Thanks to a blog post from The Frontier, I got to thinking about the quality of information the media provides us and I had to remind myself of something:
There are real journalists out there doing real work.
So much of our journalism is made up of clickbait stories – the sort of ad driven material that keeps us satisfied, complacent, and well informed of increasingly useless information. Here are some examples I took from today’s headlines:
“Law school changes name after Scalia acronym gaffe” -USAToday.com
“Sarah Slimed? Palin threatens to sue celeb over gang-rape tweet” -Foxnews.com
“Schumer: I’m not plus-sized” -CNN.com
“New twist in DC Madam saga” -MSNBC.com
“You Can Rent Brooke Shields’ Mansion for $35,000 a Month” -ABCnews.go.com
“Convention chaos all but assured” -Huffingtonpost.com
Of course, there were more important stories headlined on their homepages, but these stories were featured. And that’s not a great thing.
Well, why are they featured? Because they’re easier to read and that’s important for revenue.
Posts like the ones I listed above are short, in many cases less than 300 words and their content is a simple as their headlines. So, it takes less time to read. These stories get two seconds of our attention, and then we move on to other ones just like it. Which means the media outlet gets more views. More views equals more ad revenue for the site.
A story that takes thirty minutes to write is just a click and a tweet away from 50K views. This thirty-minute piece can generate more ad revenue than a six-month investigative piece and cost significantly less to produce. This is how money decides heavily what gets reported on in US media and what doesn’t.
As news has shifted to online content, our news outlets receive less money from cable providers and periodical subscriptions. So, they have to make their money in ways that can influence their reporting.
Business models have had to change in order for these sources to survive, and in many ways, I think their return on investment is more important than ethical practice. And the public suffers for it.
If knowledge is a weapon, then these irresponsible sources are loading us up with blanks. But it’s not entirely their fault.
The public has told the media to make our important issues as simple to consume as the superfluous ones. And they listened.
I’m not just talking about gossip blogs or editorialized reporting. It’s the damage a cheaply formulated headline can inflict upon a public who has been taught that truths are single issue, one sentence stories. Never complex. Never worth more than the first few words of a story flanked by ads generated by our browser history.
This practice has boiled down the public. It has reduced us to a stunted mass of talking point dispensers.
Important events in our society are rarely single sided. Particularly involving government matters. We’re pissed about our elected leaders doing so little. Well, it shouldn’t be shocking to learn that an uninformed electorate has produced an uninformed government.
The masses must be able to think about important items critically. To do this we need the heavy hitters to go out there and get the entrenched stories that aren’t just a Google search away. We need patient and driven journalists who report intricately on multifarious stories.
Unfortunately, these stories don’t always get the attention they deserve. But we have the power to change that.
The consumers, the clickers, the readers and watchers, we need to be rewarding the right sources with longer interest. Their material deserves more than a tweet’s worth of our attention, because it’s the deep reads, the ten-thousand word essays, the products of multi-year research efforts and freedom of information law suits — these are what bring foundational truths to the public. Not the superficial anecdote behind a tween’s wardrobe decision, but rather a narrative of institutionalized corruption woven deeply and fraudulently into our lives.
It’s these stories, these journalists who don’t just change a dinner conversation. They change governments. Literally.
Sources for trustworthy news and media seem to be harder and harder to find. So, if you’re lucky enough to come across one, support them. If not monetarily, then at least with the one currency that decides where ad money goes: your attention.
Seven months separate us from the general election, and a lot can happen between now and then. So, for all the Bernie supporters and Hillary supporters ready to choke each other out, how about you chill and read some reasons why need to take it easy. And enjoy my flagrant use of the f-word.
The primary is not even close to being over. We have three more months of democratic primaries. That’s right, three-fucking-months. And as of today, Hillary only has a 6% lead in pledged delegates. Not 30, not 20, fuck not even 10. Only 6% of pledged delegates separate Bern and Hill. I’m not trying to make that sound bad, my point is that the race is close.
It is a paramount public fucking transgression for any voice in the media to say that this race is over and that either candidate needs to throw in the towel. Because it’s not over. Not even remotely. I’d advise that they have a coke and a smile and shut the fuck up. Especially, the click whores: Huffpo, Slate, Vox, Salon, and hopefully one day this blog.
There are still 2,042 delegates up for grabs. Yeah, we’re barely halfway through this contest with some delegate rich states left to be had. Both candidates have similarly won big, and fucking embarrassed themselves in certain states.
Bernie lost the south ranging from 16-20% of the vote. But you know what, Hillary lost the west by the same damn numbers. If you think it’s over, you are mathematically fucking stunted.
Super delegatesare fucking stupid. “Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists.” That is a direct fucking quote from DNC chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. You can watch her say this here.
Everyone should be angry tweeting the fuck out of her right now, because a leader within a democratic government happily admitted there is a tool in place to make it inherently undemocratic. I mean, this is bonkers, right? Yes, other Barry, yes it is.
Super delegates exist to make sure the voters can be overridden by UNELECTED members of the democratic party who don’t have to answer to the party’s electorate. What in the actual muddy toed fuck is that about?
Well, it means these folks can vote for whomever the fuck they want to, and they don’t have to commit support to a candidate until the convention. Which would be fine if I were a super delegate, and if you were super delegate, and every registered fucking democrat was a super delegate. BUT WE’RE NOT. We are second class voters in our own damn party. #thanksobama
Contest is good. No one should be handed an election, and if you think someone deserves leadership because it’s their turn, you need to walk right off into the dusty fucking sunset of useless cock-bagery.
A challenged primary is good for a few reasons. One being the very platform of the democratic party has become a topic of discussion among people who might otherwise not be involved. When was the last time democrats were so engaged about the principles of their candidate?
Think of how fervently you’ve had to defend your candidate against the other. This has allowed me to realize what I think is most important in our democracy, and I’m sure you’ve had a similar experience. That wouldn’t be happening if the primary went without challenge.
We need to unite the party…. That’s Bullshit. You know what, we don’t have to be all snuggly-fucking-wuggly right now. This is the time for the party’s values to be most diverse and discussed to make sure that we keep evolving. So that new and, god forbid, RADICAL ideas are considered. This is how we can remain the progressives we claim to be.
The DNC may have their successors well planned for years to come, but I vote for the best interest of my country and all of its citizens, not for the interest of a political damn party, and that’s what you should be doing also.
What I’m saying is if a candidate wants my vote, then his or her policies should represent my ideals or convince me otherwise. Don’t tell me to abandon someone who represents my beliefs so your party can retain power. That is fucking nonsense.
Work for my vote. So, the big thing right now is that Bernie and Hillary supporters should come together once our candidate is decided. People seem to be pretty mad/concerned/insane that some Bernie supporters might not support Hillary seven months from now. Well, I’ve got something to say about that.
Chill the fuck out. Again, that’s seven months away, and a lot can happen before then. Specifically, there’s a chance that once a candidate is chosen, they may not seem so bat fucking crazy to the other’s supporters. And moreover, they should have to work to bring us together.
It’s the responsibility of the candidate to reach me and convince me why I should vote for him or her. It will be Bernie’s job to win over Hillary’s supporters by the time we reach the fall, just as it will be Hillary’s job to win Bernie’s peeps over. They don’t get to coast until November. As soon as the nomination is secured, they better turn the fuck up hard and fast.
The candidates shouldn’t get our support by default. That’s some political party bullshit. They’re good at convincing us otherwise, but they work for us. There is plenty of time for my opinion to be swayed between July and November. I hope that’s the case for a lot people. But if not, then that’s on the candidate. Don’t blame the voters for not wanting to support someone with whom they can’t connect.
Don’t give up. Seriously, don’t quit because some after fuck wash of a pundit says that’s what needs to happen. I expect Hillary supporters to be fighting just as fervently as Bernie supporters. And they should be going at it like two Irish ex-girlfriends in a port-a-potty all the way to the end of the primary race. I mean the real end. We deserve that sort of dedication from our candidates, and damn it, they deserve it from us.
This election cycle, we’re lucky enough to have candidates that we believe in, and you know that isn’t very common. So, don’t concede when there’s still a fight left. Yes, the victor of this contest will have to work twice as hard to bring us together, and they may have less time to do it if this thing lasts until July. But that’s fucking democracy. The real kind. Not the Debbie Wasserman Schultz kind.
How many times do we have to watch Bruce Wayne’s parents die?
Is the whole movie in slow motion? I hope the whole movie isn’t in slow motion.
Who uses a 35mm camera?
Did you know Jimmy Olsen was in this movie? Shut up, no you didn’t. No one did.
Why doesn’t Clark Kent get in trouble for never being at his desk?
Why didn’t Clark Kent get fired for not writing about the sports game?
Why doesn’t The Dailey Planet have sportswriters?
How does The Dailey Planet even fucking exist?
Did people really think Superman killed those guys with bullets and not, you know, laser fucking eye beams? Bruhhhh.
Why does Lex Luthor hate Superman. No, really. Why does he hate Superman? The neck beards are struggling with this one. I can feel it.
So, Alfred was pretty much a nagging mother. Why not take it a step further and make him a super flamboyant gay uncle? Pretty sure Nathan Lane costs 25% of what Jeremy Irons does. Seriously, imagine the Bat Cave echoing with the high pitched yelps of Albert Goldman after the dinner tray is dropped onto the bat computer. FAB-U-LOUS.
Why are CNN anchors in this movie more than Superman?
Why wasn’t Doug Stamper in this movie?
The American government would have absolutely weaponized kryptonite.
For a vigilante, Bruce Wayne sure does get a lot of shut eye.
What the fuck were those green light bulbs in the box during the Knightmare?
Why is the internet calling it the Knightmare?
Superman’s cape doesn’t exist in the physical world.
Do you think that jar of peach tea was actually Lex Luthor pee? I hope it was Lex Luthor pee.
Where did Batman get that Iron Man suit? Is Stark Tower just across the bay too?
Why does Batman give any fucks about Superman? Because their moms have the same name? What? I MEAN WHAT?
Can we have a superman movie without space time sunbathing? #socalitysuperman
Did Batman really think Wonder Woman was with Superman? Because not only did he have his own intel on her, but he also had a nifty little Lex Corps. digital dossier on the Amazonian. Soooo…… why you always lyin’?
Why doesn’t Doomsday have any britches?
Why doesn’t Doomsday have any genitals?
If Gotham City was so close, why doesn’t Superman help its citizens? I mean, homie can’t hop the pond and pew pew over there for a minute?
If I were a white boy from Kansas and I used my mother’s given name, I’m pretty sure a hand would come out of nowhere and knock me the fuck out.
Did Wonder Woman think the footage of Cyborg looked like a video game?
Why is Batman never once called Batman in the movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Seriously. He’s not.
What the fuck was Lois Lane doing in Gotham at all? Except to lay on Superman, hide the kryptonite spear, and drown trying to retrieve it? Oh, that’s right, to poorly fill terrible plot holes.
Have you almost drowned before? Neither have I, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pull six foot one inches of Henry Cavill out of the water after nearly drowning. #justsaying
Why is the movie called Batman v Superman when they only fight for about 9 minutes of a 2.5 hour long movie? Like… like why?
So, just being around the Kryptonite spear incapacitates Superman. Then how the fuck is he able to fly like a hundred yards with enough force to pierce Doomsday with it in hand? SMH
Also, 66.7% of the good guy team can hold Kryptonite without being a bitch. Hey, super powered woman whose name we don’t use, CATCH THIS AND STAB THAT DUDE.
Why is the editor of a major metropolitan newspaper walking near the print press – let alone pulling one to read it? Uhh, that’ll be $1.50.
Was Clark Kent Amish? Because his Smallville funeral looked pretty fucking Amish.
Does anyone think Superman is really dead? Are these the same people watching M. Night Shyamalan movies?
Were there any post credit scenes? I ran out of there pretty quick.
In an interview on MSNBC, Hillary Clinton credited President and Nancy Reagan for beginning a nationwide discussion of HIV/AIDS (video below).
“Because of both President and Mrs. Reagan, in particular Mrs. Reagan, we started a national conversation when before nobody would talk about it, nobody wanted to do anything about it.”
Thankfully, everyone with a tenuous grasp of modern history, let alone reality, was quick to correct the former Secretary of State. She later issued not an explanation, but at least an apology.
I’m trying to figure out how she could have made such a mistake. And I’m being extremely considerate to even call it a mistake. But where is her head at?
Trying to empathize, I wonder if she, just exhausted by the campaign, got prepped by a foolish staffer and she went into politician robot mode reciting talking points and memorized lines.If that were the case though, I’d expect her to hear what she said and immediately recant. But she didn’t. To her, in that moment, what she said was fact.
For everyone on the receiving end of that statement, we don’t have the luxury of such ignorance.
Many of us have lost someone to HIV or know someone currently living with the virus. Hearing Hillary Clinton, a self-proclaimed advocate for gay rights, say something like that wasn’t just offensive, but it hurt in a very deep, sensitive, and frightening place.
The Reagans didn’t begin a national dialogue on HIV/AIDS. In fact, they were absolutely fucking silent.
Even as a friend of theirs, Rock Hudson, who was struggling with the disease reached out for help. They turned their backs. Mr. Hudson died in 1985 of AIDS related complications.
But they weren’t completely silent, I suppose.
Reagan’s press secretary Larry Speakes was repeatedly dismissive to the reporter who pried the administration for comment on the epidemic and even joked about it.
The Reagan administration cracked wise about jocks and cruising while the disease ravaged the gay community in the 80s. Our friends, our families, our communities were disappearing right in front of us while Ronald and Nancy did nothing.
The Reagans were at worst cruel in their complacency, and at best ignorant. Never were they advocates.
What I find nearly as disturbing as her Reagan comments, is Secretary Clinton’s use of the term “low-key advocacy.” This is what she used to describe Nancy Reagan’s nonexistent HIV/AIDS conversations.
If low-key advocacy is pretending a deadly epidemic doesn’t exist, then maybe that would explain how Hillary Clinton describes her stances on marriage equality.
Maybe a low-key advocate is one who opposes marriage equality publicly on many occasions throughout her political career. You know, someone who doesn’t support it until it becomes politically safe and popular. For the record, Hillary Clinton didn’t publicly support marriage equality until 2013.
So, let’s call that low-key advocacy, but it sure as hell isn’t what brought marriage equality to the United States. We got it by being present, being loud, by being active advocates for equal protection under the law.
Hillary Clinton is a fair-weather friend of the LGBT community and her ignorant comments indicate how unfamiliar she is with our trials and our history.
On gay rights alone, I can’t in good conscience support Hillary Clinton for president. Her actions, and her words still, bring enormous burden to the LGBT community.
There is a melody I’ve known for many years, but I could never name it. I whistle it. I sing it. My fingers instinctually find the keys when I meander in front of pianos.
I don’t know how I learned it, but I know I didn’t make it up. Over the years, I’ve added to it though. I’ll whistle out variations – all a little different, but the original is always the same. And before tonight, I never gave it any thought.
I mean that. You know how you don’t think about breathing until you think about breathing? This melody is like breathing to me. I could be humming it for hours without knowing I’m doing it. While I work, walk, read. Anything in between. It would be in my head for days and then disappear for years.
At least, I think it would. Honestly, I’m not sure. I don’t really pay attention to – well, things that I don’t pay attention to.
But tonight, while getting ready for bed, I began whistling the tune. At first, I didn’t realize I was even doing it. My tired brain and body were just going through their nightly duties to get me in bed, and put me to sleep.
I must have been laying down whistling in the dark for five minutes before I recognized what I was doing. And it was then I finally had a cognitive reaction.
I sat up. What is this? How do I know this? What is this damn song!?
After years without more than a passing thought, this melody was thoroughly on my mind and I decided to figure it out. So, I kept whistling.
I repeated the tune, and my brain started sorting memories and knowledge of songs. Why had I not done this before? How could this song sit so far back in my brain? It didn’t make sense, but neither did this exercise so late at night. So, I just kept whistling.
There aren’t any words to the melody, at least none that I know of. So, it must be a symphonic piece. Something I’ve listened to over and over again – as I often do with music. Or maybe it was something I played. That made me think of high school. We played so many songs in band – and it was so long ago. How could I possibly remember? Whatever, just keep whistling!
That was the first discovery of the night. While trudging through my ever foggy memories, I could hear whistling in my head. Not melodies, but tones starting low and gradually going higher and higher in pitch like sirens. Like bombs. LIKE BOMBS!
And immediately, I knew it. The whole thing came back to me so quickly. There was a piece we played in high school wind ensemble that told a story about the bombing of a city during a war. At least that’s how I described it back then.
The arrangement was unconventional, difficult, and unlike anything I had known at the time. It was chaos. Actual chaos. There are pieces of each movement that just by hearing you’d guess they were random and unplanned. Sharp percussion sounds would crash unexpectedly. Horns would wallow out noises and drag on seemingly out of time. And whistling damn it! The score called for whistling and even human screams! Unreal!
It was war. Like I said before, it was music about a bombing. It was a song not only about fear, turmoil, and mourning, but its method would incite those emotions in the audience to make for a very visceral listening experience.
Uh, finally! I was immediately satisfied and it didn’t take too long at all. Score one for me.
I let the memories play through my head like a news reel. The rehearsals. The performance. I remembered remarking to a fellow student that the song was impossible and that I didn’t like it. But I also remembered the eerie silence that fell over the auditorium when the last sound from the stage fizzled out. The chills were palpable. The emotions raw. It was a great, great, great piece of music.
But of course it was! After all I’ve been reciting its chief melody for nearly two decades. But despite the memories rushing back so vividly, I still couldn’t remember the name of the song. In my head, I saw the notes on the pages, but not the title at the top. How aggravating!
So, without much expectation and little bit of a laugh, I typed the follow into the Google search bar:
“classical piece bombing”
I expected a bevy of unrelated sites to come back, but to my surprise the very first item was a video titled, “Symphony No. 1 (Dresden Bombing).”
I was floored. I sat back in disbelief. Dresden. It couldn’t be.
This discovery put my mind in a whole new direction, and I said out loud, “Matt, you are a fucking idiot.”
This is true. And sometimes the universe lines up circumstances just so that this truth becomes prodigiously clear to me.
I should explain.
This is going to go in a couple of different directions, so pay attention.
Little sidebar here: I worship history. I love knowing about the events that made everything we know. I love museums and all things ancient. I think there’s power in longevity, and legacy, and tapping the infinite stories of the epochs before our own. And I want that power. BUT, and this is hard to admit, I don’t really like learning it.
I know how absurd that is. But it’s true.
I want to know history. I just don’t like devoting the thought and time to obtaining it. Again, I know THAT IS STUPID. But a spade is a spade.
Now, I’m confessing this because I think it’s important to point out how fucking ignorant I was as a teenager. Before two days ago, I’d swear I never heard of Dresden.
Operating with the knowledge I now obtain, I can say there’s a good chance that probably isn’t true. And I say that confidently, because I had good teachers in high school.
One history teacher in particular, whose name I cannot recall, was probably one of the best teachers in the state at the time, or at least the district. And I’d bet anything that he taught me about Dresden. But I’d also make a bigger bet that I, at the time, probably just didn’t give a fuck.
To compound this embarrassment, I’d further bet a couple of fingers that my band teacher most likely took the time to explain the story of the bombing of Dresden further indicating the profound significance of Symphony No. 1. But can I recall that? Nope.
I mean it, I’m embarrassed. For all the things I can now remember about this piece of music, I can’t recall having anything more than blinding ignorance about the story it told. To me, it was just about the bombing of a city during a war. My shame is profound.
Now, I have since learned about Dresden, but I didn’t do so tonight.
Recently, I took up an ambitious, and quite uncharacteristic, reading agenda. Over time, I’ve established a diverse literary bucket list built with autobiographies, short stories, rudimentary novels, epics, and poetry. And on this list is an author who, among my most intellectual friends, is held in very high regard: Kurt Vonnegut.
Two days ago, I began reading Slaughter House-Five late at night and only pushed through a little past chapter one. But by the end of page 29, I had committed to figure out what the hell this Dresden place was and why it was so damned important. So, I flexed my Google skills, and spent some more time reading, nay, LEARNING history.
I learned about the tragedy of Dresden and the resonating shame it cast upon the allies. And it was sad.
Over the course of a few days in mid-February, 1945, the British Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces fire bombed the city of Dresden killing an estimated 25,000 people. The majority of whom were civilians including war time refugees, and also POWs.
In the years and decades to follow it would be learned, though highly debated, that the bombing of Dresden did little to support the Russians on the eastern front as its architects indicated.
This was a very somber lesson for me. But it pales in comparison to the sobering realization I experienced earlier tonight when I learned the title of that song. That phenomenal piece of music so impactful that its melody stayed with me for nearly two decades hidden just behind my memory. A tune that I have toyed with countless times without consideration for the lives, the event, the tragedy that it represented. I am still ignorant.
So, let’s piece this together.
After years of procrastination, I finally begin reading Vonnegut’s Slaughter House-Five. I immediately become intrigued by this German city. And not two days later am I unconsciously whistling a tune to which the tragedy of Dresden is dedicated. Please imagine the colossal sigh of disappointment I expelled over my pooling humiliation.
In the few moments after declaring aloud that I was, and still am, a fucking idiot, I let the shock and shame filter through me. It was time to face the music.
Like walking into the principal’s office after getting caught, I selected the best quality recording of Daniel Bukvich’s Symphony No. 1 (In Memoriam, Dresden, 1945). And for the first time I understood the enormity of its tale. Never again will I make that melody without respect to those it honors.
Below is the same recording I first heard earlier tonight. Please take a few minutes and listen to a very unique and moving piece of music. Get to know the melody that I have known so unwittingly well over time.
I pledge to get better at this. I don’t enjoy my ignorance. My increasing knowledge shouldn’t be at the behest of circumstance, but at the demand of my desire to know more. This lesson will be filed away with the others, but none can be called more serendipitous than how I came to learn about Dresden and the unknown melody.
This morning, the Human Right’s Campaign, “America’s Largest Civil Rights Organization,” endorsed Hillary Clinton for President in probably the biggest insult to the LGBTQ community since President Obama had Rick Warren give the invocation at his inauguration.
I could not have been more disgusted if I had actually shit my pants.
HRC, how could you do this? Why endorse a candidate who just started endorsing you and your cause? I say ‘just’ because in the 40+ years of the gay civil rights movement, three years on board ain’t shit.
In 2004, then Senator Hillary Clinton had this to say about marriage. Try not to puke your guts out.
“…the fundamental bedrock principle that [marriage] exists between a man and a woman, going back into the midst of history as one of the founding, foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principal role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society into which they are to become adults.”
If she didn’t believe those words, then she’s a political coward and opportunist. If she did believe those words, then she was ignorant AF.
Hillary Clinton dodged questions all through her senate tenancy and even as a presidential candidate in 08 about supporting full marriage equality, instead saying she favored civil unions.
Mind you, by that time no one saw civil unions as a fair option to marriage equality. No marriage. No equality.
It wasn’t until March 18, 2013, that Hillary Clinton voiced her support of same-sex marriage in a video she did for the Human Right’s Campaign. You saw that correctly, 2013. And to be honest, we were happy to have her on board. But in this context, it’s too little too late.
By January 1, 2013, 9 states plus D.C. had marriage equality and four with civil unions. California’s Prop 8 and United States v. Windsor were working their way to the Supreme Court. The tide of marriage equality was reaching its zenith and Hillary suddenly shows up at closing like she’s been here the whole time.
HRC’s endorsement of HRC is the final straw. Over the years, I’ve grown decreasingly supportive of the Human Right’s Campaign for how they chose which fights to support and which supporters to leave in the dust of the marriage equality movement.
Most notably Oklahoma’s own marriage case, Bishop v. Oklahoma which brought marriage equality to my state before June 26, 2015, and could have used some better national support. However, you should note my obvious bias.
But what disgusts me most about this endorsement is that HRC members weren’t polled about it. To me, this indicates HRC’s status as a member of the Washington establishment. Chad Griffin’s quick pardon of Secretary Clinton’s hurtful remarks through the decades, shows us politics is their priority – that fair weather friends are fine if the price is right.
I’m sitting here sickened wondering what that price is? I know there’s a game at hand. If you’re going to get what you want, then you’ve got to be willing to go tit-for-tat in politics.
And you know, I might be willing to accept that as the status quo, but Bernie Sanders is running for president. And the game is changing.
Senator Sanders has championed gay rights when our allies were few and far between. He’s a current cosponsor of The Equality Act, a bill that would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to included federal protections of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Senator Sanders vocally opposed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in 1993 – a bill which President Bill Clinton, however reluctant, signed into law with a silent wife by his side. Bernie also vocally opposed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996. A terribly discriminating law that would survive for 17 years.
So, I have to ask the Human Rights Campaign, why would you endorse Hillary Clinton when Bernie Sanders has done so much more domestically for the LGBTQ community? His open, vocal, long-standing support is what the gay civil rights movement has been built upon.
Hillary is an ally of convenience. Bernie is an ally of conviction.
This is personal. This endorsement hurts. This tells me that Hillary’s actions and hurtful words over the course of two decades are okay – that I should just deal with them.
The Human Right’s Campaign no longer shares my voice for LGBTQ equality. Because my views on equality don’t waiver. They don’t adjust for self-promoting pragmatism.
Chad Griffin may think HRC’s future needs a Hillary Clinton White House, but the LGBTQ community needed her 20 years ago. Where was she then?
This time, unfortunately, the Human Right’s Campaign is on the WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY.
If you disagree with this endorsement, I encourage you to voice your dissent. Take to Twitter, Facebook, blog. Hell, even put it on Google+ (if that’s still a thing). Make your voice heard, because HRC no longer has our best interest in mind.
I haven’t been avid follower of David Bowie. I don’t know more than a handful of his songs. I’ve never seen Labyrinth in its entirety.
Nonetheless, I am crushed in the devastation of his passing.
This doesn’t mean I’m ignorant to the impact he made on society over the course of four decades, but I admit with shame that I should and need to know more.
So, I’ve spent the past few hours going through his constant and evolving contribution to music, popular culture, and art. And, not with the least bit of shock, I am in awe.
You don’t have to be a child of Glam Rock to know of, or even be familiar with, the pop culture icon that forever will be the remarkable David Bowie. But I’m confident to say I knew him before I knew his music. Jareth, The Goblin King from Labyrinth left a sizeable imprint on me.
I should, however, disclose that I haven’t watched the movie since I was a child because it frightened me. And I haven’t had the courage to revisit it since. But I’m pretty sure I’ll give a shot sometime soon.
There’s an image from that movie, though, that has stayed with me for years. It’s him elegantly standing on the stairs of some sort of Victorian ball, removing an odd black mask to reveal the most curiously androgynous face.
Last night, I re-watched that scene with a young Jennifer Connelly on YouTube after learning that he passed. Still without knowing the context of the film, I found it exotic and intriguing has hell. Having asked the same question as a child, who is he?
What do I know about the pop culture icon and glam rock legend? Well, apart from his involvement in Labyrinth, I know him from his epic cameo in Zoolander. I still hear “Let’s Dance!” picturing Mr. Bowie on the scene removing his sunglasses like a bad-ass.
I can’t forget his perfect casting as Nikolas Tesla in Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige. Sadly, my only real modern experience with him in a role on screen. He, of course, was great.
I also know him, shamefully, from the most awkward music video of all time. The one he did with Mick Jagger, “Dancing in The Street.” And who can forget the dancing scene from A Knight’s Tale? A dance from “Gelderland,” starting like a medieval tune then morphing into the more familiar tones of “Golden Years.” A song that I’ve known just from growing up with ears.
But the foremost way I’m familiar with the massively iconic superstar, is his song with Queen, “Under Pressure.” A song that means more to my heart with each passing decade.
I’ve worshipped the music of Queen and Freddie Mercury since 1997, six years after Freddie’s passing. The song’s lyrics, which were written in reference to Margaret Thatcher’s government, meant things entirely different to me. And that meaning has evolved over the passing years.
As an angst filled teenager, I identified with the track struggling with devastatingly epic emotions and my desperate attempts to control them. Also, as a twenty something coming to terms with my own place in society. And even now as a man quickly approaching middle struggling to prove my worth.
“Under Pressure,” was heavily influenced by Bowie’s talent. In an October 2008 issue of Mojo Magazine, Brian May said, “…It’s a significant song because of David and its lyrical content.” Having been fascinated with Freddie Mercury, mostly with his music, and secondly his persona and sexuality. I came upon “Under Pressure” and David Bowie with similar interest.
The photos I saw of this man were fascinating. David Bowie’s androgynous persona of the 70’s and 80’s mesmerized me. How could someone with an image so genderless be so masculine? And, despite his changing words on the matter, so non-heterosexual.
ALSO, and I say this without any hesitation, he was incredibly sexy. His persona was made even more appealing to me by the late nineties and into recent years by his more reserved, classic looks just rocking the hell out of white shirts and black coats. The man is a sexual icon. One I could only dream to be like.
As little as it might be, this is what I know of David Bowie. Which is regretfully miniscule compared to anyone who has revered the most notable works of his genius: his discography. Though, however little, it is without doubt that he has impacted my taste and interest over the years. And I’m sure he will in the years to come.
I’m three hours into listening to as much of his work as I can. And I’m happy to say I recognize a great deal of the music. Particularly, “Ziggy Stardust,” which I’ve come to learn is one of his most iconic tracks.
I catalog the music of my childhood into my mother’s playlist and my father’s playlist. And Ziggy falls quite comfortably into the rock taste of my father. That realization alone indicates how well his music crossed different cultures, because no one would take my father to be a David Bowie fan. Though, I’m sure Mr. Bowie wouldn’t be surprised at all.
“Life on Mars?” just began on this extensive playlist provided gracefully by Spotify. What a beautiful, melancholy song! It’s given me a familiar feeling – one likened by Elton John’s “Rocketman” with some different lyrics and probably a far more depressing meaning. Songs like this, and “Under Pressure,” give me insight to the singer’s thoughts on society and how well he was able to perceive its depravity. A gift I think many artists exist without.
“I’m Afraid of Americans.” Good god! How could I forget this? This song came out while I was in high school. I knew this song so well, and still do apparently! As a kid, this song appealed to me as I was just getting into the hard alternative genre, and it whet my increasing appetite for any culture that wasn’t American. I’m not even sure I knew it was David Bowie at the time. What a pleasant experience.
I’m excited to continue this adventure through his music and extraordinarily interesting 69 years of life, but as I do, the depth of this heroic loss is becoming more clear. I’m less sad for myself, and more for our culture as a whole. The quality of art in this time of history has been diminished. Thankfully, we have a plethora of talent to pour over in his wake. Which does, at least marginally, fill the cavernous space David Bowie’s passing has made.