sexual experiences between people in a relationship.
Being in romantic love does not preclude the desire to fuck other people. Some would say that you can only love one person. This only applies to eros love, though. The other forms of love are not considered finite. We love multiple family members. We love multiple friends. Yet when it comes to the most potent form of love, it is finite and reserved for only one person. I’ve been in romantic love with multiple people and studies like the ones Bering does shows that I’m not the only one. I identify more with polyamory and non-monogamy when it comes to romantic relationships. Being open and honest about needs and desires is the only way to have a successful relationship, based on my experiences. If monogamy is your bag, commit to it and realize it will be the most difficult thing you do (even more so than parenting. A lifetime with another person, the life and home built, the family grown around that union, should be more important than a sexual fling on the side.
Romantic love is arguably the most powerful emotion our minds create. Society deemed the most restrictive form of that love as the norm, despite being not based on biology. The same goes for heterosexuality as the social norm. Romantic love is far more complicated than that. Embrace and explore that complexity. If you are someone who doesn’t feel right with straight love or monogamous love, you’re not alone. You’re a perv, just like the rest of us. Even the monogamous people.