Jul 062011
 

No. 

Well, that was easy.

Actually, I do have a reason for the post. There is an article from his smarminess Rabbi Shmuley Boteach at the Huffington Post with the same question as its title. I imagine it is unnecessary to state that he reaches a different conclusion to me.

His opening salvo about Britain includes:

“Its principle religious exports today are thinkers who despise religion. From Richard Dawkins, who has compared religion to child abuse, to my friend Christopher Hitchens, who titled his 2007 book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, the British have cornered the market on being anti-God … “

 

Neatly ignoring Sam Harris, and the fact that, although he is British, the vast majority of Hitchens’ work, life and outlook has been in the US of course, the Rabbi begins to draw a distinction, which he considers the beginning of his coup de grace, between the dangerously secular and skeptical Brits and good and godly Americans.

A smattering of (frankly rather encouraging) statistics regarding the relative degrees of religiosity in the US and UK later, and he continues:

“Europeans are in the habit of making fun of American evangelicals as backward religious knuckle-draggers who believe that Adam and Eve ate apples with a talking snake. “

 

Well, yes. Those of them who do believe that are asking for ridicule, and far be it from us to deny them!

“But for all this condescension, evangelical Christianity in the United States represents the single largest voting block in the world’s sole superpower.”

 

And this is a good thing, Rabbi?! The fact that over 22 MILLION people make decisions on their votes in the temporal world on the basis of their spiritual beliefs is incredible, if not downright bloody frightening!

Moving on, the Rabbi further develops his “argument”:

“My British friends argue that the demise of religion is a good thing, proving sophistication in sharp contrast to the religious hobos of America who speak in tongues and talk to dead people. I beg to differ.”

 

Well, colour me fucking stunned.

The Rabbi disagrees that the demise of religion is a good thing; oh really? The fact, Rabbi, that you disagree with it is not an argument in and of itself!

“… historian Paul Johnson makes the case that the remarkable growth of the U.S., from pioneering backwoodsmen to the most powerful and innovative nation on earth, was largely fueled by religious fervor.”

 

Yup. No – or little – argument there. I’ll also grant that the vast majority of art, literature and architecture (to name but three areas) throughout history have been influenced or caused by religion. That doesn’t make it either (a) right or (b) good. Neither does it make it relevant or helpful in modernity!

“From the piety of the pilgrims to the faith-based values of the country’s founders ….”

 

OOOOH! You cheeky bugger! You don’t just get to slide that claim in!

There’s strong evidence that majority of the founders of the US were either atheist, agnostic or – at most – deists. “Faith based values?” Bollocks! More like the beginnings of a concept of rights inherent to humanity, not derived from some supernatural hobgoblin!

“British influence in the world has, in contrast, gone off a cliff over the last century. And while there are many factors in this decline, I would argue that the new, militant atheism that is becoming characteristic of Britain is a key reason.”

 

Ok then, if you “would argue” it’s a key reason, please do so. Don’t state it baldly, as though it were a brute fact, and expect us all to accept it blindly; we’re not in the synagogue now, Rabbi!

Note, not just “a reason” or “a factor” but “a key reason”. As though no other factors could even come close! Never mind the collapse of empires worldwide, emancipation of suppressed peoples, devastating wars in Europe, reassessment of ownership of natural resources …. et cetera ad infini-fucking-tum!

“Atheism is a philosophy of nihilism in which nothing is sacred and all is an accident. While it has some brief, flashy moments, life is purposeless and meaningless.”

ARGH!!!

Learn what the FUCK atheism IS and ISN’T!!

And until you do, please stop fucking writing about it!

” … life is purposeless and meaningless. There is no soul to illuminate and no spirit to enliven — just dead, decadent flesh.”

 

FUCK OFF! You can’t state that as a “fact”! I’m an atheist – as people may have gathered – as are many of my dear friends. Our lives have great purpose and meaning and, while we don’t accept the soul, our lives are “enlivened”!

(Aside: is the Rabbi advocating necrophilia? If not, how to reconcile flesh which is both dead AND decadent?!)

“… poetry and faith are shallow distractions masking the inevitability of our certain demise.”

 

Faith, yes; poetry, however, is not shallow, nor a distraction. Please stop trying to conflate YOUR prestidigitations with art and beauty.

You lie to and abuse people; poetry elevates.

” … women are genetically programmed to seek out billionaire hedge-fund managers … “

 

Rabbi, please call Richard Dawkins and ask him if women can be genetically programmed thus! Seems unlikely to me …

And it goes downhill from there.

So, Rabbi, NO!

NO!

Godlessness is NOT dooming Britain; in fact, it’s our only hope. Godliness, however, may be dooming the whole of humanity.

 

Jul 042011
 

Because knowing complicity in an act, so far as I am concerned, makes a person equally responsible for that act, then I have decided that, from this point forward, as far as I am concerned, every single catholic ON THIS PLANET, is a child rapist and a paedophile. They have had every single chance to correct the mistakes and instead have taken every single chance to cover up and/or pretend those evil fucking crimes didn’t happen.

Therefore, until something drastic changes, I will happily contend that:

every single, solitary, individual catholic person on this planet is a PAEDOPHILE, a CHILD ABUSER  and a RAPIST.

Until there’s a significant shift, a change from the apologia of the past, then fuck them all, they are all guilty. If you can accept, for example, the Pope, as any kind of moral leader, and believe what he says, then you are all guilty.

If one catholic priest committed these obscene, evil, offences, then until catholicism as a whole rejects it PROPERLY (which is to say, as a crime against the victims and NOT a sin against “god”) then – again – every single, solitary, fucking catholic on this planet is a paedophile, a child abuser, a child rapist, and a fucking cunt.

Jul 012011
 

This is not “news” per se, but it’s the sort of thing which needs to be reported on and brought to the fore as much as possible.

The quick version: Colton Haynes is a not-too-brilliant American actor, who’s starring in the new MTV show “Teen Wolf”. He may or may not be gay. He also appeared, as a teen, in a photoshoot for XY magazine, aimed at gay teen youth, in which photoshoot he a) was shirtless and b) kisses another boy! Shock.

The trouble is, an attorney has been sending threatening letters demanding the removal of any copies of those pictures online, making claims along the lines that they are “private”. Despite having been published in a national US magazine and/or that they are pornographic or sexually explicit.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want any embarrassment to be caused to young Haynes. What I do want, however, is and end to the subtle, low level of homophobia which moves like this seem to perpetuate. The idea that pictures of him, kissing another boy, are likely to end, or at least, damage his career. The idea that such pictures are inherently pornographic or sexually explicit.

So let’s see shall we:

XY Magazine – 2006

Colton Haynes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the magazine says, “shocking”.

Colton Haynes – recent photos

Let’s see the hugely different, non-private, non-explicit, non-shocking photos with which his attorney has no problem shall we?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, there you go – clearly a huge difference!

Basically, I think these photos need to be kept out there, and the story kept out there, because;

  • the attempt to remove them from the public domain intimates that there is something inherently shameful in homosexuality,
  • it perpetuates the idea – which may therefore become self-realising – that to make a career in Hollywood requires one either not to be, or not to be perceived to be, gay,
  • it’s a deeply worrying threat to freedom of expression,

    and, of course,

  • they are very nice pictures! The boy is easy on the eyes!

So, that’s my little bit of activism for the day!

 

1 – these pictures may be copyright – if so, I will happily remove them if so advised

2 – I don’t know Colton Haynes’ sexuality; any speculation is just that – or wishful thinking

3 – more coverage here and here

A couple more pics from the XY shoot, just to keep them out there:

 

 

 

 

Jun 132011
 

Like many, I’ve been following the blog of “A Gay Girl in Damascus”. (No, I’m not linking to it – for obvious reasons.)

Like many, I’m SICKENED to discover that this is a scam, a lie, a hoax.

I’d started following the blog about a month or so ago. I have sat and wept at some of the things that have been described in it, feeling impotently empathetic. A horrible feeling.

I’ve experienced optimism and pessimism in near equal measure, often within the same post.

So, what’s the problem? If the emotional response is genuine, and the circumstances being “described” are essentially accurate, why the outrage?

Simple; the lies which make up THIS blog breed doubt in any others of similar nature. The next time we read an apparently earnest, heartfelt cry for help from an LGBTQ person in such a regime, we will hesitate and wonder. And apathy will be more likely.

Apathy, the enemy of any advances in these states.

And that is why, along with P Z Myers, I say “Screw You, Tom McMaster”.

 

Read the coward’s excuse below:

Continue reading »

Jun 062011
 

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Who is my gay hero?

Well, setting aside for the moment the torrid ramblings of my fevered, late night imagination, and assuming that Tom Welling, of Smallville fame, really is not, in fact, actually a proponent of penile pleasure, I’d have to say that I have trouble answering this particular question.

In some ways, we are blessed with a surfeit of potential gay heroes: high heel wielding drag queens from New York, 1969, standing up for themselves and all of us against bigoted police forces, and starting in many ways the modern gay civil rights movement; Alan Turing, possibly one of the more obvious choices – a genius, bridging in some ways the gap between Einstein and Hawking, one of the greatest minds on this world, subsequently suffering government mandated chemical castration to correct his “deviancy”; Michaelangelo, incredible artist and genius, tortured by his sexuality yet turning the conflict into beauty; Stephen Fry, perhaps the only modern world polymath, from petty criminal to petit- and haut-bourgeois darling, beloved luvvie; the list isn’t endless, but it’s pretty bloody long!

But why do our heroes have to be gay? Are we still so insular and isolated that we can only relate to and respect people whose sexual proclivities mirror our own?

My hero, a fact which I don’t consider something of which to be ashamed, is the Doctor. Yes, Doctor Who.

He’s not gay – per se – but he almost certainly isn’t straight either.

Especially when you consider that the Doctor with whom I grew up was Peter Davison – he could scarcely be less of a sexual being. But then, none of the (now known as) classic Doctors was sexual. There was famously “no hanky-panky in the Tardis”.

And as a putatively gay teen, unable to relate to the traditional heterosexual images of masculinity and heroism (even if not sure why at the time) the Doctor’s uniquely non-sexual, non-violent, non-aggressive form of heroism was incredibly appealing. He was, to me, everything that the rest of the humdrum, human heroes weren’t; self-sacrificing, witty, intellectual and cerebral, rather than physical and violent.

Now the Doctor has been resurrected for the modern age, and things have changed somewhat. He’s now at least aware of sex and sexuality, though he seems not to dip his “toe” into that particular “water” too often! Of more importance though, is that he’s definitely NOT straight now; something for which we partly have (gay) Russell T Davies to thank, and partly the changed nature of society. He’s far more free-and-easy when it comes to sex, as his relationship with Captain Jack alone more than adequately demonstrates.

Should it not be possible, however, for me to find a GAY hero? I don’t think it’s needed actually; anyone I consider a hero, would be that regardless of their sexuality, not because of it! And that’s the best way for it to be!

So, my gay hero? He’s a fictional, non-human, and – perhaps oddly – non-gay man. Deal with it!

 

GScene Column - June 2011 - Canada Dry


 

Jun 012011
 

I really ought, by now, to know better than to read the Daily Hate.

It is, after all, the sheerest shit and fantasy. Mouthpiece for the views of the BNP/EDL/National Socialist Party. Scaremongering, anti-science, anti-humanity really.

But it still hurts my brain to see things like this:

Daily Mail Screenshot 2011-06-01 at 12.49.10 Mobiles CAN cause cancer.

 

Well, I find myself thinking, that’s big news. Wonder how come it hasn’t been picked up more widely. So I click through to the article …

Daily Mail Screenshot 2011-06-01 at 12.49.23

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah. Ok.

Excellent journalistic integrity there. You jackasses!

And the stupid doesn’t stop there, oh no. The further you read, the more apparent it becomes that nothing has changed. NOTHING.

Is it possible to rule out, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a possible, potential, maybe causal link between excessive use of a mobile ‘phone and carcinogenesis? No.

Does that mean that “mobile ‘phones can cause cancer”? NO – you fucking fucks!

This shit shows, yet again, why we need a PCC with teeth, and an enforceable code of conduct for the media. Not some laissez-fucking-faire self-regulation which may as well be a circle jerk of bullshit peddling wankers for all the good it does.

Oh, and the Tea and Kittens reference? It’s all about this, and the lovely content I really should be looking at, instead of Mein Daily Kampf!

May 242011
 

This is an obscene transgression of the established constitutional settlement of the UK – and no-one notices!?!?!

The “UK Parliamentary Sovereignty Bill”, currently before Parliament, purports to be able to bind this Parliament’s successors, specifically in Sections 2 and 4:

2 Legal instruments

No Minister of the Crown shall make or implement any legal instrument which—

(a)is inconsistent with this Act; or

(b)increases the functions of the European Union affecting the United
Kingdom

without requiring it to be approved in a referendum of the electorate in the United Kingdom

4 Royal Assent

No Bill shall be presented to Her Majesty the Queen for her Royal Assent which contravenes this Act or amends this Act or which purports so to do except and until the Bill, having been approved by both Houses of Parliament, has also been approved in a referendum of the electorate in the United Kingdom pursuant to an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament.

How?! How can this Parliament modify the method by which a future Parliament can pass a bill into law?

Simple answer; it can’t! If it could, then the entire basis of the rule of law in our system would fall apart! It sickens me that nothing is being done to stop this farrago proceeding, and more so, that there is next-to-no publicity surrounding this bill. Pandering of the worst sort to the most moronic factions of the Daily Mail & Telegraph brigades.

Sickening.

Mar 282011
 

Why am I gay? Why, oh why, oh why? Gnashing of gums, wailing and crying … etc.

You may as well ask why am I white? Or male? Or a pompous prick? None of these questions really admits of an answer deeper than “because” … and neither does the question of the cause, or root, or why and wherefore of my homosexuality.

Do I believe our sexuality is an innate trait, laid down for us in the genetic makeup of our very beings? Yes, I’d have to accept that as the most likely reason. Can I rule out environmental factors; upbringing, pollution, pregnant women with a 40-a-day Mayfair habit? Of course I can’t. I’m not a biologist, and even if I were, those questions haven’t been answered definitively!

Perhaps of more interest would be to ask why this question is still being asked? Why does it matter why I’m (or anybody else is) gay? The answer to those questions may be more valuable than a final determination that a certain combination of amino acids led inexorably to my preference for chaps!

Obviously, the reason that the questions are asked is that it is still not seen as “normal” to be gay. Even those who are “tolerant” or “accepting” of homosexuality – words which in and of themselves indicate the basic discomfort of the people who use them – don’t actually feel on a visceral level that we are normal. That doesn’t mean their judgment extends to considering us wrong, immoral or evil – necessarily. But it reflects an “us and them” attitude which, even if not operating on a conscious level, influences a huge range of behaviours and beliefs.

This outlook is on a par with “I’m not racist, but …” or “some of my best friends are black”. The very act of distinguishing denotes the separation in the mind of the person speaking. “There’s nothing wrong with being gay … but why do they have to shove it down our throats?” or “I don’t mind homosexuals … but marriage is between a man and a woman”. It’s all the same shit, different shovel!

I’m not arguing for some undifferentiated pablum world in which we are all the same and Benetton ads are far more monochromatic. I’m not saying that we should live without acknowledging that we are different; among other things, it would be awful to hit on a straight guy and be unable to understand his reticence!

I am, however, arguing that the question “why” – beloved of two year olds the world over – is in this context probably a bad thing. Asking why someone is gay, or black, or female … implies a judgment. Or possibly even disapproval. Until we can move past that, asking why can cause nothing but harm.

So if anyone asks me why I am gay, I can only have one response.

Why not?

Full magazine here.

Jan 292011
 

We first tried The Meadow Restaurant for a Sunday brunch almost two years ago, and it’s remained one of our favourites ever since.

Stylish, in terms of decor and of food, but never putting style over substance. The breakfast/brunch menu was originally quite small, but has subsequently expanded, without compromising any of the pluses which first excited us! My favourite – in any breakfast setting – is a modified Eggs Benedict; sometimes, the modification can lead to problems, whether with the serving staff taking it down correctly, or with the kitchen implementing it properly. At the Meadow, this has never been an issue. Not just that, but the meals have always been wonderfully flavourful, delicately balanced, tasty and – above all – enjoyable.

The ethos of the restaurant is one of local, seasonal food, but without the sanctimony often found accompanying such approaches. The ingredients are of a consistently high standard, the service impeccable, and the ambience relaxed and stylish.

Highly recommended!