Thursday, March 18, 2004
Rant Round-up

My first instinct here is to mention the big blow-up at the Mount Lebanon Hotel in Baghdad yesterday. "Happy anniversary" and all that... find some clever dark irony with which to express my bitterness. But I'm afraid I just haven't been able to muster up any enthusiasm for dark irony today -- regular, unrelated darkness and irony seem to be in plentiful supply at the moment, thus negating any need for me to attempt to produce some more. And frankly, I just don't know what else to say on the subject. Terrorists blew up a hotel, many innocent people were hurt or killed, there was much fire and confusion, and the world moves on.

I spent yesterday evening over at Mat 'n' Heidi's, and we (including, but not limited to, Mat, Morgan, Heidi, Joe, Ken, and myself) sat on the front porch for an hour or two as the evening wound down, attempting to discuss matters of import while tolerating the regular punctuation of FedEx planes passing rather low overhead. We talked about the upcoming election and our hopes and fears for its validity; we talked about conspiracy theories (and not-so-conspiracy theories), the potential for a draft or martial law, the motivation behind Spain's rejection of its pro-Bush government, the likely chances for Bush's other buddies who face an upcoming election, and the imminent demise of "America," by one means or another. (I still favor death by nostalgia, but that's just me.)

It was posited by one that perhaps Bush and al Qaeda have a closer connection than we have been told. A position that, while not my own, was certainly bolstered by the appearance of this:

An unrelated videotape of a man describing himself as al Qaeda's European military spokesman also claimed responsibility for the Madrid bombing, saying it was in retaliation for outgoing Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's domestically-unpopular support for the U.S.-led Iraq war. ...

The statement said it supported President Bush in his reelection campaign, and would prefer him to win in November rather than the Democratic candidate John Kerry, as it was not possible to find a leader "more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom."

In comments addressed to Bush, the group said:

"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization."

"Because of this we desire you (Bush) to be elected."

Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper quoted extensively from the statement, which said the group was planning further attacks, but would not target the US for fear of damaging President George W. Bush's re-election chances.

That's right, folks... al Qaeda supports Bush's re-election campaign. Thank you, merciful Allah, for giving us something to throw back in the Republicans' faces when they say that voting for Kerry is the same as voting for bin Laden.

In local news... do y'all remember the Scopes Monkey Trial? Y'know, the one where the first Darren from Bewitched got in trouble for teaching evolution in a rural Tennessee public school in the 20s, and Spencer Tracy managed to kinda-sorta get him off the hook while a few hundred women in gingham dresses waved signs and sang "Old Time Religion?"

Well, the good folks who brought you that infamous case (and rather good film) are at it again:

Tenn. County Wants to Charge Homosexuals

Associated Press

DAYTON, Tenn. - The county that was the site of the Scopes "Monkey Trial" over the teaching of evolution is asking lawmakers to amend state law so the county can charge homosexuals with crimes against nature.

The Rhea County commissioners approved the request 8-0 Tuesday.

Commissioner J.C. Fugate, who introduced the measure, also asked the county attorney to find a way to enact an ordinance banning homosexuals from living in the county.

"We need to keep them out of here," Fugate said.

The vote was denounced by Matt Nevels, president of the Chattanooga chapter of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

"That is the most farfetched idea put forth by any kind of public official," Nevels said. "I'm outraged."

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas' sodomy laws as a violation of adults' privacy.

Rhea County is one of the most conservative counties in Tennessee. It holds an annual festival commemorating the 1925 trial at which John T. Scopes was convicted of teaching evolution. The verdict was thrown out on a technicality. The trial became the subject of the play and movie "Inherit the Wind."

In 2002, a federal judge ruled unconstitutional the teaching of a Bible class in the public schools.

I fully expect somebody to suggest forcibly sending gays and lesbians to "re-education camps" any day now.

I mean, seriously... "crimes against nature?" Wanting to criminalize homosexuals for even living near you? Are they fucking shitting us?

What is it with some people that they think they own the copyright to God's Rulebook, and are thus absolute, definitive authorities on what "natural" means? Who are they that they think they can dictate to 10% of the populace where they can and cannot live? Granted, I doubt there are many gays and lesbians lining up to live in Dayton fucking Tennessee -- although I would genuinely relish seeing Rhea County suddenly inundated with butch dykes and leather dudes bearing bridal bouquets -- but there are few other instances I can think of in recent history when one group of people decided that the very presence of another group of people was not merely distasteful to them, but criminal and prosecuteable. And most of those instances quickly devolved to mass murder on one level or another.

Which is to say, I disagree with Rhea County commissioners. Strongly.

A friend and associate of mine told us yesterday that he had been grabbed by the lesbian partner of our benefactor church's pastor (take that, Rhea County commissioners) and was asked to be a witness at a wedding ceremony that was taking place upstairs. The couple being married -- congratulations and best wishes to them -- were notable in that one of them had at some point in her personal history once been a man. A lesbian couple, one of them transsexual, were being married by a lesbian pastor. God bless America. Even better, the ceremony was completely legally binding, and the resulting marriage would be recognized as valid by the City of Memphis and the State of Tennessee because -- here comes the good part -- one of the two brides still had a penis.

The religious right: supporting the right of transsexual lesbians to marry since 1984. (At least that's one thing we can agree on.)

4:46 PM ::
Amy :: permalink