Advocating bigotry

I have no idea why but every few days I get an email from Public Advocate of the United States, from the erm. desk of Eugene Delgaudio. I don’t know why, up until I got the first mail, I’d never heard of them.

They’re a lunatic group advocating, well I assumed America so in the end I wasn’t all too surprised that they’re all about gay stuff. And they have a survey… it says it’s “specially coded and registered for you.” so if you can’t link I’ll show the questions below, but that’s probably bullshit.

“EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Radical homosexuals claim YOU support homosexual “marriage,” special job rights and promotion of homosexuality in schools.  Please fill out the survey below and let your voice be heard.

Contacting and organizing pro-family conservatives costs a great deal of money. After filling out the American Morality Survey below, please consider chipping in with a donation to Public Advocate of the United States to keep this program running. “

As a rule of thumb, don’t I trust people who use the word radical at the start of sentences and generally, before a noun. ere are the questions:

1. Should businesses, schools, churches and daycares be required by law to hire and advance homosexuals or face prosecution and multimillion-dollar lawsuits?

2. Do you support the forced introduction of radical homosexual  practices into the U.S. Military with the Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?

 3. Should decisions about morality and sexuality be takenaway from parents, in order for radical teachers and counselors to promote the homosexual lifestyle in schools?

4. Do you support President Obama’s plan to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and institute homosexual “marriage” laws for the entire country? 

5. Should the U.S. Supreme Court have the right to overturn traditional ‘one man and one woman’ marriage laws passed by individual states?

Each has a yes, no and unsure tick box. I filled it out anyway, hopefully you can too.

Also their emails are written in Courier New, a most unpleasing font to read. So all in all complete assholes.

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Grin and bear it

This is a nice from of protest. A Swedish advertising firm organised a Teddy Bear battalion of 1,000 bears to parachute into Belarus holding signs calling for freedom of speech and human rights.

The two protesters who carried out the stunt flew a small plane across the Lithuanian border, dropping some bears on the town of Ivianiec and the rest over southern Minsk before fleeing across the boarder again.

 

Two senior officials, the country’s top border control official and the top air force commander were fired over the incident.

And one Swedish advertising firm generated some pretty good publicity.

 

Probable one of the fullest, most complete and thoughtful apologies I’ve ever seen.

I’m all for owning up when I’ve fucked up and genuinely think making mistakes and learning from my fuck ups is one of the best was to learn.

It’s actually why I enjoy debating; religion, science, conspiracy theories (et al.) with people because I like to hear alternate and ridiculous alternatives to what I understand or have learned and studied because I remain objective and can, and do change my opinion on issues.

It’s a trait I’ve learned and am still learning, and will for many years to come, but ya gotta start somewhere!

Here is a extremely thoughtful and personal apology from Bill Corbett

First and foremost: I’m sorry.   I don’t want to bury the lede here.

But let me back up for people who don’t know what I’m talking about..

A few days ago on Twitter, I posted these two things in quick succession:

1) My son got a Transformer for his 5th birthday and named him “Tranny.”

(The above was 100% true. But then in a minute, I followed up with:)

2) I’d MUCH rather have my son playing with a Tranny-the-Transvestite doll than anything associated with Michael Bay.

I got an avalanche of very angry messages immediately after that, saying that the term “tranny” is a super-offensive term to trans people.  And that I was a [many expletives].

Let me admit it upfront:  I had no idea.  I thought the term was a shorthand for more accepted terms — maybe not the most reverent, but certainly not all that offensive.  I assumed it became offensive only in context, when used with malicious and even violent intent — when clearly meant to hurt and belittle.  In those two tweets above, the first seemed like an amusing bit of reportage of what my kid actually said.  In my mind, the second one was mostly a slam on Michael Bay.  But the more I look at the second one, the more I see how it’s not that simple.

I was surprised by the reaction.  Some of the stuff coming my way was nasty, but hey, it’s the Internet.  The much more important point is: I did a bad job responding.  I apologize.  Even though I stand by my general analysis about the dilemma of offensiveness in comedy in “part one,” well… man, a lot of that was disingenuous in its details. I conveniently conflated this incident with a much more minor one on Twitter a few days before (an incident which I might follow up about sometime soon, but really, the comparison was not appropriate, like apples-and-aircraft carriers).  Also, my analysis was shot through with snottiness that I wince at, reading now. That little bunny seems like a real jerk now.

I was puzzled and angry when I wrote it.  (I’m not, anymore.) I’m leaving it up there as an honest record, but I wish I’d taken a few deep breaths first.  Maybe a few days’ worth of deep breaths.

Now I have.  And I took this seriously enough to ask some trusted friends about this — friends whose values I admire, whose sense of humanity is pretty unerring, and who I knew would be dead honest with me.  They were, damn it.   My heartfelt thanks to them and everyone else who gave me a gentle lesson in what the hell was going on here.

I also did a lot of research, not only about the nomenclature but about the science (my old friend!) of it all, and about the appalling level of violence against trans people.  I understand a LOT more than I did a week ago.  Still a relative noob, but much, much more informed than a few days back.

I won’t use the word again.

It can be challenging for people in comedy and art to find better ways to do what we do, and avoid hurting people who don’t deserve to be hurt.  But that’s my problem to solve, not anyone else’s.

I want to make people laugh, and occasionally think, and maybe — wow! — both at once.  I want to have fun doing it.  It may always mean being irreverent, skeptical, absurd, even indulging quite a bit of cynicism and sarcasm.  But I never want to depend on continually kicking people who are already down to do what I do.   I’d rather find another line of work entirely.  (Bowling alley attendant comes to mind, since that might have been my last honest job before getting all artsy-fartsy and comedyish.)

I want to stand on the side of humanity.  I want to be humane, even when being a goddamned wise-ass.  There’s no tried and true path through this, but it’s really worth trying to find it.  I want to make people laugh, not feel shitty about life.  ”Leave the world a better place than you found it.”  A twisty task for someone in comedy, but others have shown that its not impossible.

I’m not sure why I had no idea that term was so red-alert powerful.   The best answers I can muster: it might be generational, and that people 20 years younger than me are much more aware.  Maybe this is like watching MY parents face gay and lesbian issues, or my grandparents fumble their way through racial stuff, saying awful things all the while.  (Though I should say that some of the other feedback I got on my two tweets, from people significantly younger than me, makes me wonder about that.)

An equally likely answer is that I really don’t know any trans people — no close friends, no family members that I know of.  The one and only trans person who I knew well was someone at a regular AA meeting I used to attend.  We are both there to recover from addiction, and [no name: anonymous, y’know*] was an inspiration: she’d been physically abused by family for years, was pulling herself out of drug and alcohol addiction, and was doing it with an amazing amount of dignity and cheer, considering what she’d been through.  She was a person vital to helping ME recover.  We no longer live in the same city, and so have lost touch… But the thought of causing her further pain in life breaks my heart.

In apology, and to honor my friend, I am donating $100.00 to the Anti-Violence Project in New York, where I grew up.

Thank you for your time.

Bill

[* Re AA: in case people outside the program don’t know, “anonymous” only means you don’t betray the anonymity of others.  You’re allowed to say whatever the hell you want about yourself!  Maybe the subject of a future post for me, but first a whole bunch of my normal goofy junk. Thanks.]

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei will for the first time send women to the Olympic Games.

This means for the first time in the history of the games, female athletes will represent every country.

The International Olympic Committee and human-rights groups have been pressuring the countries to enter women to the games. And it worked.

It’s great news for the Athletes and I was delighted to read it this morning in TheJournal.ie. I was however shocked and disappointed to see the volume of sexist comments following the article.

It’s quite disappointing, generally the readership is very progressive and liberal in their views, which I stated in the comments and was replied with:

“…I’d say most fellas are just having a bit of a laugh….I wouldn’t get too hung up on it!…”   – Eimear Smith

Thanks Eimear, I never thought of it like that! Sure, if it’s just for a bit of a laugh…

Update on Najiba’s story

I blogged about Najiba yesterday, the 22 year old Afghan woman killed by a group of three men in front of a crowd of 150 cheering men.

Two of the men responsible have themselves been captured and killed in the intervening time.

It’s not real justice of course, Najiba’s murder cannot be justified. But these men should have been apprehended and put trial in a court of law, to show Afghanistan nation, men cannot simply sit a woman in a ditch chat for an hour and put 11 bullets in her.

Not for Allah, not for Islam and not for their pride.

I’m worried this swift justice to a kangaroo court will be, all to quickly be forgotten.

Judge, Jury and Instant Execution, Swift “Justice” of the Taliban

So you might of heard of the Afghan woman who was, in front of a crowd of approximately 150 cheering men, found guilty of adultery and sentenced to death in under an hour. A judge, jury and immediate execution situation, as her husband Juma Khan then shot her several times.

A video of the murder was later sent to the government, and amazingly the government “strongly condemns this un-Islamic and inhuman action” and ordered police to seek out the culprits.”

I won’t link to the video, though it is not difficult to find and auto plays on many news sites. The first few seconds were distressing enough. But if you must, find it else where.

Executive director Mohammad Musa Mahmodi of The Afghanistan Human Rights Commission also stated: “We condemn any killings done without proper trial. It is un-Islamic and against any human rights values.”

Well, erm, I guess I won’t get too worked up about the progression of human rights in Afghanistan, just yet.

The main point at this stage is the perpetrators are actively being perused by the government, if it is a sincere search that’s at least some, however weak justice for Najiba, who was 22.

Petition

A 15-year-old teenager was caught on video being severely beaten in his high school class room for being gay. The victim suffered broken teeth and a possible concussion. The perpetrator was suspended for just 3 days.

Petition: Tell Ohio school district to protect LGBT students