Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Books in current (Fall 09) issue of Claremont Review of Books

I was glancing at magazines in the book store and saw this, and even though from the past I know I don’t often agree with the Clarement Review’s views, I want to say that I found this coverage very interesting, as I assume was intended, since it covers American history, even indirectly (with such books as one of Islam).

Will Morrisey's review of The Crisis of Islam, by Ali A. Allawi, is very good. It points out why most Americans insist on separation of church and state, and, despite the attempt at apologizing for Islam, the fact remains that Islam says, "What is ours is ours, and what is yours is negotiable." It says clearly that while someone can convert to Islam, no one can "leave' Islam. I read such things from the view of a homosexual American, and that is why liberals have supported Bush, and now Obama in their defense of America from Islamic etremists, and insist that all Muslims must agree to accept America's laws and not try to impose their religious beliefs, which say that religion and the state are one.

And that is why I still doubt the Christian Right, as covered in the review by Jon A. Shields of The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right, by Jean Bethke Elshtain. Both books try to explain what is unacceptable, and thus fail. Then there is the very good discussion of the book Lincoln at Peoria. I wonder when books will discuss Lincoln's sexuality. But I must say that I had not thought of the speech there as being that important, but it seems to have led to Gettsybug, and Lincoln's view on slavery—which should be read by Judge Bork, whose book is total nonsense as even the reviewer seems to understand. His idea of original inent is, of course, nonsense. But I was glad to see it said that the constitution does not guarantee the right to marry. And the comment that he should understand that if you can't add anything to the Constitution, you can't deny what is there!

But the Review remains consistent on the last two items, on Obama, and having Dick Cheney as speaker.

But keep going, editors! You keep my blood going.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Why do some homosexuals have more faith in America today than the right-wingers?Over the holiday i have listened to C-SPAN2 book rviews, and one final

Over the holiday I have listened to C-SPAN2 book rviews, and one finally got to me. I heard the views of George Nash and his discussion of his book, Reappraising the Right. I could not believe my ears when what he seemed to say is that they should start doing what (he did not sway this but what he said is what we have done, poor man) the very things, tactics that the movement for homosexual equal/civil rights have done, starting in 1950, ironically when he thinks the conservative movement started, and that it has lost some of its original thinkers and needs to restart.

It is strange to hear him think that programs on NPR and what I consider liberal media should be copied by the rightwingers/conservatives. I of course never listen to these sources, don’t consider them as having helped our cause and think most Americans feel the same way.

This is part of the bigger issue, a generic one that has been around, probably since the nation’s founding. But if we are to believe the polls and the media, most Americans now not only don’t like how things are going and are doubting Obama but think things were better in the past, presumably even under the last administration. How queer that most homosexual Americans think that things keep getting better and our nation has never been more like what the founders envisioned. We have more faith in our system than the rightwingers.

We have reasons, as do most black Americans and most female Americans. And most Hispanic Americans. I hope soon that will be true of most Native Americans, who still have not gotten promises fulfilled even from the Clinton administration era. Each decade since 1959 our cause has made progress. Each generation our community/movement has had a better life. I wonder why other Americans can’t feel the same way. They lost no rights by slowly granting us ours. We got no special rights that made us happier, gayer than other Americans.

It is time that intelligent Americans stop whining and realize that our nation deserves credit for having gone further toward the America the founders sought—using the constitution and Bill of rights and other guides they gave us. The system works. In a time of economic trouble, the has been no backlash against any minority—as might have been expected. The vast majority of Americans are loyal, support their government, and want it to succeed, even those who might not have voted for Obama. Our two-party system is not bad. Progress has been made under all administrations. We have reasons to celebrate, no matter which politidcal party we support or our religious beliefs or race. Let’s welcome a new year in which to continue our work to make our nation even better.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are today’s Mattachines

A most interesting sociological (and psychological) study would be learning who watches/listens to Comedy Central’s shows, especially The Daily Show (Jon Stewart) and The Colbert Report (Stephen Colbert). What only a few homosexuals may “see” is that these people are today’s version of Mattachines. It seems lost that not all “mattachines” were homosexual, including the supporters of America’s first successful organization seeking understanding of homosexuality.

This is relevant today as we see more and more print media, homosexual and non-homosexual, disappearing, and many people crying that our civilization will be the lesser for their loss. Nonsense. The sad fact is that journalism has never been the great contributor to our civilization that most people, especially academics and journalists, have told us. It is not just the faux “news” we get from Fox News that is recent and indicates a decline. It is the rare exception—Edward R Murrow—to the rule that makes us think journalism has been so good in the past or different from Fox's ignorant talkers.

That is why it is good that so many young Ameicans now get their news and views on important issues from Stewart and Colbert, et al. Like the early mattachines, who talked truth to the “leaders” of their time, which is why Harry Hay proposed that name for the first organization, it was a perfect name—sorry Dear departed Dale Jennings, although your version of the discussions held are also funny—and is a perfect name for Stewart and Colbert and their staff. But, sadly, there are no mattachines in our news rooms today. Serious Americans should ask the tv networks and local newspaper editors why a few staff members at The Daily Show and The Colbert Report can find information on people who are telling us lies and tell us about their deceit, with humor and satire, entertainingly, and NBC, Time, et al, can't with all their vaunted money and experience. And the evidence is there, even more today, on the internet.

I challenge anyone who thinks that they are getting news and good views in The New York Times, or Newsweek, or the local alternative publications such as L. A. Weekly, to watch these two shows a week and learn who is really giving you facts and the “news” and how really sad the state of journalism is. And I challenge the glbt journalists to even learn the history of their homosexual community/movement—as it seems few have even heard of Mattachine and ONE. And they may learn news from Stewart’s segment called “gay watch.” They will not learn anything from watching endless repeats of the L Word and Queer as Folk on LOGO. And they sure will not get any news—gay or non-gay—from the nightly network news shows, including PBS News Hour which seems to follow Karl Rove's idea of politics, don’t change things, just change names or the meaning of a word. And even less will they learn the truth from liberal media—which has been true from the start of the homosexual movement. We got less then and get less now from The Nation and The New Republic and The Village Voice than we got from the main street media. What a true journaolist, Don Slater, learned early was that we got more help from rightwingers of each era, such as Joe Pyne, than we got from the liberals who ignored us, including the ACLU. Our attorneys were conservatives, not liberals. Our printers were conservative, not liberal. We got more publicity from attacks from the right than we got from silence from the left. Playboy ignored us, but we got publicity when the lesser sex publications mentioned us. As any effort or cause learns, there is a serious question of whether you are better off being attacked or being ignored.

There may be a day when newspapers and magazines, major religious groups and even current political parties are no longer with us, and today's politicians are dead—some are already, except physically—but there hopefully will always be mattachines.

While it seems that the first public homosexual publication, ONE Magazine, founded in 1952, coming out of early (secret) Mattachine did do a good job, and had no competition for several years, the vast majority of later publications, like ONE, didn't have the resources to really give news and view on homosexuality, and once some got advertising and income, they seemed to go for entertainment only, ignoring the work of the movement. And most recent books seem to also ignore the serious discussion, so th3e clsoing of lgbt bookstores means little in fact as far as our community/movement is concerned.