Monthly Archives: May 2012

Marriage Equality: The Carrrot On The Stick

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Marriage

1. a. the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc

b. a similar institution involving partners of the same gender: gay marriage.

2. the state, condition, or relationship blah, blah, blah…. Ah, here it is!

3. the legal or religious ceremony that formalises the decision of two people to live as a married couple, including the accompanying social festivities: to officiate at a marriage.

In recent years there has been a lot of discussion how to define a marriage. Specifically, the inclusion of homosexual partners under the definition. Ultimately, the lobbies and lawyers representing the LGBT community have been trying to remove the word Gay, in Gay Marriage, simply because it’s like designating separate drinking fountains. You know: Separate, but equal? And the reality of it is, it’s not equal.

All we really want is to have our marriages recognised. And while we still have civil unions that still pretty much guarantee us the same rights as everyone else, it’s that sticky label that sets us aside, and reminds others that we’re somehow….different. Odd. Queer. But we’re normal people, for Christ’s sake! Homosexuality isn’t some aberration! It’s honest, and open-minded! It’s searching one’s heart and acting on the feelings that truly come naturally to us! So why can’t they realise this? You know — everybody else?

But they won’t. They refuse to. Their psychology is fucked up, so we have to work around it.

First, we have to remove the stigma associated with everything Gay:

☑ Write more LGBT characters into drama and sitcoms.

☑ Create new, more positive stereotypes for LGBT people.

☑ Create reality TV shows with LGBT people in positions of authority.

☑ Mandate schools teach LGBT history

☑ Include LGBT as part of cultural/diversity appreciation week in schools.

☑ Convince courts to give LGBT persons a protected minority status.

☐ Change definition of  “Gay Marriage” to just “Marriage”.

As you can see, we’ve made a lot of progress. We just need that last check. And then, you have to ask yourself: Why? What’s the big deal? It’s just marriage. Marriage rates are in decline these days anyhow, or haven’t you checked the latest polls? And also, let’s be honest, we don’t have the best track record with monogamy. Yet somehow it’s still important to us, even after all we’ve already accomplished.

But why is it so damned important? Well, I’ll tell you why: Family.

While most states afford us the same basic rights as everyone else, one of the few things they don’t all guarantee us is the right to start our own families. Apparently, since being Gay, or Lesbian, or Bisexual or Transgendered is a disease, we’re just meant to die off, without “infecting” the rest of the population. At this point, it’s apparent why we hold such a grudge. We’re deemed as socially tolerable lepers. But we’re not having that, are we?

No, because we realise that while it is probably biological, it is not a disease, and is definitely not communicable. And raising a child in a consistent household, with two stable parents  — regardless of whether it’s a mommy and a daddy, or two mommies or two daddies — is the best chance the child has of growing up stable; reducing their proclivity toward substance abuse, and increasing the likeliness of eventually attending and graduating college. So why the hell are they denying us the opportunity to give a child the best chance he or she’s got at a better life?

To play devil’s advocate, let’s bring up our track record once again. We really aren’t the most monogamous, are we? We do tend to go from partner to partner, finding difficulty in maintaining coherent, cohesive relationships. Perhaps they [the heterosexual powers that be] are worried that we’ll just be divorcing more often. But let’s be honest, even the heteros have a pretty bad track record at making marriages work themselves, so why not be fair? In fact, why not just forget this marriage business altogether.

No, I haven’t gone insane. Hear me out: I want us to forget this marriage business altogether. All of us. Everyone. That’s right.You too, you heteros, you! If we can’t have marriage, because you distrust our judgement or ability to remain devoted to our partners, neither should you. Your track record should be equally in question. Therefore, I propose a ban on all marriage. At least, as far as government recognition goes. And let’s face it, marriage is too well tied in with organised religion. So let us exercise the separation of Church and State, and cut if off completely.

If you want to get married, get married! Find yourself a church, synagogue, temple, community, whatever and whomever you need to ratify your union. And if they’re okay with it, go ahead; knock yourself out. Hell, you can swear yourselves to each other in secret, signing in blood, if you want. It really doesn’t matter. It’s not about what anyone else thinks or believes. It’s about what’s in your hearts, right?

But what about the rights?

Oh, yeah….the rights. Well, that’s an easy fix. If you want those rights, if you want the right to, oh say….tie someone into your taxes, your credit…..if you want to merge identities; if you want to give them power of attorney or hospital visitation privileges, etc; if you want the right to adopt a child and start a family, alls you need to do is apply for a civil union. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Everyone in between, and Straight alike! We’re all Americans here! And we’re all in this together. So whatever restrictions you Straights would otherwise have imposed on us….it’s all on you now. And if you don’t like it, tough! Because you’re gonna have to fight pretty hard with us to get those rights back. That’s right. With us. Our losses are your losses. Your gains are our gains. The spoils of victory shared among us. So, in a way, it’s almost like our two marriages are married with yours. For the long haul. For better or for worse. Isn’t that nice? I think so.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. It’s no big deal. I just won’t get a civil union, that’s all. Well, it’s a pretty messy economy. And it’s not getting better any time soon. Inevitably, you’ll be craving those tax breaks and added benefits that marriage once offered you. Well,  let me share something else with you: In my little scheme, in order to protect those sacred civil unions, they must be particularly difficult to get in, and extremely difficult to get out of. There will stipulations. Prerequisites. Criteria for qualifying for a civil union.  Not the least of which is cohabitation. Oh! did that strike a nerve? Does the bible strictly forbid cohabitation? Well, you’re free to marry anytime you wish, so consider that your “trial marriage”.  If you fuck up in the meanwhile, it will be documented. How so? You and your partner will be required to see a marriage counselor, in addition to your own private one-on-one sessions with your own counselors. And yes, they will know when you are holding back.

There will also be age restriction. You know how the federal government doesn’t trust you make wise decisions with alcohol until the age of twenty-one? You know, to give you time to grow up and develop strong values and disciplines before you are free to experiment with alcohol? Well part of this comes down to how your brain simply isn’t fully formed, or at least reached the most critical stages in development until about the age of twenty-one. Well, twenty-five, really. But for the sake of compromise, twenty-one.

At any rate, it’s clear to see that the reasoning behind this is scientifically justified: You simply can’t yet see the bigger picture, the repercussions of your actions, until then. The same goes for marriage. Er, civil  unions. You see, while your hormones are telling you one thing, your brain is still acting on incomplete information; like trying to coordinate air traffic with a hole eating up one-quarter of your radar. So to give your civil union the best chance of success, the solution is to delay it until both your lobes (you and your partner, both) are good and ready.

Now then, if you thought getting into one of these unions was hard, try getting out of them. You’ll find you really can’t. At least, not for thirty years, or so. And nothing short of outright perjury, or a criminal offense will get you out of it. This is to help ensure that if you do have children, they’ll be long grown by the time you eventually part ways. Meanwhile you’re free to leave your partner at anytime. Never should there be a law so cruel. But don’t expect to apply for another union. You simply won’t be granted one; at least, not until the expiration of your current union.

Now, if this seems like too much of  a hassle to you,  then obviously you don’t take marriage too seriously, now do you? If you really felt so strongly for your partner, you would go out of your way for them in a heartbeat. But perhaps it is for the better. We don’t need people like you desecrating the sanctity of our civil unions anyhow.

At least, that is my dream, my hope for the future of marriage, or whatever you choose to call it. Honestly, I see it for how it really is now: a joke. Neither side really takes it seriously, Gay or Straight. Both have troubles with staying monogamous or manifesting the patience to put up with one another’s partners as they grow up together. So obviously this isn’t an institution that either of them they really believe in.

So why pour hundreds of millions of dollars protecting an institution that is on it’s way out anyway? Because it’s the carrot on the stick. The blue holds it above the Liberals insisting that it’s progressive, egalitarian, and that they can guarantee equal rights for all; and the red side holds it above the Conservatives insisting it’s going to protect the American family (specifically their kids) from sickos like us. Neither side really gives a fuck about it’s constituents, and neither can really deliver, either. These are inalienable rights, so bargaining with either of them is simply an absurd admission of the power they have over us. A power they do not rightly have. This government is of the people, by the people, for the people. But I guess we’ve forgotten that.

And so they lead, and we follow; a game we will never win as long as we continue to play on their terms. Meanwhile, for many of us, this is the only carrot enticing us, leading us there. But where is there?

And then Sanity briefly catches up to us and asks: “What. the. fuck? Seriously? One god-damned carrot? Might as well offer us twenty Susan B. Anthonys for all it’s worth. Jesus! Could. Not. Be. So dumb. Or selfish. Frickin non-issue….leading us down the….frickin….frackin….”

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/marriage?s=t

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/15/us/15gay.html

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1997341/posts

http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/comics-and-graphic-novels/2012/05/21/dc-comics-wants-reintroduce-character-gay-or

http://life.nationalpost.com/2011/09/15/fewer-couples-heading-down-the-aisles-stats-can-finds/

http://www.gaycouplesinstitute.org/blog/2008/02/25/understanding-monogamy-and-gay-couples/

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/03/magazine/infidelity-will-keep-us-together.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.hhs.gov/opa/familylife/tech_assistance/etraining/adolescent_brain/Development/prefrontal_cortex/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4053MLDCxQ

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Gay Pride

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Today Activist and Actor, George Takei, shared with us a rather disturbing photo that a fan took during Gay Pride. This is a very sensitive issue, but one that I’ve felt very strongly about for some time. If I may, I would like to share my thoughts with you now.

It has become clear to me that, when dealing with the LGBT community during our festivities, the police are obliged to enforce a different set of rules than they otherwise would. Specifically, in dealing with public nudity — an infraction that is likely to incur one a sex offender title for something as trivial as urinating in public — such laws are forgotten or ignored during Gay Pride. Public decency is an untouchable issue for them,  as none dare enforce those laws, for fear of the inevitable lawsuits and spun stories that would emerge.

Personally, I do not believe this type of behaviour is appropriate in public. If nudity is a necessary element in the freedom of expression during such celebrations, I feel it should remain private, contained within the stadiums and convention centers, and restricted from minors.

As you know, I am something of a moderate. Conservative to Liberals, while Liberal to Conservatives. And thus, I believe in compromise. But the behaviours permitted during such festivities are not compromises.  They are concessions. And I ask you:  How many more concessions should we make, in order to make the Gay Community feel more comfortable? Where do we draw the line?

I can tell you, while I haven’t seen it firsthand, there are countless reports of lascivious behavior, nothing short of oral sex, leading up to full on coitus that have taken place in public, during such events. And so, naturally one would argue: “But look at the animals. Do they exercise such discretion? No, because they have no reason to be ashamed of these things. And if we are not ashamed, why should we hide them from others?  Clearly, it’s merely a means of expression that we deny ourselves.”

Naturally, one should come to conclusions of self-oppression, right? But then, we would be no better than mere savages. There is a price to pay for rising above one’s animal behaviour. Yet in doing so, we find there is an even greater reward: It’s the civilised, modern world that we enjoy today.  But I don’t think enough of us appreciate where all of that came from, what it took to get this far. And so I ask you, again: Where do we draw the line? And when?

You see, while I admonish them for such behaviours, this really is my community, my people; and yet I am ashamed of it. I thought Gay Pride was supposed to be about a celebration of our love: A love without the boundaries of a binary system of gender! But I was wrong.  Turns out, from day one it’s always been about sex, sex, sex! But it’s not just sex, it’s lust. It’s objectification. The virtues of selfless love and monogamy are lost upon all too many in the community. And then I have to ask myself: Why fight so hard for an institution we do not truly believe in? And that leads me to my next blog:

Marriage Equality: The Carrot on the Stick

Until then, please feel free to keep the conversation going by posting your opinions in the comments below?

Love always,

T.S. Vandenberg ^,^

Game Plan

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Lady Gaga: No matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to avoid her.

Her image is everywhere. Her music is everywhere. And it’s almost unfair, because she’s infiltrated so many genres. It’s now even been picked up by various string quartets playing on my Pandora Radio channel! Ack! And you know—after what, four years?—I think I’ve determined just where this little monster fits in.

She belongs in a video game. Like a boss.

I’m thinking Call of Duty meets God of War. And in that game, the lifeblood of a nation (probably the United States) is about to be spilled for the last time. Lady Gaga, naturally, will play the part of the final boss, The Banshee. Her power will be “cry of the banshee”, which will render our character temporarily paralysed, thus allowing her to take swift, venomous cuts into our flesh; one after another, after another. Those cuts will do serious damage over time (D.O.T.), yet can be avoided if we launch rocket propelled grenades (R.P.G.’s) into her mouth right before she wails into song.

The fate of the nation will depend on our ability to cut off her head before a timer runs out. After we accomplish that, we win. Sort of.

Just when we’ve decapitated her, slick, black oil will spill out of her gaping neck and our character will realise that it was all an illusion: We were really fighting the Statue of Liberty the whole time. The great copper giant will fall to her knees and, with a shudder, the warble of helicopter blades will usher in, as missiles launch ahead of them. Buildings will crumble, and Armageddon will ensue. After that, the game is over.

What do you think?


Caveat on The Tao of Ether

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“In this universe, there is no plagiarism, for all are imitations of the endless constructs within the Ether. Nothing is really new, or original. All that is and will be, has always been inevitable. It’s invention took place the moment this world of ours was manifest. That is all.”

The Tao of Ether: vii

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“Once we have opened our minds and hearts,
The Ether is thus revealed.
But the Ether is vast,
And one can spend an eternity in it,
So how do we find what we are looking for?
Truly, to navigate this River,
One needs a ship!

And a ship, we are provided.
And that ship is determined by size of your heart,
And the swiftness of your mind:
And if your heart is large,
So too is the capacity of your vessel,
For the Patience you will need
To find what you are looking for.
And if your mind is swift,
So too is your vessel,
That you may reduce the Patience
Expended of your heart.”

The Tao of Ether: vi

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“To render our hearts and minds objective,
We must strive to be free of distraction.
Therefore, the heart and mind must want less,
And the heart and mind must need less.
If such is not attained,
The heart and mind will be filled with what we lack,
Thus inhibiting the flow of the Ether.”

The Tao of Ether: v

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“How does one find The Ether?
The Ether remains in plain sight,
For it always surrounds us.
For this reason,
Our perception is subjective.
Yet the Ether is constant,
and therefore objective.
And thus, we learn that,
To discover the Ether,
We must render our minds and hearts,
Likewise, objective.”