2116 posts categorized "Media"

April 23, 2014

Geidner: The New Book About The Marriage Equality Movement Gets The Big Things Wrong

Prop_8_team_outside_SCOTUS
(Photo by Win McNamee / Getty Images)

Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed critiques Jo Becker's book on the court fight over Proposition 8, which is being widely criticized. As Chris says, "A 434-page book about a lawsuit that promised to bring marriage equality to all Americans, but only resulted in restoring marriage equality in California, is a tough sell."

Regarding the above photo of the plaintiffs and legal team, my first question was, "Which one of those guys is Tom Cruise?"

April 17, 2014

No, Chad Griffin is not Rosa Parks

Chad-Griffin-by-Rex-Wockner-thumb-500x375-2371

NYT reporter Jo Becker's new book, Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality, includes this preposterous statement:

This is how a revolution begins. It begins when someone grows tired of standing idly by, waiting for history’s arc to bend toward justice, and instead decides to give it a swift shove. It begins when a black seamstress named Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in the segregated South. And in this story, it begins with a handsome, bespectacled thirty-five-year-old political consultant named Chad Griffin, in a spacious suite at the Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco on election night 2008.

What pretentious, ahistorical rubbish. The marriage equality movement was a reform movement, not a revolution, and did not begin in 2008. A lot of people were working for marriage equality long before then. We were not standing idly by but laying the groundwork in a variety of ways: strategizing, researching, organizing, educating, lobbying, fundraising, litigating, debating, testifying, writing and advocating in cities and states across the country. We were building support among lawyers, legislators, and opinion makers. We were developing talking points and winning people over in countless difficult conversations and sustained efforts over many years in our families and neighborhoods and faith communities. The assertion that Chad Griffin started it is ridiculous and insulting and discredits Becker's entire book. I hope Griffin has the sense and perspective and respect to distance himself from this hyper-inflated nonsense.

Andrew Sullivan, who was advocating for marriage equality two decades before Griffin came along, offers a bracing take-down to Becker's "jaw-dropping distortion."

I remember Evan Wolfson being viciously attacked in the 90s by gay people for his marriage advocacy. I remember the vitriol Sullivan endured back then as well. How lovely it must be for them, after so many years of trenchant advocacy on the front lines and taking the debate to places others didn't dare go (and would have been unprepared to handle), to be treated like fluffers by people who arrived fairly late in the struggle and stood on the shoulders of those who came before.

For D.C.'s part in the struggle, you can look at the timeline that Bob Summersgill and I prepared, at my oral history shot by students at Cesar Chavez Public Charter High Schools, and at my December 2013 article on the lessons from our victory.

(Photo of Chad Griffin by Rex Wockner)

Beards and fashion

Aptopix-85th-academy-awards-press-room.jpeg1-620x412

If you are a slave to fashion, forever worrying about what "they" will think of your choices in clothing and personal grooming, I suppose you may be interested in this article in Salon. It states:

Attention all persons sporting a full visage of facial hair: If you’re trying to attract a mate, you might want to rethink your beard. That is one takeaway from a new study published this week in Biology Letters.

“We may well be at peak beard,” researcher Robert Brooks told the Guardian Australia. Brooks is part of a facial hair research team at the University of New South Wales; previously the team found that beards signaled virility. This year they discovered a different behavioral effect related to facial hair: If everyone is bearded, women prefer a clean shaven man. The same principle also works in reverse.

They don't need to change a hair for me. Affleck in particular looks stunning in his beard. I don't care a fart about someone's notion of fashion.

April 13, 2014

Mat Staver warns of government overthrow over gay marriage

Right Wing Watch shares the latest right-wing lunacy.

April 11, 2014

Krauthammer on 'thought police'

Charles-Krauthammer

Check out Charles Krauthammer's latest column.

I hardly know where to start with Krauthammer's attempt to turn liberals into totalitarians. He blames "activists" for a grassroots effort by Mozilla employees and developers. He ignores the legal and constitutional issues at the core of the marriage equality fight and pretends it is all moral and philosophical -- because the religious bullies on his side of the aisle are determined to cast themselves as victims. He pretends that Obama had the same position as Brendan Eich in 2008, but Obama opposed Proposition 8. I was not happy with Obama's position back then, and criticized his slowness to "evolve" on the issue; but ballot measures were a key battleground, and Obama opposed their use to attack gays.

Krauthammer's argument on climate change is not with Obama but with scientists, who (despite his tendentious cherry picking) overwhelmingly agree that human activity played a role in it. And he mocks the reference to "change" instead of "warming" as if it is an evasion, when it more accurately reflects the science, which does not claim uniform effects. Here Krauthammer flirts with those who confuse weather and climate, though he knows better.

What is the point of all this furious and smug propagandizing? It is to make the relentless assault on gay families look like a mere dinner table argument, and to make those defending themselves look like the aggressors. It is to deflect attention from plutocrats like the Koch brothers who use fights on social issues to distract people from the harm being done to their own interests, as with Art Pope hijacking North Carolina and installing minoritarian government.

Just get everyone arguing over free contraceptives and women being sluts, and somehow the women whose reproductive freedom is under aggressive assault become the aggressors. All of this would be hilarious were it not so pernicious.

April 10, 2014

Marian Anderson at Lincoln Memorial, 75 years ago

Filmpreservation.org writes:

[I]n early 1939 the Daughters of the American Revolution declined music impresario Sol Hurok's request to book Marian Anderson into its Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Her race was evidently the reason. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt then resigned from the DAR, an act that increased public awareness of the controversy. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes arranged for a concert on the Lincoln Memorial steps. On April 9, 1939, Marian Anderson sang before a live audience of seventy-five thousand and a national radio audience of millions more.

Mrs. Roosevelt's immortal resignation letter to the president general of the DAR began, "I am afraid that I have never been a very useful member of the Daughters of the American Revolution...." It was politely devastating. Any course in rhetoric should include it.

April 09, 2014

UMass guard Derrick Gordon comes out

Cyd Zeigler of OutSports interviews sophomore shooting guard Derrick Gordon of the University of Massachusetts, who came out to his teammates. Kudos to this young man, and to those who helped him.

Derrick_Gordon

Fischer: It's now a crime to be a Christian in America

From Right Wing Watch. Do not rely on Bryan Fischer for information.

Sen. Alan Simpson Supports Freedom to Marry

Former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson does this ad for Freedom to Marry. I've met him and his wife. Delightful people.

April 07, 2014

Bedtime Bible Stories

America's Best Christian, Betty Bowers, gets biblical with her bedtime stories for children. If you think this scriptural stuff is harsh, you should check out the original fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm. Or perhaps Hilaire Belloc's Cautionary Verses for Children.

Westboro Baptist members run out of town in OK

KFOR-TV reports that members of the notorious Phelps clan of Topeka, Kansas were run out of Moore, Oklahoma as they picketed to declare and celebrate that God had sent the town a deadly tornado last year as retribution for America's tolerance of homosexuals. Or something. Oklahoma is a red state's red state, so this is amusing. Not that I approve of running people out of town. The motorcyclists in the video may be the folks who make a point of showing up where the Phelps families does, in order to drown out their hateful protests. The last time Westboro protested outside the Supreme Court, we all ignored them.

(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)

Mickey Rooney, 1920 - 2014

Actor Mickey Rooney has died at age 93. A tribute is in order. This may be heresy, but there's something about those old Mickey & Judy "let's do a show" movies that makes me gag; so I chose the trailer for 1938's Boys Town, in which Mickey starred with Spencer Tracy.

Below is "Yakko's Universe" from the 1990s TV show Animaniacs, which was deliberately annoying but had its moments. This song includes a reference to Rooney. Hat tip to Sean Bugg.

April 06, 2014

20 years later, commemorating the Rwandan Genocide

[Above, the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda tells the story of how hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, played by Don Cheadle, hid and protected 1,268 Hutu and Tutsi refugees during the Rwandan Genocide. Rusesabagina's story was told by Philip Gourevitch in his book, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda.]

20 years ago the horror was already planned, and needed only surface-to-air missiles to set it off. Wiki reports: "On April 6, 1994, an airplane carrying [Rwandan President Juvénal] Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down on its descent into Kigali, killing all on board. Genocidal killings began the following day: soldiers, police and militia quickly executed key Tutsi and moderate Hutu leaders, then erected checkpoints and barricades and used Rwandans' national identity cards to systematically verify their ethnicity and kill Tutsi. These forces recruited or pressured Hutu civilians to arm themselves with machetes, clubs, blunt objects and other weapons to rape, maim and kill their Tutsi neighbors and destroy or steal their property."

The commemoration to be held in Kigali tomorrow, April 7, will not include a representative of France. Al Jazeera reports:

Continue reading "20 years later, commemorating the Rwandan Genocide" »

April 05, 2014

Carole King surprises Beautiful cast at curtain call

Joe Jervis writes:

Beautiful, the Broadway musical that tells Carole King's life story through her songs, has been running for months to record crowds and rave reviews. King had famously declined to see the show, telling Playbill in December after walking out of a reading, "I can't watch my life played out before me." She changed her mind on Thursday, choosing to attend the show during the week that Broadway casts issue curtain call pleas for donations to Equity Fights AIDS.

Lovely. Especially nice for those of us who were in our teens during her peak years.

Fox's Starnes denounces treatment of ex-Mozilla CEO

Fox News reporter Todd Starnes writes at Townhall.com to defend now-former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich:

Why not demand that those who oppose gay marriage relinquish the right to own property? Why not take away their right to vote? Why not take away their children? Why not just throw them in jail? Why not force them to work in chain gangs? Why not call for public floggings? Or better yet, let’s just strap them down on gurneys, stick a needle in their arm and rid the world of these intolerant anti-gay bigots once and for all.

I want to assure Mr. Starnes that I oppose those traditional conservative measures.

April 04, 2014

Signorile refutes Sullivan on forced resignation of Mozilla CEO

Michelangelo Signorile wrote a detailed response to blogger Andrew Sullivan's criticism of "left-liberal intolerance" for the downfall of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich this week.

I agree with Signorile. Eich was totally out of synch with his company's employees, for one thing. This was a case of the market working. The First Amendment's free speech provision prevents the government from silencing you. It does not prevent a company from firing you when they decide that your actions will do the company harm.

Honey Maid: Love

Honey Maid responds to hate letters with one of the best commercials ever. As plenty of people have already commented, let's make s'mores!

April 03, 2014

D.C. primary election post-mortems

Phil_Pannell_at_Ready_for_Hillary_kick-off_event_insert_c_Washington_Blade_by_Michael_Key
(Washington Blade photo of Philip Pannell by Michael Key)

Tuesday's D.C. primary election results included the defeat of Mayor Vincent Gray by Ward Four Councilmember Muriel Bowser, and the defeat of Ward One Councilmember Jim Graham by challenger Brianne Nadeau. Here are several related news stories:

I'm sure we'll have commentary here on the election results and their implications; for the moment, I offer these news links. You can find competing commentaries by Peter Rosenstein and Mark Lee in the Blade. I almost got whiplash from Rosenstein's speed in getting behind Bowser after her defeat of Gray. But as the story on Independent mayoral candidate David Catania above reminds us, the race isn't over.

Breitbart contributor calls for 'slaughtering Muslims in the streets'

Joe Jervis reports on the latest example of the barbarism to which the radical right is trying to push the nation. Here the culprit is Breitbart contributor Patrick Dollard. Very scary.

Scott Lively Denies Calling Obama The Antichrist, Admits He Did When Confronted With Audio Of His Comments

Scott_Lively
(Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA)

Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch reports:

During Scott Lively’s interview with Michelangelo Signorile last week, the anti-gay pastor denied ever having said that President Obama is the Antichrist … until Signorile played audio captured by Right Wing Watch of Lively saying exactly that.

Good for Signorile and RWW. Lively is a right-wing evangelical who helped push Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act, and is now running for governor of Massachusetts. He recently called President Obama "a radical homosexualist" and suggested that the President may even be homosexual. He just can't stop making crap up.

March 28, 2014

Happy 100th birthday, Ed Muskie!

Senator Angus King (I-Maine) paid tribute on the Senate floor yesterday to the late Sen. Edmund Muskie (D-Maine), whose 100th birthday would have been today.

(Hat tip: Gregory King)

Robertson On Stoning Gays; Satan Leads Gay Rights Movement

Right Wing Watch shares the latest nuttiness from Pat Robertson.

Is a racist caricature okay as long as it's satirical? (No)

A controversy has arisen over Stephen Colbert's use of an offensive Asian stereotype to mock Dan Snyder's "charm offensive" over the racist name of the Washington football team. (The embed wasn't working, so click on the above link if you want to see the clip.) The question is, does Colbert's satirical purpose make it any more ok for him to do an Asian caricature than, say, a Stepin Fetchit impression? I agree with @suey_park that the answer is no. But she was barraged on Twitter by over-the-top threats and insults.

Really, people? The speed with which some resort to the most extreme language in online forums is scary, and does raise questions about the willful obtuseness of privilege by some and pandering to it by others. Okay, so you're being meta. The racist stuff is still offensive. Please knock it off.

March 19, 2014

Fischer: government exercises authority delegated by God

AFA's Bryan Fischer is at it again with this loopy explanation of civil authority being derived from God.

Rafael Cruz: 'Sexual orientation is a choice, it’s not a civil right'

The senator's wacky dad has an odd way of showing his love for gay people.

Setting aside the fact that sexual orientation is not a choice (just ask homophobes when they chose to be straight), the notion that something chosen cannot be a civil right is awfully strange coming from people who make a lot of noise about their chosen religion.

Honey Maid 'Wholesome' commercial sets righties quivering

Right Wing Watch reports:

Conservative talk show host Janet Mefferd said yesterday that she will no longer buy Honey Maid’s Graham Crackers because one of their advertisements features a same-sex couple with their child.

Discussing a Huffington Post article on the new ad, Mefferd took issue with Honey Maid’s use of the world “wholesome” to describe same-sex couples.

You can listen to Mefferd's scorn-filled voice below. Or just make a batch of S'mores with the kids and sing campfire songs.

March 18, 2014

Scott Lively, candidate for governor of Massachusetts

I don't think so.

March 14, 2014

Fischer: gay activists have brainwashed people into saying 'yes' to gay marriage

AFA's Bryan Fischer says the truth is always in fashion. And there he sits in his studio, proudly unfashionable.

You thought your marriage had problems

She's mad because her husband used to do "Straight Porn for Gay Eyes." Sounds like a niche market to me.

March 13, 2014

Barney Frank on export of hate by American evangelicals

)

March 10, 2014

The South's Stunning Embrace of Gay Marriage

Robert P. Jones writes in The Atlantic on changing attitudes toward gay marriage in the nation's most culturally conservative region.

Swanson: Disney's 'Frozen' Is A Satanic Push To Turn Kids Gay

Right Wing Watch shares the latest in wingnuttery.

Meet the American Pastor Behind Uganda's Anti-Gay Crackdown

Mother Jones has published a lengthy profile of viciously anti-gay evangelical Scott Lively.

Tammy Bruce at CPAC 2014

Homocon Tammy Bruce is shown here moderating a panel at CPAC 2014. I avoided watching the right-wing confab, but each to their own taste.

WaPo: D.C.’s complexion is changing. Will the next mayor reflect that?

Marc Fisher wrote an essay for Sunday's edition of WaPo discussing the role of race in the D.C. mayoral election. I was interviewed for the article and am included in an accompanying photo gallery. When I spoke to Fisher I was not aware that the story would focus on the politics of race. (He may not have known it at the time either.) I personally am not basing my decision as a voter on racial considerations.

March 06, 2014

Lupita and Conan on working the cape

I have no particular reason to post this interview with Lupita Nyong'o and Conan O'Brien. She is just so stunning and poised. Their discussion of the advantages of wearing a cape does remind me of a revue at the National Theatre in the mid-1980s (it was an MLK Birthday celebration) in which a bunch of us from the Gay Men's Chorus were in the balcony watching an Elizabethan dance troupe which, let's just say, was way more gay than we were. One of the dancers wore a cape, and his absurdly elaborate and stylized moves caused a very bad boy among us (whom we nicknamed Crystal) to call out, "Work the cape, honey." I remember my friend David Sisson dissolving into tears of laughter.

(Hat tip: Rod 2.0)

Stan Solomon: Obama's gay, not a real American

I should really add a new category "Crackpots" for this sort of item. Right Wing Watch shares this video in which Phyllis Schlafly applauds Stan Solomon's homophobic rant against Obama.

D.C. Council's action to decriminalize marijuana possession

Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday mentioned the D.C. Council's action to decriminalize mj possession. (He also mentioned the bill last fall.) Oh, what we have to do to get attention!

GLAA endorsed the "Simple Possession of Small Quantities Of Marijuana Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2013," Bill 20-409, in our 2014 policy brief.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued the following statement:

In a country where many states are permitting medical marijuana, or have decriminalized or legalized marijuana, I do not expect Members of Congress to interfere with D.C.’s local right to pass its own law on marijuana decriminalization. If Members try to interfere, however, I will stoutly defend D.C.’s right to pass such legislation, just as 17 states have already done.

March 04, 2014

Lupita Nyong'o on beauty

I encourage you to take the time to watch these remarks by Lupita Nyong'o on the gatekeepers of beauty and learning to love oneself and the beauty inside that has no shade. This was prior to her winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave. What a class act this young actress is, and how well she is using the limelight. Brava.

Jason Collins makes Brooklyn home debut

From Monday night's game against the Bulls, Jason's first game on the Nets' home court. The Nets fans gave Number 98 a standing ovation when he entered the game. This makes me so proud and happy I could bust.