Archive for January, 2006

Oh no they di’int

29 January 2006

From today’s Washington Post:

“We live in a culture where more and more people are on opposite sides of these basic issues [medical workers’ right of refusal vs patient’s rights to make their own care decisions],” said Manion, who has represented an ambulance driver who was fired after she refused to take a patient to a hospital for an abortion, a health department secretary who was not promoted after she objected to providing abortion information, and a nurse who was transferred after she refused to provide morning-after pills.

If I ran an ambulance service and an EMT refused to transport a patient, regardless of the circumstance, I would fire her and do my damndest to get her license revoked. If I ran a health department and a secretary refused to give out any information, I would fire her reflexively. If I were chief of a department in which a nurse refused to give a patient any pills, I would fire her and make the state license board revoke her license.

This isn’t about religious freedom. If you adhere to a belief system arrogant enough to make you think you can make people’s decisions for them, stay out of the medical field. When I want religious opinions, I’ll go to a Church. When I want medical care, I’ll visit a hospital. If you believe women shouldn’t have morning-after pills, don’t become a fucking pharmacist. Become a godbag.

Even more amusing is this passage:

About half of the proposals would shield pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and “morning-after” pills [EC] because they believe the drugs cause abortions.

Well, morality aside, if someone believes that BC and EC cause abortions, they need a lesson in basic reproductive physiology. Neither BC nor EC are abortifacients. They prevent fertilization and implantation. That is empirical, unassailable fact. If they want to hold a false belief, fine. That doesn’t, however, make it true or give them the right to act upon it in a way that affects other people. Tom Cruise can deny the objective fact that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (like Prozac) work, and he can have himself a little orgy with this belief. But if he attempts to act on another with this belief, he should be restrained and locked up. The reason we lock up the mentally ill is because their delusions cause danger to the populace. The delusions of schizophrenia should be legally no different from the delusions of godbaggery, and should be dealt with in the same manner: restraint, medication, and removal from society.

By enacting laws like this, we are giving people the explicit right to force their religious/moral/social beliefs on another. Maybe I’m fucked in the head, but I thought that’s what the first amendment to the constitution prevents: the State giving one belief system preference over another.

If we were dealing with other circumstances, the outcome would be radically different. If an Amish EMT refused to transport a car crash victim because the Amish EMT believes cars are sinful, we would rightly charge the EMT with gross negligence, breach of contract, and about a hundred other things. We would never tolerate it as a society, because Amish beliefs are far enough from the mainstream that we are comfortable denying such an EMT freedom to allow religious beliefs to interfere with the public service job they do. But because quite a few Americans believe women shouldn’t be trusted with their own bodies, we are willing to entertain such laws as these. Government becomes the rule of the majority, with all its whims, rather than of law. In other words, the Great American Experiment, trusting a society with self-rule, confident in the integrity and character of decision-makers, is a complete and utter failure.

Finland’s looking better and better.


Requiescat In Pace, Betty Berzon

24 January 2006

It seems that noted psychotherapist Betty Berzon, author of many a book and dispenser of many a tidbit of advice on homo-ness, has died at 78.

So long, Dr. Berzon, and thanks for making this gay boy’s self-development a little easier

Memo to Canada

24 January 2006

I reference this story.

Does the saying “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me” exist up there? What about “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it”?

Dude, you’ve seen, with front row seats these past five years, what happens when you let idiotic conservatives play ‘government’ like your three year olds playing ‘house’. It’s cute at first, but leave them unsupervised and they’re gonna burn the house down and the neighbors are going to be pissed.

Are Canadians even dumber than Americans? I mean, one could plausibly plead ignorance when they voted for Bush. But he’s in office. You’ve got the 20/20 hindsight we lack. So, what’s up with this?

I understand wanting to teach the Liberal Party a lesson when it comes to morality. We went through the same thing with Clinton and his blowjob, remember? But, you saw that offering the government to the Republicans, who claimed they would restore dignity or morality or whatever, promptly resulted in the most corrupt administration since Teapot Dome. It’s like being dissatisifed with cultural pursuits available in Los Angeles and moving to Lebanon, Kansas. Wrong way, dodoheads.

Curse it. Now my plans to defect to Canada when Cheney comes for me have to be modified. Australia’s also got a Conservative government. Maybe Finland would have me? I don’t know if I can learn a language with fifteen cases, though.

In Which I Jump on the Brokeback Train

9 January 2006

So I finally dragged my ass to see Brokeback Mountain and see what all them queers be getting in a tizzy about. My feelings on the movie are somewhat unsettled.

To be sure, it is a brilliantly acted, brilliantly directed, brilliantly produced, all around brilliantly made film. If it gets snubbed at the Oscars I may have to toss a Molotov Cocktail at a certain building on Wilshire.

That said, it isn’t the kind of movie I’d enjoy seeing repeatedly. The movie is, if anything, entirely too successful at telegraphing the intense loneliness that pervades every aspect of the lives of the four main characters. When we meet Ennis and Jack, they are lonely guys in search of work. While on Brokeback, they are lonely until their passion explodes. After Brokeback, they spend their entire lives seeking unsuccessfully to fill the void created when they parted. Even their “fishing trips” are but islands of passion in this lonely sea, and even then, they serve more of a reminder of what they lost than what they have. Ennis makes not a single real connection in the movie. He’s closed to his wife, only passingly interested in his kids, and drifts from job to job. Jack finds a convenient life with his wife, asshat father-in-law and small boy, but even then, their marriage is never what one would call happy or healthy, with Jack sneaking off to Mexico to slake his manlust when Ennis is unavailable. When Ennis finally decides he might be able to indulge Jack’s vision of a life together, we are treated to Jack’s violent death.

The movie makes you so numb with loneliness that it’s difficult to have any other emoiton. I’ve read of people crying their eyes out in the movie. I myself only got misty when Ennis seizes Jack’s bloodstained jacket and shirt and cries himself out. This single scene is a microcosm of the movie in general, with Ennis meeting Jack’s parents, who might as well be paper dolls, in an otherwise desolate area. Sterile and cold, the only connection we see is Ennis and Jack (through his literal flesh and blood on the jacket), but even this connection is incomplete and too late. This climax of grief is the culmination of the film’s pervasive lonliness, and that’s what made me tear up: the idea of living a life so full of people and richness but not being able to partake in any of it.

We get some consolation in the final scene, in which Ennis agrees to attend his daughter’s wedding rather than escape in his work. After she leaves, Ennis visits his makeshift shrine to Jack, and we realize that Ennis has changed in some small way, embracing other people in a way he couldn’t when Jack was alive. Small consolation, but it keeps people from slitting their wrists right there in the theater.

So, like Crash, this is a brilliant movie, one which I’ll probably buy when it’s released on DVD, but it’s not an easy movie to watch or to ponder.

The Things They Do There, My Stars…

9 January 2006

To file under the “does anything surprise us anymore” column is this story from the Guardian:

US troops seize award-winning Iraqi journalist

“Ali Fadhil, who two months ago won the Foreign Press Association young journalist of the year award, was hooded and taken for questioning. He was released hours later.

The troops told Dr Fadhil that they were looking for an Iraqi insurgent and seized video tapes he had shot for the programme [a UK documentary about financial shenanigans in Iraq]. These have not yet been returned.”

They were looking for an insurgent my ass. So now we’re resorting to Gestapo techniques to silence our critics. How very democratic and benevolent of us. I can’t wait till Cheney himself comes to install my personal telescreen. I wonder if I can apply for refugee status in Canada or the EU yet….

Oh damn, but I’ve fallen off the wagon

3 January 2006

Hello dahlinks,

I do apologize for falling off the face of the Earth, but I assure you it was for a very good reason: once I was free of the clutches of graduate school until February, I shut down. Not in a bad way, like oh-dear-time-to-hide-the-Wüsthofs-again, but rather like the way you must every so often remove the batteries from your TI-89 (there I go outing myself as a nerd again) and plug them into the charger and repolarize the little piles of electrochemicals that power it. I slept, I slept for glorious 12 hour stretches. I drank, I drank most of an entire jug of sangría. I didn’t answer my cell phone for days at a time. It was glorious. Glorious I tell you.

But, now that the new year has begun, I’ve got to break out of my cocoon and be fabulous in public again. So here I am, emerged and reconnected. I was listening to Elton John tonight, and “The Bitch is Back” really sums up how I want to face the onslaught of existence this trip ’round the sun:

I’m a bitch, I’m a bitch
Oh the bitch is back
Stone cold sober as a matter of fact
I can bitch, I can bitch
Cause I’m better than you
It’s the way that I move
The things that I do

Far be it for provincial little me to adopt the attitude that I’m better than anyone, but it is a useful mantra for puffing up your self-esteem. But I definitely am a bitch. And a bitch that is back.

Unfortunately, God seems to have made the same bitchy resolution for the new year. I woke up at sparrow’s fart this morning to the sound of howling wind and previously stationary plants, objects, animals in the yard seizing their chance to FLY. The poor plumeria against the south wall of the house was bent nearly double. Ma decided we should start siphoning off the pool before it flooded its banks and killed every plant its waves of chlorinated water touched. We did the usual siphoning maneuvers and were running into the back-backyard to let the house drain into the alley, when I exclaimed, “Oh, shit!” Ma, concentrating on not stepping in pots full of water and keeping the end of the hose sealed, responded, “what?” I implored her to raise her head. The 65-mph winds had taken our back fence and neatly laid it on its side, opening our backyard to God and everyone. This is bad, not only because, hey, a fence fell and the fuckers are expensive to replace, but since we have a pool, local and county codes dictate that we have an impenetrable (to little ones) fence around it. So, the little matter of there being a direct footpath between public right of way and the bottom of our 11-foot-deep pool is probably giving some city inspector a wet dream even as I type this. We managed to prop it up until we can replace it, tying it to poles and propping it up with our garbage cans, which probably means we’ll also get a ticket for leaving our garbage cans in the alley outside of pickup day.

But, life soldiers on. Christmas eve was really quite lovely, and Christmas at our house was even better. I have lovely and amusing pictures to share, but those shall come later.

I’m also toying around with the idea of moving this shindiggy to WordPress, so I’ll have to see if I can scrounge together the brain cells to make that happen. I’ve begun work on the rest of my site as well, so expect grandiose things from this site in the (hopefully not-too-distant) future.