Month: October 2012

How NOM Works Against Marriage Equality by Fred Karger

I was going to share this FB post about how NOM (National Organization for Marriage) works against marriage equality in a Huff Po piece written by former Presidential candidate, Fred Karger, but then decided to post it here on the blog because I’d like it to get more exposure. And I don’t want it getting mixed up with so many stupid facebook political status updates by ill-informed people who can’t seem to focus on anything other than slamming political candidates in one direction or the other. We get it: you don’t like Obama. We get it: you don’t like Romney. But stop putting it in our faces. Go tell someone who cares and start doing something positive for a change.

But I digress (smile). I’m focused on a few issues, and marriage quality is one of them. In the article to which I’m linking Karger goes into detail about how NOM actually hinders marriage equality, and with a great deal of money.

The LGBT community and everyone who cares about fairness and equality face four crucial votes next Tuesday in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington State. All four elections are the doing of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

NOM has an unlimited amount of money at its disposal and is hell-bent on hurting millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans every conceivable way possible, especially at the ballot box.

In 2009 the Maine State Legislature passed and the Governor signed a historic bill allowing marriage equality in the Pine Tree State. On the first day possible NOM hired professional signature gatherers to qualify a referendum to repeal it. NOM was successful.

I’m not going to elaborate on this because Karger did a better job than I could ever do. If you care about marriage equality, I suggest you read the article in full. And feel free to share it. It’s a lot more positive than sharing touched up photos of Donald Trump’s hair flying around in the wind.

Gay Sex in Film Version of "On The Road"

 
 

I’m glad to see there will be a few gay sex scenes in the movie version of Jack Kerouac’s novel, “On the Road.” And really only because I can’t see how they could be ignored. To ignore the gay sex would be to ignore the rebellious aspects of the entire Beat Generation.

I’ve read a great deal about the Beat Generation and Jack Kerouac’s personal life. I keep “On the Road” in print version on my night stand, and that’s the only book I keep there now. Allen Ginsberg lived right here in New Hope, back when New Hope was a theater town and filled with all kinds of creative types. There was no “gay” then. Whether or not Kerouac and the rest of the most famous members of the Beat Generation were bi-sexual or homosexual is not always clear. But one thing’s for sure. There was gay sex.

I think it’s important to make the distinction, though, that “On the Road” is not gay fiction and was never meant to be gay fiction. It can get a little confusing to understand for those who are younger and have grown up knowing the word “gay” as it applies to homosexuals. In those days homosexual wasn’t something discussed openly…or even thought about in a positive way. In those days, a lot of the gay sex associated with the Beat Generation was almost shameful for some and for others a rebellious act against society. At least that’s how I’ve always viewed it.

There’s an interesting article here. The other thing I think is important about the entire topic has more to do with the evolution of “gay” men and “gay” sex since that time. What they thought of as rebellious back then has now become so commonplace it often goes by unnoticed. Not totally, but I don’t think anyone considers being gay a rebellious act anymore.

But while the movie is brazen about gay sex (well, male gay sex), it may not attain queer classic status like My Own Private Idaho, Bound, and Mysterious Skin. While some film critics accuse Salles of turning his nose up at the gay sex in the book, the truth is that Kerouac’s novel is not really a queer work, just a work with queers. While Truman Capote, James Baldwin, and Gore Vidal wrote about men loving other men, On the Road has male characters simply jumping into bed with each other. Also, the book is way too stocked with misogyny and homophobia to be a testament to the LGBT experience, says Don Romesburg, an associate professor of women’s and gender studies and the queer studies adviser at California’s Sonoma State University.

“On the Road’s homoeroticism doesn’t affirm homosexuality or bisexuality as much as it shores up the narrator’s and main character’s prerogatives, as Beat but ultimately straight white males, to go where they want and fuck who they want,” Romesburg says. “But it’s all in the service of their freedom, not ours. Being queer and reading On the Road can be like that drunken one-night stand with a straight boy who won’t make eye contact with you after.”

Coping With Sandy’s Aftermath

I’ve only posted with an iPhone once before, so this post won’t be long.

As everyone knows by now, the path of destruction from Hurricane Sandy goes on for miles. I have been trying to keep in touch with friends and family in Mahattan via text and e-mail, and it’s been difficult at best. Power is out all over NY, NJ and PA and most land lines don’t work. So far, everyone I know is OK, thankfully.

We got through the storm with far less issues than most people I know. We lost power on Monday night and we are not supposed to get it back until Thursday. The longest we have ever been without power has been a day, so that’s a pretty good example of how  destructive Sandy was around New Hope and the Philadelphia area.

After last year’s freak snowstorm on Halloween we bought a generator that sat in the garage for one year. It’s come in handy this week. I’ve also been thinking about my Amish friend I once posted about who never has electricity. It’s amazing how much we take for granted.

We got lucky this time compared to the thousands of people who have lost homes, and in some cases lives. With all the massive trees we have we are thankful for that as well. For those who are struggling with more serious issues, I wish you the best. I have been through a great deal in life and the magnitude of this hurricane is now in the top ten worst. But with a fully charged e-reader and my new AJ Llewellyn book I’m going to read this one out.

Deleted Matt Bomer Scenes from "Magic Mike"

It’s a hurricane. It’s slamming the entire east coast. For those who haven’t lost power yet, no one really feels like working much.

I was going to link to a post on well known publishing blog I thought was interesting, but I wanted to keep my readers awake.

So here’s a link to view a few photos of scenes that have been deleted from “Magic Mike.” Why anyone would delete these scenes passes me by.

I’m told that if you buy the “Magic Mike” DVD, a lot of the Matt Bomer scenes that were deleted in the final cut will be there as part of the promotional package.

The Perfect Storm…Creative Non-Fiction as a Genre

In l991 three unusual weather conditions came together and formed what’s been dubbed as “The Perfect Storm.” I found it interesting because there was a book and a film about it that became widely popular in the mainstream…and controversial to a certain degree.

It’s also been referred to as the Halloween Storm, or Halloween Nor’easter. And now it seems as if history is repeating itself all over again with Sandy.

Here’s an interesting article written recently about that’s focused on the reality angle of “The Perfect Storm,” with a few interesting comments about the book and movie.

On Oct. 30, 1991, Leonard and two crew members were several days into their voyage when they were caught in the confluence of three weather systems. They were about 60 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts.

One of the crew issued a mayday, and the three were plucked from the Atlantic Ocean by a Coast Guard helicopter.

The book and the movie, neither of which Leonard participated with, portrayed him as drunk and detached. Leonard has always insisted that the boat, which later washed ashore intact, was never in any real danger.

As you can see, Ray Leonard, who was actually the skipper of the boat that was allegedly portrayed in the book and film didn’t even participate in any of it. And, according to him what really happened was nothing like the book or film, which isn’t a surprise. He claims they were, indeed, equipped to ride out the storm, and were in better shape than the US coast guard.

This is even more interesting:

An exception is the portrayal of the yacht whose crew was taken off-board by the US Coast Guard. Its story is clearly based on the events surrounding the Satori, which are also dealt with in Junger’s book; Junger’s version of the event, however, is contested by the owner and skipper of the yacht, who was not interviewed for Junger’s book, but is supported by the two crewmembers on the Satori and the Coast Guard rescuers. The film highly fictionalizes the story of the Satori; it renames the boat Mistral, and leaves its crew anonymous, making no explicit claim about the “true” identity of the boat.

I think the key phrase here is “highly fictionalizes.” This evidently led to controversy and wound up in court.

While there have been disputes over the context and research of the book, there have been controversies that surround The Perfect Storm. Families of two crew members sued the film makers for the fictionalization of events which happened prior to the loss of the Andrea Gail.[4] In 2005, the Florida Supreme Court ruled against the family of Captain Tyne by a 6-2 vote.
 
Aside from my personal feelings (I didn’t like the book or movie much), what I find interesting is that the book is considered “Creative Non-Fiction.”
 
Creative nonfiction (also known as literary or narrative nonfiction) is a genre of writing that uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives. Creative nonfiction contrasts with other nonfiction, such as technical writing or journalism, which is also rooted in accurate fact, but is not primarily written in service to its craft. As a genre, creative nonfiction is still relatively young, and is only beginning to be scrutinized with the same critical analysis given to fiction and poetry. It is sometimes referred to as docufiction.[1]
 
It’s almost like Roman a clef, which is like biography but mixed with fiction…embellishment, satire, and even parody…which I’ve done a few times. Let’s face it, one key ingredient to most books is the “what if” factor. Without that, if books were based on real life, they wouldn’t be very interesting because real life isn’t that interesting to begin with. In fact, romance as a genre is based almost entirely on the escapism and rarely related to reality. That’s one reason why we read them.  
I think these things are important to know for a variety or reasons, especially with all the loud voices on the Internet speaking and commenting about things about which they don’t really have a clue. I understand why the author of “The Perfect Storm” did what was necessary to make the book more interesting. I also understand why the real people involved were not thrilled about that. But I don’t always think one thing is entirely connected to the other. There’s nothing that says the people who were actually involved in the storm can’t write a book of their own and replay their personal experiences. Whether or not anyone will buy it and read it is another story. Publishing is a business, not an outlet for one or two people to enjoy themselves. And while the real story might make a great PBS special, I doubt it would have been a huge bestseller.
One of the most widely discussed topics today seems to be the fact that so many think they have a great memoir. But all they really have is a story that is important to them, and not to anyone else. I may have posted this before on this blog, but I can’t remember so I’m posting it again. There’s an old saying in the antique business: “Nobody wants what grandma had except grandpa.” And I tend to think that’s true with books and stories as well.

Hurricane Sandy…

I went to look for photos about Hurricanes on google, and one that I’d posted last year came up and I thought that was interesting. I’ve been planning to do a long blog post about personal blogging in terms of personal legacy and this experience just reinforced my opinions about blogging. For many, what you put on your blog and what you put on the Internet will one day, indeed, become your personal legacy. So it’s important now to think about how your blog posts will look in the future when you or anyone else looks back at them.

In this case, I posted about Hurricane Irene in August of 2011, and then tropical storm Lee. But the photo above is from a nor-easter we had in the spring. That was just some of the damage. We get hurricanes and nor-easters in this part of the country, but usually not a little more than one year later. Most of the time it’s more like once every five years. So this “Frankenstorm” isn’t something we haven’t had to deal with before, but the frequency with which it’s happening is unusual. I know people who are still recovering from the last one.

The photo above is basically what Tony and I have to deal with during storms like this. We don’t have to worry about flooding, but we’re surrounded by huge trees and you never know which one might come down. So far, everyone is expecting the worst and hoping for the best with Sandy. I know for a fact that all NJ State troopers have been called in for duty and we’re in a state of emergency here.

I just hope everyone gets through this okay, especially those in areas that tend to flood. If they tell you to evacuate, listen to them. Don’t be a hero. It’s not worth it. This thing is going to be around until Tuesday from the latest report I heard.

Hurricane Sandy: Direct Hit on New York, New Jersey, Delmarva October 29…

Posts may be sporadic for the next couple of days, depending on where Sandy makes landfall and how bad it actually is. So far, the latest reports say it’s heading toward New Jersey/New York, and since New Hope is only an hour from NY, on the NJ border, we’re planning for the worst.

Hope that wherever it does hit, everyone is safe and there’s not much damage. So far I think it’s still too early to tell, but it doesn’t hurt to take precautions either.