There has been a great deal of heated discussion recently concerning an organization called GLAAD. GLAAD was founded in New York City in 1985 “… to protest against what it saw as the New York Post’s defamatory and sensationalized AIDS coverage, GLAAD put pressure on media organizations to end what it saw as homophobic reporting.” (Wikipedia) In 2012 GLAAD founded the Commentator Accountability Project (CAP). GLAAD maintains the purpose of CAP is to give a public airing of what various anti-gay commentators are saying and have said when they are not speaking through the mainstream media. Critics in the United States, generally those anti-gay commentators singled out in CAP and their supporters, accuse GLAAD of trying to impose censorship, that is, to stifle 1st Amendment guarantees of freedom of expression and freedom of religion. As a gay man, the anti-gay commentary GLAAD brings to light concerns me. I agree it needs to be challenged. However, censorship is an issue that resonates with me also, as I am a librarian and as such have a mandate to uphold intellectual freedom and freedom of expression. Continue reading
It is Christmas morning and I am just in from a morning dog run with my friend and hunting buddy, Jason Quinn, his dog Nos and my dog Hera. As I was driving home, I started thinking about a concept I see used quite liberally in discussions over the blogosphere, namely, white privilege. The term, white privilege, is defined as follows:
the set of societal privileges that white people benefit from beyond those commonly experienced by people of color in the same social, political, or economic spaces (nation, community, workplace, income, etc.). The term denotes both obvious and less obvious unspoken advantages that white individuals may not recognize they have, which distinguishes it from overt bias or prejudice […] It can be compared and/or combined with the concept of male privilege. (Wikipedia)
As a white man from a family with solid working class roots, I can honestly say I never stopped to think about the fact that I have a white skin or that in having a white skin somehow endows with me with privileges that are denied those with a different skin colour. Continue reading
Claude Hamilton Gresham, Jr. (June 21, 1922 – February 18, 2008), better known as Grits Gresham, was an avid sportsman and naturalist and a first-rate outdoor writer and broadcaster. I have a number of his books in my library collection and his videos on duck and goose hunting. I have a great many books on hunting in my library collection from many different authors. Still, in my opinion, his book on waterfowl hunting, The Complete Wildfowler, is the finest ever written on the subject. He was from rural South Carolina and highly educated with a bachelor of science and master of science degrees, with a specialty in forestry and wildlife management, from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He made his home in Louisiana and is remembered by Robert J. Barham, the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and a former Republican member of the Louisiana State Senate who recalled “as a child, I got to meet him and be around him. He was just so easy to be around. Grits was nothing like the television celebrities of today. People were drawn to him. He made them feel at ease … he made me feel at ease, and I was just a child. … There will never be another like him.” (as cited in Wikipedia) Continue reading
Mika and I enjoy reading and viewing biographies in print and on film. The latest addition to our library collection is a copy on DVD of the documentary film Bridegroom A Love Story, Unequaled, produced by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. The documentary was inspired by the video It could happen to you, published on YouTube by Shane Bitney Crone in 2012. The video is a moving account of the loving relationship between Thomas Lee Bridegroom and Shane Bitney Crone, the untimely death of Tom Bridegroom in a tragic accident and the unfortunate events that followed. The story of the tragedy that struck these two young men has resonated with people across the world following publication of the YouTube video It could happen to you. The documentary film, Bridegroom A Love Story, Unequaled, while dealing with the disturbing events following Bridegroom’s death, presents a biography of both Thomas Lee Bridegroom and Shane Bitney Crone, giving more detailed accounts of their childhoods, formative years, how, as young men, they came to meet and become a couple.
The film is a blend of still photos and video footage of Thomas Lee Bridegroom and Shane Bitney Crone, their families, friends and acquaintances taken throughout their lives. If also features interviews with Bitney Crone, members of his family, friends and acquaintances of both men. Thomas Lee Bridegroom’s family has consistently exercised their right to silence and refused any comment on the matter and appear only in still photos and snippets of video taken before their son’s untimely death. The look into their respective childhoods was particularly interesting. Before viewing the film, I surmised that Bridegroom came from a comfortable, middle-class background. He attended the Culver Military Academy, which commands rather hefty school fees and enrolled at Vassar College following his graduation. I learned in viewing the film his parents mounted an extraordinary effort, his mother took a job at Culver to help raise the money to pay the school fees. They saw to it he had the opportunity for a very good education. Shane Bitney Crone attended state schools and left for Los Angeles following his graduation from high school to seek his fortune in the entertainment industry. He had the support of his family in pursuing his dream.
The tone of the film is quite temperate and gets the point across very gently and eloquently that gay people fall in love, become couples and set up households together. It shows just how precarious it is for a gay couple when their relationship is not given the same legal standing of that of a heterosexual couple; thereby making a strong case for marriage equality. It is well worth viewing and though inspired by the personal tragedy that befell Thomas Lee Bridegroom and Shane Bitney Crone, it documents, as the title indicates, a love story, unequaled.
Posted by Geoffrey and Mika
Recently the question came to mind as to why so many religious folk and social conservatives hold such a prurient fixation on what they imagine goes on in other people’s bedrooms. Sex is a part of every conjugal relationship: gay and straight. Sex is natural, a part of living and to enjoy. Sodomy laws, as they were called, were repealed in Canada in 1969. Then Minister of Justice Pierre Elliott Trudeau famously declaring in 1967, “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” (CBC Digital Archives) Sodomy laws were repealed across the United States as of 2003 when U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision in Lawrence v. Texas Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, ruled that the state could not single out gay people for harassment and discriminatory treatment simply “because of ‘moral disapproval’ of homosexuality. He wrote of ‘respect’ for same-sex couples and warned that ‘the state cannot demean their existence,’ describing same-sex relationships as a ‘personal bond’ involving much more than just sex. Kennedy also wrote that reducing same-sex couples to ‘sex partners,’ as anti-gay organizations often do, is offensive in the same way that describing a husband and wife as nothing more than sex partners would be offensive.” (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) Continue reading
Pope Francis continues to raise eyebrows with his public pronouncements, the most recent coming from the publication of his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, in which he criticizes “an economy of exclusion and inequality.” (Evangellii Gaudium) In news reports discussing the publication of Evangelli Gaudium, it is said Pope Francis calls “unfettered capitalism tyranny and urges rich to share wealth.” (Guardian) This led to mixed responses, which is not at all surprising. President Obama cited a portion of the document–seemingly in agreement with Pope Francis–in a speech on inequality in US society, observing “some of you may have seen just last week the pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length. How can it be, he wrote, that it’s not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points. But this increasing inequality is most pronounced in our country. And it challenges the very essence of who we are as a people.” (as cited in SALON) A far less temperate response was delivered by the conservative pundit, Rush Limbaugh, who retorted, “This is the president citing the pope, his new best friend, because the pope is ripping America, the pope [is] ripping capitalism… and Obama’s having an orgasm. Jeremiah Wright is beside himself. Jeremiah Wright thought he was Obama’s preacher, now [the] pope somehow has co-opted Obama.” (as cited in SALON) Continue reading