April rambling #1: Beyond Foolishness

I’ve seen at least a half dozen invitations on Facebook in 2017 from people I know IRL who are already “friends”.


It’s sort of what Leslie, the assistant administrator of ABC Wednesday called Life at light speed. The line from “Feelin’ groovy” – “Slow down, you’re moving too fast” – comes to mind.

So not being able to run the American government like a business is NOT a bug of the system, it’s a feature. We’re not “customers” of the government; we are, or should be, the board of directors.

The negation of the climate change initiatives are beyond foolishness. “They are an affront on God’s creation and on all of humanity.” I like that; unsubtle. A lot of Catholics are ticked off. And climate change will be an economic disaster.

That made Congress decimating Internet privacy rules only the SECOND worst thing that happened that day the last week in March, and it IS terrible.

Oh, and Obama-era LGBT protections were revoked, letting federal contractors discriminate.

At least the right-wing media helped Obamacare in spite of itself. Not that it’s adequate. Here’s a generally healthy young woman, under 30 and uninsured, who had untreated strep throat and is now coping with the consequences. Note that she ended up going to the emergency room, one of the cuts proposed in the Republican bill that failed.

In some poll after the GOP healthcare defeat, 14% each blamed the Democrats, the Republicans in Congress and Orange. 49% thought it failed because it was a bad bill, which it assuredly was.

Put another way, it is all transcendental solipsism. No wonder we need comedians to explain him.

Timeline: How President Obama handled Syria.

Satire: Ivanka appointed to head anti-nepotism task force.

Not satire: Financial trust altered on February 10, a month after announcing that DJT had isolated himself from his interests, to allow secret withdrawals any time he wants.

My buddy Amy Biancolli had done a TEDxAlbany talk You’re still here — Living after suicide a couple years ago. She’s been sampled! fragile – i want to be cold. She also writes about her sister Lucy, who committed suicide a quarter century ago.

My favorite Don Rickles appearances: In a 2-part Dick Van Dyke Show, he holds up Rob and a pregnant Laura in an elevator, then Laura and the writers perform at the prison he’s in.

Hope you can read this article about Glenn and Miriam Lawrence Leupold, my pastors. The ‘Religious left’ is emerging as U.S. political force.

On a more prosaic note, I’ve seen at least a half dozen invitations on Facebook in 2017 from people I know IRL who are already “friends,” including one from P K Miller, who died earlier this year. Here’s a piece on Facebook cloning, which isn’t being hacked, since changing one’s password doesn’t help.

I’ll be giving up running ABC Wednesday after the end of Round 20 around 4 July. Melody has agreed to take it over, with a new URL, and I’ve decided to stay on the team that visits folks. Melody sent me a card, all the way from the Netherlands, thanking me, which was very nice.

Dustbury has been blogging for 21 years. Who DOES that?

Finally, some more music: Emmylou Harris covering Chuck Berry, and Coverville 1165: The Chuck Berry Tribute.

PC, LGBT, 8-tracks, malls and dystopia

If you were beamed down from the USS Enterprise into most malls, you’d be hard pressed to know where you were geographically.

7.21.08 Blitt Obama.inddUthaclena, who I know in terrestrial life, asks:

Okay: at what point does Political Correctness become absurd? Do public facilities need to be sanitized of all things religious to ensure separation of church and state? On Halloween can you only wear costumes of your own race/ethnicity/religion?

Okay. Here’s the thing; I don’t know what different people’s boiling points are, because I’m not them. For instance, it is the groups of Native Americans who have complained about the name of the Washington Redskins NFL team that makes me believe in the rightness of the complaint.

Too often, people wear the badge of political incorrectness, to show how much cooler they are than the “hung up” other people, and it ends up being a way for them to justify their racist and/or sexist and or/homophobic behavior.

Dan Van Riper noted: “As far back in the 1990s, Dan Clowes predicted the rise of this cultural phenomenon in David Boring (one of the last Eightballs.) If you complain about this kind of racist reference, then ‘you just don’t get it.’ Is it a way of depowering racism by appropriating it for entertainment, or is it providing a new kind of refuge for racist tendencies?” Or it’s framed as “you just don’t have a sense of humor,” and I do, but it’s STILL not funny.

Thom Wade would call it Bigotedly Correct. The general term is hipster racism.

See, e.g., this article about the Minneapolis area theater scene that Dan sent me, which I subsequently saw in BoingBoing. Referring to a purported talk-back session, in which a Native American woman protester was supposedly given an opportunity to speak, but she wasn’t:

“That’s the thing about privilege. It shows itself in many ways. This time, it just happened to pop up as a group of authoritative white people publicly tag-teaming a lone woman of color, and being so oblivious to the prevailing power dynamic that it never occurred to them that this was a problem, or that the reporter in the room might notice.”

And to that end, I thought this was rather entertaining: ‘Columbusing’: When White People Think They Discovered Something They Didn’t.

However, I DID think this July 2008 New Yorker cover was funny, because, I thought, it was making a commentary about how the Obamas were perceived, not as they actually were. Still, Colin Powell spoke well about the lie.

We don’t need to remove the Ten Commandments from the Supreme Court building. But I think those public, mostly Christian, prayers recently allowed by the Supreme Court suggest the establishment of religion. That’s not about being PC; that’s about following the Constitution.

I don’t believe white people should wear blackface for Halloween. But that doesn’t mean that blackface should NEVER happen, in an educational setting explaining why it’s so offensive to some people.

Occasionally, I see these stories about a teacher going “too far” in an educational demonstration showing racism or Antisemitism, e.g. About 2/3 of the time, I think the teachers have it right, and about 1/3 of the time, the proper context is not related, and it becomes a humiliation to those participating.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s attacks on large sodas annoyed me. But is that a PC argument or a nanny state argument?

I think the elimination of Halloween, in favor of a “fall festival”, is a bit silly, yet I’m good with celebrating “the holidays,” because there are several of them (Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa). Still, “Merry Christmas” is pretty innocuous, to me, because Christmas in America is not a particularly Christian holiday.

Did I ever tell you that I wished someone visiting my current church on Christmas Eve “Merry Christmas, and he said, “I don’t celebrate Christmas”? I stifled a laugh.

I’m in the Potter Stewart school; I know the PC line when I see it.

Arthur the AmeriNZ notes:

Yes, I did steal borrow the idea from you, but I do it far less regularly. Here’s a query for you: Tell us about the first time you realised that someone you knew was LGBT, like, how you came to realise that, consequences, that sort of thing. I’m thinking about someone you actually knew, though it could be someone in pop culture or whatever.

Well, the first person I knew to be gay was my late friend Vito Mastrogiovanni, who my sister had a crush on in high school. He was out to his friends, but not everyone at the time, I believe. Frankly, it wasn’t a big deal, and there were no “consequences.” He and I were part of that oddball intellectual, politically aware clique that opposed the Vietnam war, fought racism, and the like.

Now that you ask it, maybe I SHOULD have been more reactive, but I just wasn’t.

Now my freshman year in college, the guy next door was hostile, and as I’ve noted, he was possibly being preemptively nasty before I could be nasty to him; I thought it was sad.

But I knew a lot more lesbians, starting at that same time frame. Alice was the roommate of my future wife, the Okie. She fought the war with me, hitchhiked with me. Not sure what consequences I really discovered except this: with straight people, I generally preferred the company of women. With gay people, I generally preferred the company of women. This was informative because I realized that I wasn’t friends with them just so I could hit on them. Did I ever mention I went skinny-dipping with six lesbians back in the late 1970s?

In fact, most of the gay people I knew were women until I got to my current church in this century, which, I believe, has more openly gay men than lesbians, though I haven’t done a formal count.

Amy, with her Sharp Little Pencil, wants to know:

Why did cassette tapes overtake the 8-track market?

Because the eight-track was a stupid technology. I remember exactly when I realized this. I was in a car listening to someone’s Beatles Again/Hey Jude 8-track. The song Rain came on, and IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SONG, it did that weird grinding noise in the middle of it. I should note that Rain is a three-minute song.

I NEVER owned an eight-track machine.

Jaquandor over at Byzantium Shores, wonders:

1. Are there any topics that you’re surprised don’t come up more often during your Ask Me Anything’s?

Yes. Some REALLY embarrassing stuff. But if no one’s gonna bring it up, why should I?

2. I’ve heard your hometown of Binghamton described rather unfavorably at times. Do you LIKE Binghamton, or has it gone downhill?

I like Binghamton, and yes, it’s gone downhill. It had 75,000 in 1960, about 47,000 now. They built Route 17 so one can get through there more quickly. Like a lot of Rust Belt cities, it’s struggling economically; I always want it to do well.

3. I read an article the other day about the death of the shopping mall in America. Did you ever like malls, and if so, do you mourn their passing at all?

There was a place in Binghamton that had what we’d now consider a large strip mall when I was growing up. Had one anchor store, and I liked it well enough.

But, no I would not mourn their passing. I think attention to the malls have starved the downtown areas, which need to grow for a city, and its surroundings, to be socially and economically healthy. Moreover, malls are private property, so their presence had dampened the public square.

For the most part, the stores in a mall are the same, so the homogenization suffocates local personality and culture. If you were beamed down from the USS Enterprise into most malls, you’d be hard-pressed to know where you were geographically.

4. I’ve expressed dismay on my own blog and elsewhere about the dominant tropes in popular culture today being dystopian settings and a HUGE focus on anti-heroes — what I call “Awful People At Work And Play”. What are your thoughts on the tone of popular culture right now?

Not only am I uncomfortable with dystopian culture, but I’m also bored with it. Bored with the word “dystopian.”

Initially, I thought I was just getting older, but I now realize that these antiheroes just don’t interest me, don’t inspire me, but, rather, irritate me. I don’t need to identify with schmucks. I think a lot of people do, and they end up going online, emulating their schmuck heroes’ behavior. Yes, I’m pretty tuned out of most of it.

You can still Ask Roger Anything.

NALT Christians

October is LGBT History Month

Last month, my friend Dan sent me a link to this nifty page about Christians Openly Supporting LGBT Community In ‘We’re Not All Like That’ Campaign. I wrote back, “This will appear on my blog within the week! Thanks; I had not seen this.” I was particularly taken by Fred Clark’s video, maybe because of how he self-identifies.

Obviously, I didn’t post anything, and frankly, it got lost in my e-mails. Then Arthur wrote about it, and I was going to let it go as a topic. Moreover, while I appreciate the sentiment of NALT, I never like things identified by what they are NOT. Quirky, I know.

But then I saw this story about a tea party leader and former Baptist pastor who is proposing to file a ‘class action lawsuit’ against ‘homosexuality.’ Oy.

So let me share with you a sermon by Nicole Garcia at the MLP National Conference at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Tucson, AZ on Saturday, September 28, 2013, which addresses the topic of how some in the church view an inclusive faith.

Did you know that October is LGBT History Month? I did not until I saw a couple of huge displays in the fellowship hall of MY church.

I was telling this story recently: At my previous church, I was talking to one of the church leaders about the fact that we ought to have a discussion about gay rights; this would have been c 1990. She said, “We already did that.” I started attending in 1982 and joined in 1984, and I had no recollection of this. “Oh, we had somebody come in and talk with us in 1976.” Over the next several years, I brought it up, but the idea never gained any traction.

I’m happy to be in a church now without that ambiguity.
***
From Newsmax:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday withdrew legal opposition to gay marriage, making same-sex nuptials the law in the state.
The move makes New Jersey the 14th state in the nation to legalize gay marriage…
At City Hall in Newark, the state’s most populous city, Cory Booker, the two-term Democratic mayor who voters elected to the U.S. Senate last week, officiated for seven gay and two heterosexual couples who descended a set of curving steps just before midnight…
Booker, 44, who had refused to perform heterosexual weddings in his city of 277,700 residents because he objected to the exclusion of same-sex couples, called the ceremonies “one of the greatest privileges of my life.”

This dialogue from The West Wing is even better when you hear Martin Sheen say it.

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