Thursday, November 19, 2015

If You Ask Me...

Looking at my Facebook feed tells me it’s been a big news week for the worlds that overlap the ven diagram of things that appeal to LGBT people. Some LGBTs focus on politics, some on celebrities, some on LGBT issues, some on sex, most follow the big world news and some love zombies. In the last six or seven days, we were one attack of the undead on a major metropolis from hitting the LGBT news superlotto.

The thing that struck me most was that often when these stories are of a controversial nature, my posting decreases in inverse proportion to the vitriol invoked in the controversy. So if the issue is mildly controversial (or one of the few things that I have a completely black and white opinion on), I’ll chime in with my view. But the more uncivil discourse that’s occurring around the topic, the less likely I am to add my opinion on my timeline. I make that distinction because I may comment on someone else’s post if I can find a way to do it without adding to the rancor and chaos that is usually present in these threads.

I thought about how I could weigh in comprehensively so I wouldn’t have to write three or four separate posts and try to keep up with that many comment threads. And then I thought, HEY! I have a blog. So I’m writing it here and I’m going to copy and paste it on my timeline. For anyone reading this, if you want to comment in some really extreme, I-refuse-to-acknowledge-others-have-valid-opinions way, do it in the blog comments. I basically see my Facebook timeline as my virtual living room with me as the host. As host, my main concern is that none of the invited guests feel threatened or violated. Obviously that’s extremely difficult when I invite 1500 people (some of whom I’ve never met) into my living room, but I do the best I can. So all comments made on the timeline should be absent any language or behavior that would label you a total jackass. If you are unsure about what kinds of behavior would make you look like a total jackass, please refrain from joining the conversation in my virtual living room and DEFINITELY refrain from ever entering my actual living room. (TL/DR: Don’t be a jackass.)

Here goes. Oh, one last thing. This is not some thoroughly researched essay about these topics. Like almost everything you read on FB, it's just my ramblings. OK. Now go.

1. Syrian Refugees.  Should we take them? Should we not take them? I think we should, but I understand why there are people who firmly believe we shouldn’t. Logically, I know that we always need to try to help people in need if we can. Helping people is something most humans want to do when there are no obstacles. In this case however, there is a big obstacle. It’s fear. Fear of another terrorist attack in our country. Most people over the age of 20 have a strong emotional memory of September 11, 2001. Even if they were a little too young to know exactly what was happening, they knew bad guys came from over there and killed a lot of people over here. It can create a fear that overrides that desire to help.

You say, everyone has those memories and not everyone has the same level of fear about it. Right, just like everyone knows planes crash and not everyone is afraid to get on a plane. Different people are afraid of different things. It’s always been that way and it always will be. Telling people that their fear is evil does nothing to assuage the fear and certainly doesn’t make them want to rethink their position. 

What should happen is that our leaders should try to be the voice of reason rather than stoking the fire of fear, using the tragedy as just one more weapon in their partisan war. For the record, we don’t have border patrol at state lines so if the federal government decides to take the refugees in they’ll go wherever they want. Of course, I don’t know why they’d want to go anywhere that has a governor who’s such a blockhead that he doesn’t even understand how this all works.

2. Caitlin Jenner.  Well she’s got people upset for all sorts of reasons this week. First off, some people are pissed off that she was named Woman of the Year. Rose McGowan seems particularly incensed. To her I say, until you acknowledge that you owe all Charmed fans a year of their lives back for that mess you called acting in season four, just sit down and shut up. Aside from that, can we just pump the breaks a little. Glamour magazine is honoring her and several other women (actually many other women since they named the US women’s soccer team as an honoree) as their women of the year. If you’re listing women who’ve had an impact on our culture in the last year, Caitlin certainly fits the bill. Also, it’s Glamour magazine. It’s not like The Atlantic or Mother Jones conferred their highest honor on her.

Then there is the statement that she will vote republican in the next election. Of course this is ridiculous. It’s still doesn’t excuse people calling her Bruce or using the wrong pronouns when referring to her in their criticisms. It does underscore what I’ve always contended, which is hitching the LGBT wagon to someone because he or she is a celebrity isn’t always the best idea. Someone willing to vote against the interests of the community she allegedly advocates for is not fit to be a spokesperson or a role model for that community.

3. Charlie Sheen. I have to admit I don’t know a lot of the details of this controversy. From what I understand, he’s HIV-positive and was being blackmailed. Now he disclosed because The Enquirer was going to out him. The backlash seems to be coming from everywhere. There are people making AIDS jokes, which is deplorable. Then there are the people who seem to think he got what he deserved. What does that even mean? People who say stupid shit like that just point out their ignorance. HIV is not AIDS and it’s not the death sentence it was in the 80s so it would be a pretty lame punishment to smite someone with, at least in a first-world country. But also, what is it that he did that would make him *deserve* the pain and suffering that people with AIDS endured back then?

Surprisingly, I’ve read not so great statements about him from LGBT people, who really should know better. Suggesting that he’s not really a very good face for HIV just buys into the notion that HIV is somehow related to the character of the people who have it. I can’t imagine anyone would suggest that he isn’t a good face for lung cancer. 

I’ve also read posts about how he’s a terrible person because he didn’t disclose his status to people he had sex with. Yes, people with HIV should disclose their status to people that they are having sex with, particularly if the sex they are having poses a realistic risk. However, any HIV-positive person who has had a drug and alcohol problem (even if they are now sober) is probably in the same boat. Drunk and high people are not the most reliable when it comes to disclosure. Also, if you had sex with Charlie Sheen in the last four years and didn’t think it was prudent to use condoms, your poor decision-making skills have probably gotten you into worse situations than this one already.

4. Zombies.  As I stated above, there was no zombie attack recently. However, I would still like to speak out on the subject. Brain-eating undead annihilate the entire human race? It’s just not realistic. Here’s why. According to just about every film or tv show available, zombies might be the most dangerous threat to humans civilization has ever seen. They do a pretty good job of simulating a mass extinction event. 

These tales always leave out an important detail. Witches, warlocks, demons and vampires all need a human population to thrive. Vampires literally need them for sustenance. All the others have no real purpose without them. So why would they not all be highly motivated to work together to wipe out the zombies? You’re not going to tell me that if the Charmed Ones could vanquish The Source (of all evil, I’m just sayin’) that there are no witches or demons powerful enough to destroy zombies. Vampires are pretty badass as well. Faced with starvation, I think they’d manage to figure something out. So, zombie apocalypse? I ain't buyin' it.

So there you have it. The last word on everything important happening in the world right now. You’re welcome.

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