Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Readers swear they're not closet homosexuals

Recently, Candorville brought up something that's become a phenomenon: stridently anti-gay Republican politicians who turn out to be gay themselves. Some readers responded to that as people often do -- with irrational fear.

From a very religious Candorville reader (an excerpt):

I oppose same-sex marriage and I believe my reasons are very logical and not hypocritical at all, but I doubt you'd agree. In every society, every culture, every country, throughout all time, marriage has been commonly accepted as being between a man and a woman and usually involving procreation. Same-sex marriage, then, is an aberration, something unnatural and abnormal. It messes with the basic building blocks of humanity--the nuclear family--which therefore also makes it dangerous. I don't oppose it because I'm against homosexuals having fun or being happy, I oppose it because I'm convinced it's damaging to humanity. For me to hold that belief and not do anything about it, THAT would be hypocritical. I'm sure I've enraged you by now, but I sincerely believe that with my whole heart. And I'm not a closet homosexual.

I could respond to this by saying that someone who's a closet homosexual, by definition, is not going to admit he's a closet homosexual, but that would be kind of flippant. I could respond by saying there's no actual data to show same-sex marriage impacts "the nuclear family" in any way (I could add that gay people aren't going to stop being gay and become Ozzy and Harriet, no matter how many anti-gay laws are passed). But people ruled by fear are rarely moved by data, or by its absence. I could argue that "common acceptance," no matter how deeply rooted, doesn't dictate what's natural or normal, since slavery, for instance, was commonly accepted for millenia. But that risks becoming an argument about analogy, and all analogies break down at some point.

The notion that gay people enjoying the same rights the rest of us enjoy would somehow harm us and "mess with" the nuclear family is based on nothing but fear, and it's just plain ridiculous that people are fixated on that when there are so many more real threats to the nuclear family out there. Crime, unemployment, housing costs, health insurance, presidents who don't think poor KIDS should have health insurance...

Steve and Jamaal choosing to marry each other doesn't affect my marriage, your marriage, or anyone's marriage, but the financial, security and political dangers arrayed against us do. Poverty, or even milder financial insecurity, tears marriages apart. Domestic violence and crime tear marriages apart. You want to worry about something, worry about that.

But that argument turns into a rant and I'm sure "common acceptance guy" would just turn off halfway through. Maybe I'll just let the guys from one of my favorite shows respond for me. I think they know better than I do how to tell homophobes that there are far more tangible threats on which they should focus their fears.

Um... sorry, wrong clip. Here's the one I meant to post:

Monday, September 24, 2007

Penguins are always stealing jobs from Latinos

If you live in Houston, you may have noticed that the Chronicle, in an effort to provide entertainment geared toward Houston's large penguin population, has replaced the comic strip La Cucaracha with a strip about a group of penguins living in the Arctic Circle -- a subject that's obviously far more relevant to Houston readers than a strip about Latinos and immigration. The Chronicle has one of the largest comics sections in the nation. Surely they could've found something else to cut (maybe something whose creator died during the Black Plague).

If you're a Houstonite (or if you're not but you still read the paper) and a La Cucaracha fan, let the Chronicle know what you think about that by emailing or calling 713-362-3222.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The South's Gayest Comic Strip

Bad timing can be a very funny thing.

This week, Candorville debuted in the Raleigh News & Observer on a trial basis. They'll be testing it out for four weeks. The Raleigh News & Observer is one of the largest papers in the South (Mason-Dixon line and geography notwithstanding, it is the South - you're not fooling anyone, "North" Carolina).

Naturally, the week with which we introduce their solidly-conservative readers to Candorville happens to be a week that discusses civil rights by lampooning a closeted Republican Senator who trolls for gay sex in public restrooms. The readership is predictably amused.

Apparently "Candorville is a hog farm lagoon" is some sort of affectionate Southern colloquialism.

Check out all the other praise, and add your own (ONLY if you live in North Carolina and read the News & Observer) in their online forum. And again ONLY if you're a local News & Observer reader (no cheating, please), the News & Observer wants to hear from you. Write to them and tell them whether you want Candorville at

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Harry Reid: the paper tiger roars

Harry Reid remembered his backbone today when he warned that Ted Olsen, the man who made the argument that convinced the Supreme Court to stop Florida from recounting its votes and hand the presidency to George W. bush, won't be confirmed as Attorney General (if Bush nominates him). Fearing that "Ted Olsen" is merely English for "Alberto Gonzalez," Reid rightly insists Olsen isn't the right man to clean up Gonzalez's mess. Apparently "highly partisan" is no longer an asset on one's résumé when they come before the Senate for confirmation. We'll see if Reid sticks to that.

I can think of nine Republicans who would make great candidates for Alberto Gonzalez's old job.

Same movie, different actors

I don't know about you, but I'm sick of remakes. I don't quite get the purpose of remaking old films with different actors. They remade "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" for no damn reason, Keanu Reeves is remaking the classic "The Day The Earth Stood Still," again for no damn reason. They're remaking "The Hulk" just three years after the last time they released it. And is it just me, or have we already seen this movie:

Israel believes that North Korea has been supplying Syria and Iran with nuclear materials, a Washington defense official told the New York Times. “The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” he said.

The official added that recent Israeli reconnaissance flights over Syria revealed possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials estimate might have been supplied with material from North Korea.

If only there were some way to know when it's real and when it's fiction. If only we had some sort of, oh, I don't know, let's call it "News Media" for lack of a better term, that would reliably and doggedly seek out the truth and tell us what they've found. Somebody should invent something like that.

Ghetto Fabulous

Time was, people wanted to leave the ghetto. Once upon a time, American ghettos were bottomless pits of hopelessness and danger where nobody in their right mind would choose to remain if they had half a chance of moving somewhere better. And if they did choose to stay, they stayed to try and change the ghetto into something else. Somewhere along the line, record companies started telling people to stop trying -- to wallow and embrace rather than escape or transmute. To keep it real. To internalize the ghetto instead of fighting an uphill battle to transform or escape it.

Record companies didn't create that notion. Rap and Hip Hop didn't even create it; you can find strains of mysogeny and odes to surrender as far back as you're willing to look. Black people who reject the ghetto as it is have always had to face other black people who think they're sell-outs, who say they're trying to be white -- People who think they're not black if they try to move beyond what they think is their station in life. Record companies didn't create that idea, but they did realize it's easier to sell. They did realize depicting the ghetto as a glamorous lifestyle that people should aspire toward would hook more customers.

Maybe to us, every dollar we spend on this stuff may simply mean it had a good beat, but to them, every dollar we spend proves them right. Maybe to us, this is about self esteem. Life on the stoop isn't usually "Boyz n the Hood." Life in the "ghetto" is like life anywhere in a sense: much more good than bad in it if you pay attention. But is it something to aspire to? Unless you have Snoop Dogg's money to throw around, the ghetto can't be all that fabulous. At what point does self esteem end and stagnation begin?

On the positive side, that's not to say this is all that's out there. I'm currently playing this song into the ground. I'll be tired of it by next week:

Saturday, September 01, 2007

A letter to hip-hop

C-Dog would not be pleased...