Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Is There Anything New Under the Sun?

"... we must look out for squalls, for a strong man with homicidal and religious mania at once might be dangerous." Dr. Jack Seward's journal; Dracula, by Bram Stoker

The blurb of the handy 5-buck pocket edition of Dracula, from Barnes & Noble, reads thusly:

In this story of a prim and arrogant society, threatened by a supernatural force, Stoker captured the fears of his age. Dracula represents everything respectable Victorians feared: the irrational, the pagan, the erotic, and the foreign.

Oooh, juicy. So, in 1897, ol' Bram (and we thought we had interesting names in this modern age), pens a tale of a freak and his freakishness, and the freaks he clips to his belt, along with the wannabe freaks and those set out to destroy the freaks. All would be well if Drac just stuck to killing rats.

I'm not supporting killing, so don't trip. I'm just saying that in film adaptations, including the most recent, 2003's Van Helsing (not a cinematic tour de force, but a fun action flick featuring the marvelously cartoonish Hugh Jackman), the upshot is that Dracula is simply misunderstood. Deep down, he's a dude done wrong, and isn't seeking to do evil as much as he wants to live his life his way and on his terms. If you look closely, you might even see a similarity in the "homosexual agenda" argument. Gays & lesbians want to live their lives on their terms; have legal ties supporting their relationships, protection of their homes and jobs, protection for the children they raise. LGBT people aren't going away, despite calls for their wearing of labels, the branding of the HIV-positive, and this gem, from the great state of California, whose very own, elected by the people governator wants to call a special election to mute special interest groups, including teachers and union leaders, who disagree with shitty policies rolling downhill from Sacramento.

In a Catholic school in Costa Mesa, California, a group of parents raised a major fuss over the enrolling of 2 children, parented by two men. The argument was that the school violated Roman Catholic Church policy by permitting the kid to come to the school simply because Skippy and Sammy have 2 daddies. This isn't being mean-spirited, says the parents' group, it's an attempt to make sure the school is teaching, and abiding by Catholic doctrine. The parents lose, and the kids attend the school. In the latest news about this debacle, the school tells the fathers of Skippy & Sammy (I don't know what their names are) that they CAN'T APPEAR AT SCHOOL FUNCTIONS TOGETHER.

So, you take my money. You let my kids attend your school because you've taken my money, and now you're telling me, and other parents that we have to "display appropriate conduct, in order to support the school's mission and provide positive role models to our students." Here's what you have to do: make sure there aren't any pedophile priests handling my kids, ya great living-in-a-glass-house-stone-throwing-hypocrite. Provide a positive role model for your students, who include my kids, by dropping the "I'm okay, you're going to hell" act. Oh, and in case you thought Dad & Pop were off the hook, I say find another school for your kids come September. No, you're not caving in to pressure, you're making sure your children receive the best education possible, and they won't get it in that bigot pit. No matter how high the state testing scores, no matter how many graduates go on to Ivy League schools, no matter how many athletic accolades or great arts programs that school has, none of those things will leave a bigger impression than the school-sanctioned bullying your kids will suffer at the hands of children raised by bigots, and patted on the back by the PTA.

Nope, there isn't anything new under the sun. Ol' Bram Stoker hit the nail on the head in 1897.


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