Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Subjugated Become the Subjugator

That the black community is irrationally homophobic is not a new idea. That Christians tend to be homophobic is certainly an old idea; as old as the Bible itself. The most recent example of this was the more than 100 mostly black protesters who gathered outside DC city hall during the council’s vote to recognize same sex marriage because they "stand on the moral compass of God" according convicted felon and council member, Marion Barry. Sadly this happened only few weeks before California’s Supreme court upheld the passage of Proposition 8 today.

That the same subjugated group of people that had their marital and sexual rights taken from then under American slavery and in post-antebellum America would now attempt to rob homosexuals of their marital rights is hypocritical at best and arguably hateful. This irrationality and hypocrisy, like many things, is instilled in them by the Christian Church. Although black churches tend to be socially progressive and have a history of fighting for equal rights, most are theologically conservative, believing that scripture condemns homosexuality, said Anthony B. Pinn, a professor of religious studies at Rice University.

Why African Americans would ever embrace a religion that was forced on them through rape, torture, and murder at the hand of their Christian perpetrators is beyond my understanding, but that is a topic for another posting.

I guess Christian homophobia is not so odd when we remember that Christians also believe that god was born of a virgin and that wine and bread turns into the blood and body of God when consumed. If God is a cannibal, I see no reason why he might not be a homophobic cannibal. It seems reasonable to me.

I first learned of blacks’ tendencies towards homophobia while I was a teacher in Teach for American Atlanta. Many of my progressive and loving black friends were dogmatically homophobic and anti-gay marriage. My arguments that the government’s restriction of same sex marriage is no different than restriction on inter-racial marriage were met with angry outbursts. “If they can restrict the love and marriage between two men, what is stopping them from fettering the love and marriage of black and white heterosexual couples,” I argued. They found this argument absurd and actually offensive. The underlying homophobic assumption behind their response is obviously that being black is OK but homosexual is not.

I strongly believe that the best way to create equality amongst the hegemony and subjugated groups is to give the subjugated group the same rights as others. It is never preferable and moral to create equality by taking away the rights of the privileged group so that both groups are now equally subjugated. This is true of religion, sexuality, gender, and all other condition in which inequality exists. It is also true of people who have the right to marry and those that do not. It is only moral to give the same rights to all people; never the opposite.

Yet I am also a strong believer in the Catholic tradition of contrapasso (literally counter-suffering) as so eloquently detailed in Dante’s Divine Comedy. In this sense, I think that any intended moral infractions inflicted on a subjugated group by the dominant group should, in turn, be visited on the offender in equal counter-suffering.

As such I argue that any group, especially the black Christian community who have first-hand experience of suffering at the hands of another group, that actively protests or takes civil or legal action against the gay community with the goal of restricting marital or sexual rights, should also be restricted from marrying.

I wonder how quick any group would be to restrict other’s marriage if, in turn, they were prohibited from marrying and, moreover, all their current marriages were made defunct.
Now to be fair, I am aware that all groups are made up of individuals and that there are some progressive thinkers within the black and Christian community when it come to same sex marriage.

As such, I should amend my position and say that any person, regardless of race that advocates restricting the marriage rights of others should in turn, have his/her marriage rights revoked.

I’m safe. Are you?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Marion Barry Votes “Yay” on Cocaine, Prostitution and Tax Evasion But “Nay” on Gay Marriage

On Tuesday in DC, Mayor for Life, Marion Barry cast the lone vote against a bill that recognizes same-sex marriages that are performed in other states.

This three-time convicted felon engages in prostitution, cocaine use, and tax evasion but threatens "civil war" over gay marriage. There is a spot in Dante’s Inferno designated for hypocrisy and absurdity such as this. I think it is near the inner circle reserved for traitors like Judas Iscariot, Marcus Brutus, Caius Cassius Longinus, and Ted Kennedy.

And not only did he vote against it, he:

1) Apparently missed the vote the first time.
2) Then, out of what must have been a cocaine-induced confusion, voted for it.
3) Only to request a revote in which he took his vote back and cast the lone opposing vote.

It is one thing to be a bigot, it is far worse to be an incompetent bigot. At least Fred Phelps has his homophobic and ignorant act together, although he did get banned from England.

Regardless, the DC council passed the vote to recognize same sex marriages within the same week that Maine passed a law to allow same sex marriage. Needless to say, this makes me...gay!

Congress has 30 days to sign the bill or ignore it; either of which will turn the bill into law. Now if congress will just keep their hands off our guns and out of our pants, this may actually happen.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Liberals Take the Moral High Ground but Fail to Define It

The liberals have been up-in-arms as of late about the past waterboarding of terrorists. However, I am inclined to agree with The Examiner columnist, Gregory Kane that I don’t care that Al Qaeda operatives…were waterboarded after September 11 because I remember what happened on September 11.

Liberals claim the America needs to “take the moral high road” when it comes to torture. For the sake of discussion, we’ll have to set aside the ongoing debate that waterboarding may or may not actually constitute “torture.” But while liberals blindly and dogmatically claim that we need to take the moral high road, they fail to logically define and support what exactly constitutes “moral high ground.” To simply say that not torturing constitutes the high road when this is a current debate, fails to acknowledge a key rule to debate and philosophy: that we need define base and basic principles and definitions before we can engage in debate in the first place.

To fail to establish simple basic principles or definitions is to fail to create the very foundation for debate. As my English professor, Barry Sarchette used to say, failing to first create a common foundation for argument/debate is tantamount to trying to win a sporting event in which one person is playing cricket and the other is playing American football; it simply doesn’t work.
As such, I would like to see if we can’t first define what constitutes the moral “low ground” and what defines the moral “high ground” based on assumptions that all logical people can make.
Moral “low ground” can clearly be defined as the actions of the 9/11 Terrorists as well as the insurgents currently acting in Iraq and Afghanistan. This moral “low ground” includes:

1) Flying airplanes into buildings
2) Killing innocents
3) Cutting people’s heads off

If these actions clearly define the moral “low ground” then it seems that pouring a little water (even cold water which I’m sure really makes liberals shiver), which neither kills the recipient, severs him from his head, or does any permanent damage, is clearly the moral high ground. Certainly cutting off a few terrorists’ heads and broadcasting it on Al Jazeera would be an effective tool in future interrogations. But, as we already determined, this would not be moral…efficient and perhaps entertaining, but not moral.

We are America after all and we must take the moral high ground, sadly no beheading terrorists. But certainly in comparison, giving them a bath is moral as it leaves their heads intact. Many of them may actually thank us. They live in a desert after all, they probably haven’t had the luxury of a bath in months.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

There is no Excuse for Men to Wear Sneakers to Work

I’ve been in the workforce or had corporate internships for nine years now. In that time, I have owned and worn many pairs of dress shoes, including Tux shoes which tend to be the most stiff and uncomfortable. That being said, none of them have been so burdensome that I had to wear sneakers to walk to work and no men’s shoes come even close to Stileto high heels that warrant and justify women wearing sneakers to walk to work.

Much has been written about the social and sexist politics of shoes. Much like foot binding in China before the Glorious Revolution, gender theorists argue that high heels are yet another way to fetter and restrict women. While women may still feel the social pressures to bind themselves into absurd, uncomfortable, and Acrophobic shoes, I argue that it is freeing and empowering that they can take them off while walking to and from the workplace. Certainly Chinese women could not undo the painful mutilation of their feet that binding created. But American women can and I think this is liberating, if only on a small level.

That some men now think that they too should be allowed to wear sneakers to walk to work is an insult to women and this small way that women gain some liberation.

Moronic Gay Protesters Unfortunately Win This Round

Anyone living in Montgomery County likely read or participated in the Anti-Protest against the Westboro Church that demonstrated against the prestigious Walt Whitman High School. Walt Whitman is my alma matter. They protested the school because they think its association with the famed poet and his bi-sexuality (or universal sexuality if you read Leaves of Grass). These are the same morons that protest the funerals of military veterans and for their picket signs—including "Thank God for 9/11" and "Thank God for Katrina." Members of the church believe that the military deaths and natural disasters were God's punishment for an immoral nation. It makes me sad to think that anyone would hate or protest against love of any form. I am a strong supporter of same sex marriage and do not think that any religion, organization, or government should regulate love. On some levels, it makes me happy to know that the educated and loving students at Walt Whitman and surrounding high school showed up to protest these protesters and support gays.

But I have to make the unfortunate argument that, in this case, the gay protesters, not the anti-protesters won this round. By showing up in hundreds to protest against five ignoramuses, three of which were elementary school children dragged their by their bigot parents, they dew gratuitous attention to the Westboro Churche’s cause. The Bethesda Gazette article about the protest included the following Westboro statement: “The church's Web site claims that Whitman would support wounded soldiers during the Civil War, then attempt to take advantage of them.” Now hundreds of readers exposed to this article may think or wonder if one of the greatest American poets was a molester of wounded soldiers. While I hope that the average, educated reader would not believe these ridiculous and inflammatory accusation, thier very utterance gives credibility to Westboro and defames this great poet.

It would have been a far better show of support for the gay community if not a single person showed up or paid a single moment of attention to the Westboro whack jobs. They should have been allowed to protest in obscurity and isolation and never have been given any attention as this would have been a far better anti-protest and the horrendous accusations against Whitman would never have been uttered in The Gazette.

Facebook and Twitter Mark the Destruction of America.

Many scholars argue that vast and seemingly impenetrable Roman empire fell because it became so narcissistic, hedonistic, and bloated that it became weak and vulnerable to Germanic barbarian hordes that destroyed it from the frontiers inward. This lead to the Dark Ages and 1000 years of superstition, war, and incivility.

I see the same extreme narcissism, hedonism, and bloating within current American culture that forshaodwed the fall of Rome in America’s obsession with Facebook, Twitter, and food. While I love America, am a loyal Republican, and agree with Tocqueville that it is the greatest experiment in democracy of all times, Americans themselves are becoming fat, and their self absorption as marked by the proliferation of Facebook and Twitter, foreshadows this great country’s doom. Much like Rome thousands of years before us, barbarians stand at our gates waiting till we grow so fat and distracted by our Facebook pictures and Twitter feeds, that they can attack and destroy us. Hundreds of Facebook and Twitter feeds already show that many American’s no longer have the stomach for war, the determination to defend our country, and are more concerned about the inconvenience of getting a few terrorists wet, than protecting our country.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I Haven't Drank the Twitter Koolaid

As a PR professional, and a college educated cat in his late twenties, many around me have drank the Twitter Koolaid. I witness and read about social marketing campaigns that utilize Twitter as a key element, supposedly to great success. I have maintained my hardheadedness and so far refused to Tweet (or blog for that matter until this post) while at the same time educating myself about successful case studies and theories examining successful implementation of social marketing campaigns utilizing Twitter. Given the publicity, many of my coworkers’ enthusiasm, and my clients’ interest, I need to be able to speak to the potential for use as a marketing tool (or lack thereof).

But as far as my maintained refusal to become a Twitter advocate, my opinion has not changed. Much like text messaging before it, I see Twitter as a key zenith in the regression of 21st century English language and the apex of narcissism. I am well aware that many would argue that I simply fail to understand this new medium and simply don’t understand Twitter’s true value. They would perhaps see me as a romantic and nostalgic dinosaur we still prefers Shakespeare on paperback, and sees the value in handwritten letters and personal phone calls. I am sure that my blog postings will be too verbose and also misunderstands this medium as well. I can accept that I may be wrong; I have been wrong before and will be wrong many times to come. It may very well be that text messaging and, more specifically, Twitter is simply an evolution of language and an all new medium which carries its own grammatical rules.
But I remain firmly bunkered in my Old English dictionary pillbox and refuse to communicate through short, impersonal snippets of language that defy and undermine the bountiful discourse and images that formal English allows. Perhaps my mom said it best when my brother suggested that he would communicate more with here if she learned how to text: “No, you can call me. I refuse to communicate through trivial and impersonal snippets of garbage.” While I am aware that if my client’s constituents and clients want to participate and to be communicated to in these new environments, no matter how vulgar and simple, then I need to dedicate myself to understanding this new medium and best promote my clients’ goals as their success is valuable to me. And while I may ultimately create a Twitter account so I can better understand how to service my clients, I remain a skeptic and ultimately see it as the downfall of language.