I’m Packed, But It’s Still Not Real

Tomorrow I leave for Boston to see my play.

There’s not one part of that that seems remotely believable and yet, it’s true.

What a weird thing life can be, I’ll say that.

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John Farmer, For Real? For Really Real?

I’ve learned via Kleinheider that John Farmer is opposed to hate crime legislation.

Why?

I’ll let Farmer explain:

My first question is why does a gay person deserve more protection than I do from violent crimes? The last I checked, hate is an included offense in most violent acts. So if I punch you out because you said something bad about my mother, or because you are a gay guy who made an advance, why is one a greater offense than the other? The fact remains; I punched you out regardless of why. But if you turn out to be gay, and I’m a heterosexual, then the offense elevates to a felony.

Why is one a greater offense than the other?  Why is one a greater offense than the other?  Again, I must ask, John Farmer, for real?  For really real?

Seriously.

Let us just set aside any discussion of hate crimes.  You and I are never going to see eye to eye on that.

Let’s just address the question of why punching out a gay guy who makes an advance is far worse than punching out the guy who said something bad about your mother, because it really, frankly, scares the shit out of me that you’re wandering around out in public unclear on the distinction.

See, saying something bad about a person’s mother is by definition bad.  It’s meant to be hostile; it’s supposed to insult you and instigate violence.  When someone makes an unwanted advance, at the most, it’s annoying.  The person isn’t being hostile towards you and there’s no insult to you.  It’s not inherently bad.

In fact, you might see it as flattering.  Here a person has checked you out and decided you’re kind of attractive and has decided to let you know.  If you don’t feel similarly, you can just say, “Hey, no thanks.” or “Thanks, but you’re not my type.”  No harm, no foul.

Why in the hell would having AN advance made on you require you to react with violence?

Good god, could you imagine if we women started doing that shit–punching out dudes who make one unwanted advance towards us?  Or what if men started punching out women who make one unwanted advance towards them?  Would that be okay?

John Farmer, I’ve got my doubts about whether that’d be okay with you.

And so, I’ve got to ask, if you’re really devoted to equality, why are you singling out gay men for a violent reaction when you certainly would not stand for violence against straight men or straight women?

Health and Morality

I don’t think I have a conclusion about this yet, but I am tossing around this post by Radley Balko, about how all this money the feds are dumping into nutrition education is failing to make our children healthier, and this column over at Slate by Dr.

Here are a few things I think are connected, I’m just not sure how.

1.  Even when the writer, in this case, Spiesel, is careful not to gender the discussion of fat, Slate runs a photo of a fat woman standing on a scale wearing skimpy lingerie.  You, as viewer, are invited to gaze at her while she gazes at the numbers of the scale, indicating that, as usual, even though the scene purpotes to be a private, personal moment in a bathroom alone, weight is really as much about the people looking on as it is the woman with it.

2.  I think it’s interesting that Spiesel is so clear about how doctors link fat to morality:

Do diets work? The great majority of doctors think so. Experience tells us to expect an enormous failure rate, yet most of us continue to hold out hope that the diets we prescribe will result in lost weight or other health benefits. Why do we keep believing? First of all, because dieting really ought to work—here’s the standard explanation. Calories are energy. The body stores excess energy (beyond what we need for motion and the chemical processes of life) in fat. If we cut down our caloric intake (or increase our energy output) below the amount of energy the body uses, our weight will fall.

This should happen in a predictable and mechanistic way, just as we were taught in pre-med science courses. Thus, dieting failure is supposed to reflect failure of adherence, which we’ve assumed to be the result of moral failure—lack of self-discipline and control.

3.  And how Balko highlights how obesity is becoming a class issue:

”Calorie burning has become the province of the wealthy,” Zeitler said. “I fear that what we’re going to see is a divergence of healthy people and unhealthy people. Basically, like everything else, it costs money to be healthy.”

4.  If doctors view weight as a moral issues, the unspoken side effect of that is that doctors believe themselves to be moral authorities.

5.  If weight is also linked to class, does that mean we view lower class people as being moral failures?  I’d say, yes.

6.  And if weight is linked to gender, does that mean we view women as moral failures?

7.  If doctors believe that they have moral authority and if they believe that they know with certainty that weight is equal to moral failure, is anything that is a threat to fat=failure not also clearly a threat to doctor=moral authority?

8.  If doctors know that diets don’t work, are diets then just a method of punishing us for failing to submit to his moral authority?

I and this Mystery Here We Stand

It was all I could do to not inflict Walt Whitman on you yesterday.  I refrained, because I’m secretly afraid that I bore you when I start talking about him.

Still, I love him.

When I first moved to Nashville and I was broke and lonely, I would read “Song of Myself” out loud to myself just to ease my soul.

And I’m convinced that every high schooler in the United States should be familiar with it.

This is a poem you can build a country on.  I mean it.  Every time I read that poem, I fall in love with America all over again.

I have this fantasy where I get a bunch of those lawn chairs that fold out so that you can stretch out full-length on them and I set them up in my back yard.  I kidnap a few folks who need it and I strap them into said lawn chairs.  I slather them with sunscreen, slather me with sunscreen and I sit on my back stoop and begin to read.

I read until I’m tired and then I hand the poem off to Newscoma.  She reads until she’s tired and then she hands the poem off to SuperMousey.  By then, I’ll have recuperated, but I’ll still suggest handing the poem off to NM.  Maybe I’ll take it back when she’s done, if other folks haven’t lined up to read.

Certainly, I’m not going to tell you everyone I think is in need of a good forced-Whitman, but indulge me, if you will, in the vision of me sitting in the grass, leaning my head against the shoulder of Tiny Pasture.  He struggles a little bit and vows to make sure I rot in jail forever, going on about how there once was a time when women knew their places and didn’t run around harassing upstanding men.

I start in:

I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the
beginning and the end,
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.

Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and
increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of life.
To elaborate is no avail, learn’d and unlearn’d feel that it is so.

Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well
entretied, braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery here we stand.

Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.

Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.

Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they
discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.

Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be
less familiar than the rest.

I am satisfied–I see, dance, laugh, sing;
As the hugging and loving bed-fellow sleeps at my side through the night,
and withdraws at the peep of the day with stealthy tread,
Leaving me baskets cover’d with white towels swelling the house with
their plenty,
Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream at my eyes,
That they turn from gazing after and down the road,
And forthwith cipher and show me to a cent,
Exactly the value of one and exactly the value of two, and which is ahead?

Damn.  Damn.  Damn.  Do you see what I mean?

I am satisfied.  Should I postpone my acceptation and realization and instead focus on money, money, and more money?  On what is ahead?  Or why should I focus on some mystery time in the past when, supposedly, things were so much better than they are now?  They never were.