Saturday, September 10, 2005

Because We're Gay, Not Stupid

The amazement of others never fails to amaze me. There is little more useful in observing people than taking stock of what surprises them. People caught unawares are revealing what makes them tick, it uncovers hidden prejudices, it enables you to peer through a tiny keyhole into the dark, dank chambers that house their worldview.

Take, for example, this post made in response to an entry on the ever readable Malcontent.

But I quickly picked up on the fact that this guy was gay and it is always nice to see what other gay folks out there are writing and ranting about, so I read a little. I was confused that the top post was making fun of liberals. Then as I read on, it dawned on me that I had stumbled into the lair of a gay republican. Soon as I saw the posting lauding GLAAD's helm being taken by a repub and linking to a post elsewhere criticising HRC for being too liberal, I knew I was in the wrong neighborhood. (emphasis added)

Like those heterosexuals who assume everyone is straight unless informed otherwise, this gay man seems to believe all homosexuals are liberal. If they are not he becomes rapidly "confused." He may also have been distressed, gob-smacked, filled with heart-ache . . . wait, I'm mixing up the gay men who I want to throttle at random.

Still, doesn't he realize by assuming gays are liberal that he is unconsciously reinforcing the systematic social oppression of a world that pressures us to be liberal?! How insensitive and close-minded, no, how hateful to place those kinds of expectations on us. Do you know how that wounds our soul?

Our confused citizen of the city of fabulous writes on:

I still have to pick my jaw up off the floor when I hear that a gay person is republican. You just have to be a special kind of selfish and deluded to be gay and vote republican.

Selfish, yes. Are we not supposed to be selfish when casting our votes? I may be hallucinating, but is not a major talking point of the Democratic Party that economically disadvantaged Republican voters are doing so against their own self-interest? Is not a major campaign tactic of the Left to convince those citizens to vote for a liberal party who they believe has their rather selfish monetary interests at heart? And do not homosexual activists expect other homosexuals to vote for Democrats in order to get what we want for ourselves?

He's right. If I were selfish and allowed my mind to be consumed by homosexual issues, I very well might vote for the Democratic Party. Alas, I seem to have aged beyond adolescent self-identity politics to the wider world of free-thinking adults. I am free of the shrieking homosexual activism and its filthy, grime-ridden claws of insecurity and self-loathing.

Allow me to explain.

On November 2nd, 2000, I found myself staring at a television screen through bloodshot eyes, my last cigarette smoked, the economy-sized jug of sangria mostly empty and rolling around the floor at my feet. It had been a long night, and I had been so certain Gore was going to win. Then, in the small hours, George W. Bush was declared the winner. I clutched the remote, dashing from channel to channel in sheer desperation. There had to be some mistake. But, no. One by one, the network graphics flashed onto the screen with a picture of Bush and the words "43rd President of the United States."

Tears streamed over my nose as I bent double and gave a great snuffling sob. In a moment as near to Calvary as I'm ever likely to get in this life, I cried out"Why does America hate me?!"

You see, back then, I was gay. Nothing but gay. Gay as far as the eye could see. If I were Kansas, I'd have been an endless field filled with rainbow streamers. I had almost exclusively gay friends, and went to exclusively gay bars. I listened to music mostly played in gay clubs. My politics were all filtered through the prism of my homosexuality. I was not male or white or a deist or a liberal or someone who liked history or soccer or books. I was not even Robbie. I was Robbie the Homosexual. If I had thought to buy a cape, I would have.

A Republican victory was not a repudiation of politics or belief, but a rejection of me, my entire person, everything that I was. It was as if I had been kicked directly in the stomach and cast to the curb, intentionally left there to suffer. I remained inconsolable for weeks.

And then I grew up.

A few days after Sept. 11th, I found myself at the usual local gay bar. After an emotionally exhausting week, I just wanted a bit of comfort, a bit of the familiar, a piece of the consolation that comes from being around others who feel as rotten as you do. As I thought they might be, my friends were filled with righteous fury, angry, livid, full of rage.

At America.

"We had it coming," one asserted.
"It's about time someone gave us a bloody nose," another nodded in satisfaction.
"This is karma for our imperialism."
"We deserved it," a fourth said with relish.

I quietly sipped my beer as my mind dully flickered back to the scenes of people leaping from the towers, to the reports of firefighters and police disappearing in a billowing cloud of death. That was their karma? That was what they deserved?

From that day forward, the spell of Leftism and partisanship had been broken. No longer could I blindly or willfully share in any ideology that could be filled with such hatred for one's own country, that could believe - on any level - that what happened that day was deserved in any form. After seeing the kind of people my friends were, with a little start, I began the slow realization that I was not like these people. I was different. No shared sexual orientation could ever bind me to their twisted beliefs. They hated too much and too easily. They hated Christians and conservatives and the rich and white men and corporations and the media. They hated everything about this country, and it seemed nothing and no one would ever come in the way of it. No true evil in this world could ever compare to the disdain they felt whenever they looked down at their own passports.

Free of the ideology, I began to see the world not as I believed it to be, but how it is. As I drifted away from my homosexual friends, I became free to concentrate on every other aspect of my life.

I attended union meetings with my father. These gruff, hard-working, dependable Democratic voters were as bigoted and hateful as any stereotypical evangelical Christian or southerner. Gathering after gathering full of beer, and politics, and "those niggers," and "them fucking faggots." No political party maintains a monopoly on racism and homophobia.

I began to work in earnest, spending sixty or more hours a week in the office. Every Friday, I'd receive my check and begin calculating the percentage of taxes. I rapidly learned I would be penalized if I worked too hard and too long. No political party should punish me for being productive.

I met a boy and moved overseas. When I became sick, I had to wait for treatment from Britain's NHS. Friends and family there warned me against seeing an NHS dentist. When I tried to find a private one, I learned they weren't taking any more patients: their appointments were booked up for the next year. When my boyfriend's grandmother became ill, she shrieked and sobbed and wailed. This four foot, nine inch, 90 pound Scottish woman would not be moved from her living room by two burly paramedics. She said NHS hospitals are where people go to die. No political party should be bringing such a system to my home country.

Abortion . . . Ok, as a gay man, I have no truck in the abortion debate. I have my own beliefs, but I admit to being entirely apathetic. Lesbians sometimes try to tell me I should have solidarity with my sisters. I'll make them a deal. You show me a bunch of butch lesbians at a father's rights rally, and I will take a gander at your NARAL pamphlet. Fair trade, no?

I just sat through an election where the Republican vice-presidential candidate said gay marriage issues should be left to the states while the Democrat claimed marriage is between a man and a woman.

Finally, for the last four years, I have seen leftist after baby-boomer leftist parade around this country in a pathetic attempt to recapture their Vietnam protesting youth. It would be almost adorable if it weren't so depressing. I watched these people apologize and excuse terrorists, fascists, tyrants, and the most sinister forms of government evil.

I saw the vapidity of multiculture equivalence silence liberal voices that should have been howling to the sky for the rights of women, gays, and minorities in every part of the world, especially the Middle East.

I looked on in sheer disbelief as the Director of LGBT Relations at the Human Rights Watch apologized for and excused the beating of a homosexual couple in the city of Amsterdam by a gang of fascistic, fundamentalist Muslim youths.

There are serious issues facing the Republic and Western Civilization, and someone is going to have the gall and base ignorance to tell anyone else that these things need be decided by something as inconsequential as who they have sex with?

Now that is a mindset I find confusing and jaw-dropping.

People are shocked by gay Republicans and conservatives? I am shocked as hell by gay liberals and Democrats. They are the ones being selfish by putting their delicate sexual sensibilities before the vital questions of government, country, and civilization.

There is more to this world than me and who I date. Perhaps someday I'll get married. Perhaps not. That is my choice, and I will make it whether the government approves or not. I will continue to be a homosexual. To this day, I still go to the clubs, and have gay friends, and probably live up to the promiscuous stereotype a little more than I ought to. But I also work hard and want to keep my money. I want better health care, not a shittier national system. I want freedom for everyone, no matter where they are in the world. I want the boot of the American military to smash the faces of the Islamofascists over and over and over again. I want the bigots and the racists in both political parties exposed and shamed.

If someone finds all this horrifically confusing, well kiddo, have a popper and nap. It's on me.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Chad at Cake or Death tipped me to this. I like this so much better than blogspot's default. It's purty.

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog. Huzzah.

Brutus used hedge clippers

This week, the History Channel has been running an excellent series about ancient Rome as a bit of cross-promotion for the equally excellent series about Rome currently running on HBO.

So far, I've only caught the two hour special on Roman architecture and construction techniques, but it was pretty engrossing, in that sort of open-mouthed, a silvery thread of saliva is slithering out of your mouth kind of way.

Mainly I'm excited because the History Channel's long indentured servitude to Popular Mechanics appears to have been broken, if only for a few days. Last week, while nursing a mild plague-induced ear infection (It was the Black Plague, I know it was, and I'll hear naught another word about it), somewhere in my hallucinatory state I realized I'd spent an entire hour watching a program about the history of the lawnmower.

And you only wish I were kidding.

This was followed by the history of the muscle car, the history of the combustion engine, and possibly a three hour expose about spark plugs. I can't be certain. Television's always a little fuzzy when you're rolling on the floor, clutching your head in a silent scream, and having long internal dialogues with a vision of the Blessed Mother at Medjugoria.

Somehow the producers of this cable network seem to think this is a vast improvement over their years long Hitler fetish. Hilter's Secret Army, Hitler's Secret Youth, Hitler's Secret Youthful Army, Hitler's Secret Fascination with Young Boys Who Know All the Lyrics to Showboat. And on and on and on.

So, yeah, if you can tear yourself away from CSI, the new Rome series is worth checking out. If you're often enmeshed in the merciless tentacles of insomnia like me, they rerun it late at night.

Plus, a lot of the actors are hot. The casting director who found their Caesar is my personal idol. You just know there was a shirtless screen test involved. God, I hope so.

Rough and Tumble Cowboys

Brokeback Mountain premiered at the Venice film festival this week. There are a few very readable links attached to main article. My favorite excerpt:

The "Day After Tomorrow" pinup says that kissing a boy -- in this case Aussie hunk Heath Ledger -- in "Brokeback Mountain" almost led to a broken nose.

"He grabs me and he slams me up against the wall and kisses me, and then I grab him and I slam him up against the wall and I kiss him," he said recently, adding that the love scenes were the most violent he'd ever done.

I, uh, may be completely unavailable throughout the month of December.

Variety has a review up. Requires registration.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Duelling With Jello

When hurricane Katrina first hit, the documents detailing the cuts in federal funding for the levee system seemed to be, for the Left, the ultimate indictment of the Bush administration. It rapidly took its place as the centerpiece at a political dinner party attended by human corpses.

"How do you explain this, Robbie?! Where is your Republican savior now! Bwahahahaha! He's against gay marriage!" (Don't ask, that always gets thrown in there. My liberal friends are more concerned about my penis than I am. Which, while somewhat touching, is also invariably creepy).

My response from the beginning has been, "Well, it seems the funding would've made no difference whatsoever. The collapsed sections had already been completed, and they were only built to withstand a Category 3. Even if the funds weren't cut, the improvements wouldn't have been completed in time."

"Excuses!" they shrieked. "And did you know Bush is against gay marriage? Thought you should know . . ."

Thanks to AceofSpadesHQ, I've been directed to this article, a devastating expose on how Democratic government squandered funds meant for flood control and levee improvements. Naturally, I mailed this around. The response from a liberal I know:

It's also true that in a perfect world and the money was forthcoming and spent wisely, the levees would not have been done in time to stop this disaster - even if the repairs had started five years ago. . . Oh, and gay! Marriage!

Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn't it?

You know, British humorist Mil Millington says it far better than me in his articles about arguing with his girlfriend. In this case, liberals can be flawlessly substituted for Margret.

An especially frequent argument argument, however, is the result of Margret NOT STICKING TO THE DAMN ARGUMENT, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE. Margret jack knifes from argument to argument, jigs direction randomly and erratically like a shoal of Argument Fish being followed by a Truth Shark. It's fearsomely difficult to land a blow because by the time you've let fly with the logic she's not there anymore. A row about vacuuming gets shifted to the cost of a computer upgrade, from there to who got up early with the kids most this week and then to the greater interest rates of German banks via the noisome sexual keenness of some former girlfriend, those-are-hair-scissors-don't-use-them-for-paper and, 'When was the last time you bought me flowers?' all in the space of about seven exchanges. 'Arrrrrrgggh! What are we arguing about? Can you just decide what it is and stick to it?'

It's so true.

No Surprises Here

Although I am puzzled by the use of tense in this article. They seem to think all of this happened in the past.
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Did Neanderthals and the first ancestors of modern man ever meet?
Well, that depends. Did the Europe of 38,000 years ago have an extensive customer service industry? If so, I'm gandering yes.
Others still have suggested that they not only met but may even have interbred.
This explains so many branches in my family tree. Most notably the ones with the yokels who leap off three story buildings into four foot swimming pools.
The arguments have ebbed and flowed for generations -- fueled from time to time by new artifact finds
Like copies of the old fall schedules for the WB.
But the team of scientists writing in Thursday's edition of Nature believe they may have settled the dispute with analysis of tools discovered at different depths in the cave of the Grotte des Fees at Chatelperron in central France.
I guarantee they have the RonCo logo on them.

Chances Are They Never Read Hamlet

Given what's happening in New Orleans, is it really wise to name a hurricane or tropical storm after a Shakespeare character who drowned herself? A little tact here, fellas.

Ophelia Threatens Florida

Anything But That

It seems the dread, almost Sauronic powers of international diplomacy are about to be unleashed:

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. Security Council and Secretary-General Kofi Annan will both face sharp criticism for allowing corruption and waste to overwhelm the Iraq oil-for-food program, according to a probe of the $64 billion operation.

Sharp criticism, that most potent of weapons in the U.N. arsenal. When informed he may also be in for a "mild scolding" and "stern talking to," nearby observers noted Annan visibly paled.

The Incredible Vanishing White Folk

One of the favorite arguments of the Left in the aftermath of Katrina is that the Bush administration would never have taken so long to respond if the victims had been white people, religious conservatives, the rich, Republicans, etc.

Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi and Alabama in addition to Louisiana if I'm not mistaken.

Uhm, where does the Left think white conservative evangelicals come from?

So, Bush is a racist because he ignored the plight of minorities. Yet, while making this argument, the Left ignores some of the reddest of red voters in white southerners who are also devastated.

I'd laugh if I weren't choking on the irony of it all.

Update: That Gay Conservative linked to this piece in comments that comprehensively illustrates how wide-ranging the damage and how diverse the affected populations. Thanks for this. Everyone should send it out to liberal and non-liberal friends who are repeating the convenient media storylines that have been bouncing around throughout the week.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Life Has Themes

Without going into detail, suffice to say there was an "incident" this past weekend where I found myself dripping in raw sewage down to my adidas. We'll just leave that alone for now.

This upcoming weekend, I've promised family I'd attend a cow patty to raise money for hurricane Katrina victims.

It almost sounds like it involves burgers, doesn't it? A BBQ out in a field somewhere, beer in coolers, country music, kids running around, water balloons. Though I'm a suburban/city boy through and through, I still enjoy rural life. Country people know how to kick back and take it easy.

City parties involve dressing up far too much, dancing until your legs give in, and the various anxieties of trying to interpret and misinterpret so many different signals that a U.N. convention threatens to break out at any moment. Country parties involve honest to god relaxation.

Well, I didn't know what a cow patty was.

This is a cow patty.

So, that'll make two weekends in a row where I end up drunk and knee deep in shit.

What are the odds?

Finally, Actual Men

The trailer for Brokeback Mountain is finally making its way across the net (scroll down to the first comment after the link).

I must admit, when I first heard they were making a feature film out of this material, I wondered how they could make it work. Part of a collection by Annie Proulx, the original story is brief and full of a kind of writing as spare as rural Wyoming - it doesn't rely on ornamentation to be beautiful while still capturing deeper human truths.

When I heard Ang Lee would be helming the film, I sighed in relief. Not only is this a director familiar with gay material (The Wedding Banquet), but he is also a reverse Oliver Stone. Lee is a film-maker who never seems less than earnest. While someone like Stone uses homosexuality as a cheap vehicle for sensationalism and psuedo-controversy (see: Alexander), Lee always seems content to let his camera and characters speak for themselves. In this film, I think we can expect to see the sexuality of the characters subtly folded into their personalities, rather than propped like a gaudy piece of jewelry meant to draw the eye and shock the senses.

That alone is reason enough to see it, but there is something else here:

This is a story about actual men. Not only actual men, but actual love.

Much of gay "literature" and film revolves around sudden realizations that some people like cock, and then we're barreling down a strained, angst-ridden path invariably involving drugs, night clubs, a series of one night stands, and suicidal self-loathing. If I never read another novel or see another movie that involves someone on a three month, sex-fuelled meth bender, it will only be too soon. While issues of awakening to and accepting one's sexuality are inherently adolescent in nature, that doesn't mean writing about them has to be.

While some of these elements are no doubt present in Brokeback Mountain, there's the surest sense that these characters are not driven by the need for acceptance and a wish to just be who they are. Instead, we have two people who have suddenly and inexplicably fallen in love and are confused by how they feel this way. They cannot believe it, and because they cannot believe it, they have a grudging time accepting it.

While I've always heard stories by friends and boyfriends about always knowing they were gay, I've never been able to relate. My sexuality has always been one long, unfolding realization. My first great love was also my best friend. Closeness bred familiarity, and familiarity engendered love. That he was male seemed of far less importance than the fact that he was such an over-whelming part of my life. There seemed a time when the boundaries of platonic attachment must break under powerful, half-understood forces of attraction. It was about a need for an ever deepening closeness, until you can actually feel the other person inside your own soul.

Gay cinema has always misunderstood this component of love and attraction. The requirements here don't merely extend to "has cock" or an adolescent social anxiety. While two people certainly can and do get together because they both find each other hot, there has be a deeper shared splinter of understanding for love to work and remain believable. There must be a potrayal of the recognition that there is something in the other person that mirrors a cherished, long-hidden part of ourselves.

Most gay films and books concentrate on the shallow things. The initial physical attraction, the one night stands that seem more like Christmas morning - these people aren't undressing, they're unwrapping a present they've long window shopped for. After many drunken arguments and strained misunderstandings, perhaps the two main characters will walk down the street while holding hands. The credits will somehow roll up before a banner can appear on screen screaming "I like cock, and that's ok!" And yet, I always know those two characters will break up in roughly three weeks if my friends are any barometer. It just doesn't work like that.

That's why I'm pretty excited about this movie. It's about two men who aren't scrambling to gay clubs to find acceptance and dick. They are who they are, living their lives. Love is a startling, unexpected thing. You can't look for it, you can't go out and find it. It finds you, whether you like it or not, whether you want it or not. The only thing you can do is cope with it and deal with it the best you possibly know how.

So, yeah. Finally. A movie about real men, real people. I'll probably live in the theater during the month it comes out.

Plus, there are worse ways to spend time than watching Heath Ledger make out with Jake Gyllenhall.

I'm just sayin.

Maybe if he renamed it Urban Ethos

Queer Conservative tipped me off to this local story about the rampant racism inherent in the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

GARY, Ind. -- The Gary branch of the NAACP wants an apology from Bureau of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Joel Silverman for "offensive and disrespectful" comments he made during a recent public hearing.

Silverman referred to members of a mostly black audience Aug. 17 as having a "city mentality," which many took as a racial remark.

"When you mention the term 'city mentality' to an audience consisting mainly of African-Americans, they're not thinking city mentality means 'regional.' They're thinking you mean the N-word mentality. That was a perception problem," said Tammi Davis, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The only ones taking "city mentality" as a racial remark are people predisposed to take everything as a racial remark.

Every time I hear the NAACP is outraged by a passing, inoffensive remark from a blindsided official, I'm reminded of every bad relationship I've ever had. Most people know how this goes:

You come home from a long day of shucking oysters or power rodding local sewer systems, like ya do, and you find your partner waiting for you in the living room. His arms are folded across his chest as his eyes bore into the television in a way where you just know the thing would explode if he had any telekinetic ability whatsoever. Still, you're tired, so you're paying little attention to the silent fuming and the wisps of steam rising from his head. You slump down in the kitchen and start tearing through the stack of bills, dreading what horrors await.

Somewhere between wondering if you can use your new soup bowls to collect rainwater for drinking and whether or not you really need electricity, you find the visa bill. Sighing in frustration, but still clinging to a shred of calm, you walk into the living room and wave the bill in air. "I know you had a lot of fun at the Dutch and German Dance Festival For Awareness of Transgender Acceptance - we all did - but I think next time we should avoid the $75 sequined culottes. We're going to have to buy food at some point."

Like every earthquake, you can almost see the S waves rolling across the carpeted floor in the split second before it hits.

"YOU DON'T LOVE ME!!! You hate everything about me!! Why are you always on my ass about everything!! My last boyfriend would never treat me like this!!" And with a half sob, Laura Ingalls Wilder gathers her skirts and flees from the room.

Just me? *awkward pause* Ok then . . .

Every time white officials say anything to a largely African-American community, they're treading a severely thin rope, one manned on both sides by Jesse Jackson types armed with scissors and shit-eating grins. No matter how innocuous or common sensical the comment, the officials are always at fault.

Anyone in Chicago knows about city vs regional conflicts. Not a day goes by without someone in Springfield bitching that there is an entire state of Illinois involved here. "Could you not keep pissing away millions on architectural lingerie for the John Hancock Building? We told you, the Sears Tower just doesn't swing that way." These arguments are simply a fact of life in an area where eight million people live in one neighborhood, and three or four folks have retreated to cow country.

This poor Indiana official, like all unsuspecting boyfriends, has stepped on a phantom landmine with very real shrapnel. Now he must grovel and apologize by attending "sensitivity training," that re-education camp of the Left. It will make no difference at all because, like all relationships, the situation is a minefield. When a largely minority urban area exists within a mainly rural white state, there are few criticisms that cannot be shunted into "What's really wrong." And what is always, always, always wrong is that every white official in the state is a virulent racist. The officials simply don't love them enough and hate everything about them.

It's just so obvious, isn't it?

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Soulforge

On the evening of October 8th, 1871, the editors of the Chicago Tribune must have looked on in disbelief as the Cook County Courthouse collapsed, silencing its alarm bell and sending it plummeting into the basement below. By sliding down the tower banisters, the ringers escaped five tons of descending horror, only to find themselves in the streets of a city in its death throes.

For months, through one of the driest Indian summers in memory, the Tribune warned local and state officials of the disaster waiting to unfold. With over sixty miles of pine block streets, six hundred miles of wooden sidewalks, hulking lumberyards, furniture factories, and financial districts and tenements crafted almost entirely of timber, Chicago was an inferno in the making. When only two and a half inches of rain fell since early July, it seemed only a matter of time before fate struck its match and burnt the city to the ground.

Within hours of Mrs. O'Leary's legendary cow kicking over the lantern, the great cultural and architectural institutions of the city flared briefly, almost beautifully, before folding into ashen rubble, the steeples of the immigrant churches curling like so many spent wicks. Palmer House, the recently renovated Crosby Opera House, the Grand Pacific Hotel, post offices, and customs, and even the "fireproof" Tribune building itself vanished in a sheet of orange flames.

As the city smoldered, and the citizens took stock, the sight of another tower rose through the gray, smoky gloom. Behind their thick stone walls, the city waterworks performed far beyond their means all through the conflagration. When embers and debris the size of flour sacks alighted the tower roof, fire gutted the structure. Still, in a city now level with nearby Lake Michigan, one small piece still stood proudly, a beacon of hope that all was not lost in the disaster.

Today, the City of Chicago is nothing and everything like that place long ago buried. It is still a center of trade, finance, manufacturing, and culture. A downtown once built entirely wood is now piled high with mountains of steel and glass, their reflections glittering in the lake. The modern crown jewel of the city, Millennium Park - with its Cloud Gate seeming like a large mercuric jelly bean -, has taken its rightful place in the people's imagination.

And yet, walking north along Michigan Avenue, urbanites and tourists alike leave behind these metal sculptures and postmodern designs to find Water Tower Place. Hunkered in the shadow of the Hancock building and an upscale shopping center filled with the affluent, the beige limestone structure with crenellated ramparts still stands. Though gas lamps have been replaced by red and green spotlights, tourists still flock to the Old Water Tower, as passing locals puff up their chests and declare "One of the only buildings to survive the Fire!"

Many cities throughout the world have been through their own trials, destroyed by flames natural and man-made, buried under floods and volcanoes, bombed, and sacked, and raided, and ruined. Still, these historic gems survive and become spiritual points of pride for the populace. Are there any citizens prouder than Londoners as they look upon the great dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, it's ramparts still scarred and punctured by the horrors of the Blitz? Does anyone know a secret smile better than a Roman citizen as pillars and statues are recovered from that city's bottomless catacombs?

I admit to tearing up a little upon reading that New Orleans' French Quarter and Garden District have escaped Hurricane Katrina relatively unscathed. There will always be the Cafe Du'Monde with its sugared beignets, and the moldering mansions along First Street, keeping their eternal secrets while slumbering under the protective embrace of the oaks. The city that rises from this destruction may look nothing at all like the one that existed until last weekend. But the people there will have these cultural touchstones, these little bits of living history and tangible comfort as they struggle to bridge the old and the new.

The soul of a city is forged in the crucible of history. Though pieces may die, those parts purified through this suffering emerge as symbols of the strength and the spirit of a city and a people who will rebuild and live on.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Paging MI6. . .

There's a reason they're called moonbats:

I want to be clear: at the beginning of this whole disaster I reminded the moderators to remove particular topics of discussion which we have removed in the past. This week has certainly demonstrated - again - that the Bush administration is criminally incompetent, but we are not going to be hosting discussions about weather control any time soon on Democratic Underground.

The one man who could have thwarted this evil scheme?

Fired two weeks ago.

Convenient, eh?