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Wintuh Wunduhland

I had no idea country music was so big in Long Island.

I seriously loved this show when I was a kid. Fun and fabulous and completely godamn bizarre.

First post in forever

I haven't posted in a long time, but I just want to say that I went to my work holiday party where I had a lot of drink and dancing and chicken satay and I love everyone a lot right now.

And by everyone I mean really everyone and by a lot I mean really a lot.

Nov. 17th, 2008

I read Stephanie Meyers' Twilight Books this summer.

In my defense, I tried three times to start The Sound and the Fury, but when your only reading time comes in chunks of varying lengths while sitting backstage in the woods where it's 90 degrees out and you have to be half listening to the progress of the play so as not to miss your cue, Faulkner is a bit much.

So, at the urging of my 14-year-old sister, I picked up the first in the hormone-drenched series, Twilight. And I tell you what, it wasn't too bad. Decent writing, but appealing characters, and an engaging plot. I went ahead and picked up the remaining three.

Books two and three (New Moon and Eclipse? I think? Maybe not in that order), are where things start to go downhill (the fourth book, Breaking Dawn is also problematic, but it gets so wrapped up in an out-of-left-field sci-fi twist that the other issues are more successfully obscured). After bringing her young lovers together at the close of the first book, Meyers doesn't seem to quite know what to do with them, and the means of splitting them up and bringing them together and splitting them up and bringing them together feel...artificial to say the least. It starts to read like a bad romance novel without the sex. Which leads us to Big Glaring Problem number two. After bringing her young lovers together at the close of the first book, and after playing out the tired and false on-again-off-again scenario, Meyers rapidly runs out of believable reasons for them not to have sex with each other.

You see, Stephanie Meyers is a Mormon who married her high school/church youth group sweetheart and settled down young to have kids and be a stay-at-home mom. But, in her desire to create a widely appealing "Teenager of the Now" main character, she made her heroine a non-religious daughter of divorced parents with no desire to marry. So it falls to the vampire beau to keep the sins of pre-marital sex at bay, despite the fact that he is also not religious. So disregarding the fact that the character has been depicted throughout the series as a cosmopolitan, hip guy with decades of life experience, he suddenly grows a traditional schoolboy's down home values and insists on making his human girlfriend a teen bride before he'll shag her. Right. Also, all adults in the series are idiots who are continuously, and easily, deceived, with the exception of the vampire adults, all of whom, despite the supposed wisdom of centuries of living posited and drawn upon by the author in some sequences, behave like and have the judgment of teenagers themselves when it's convenient to the plot.

These are just some of many examples of character inconsistencies created by a woman who seems to have struggled with a desire to create characters who were modern, edgy, and widely experienced when she herself has little firsthand experience or appreciation of any of the above. Books like the Harry Potter or Narnia series are written about children, but the author is clearly an adult with an adult's understanding of the world, as well as of the foibles of their young characters. The Twilight Series reads like the reverse; books written about characters beyond the understanding of a writer who knows less about the world than the people she's created are supposed to.

Which is not to say I would discourage anyone from reading them. They're entertaining, and they makes for good summer reads. I'll probably go check out the movie. But in the end, the books felt a bit disappointing, mostly because the story the author obviously wanted to write, somewhere deep down, was so much more interesting than the one she did.

There are two kinds of people

People who think this story is the funniest thing they've ever heard, and people who completely don't get it and find it to be mildly offensive.

This is a true story told to me by an old friend about an evening she spent with her boyfriend and his buddies.

Her boyfriend had been friends with this same core group of guys since they were all in kindergarten or something, and despite the fact that they had all grown into very different people, they were still good friends into their college years. One night, my friend was hanging out with all of the guys at one of their houses, sitting on the couch chatting with the group's token nerdy dude (I don't remember his name, but we'll call him Mike, because most of them had generic names like that).

As they were talking, Austin, the group's slightly eccentric cool guy/ladies' man went into the bathroom and exited a few minutes later, beer still in hand, with a small plastic clip with a little duck or something on it, the kind for little girls that you can find at any grocery store, clipped into the front of his hair. Mike laughed a little, nervously and nerdily, and then said, "Um, nice hair clip there, Austin."

To which Austin's deadpan reply was, "It's called a barrette, faggot." He then took a sip of his beer and walked away without further comment.

A Bi-polar kind of day.

I'm sad. I'm just sad, sad, sad. And at other points in the day, I've been so happy I've cried.

Prop 8 looks good to pass, and while the ACLU and gay rights groups have filed an appeal to have the CA Supreme Court throw the results out as they directly contradict other portions of the state constitution, they're unlikely to do so. It gets sticky when a governmental branch repeatedly throws out voter approved legislation.

I'm really and truly heartbroken. I want so much to be excited and yelling and screaming today, and every now and again when I think about what we, as a country, have accomplished and what's coming in January and the minimum four years after, I can be for a moment. But the rest of the time, I just can't. Not when so many people I love have been effectively told that in my home state, the state that I love and am so proud to call my birthplace and home, more people support the rights of chickens and veal calves than theirs.

What's hardest is knowing that while so many Black California voters today are celebrating and talking about what a huge step forward this election was for equality, it is a fact undeniable that Black California voters, who turned out in record numbers to support Obama, overwhelmingly supported banning gay marriage. When they say that, I want to think, "Yes, you're right! This is so amazing!" And instead I think, "Oh yeah? Equality for who?"

But really, it was the Mormons. And after that, it was the middle-aged and older religious voters. And today, I feel something that I wouldn't have believed even a week ago that I would feel today. And that is that if someone doesn't believe in equality for gay people, I don't think that person is a good person.

I don't think they're a bad person, per se. But if someone actively supports inequality and oppression of another human being because of the other consenting adult that they love? I don't think the term "Good Person" applies to them. I have never felt that way before in my life, but, honestly and truly, it is how I feel today. And I can't tell you how unspeakably sad that makes me.

What can I say, I was in choir.

I knew a lot of Mormons in high school, and was, in fact, friendly with a great many of them since I did choir in a small town that housed a Mormon ward, and god damn, do Mormons ever love them some choir.

Needless to say, having been involved in both choir and theatre, I also knew and was good friends with a lot of gay people in high school (of both the out of and in closet varieties). And a lot of those Mormons also ended up knowing and being good friends with a lot of those gay people.

Some of those young California Mormons lived in denial about the sexual identities of their gay friends. Some went ahead and, after a lot of soul searching and struggle, decided to accept and embrace it. They remained committed to their faith but decided that they had to break with their religion's teachings on that issue. Some, however, when forced to acknowledge that these close friends of theirs were gay, tried a different tactic altogether; the good ol' "Hate the sin, love the sinner" shtick.

They believed that despite the fact that their beloved friends were surely damned, they were still good people. Sinful and destined for the outer darkness, but still acceptable friends material. Why we all put up with that crap I don't know, other than the fact that this was all a decade or more ago and it probably seemed like the best we were going to do. I guess it can be chalked up to late 20th Century pragmatism. But really, we were doing exactly what they were doing. We were repulsed by a lot of their Mormon beliefs about homosexuality, women's rights, adherence to a cult-like dogma, etc., but we recognized that they truly were kind, loving people who were doing their best to live in a way that felt right and good to them.

The current Prop 8 situation feels to me like that whole subterranean conflict of my high school years finally coming to an ugly, pustulent head. California Mormon voters make up about 46% of the voter support for Prop 8, and probably at least that much of the funding and ground support. Quite literally, without Mormon support and votes, there would be absolutely no question of this amendment succeeding. Even with their support, things were looking grim until they poured even more money in and started spreading lies about churches being forced to perform gay marriages, losing their tax exempt status, and children being taught pro gay marriage rhetoric in public schools.

Despite the fact that the survival of their faith was only made possible by the American separation of church and state that they consider to be "divinely inspired," when asked why this amendment is okay, they often respond that God's law is the true law. When asked why we can't just let God make those judgments in his own time, they often respond that he will, but it's their responsibility to make our law on earth like his.

It truly makes me think. As a religious, spiritual person, it really makes me think. How will God (however or whatever you see God as) evaluate us all? How will some of these old friends of mine answer to him when, as they believe it will, the time comes to do so? Will they stand before him and say, "Lord, I lived in a time where countless children, at home and abroad, were dying of starvation and curable illnesses, and I spent millions of dollars to ensure that two people couldn't go into a city office and get a certain piece of paper. I lived in a time when countless people lived in pain and destitution, and I spent my time ignoring them in favor of legislating people's personal relationships. I lived in a time when lies and deceit plagued the world, and I chose to treat dishonesty as an acceptable means to an end. I lived in a time where countless people lived in loneliness, isolation, and despair, and I rejected your message of perfect love in favor of judgment, bigotry, willful ignorance, and civic persecution. And I proudly testified to the world that I did it all in your name."

I have to hold onto faith that Prop 8 will not pass tomorrow. I have volunteered and donated to prevent it from doing so, but at this point, it's in the hands of voters. But if it does pass, I really don't think I'll be able to view the Mormon church at large as an association of essentially good people anymore. I don't think I'll be able to view them as sincere and well-intentioned. At that point, to me, they'll be another instrument and symbol of everything that is wrong with religious thought in the world today. Things will have simply gone to far for a benign tolerance of something that is so deeply anti-spiritual and wrong.

The economy and the election.

Warren Buffet has approved Obama's economic plan and endorsed his presidential candidacy.

Let me repeat: Warren Buffet has approved Obama's economic plan and endorsed his presidential candidacy.

Seven months ago when McCain was still trying to convince the press that he never said he didn't know much about economics (seriously homie, I know you're from an older generation, but you do know how video cameras work, right?), Obama was presenting a speech on the imminent danger that our economy was facing and his plan to address it on Wall Street to a crowd of financiers and received a thunderous ovation. I think this bears repeating as well; the man now being characterized by the right as an inexperienced, socialist threat to capitalism and the free market foresaw the exact problem we are now facing well in advance and proposed an assessment of it and plan to address it that was rousingly approved by Wall Street business owners, managers, and traders.

What has McCain done? Changed his mind six or seven times (it doesn't matter if you supported or hated the bail-out, McCain disagreed with you at some point), publicly threatened to fire people who he has no jurisdiction over and who have nothing to do with the crisis, lauded the economic judgment of the man who endorsed his rival (Mr. Buffet again), and kept as his chief adviser the man who crafted the very de-regulation that has largely contributed to crashing the market, and who referred to Americans suffering from economic trouble as "a nation of whiners." This man would likely be the Secretary of the Treasury if McCain were to be elected.

I think it also bears mentioning that Alan Greenspan has assessed McCain's economic plan and determined that it proposes to spend trillions while freeing up an amount only in the billions to pay for itself, leaving an enormous deficit. The McCain campaign has failed to provide any numbers or information that actually address Mr. Greenspan's concerns.

I believe in fiscal responsibility. One of the main problems I tend to have with liberal candidates, while I may agree with their social policies, is that they often propose plans that are fiscally irresponsible. This year, however, it's the conservative candidate that has the irresponsible proposals. This year, we are very lucky as a nation to have a candidate for president who not only has it almost entirely right on social and constitutional issues, but who has the superior economic credentials and policies as well. Seeing as how we are at a turning/crisis point in this country when it comes to social concerns and economic ones, he couldn't have showed up at a better time.

Worst use of air quotes ever.

So, I'm pro-choice, but not pro-abortion. I don't think anyone likes abortion. But I feel very strongly that I cannot legislate my spiritual beliefs onto other people, and also that children deserve to be wanted and women deserve to have autonomy over their bodies.

But whether you're pro-choice or anti-choice, I think we an all agree that McCain's use of little air quotes when referring to the "health" of the mother is more than a little horrifying.

I don't know if he thinks that health problems caused by pregnancy are made up, or if they just don't matter. Are these women who experience health or life threatening pregnancy complications liars, Mr. McCain? Or just whiners? How about the great number of them who worked awfully hard for these very-much-wanted pregnancies (women who use IVF, after all, are substantially more likely than other women to experience certain complications), only to have to choose, "My baby's life or mine?"

I don't care if you think abortion should be available in the ninth month or if you think rape victims should have to carry their attacker's child or face jail time; either way, I think the complete disregard for women, for their health and well-being, and for their ability to make responsible decisions expressed by McCain in the recent debate is pretty apparent.

Maybe I was the only one who felt Mr. McCain telling me that Sarah Palin is my role model was vomit-worthy, but I don't see how I could possibly be alone in my gag reflex over the air quotes.

The umpteenth last straw.

Mostly, I've been feeling bad for Sarah Palin lately. It's not her fault she doesn't know what the Bush Doctrine is or how the U.S. Constitution works, or that she can't name any SCOTUS decisions except Roe v. Wade, or that she doesn't understand how our economy functions, or that she can't construct a complete sentence that makes anything approaching sense. Those things don't make her a bad person. They'd make her an exceptionally bad president, but back in her little state of 680,000 or so people, she wasn't much of a danger to anyone that wasn't a moose, wolf, librarian, or polar bear. It's really McCain's fault that she's been exposed to this degree of public humiliation (for her and for the country), and I can't help but feel pretty bad for her.

But just as the remaining shreds of respect I had for McCain evaporated when he nominated her, the last little bits of pity I was retaining for her have pretty much disappeared. Any why?

Because she keeps calling Obama "Barack." In the debate, and now on the campaign trail. The other bullshit, about how rape victims shouldn't be able to abort and Obama is "palling around with terrorists," etc? That's just dumb, but I think she genuinely believes she's in the right there, however idiotic and misguided.

But when she can seem to consistently remember to call Biden "Senator Biden" and then immediately and repeatedly call Obama "Barack," and then continue to do so on the campaign trail, she's being intentionally disrespectful and insulting.

So a word to the perennially unwise: Bitch, you call him "Senator Obama." "Mr. Obama" or "Barack Obama" at the very least. He calls you "Governor Palin." He calls the person at the top of your ticket "Senator McCain." McCain even refers to him as "Senator Obama." The two of you are not buddies. You're not even peers, and you are certainly not his superior. Where the fuck do you get off?

The rest of her trail of crap I can chalk up to her being stupid, ignorant, prone to dishonesty, sheltered, naive, and inexperienced. But she's looking less and less innocent in her failings all the time. She's been around for all of two minutes, and in her brief time on the public stage, she's been pretty unimpressive. When Saturday Night Live doesn't have to re-write your remarks to make them into satirical commentary about your idiocy? That's quite literally when you've become a joke. And at that juncture, you are surely in no place to talk about an accomplished and intelligent national statesman as though he's the kid who mows your lawn.