Ulysses

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174659

“Throbbing Python of Love” contains the funniest moment – the funniest two words – in the history of stand-up comedy.  Referring to that magical moment of male-adolescent discovery, when an alarming knock suddenly sounds from the opposite side of the bathroom door, and a somewhat sterile-sounding, maternal voice demands, “What are you doing in there?!”

Without missing a beat… “GOING BLI-IIIIIIIIIINNNNNND!!!”

Zero shame – nor, for that matter, shamelessness – just admission of pure exultation and liberation bordering on religious jubilee!  I hit the floor in tears.

He famously coined the phrase, “Because, there are nights when you’re not looking for Miss Right, but Miss Right Now.”  David Frost once interviewed him and at one point interjected how he had heard running eight miles is the equivalent to sex.  (It’s not, actually; maybe somehow in terms of endorphins, but certainly not the fun part.)  “Running eight miles is the equivalent to sex?!”, he responded, and then immediately fell back into his chair, feigning exasperation and a post-sex cigarette, adding of course the perfect topper: “It’s not the size of the shoe!”

My friends, older brothers, cousins, and I would often gather together or privately listen to his albums, or watch his HBO specials, along with other greats of the day, like Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Billy Crystal, and Steve Martin.  I started watching and listening to them before having even hit puberty (mainly because of the strictly taboo appeal of curse-words, of course, and talk about girls and sex).  And of what I couldn’t understand – the weight of which was much of what they were talking about, including various references to current or historical affairs – I would come to love and value in terms of its honesty and perspective, on top of sensing how it was all funny as hell.

Long since having shed much of those days off, for millions of American youths before and after me stand-up comics were our first real educators for the world.  (And what a diverse and extraordinary education!)

And above every other performer – with the possible exception of brother Bill [Murray] – Robin was king.

And, forgone conclusion it was that he would be great in films, from then on in my early teens up until my early thirties I would his work in film; particularly, “The World According to Garp”, “Moscow on the Hudson”, “Good Morning, Vietnam”, “Awakenings”, “Aladdin”, “Death to Smoochy”, “Man of the Year”.  But by far, of course the two most significant – each, I have seen at least couple dozen times – would be the wonderfully colorful, creative, and original, “The Fisher King” (still among my all-time favorites; a beautiful performance from him, and Jeff Bridges’ best performance, at the time) and of course the brave, powerful, and beloved film of my tumultuous late-teens, “Dead Poets Society”[1].

I remember the late New York Times’ film critic, Vincent Canby, writing in his review of “Dead Poets” (which left me wondering if he had actually seen the movie) that if you were unable to see one of his students “take [Mr. Keating’s] teachings to fatal lengths” then you would have had to have been raised on a space station.  I didn’t see Neil Perry’s suicide coming, just as none of us saw Robin’s coming.

Suicide, in an extremely selfish way, can first be perceived as a matter of very bad timing.  It was only after the fact that many if not all of us learned he had been seeking treatment for severe depression.  Given the aforementioned subtle warning signs and his huge volume of work – not to exclude many of his interviews, which were like comedy routines – I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t feel utterly blindsided.

So, along with wanting to pay tribute, the big, base-question his death has called attention to is: does being creatively inclined go hand-in-hand with being, to some extent, clinically depressed?  All things considered, being an artist myself, I wanted to explore and share what I managed to uncover for the sake of both creative and non-creative, young and older, folk, alike.  Albeit after the fact, the more I traced back to those early years, and had read about him in more recent years, the more I was able to pick up the signs.

I was always aware he had a bit of a ‘Hamlet complex’.  I don’t know if such a term actually exists in psychology lore, but it is a bit of a cliché among male comedians – to try and make light of an inability to identify with and please the father.  After the actor/comedian Jonathan Winters recently passed away of natural causes, I caught Robin commenting on how he was the only comedian he had ever witnessed to make his father (a former auto executive) laugh.  No coincidence then how he would become a major influence on the son’s comedy.

The following excerpt is from an article from a published interview he did with The Guardian, in 2010, then promoting his film, “World’s Greatest Dad”.  About halfway down, the paragraph begins with the interviewer writing, “My worry beforehand had been that Williams would be too wildly manic to make much sense.  When he appeared on the Jonathan Ross show earlier this summer, he’d been vintage Williams – hyperactive to the point of deranged, ricocheting between voices, riffing off his internal dialogues.  Off-camera, however, he is a different kettle of fish.  His bearing is intensely Zen and almost mournful, and when he’s not putting on voices he speaks in a low, tremulous delivering a funeral eulogy.  He seems gentle and kind – even tender – but the overwhelming impression is one of sadness.”  The next few paragraphs continue on this.

For as long as art has existed, the suggestion that being ‘crazy’ and a ‘creative genius’ has always been an instinctively easy, popular, and romantic one.  Poets and writers, and musicians, seem like they’re the most associated.  George Byron, Robert Lowell, Alfred Tennyson, Anne Sexton, and David Foster Wallace, as well as more well-known sufferers, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Cobain, and Vincent Van Gogh, to name a just few, all suffered from a particularly debilitating form of depression called bipolar disorder – bipolar I, to be exact; as opposed to the less debilitating bipolar II.  Lowell described living with his as “a magical orange grove in a nightmare.”

From the study, “Creative Mythconceptions: A Closer Look at the Evidence for the ‘Mad Genius’ Hypothesis”, by Judith Schlesinger, 2009.

“In his Creativity and Madness: New Findings and Old Stereotypes, [Albert] Rothenberg (1990) addresses what he calls the presumably objective work of [psychiatrist, Nancy] Andreasen and [psychologist, Kay Redfield] Jamison, noting the widespread inclination to soft-pedal its limitations: ‘the need to believe in a connection between creativity and madness appears to be so strong that affirmations are welcomed and treated rather uncritically’ (p. 150).”

“To date…the most basic assumption of this whole enterprise remains in the air: there is still no clear convincing, scientific proof that artists do, in fact, suffer more psychological problems than any other vocational group – and probably little chance of obtaining any.  So far, neither the National Institute of Mental Health nor the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association keep statistics on the rate of mental illness by occupation.  Meanwhile, the biased focus on those creatives with troubled lives will never confirm their unique vulnerability, even if their troubles had unimpeachable documentation.”

All told, one does not have to be considered clinically ill in order to create something powerful.  Nor are all creative people to a potentially serious extent ‘crazy’.  Nor does proper medication generally hinder creativity.  Nobody can tell for sure how much his particularly severe disorder played a hand in helping make him who he was, or how the scope of his brilliance was aided as a result.  But his influence will no doubt continue to inspire me to be a well-rounded, and grounded, creative individual [2].

He always seemed in every way in speed with the nineteen miles per second at which the Earth would spin on its axis.  His sharp, sometimes mesmerizing barrage of calculated wit and highly calibrated sense of irony were huge influences on me.  Classic Robin-isms, like, “Excuse me, Mr. President, in the dictionary under ‘irony’, it says ‘See irony’”, or “We’re not laughing at you, we’re laughing near you,” were all said out of love.  He was worldly and wild, and embodied a child-like curiosity to always want to learn more.  He was extremely articulate as well as an extravaganza of cultural voices, recognizable musical instruments and sound-effects, and real-life impersonations.  He could retain and dole out the obscurest of technical details, and was able to seamlessly conduct this entire compendium at any given time.  (I had to pause after the ‘invention of the bagpipe’, around the 6:40 mark.)  He will forever remain untouchable in his ability to improvise.  I was/am especially amazed by his Shakespearean launches; one of which, in the middle of introducing Rita Rudner at Comic Relief V I cannot find on youtube, but just have on VHS, and so will try to do justice here:

“…And she just finished her first movie, which she co-stars with Kenneth Branagh – [dropping into dramatic British accent] Gadzukes!  Yes!  The woman is here, all the way from The Royal Shakespeare Company!  ‘…I fear not, Fellatio!  This is I damndest cunningly withstane!  These queen sheets I shall not know thy thread, but yet touched the cock and called her throne!  Oh, saucy Worcester, wilt thou deny thy father’s brothers?!  Eldest son Vollack, come to the moisture of all England’s fetted loins, in my loins!  Titus has no penis.’ – Act IV, scene ii.”)

His appeal was that he was an incredibly theatrical comedian, in considerable credit to having studied stage-acting at Julliard for three years.  He only needed three years, before being recommended to leave by his professors because there was nothing more they could teach him.

He was not always ‘on’, in the general sense, but that was very rare.  But, it was remarkable to me for as long and as often he would go on tangents how he would never lose confidence, never lose control of the context, and never allow himself to be overtaken by the slightest of self-indulgences.

He had an enormous and fearless sensibility to either seriously or exuberantly point out our hypocrisies, and would just go until it was somehow indicated time to move on.  Mel Brooks said it was never enough for him to just make people laugh but to leave them on the floor.  Robin was the same way.  He seemed to humbly hold his craft in esteem with other more prominently known, humane professions, such as in medical science, research, education, and so on.  At the heart of his brilliance, stemmed kindness and human dignity.

Fare thee well, great, dear king.

 

[1] From which, Keating’s recitation of the excerpt from “Leaves of Grass” has now been immortalized in an i-pad commercial.  ‘Seize the day’, youth of the world, by burying half of it into an electronic device.  Hearing Walt Whitman promote Apple is like hearing Hart Crane do a voice-over for Home Depot.

[2] I do not own the dvd, don’t really need to, and don’t wish to currently pay $500 for a used copy on amazon, but the rest of the scene finishes with the headmaster’s reminder of two of the school’s four ‘pillars’: “‘Tradition’, John.  ‘Discipline’.  Prepare them for college and the rest will take care of itself.”

World Cat Day

macy_usa

Hi. Today is World Cat Day. Like many of you, I never even knew such a day existed!

I am told I live in a ‘country’ called the ‘U.S.’ (…See flag.) This makes me see how many of you can be fiercely territorial just like many of us! (After all, it’s my roommates’ turn to live in the closed room, nearby, due to my anxiety issues. It’s all a work-in-progress.)

Anyhoo, no one can say for sure, but a lot of us animals, like, already brought into this here world have compassionate and considerate, fellow caretakers. Others, unfortunately, do not. Some of us have compassionate societies – like in Switzerland, where not many cats occupy shelters and are able to live out their years should they never be adopted. While many other societies, like this one, are, themselves, still a work-in-progress.

So, I am asking that you all take the time to be better animals to us, each other, and most importantly, to yourselves. After all, even though I myself, here, can be quite articulate, you humans are supposed to be smarter than us.

Peace!

Daylight Robberies: Nights in the Not Much Longer Life of Working in a Restaurant (Part 1)

Overheard two servers while cleaning the other night share how much they had made over Mother’s Day – one of the busiest restaurant days of the year.  One made about $175 in tips, and the other, over $300.  Their whole conversation began, incidentally, with the latter’s surprised delight having made about $300 on this very non-descript, Wednesday night.

I later asked that server just much he happens to make over a typical week.  He replied about a thousand dollars.

I looked back at him…  And his stone-serious, eventual verbal reply indicated he was not joking.

Recognizing of course he is one of the good servers, I asked if this was typical among more average, full-timers (‘average’ presumed here as around what the aforementioned other here had taken home on Mother’s Day).  “O-ohhhh, no,” he confirmed, somewhat to my relief.  He added that a more average server probably brings in about $700/week.  …Ok, about three or four hundred dollars more than I expected.  And finally, over the restaurant’s busiest promotion which ran from mid-January to mid-April of this year, he said he made about $11,000.

Needless to say I found this news a touch depressing.  I have always been aware that, financially speaking, I am on the wrong side of the kitchen.  But up until now, I just wanted to share here for the sake of posterity that I never knew the numbers!  As I overheard some 19 year-old newbie say he made about $150 on a Saturday night, slightly more than what I would make over an eight-hour shift, as a cook, I could not help but feel a bit robbed!

I know there are ideas out there, like the back of the house being given a share of the wait-staff’s tips.  Not necessarily arguing for this here, but something like it would feel accommodating having to work in such a herd-‘em-in/herd-‘em-out, corporate-kitchen (a term I’ve always upheld as contradictory given the impersonalized nature of how they’re run, in stark contrast to one that is independently owned).

For instance, we have servers – plural, and oftentimes the same below-average ones, every week – who tend to forget to put a table’s order in.  The cooks are then asked to rush the table’s order through, on top of keeping all regular hell from breaking loose, so that the server and restaurant as a whole can save face (because having to explain to a table you forgot they exist would just be in every way bad).  I will never understand how a restaurant can be designed to be so busy that a server can forget to put a table’s order in.

I also can’t understand the chronic ignorance whenever a below-average server would re-enter the kitchen and yell – and keep yelling – in need of something random.  This only succeeds in slamming to a halt every cook’s train of thought in hopes one will respond.  We never respond.  The one designated cook to field such needs eventually responds, but there is something comical to how some servers insist on keep doing this, as if God would ever have the time to tend to such baffling ignorance.

A friend of mine once said that working in a restaurant is a lot like working in an e-r – except with absolutely nothing at stake.  Most of us take pride in our work, but as a matter of perspective, many jobs are simply not as vital or worthwhile as, say, restoring the peace in situations like in Ukraine or Syria, speaking up against the status-quo oligarchy, or anything of actual importance. 

And this lends to why I’m reluctant to readily jump from the back to the front of the house – at least in this establishment, and in this town: the sheer amount of ignorance one has to, well, ignore.  There are rampant examples of it, every night: racial ignorance, sexual ignorance, dietary ignorance, and maybe most profoundly social-economic ignorance.  All of these go ignored under the hyper-paced guise of profit.

‘TLDR’

My first ever blog-post – here on this site – was meant to serve in and of itself as a protest on the topic of money in politics.  I wanted to create a link for it and then email it to various campaign offices and publications, as well as of course share it on a few social network sites.

It was naïve, perhaps, in retrospect, hoping its impact would readily catch on – knowing next to nothing about blogging etiquette at the time, as well as having yet to establish any sort of…following (still not very comfortable with that word).

I know the piece seemed also, by popular blogging standards, long.  Whenever I choose to write about something big I believe the reader can instantly recognize it as such, and so the challenge then is to keep it interesting to the point where ‘length’ becomes perfectly imperceptible.

I put a lot of work into that piece, along with another on a left to center understanding of guns and gun-control in America.  And my fear still is that these, among others, will get crushed under the traffic of more frequent postings.  We are of course eons from the days of Dickens and Dostoevsky, where readers demanded big books because there were not many other sources of entertainment available.

So understanding that frequency is important, and wishing to maintain a generally high quality in what I choose to write about, I have come to the following compromise: I will split any a future, grand topic into a series of consecutive posts.

…See, I tend to learn the fundamental process to some (…ok, many) things, late in life.  One eventually abides by learning important fundamentals with having always excelled in understanding basic math.  …And, boy, I desperately need to be around a community of fellow artists/writers.

 

And just as a final side-note, no, thankfully no one has ever commented on anything I’ve written with this here title (which means, ‘Too Long, Didn’t Read’).  I don’t like using pop-culture acronyms, myself, and was not aware this one existed until the other night.  I take never receiving it as a compliment, for it would generate the reply, ‘Understandable, seeing how you could not have even written that out.’

Or, very simply: ‘FO’.

Funny Things

Life is exhausting.

The PCBs and high levels of mercury in fish from chemicals dumped into our lakes, rivers, and oceans, not so thoroughly checked by the FDA. The radiation in the Pacific as a result of the nuclear disaster in Fukishima. (Although that which is in the air and water has been deemed diluted to the point of negligible, it is reported to still exist in migrated fish, like tuna, along U.S. western shores.) Multi-million and -billion dollar energy and pharmaceutical entrepreneurs, who, among others, in large courtesy of the multiple special-interest groups the industrialist Koch brothers alone fund, propagandize ‘freedom’ in damnable poetic terms of ‘free enterprise’ supporting an American Dream defined as the freedom to make as much money as we want. How is advocating this not considered evil? I like actual politics – the art of it – but we know it is no longer being practiced. And soon there will be actual data, in a study to be released later this Fall, proving this. We allegedly have a Democratic President who does not use his bully pulpit to throw rhetorical rage up the asses of those enchanted – correctly so – with our greatest Constitutional power. This is his job, to get Congress to work with him/her. Otherwise, they historically prove to be failures; fortunate to be elected to a second term. Yet Congress still goes right on ignoring his more namby-pamby moralizing, and instead pile into their first-class bandwagons spending weekends with the mutually high-funded and influential who legally side-step their occupation as anything other than ‘lobbyist’ on their W-2s – all-in-all, twofold polluting the air we breathe and the food we eat. I wish I had the power to become invisible, to sneak into meetings and private offices, record conversations, read confidential documents, unveil terrible evidence with the non-mainstream media, and walk away scot-free. But I cannot have this power, and do not want to be made invisible, because I live in reality. I know the majority of us who live in rural and suburban parts prefer living in a world of Batmans and Avengers – or fantasy sports – and less within the actual one. We live in a world that is increasingly, cynically self-preserving; a generational cold war of compromised death. We largely prefer to devolve, self-involved. It’s comedic. It’s hilarious. It’s sexy. None of what I am saying is news to anybody. Yet I feel compelled to keep tabs on all of it. It’s crazy…

 

Working two jobs doesn’t help against the exhaustion, either.

Democracy is very moral. Capitalism is very amoral. The McCutcheon v. F.E.C. decision is the most recent, obvious reflection of how we’re veering away from a democratically run system. I am not surprised by the ball-less, aloof, and ineffectively debunking (in this case) on the part of the Democrats – originally botched by the Solicitor General, when asked by Justice Alito, over Citizens United – that money is speech. If money is speech, then what is lack of money?! Once more, for the sake of posterity, I and millions of others do not measure personal or social growth in terms of financial worth. Wealth, in any of its –isms, corrupts.

If you were to donate fifty or even two-thousand dollars to a major political campaign, do you really feel you’re contributing next to someone donating $19 million? In 2008, then Senator Obama raised over $750 million for his presidential campaign. In 2012, as predicted, both the President and former Governor Romney each raised over a billion dollars. The economy was the overwhelming issue over the course of this gruelingly shallow and media-scared campaign. Neither potential leader really wanted to step on that rail of exemplifying vision or leadership. And because both appeared to spend the majority of their campaigns railing against the other’s economic policy (or, lack thereof) most people did not so much vote for their guy but pretty vehemently against the other.

Voter-turnout wasn’t great, as has been the case in recent years. About 93 out of 219 million eligible voters (roughly 43%) did not vote in 2012, in contrast to the predicted billion dollars, each, that had been raised?

Last year, I paid about $800 in state taxes. Upon filing my W-2, I ended up owing $249 back to the state. I ended up owing roughly 30% more of what I had already, relatively meagerly paid.

Democrats, true to norm, announced they wanted to make income-inequality the official theme of their 2016 midterm campaigns. (…You might argue this is why the party exists in the first place.) The economist Dean Baker recently wrote: ‘If the minimum wage had risen in step with productivity growth it would be over $16.50/hour today.’ According to numerous sources, the typical worker’s annual salary, adjusted to inflation, has not increased since 1979. According to the more moderate Economic Policy Institute (in contrast to the more left-leaning, aforementioned AFL-CIO), by the end of the 1960s the ratio of CEO-to-typical-worker salaries reached no higher than 20:1. Now, they estimated it to be anywhere between 202 and 272:1, depending on measurement of options. …The federal government recently raised the income-tax on people making $450,000/year from 35% to 39.6%, (despite how, through loopholes, they manage to pay a less average tax-rate than the average worker). Yet, the payroll tax for the other 150 million other working Americans went up about 48%, from 4.2% to 6.2%![1]

So, how would corporate-CEOs respond if all hourly paid, corporate employees threatened to truly organize, online, and, without bluffing, simply set a date to stop working in demand of higher wages?

This may sound like a brash haggling tactic, but look at those numbers again if you have to. When I looked at that first figure – $16.50/hour as a minimum wage – the next question of course became do exceedingly wealthy CEOs, hedge-fund managers, investment bankers, etc., have to make as much as they do? Of course not. And then the next question is how is each of our financial values reasonably determined?

The fact that one can be “capped out” at an hourly paid position, as I was recently informed at my f/t job, is relatively absurd.

Student loan debt is now higher than credit card and auto-loan debt, and second only to mortgage-loan debt. Most people deserve the benefit of the doubt to want to go to college but just can’t afford it. I currently cannot afford to start investing in a Roth-IRA, on top of my apprehension to invest and trade in general in the market. That whole business seems like a sport of hyped-up (among other substances) males in uniformed, rolled-up sleeves and ties with whom I’d normally prefer not to associate.

I cannot create my own world of vitality, self-responsibility, and moral courage, and so search for such a community to move to, away from family and friends. This is a typical, albeit still very difficult, pain.[2] Good writing is not a solo, point-A-to-B type trade. It is communal (…the opposite of long-winded). You are dealing with emotions and so need to be around a community who recognizes having them; who are in each way displeased with the current state of things, and willing to coagulate each of their displeasures into some backbone.

There are great songs, movies, books, information – all at the touch of a smartphone – people, and ideas, all out there behind the veneer of pop/dominant culture. For instance, businesses that are ‘for-benefit’, as opposed to for-profit or not-for-profit, whose m.o. is to donate a copy of a product they sell to a person living in a third-world country.

 

We as responsible adults are above the realization we disagree on things, having rarely – if ever – been able to sort out any and all betrayals from our younger days. We are above empathizing with various acts of ‘evil’ committed all over, the world over, every second, from susceptibility to the indiscriminate demands of free enterprise. We all know our ageless souls/wavelengths crisscross in bodily form for just a cosmic blink, and anyone who has ever gazed out across an ocean, or a wide open landscape, is embedded with this feeling. So it is illogical, then, to be so fervently inconsiderate of the other. Straight cowardice, actually.

Life is not a business. It’s personal. Things will only always stay the same unless we very simply start to change the political tone.

 

As for a quick end-note on personal health…

I know it is hypocritical, but I will continue to work with the cooking and selling of meat and seafood, until I figure out where I want to settle. I own cats, who are unfortunately incapable of maintaining a vegetarian or vegan diet. Dogs can, as far as I know. But as far as my cats go, who have always eaten well and not the crap that mostly sits on supermarket shelves, their tiny metabolisms will from now on get dry and moist food comprised of poultry, rice, and vegetables.

And I would like to one day return to no longer advocating for the slaughter of fellow, sentient creatures at human hands. We’re all the same color, same creed, on the inside, as us human animals are endowed with a far greater capacity for thinking and feeling, and able to maintain a full life without meat while comfortably allowing of course for the occasional vice. (Since keeping tabs on health can be stressful enough, and stress, then, is what it is, any proper diet should allow for an occasional coffee, or beer, or such.)

Advancements in soy replacement-meat products, which for the most part taste perfectly fine, to go with organically grown fruit, vegetables, starches, and herbs, have made it incredibly easier to eat vegan, than ever before. And finally, people who know me know that I have never been the ‘militant’ sort of vegetarian. I can only strongly encourage things and have never insisted on doing other people’s thinking for them. I tend to very much dislike it when others do this with me, so instead would rather do the other person’s listening for them whenever openly misinterpreted.

 

[1] http://www.epi.org/publication/ceo-pay-2012-extraordinarily-high/ Also an interesting read: http://www.sfgate.com/politics/joegarofoli/article/Thumbs-up-for-15-an-hour-minimum-wage-in-new-5321206.php.

[2] If sex, wealth, or seeking the acceptance of my father were any of my typical motivators I think I could have cashed in on any number of million dollar-ideas by now: bacon-wrapped cigars, a mosh-pit video game from when I was in my early twenties. Heck, even late-night comedy writing. But I have pesky scruples. ;)

On dementia…

I absolutely love moments of sheer joy and adulation that only sport or music can seem to provide, like the way his appearance at the 2010 UNC alumni game was depicted in the following story: http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/10545949/precious-memories-dean-smith-story.  It’s goes to show how many a two people in a large crowd, totally opposite on other matters, can have a mutual and almost spiritual appreciation for something so basic.

For a person such as he, so widely revered as both humble and larger-than-life, this is not so much a story about his legacy but an effectively, beautifully written account on the sheer power of dementia.  He is still here, his heart and its memory is still here.  And so he should not be so dramatically perceived or acceptably referred to – understandable as it may be – by his entire ‘family’ in the past tense.

The heart may want to recede into a dark corner after reading this.  I feel what makes people instantly tense about the “cruelty” – an accurate term – of this disease is being invariably confronted with their own mortality.

And on the more personal note, reading this compels me to conjure up means to try to bond with my Mom, as she is roughly in the middle stages of dealing with this disease.  If/When the time comes that she does not recognize me, I will never allow myself to believe, without in any way stressing her, that she does not know me nor I her.

The Toothpick is Mightier Than the Sacrificed Lamb

Wow, this past Thursday, the Arizona state legislature passed a law which awaited the signature or veto of the governor on whether to permit businesses to refuse service to gays based upon “religious principles”. The legislation was placed on the governor’s desk on Monday, upon which she had had until this Saturday to decide whether to sign or veto. Arizona’s U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, had both urged the governor to veto. Apple began back-peddling on their plans to build a plant in the state. The Super Bowl was threatening to leave (just like they went ahead and done about fifteen years ago when the state did not want to recognize MLK Day, and the state lost hundreds of millions in revenue). The tide of protest grew and grew. But, thank goodness the governor did not for any reason wait until the weekend to decide to veto.

Since most politicians rather willfully shy from educating, before simply cutting to the heart of the tedious, Leviticus 18:22/Old Testament debate and debunking the “religious principles” claim, given how nutty this particular piece of legislation was, first, to air out a few civil liberties quandaries (in case it should ever come up anywhere, again)…

For one, how would one know if a potential customer is gay?! How awkward would it be if a teenager, out with his parents, is refused service by an unwise proprietor despite having yet come out? …I would love to stop at any a gas station in the state and say, ‘Hey, biologists and anthropologists say that the vast majority of us are to some extent bisexual. That includes you, Dwight. So, $25 on Pump 2.’

How perverse is it to leave it up to the law to decide what is ‘burdensome’ to the business person’s religious beliefs? Would gay residents of Arizona ultimately have to be registered to wear a yellow – or, pink – star, like the Jews in concentration camps, to be ensured potential discrimination from business? If a general physician became known for refusing gay patients, one could go in for a prostate exam and then share when it is over, “By the way, doc, I’m gay, and you just had your hand up my ass. Peace!”

Arizona is one of five states that allows its general public a no license or permit (or, “Unrestricted”) concealed/carry handgun policy, as well as upholding a Stand Your Ground/Castle Doctrine which extends coverage to any place in the state where a person has a right to be. So, if discriminated against (or, not), where deadly force is threatened (or, not), said person could shoot the discriminator and legally claim self-defense. It seems like interpreting public policy in Arizona is a bit like knowing how to play poker. …Poker and guns. Long…live the wild west.

The argument from those who support this legislation is that businesses would simply, legally be protected to politely refuse transacting with presumed gays. It is perfectly astonishing, even more so now in the Information Age where a matter like this right now could go from outrageous to tedious in less than a half of a day, how a conformed brainwashing can lend to an inability to see the discriminatory element (let alone, overlook the constitutional, separation of church of state element, which separates us from the countries we choose to continue to coldly and hotly war against).

People might look at religious/social conservatives and say or think something to the effect of, ‘You can never change them.’ Wrong. Facts open people’s eyes. They do mine.

And so as for this so-called “religious principle”, it has been proven that children who have gay parents become acclimated to the normalcy of living among gays and gay couples, and, therefore, do not grow up discriminating against gays. Or, to put it as one sign at a not-too-long-ago same-sex rally proudly, and rightly, so: “Jesus had two daddies!” I would see gay couples at the church I used to go to and not so much blink an eye but feel a warm sense of relief.

Intellectually, as well as sociologically, just about everyone alive now in the U.S. has been acclimated to having come to reject as well as accept several passages/ideas written in the Bible. For one, one of the very ten commandments dictates Christians should not work on the day of the Sabbath. Multiply roughly 50 Sundays per year times the 26 years I have been legally working, and I and others ought to be worried about burning to a crisp in hell. No. We can safely agree that there are actual, deeper and darker hierarchal sins that need the authority of addressing.

That being said, in a nutshell, refusing equal rights for gays just because it is written in the Bible – or otherwise referred to as ‘religious principles’ – is simply means to hide behind one’s homophobia.