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December 06, 2004

Larry Kramer, Shaddap!

Patton Oswalt has gone soft. Whoda thunk? But he did have something of his old edge in his standup special last night. He hates hippies, and although he could have refined that piece, the way he ripped NPR was delicious. I'm ready to rip NPR again, because all I've heard today is bleating about 12 gay soldiers and whining by Larry Kramer.

Message to the Gay Man. America doesn't hate gays, we're just sick to death of you. Message to all combattants in the Gay Wars. Shut the hell up. Go home and get some sexual satisfaction and be happy.

I am getting the distinct feeling that I'm going to come back from China with some of the same 'Anti-American' criticism of American media that I did when I came back from Sydney in 2000. I'm going to be full of piss and vinegar, all vitriolic about the lame mindlessness of it all. Why? Because the softness and cynicism of American journalists is getting on my nerves - this is what they report, the sense that gays in America are losing their rights.

Gays in America are not losing their rights, because gays have no additional rights to protect. And perhaps I am unduly emboldened by the recent Supreme Court decision in Texas, but how much is a lifestyle a right?

Free to be Me.
Is state-mandated tolerance a Constitutional principle? Should it be? To what extent should laws lubricate the inevitable friction between people? In the coming world, I see the value of 'PC' as a personal skill, like courage or intelligence. In this nation we will cyber our way into each others lives, very carefully negotiated. And we will be surprised and somewhat astounded at the ability of others to trust without electronic verification. Why? Because we somehow have lost the ability of discernment in the main. We didn't realize that kid would grow up to be a serial killer, he was just 'challenged', remember? Too many of us have gotten so accustomed to saying "OK, I guess so" and "But there's nothing wrong with that.." and "All he needs is a little.." that we've practically forgotten how to say No. We have disabled, or perhaps I should say crippled, our ability to use the words 'superior' and 'inferior' as adjectives for people.

Understand that this has nothing to do with the suggestion that gays are either inherently or even transitively inferior or superior. It has to do with the fact that we have zoned out so far from dealing with what King would have us do, the content of character, that we have confused volume with credibility. And nothing speaks volumes like the ability to launch organizations like GMHC and ActUp.

See, I refuse to believe that Larry Kramer has a bigger heart than I do. And I don't think that anyone should buy that as a premise of his credibility. Any normal person who watches people die feels that kick in the gut. And I beleive he is invested in the kind of rhetoric which suggests that anyone who disagrees with him is a heartless hater. Understand that this is a fallacy that so undercuts his credibility that he deserves to be verbally beat down. And yet it is something that we cannot depend upon our journalists to do, at least not those at NPR. Not today.

In fact, I have Acted Up with ActUp and I have danced my feet numb at the Javits Center with the GMHC crowd. When you're at the party, you drink the Kool Aid, but you don't take the recipe as Gospel. A bit of critical thinking shows the ordinary strange people to be simply invested in hope for ill friends, neighbors and fellow Americans. But those of us who wear Eddie Bauer and keep our hair cut short have souls too, and if I may indulge in a bit of rhetoric, we probably care more for you than you care for us. After all, I don't need to rebel against society to be happy. The grudge is yours.

I'm trying to imagine how Larry Kramer calculates that on November 2, 2004 that every pharmaceutical company in the world stopped their research into finding the cure for AIDS.

Yes 13 out of 13 states have this year just said No to Gay Marriage. It is a reality check on the ambitions of activists who have, I think, been watching too many Broadway shows. The drama of AIDS activism doesn't motivate everyone, but mistaking that for the single avenue to compassion and mutual understanding is a severe error of judgement. Then again, haven't I already said that we are losing ours?

When it comes to fighting disease, we all have mutual interests in reasonable progress. (The reason I moderate this takes some understanding, follow the neonatal thread.) But when it comes to public declarations of support for our sexual choices, everybody stands in line behind Brittany Spears. We don't give a fig and you can't make us. Elope, dumbass. When we're done griping, we'll give up half a banana split, but not until the volume is turned down and the credibility is turned up.

It's time for a new poster boy. We can't expect our namby pamby media to give Kramer the thorough fisking he deserves. I am hopeful we can do better.

Posted by mbowen at December 6, 2004 04:04 PM

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Since you partially define yourself as a civil liberterian then why do you care one way or the other if gay folks marry each other or not? The only marriage I'm particularly concerned about is my own and my wife and I are doing fine. Why are you and so many other seemingly reasonable and live-and-let-live folks getting so stretched out over this issue?

Posted by: ptcruiser100 at December 7, 2004 07:48 PM

I care if secular politics affect the sacraments of my church just the way I care if religious doctrine changes the law.

That activists for the gay cause are petitioning to change the law of the land, it means that they want public sanction. I don't have to give it. The point is that they are asking. So long as it's a public issue, then the terms and definitions of gay marriage are negotiable. The live and let live attitude is for gays to do whatever they were doing before they asked for public sanction.

Posted by: Cobb at December 7, 2004 08:21 PM