October 31, 2010 2 Comments
You might wonder where I’ve been for the past two months, since the marathon that was the 3-Day Novel Contest. I apologize for my disappearance from the blogosphere. In my defense, I’ve been doing some interesting stuff in real life.
I joined Amnesty International in the summer and, in September, wrote my first urgent action letter, asking for a fair trial for a political prisoner, to the Ayatollah in Iran. That was surreal. I volunteered on a mayoral campaign helping to write debate briefs. That was cool until the candidate dropped out of the race. Then I proceeded to mope for a few days. My (former) German fuck buddy–who I had stopped fucking–stopped communicating with me after our pledge of continued friendship (a pledge made at his behest, I may add). And because I had fallen for him, his total disregard for me was hard to digest and was cause for additional days of moping. Now I’ve stopped moping and I’m working on his voodoo doll.
The month of October has been one long point of stress at work–two people, in a staff of six, quit within two weeks of each other. In response to some revelations that came to light when those people quit, the remaining two of us had a less than pleasant confrontation with our management team. That didn’t go our way, so we’re both job hunting. This was all after an illegal pay cut back in the summer. Sweet. And lastly, while this may not seem like a big deal to you coupled folks, I have a swanky party coming up in two weeks, and in a rush of hope I RSVP’d for two. I’d like to take someone who is A) not a gay man, and B) someone I actually like who likes me back–romantically. So far, I am batting zero. This all weighs heavy on my mind.
What bites is that there were blogworthy things going down in the past two months: the crazy book-burning Florida preacher, the mayoral race here in Toronto, the turning of prostitution law on its head by the Ontario Supreme Court, the firing of Rick Sanchez–the list goes on. Religion, politics and sex and I missed them all! All things about which I have opinions but did not manage to strike with blog commentary while the iron was still red-hot. So the question is what to say now?
Well no one’s paying me for this, so I’ve decided I’m going to be the Johnny Come Lately who talks about all these things long after they’ve been dropped from the news cycle. The retrospective voice as it were. In my next two posts I’ll talk about the Toronto mayoral election and Ontario prostitution law, but today, the crazy dude in Florida.
When I heard about the “individual in Florida” (thank you Obama for the most courteously dismissive way to refer to someone in a long time), I felt the way I feel when I watch disturbing documentaries about Scientology, or the Catholic church. I just want to throw some head honcho from those organizations up against a wall, do something extremely violent to them and scream at them until they admit that they know what they’re doing is wrong. This is my issue with the individual in Florida–not so much that he threatened the book-burning, but that he knew better. My big beef with this individual is that I don’t believe he’s as stupid as he’d have us all believe.
Just in case you didn’t know already, this is the same individual, who had his parishioners send their children to school in T-shirts bearing the message “Islam is of the Devil” back in August of 2009 (which begs the question, why were these kids in school in August?). I don’t know if the individual who heads up this crazy-town church is just on a membership drive every time he pulls one of these stunts, but one has to question why he doesn’t attack any other religions with this sort of vehemence. You don’t see him having a day put aside to burn the Tripitaka or “Dianetics,” or any of the Hindu holy books. None of the children of his church are sent to school wearing a “Buddhism is of the Devil” T-shirt. And we all know why–none of these would do anything but elicit a bit of confusion and laughter from the general public (or a costly lawsuit from the church of Scientology)–not weeks of headlines. You can’t convince me that this guy doesn’t know that when you throw Islam or the Quran into the mix, that it turns even the most mundane issue into a white-hot controversy.
Dave Letterman did an interview with the individual Bill O’Reilly in which he posited that O’Reilly just had to be smarter than the stuff coming out of his mouth. O’Reilly’s answer is moot, but this is the same thing I think about the individual in Florida. He MUST know that the things he does are automatic headline grabbers. He can’t be that oblivious or that stupid. He seems too quick to try to parlay his notoriety into something more meaningful (i.e. a talk with the people behind the mosque in NYC) to be utterly unaware that he might gain notoriety in the first place. You have to wonder if, realizing the T-shirt stunt didn’t get him national headlines, he went back to the drawing board and, a year later, came up with book burning.
The part of me that wants to hear Bill O’Reilly admit out loud that he doesn’t believe most of what he says; the part of me that wants to hear a leader of Scientology admit that the tactics they use against people are criminal and awful and that the whole place is a giant pyramid scheme in which ruined lives are just collateral damage; the part of me that wants Sarah Palin to admit to stepping up her idiocy for her own political and fiscal gain; the part of me that wants to see the Pope admit that the Vatican doesn’t care about the millions of faithful Catholics around the world as long as they can hang on to the money and the power: that’s the part of me that wants to make the individual in Florida admit that he’s a power-hungry attention whore who doesn’t give two shits about what the Bible might or might not say. I want him to stand up and be counted amongst the many charlatans that have come before him and will come again.
But here’s the great thing about people like this individual–they can’t hide forever. People this caught up in being this duplicitous in their public life often have more than a few damaging skeletons in their closets. When you find an individual who spends all their time trying to erode gay rights, you can basically set your watch to the moment when they will be caught with a rent boy in a seedy hotel room. When you find an individual who rails against prostitution or fully recognizing sex work in any meaningful way, you can be guaranteed they’ve got three hookers on speed dial. So while I doubt that the individual in Florida has a secret Quran-reading habit or some sort of kink for making out with ladies wearing burqas, I’m fairly certain he has a predilection for something that doesn’t fall within his professed belief system. And I will wait patiently for that day of revelation to come. Care to wait with me?