Archives for posts with tag: Politics

Painted Map

Written for Beige in the UK and published today.

My inaugural letter from America is sent at a time when American secrets and lies take center stage.

I’m staying in Petrolia, Northern California, eleven hours from my home in Los Angeles with Daisy Cockburn, the daughter of Emma Tennant and political journalist and contrarian Alexander Cockburn who sadly died last year.  I am writing at his desk overlooking his wild and beautiful garden.  Alexander Cockburn, like his friend Noam Chomsky, would have slammed the US government for the actions of the NSA recently revealed by Edward Snowden.

Whilst I am amused by the audacious lengths government will go to hold onto its own secrets while harvesting yours… he was not.  Like this present generation of internet babies… I have never valued secrets.  I am an open book. I have always believed that everything I am is yours.

Do you remember the biggest secret you had to keep?  You know, the queer secret?

When I realized I was different, that my sexual/social narrative did not correspond with those around me, I was baffled as to how I should make the difference known.  I was just a child.  I did not ‘come out of the closet’. I didn’t understand why I should make a big emotional announcement. I decided that I wouldn’t tell anyone. My actions would speak louder than words.  It was up to them, those around me, to frame the reveal. Not me.

It was obvious that being queer, telling people that I was queer during the 1970′s… was like letting off a bomb. It was an act of terrorism.  For some, it still is.  Holding my lover’s hand in the street… a rebellion.

So, instead of having a difficult conversation with my secular loved ones about my sexuality, I spoke openly about my same-sex desires, my plans and my heroes.  They looked askance but they got used to it… or else.  I was a teenage whistleblower.

There is nothing more honorable than being a whistleblower.

This month, two extraordinary whistleblowers are top of the news.  Queer hero Bradley Manning and straight hero Edward Snowden.  Manning is currently on trial in a semi-secret military kangaroo court and unlikely ever to be released. The other brave whistleblower, Edward Snowden, a fugitive in Hong Kong, unlikely to see his country of origin ever again.

My gay brothers and sisters in the USA have, on the most part, turned their back on Bradley Manning citing his law breaking as treasonous. Maligning his motives, distancing themselves from his gay story.  Manning’s narrative is bound up with the recently abandoned DADT, a messy ‘coming out’, Manning’s extreme family poverty and the witnessing of cruel and illegal horrors that no man should ever see.

Manning has unwittingly created a schism in the LGBTQ community, cleaving the queers from the gays.  The queers have on the most part embraced Manning, his activism and conscientious objection. The gays have not.  The Queers had Manning elected as a San Francisco gay pride parade grand marshal in late April, but the LGBTQ board quickly rescinded the ‘honor’ after a white male gay outcry.

Queer supporters of Manning held demonstrations, crowded a Pride board meeting and packed a community forum all with the hopes of seeing Manning reinstated as a grand marshal. The Pride board has not budged.

Why are the majority of USA gays so repulsed by Manning?

Perhaps if Manning had been a muscular, army guy of the gay-for-pay porn star variety so popular amongst the gays, they may have ‘evolved’ a different point of view.  Manning is not that guy. He is small and slight and wan.  He joined the army to get an education and ironically ended up educating the whole world.

He is lauded by Michael Moore, Vietnam Vets, heterosexual politicians/presidents and liberal intellectuals all over the world.  His actions are widely credited with hastening an American withdrawal from Iraq and the Arab Spring.

To many across the world Bradley Manning is a hero.

Yet, the gay establishment ignore Bradley. He is routinely ignored by the HRC and GLAAD. He is viciously bullied on anonymous gay, online discussion boards.  GLAAD would rather honor a homophobic, straight film director rather than one of our brave own.

Many of the USA gays who publicly hate Manning are upper middle-class, affluent white men.  They seem embarrassed and angry by his openness, his honesty, his despair.   They call him impertinent, arrogant and narcissistic.  Yet, had Bradley Manning been a bone fide journalist with a fancy ivy league degree he might have become a hero… or like Edward Snowden who currently enjoys the support of over 100, 000 people on the White House petition page demanding a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.

There is no such petition for Bradley Manning.  Bradley was not well-educated… he’s a white trash gay kid with ideas above his rank.

His detractors, formerly closeted gay men, have their own relationship with the truth.  By necessity, after years of experience, they have become slick liars, natural spies, covert experts. In their every day life they create the illusion of perfection: socially, physically and sexually. A tribe of American gay men who have an overwhelming urge to be over-achievers.  They are clean-cut and conservative in appearance, they throw themselves into their jobs with the same fervency they got through school.

They champion marriage and the military rather than the end of LGBTQ jobs discrimination.  They have no interest in helping others in the coalition of oppressed minorities cobbled together by President Obama because they do not consider themselves an oppressed minority.

Why should they?  They are white, affluent and male.  What’s not to be proud of?

Since I arrived in the USA I have (rather proudly) been subject to not one… but two gagging orders imposed on me by white gay men.

Both ex-intimates, both terrified of having their secret gay lives revealed.  Professional white men, a 32-year-old and a 45-year-old.   The younger man works for a famous publishing house and is perhaps the most interesting because he supposedly respects the first amendment.   The other, a rich businessman caught lying and cheating.

The former was well ensconced in his comfy closet when I first met him, about to be married to a women, living a double life. When I found out about his deception I told him,  “Either you tell the woman you are deceiving… or I will.”

When I tell white gay men this story they are outraged.  They blame the deceived woman for being dumb.  Their thinly veiled misogyny revealed.

“How stupid of her to not realize he was gay.”  they scold.

One Saturday morning two years ago he told her he was living a double life.  After he came out of the closet he had a great deal of sex with many men then settled down with the man he intends to marry.  Free from her sociopathic ex she is now in love with an honest heterosexual.  Of course… he demonizes me.  She probably does too.  No good deed goes unpunished.

Like a lot of over-achieving well-closeted gay men, the publisher operated under the “Best Little Boy in the World” syndrome, a term from Andrew Tobias’ seminal coming-out autobiography of the same name, published in 1973, describing a certain type of middle-to-upper-class gay man.

Gay men are still terrified of the truth: personal or public. Their worst fear when growing up was having their gay truth revealed.  We all want to control the message.  Nobody wants to be told that they are queer ahead of their own declaration.

Many gay men still behave like small boys grappling with who and what it means to be gay.  Scarred by shame, they loathe any queer person who draws negative attention to him/herself in case it tarnishes them or the gay corporation.

They loathe Bradley Manning for outing the nation.

When gay men are ready to tell the truth about being gay they demand recognition and plaudits for doing so.  A heroes welcome for coming out of the closet.  Yet, after this initial flush of candor, their honesty only extends so far.

Beyond the great revelation there is a darker side to being gay that the gay white elite doesn’t want you to know.

They have gone to extraordinary lengths to make you think we are JUST LIKE YOU.  They are still placating their heterosexual parents, school mates and the straight friends who don’t mind them being gay… as long as you don’t do anything gay around me.

The gays don’t want you to know about the meningitis epidemic, the continuing HIV epidemic, they don’t want you to know about their loneliness, their propensity for STDs, the unreasonably high gay adult male suicide rate, the sexual unmanageability, drug taking, racism, sexism, classism, narcissism and ageism that blights the gay ‘community’.  They don’t mention how they routinely commodify women’s bodies/reproductive labor so they can have children. They don’t want you to know just how hard it is to be straight acting, to be ‘masc’ or to find themselves remotely attractive when they look in the mirror.

They don’t want you to know that for many LGBTQ… it doesn’t get better.

Manning broke the first rule of the white gay American elite:  Don’t rock the boat.

The gay businessman’s gagging order expires early next year and he will, inevitably seek to extend it.  The publisher will do the same.  The problem is:  as they know all too well… the truth is eventually revealed.

I met a man.  A medical doctor.  He was well put together, handsome, the president of a large gay organization that supposedly represents the interests of the gay community.  Our trusted servant. He couldn’t stop crying.  Under his well cut trousers he had a permanent needle in his leg for jacking meth. He begged me not to write about him.

I couldn’t make that promise.  He is the perfect white gay American metaphor.

In modern America secrets both public and personal are simultaneously considered defending and deflowering at the expense of the constitution. At both micro and macro levels this secretive bipolarity has come to define my stay in the USA.

 

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Carpenter NYC 21

In the separate but equal ‘gay voice’ section of the Huffington Post yesterday there was another ‘outraged’ homo article about the Pentagon censuring  LGBT web sites like Towelroad but not ‘hate speak’ web sites Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter.

The Pentagon, like many large companies that control internet access, have deemed that LGBT sites are mostly inappropriate for work place viewing.

Why?  The gays scream.  Why do you censor us and not Rush Limbaugh?

A quick comparison.

Rush and Anne, although not my personal cup of tea, do not illustrate their ‘hate speak’ web sites with images of copulating straight people.

In hetero land hard core pornographic images are rightly limited to porn sites.

In homo land we are subjected to random pornographic illustrations (or advertising) on sites purportedly aimed at debating current queer affairs.  Images that I would not want to share with my co-workers.

Today, in the reputable queer news site Towelroad, well written articles about Bradley Manning run along side a pornographically illustrated story about the death of a gay porn star.

Interestingly, the porn star died of HIV related complications.

Something that supposedly doesn’t happen any more.

Even though every recent statistic sadly proves that HIV is on the meteoric rise in the bare back obsessed gay community… to say so out loud is deemed homophobic/selfloathing.

As for hate speak?  Have any of you read the hate filled rhetoric on most homo web sites… aimed mostly at other gay men?

As I have written many times:  queer men willingly take up the cudgels to beat and bully fellow queers where their supposed hetero persecutors dropped them.

BTW Gays…  a differing opinion is not hate speak.

The separate but equal ‘gay voice’ section of The Huffington Post is filled with either outraged queens claiming homophobia or cooing doves describing a gay kiss on net work TV.

A reflection on the vapid, with us or agin us culture so many of you subscribe to.

As usual we refuse to look at our part in the problem. We claim:  They are doing it to us.  They are to blame.  We are blameless.  We do not deserve scrutiny or self-examination.

The Elmo guy is not a pedophile.  He’s a persecuted, misunderstood gay man hounded by the straight media.

In the separate but equal ‘gay voice’ section of the Huffington Post there is a story about an angry ex ‘gay for pay’ porn star who claims that the devil comes out of his ass.

Why?  Why is this story about straight insanity in the ‘gay voice’ section?  Surely it should be on the ‘crazy white hetero’ page along with all those crazy white, straight mass murderers.

By the way, I’ve never understood why it isn’t ok to be ‘separate but equal’, sometimes it’s just easier.

Like being a Hasidic Jew, I want to be separate so I can get on with my business and enjoy my culture without prying eyes.

Of course I need to be equal, however, so I don’t live in resentment.

As a charming postscript I wanted you to know that after my ‘i am not gay piece’ the other day, the gay and lesbian Legacy Project contacted me and as a result my films will not be burned by jack booted gay men… but all of my queer themed films will now be archived (with pride) at The Legacy Project.

As for the film I am currently making?  Let me tell you.  We have come a long way in 20 years.  A very long way.

When a black straight producer wants to make your white queer film… that’s what I’m talking about.

The word twat has various functions. It is a vulgar synonym for the human vulva, but is more widely used as a derogatory epithet, especially in British English. The word may originate from Old Norse þveit meaning cut, slit, or forest clearing.

Grapes from the garden.  Two bunches the raccoons couldn’t get to.

Hung with Tom Hardy last night.

Apparently he punched the producer of Bronson.  Good on yer lad.  We used the words ‘twat’ and ‘nonce’.

I was transported.

They are changing the succession laws in Britain.  Oh, now I remember why I left!

These proposals change nothing of substance, even if William and Kate have a daughter.  All this fuss is about a trivial detail of a succession that may or may not happen in 70 years time.  The monarchy discriminates against every man, woman and child who isn’t born into the Windsor family.  To suggest that this has anything to do with equality is utterly absurd.
It fails the equality test both in practice and in principle.

In practice it simply means that the eldest child of one family is preferred over all others. Inequality is therefore further entrenched in the system.

In principle all children in Britain should have an equal opportunity to stand for the position of Head of State. Anything short of that is an affront to the principles of equality.

The monarchy is founded on discrimination and elitism.  It has no place in a debate over equality of opportunity.

There is so much going on…but I can’t tell you anything.  So much...

Japan.  Spent zirconium fuel rods, usually submerged under forty feet of water, now lie uncovered in the drained spent fuel pools where they are stored.

The fuel rods at all six reactors at the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi complex contain plutonium — better known as fuel for nuclear weapons. While plutonium is more toxic than uranium, other radioactive elements leaking out are likely to be of greater danger to the general public.

Only six percent of the fuel rods at the plant’s Unit 3 were a mixture of plutonium-239 and uranium-235 when first put into operation.  The fuel in the other reactors is only uranium, but even there, plutonium is created during the fission process.

This means the fuel in all of the stricken reactors and spent fuel pools contain plutonium.

In the heart of not one but six nuclear reactors some fuel rods maybe broken…ready to melt down, ready to spew radioactive material into the atmosphere.

We are facing a potential catastrophe in Japan.

Here I link you to the Vlogbrothers simple yet elegant explanation of nuclear fission…for those of you who may not understand what is going on.  Technically.

Critical mass imminent?  Likely?  Who the hell knows.

Critical mass means that there is enough fissionable material to produce and sustain a chain reaction, which grows exponentially within a miniscule passage of time. This chain reaction is precisely what happens in nuclear weapons and could happen in Japan.

We are witnessing critical mass in other parts of the world:  Bahrain where the government saw fit to shoot little children demonstrating with their parents.  Libya where after the United Nations imposed a ‘no fly zone’.  Gaddafi proclaimed a cease fire…then promptly bombed the rebels.  Where, you may ask, were the fearless British and the noisome French?

Critical mass in Wisconsin is growing daily but completely ignored by almost all of the US news media who are frankly perplexed when confronted by white Americans behaving like anything other than bovine subserves.

Last night I, uncharacteristically, turned on the TV and sat with Rachel Maddow for a few irritating minutes.  She was blathering on about how in the 1950′s the Democrats benefitted from the last time the Wisconsin Republicans tried to vote away collective bargaining, unions and the like.   Well, that was then Rachel…when the Democrats served the people and as an effective opposition to the rabid corporation obsessed Republicans.  In a time, long ago, when America and Americans were relevant.

Occurs to me that even if Rachel Maddow believes the Democrats can benefit from getting behind American Working People (she may be right) the working people of America will not be served by those Democrats they elect…most of whom are already bought and paid for by the corporation.  Who said that capitalism means the enslavement of the people?

As fabulously bright as Maddow is there is something vaguely mithering and condescending in her tone.  More worryingly..her solutions are rather naive.

Meanwhile…if it couldn’t get any worse for the LGBT community…

In Congress the ultra right-wing, motivated by crazy house leader John Boehner (Boner), is so deeply committed to dialing back rights for LGBT Americans that nearly 100 of them are co-sponsoring a resolution condemning President Obama for his decision last month to no longer defend DOMA in court.

As Americans struggle to recover from the recession, they just want their government to do right by them.  Republican House leaders are doing the exact opposite – committing taxpayer money and precious time to defend a law that most Americans oppose, and a social agenda that most Americans reject.

Finally, critical mass at the micro level rather than the macro…I am suing somebody.  It stinks…but it has to be done.  Business is business and I hope that he doesn’t take it personally.

My irritation with Glenn Beck is balanced almost perfectly with my frustration for Barack Obama.  It is easier to listen to Glenn’s simplistic message (as it has always been when the right open their stinking mouths) than Obama the intellectual buffoon.

The problem, yet again, when the left of center are swept into power by the cheering crowds (when the pendulum swings) is that they are woefully unprepared to deliver what the people want.  When the right get into power they let off bombs and create armies and the fearful are made safe, the patriotic are assuaged, the rich rub their hands in glee.

When the left of center are elected they ‘negotiate’ with their enemies, they want to be ‘bipartisan’ and have absurd ’round table get togethers’ with their opponents to ‘sort everything out’.

Of course I am disillusioned by Obama just like you are.  I cried when he was elected.  I was so happy.  He promised so much and has delivered so little.  He and his administration cow tows to the likes of Glenn Beck.  Obama moans and whines, he says pathetically that “change is hard”.

Was the only ‘change we could believe in’ the black faces of the first family?  Was that it?

For those faces to then be called liars out loud by pasty white-faced congress men?  For those same black faces to doff their caps to people like Glen Beck?   To be called racists? Obama has not adequately taken the reigns because deep down he fears the consequences, he may be president but he does not behave like a president.  His rhetoric is merely that..rhetoric.  Hollow promises, empty gestures.  He looks haunted, like those negro men and women in the black and white photographs taken in the deep south, covering their heads as the police hit them with batons.

He looks beaten.  He sounds washed up.

Yet, all it would take is just one moment of clarity, one moment to take back his power, a moment of shock and awe.  It is unlikely to happen.  He is just too busy having his photo taken like JFK in the oval office with his little daughters.

Last week a friend of mine confided in me she had heard from reliable sources that Obama would not run a second term and that Hillary would be elected and everything would be just the way we want it.  Bullshit. Of course a second term for Obama is unlikely but not because Hilary is waiting in the wings to take the crown that was promised her. The people will choose a simpler message, a familiar message.  One that they can understand.  Change maybe what they want but they have washed their hands of change.  It’s too complicated.

The nation is crippled, the people are meek and fat and stupid and unable to change anything.  The nation is crippled by inactivity, inertia, fear.

The banks and their paid friends in government have deliberately crippled the USA.  They will do nothing to heal this country until they have an elected government who sees things exactly their way.

When the dependable right get back into power..everything will change.  Lending practices, house prices, small business..all will suddenly change and the people will breathe a sigh of relief.  The banking reforms will vanish, the Obama health care system will too.

My friends tell me that President Obama has achieved much but they forget that I come from a country where real socialists have changed the fabric of society for the good and the bad.  Where the pendulum really swung, where the people were represented and the legacy of that extreme governance is health care, education, infra structure.  That’s all I want for you.  So I do not have to endlessly put my hand in my pocket for the steady stream of homeless beggars now on every street in America.  Millions of desperate unemployed.

Obama has achieved nothing of any consequence, no real and immediate healthcare, no real financial reform.  How could he?  He surrounded himself with banking insiders.  Rahm Emanuel and Tim Geithner are complicit in the devaluation of your house, the loss of your job and as one government melded seamlessly into another oversaw a massive banking Ponzi scheme: the banks took your TARP money tripled the value of it and with huge grins on their bloated faces returned chump change to you the people.

Nowhere else in the world did this happen so effectively than here in the USA.  The Americans tried exercising monetary hegemony in Europe but the European Union is too disperate.  There are simply too many politicians from too many fractured political parties to bully and bribe and most of them have more integrity in one member’s little finger than the entire American congress and senate put together.

The European Union cannot be bought.  This explains the British ruling elites fear of the Euro, the European Union and everything east of the Channel.  Yet, look at what is happening in Europe.  The economies are growing, the people did not lose their homes, communities were not compromised.

We have had revolution in Europe.  Revolution is essential to destroy the status quo for the status quo is not good for the people.  It is good for the few.

The media and Obama hating pundits, as well they might, evoke the ghosts of the French Royal family but Michelle Obama is no Marie Antoinette.

It is easier for us to discuss Michelle’s vacations and high-waisted fashion faux pas than the dead and the maimed and the wounded in our fruitless wars.  Fruitless, unless you are the owner of a munitions factory or a service industry dedicated to war.  We will never be able to stop profligate war funding because we are coerced by the rich to believe it is our patriotic duty to support our troops by giving them more and more money as our schools rot and our teachers become beggars.

I am eager for revolution in whatever form it may take.  The people voted for Obama not to be meek or timid or careful of his enemies but to take back what had been stolen from us during the Bush years.  To restore what Glen Beck is now touting..some American honor.

Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have chipped away at the truth of Barack Obama so that today more and more Americans believe that Obama is a Muslim, that he bailed out the banks, initiated the war in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

They believe that Obama is not and has never been..is not and has never been a bone fide American.  They believe that he is not like them, that he has become president by suspect means.  That the good people of America could never have deliberately elected a black man and his descended from slaves wife.  How could that have happened?

Their racist outrage has never been stamped upon, outlawed, mocked.  Why?   Because we were too busy, like bullied kids in the playground, crying and running away after trying to befriend and engage those who are simply incapable of listening.

The house by day is magical.

Jason and Hillary, quite separately, popped by and both brought lunch.  Hillary arrived with a friend’s dog called Willy who decided to pee on everything the moment he came indoors.

Hillary made a delicious gazpacho and Jason brough chevre and smoked salmon.  Three mad brits eating an Enid Blyton lunch in our tree house over looking the ocean.

I ate bread which I bitterly regret having eaten today.  I am bloated and my tummy aches.

The house after dark can be a little noisy.  I lay in the dark listening to the raccoons squabble, the coyote’s howl and the owls hoot.   The little dog had a restless night, so, of course did I.   He was up and down the stairs shouting at anything that disturbed him.  After an hour of this nonsense I closed the windows and he slept peacefully.

It was meant to be in the 100′s all week but by last night in Malibu it was colder than Whitstable.  I am sure the firemen are very happy as there have been so few wild-fire warnings.  Everything is very damp in the morning from the thick mist that rolls off the sea.

Jason left and Hillary and I decided to take the dogs for a long walk along the length of the new road (Rambla Pacifico) that leads to the PCH.  The house is now walkable from the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and since they started building the Rambla Pacifico extension empty lots are now for sale, lot owners who abandoned their lots 26 years ago are on the mountain with contractors discussing driveways and bedrooms with ocean views.  There is a certain excitement up here which cannot be ignored.

I applaud myself for paying so little for this house.  I just KNEW that one day the road would be built..who knew that it would be so soon?

Apparently I am not the only resident who regularly walks the muddy track which will one day be our new road/life line.  We saw a man armed with shopping bags marching over the hillocks.  Everyone is so impatient to feel less isolated.

It is only a few weeks until the rainy season starts so they must get a move on and finish this project.  The worst that could happen is that heavy rains come before it is finished and all their hard work is washed away.

If only Malibu would buy the road so it can be used by everyone rather than a select few.

Watched TV until midnight…yes there is a TV here and fell into bed.  I watch home improvement shows and laugh gently at how cheap and ill-conceived the ‘improvements’ are.

The Lil Dog was exhausted from running after Willy all day and his long walk but not, apparently,  exhausted enough.

P.S.  The despicable Glenn Beck is holding his reclaim America from anyone who isn’t white rally today in Washington.  For those of you who underestimate the ambition of people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin I urge you to take notice of their message.  They are determined to undermine the goodwill and inclusive character of this great country and, my friends, they will succeed just like their right-wing predecessors.  They will use all the usual tactics:  fear mongering, false patriotism and the invocation of their malevolent God.  These men and women are not clowns, we cannot afford to grandly sneer at their absurd antics.  For as the liberal elite laugh in their grotesque faces they are gathering speed.  If we are not very careful it will be soon too late for those of us who believe in freedom to stop them for we were too busy laughing.

After dinner, before the last US election, I sat in a ‘circle’ with a bunch of my Jewish hippy friends who live in Northridge, California.   They were praying quietly and not so quietly for the Obama presidency.

An African healer sat silently with us wearing traditional headdress and multi colored robes.   He had been flown to their house from Africa so that he might share his wisdom.

In turn they held a gnarled wooden ‘talking stick’ and gravely shared their optimism for the creation of Obama World.  The Obama paradigm shift, the liberal equal and opposite reaction.  A world where sanity and fairness would be restored.  Where this young black man’s promises would come true and Guantanamo would be shut down and wars would be ended quickly not slowly.  Where Bush/Cheney corruption would be revealed and the culprits brought to justice.

Some of the women cried.

When I was handed the talking stick I advised them carefully not to worship false Gods, that I did not share their optimism and that they would only be disappointed.   The hippies laughed at me with desultory guffaws but the silent African suddenly spoke up, “He is right!”  They looked at him aghast!  He pointed his long bony black finger around the room.  “He is right.  It is you all who are wrong.”

Duncan: 1.  Hippies: 0.

Stunning naivety, ignorance and blindness have kept liberals in the USA an amateur political sideshow, they remain inchoate and powerless.    They do not realize that they will never be represented by any established political party.  Ever.

So Obama has not, as I suspected, provided the ‘paradigm shift’ that so many of my crystal loving film industry friends thought he would when they rushed to elect him.

Indeed, quite the opposite has happened.

After 10 years of Bush/Cheney there was no equal and opposite reaction, there was just more of the same.  This time from a sweetly smiling, articulate black guy rather than the gruff inarticulate white guy.  He has let you down and it is all the more galling.

In Britain another altogether more intriguing story is unfolding..

I am oddly optimistic about the Cameron/Clegg coalition.  With no real power Prime Minister Cameron will have to toe the line and be more representative of the British people and their desires than cow towing to the ruling elite.  Even though he is cut from aristocratic cloth he seems rather more inclusive than the scarily evolved Tebbit/Thatcher type of Tory who changed Britain over three decades ago.

Watched the England/Germany game.  Proving that the squad seem more interested in their hair than scoring goals.  They are an unruly mob of shopping addicts who have lost their passion for soccer and developed an expensive taste for power and prestige.  Arrogant bunch of wankers.

Had a long chat with Dan in NYC.  I was describing how my newly gay friend was evolving.  I noted that he seemed to own and accept his power and beauty and acted accordingly.

We both agreed that if we had been that sure of ourselves when we were younger both of us would be dead.   It was people like my newly out friend (not that I am suggesting he is sleeping around) who died first of the mysterious disease that became an epidemic and withered away the most beautiful boys.

AIDS, thankfully, never got me.  I was always too much of a prude, never realized quite how beautiful I was and mostly too much of a snob and star fucker..unable to go near the average gay.   In retrospect I think things turned out just fine for gay men like Dan and me.  We survived.  Might not have had as much sex as the others but certainly never paid the ultimate price.

I have come full circle.  He, unwittingly brought me full circle.  Being in love then not being in love.  Wanting to own to letting go and enjoying, from afar, his freedom.

I have always fallen for the impossible.  Yet, unlike before, I do not want to punish him for being who he is and instead just take a small amount of satisfaction from his evolving self.  Like a bird trapped in oil in the Gulf of Mexico he is now cleaned up and ready to fly.

As he flies into his future..what of mine?  Well, I am ok.  I really am.  A great deal could be a lot better but I am OK.

We are off to Paris next week and part of me wants never to come back.

I loved being in love.  It has happened so rarely of late.  As I draw down the shutters on a gay life that I really have no reason to be part of I instead, sit at the edge of that world.

Perhaps there will be a time in the near future when he will come to me and I will be able to hear all of his conquests and heart breaks without my own heart being quite so broken.

Yet, even writing that, I know that he cannot (any longer) break my heart.

I knew with certainty that Obama would never satisfy the lust for change some of my friends thought he might,  just as they knew that I have been naïve about falling in love with him.  He was not sent to be the great love of my life.

He was sent, actually, to be my friend and for that I am very grateful.

P.S.  So Arrianna Huffington is bemoaning Obama and how frustrated people are with him.  How dare she!  It was her daily attacks on Hillary Clinton and lauding of Obama that galvanized so much support for him.  She was short-sighted and more overly impressed by his ivy league nerdyness than his ability to lead.  She wants 5 words to accept her webby award?  How about:  I was wrong about Obama.

The Cloud Gobbled Us Up

The rain just keeps on coming.   Folk are being evacuated over in Flintridge for fear of mudslides.

I paid my water bill yesterday and I asked the gentleman there if the Los Angeles County Waterworks harvest rain water.  He didn’t know.  He didn’t ‘think’ so.  He said, after some thought, “No, we don’t harvest the rain water.”

During the worst of yesterday’s storm the trees were bent double, the rain was smacking into the house horizontally and a waterfall pounded under the drive.  Perfectly normal, I might add, for Whitstable but noteworthy for Malibu.

One storm after another smashes into Southern California and will continue to do so until Friday.  After the storms pass we will have a few days of glistening palm trees and clean air affording views for miles around then the black LA dust will start building up over everything all over again.

I am guessing that this winter will be very wet.  Very, very wet.

Anyhow, the Democrats lost Massatusetts.   It didn’t come as any great surprise.  I imagine that it suits the White House as they now have a really good excuse not to do anything other than maintain the Bush status quo.  Obama will have an even better excuse after the midterms when the Dems lose both houses to the Republicans and the arguments get easier.   I am surprised we don’t all just start talking about terrorists again.  It’s so much easier than discussing healthcare or equality for the gays.

Today Obama is ‘all up in my grill’ screaming at the banks-more hollow words from a president who sucks on the cock of the banking/insurance industries.

The problem with New Agers is that they don’t get back quickly enough.  I am still waiting for the goat shelter to be built-so I can buy the goats.  I am still waiting for the fencing man to get back to me and the gardeners with their plan.  The only people who get back in a timely fashion are the solar guys who all want to sell $40k solar systems.

Rain Washes The Windows

Sometimes I have a waking nightmare that by buying goats and chickens and creating a kitchen garden there is something oddly Michael Jackson about me.  It was just a fleeting thought..

On our way to Paris via New York.  Trips like this will be impossible once the goats and hens arrive so I am cherishing the opportunity.

The young man sitting in front of me reclined his seat with such force I nearly lost my teeth.  When I asked him very politely to recline gently, he refused.  He told me that he could not think of any reason why he should.

Now, had this been Delta I would have expected such rudeness but Virgin America?  No, not here, not on my countryman Richard Branson’s airline.

It is exactly this attitude of entitlement that has turned the great United States into a third world nation run by arrogant, corrupt, entitled politicians/bankers with little consideration for each other or anyone else. The attitude of indifference politicians have for the people percolates throughout the nation.

The man who rammed his seat into me might have said, very simply, “Oh I’m sorry,  I should have considered that.“

All would have been well.

That’s what we would have done.  The British.  We apologize immediately when we know we are wrong.  This young, foolish man decided, at the point of enquiry, to attack me.  A very silly thing to do as I am now jamming my knees into the back of his seat.

There is a notion that any apology, owning up, making amends etc. is a sign of weakness and it pervades American culture.  The stress this self-righteousness  causes and ignorance it generates shortens lives (Americans statistically live less years than anywhere else in the developed world).  It keeps them poor and makes people across the world uniformly hate them.

I moved to the USA for a reason-I believed that one could be truly free.  Sadly, I don’t believe that any more.   What changed my mind?  Hurricane Katrina changed my mind when I heard how folks treated one another-the government ignoring the devastation.  The Bailout changed my mind when I saw that the Wall Street elite would never be punished for their mindless avarice but instead became richer and more entrenched.  Lastly, the attitude of those around me who blame the unemployed for unemployment, the homeless for being homeless, who don’t see the benefits of socialized medicine, who ignore how many children are being killed not only in places like Afghanistan but also in their own country due to poor health care and nutrition.

The young man sitting in the seat in front of me had no idea that he represents to me everything that is bad about this great country.  That he would inspire an essay that will ultimately embrace the socialist thinkers of my youth.

I am proud to come from a country that may (or may not) pay higher taxes yet one can get free healthcare, an education and rely on those about you to give a damn.

What happened to America?  What happened to the America I aspired to?  Did it even ever exist?  Was the Brady Bunch a myth?

It breaks my heart to see that today whole families are now in homeless shelters.  The soup lines of the 1930’s have been replaced with food stamps.  The evidence of extreme poverty is merely disguised.  Even my Russian taxi driver noted just how many homeless people there were on the streets of LA-yet, even here amongst the homeless exists a dumbfounding arrogance.

A friend of mine devoted his holiday to helping the homeless by working a homeless shelter and delivering blankets to those who lived on the streets.  He reported that occasionally the poor would throw back the blankets and demand money, they would say, “We don’t want blankets, we want money.”   The same people would insult and degrade the people who doled out free food.

Poverty and homelessness does not necessarily engender humility.  Why should it?  Perhaps when a man loses everything he only then begins to fight for his life.  I imagined, incorrectly as it turns out, that there was a community of homeless on skid row helping one another to survive.  Just as I naively thought that there would be a community of actors helping each other in Hollywood.

Hasn’t history taught us that when we work together we can overcome adversity?  Ah, history-another American casualty.

I have, of late, started to think of myself as an old fashioned socialist.   Like Michael Foot or Tony Benn.  I have been remembering their rhetoric and rereading what they believed.  I read and I believe Tony Benn.  I trust him.

Five questions Benn insists should be asked of any powerful person:  What power have you got?  Where did you get it?  In whose interests do you use it?  To whom are you accountable?  How do we get rid of you?

I remember when I was 13 years old my stepfather mocking a badge I wore that said solidarity with the miners. He accused me of not knowing what the badge really meant.  He was right, I didn’t really know.  I wanted to know.  All I knew absolutely was that there seemed to be some unfairness in the world and it needed to be addressed. I saw that there were people, unlike my stepfather, who refused to believe in absolutes, who understood the world to be more convoluted, complicated, chaotic than I had been taught.

So, my solar energy investment is just not an investment in me but in the planet.  The goats eating the brush for the well-being of the environment.  Pumping spring water into the vegetable garden to benefit us all.

The psyche of the British has been unmistakably molded by years of thrift after the Second World War.  We have a desire to make do and mend, to bargain hunt, to work an allotment, restraint.  Frugality is still perceived as a virtue.

The people of Great Britain, France and Germany all live with elements of socialism that run hand in hand with capitalism.   I can assure you that the sort of socialism we in Europe live with works.

What in capitalism is ever ‘too big to fail’?  When did it become ‘socialist’ to care about our fellow man?

In a country that routinely says it devotes itself to Jesus where is that Christian teaching evident?

The airplane is getting bumpy and hopefully the silly boy in front of me will have gone to sleep.  I am going to forgive him.  That’s what I do-I forgive.  I can’t imagine him being able to do the same any time soon.



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