The Laughter of Hate

Prop. 8, for those of you not in California,1 is an initiative that seeks to limit legally valid marriages to those solely between a man and a woman. Gay marriage has been legal in this state since a court ruling issued in June, leading to Lieutenant Sulu’s historic snub of Captain Kirk. Or not?

Now, I happen to proudly live in a city that is literally by gays, for gays2. Gay Alley Boy’s Town West Hollywood incorporated two years after I was born. So it’s really like my gay little brother. I sleep inside my gay little brother.3 Living here most of my life as a homosexually challenged outcast, I’ve always just taken the gays for granted. Which is why the support for Prop. 8 catches me a bit off guard. Currently, polls show it is losing, but only by about 4%. There are two possible explanations for this: Either forty-five percent of Californians are willful and proud bigots, a notion I’m not thrilled about but can at least live with and even grudgingly respect:

If the people voting for Proposition 8 couldn’t stand personally in front of a married couple, tell that couple they shouldn’t be married, and say that it is their right and duty to destroy that marriage, they should not vote for Proposition 8.

- John Scalzi


Or they are being convinced by the lies of sneaky, sneaky polygamists:

Enough, Mormons! That’s enough! We tolerated you when the most harm you committed was hurting Fruit of the Loom sales with all your magic homemade underwear, but now you’ve gone too far. I don’t know why the Mormon roots, sorry, tentacles, in this piece of legislation aren’t being more widely publicized. Scientology, I might understand, but I didn’t realize the Church of Latter Day Taints4 had such a strong base in the Golden State5.

Let me see if I’ve got this straight; it’s preferable to let orphans go without parents than letting them shack up with queers? It’s fine for kids to die in the gutter just so long as it’s not the womb? I realize all organized religions are based on threats, but this is beyond the pale. “Hate gays, like god intended, or we won’t provide food and shelter for children who need them.” That doesn’t really cast you or your god in a very favorable light, does it?

This video and other apologetics of hate will try to convince you that they are simply trying to maintain the sanctity of a traditional way of life. I have some news for you guys, just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s worth keeping around6. Difficult though it may be for the members of a polyamorous mountain cult to understand, we have outgrown and cast off many traditions. We no longer senselessly mutilate our children to curry the favor of the spirits7 or sacrifice newborn lambs to a vengeful sky god8. The lesson here is simple. Antiques aren’t always worth the money.

Stemming from this reasoning is the claim that Prop. 8 is about preserving rights, not about depriving the rights of others and hate doesn’t enter into it at all. Read what more truthful ads would have sounded like, then watch this and tell me support for this proposition isn’t steeped in hate:


The Face of Proposition 8 from Theremina on Vimeo.
(via Warren Ellis)

Nasty indeed.

My thoughts on religious hate:

The candidness from “Geoff”, in the Mormon propaganda video, is to be admired: “If you stop hating the things we hate, then you’ll start hating us for hating the things you no longer hate.” Um. We know. Social ridicule is putting it lightly. After all, you’re doing much more than ridiculing gays.

Another point I keep hearing is that schools are going to teach our kids about gay marriage, which the California Superintendent of Schools has flatly denied, but let’s say there’s some truth to this. I’m pretty sure that gay marriage is not going to be encouraged or made mandatory. Are people seriously getting upset that their children’s teachers could be teaching them about a thing that exists in the physical world? Oh right.

Their obsession with what’s being taught to their children betrays their true intentions, however. The concern is not with their kids, but with the fate of the human race. They clearly see this as the last penis shaped nail in the proverbial coffin’s asshole. If Prop. 8 loses, in 2050, being gay will be as unimportant as being black today. In other words, still kind of a big deal. But by then we’ll have robosexuals to discriminate against.

Supporters of Prop. 8 want to prevent this or at least delay it for as long as possible. This is a bigoted fool’s errand.

Whether you like it or not is right. Assuming we make it past 2012, it is not a matter of if, but when. History, and more importantly, biology provides all the evidence we need.

One of the few “good” things to come out of western civilization is a philosophy of tolerance. Ostensibly, today’s women and minorities enjoy the same rights as white males. There are even those who would go so far as to claim racism has all but run its course in this country. This naiveté would be endearing if it weren’t so unfounded.

Its persistence should serve as proof that racism or tribalism is not a flaw in the design, it is the design. Which is not to say that great achievements haven’t been made in the name of equality. For Odin’s sake, despite that biker’s protests, a black man is on the verge of being elected president! We’ve done alright. But it’s important to know why.

Tempting though it may be, to romanticize the “progress” that’s taken place over the last hundred or so years, and slap ourselves on our collective backs, credit must be given where credit is due. It is our brains, not our minds that are responsible.

Case in point: The battle for civil rights in the U.S. was hard fought.

It was won, not by love, but by math. Not to discount the work of many courageous individuals, but they had inevitability on their side. It simply becomes impractical to hate the people that cook your food, do your laundry, and take care of your children while you’re at work. More to the point, that hatred becomes even harder to pass along to those very children. It’s just not within our biological programming to hate things we have grown up with all our lives. We hate what we don’t understand, the “other”, the tribe down the river, but never our own tribe. How long could such a tribe survive?

This all brings up a very important and unintended question. Do we want our children to be our betters? Or do we want them to carry on with the same hang-ups and miseries that have plagued us our entire lives? Do we tell them we want them to succeed where we have failed, all the while secretly plotting to keep them down here in the muck with us? Should our children believe exactly what we believe about all matters? Or should they grow and adapt and take flight? Should they surpass us?

The final battle for gay rights will end not with a bang (!), but with a whisper, in the ears of our youth. When the average twelve-year-old doesn’t find it at all unusual that some men are lucky enough to not need women to have sex and some ladies are addicted to the taste of pussy, the world will be a better, more respectable place.

Which is why I was, at first quite happy, and then just morbidly embarrassed to see this:


(via videogum)

I came of age only a few years after this particular “gay” usage stormed the nation, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert. As such, it is with little reservation that I proclaim this to be, the gayest thing I have ever seen.

Not to get bogged down in semantics, Hillary Duff, but gay does not mean “bad”. “Lame” is close, but still off the mark. I don’t send a steak back, telling the waiter it was “a little gay.” If you drop a television on your foot or your stupid cousin barges in on you rubbing one out while you’re staying with your stupid aunt in stupid Narragansett, you don’t blurt out “gay!” Unless your cousin stuck around. Getting your home foreclosed on is not gay. Let’s review what is.

I’m not saying it’s right, in fact I’m all for a more thoughtful use of language in everyday discourse, but the fact remains, getting upset over people misusing a word is gay.

It is gay to care.

That’s what Lizzy McGuire doesn’t seem to get. “Gay” is the motto of the age of irony, not intolerance.

Which brings us to why I was originally impressed with this ad. For about five seconds I thought this was a genius bit of cultural engineering, reclaiming the word. I thought they had reappropriated “gay” to mean “awesome.”

Girl 1: “That dress looks super gay on you!”
Girl 2: “I know and can you believe it’s on sale!”

Little kid: “This fudgesicle is so gay it hurts.

Woman (having heterosexual sex): Gayer! Gayer! Gayer!

I’m sure this perversion of the word originated with connotations of femininity or perceived weakness, and that aspect persists, but as words do, it has grown too big for it’s brightly colored britches. I think it’s time we embrace this fact.

So that’s exactly what I propose we do.

  1. The two web crawler bots that view this site from Denmark. []
  2. And elderly Russian Jews, but that doesn’t scan quite as well. []
  3. Sure, I’ll repeat that into the mic officer. []
  4. Gay porn industry, the balls are in your court, run with them! []
  5. They’re literally off the reservation. []
  6. I’m looking at you, John the Senator. []
  7. Unless our names end in -stein. []
  8. Except for maybe in Alaska. []

Maybe the civil war wasn’t such a bad idea after all

It’s slowly becoming clear to me that only the Republican party, with their decades long claim on religious fundamentalism, can pull off the startlingly effective strategy of literally demonizing their opponents outright. These tactics1 only start to make sense when you remember that they are intended for those whose worldview includes speaking in tongues and the laying of hands to cast out demons2. This has been the crux of the McCain campaign for the past week.

Sen. McCain’s problem is that he can’t actually come out and foment the paranoia and xenophobia that has so benefited his party in the past, but that hasn’t stopped him from unleashing his lipstick wearing pitbull to pinch sling for him. Amidst the aforementioned Gov. Palin’s impressive hatchet skills3 and McCain’s indifferent silence, cries of “terrorist” are now routine at Republican rallies whenever Barack Obama’s name is invoked. This stems from Sen. Obama’s race alleged allegiance with former Weather Underground member and current University of Illinois at Chicago professor Bill Ayers.

It seems Barack Obama’s “palling around” with a “known terrorist” is a point of “concern” for “Republicans” across the “nation4.” This fear seems totally well founded, because I know, if I were ever elected President, and one of my friends dared me to start mailing anthrax to my coworkers and appointees or to blow up the White House (without me in it), I totally would because I wouldn’t want to look like a pussy. But enough of hypotheticals, let’s look at the facts. The record clearly shows that Barack Obama did work with Bill Ayers. To blow up the Pentagon? Sadly, no. To fund Al-Qaeda? That would be really juicy, but no. To combat poverty and distribute public school grants? Sigh. Yes.

No offense to Prof. Ayers, but I’m not all that impressed with his acts of terrorism. As far as I can tell, besides the willful destruction of property, the greatest of American sins, and shutting down the Pentagon for a few days, the most his terrorist organization managed to accomplish was to blow up three of their own.5 I’m not exactly shivering in my boots.6

Let’s say that you’re still worried though, if Bill Ayers is so evil, then surely he must be currently serving a prison sentence for his crimes? No, and that’s the beauty; he no longer needs to. It’s not that Bill Ayers is currently planning terrorist action against the United States, it’s that he has the permanent taint of terrorism7 upon him. It’s not that Barrack Obama is a terrorist today, it’s that terrorism8 runs in his blood.

If that is the measure by which we judge terrorism today, then I think it’s time we faced an unpleasant truth.

We are all terrorists.

If the definition of a terrorist is anyone who wishes to create terror in a specific category of victim, with the purpose of altering the behavior of the members of that category, does this then mean that anyone who supports imprisonment and especially the death penalty as deterrents to crime is by definition a terrorist? The same question could be asked, of anyone who spanks or threatens to spank a child. Clearly the stated purpose is to terrify a specific group of people into changing their behavior. That’s what deterrence is. And given the rates at which blacks, Latinos, and American Indians, are imprisoned (and on death row), it could be argued that a good part of the judicial and penal systems in the United States constitutes a giant racist, terrorist organization. Simply looking at the numbers it becomes clear that the judicial and penal systems have achieved the segregation of black males-into-prisons-on a scale of which the KKK and their puny brethren could only dream.

- Derrick Jensen

Whether you agree with the above sentiment or not, it should be clear that terrorism is in the eye of the beholder. The average American is all for terrorism, if it’s against our enemies. If a group or “cell”, as the saying goes,9 of individuals threatened average American citizens, at home or abroad, with waterboarding or extreme rendition, there is no doubt as to what the U.S. government would call that.

On September 12th, 2001, the word “terror” split open, metastasizing over the rest of the English language.10 It was not the attacks themselves, but our response to them, that was to blame. The word has now lost all meaning, amounting to little more than a Scarlet ‘T’ that is difficult, if not impossible to shake off. John “The Smiler” Edwards aside, terrorists are the new mistresses/gay liaisons. Every future politician will have their past scrutinized not for personal transgressions, but for neighbors and babysitters who belonged to “questionable” organizations.11

We forget that if words are a form of magic, they derive their power from us. When we ignore this fact we do ourselves a great and dangerous disservice. When we let simple words and names get the better of us, they rob us, impoverish and weaken us in an already impossible world.

Words are just tools, “tools, of course, can be the subtlest of traps.”


Get thee behind me, Hussein!

Believe me, I understand. America needed a daddy after 9/11 to kiss its boo-boo and now in the midst of an economic catastrophe it needs a bogeyman more than ever.12 I don’t mean to belittle either crisis; these are valid, if not ideal, responses to the insanity of our times and fear can be a great motivator. But we have had our share of bogeymen in this country, whether it was an immigrant out to steal your job, a communist out to subvert your way of life, or a black man out to fuck your daughter and then your wife.

Tales of ghouls and monsters lurking in the dark may have served us in the past, but it is time to put away childish things. Unfortunately, not everyone seems to share this sentiment.

Either John McCain is simply brokering in fear13 to become America’s next abusive step-father, or he is genuine in his belief that Sen. Obama’s past associations pose a threat to the safety of American citizens. If we grant him the benefit of the doubt, then it looks like Sen. McCain is for meeting with terrorists with no preconditions after all, or just one I guess, that they be running for president of the United States.

Did Sen. McCain come to this information only after the scrutiny brought on by Sen. Obama’s presidential campaign? Did he knowingly let a terrorist become elected Senator of Illinois, a state with twice the population of his own? Or is that fine, just so long as he’s not President.

Senator McCain, if you truly believe Barack Obama is guilty of treason, either by association or by deed, then I implore you to do your duty and place this terrorist under citizen’s arrest when next you meet on Wednesday. You owe it to your supporters and, more importantly, to the country you claim to put first. I’ll be waiting.

Unless of course this is all just a ridiculous and desperate stunt preying on the basest and most outmoded of human instincts, in which case I would appreciate it if you stopped implying Sen. Obama is out to get us, or that it’s a crime to be Muslim (or black for that matter) in the U.S., or that all Americans are as conniving, obstinate and backwards as you.14

I’m not saying either of these men will deliver what they promise, but it seems that these are the platforms they have chosen to run on:


Which could you use more of in your life?

  1. Or is it a strategy? It’s so confusing. []
  2. Strange that all Christian demons seem to be Muslim. []
  3. Not to mention her nunchuku skills, bow hunting (from a helicopter) skills and computer hacking skills. Getting your email hacked is a form of hacking, right? []
  4. Isn’t language fun? []
  5. The solution there seems pretty clear: don’t join any terrorist organization that Bill Ayers is a member of. []
  6. I mean, I don’t own any boots, but if I did, they certainly would not be shivering. []
  7. If that’s not already the name of a gay porn movie, then the gay porn industry has failed you. Also, dibs. []
  8. re: Islam []
  9. Can someone explain to me why that is so much more ominous? It just evokes a beehive in my mind. Not exactly a terrifying image. (If you’re just reading this in the title pop-up, click through for a surprise.) []
  10. One word to bind them all. []
  11. Welcome back 1950s, it’s like you never left. []
  12. The Beast that Shouted Boo at the Heart of the World. []
  13. A truly recession proof market. []
  14. Keith Olbermann has now left my body. []