Matthew Shephard Show

A friend invited me to go watch the matthew shephard story at his friend’s
place. I did, and it was an okay made for tv film, despite being incredibly
preachy, and uncompromisingly biased. It got me thinking on several topics.
It portrays anti-gay violence pretty graphicly for television. It was
unabashedly pro-death-penalty until the very end. And, as always, it raised
questions regarding media attention towards this particular incident.

I’ve never been on the recieving end of any anti-gay violence. I’ve had a
couple of driveby slurs shouted at me. I’ve lost a couple of friends over
being gay, but only a couple. I’ve been very careful and a little lucky. In
the past year, a friend of a friend was shot leaving a gay bar, another in
similar circumstances fought back against his assailants and ended up being
permanently impaired when, as he was fighting them back, he grabbed onto one of
them as they drove off. Both are alive. A straight man hugged a male friend
of his outside a bar in chicago and was severely beaten by cops from that bar.
He too is alive (and suing). A lesbian whom I never knew, who worked at a gay
bar in pittsburgh I’ve been to many a time was burned alive in her car. She is
not.

Anti-gay violence happens. As with any violence, it is wrong. It affects a
person, and a community to know that it could happen to us, for no reason other
than stepping out of a familiar place at the wrong time, or showing affection
to a loved one. It didn’t start or end with Matthew Shephard.

There is no conclusive evidence that the death penalty works as a deterant, but
there is conclusive evidence that many people that have been sentenced to death
are innocent. Given the error inherent in the judicial process, I am
unambiguously opposed to it. And yet, even in the truly unambiguous case, such
as (to the nearest of my knowledge) McKinney, we ought to stop them. Does that
mean kill them? It’s not the only way to accomplish the goal. And I think
there are better options.

There have been a large number of possible victims to select from when it comes
to who the media turned into the poster child for anti-gay violence. One
wonders why they chose Matthew Shephard. Could it be because he was the
archetypal gay man? Physically less than imposing, into theater, pretty, etc.
How about the gay men who fought back? Why did it wait until this particular
example to bring the matter to light?

Need for Affirmation

I just got back from San Francisco. I had a great time with some friends out there.

During the trip, I was hanging out with a friend of mine at his place. We were gossipping about what a friend said about a friend, and I brought up a concept bandied about among the local set of friends. This group calls it the matrix (I’ve heard other terms for the same thing from different social circles. I’ve heard it called “the web of shame”, “the snowflake” , and even “the organic molecule”.)

Basically, it’s a way of showing who has slept with whom, blah, blah, blah. On the merest mention of it, my friend, whom I admire greatly, made a noise of disgust. I asked him why, and he said something to the effect of “I’m sure [redacted] is a great guy, but the way some people use this sort of thing to feel better about themselves…” and I can’t remember anything else he said, because that spun my brain off along a totally different avenue.

It’s something I have done, generally decreasingly over the last few years, but it dominated my social interaction with at least three people in the bay area, and influenced several others. It wasn’t about an insatiable sex drive (mine’s actually pretty tame). It’s not about social status, I will talk about it with my friends, but I tell them everything, especially the embarrassing stuff.

I suppose it could be Mark’s boredom theory, but making an ass out myself isn’t terribly entertaining. Especially when it generates all this conflict: I blew a night of sleep, later I all but ran back to the place I was staying where I sat on the floor with my back against the door, in the dark, wracking my brain to figure out what I was doing wrong, where I screwed up, why I am losing a game I care about, a game I’ve been working at and care about, something so many people seem to have working with no such internal conflict.

I feel like most of my life is really pulling together. I’m into my classes. I like my work (not love, but that’s more than I could have said a year ago.) I think public policy is a direction that’ll work for me. I’m healthy. I have great friends. I have a boyfriend, or at least a decent approximation of such, and he’s a great guy, intelligent, attractive, athletic, sweet, and patient. And yet, I’m not really happy. Am I chasing unicorns?

When I was asked by this cute little film student what I needed for a happy life, my answer came with no hesitation. All I needed then, and all I need now is “purpose”. I need something to do. Something with meaning. Something that matters.

Oops

Well, my ambitious cooking plans were put on hold due to a present roommate that wanted to sleep (the nerve 😉 So, instead I scammed all the Genji equipment off of Elmdor. It wasn’t easy but it was kinda cool. All I had to do was kill off his lovely assistants as quickly as possible, break his ankles, so he wouldn’t run away, or kill me for that matter, and keep trying to take everything that wasn’t surgicially attached to his body.

That was at like 6am, when I couldn’t get to sleep. Couldn’t get to sleep after that either, so I did a couple sun salutes (that’s a yoga thing) and went for a walk in frick park. Heading back home soon so I can do the grocery shopping necessary for the cooking plans, but the whole yoga & walk in the park made for a good start to the day, I should do that more often.

cooking plans

Planning to make an apple pie, a peach-blueberry cobbler, zucchini and cauliflower curry (& maybe some roti or paratha), cream of cauliflower soup, roots & greens stew (also with zucchini), and like 6 loaves worth of bread dough, freezing all but 1 loaf. And here’s why I think this is so cool, and everyone should think about trying this.

1) it’s cheap

2) it’s easy to get vegan (or other dietary restriction) food

3) it’ll be made my way, since I’m making it

4) the food quality ought to improve with practice (as opposed to going out to eat, where the food quality is pretty static)

5) I’m not paying out the ass to middlemen who don’t add corresponding value to my food. (mostly prepared from produce from a nonchain local market, and the nearby food co-operative)

6) It’s healthy.

7) If I do all the work now, and freeze the food, I can have a homemade meal conveniently later, without having to do lots of work at the time.

8) It gives me something productive to do with my weekend rather than spend half a day playing with my web journal or trying to scam all the Genji gear off of Elmdor (yay final fantasy tactics)

Consumption

Thomas Jefferson said “The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance”. We’re behind on our payments.

We’ve let our attention be distracted by the lies of advertising, promising happiness in return for our money. Little white lies that corporations tell us so that we’ll give them money. Money which they use to buy more capabilities for production, more advertising, or firmer holds on major political parties.

But maybe things are changing. We have a bill before the president, disallowing soft money, a major source of corporate power to reward political parties for working towards their political interests. And the republicans stands to benefit more from this than the democrats. (democrats raise more soft money, surprised? I was).

I have my doubts that this will be all it takes, but I think this may be just the tip of the iceberg.