Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hello again, naturally

Hello, again, blog, you sadly neglected creature, you. I've been letting you lie fallow as I cavort in the fields of fandom. (points to Torchwood on the sidebar) Soon I shall be plowing your rich earth again, never fear. I see my last entry here was two weeks ago. Yikes!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Robert Pattinson as Salvador Dali in "Little Ashes"

Just a little change of pace from the last post, LOL. This movie looks very interesting. Robert Pattinson of "Twilight" stars as Salvador Dali in this film that highlights his friendship with Federico Garcia Lorca, the poet, and film director Luis Bunuel. Dali and Lorca were lovers and this film explicitly explores their relationship.

New Attempt at North Carolina Anti-Bullying Law

Last year, North Carolina legislators tried to pass an anti-bullying law that protected gay students. It was defeated in part because of conservative opposition. Anti-Bullying Law Debated in North Carolina A similar law has been introduced this year and is now being debated. Text of law; Pam's House Blend discussion of law. The law protects students from bullying behavior based on a litany of "differentiating characteristics," including sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation.

The mind boggles at how conservatives could oppose a law that protects children from bullying. This item from Concerned Women for America, a conservative organization, gives some insight. They object to including sexual orientation as a protected characteristic on the grounds that it's an unnecessary and undeserved "special right." They seem to argue that all children should be protected against bullying, with no one singled out for special protection. This makes no sense if the very reason a child is being bullied is perceived difference based on a protected category. They also raise the apparently horrifying specter that including sexual orientation in the list of protected characteristics will somehow give gay activists leverage in lobbying for more civil rights. (because that would obviously be the end of civilization as we know it.)

Again and again, anti-gay conservatives resist acknowledging the existence and reality of gay people. They really want to pretend we don't even exist (and would we please go away and shut up, because it's just icky and gross). They should really grow up and get over it. Yes, some children know they are gay from an early age, and so do all the other children around them. Children can be cruel to those who are different. Gay teens actually commit suicide because they are gay. Family Equality Council post about anti-gay bullying

Anti-Bullying Sponsors Seeks to Legalize Sodomy in N.C. I came across this little gem when searching for info on the anti-bullying legislation. This is an example of the completely irrational thinking engaged in by conservatives obsessed with homosexuality:

Representative Glazier's bill is entitled, "Conform State Law to Lawrence v. Texas," an innocuous title unless you know that Lawrence v. Texas was the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court case that struck down the sodomy laws in Texas. If Representative Glazier had wanted the average "Joe" to know what his bill was about, he would have entitled it, "Repeal Sodomy Laws in North Carolina." From the man who brought us the "Anti-Bullying" bill, we now have the "Pro-Sodomy" bill.

Leaders in our General Assembly clearly need to hear from people and pastors all across North Carolina about how ridiculou [stet] this bill is. Besides being unnecessary, it is clearly the first step in a series of many by pro-homosexual activists to attempt to legalize the sexual practices that prevail in same-sex marriages. First they must do away with the crime of sodomy. Next, they must abolish the law against cohabitation; then they must abolish the law that prevents homosexuals from adopting children; and finally they will attempt to legalize same-sex relationships. It is always a gradual process—just ask Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Where to start? First, Lawrence v. Texas struck down the Texas law that criminalized sodomy because it violated the federal constitution. So, all other state laws outlawing sodomy are also unconstitutional. The North Carolina law is therefore a mere technicality. It can't be enforced. Therefore, it should be taken off the books. This idiot acts like sodomy is still illegal in North Carolina, not to mention the mere fact of being in a "same-sex relationship".

Furthermore, male-female couples can engage in sodomy, so technically, anti-sodomy laws apply to them too. But they usually were enforced only against same-sex couples. In North Carolina, sodomy is "a crime against nature" (N.C. Gen. Statutes 14-177). ""Crime against nature" has been defined by North Carolina courts as "sexual intercourse contrary to the order of nature," including all "acts of bestial character whereby degraded and perverted sexual desires are sought to be gratified." While this definition is incredibly broad, enough so that it could conceivably include masturbation or sexual positions once thought "unnatural," the CAN law is now only used in cases involving oral sex (fellatio and cunnilingus) and anal intercourse." from North Carolina Gay Advocacy Legal Alliance website Clearly, different sex couples can engage in these sexual activities as well as same sex ones. So the "sexual practices that prevail in same-sex marriages" referred to above are many of the same ones that prevail in male-female marriages.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The L Word Finale: Reaction

The finale of The L Word should have had me crying, but instead I felt totally apathetic. I wanted to know who killed Jenny, but when it became clear that they weren't going to tell us, I was surprisingly disengaged. All in all, none of the open plot lines were resolved, which was very frustrating. This last season was a complete failure, in my opinion, even worse than the previous one.

Who Killed Jenny: Both Tina and Bette had opportunity. I don't think anyone else did, but correct me if I'm wrong. Of the two, I don't think Tina could kill. Bette possibly could, but the threat from Jenny didn't seem adequate to make her kill. It would have been more convincing if they'd built up the threat more gradually instead of inserting it last episode. I tend to think Jenny tripped and fell.

In any case, the "Who Killed Jenny?" tagline for the entire 6th season was somewhat of a red herring, poorly planned and poorly executed. If you're going to frame a TV show as a mystery, you should provide the goods. Yes, they carefully provided each character a reason to kill Jenny. But it was pro forma. It was as if their heart wasn't in it. It wasn't really believable. They've spent 5 seasons trying to get us to empathize with these characters, and now we're supposed to believe one of them was capable of killing Jenny? This was half a mystery. We didn't see Jenny die, we didn't even hear her fall or scream, there weren't any real clues as to what happened, other than both Bette and Tina were alone with her right before it happened. And there's an awful lot of irony in having a show that was supposed to celebrate lesbian's lives end in death.

I assumed Bette and Tina were going to adopt Max's baby, but they didn't even resolve that. And, by the way, they never explained why they decided to adopt rather than have one of them carry the baby themselves. Unless I missed it. They already did that, so why not again? Apparently just to provide a mini-plot about a potential birth mother.

Dylan and Helena: WTF??? An awful lot of the episode was taken up with strange interactions between these two and I found I just didn't care. I felt like there must have been a missing episode that would have explained what was happening, LOL. Suddenly Dylan's grabbing a knife and into d/s? Why would Dylan have been mad about the "test" if Jenny already told her about it? It didn't really make sense. And why did they make Helena basically an alcoholic so late in the game? What was the point? And when did she acquire this fancy-schmancy seaside home? I thought she lost everything when she went to jail.

Alice/Tasha: It was very awkward when Tasha suddenly appeared at the end. I guess it was supposed to mean she rejected Jamie in favor of Alice, but it was so rushed, it wasn't clear.

Shane/Molly: I loved seeing Molly again. There didn't seem to be any point to her letter to Shane other than convincing Shane that Jenny really was evil. I wish they had let Shane stay with Molly. (And, guh, Carmen in the tribute video. I forgot how hot she was.)

I laughed when Jenny said her tribute video was 3 hours long.

And what was up with the smiling strutting in the final credits? That was just weird. We segue from the friends mourning Jenny, all sad-faced and anguished, to smiling, well-groomed, shiny, happy people sauntering in slo-mo towards the camera, for no apparent reason.

Minor quibble: I also laughed when Jenny was frantically trying to buy editing software mere hours before the video was supposed to be finished, and sent Shane out to the Mac store to buy Final Cut. I have that software, and you'd have to be a genius to learn it in a couple of hours. This little exchange pushed my buttons because Final Cut has been nagging my soul for a few months and I quake in my boots every time I start trying to make a video with it. I keep wimping out and using iMovie instead (way simpler). Possibly Jenny was familiar with the software already, but why was she just buying it? They showed her with the video on her computer before she talked about having to buy the software.

Thoughts on sequel with Alice: Alice in prison? darker tone? give me a break. What's great about Alice is her wry humor. She doesn't seem suited to a prison story. And do we really need another show about lesbians in prison? Did Chaiken not get this out of her system with Helena's ridiculous jail story? I can't imagine this is going to be any good. Although I hear Laurie Metcalf is going to be in it, and I've always liked her. (She played Rosanne's sister on the Roseanne show back in the day, and in fact, I always thought she'd make a good lesbian, or at least her character in that show should have come out, haha.)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Americans' Tender Sensibilities

I just read this article in the New York Times about "Ashes to Ashes," which I watched on BBCAmerica last night. Apparently Americans just can't take the actual dialogue of DCI Gene Hunt and BBCAmerica decided to edit it. Crap! "[Hunt's face can be seen on] coffee mugs, T-shirts and bottle openers emblazoned with one of Gene Hunt’s most famous run-on slurs, “You Great, Soft, Cissy, Girly, Nancy, French Bender, Man United Supporting Poof.” (BBC America has chosen to clean up his juicily phrased, almost poetically off-color outbursts.)" That's really too bad because that sounds like it would be really entertaining. I never watched "Life on Mars" (this is a sequel to that show), but I'd really like to, especially as it stars John Simm (I loved him as the Master in Dr. Who), but apparently it's not available on DVD in the US, so I'll have to resort to other methods, whenever I get around to it.

I was intrigued by the premiere episode, but I couldn't help wondering why Alex Drake, the lead female character, (Keeley Hawes from MI-5, another show I loved) kept her over-the-top 80's makeup and costume after the first day of her arrival in the 80's, since her contemporary dress and look was very restrained. Sadly, I'm old enough that the 1981 setting has quite a bit of nostalgia for me. It's funny to hear the old songs and see all the old technology (wow, a Sony Walkman!, VCRs!, rotary phones! desktop computers that can only play Pong) and remember when that was all we had.

NYTimes Review of "Ashes to Ashes"

I'll be watching The L Word finale tonight, which I'm sure will be just as ridiculous as the rest of the show. There's no way they can resolve all the open-ended plot points in one hour. So disappointed in Ilene Chaiken. This show could have been so much better.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Is it defamatory to call someone gay?

This is something I was recently thinking about, and now there's an article about it: Is it defamatory to call someone gay?, Gabriel Arana in Slate. Defamation is damage to someone's reputation through public statements. Traditionally, there are certain statements that are defamation per se, such as "attacks on a person's professional character or standing, allegations that an unmarried person is unchaste, that a person is infected with a sexually transmitted disease, or allegations that the person has committed a crime of moral turpitude." www.expertlaw.com When a plaintiff brings a cause of action for defamation per se, he or she doesn't have to prove damages - damages are presumed. Obviously, historically it was considered a crime of moral turpitude to be gay, not to mention being "unchaste."

This article brings up an interesting question. Can it be defamatory to call someone gay when not everyone thinks being gay is immoral, nor is it illegal for the most part (in this country). Arana thinks that gay rights groups, who have been silent on this issue, should actively oppose private lawsuits seeking damages for being called gay. He thinks people could be shamed into dropping such suits. In some ways, this is idealistic, as there could be situations where someone could be damaged if they were thought to be gay, such as an actor whose public persona rests on a heterosexual image (Tom Cruise brought such a case). Naturally, it would be better if this weren't the case. Ideally, no one would think there's any problem with being gay. But we're not there yet.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Crocuses in the Snow

Taken today in my front yard.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New TV fav: Mistresses

My newest TV favorite: "Mistresses" on BBCAmerica. Mistresses homepage; Mistresses on imdb.com. I love this show! The title's cheesy, but the show is packed with intriguing and sophisticated female characters who are full-fledged adults with all the accompanying baggage, anxieties and subtleties. The show features four female friends in varying sorts of relationships, from married to widowed to devotedly single and adulterous, who each get involved with someone during the course of the series. There are six episodes in Series 1 and a second series in now airing in the UK. I've seen two episodes and I was immediately drawn into the lives of these characters. After the first one, I couldn't wait to see the second. I think this is partly due to the quality of the acting, which is fantastic. There are several actors that have appeared in other recent British shows shown in the US, including Sharon Small (The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, aired on PBS) and Raza Jaffrey (MI-5, aired on BBCAmerica). My two favorite characters so far are Katy Ronan and Siobhan Dillon, played by Sarah Parish and Orla Brady, respectively. Katy is a doctor who had a long-term affair with a patient who recently died. Her lover's adult son is now hot on the trail of his father's lover, but also has the hots for Katy, who is also his doctor. Siobhan is a married lawyer who is trying to get pregnant and getting involved with a co-worker. The difficulties Siobhan and her husband are facing are played with quiet poignancy. (Katy on right, Siobhan on left)

Other highlights are Anna Torv playing a lesbian about to get married, but attracted to main character, single and loving it Jessica Fraser, played by the beautiful Shelley Conn. Torv stars in American series "Fringe" (another of my favorites) as FBI agent Olivia. She's very believable here as a lesbian. (Is it getting hotter in here or is it my imagination?)

While this might sound like a rip-off of Sex and the City, Brit-style, the show feels completely different, perhaps because it's an hour long and goes at a slower pace. And, of course, because it's British. There is less overt discussion of men and sex, and more scenes that simply show the women's friendship and the development of the various sexual relationships. The show is airing on BBCAmerica on Friday nights at 9pm EST.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Word of the Day

The Word of the Day is "jejune": according to the American Heritage Dictionary, lacking in nutrition, insubstantial; not interesting, dull; lacking maturity, puerile; from the Latin, jejunus, hungry. What a great word! I love the sound of it. Yesterday, New York Times columnist Frank Rich described Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal as "jejune", which prompted me to look up the word. Jindal provided the Republican response to Obama's address to Congress this past week. Rich accurately described Jindal's speech as follows:

The Louisiana governor, alternately smug and jejune, articulated precisely the ideology — those G.O.P. “policies” in the Times/CBS poll — that Americans reject: the conviction that government is useless and has no role in an emergency. Given that the most mismanaged federal operation in modern memory was inflicted by a Republican White House on Jindal’s own state, you’d think he’d change the subject altogether.

But like all zealots, Jindal is oblivious to how nonzealots see him. Pleading “principle,” he has actually turned down some $100 million in stimulus money for Louisiana. And, as he proudly explained on “Meet the Press” last weekend, he can’t wait to be judged on “the results” of his heroic frugality.

Good luck with that. He’s rejecting aid for a state that ranks fourth in children living below the poverty line and 46th in high school graduation rates, while struggling with a projected budget shortfall of more than $1.7 billion.

The Ecstasy and the Agony

It's hard to believe the Republicans think their position of rejecting the stimulus bill has any appeal. We've been living with 8 years of government "non-intervention," resulting in our current crisis. More of the same isn't going to cut it. That seems insane.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

National Blog Posting Month Redux

I'll be making a blog post every day in March, at least theoretically. If you look at this blog, please leave a comment. Otherwise, it's hard to know whether anyone ever reads it! OK, pathetic whining will stop now. The theme this month is "Giving (Up)". I'll be endeavoring to make a few posts on that topic.