Saturday, November 15, 2008

Now this was a day.

Last night, Fosco was flipping channels past his local news (the always amateurish KSBW Action News 8 serving Monterey, Salinas and Santa Cruz) when he caught their report on the national Marriage Equality rallies. The anchorette noted that 1000 people showed up in both Monterey and Salinas (surprising, as both cities are relatively conservative for this area). But the best part is when she said that an estimated 100 million people protested nationwide.

Of course, this number is absurdly wrong. As much as I would love for it to be true, that would mean that one third of the US population rallied in favor of gay marriage. I'm going to have to be skeptical of that figure.

But, even if this number was inflated, Saturday's rallies were still remarkable. This is like nothing I've seen in my lifetime. Here is the front page of last night's NYTimes:

If you're like Fosco, you still want to bask in the glow from yesterday's rallies. Here are some ways for you to do that:

This is the kind of day that fills you with hope.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Knowing Who Your Friends Are

As Fosco noted in (the depths of) his Prop 8 Omnibus, you can track donors to both sides of the Prop 8 battle using this database (always with the caveat: donations under $100 do not seem to appear in the database, which leaves Fosco out in the cold...).

It seems lots of smart and angry gays have been using this information to drive boycotts. That's fine with Fosco: political decisions (including donations) should have consequences. Don't expect Fosco to slip you his hard-earned(?) cash if you want to deprive Fosco of basic civil rights.

This information is also useful for another purpose, as described by Gloria Nieto in the same article:

"I prefer a buycott to a boycott. Yahoo, Apple, Google all opposed Prop. 8," she said, and people should buy from companies that support gay rights.
A buycott is a delightful idea (although I don't have to give Todd another reason to buy things from Apple...), but we could even expand the buycott idea a bit to include support for the cultural productions of individual donors (such as actors, etc.)

With that idea in mind, Fosco has done a bit of due diligence and come up with a list of some cultural producers who donated money to fight Prop 8. While you can do this search for any town or state, Fosco has done the dirty work already for everyone's favorite world city: New York! After combing through the records of the 1200 donors NYC donors, Fosco has identified these heroes as worthy of your support (Fosco also lists the amount of their donations):
Fosco is actually pretty impressed with some of these folks and his attitude is changing. Suddenly he likes Anne Hathaway a lot more. Ditto for Wanda Sykes. And TR Knight now has to be considered the best thing ever.

May Fosco recommend the purchase of Alan Alda's newest book?

Prince Walnuts

It turns out that Bonny Bunny Bony Bonnie Prince Charles is just the kind of guy you always hoped he was... you know, a giant asshole. British paper The Guardian has collected excerpts from his lifetime of correspondence. And, as is clearly The Guardian's intention, you can't help but concluding that Chuck is kind of a dick (and always has been).

From 1981:

I am beginning to get fed up with the amount of nonsensical rubbish I take all day and every day. If one more NZ [New Zealand] child asks me what it's like to be a prince, I shall go demented.
Who can blame him, though? The colonized are the worst!

From a letter in defence (!) of farmers in 2002:
[I agree with a farmer in Cumbria who told me] "if we, as a group, were black or gay, we would not be victimised or picked upon."
Yes, blacks and gays never get picked upon.

From 2003:
What is wrong with everyone nowadays? Why do they all seem to think they are qualified to do things far beyond their technical capabilities? This is to do with the learning culture in schools as a consequence of a child-centred system which admits no failure. People think they can all be pop stars, high court judges, brilliant TV personalities or infinitely more competent heads of state without ever putting in the necessary work or having natural ability. This is the result of social utopianism which believes humanity can be genetically and socially engineered to contradict the lessons of history.
Oh, he is a right charmer that one!

Here in "the olde colonies across the ponde" (as the Brits call the US), we have a name for a person who is this crabby about life in the modern world. We call him "John McCain."

We're here, we're queer, and we want a wedding!

By now, you know that the gays (Fosco included) are pretty angry about the whole Prop H8 thing... So there was a major protest march down Market St. in San Francisco last Friday night. Fosco and his boyfriend Oz were there. This is the story.

First, it is important to know that Fosco spent several hours (and used art supplies!) to make posters. Here is his favorite:

You can tell that the above photo is a Fosco photo because it is so blurry. Luckily, Oz was in charge of the camera during the march itself. Here are some of his excellent pictures of signs:

Hey, you know what? Queer sex is awesome!

Yes, that is a guy dressed as a nun...

Here's a good picture to remind us all what this is about:

Fosco's favorite part was marching through The Castro. Here we are marching past the eponymous theater:

Here is the guy with a bullhorn who kept chanting: "I'm gonna get maaaaaaaa-rried. Somebody wants to maaaaaaaaaa-rry me." At first it was annoying. Then it was funny. Then it was something in between. (Psst: check out the lesbian hair in the foreground!)

Here is my favorite sign of the night:

And here is a picture of Fosco and Oz. Yes, that is Fosco's unruly mustache peeking over the top of the sign. (No, it is not a centipede.)

If you are one of those who prefer live-action, check out our short video:

If you watch this video, you will see the frequent amused reactions to Fosco's "Utah" sign (at this point in the march, Fosco and Oz were standing on the sidelines). The best part is the guy in the motorized wheelchair who shows up at the end of the vid and can be heard saying "Let me tell you about Utah." Oz turned off the video at this point (which was only the polite thing to do), but I wish we had caught the guy's story on tape. He said that years ago (in the 70s I think he said), he lived in Salt Lake City and there used to be a number of gay bathhouses. He said that lots of married Mormon men would go to the baths for man sex and that they would walk around the baths in their special underwear (instead of nude or with a towel, as is the custom). He said that a lot of the guys were really good at gay sex. He was definitely nostalgic for it. What fun!

There is another rally in SF this weekend and Fosco hopes to see you there.

Bad News, Good News

While it looks like Fosco's beloved "Pushing Daisies" is in real danger of being canceled (and yet, the CSI: Miami Beach continues unabated its war against neurons...), Fosco's buddy Todd passed along some good news:

there will be an "Arrested Development" movie!
Or is this news premature?

Because you gotta believe, Fosco is going to assume that the movie will happen and will happen soon. Then, the only question Fosco needs answered is whether the entire original cast will be willing to participate. And can Liza be unfrozen for a cameo?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Isis and toucans

Fosco and Oz have a kitty named Isis and she looks cute when she sleeps:

Of what does Isis dream? Why, of The Enchanted Tiki Room, of course.


Remember how after the 1996 Presidential Election no one ever paid any more attention to Jack Kemp again?

I miss those days.

Your Prop 8 Omnibus

So there is this thing called Prop H8 that takes away marriage rights from CA gays (like, for example, Fosco). While the Obamagasm (which, btw, Fosco is not complaining about) has mostly kept Prop 8 out of the coverage of the MSM (although, see the eloquent Keith Olbermann plea), the internets are buzzing. So how can you make sense of it all? Who is there to read and distill all the Prop 8 coverage for you? That's where Fosco comes in.

  1. First things first. Fosco needs to apologize for an earlier post in which laid partial blame on black voters for the passage of Prop 8. While there were indeed exit polls that suggested black voters supported Prop 8 at , there is good reason to be suspicious of these numbers. And, even if these numbers are correct, a thoughtful analysis reveals that the black support would still have been too small to pass the measure by itself. You can read these analyses here. Fosco plans to amend his earlier post accordingly and apologizes for jumping on this bandwagon.

    The question of how this black scapegoating came about is an interesting one. There has been much hand-wringing in the gay community about racism recently. This piece from Pam's House Blend is particularly thoughtful.
    But I do want to think that there are less-racist reasons why this story became a story. Because Fosco is a "literature-type," he would like suggest that the outrage over (possible) black support for Prop 8 is about the seductions of narrative. Here are two (related) explanations.

    Think about the surprise and anger that gay people and their allies felt on Wednesday morning when they discovered that California is so astonishingly retrograde. At that point, there was one set of exit polls available, those from CNN. The CNN exit polls were not particularly nuanced at this point, breaking down the results by five sets of demographics: age, religion, previous voting behavior (first-timers vs. regular voters), educational background, and race. All of the demographics except race followed Fosco expectations: old people are more homophobic, college graduates are more tolerant, etc. For Fosco (and, I suspect, for many people), only the last category provided any new information: the suggestion that black voters were more socially conservative than he expected (of course, as Fosco noted above, there are reasons to doubt the methodology of these exit polls and consequently their findings). But anyway, on last Wednesday morning, the exit polls seemed to offer one piece of new and interesting information (black support for the measure) that could then be subsumed into a narrative about the surprise passage of Prop 8.

    But, once this narrative (that black people "caused" the passage of Prop 8) became established, there was another reason why it became almost irresistible: its tragic irony. There is something in us (particularly in well-educated types) that loves a good irony and this narrative had it. The irony: the same social group (black people) that turned out in record numbers to help elect Barack Obama (a man that most gays ardently desired as president) also doomed gay marriage in California. In other words, one of Fosco's most wished-for outcomes (an Obama presidency) was fundamentally tied to Fosco's loss of civil rights. What high tragedy! No wonder this narrative was easy to embrace.

    Which is not to say that racism isn't implicit in these narratives (because it is, I think). My exercise here is not to excuse myself and the gay community from blaming black people for the passage of Prop 8; rather, it is to look for the ways that racism worked alongside/within other structures of meaning-production (such as narrative desire) to produce negative outcomes. Remember: complexity is a good thing.

  2. So who is to blame for Prop 8? Well, as the always brilliant number-crunchers at note, a primary culprit is the elderly. According to Nate Silver:
    The good news for supporters of marriage equity is that -- and there's no polite way to put this -- the older voters aren't going to be around for all that much longer, and they'll gradually be cycled out and replaced by younger voters who grew up in a more tolerant era.
    Are we sure that we want to expand Medicare?

  3. Of course, no round of blaming would be complete without Fosco's new favorite nemeses: Mormons and Catholics.

    Recently, Fosco focused his anger on those pesky Mormons. However, it turns out that the Catholics are a problem as well. For one thing, the involvement of the Mormons in this fight seems to have been orchestrated by the Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco George Niederauer (no, not that George Niederauer). According to an article in the SF Chronicle:
    The June letter from Niederauer drew in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and proved to be a critical move in building a multi-religious coalition - the backbone of the fundraising, organizing and voting support for the successful ballot measure. By bringing together Mormons and Catholics, Niederauer would align the two most powerful religious institutions in the Prop. 8 battle.
    That bastard! I just don't understand why any self-respecting Catholic would get into bed with the Mormons... Don't they know about the naked touching?

    As the article goes on to note, it is Catholics who responded to pulpit-pressure at the last minute who passed the measure:
    The last Field Poll, conducted a week before the election, showed that weekly churchgoers increased their support in the final week from 72 percent to 84 percent. Catholic support increased from 44 percent to 64 percent - a jump that accounted for 6 percent of the total California electorate.
    More proof that the Catholic Church is now waging an organized war against the individual consciences of its members (psst: Vatican II is dead).

  4. And what about those Mormons? Well, they're still evil, of course (and not just because they are busily posthumously baptizing as Mormons Jews who died in the Holocaust).

    What were the Mormons saying at their anti-gay rallies? Here is a priceless paragraph from an article in that charmingly British "newspaper" The Economist:
    Mr Perkins [a Mormon] informed the crowd that gay marriage and tolerant school lessons are little more than “a recruiting process for homosexual behaviour”. Anybody who doubted the connection should take a look at Europe, where homosexuality is apparently rampant.
    That "apparently rampant" line is so deliciously dry. Nice work, Economist. (But, is Mr Perkins right?)

    But not all Mormons are evil. There are some who stick to their progressive beliefs, like the Feminist Mormon Housewives (kudos to you, ladies!). And such dissent is not easy, as noted by a comment to Andrew Sullivan's blog. According to the commenter:
    Those who openly speak disagreement with the church's orthodoxy are routinely excommunicated (you can easily Google public examples, most are secret). There are reports on public websites that Mormon Bishops even questioned individual’s actions supporting Prop 8 in “Temple Interviews,” a form of confessional where members validate that they are living up to the highest church standards.
    All of which makes the intolerance of the Catholic Church look like french kissing.

    So how does one deal with the Mormons? What if we actually took them at their word re: their support for other gay civil rights (just not marriage)? Well, someone has had that brilliant idea! Utah is about to become a lot more progressive...

  5. And then there are just the garden-variety religious nutballs. Like the execrable flat-earther and View cohost Sherri Shepherd. This Defamer headline says it all,
    Sherri Shepherd Vows to Defend Biblical Definition of Marriage That She Cannot Remember,
    but you should still watch the insanity here.

  6. Did you know that you can see who donated money to either side in the Prop 8 struggle? The searchable database is here.

    Note, this database apparently only includes donations greater than $100 (as the donations of Fosco and his friends do not appear). So don't assume that absence from the database means no donation was made.

  7. Finally, what are we supposed to do about Prop H8 until it is overturned? Here are some good ideas: