Thursday, September 29, 2005

What A News Day

Sheesh. What a freakin' day in news.

Roberts has been confirmed to lead the Supreme Court. Let's hope we get a really left justice to balance out Judge Ozzie Nelson.

Constance Baker Motley, legendary attorney and architect for many civil rights cases, including the case that allowed Charlayne Hunter-Gault to attend the University of Georgia, has passed away. How ironic that her death came just before the public announcement of Roberts' confirmation (y'all know he was a shoe-in, don't you?)

It's "Marry Your Baby Daddy" Day here in Brooklyn. Couples are encouraged to get hitched as part of a group ceremony in order to promote 2-parent households in the Black community. And, after the ceremony, they'll be treated to a reception! I've written about this in the past, so I won't rehash. Check out January 6, 2005, from the Archives.

The International Freedom Center won't be built on the World Trade Center site because it's feared that anti-American sentiments may be part of the exhibits, and that would dishonor the 3000-plus that died there. I chose not to say much about this whole thing, but I have to ask, as I have in the past, when will we stop acting as though the stockbrokers, bankers, lawyers, mailroom clerks, dishwashers, pastry chefs, and others who died on September 11 are more worthy of elevation than the thousands of people who die at the hands of the negligent, drunk drivers, criminals, those who die from chronic illness? Why are firefighters and police officers, who take an oath to put their lives on the line every minute of every hour on the job deserving of ongoing heroism, even more so than cops and firefighters, and soldiers who live on and continue to do their job? When will these families let their loved ones go? And why are the victims of the 2001 attacks more deserving of a memorial than the victims of the 1993 bombings at the same site?

But, in good news, the African Burial Ground Memorial in lower Manhattan, was opened today. It is estimated that about 20,000 Blacks were buried on land where the newest federal court building now sits.

Boy, I took a few weeks off and look what happened!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

To Out or Not to Out

Greetings, kids. Foot is okay, I'm okay. I'm coming back. Having said that, I'm going to go back to some things I've explored in the past, especially around sexuality, and I'm starting with the outing question.

Outing refers to the practice of revealing the sexual orientation of notable folk. From celebrities to politicians, the targets of outing fall into one of the following categories:
--someone who may have a lot of money
--someone who may have a lot of power (or access to power)
--someone who has bashed (verbally, legislatively, spiritually) gay and lesbian people
The idea is that by remaining closeted they enjoy the benefits, if you will, of being gay; i.e. they never suffer the stings that some gays and lesbians may suffer, including loss of work, their home, their children. But, they also never allow themselves to serve as examples of the "everyman" whose only difference is same-sex love, and therefore the "we're just like you" that should provide equalization that we've been screaming for since dirt was new.

Outing makes sense from this place, but more often than not, it comes from a place of shame. The latest players in the outing game are activists and writers, Keith Boykin and Jasmyne Cannick. Their respective sites feature a series that asks if prominent Black preachers, known for anti-gay rhetoric, often nasty rhetoric, are gay. On one hand, it is true that many homophobes (or homo-haters, because they don't really fear homosexuals) generally cover up their own insecurities and loathing of their own sexuality with antagonistic behavior, whether through words or actions. These folk do need to be outed for hypocrisy. The problem is that outing them makes their behavior shameful, and makes all levels of sex between men or women shameful. Others who are outed are outed because the larger lesbian & gay community believes that every lesbian or gay man should be out because there is strength in numbers. Being out liberates one from the burden of shame, the burden of dishonesty. This, as I've said, makes us "everyman."

I'm a greater supporter of those of us with the courage to be out to come out. I'm a greater supporter of creating an atmosphere where people, irrespective of class or race, can be out. Yes, America's acceptance of gay people has been helped by celebriqueers like the Fab Five, and Ellen DeGeneres. I believe the Black gay male community has been helped by a sort of "everyman" in "The Real World's" Karamo, an average Black man who looks like an average Black man, and not a sterotype of the Black gay man of the Blaine and Antoine genre, from "In Living Color" (yes, as old as that tired show is, Black folks still think Blaine and Antoine are typical Black queens). Black lesbians still don't have a face, but that's nothing new. Outing doesn't serve as great a purpose as those who "out" seem to think it does. It polarizes an already contentious community, and the anger and resentment created by revealing something that isn't unilaterally seen as a good thing is a crap shoot; you may or may not gain the ally you seek.

I believe lesbians and gay men should see themselves as whole people, and as whole people, should be who they are in all aspects of their lives, public and private, for not all private things ultimately remain private, and not all public things are meant to be public. The 35-plus years since the Stonewall uprising have resulted in great changes for the better for gays and lesbians, but not enough has happened to undo the many years of subjective Biblical teaching that has created the unwholesome holy alliances forged between government and the Christian church in America, which continues to shape policy affecting lesbian and gay Americans. More work needs to be done, but I don't see outing as part of it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Short Whassup

Hey friends! This Thursday will be two weeks since the surgery, which went really well. I'm not in much pain, so therefore I have lots of Oxy-Contin left. I wish I could say that everything is perfect, but sleeping is the one thing that isn't really working out. Oh well.

To ABB, Nugster, WhiteRabb, and my other visitors, thanks for the notes and good wishes. They were well received.

Once I can really figure out how to sit up long enough to really write, I will. Peace out for now.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

From Where I Stand Will be Seated

Yet another reason for dropping those extra pounds: a little thing called pes planus, or flat foot, for the common folk. Yours truly didn't think much about having flat feet until back in May when I was training for a short little road race. I hit the treadmill, did my warm-up walk, and was all set for my run when the most incredible pain shot through my foot and ankle. Silly me, I thought, I must have sprained it. Went to see the ortho, who informed me, after x-rays and a clever little test, that the problem wasn't an ankle injury, but a foot injury. And, it wasn't really an injury, either, it was a degenerative condition called foot deformity caused by the total collapse of the arch in my right foot. The bones in said foot have pushed out to the side, causing pain and misalignment of my ankle, not to mention a nasty bruise from the internal bleeding that resulted from the tearing of the tendon that gives one an arch to begin with, and shortening of my calf muscle (geez, who knew that happened?). Lest you think I was seen by some shyster, this guy is the section chief for foot & ankle stuff, and has performed more than 300 of the procedures I'm about to have, lateral column lengthening. A sugar cube-sized piece of bone will be carved out of my pelvis, shoved into an incision made in my ankle, and anchored by a permanent pin. Why not just the soft tissue repair? Because, kids, I'm too fat to avoid future problems without the bone graft. On the bright side, after 2 non-weight bearing casts and one pneumatic boot later, my foot will be better, stronger, faster. Despite my wife's protestations, I might even be able to run again, which will help me drop more weight. And, hopefully, a steady dose of orthotics for my shoes will keep me from having the same thing done to my left foot, although it would be nice, so to speak, to have scarring symmetry.

I'm sharing my literal and figurative pain with you because my recuperation will put me on my back for at least 6 weeks. Six weeks of no web surfing. No blogging. My days will be whiled away with real books and really bad television, washed down with a two week supply of Oxy-Contin (told you I had a great surgeon). I beg you not to desert me. Read my archives. I may even surprise you and post now and then if I can figure out how to put a chair under my enormous, yet painfully short desk. Someone may be kind and gift me with a PowerBook. I will more than likely work from home, because New Yorkers don't care if you're staggering onto the train with crutches. They won't give up their seat because they figure if you got to the train, you can tough out the ride. I'd rather not end up in jail for beating up some guy pretending to be asleep when me and my extra legs assume a spot in front of him. I'll pass until I have 2 working legs.

So, see you in October. Please don't forget Hurricane Katrina victims. Take advantage of volunteer opportunities. Never let The Man know you're not paying attention. Be good to your kids because they'll pick your nursing home. Make love not war. Mostly, pray.

TTFN!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Helping Hurricane Victims

There are several relief organizations assisting Hurricane Katrina victims. Please donate to at least one of them. Think you don't have anything? Think about this.

If you smoke at least a pack a day, you've spent anywhere from $5 to $10 dollars.

If you drive a car, you'll spend anywhere from $3.50 to $4.00 per gallon. That comes to $70 to $90 to fill the tank of an average sized car. Drive an SUV and you'll spend more like $100.

If you went out tonight for drinks and dinner with friends, you've spend anywhere from $20 to $50 or more if you're in an urban area.

If you purchased a pair of jeans, another white blouse, or another pair of black shoes, you've spent anywhere from $30 to $100.

I'm not trying to make people grudgingly give, for even the Bible says that God prefers as cheerful giver. I just want you to think about how blessed you are when thousands of people have spent the last week searching for loved ones, or living in garbage-strewn, dangerous conditions, or trying not to go into diabetic shock because of a lack of insulin and food. I just want you to think about being pregnant in tropical heat, without clean water or food, going into labor. Or an infant on a respirator in a hospital with iffy power. Or having a change of clothes when others have been damp for a week. Please, before you think about just how much you need to go to the club with your friends, think about donating the price of one round of drinks.

Donate to:

Amazon.com's fund that goes directly to the American Red Cross

Salvation Army's care package for victims, including food, water, and cleaning supplies

Catholic Charities

United Way

Give.org is a service from the Better Business Bureau that provides guidelines on how to spot reputable and bogus charities. The link above gives a complete list of charities providing hurricane relief.

Thanks, y'all.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Just An Angry Rant

Like September 11 coverage, I've been innundated, as the country has been as well, with image after image of people trying desperately to save their lives in New Orleans and other Gulf cities. I can't imagine what it must be like to literally have water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink, or thousands of dead beings; people, animals, plants, floating, rotting, spreading disease as they decay. I am angry and saddened by the complete negligence of our government as they respond to people in need. Chris Rock said it best during a press conference announcing a relief benefit: "We have refugees in America. In America!" Bush can help the oil industry, but can't get it together, or get his cronies together to help starving, devastated people first. New Orleans is a city of mostly Black folks, not the Whites living the grand mansioned life among the dripping wisteria. It's a city that has had two Black mayors now. The projects are worse than the mythical Cabrini-Green houses of Chicago. Petty crimes (pickpocketing, car theft) are high because people are hungry. And now, the fucking projects are gone. The wisteria washed away. And everything will now cost more. Thank you, gas-guzzling SUV's and trucks for serving as big boy toys that suck up resource after resource. Thank you Republicans, for pulling the wool over your own eyes, and forcing the rest of us who can see to not only have to wear blinders, but also muzzles to keep from screaming from the rafters what a LOUSY FUCKING JOB YOU'VE DONE RUNNING THIS COUNTRY. Thanks for giving us the high hard one without grease. The people of New Orleans, left without anything at all sure do appreciate your bullshit rewrite of science for your comfort, your forcing marriage definitions for your comfort down our throats, your feeding us bullshit about democracy around the fucking world while clamping down on democratic freedoms right here at home, your taking thousands of soldiers away from this land who should be serving in this land to force our brand of "help" down the throats of people who really didn't ask, leaving people right here who genuinely need help without it. Thanks for giving people desperation to believe that if you have nothing to live for, you're not afraid to die.

I started to feel bad for not feeling bad about all that's happening because I've been celebrating my wife's 40th birthday. But I'm not going to feel bad about it. I've done more in my life to help those in need than the shitbags running our country have done in the last fucking week, and I plan to do more. Let's all plan to do more, and let's plan to get this asshole and everyone who supports him off the fucking throne already. I smell impeachment in the air, and anyone with sense should too.