Vids and pics from the Diamond Jubilee.
The New Yorker's 60 years of sassy queen coverage.
Grey's Anatomy, Days of Our Lives among winners at last nights GLAAD Media Awards, in Frisco.
Remember the fellow who's challenging Jonah Goldberg to a boxing match? He's Jamie Kilstein, a comedian, and here's his gay marriage rant. Be aware that the language is a little coarse. (Thanks to FilmTurtle for the link.)
An ideal European getaway for the supervillain in your life.
A fifth grader cuts class; gets pretty awesome exculpatory note.
For these married Mormons, love conquered faith:
“I don’t believe in God,” my husband whispered in the darkness of our bedroom.
... his confession hung over our nuptial bed. And though I’d known this was coming — he’d been struggling with his faith for at least two years — I’d never considered what I’d say. Sean had always been the rational one, a brilliant computer scientist who spoke sense when I was in the throes of clinical depression. Now, my thoughts went still as I groped for his hand. Before I could process what I was saying, forbidden words slipped off my tongue. “You are more important to me than the Church,” I said.
Sci-fi as mental oxygen, from William Gibson:
... When I was five, I was chastised for disagreeing with an Air Force man, a visitor to our home, who made mock of my Willy Ley book. I knew he was wrong when he said that space travel would never happen. And I was right, at least in the relatively short term, just a few years off from Sputnik. I was a native, I felt unquestioningly, of Tomorrow.
But somewhere along the way, during the decade after my argument with the Air Force man, Tomorrow went lowercase. By 1964, when I was negotiating puberty in the chill deeps of the Cold War, history itself had become the Atomic Disintegrator. In those years, I was drawn to science fiction (and mainly to its prose forms) for the evidence it offered of manifold possibilities of otherness. To a curious, anxious, white male child coming of age in an incurious and paranoid white monoculture, there was literally nothing like it—though a great deal of science fiction, possibly the majority of it, I was starting to notice, depicted futuristic monocultures that were dominated by white males. The rest, however, had as much to do with making me the person I am today as anything else did. Things might be different, science fiction told me, and different in literally any way you could imagine, however radical. Simply to know that people who thought that way existed was a game changer for me. Being able to directly access their minds, as a reader, was like discovering an abundant, perpetually replenished, and freely available source of mental oxygen. You bought it from a wire rack in the bus terminal, less than a dollar a shot, and took home Alfred Bester, Fritz Leiber, Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Sheckley, and many others—and then you saw things differently ...
It's Jefferson Davis Day in Florida -- because that actually is a holiday there -- and to celebrate, the governor's purging the voter rolls. Or would be, if the Department of Justice hadn't stopped him.
You know that hideously catchy song from that Heineken commercial? See it in its proper context -- in the 1965 Indian hit Gumnaan, given voice by the legendary Mohammed Rafi -- AFTER THE JUMP. Seriously, hideously catchy.
The membership of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious comprises about 80% of the 57,000 nuns in the United States, and they're sticking it to the Vatican.
It didn't have to be this way. Until April, America's nuns were minding their own business, feeding the poor, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless; all of the good things that nuns are wont to do while their male counterparts are misbehaving. Then the Vatican labeled them "radical feminists" and accused them of "serious doctrinal" malfeasance, and announced it would send a team of high-powered, manly bishops to put the little ladies in their place.
As the New York Times explained it at the time:
The Vatican’s assessment ... said that members of the group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, had challenged church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood, and promoted “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”
The sisters were also reprimanded for making public statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.” During the debate over the health care overhaul in 2010, American bishops came out in opposition to the health plan, but dozens of sisters, many of whom belong to the Leadership Conference, signed a statement supporting it — support that provided crucial cover for the Obama administration in the battle over health care.
... Word of the Vatican’s action took the group completely by surprise, Sister Sanders said. She said that the group’s leaders were in Rome on Wednesday for what they thought was a routine annual visit to the Vatican when they were informed of the outcome of the investigation, which began in 2008.
“I’m stunned,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby founded by sisters. Her group was also cited in the Vatican document, along with the Leadership Conference, for focusing its work too much on poverty and economic injustice, while keeping “silent” on abortion and same-sex marriage.
Too much charity, in other words, and not enough sanctimony. To rectify the imbalance, the Vatican announced it would send three doctrinally secure bishops to overhaul the nuns' policies, rejigger their hierarchy, approve speakers at their meetings, and generally dictate their behavior for a period of up to five years.
Now, after a month of silence, the nuns have said: No.
From Friday's Times:
After three days of discussion and prayer in Washington this week, the 21 national board members of the group decided they could not accept the Vatican’s verdict, and would send their president and executive director to Rome on June 12 to open a dialogue with Vatican officials.
Sister Pat Farrell, president of the leadership conference, said in a telephone interview on Friday, “We do want to go and speak the truth as we understand it about our lives.” She said the sisters had been “stunned by the severity” of the Vatican’s pronouncement, which accused them of transgressions that included promoting radical feminism and contradicting the bishops. The sisters were also concerned that the assessment was conducted almost entirely by written communication, she said, with only “minimal contact” with officials at the Vatican office that issued the conclusions, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Among the accusations the nuns considered “unsubstantiated” was the Vatican’s charge of promoting “radical feminist themes,” Sister Farrell said.
“Even large sectors of the church itself have legitimate concern and want to continue to talk about the place of women in the church, and rightful equality between men and women,” said Sister Farrell, who is a member of the leadership team of the Sisters of St. Francis, of Dubuque, Iowa. “So if that is called radical feminism, then a lot of men and women in the church, far beyond us, are guilty of that.”
Andy reported Thursday on Jason Alexander's unfortunate recent appearance on the Craig Ferguson Show, in which the former Seinfeld star called cricket an unmanly, "gay" sport. The imputation bugged a lot of gay people. (Weirdly, it didn't seem to bother many cricket players.)
After several days of consideration, Alexander released the below apology, which I'm posting in its entirety because it's probably the best such apology I've ever read.
Read AFTER THE JUMP ...
Last week, I made an appearance on the Craig Ferguson show – a wonderfully unstructured, truly spontaneous conversation show. No matter what anecdotes I think will be discussed, I have yet to find that Craig and I ever touch those subjects. Rather we head off onto one unplanned, loony topic after another. It’s great fun trying to keep up with him and I enjoy Craig immensely.
During the last appearance, we somehow wandered onto the topic of offbeat sports and he suddenly mentioned something about soccer and cricket. Now, I am not a stand-up comic. Stand up comics have volumes of time-tested material for every and all occasions. I, unfortunately, do not. However, I’ve done a far amount of public speaking and emceeing over the years so I do have a scattered bit, here and there.
Years ago, I was hosting comics in a touring show in Australia and one of the bits I did was talking about their sports versus American sports. I joked about how their rugby football made our football pale by comparison because it is a brutal, no holds barred sport played virtually without any pads, helmets or protection. And then I followed that with a bit about how, by comparison, their other big sport of cricket seemed so delicate and I used the phrase, “ a bit gay”. Well, it was all a laugh in Australia where it was seen as a joke about how little I understood cricket, which in fact is a very, very athletic sport. The routine was received well but, seeing as their isn’t much talk of cricket here in America, it hasn’t come up in years.
Until last week. When Craig mentioned cricket I thought, “oh, goody – I have a comic bit about cricket I can do. Won’t that be entertaining?”. And so I did a chunk of this old routine and again referred to cricket as kind of “gay” – talking about the all white uniforms that never seem to get soiled; the break they take for tea time with a formal tea cart rolled onto the field, etc. I also did an exaggerated demonstration of the rather unusual way they pitch the cricket ball which is very dance-like with a rather unusual and exaggerated arm gesture. Again, the routine seemed to play very well and I thought it had been a good appearance.
Shortly after that however, a few of my Twitter followers made me aware that they were both gay and offended by the joke. And truthfully, I could not understand why. I do know that humor always points to the peccadillos or absurdities or glaring generalities of some kind of group or another – short, fat, bald, blonde, ethnic, smart, dumb, rich, poor, etc. It is hard to tell any kind of joke that couldn’t be seen as offensive to someone. But I truly did not understand why a gay person would be particularly offended by this routine.
However, troubled by the reaction of some, I asked a few of my gay friends about it. And at first, even they couldn’t quite find the offense in the bit. But as we explored it, we began to realize what was implied under the humor. I was basing my use of the word “gay” on the silly generalization that real men don’t do gentile, refined things and that my portrayal of the cricket pitch was pointedly effeminate , thereby suggesting that effeminate and gay were synonymous.
But what we really got down to is quite serious. It is not that we can’t laugh at and with each other. It is not a question of oversensitivity. The problem is that today, as I write this, young men and women whose behaviors, choices or attitudes are not deemed “man enough” or “normal” are being subjected to all kinds of abuse from verbal to physical to societal. They are being demeaned and threatened because they don’t fit the group’s idea of what a “real man” or a “real woman” are supposed to look like, act like and feel like.
For these people, my building a joke upon the premise I did added to the pejorative stereotype that they are forced to deal with everyday. It is at the very heart of this whole ugly world of bullying that has been getting rightful and overdue attention in the media. And with my well-intentioned comedy bit, I played right into those hurtful assumptions and diminishments.
And the worst part is – I should know better. My daily life is filled with gay men and women, both socially and professionally. I am profoundly aware of the challenges these friends of mine face and I have openly advocated on their behalf. Plus, in my own small way, I have lived some of their experience. Growing up in the ‘70’s in a town that revered it’s school sports and athletes, I was quite the outsider listening to my musical theater albums, studying voice and dance and spending all my free time on the stage. Many of the same taunts and jeers and attitudes leveled at young gay men and women were thrown at me and on occasion I too was met with violence or the threat of violence.
So one might think that all these years later I might be able to intuit that my little cricket routine could make some person who has already been made to feel alien and outcast feel even worse or add to the conditions that create their alienation. But in this instance, I did not make the connection. I didn’t get it.
So, I would like to say – I now get it. And to the extent that these jokes made anyone feel even more isolated or misunderstood or just plain hurt – please know that was not my intention, at all or ever. I hope we will someday live in a society where we are so accepting of each other that we can all laugh at jokes like these and know that there is no malice or diminishment intended.
But we are not there yet.
So, I can only apologize and I do. In comedy, timing is everything. And when a group of people are still fighting so hard for understanding, acceptance, dignity and essential rights – the time for some kinds of laughs has not yet come. I hope my realization brings some comfort.
When a state's Attorney General intervenes in a lawsuit challenging the legality of that state's laws, the Attorney General usually sides with the defense. Not so in the cases of the Darby v. Orr and Lazaro v. Orr, the two lawsuits filed last week in Illinois, which challenge the state's civil unions law.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) will be joining Lambda Legal and the ACLU in arguing that Illinois's civil unions law does not meet the state's constitutional guarantees of equal protection, raising the question of what the Cook County clerk of courts -- the named defendant -- will do in its response to the lawsuits.
The move came just two days after Lambda Legal and the ACLU each filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the civil union law.
In a pair of June 1 filings in Darby v. Orr and Lazaro v. Orr, which were reviewed by Metro Weekly, the attorney general's office has requested to intervene in the cases ... In the requests, Madigan writes, "Petitioner respectfully requests the right to intervene in this case to present the Court with arguments that explain why the challenged statutory provisions do not satisfy the guarantee of equality under the Illinois Constitution."
On June 25, the Attorney General's Office will make the request to intervene in Darby, which was brought by Lambda Legal. On June 26, the office will make the intervention request in Lazaro, which was brought by the ACLU.
Exciting as this development is, the actual argumentation of the case could be quite dull. David Orr is the defendent by virtue of his position as the Cook County Clerk, and because the particular laws of Illinois bar him from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But Orr is, himself, pro-marriage equality, and fervently hopes to lose the suit. He'll be represented by the State Attorney's office, according to the Chicago Tribune -- and the State Attorney in Cook County is Anita Alverez, a liberal Democrat. Unless an outside group steps in to argue the case, there might not be much argumentation at all.
Below, you'll find a rather brilliant animation created to accompany a talk by creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson at the Royal Society of Arts. The subject is education, but don't let that scare you off. This is cool. So's Robinson's TED Talk, but nobody's made an animation of that. (It's worth watching anyway for a number of reasons, one of which is a very trenchant anecdote about Cats choreographer Gillian Lynne.)
Watch the animation AFTER THE JUMP, and you'll wish this guy had designed your high school curriculum ...
Here is a petition from a man named Matt Renner, written, it seems, on behalf of a man named Jamie Kilstein, who wants to box with Jonah Goldberg.
You know Jonah Goldberg. He's the conservative bomb-thrower who wrote Liberal Fascism, and introduced into popular discourse the interesting but totally wrong-headed argument, later popularized by Glenn Beck, that Nazis are really liberals. His most recent book is The Tyranny of Cliches.
Anyway: Jonah Goldberg was at the American Enterprise Institute last week, lamenting Nixon's and the Supreme Court's granting of the vote to 18-year-olds, whom Goldberg believes are too stupid to use it competently. Goldberg made this comment:
The fact that young people think socialism is better than capitalism, that's proof of what social scientists call their stupidity and their ignorance and it's something that conservatives have to work harder to beat out of them, either literally or figuratively as far as I'm concerned.
You might say: Wait! Aren't there a lot more young Republicans and centrists and ordinary liberals than there are young socialists? And you'd be right. But never mind that: Jamie Kilstein is a young socialist, and he's more than willing to let Goldberg beat the socialism out of him. Which is why he started the above petition. He wants Goldberg to box with him, in a regulation boxing match, for an as-yet-undetermined amount of internet-raised cash, after which the prize money shall be disbursed to the charity of the victor's choosing.
It should be noted: Kilstein is a self-described "skinny" Brooklynite vegan, weighing in at an unimposing 145 pounds. Goldberg is a large, if somewhat amoebic, omnivore.