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October 31, 2007

Gas Money
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 01:23 PM * 122 comments

Today’s Bob Allen Creative Excuse Award goes to Washington State Representative Richard Curtis (R-La Center).

[Cody M.] Castagna told Spokane police that Curtis had agreed to pay him $1,000 for unprotected sex then stated he didn’t have the money, a claim Curtis denied to police, according to a police report.
What did Representative Curtis claim he was doing?
Curtis, however, told the detective he gave Castagna $100 for gas money and insisted the money was not in exchange for sex, according to the affidavit. Curtis did tell police he met Castagna at the Hollywood Erotic Boutique earlier that day, according to the affidavit.

Next time I run out of gas in front of a sex shop I hope there’s a Republican legislator nearby who’s handing out Franklins to random strangers who’re in need of a fill-up.

What kind of a guy is Rep. Curtis?

In 2005 and 2006, Curtis voted against a bill that granted civil rights protections to gays and lesbians, and in 2007, he voted against a bill that created domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.

All kinds of gory details (and the quotes presented here) are found in this story from The Daily News in Longview, Washington.

Republicans should just generally steer clear of places called the Hollywood Erotic Boutique. You know the cops and the public will get the wrong idea.

Comments on Gas Money:
#1 ::: Robert Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 01:43 PM:

"Curtis also told police he thought he may have been drugged because some of the details of the night were hazy, according to police."

Those wacky Republicans, always running with the wrong crowd as soon as you turn your back. Next thing you know he'll be hanging out with defense contractors....

#2 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 01:46 PM:

I don't remember who it was, but somebody I was just reading observed that the bar for Kinkiness By Right-wing Moralizers has recently been raised so high that if it doesn't involve being found dead inside two wet suits with a dildo rammed up your ass, it's barely even worth mentioning.

#3 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 01:55 PM:

I wonder if Curtis took a wide stance in the hotel room. Or maybe the wide stance in the sex shop was what made Castagna realize "Oh, there's a guy who will give me $100 for gas."

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:06 PM:

GOP now clearly stands for Genital-Oral Party....

Between the nutters and the hypocrites, I'm hopeful that the right has shot itself in the foot for a generation. (Of course, I could be wrong, but I hope not.)

#5 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:08 PM:

See, Curtis thought Castagna said "gas money" but what he really said was "ass monkey".

#6 ::: Niteowl ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:10 PM:

It's official, the GOP is FABULOUS.

#7 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:13 PM:

Teresa, you left out the part where he was also securely tied up inside those two wet suits, with the dildo shoved up where the sun doesn't shine.

IIRC his arms were trussed up behind him and fastened to his ankles and neck, yet last I heard this was all self-inflicted. I'd like to see the person capable of doing all that to themselves (while in TWO rubber suits!), and their rationale for doing it in the first place!

#8 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:13 PM:
In 2005 and 2006, Curtis voted against a bill that granted civil rights protections to gays and lesbians, and in 2007, he voted against a bill that created domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
So basically, he's not averse to random-encounter sex, but disapproves of committed, stable, loving long-term relationships. That's Family Values for you.
#9 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:20 PM:

John 7, that was Patrick. They do have the same last name, so I can understand your confusion! (And tease you about it.)

#10 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Xopher #9,

That's what I get for posting before verifying...

#11 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 02:53 PM:

John 7 and 10: Apropos of the content of your post at 7, it reminds me of the line from Cetaganda: "Seventeen stab wounds in the back, worst case of suicide they ever saw."

#12 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:03 PM:

The rationale is the easy part: It's what got him off.

As to how, without seeing pictures of the actual bindings it would be hard to be sure, but I can think of a couple of ways to do it.

#13 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:10 PM:

random strangers who’re

Was the apostrophe a typo?

#14 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:13 PM:

By the way, LaCenter is as far back in the hills as you can get five miles from I-5 and under the holding pattern for PDX.

I can't help but wish he'd been from LeBam, though.

#15 ::: Nathan ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:19 PM:

I can count the number of times I've voted Republican on one hand...and have three fingers left over.

Having said that, any Republican who says, "I like meeting anonymous men in sex shops and then having them fuck my ass; I regularly go to highway rest stops and offer blowjobs to random men in the restroom. I love cock!"...well, that guy's got my vote.

If its a woman saying it, well, sorry, not sleezy enough.

#16 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:26 PM:

Shocked, shocked I am to hear that another Republican...

You know, I can't even muster the energy to finish that joke I've said it so often.

#17 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:53 PM:

James @#12:

From the autopsy report put online some time ago (think it was on Fark.com), he was tied from hands to feet and neck, was found in a swim mask with flippers on his feet, rubber underwear, etc. It was quite detailed, way into TMI for public release but I suppose autopsies have to be that way.

No doubt he could possibly have done all that by himself, but then, how would he get back OUT without help?

#18 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:57 PM:

Niteowl #6 - just to let you know, I just stole that line for another blog. If ya leave quality material lying around....

#19 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:59 PM:
An employee at the Hollywood Erotic Boutique also told police that she saw Curtis inside the sex shop with Castagna, and he was wearing women's lingerie.

I think it is time to cue up the surveillance video from the Boutique. Somebody start the popcorn.

#20 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 04:01 PM:

#17 John L

Dan Savage made some nice points about exactly that issue in a recent "Savage Love" column over here.

You'll have to page down to the section headed "SPEAKING OF DANGEROUS KINKS."

NSFW, naturally.

#21 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 04:11 PM:

PNH @ #2: What a noble sacrifice Comrade Rev. Gary Aldridge has made for the cause.

#22 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 04:27 PM:

Jules #13:

No.

#23 ::: Ben Engelsberg ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 04:45 PM:

Reading the article Patrick linked at #2, it occurs to me that the phrase "... autoerotic undertaking" probably has a more disturbing meaning for the folks who had to manage the trussed-up corpse than the author may have intended.

With the recent spike in apparent GOP kinkiness, I'm reminded of the story that was going 'round about a US Air Force weapons project to build a hormone "bomb" which would, allegedly, turn enemy soldiers gay. Makes me contemplate a mishap at some clandestine Republican party sponsored weapons demonstration. The image makes me grin.

#24 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 04:51 PM:

"the bar for Kinkiness By Right-wing Moralizers has recently been raised so high that if it doesn't involve being found dead inside two wet suits with a dildo rammed up your ass, it's barely even worth mentioning."

Well there's a reason for that. Natural phenomena gravitate to a bell-shaped curve, with the normal range of behavior in large middle bell part of the curve.

If you observe the Republican graph of sexual activity you will observe that on the far left end of the spectrum there are a few people who have been in a continuing marriage with the same people all their lives, this is maybe 2% of the Republican politicians. As you start to move in to the 5-10% range there are the Republicans who have been divorced 3-4 times for adultery, not especially scandalous old fuddy-duddy people. Now you are getting near the Bell shape from the left, this is mainly people who have had several marriages, men who have been divorced for forcing their wives to go to S&M bars and engaging in Lesbian acts for their amusement would fall into this group, cross-dressing and transvestism is also common, all in all not especially scandalous.
Finally in the absolute middle of the bell you have the straight Homosexuals. Slightly past the middle: Homosexual male escorts are found, and gays with fetishes for Black men in authority are also representative.


Now that you are on the right of the curve you will start to experience more extreme sexual behavior that would be considered scandalous by society. Interestingly the more scandalous is more actually more common, first the kind of auto eroticism mentioned in your quote above following in this range is bestiality, then pedophiles, and then actual rapists of women, and finally rapists of men. I have long wondered as to reason of this progression and have finally concluded that the natural Republican is a coward, as such the progression follows from those least likely to be able to resist to those most able. It is an uncommon and depraved Republican sexual predator that is actually able to work up the nerve to rape an actual man or woman.

After this we are back in the smaller percentiles of the Republican population, for example this range involves Necrophilia and mass pederasty of arab boys. These particular behaviors have been observed in Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz.

Anyway, that's what my theory, I was thinking of expanding this modest but paradigm reconfiguring theory to book length, calling it The Bell Curve: Sex and deviancy in the Republican Party.


#25 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 04:55 PM:

John L. @7, it was either that or shoot himself in the back 87 times from a distance of ten feet, pausing only twice to reload.

I guess Jon Stewart can breathe a sigh of relief, having said on Monday that any week when a public official (he didn't say GOP, but we all heard it) doesn't offer a stranger money for gay sex was a slow news week.

Ruben Bolling has a perceptive take on the matter, despite the fact it happened after this strip was published. (By next week, there'll probably be a new strip at the link. I am referring to the October 27, 2007 entry.)

#26 ::: moe99 ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 05:04 PM:

What is it about the Inland Empire that produces these sorts of politicians? Before Larry Craig, there was Spokane mayor and former Washington Senate Majority leader Jim West who was turned in by young lovers. Now this yahoo. Is it the water perchance?

#27 ::: Carl ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 05:39 PM:

$100 for a "fill-up". Probably some wishful thinking in that last part, anyway.

#28 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 05:53 PM:

Moe99, he was only caught in Spokane; LaCenter is just east of Woodland, up above the falls of the South Fork of the Lewis. I've been there twice in my life, once when my Dad wanted to see what it looked like fifty years after he'd hauled the last logs out of that stretch of hills and the second looking for a way back to I-5 from Battleground.

Jim West was something special, though. The stories from guys who had been legislative pages during his tenure in the legislature were... not amusing.

#29 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 06:23 PM:

Patrick, that was the estimable and inimitable Tbogg.

#30 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 06:40 PM:

Carl 27: Didn't you see that it said "unprotected sex"? I bet he got filled up all right!

#31 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 06:44 PM:

Man, do I ever miss Fafblog right about now. Oh Fafnir and Giblets (and Medium Lobster), why have you forsaken us?

#32 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 07:15 PM:

No doubt he could possibly have done all that by himself, but then, how would he get back OUT without help?

Well, he didn't, did he?

Where's the cops' and the coroner's motive for fibbing? If they're allowing a maniac to run loose they're in danger of having another conservative preacher to turn up dead in a wet suit.

#33 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 07:30 PM:

Somewhat on-topic:

Father wins millions from war funeral picketers

Anti-gay church protested at ceremony for man's son, a fallen Iraq Marine

BALTIMORE - A grieving father won a nearly $11 million verdict Wednesday against a fundamentalist Kansas church that pickets military funerals out of a belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

Albert Snyder of York, Pa., sued the Westboro Baptist Church for unspecified damages after members demonstrated at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

* * *

AMEN!

#34 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 08:51 PM:

No Amens from me. I can't stand Phelps, but this suit is violating his first amendment right to be a jackass in public. He wasn't in the church, he was on public property, and the guy suing him didn't see him. He watched it on TV the day after, and then sued.

#35 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 09:11 PM:

Josh, it is not a violation of 1st amendment rights to be sue by your fellow citizens for being a jackass.
Funerals fall under reasonable expectation of privacy regardless of where they take place.

#36 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 10:28 PM:

I'm in the Army and I know nobody in uniform who thinks Phelps is anything less than a complete creep. His right (and the right of his followers) to declare their beliefs, ends where the solemn burial ground of a Soldier, Sailor, Marine, or Airman begins. A military funeral is not the place to come and make a brash, outlandish statement about sexuality. It should be a dignified, hallowed event, and I applaud the fact that someone is finally making Phelps and his ilk pay for all the harm they have done, pushing their ideology into a place where it does not belong.

If all Phelps did was have a web site or "preach to the choir" in chapel, fine. No problem. He's still creepy, but it's a contained creepy.

If Phelps (or anyone) came into the funeral of my loved one, with signs and picketing and noise, I'd be murderous within a few seconds.

The gaul, the nerve, the utter lack of civility...

The "God Hates Fags!" group can't be shut down quickly enough. Or at least barred from shoving themselves into places where their demonstrations are neither welcome, nor called for.

Why aren't they down at the state capitol steps? Why mar a military funeral??

It's maleovolent.

#37 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 10:31 PM:

Xopher @30 -- oh, good lord.

Insert "santorum" joke here.

Insert "insert" joke h. . . . I'll just stop talking now.

#38 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 10:46 PM:

I'm befuddled. Is this all some GOP plan to acclimate us to the party's staggeringly hypocritical penchant for public gay sex? It's just about worked. I think I saw mention of this earlier today and ho-hummingly skimmed right past it.

At this rate I may have to vote for a Republican just to voice my approval for surreal showmanship and sheer panache.

#39 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:24 AM:

I must not be crazy enough in bed to get this. How did Gary Aldridge tie himself up and then accidentally suffocate himself? Logistically, I'm having trouble figuring how it would even be possible. Which may simply reflect that I don't get out enough. But still.

#40 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:25 AM:

CRV, #36: STOP claiming to be in the Army. You're a cowardly liar.

#41 ::: mea ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:48 AM:

CommunityRadioVet at #36 said "A military funeral is not the place to come and make a brash, outlandish statement about sexuality. It should be a dignified, hallowed event,..."

I agree. NO funeral is the place to make brash, outlandish hateful statements about sexuality. A law was passed to keep Phelps away from military funerals, and I think that it is doing the right thing to keep such hate away from grieving families. But I am deeply disappointed in our society that thinks it is OK to leave funerals for gay folks unprotected from such hate.

#42 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:58 AM:

Greg:

Power point (has photos)

Same material, no photos, as a pdf

Same material, no photos, in HTML.

Yet more in HTML. (no photos)

#43 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 01:07 AM:

The gaul, the nerve, the utter lack of civility.

It's like a fun game of finding the odd one out.

Apologies CRV, it was too ripe of a misspelling.

#44 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 01:12 AM:

Jim@42, I thought he was lying down in bed, though. I've heard of people doing the autoerotic thing by hanging themselves and then something goes wrong and they die. I think CSI and another cop show even did episodes on autoerotic deaths. But they were always hangings. Lying in bed, I can't figure out how he could do it. But then, I don't get the scuba suit thing either. Or how he could tie both hands and both feet. So maybe it's best left as a mystery.

#45 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 02:01 AM:

Nobody noticed the ichor? Or the puddles of water around the bed? Or the faint smell of iodine? Isn't it obvious this is just the Elder Party's dirty tricks operatives taking out some Republicans ahead of the election? It's going to be one hell of a race to see who the lesser evil really is.

#46 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 02:01 AM:

Some of the photos in that Powerpoint are of guys lying down. At least one of them has a fairly elaborate set-up of ropes and knots.

Don't look at it unless you're really interested.

See also: Autoerotic-Asphixiation.com

#47 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 02:15 AM:

Some of the photos in that Powerpoint are of guys lying down

oh. Oh. OH.

I. Uh. Wow.

OK. I get it.

Don't look at it unless you're really interested.

too late.

:/

#48 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 02:17 AM:

Lee @ #40,

Funny, my Waller Hall-issue CAC in my wallet says you're mistaken.

Which reminds me. I need to see if I'll have a problem logging on with my new unit at Fort Douglas. I've never tried using the CAC in a different state, though it did work fine at Fort Lawton when I did a BA up there this summer.

They changed it about a year ago so that you couldn't log on to Army computers without having a current CAC and pin. Used to be your domain password would suffice.

I miss my old ID. I looked better in the BDU. More sergeantly. Ah well, change is the only constant in the service...

#49 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 02:31 AM:

Josh @ 34:

I can't say I feel too sorry for Phelps. He and his clan have used and misused the law to harass people for years. The lawsuit verdict seems like poetic justice.

On a weirder note: Phelps started his law career doing civil rights, suing to get Jim Crow laws taken off the books.

#50 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 02:33 AM:

FWIW I have probably at least a half dozen or more folks in my social circles who get into more complex self-sexual-restraint circumstances on a regular basis. I know my friends may be a little more, er, “adventurous” then the run of the mill (or more willing to acknowledge such) but given the range of human sexuality and the power it has in our lives I find it equally bizarre that some folks can’t imagine such.

I mean, we’re talking the same societies that convince women they need to spend their lives wearing at least a layer of maquillage (if not a full burka) if they’re going to be presentable in public. Compared to that is a wet suit or two in private time really so outré?!

Yeah, church deacon, makes for giggles, but c’mon, HUMAN first & foremost. That some religions may pervert & distort sexuality is deplorable, but that’s no reason to denigrate everyone who gets off on complicated sex.

As to protesting funerals, this is the USA. Firefighters, Police, Armed Services, or Congresscritters: I’m not a second-class citizen to any of ‘em! This nation is universal franchise – current smarmy more-patriotic-then-thou uniform fetishism notwithstanding.

The Phelps folks? Press whores doing whatever despicable acts it takes to get attention. Playing to their odious antics only encourages them and grants some soi-disant degree of legitimacy. As was suggested regarding the copycat noose acts– sometimes it is better NOT to react so strongly it enthuses the unbalanced.

#51 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 02:36 AM:

CRV, #48: I don't believe you. You're a phony soldier.

#52 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 03:51 AM:

Lee @ #51: That's nice Lee. I really don't care.

#53 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 04:26 AM:

"Logistically, I'm having trouble figuring how it would even be possible. Which may simply reflect that I don't get out enough. "

No, I think it means you don't stay in enough.

#54 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 09:04 AM:

CommunityRadioVet at #36 said "A military funeral is not the place to come and make a brash, outlandish statement about sexuality. It should be a dignified, hallowed event,..."


Any funeral. It's rather insulting to say that only folks in uniform should have a dignified funeral.

#55 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 09:25 AM:

Ursula, since the "God Hates Fags!" folk don't crash civilian funerals, I didn't think it necessary to include civilian funerals in my statements against Phelps and Co. You read too much into my post.

#56 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 09:36 AM:

#35 TW: Funerals fall under reasonable expectation of privacy regardless of where they take place.

In the funeral, they had an expectation of privacy. Outside the funeral, 1000 feet away, Phelps had every legal right to be a jackass. Also, in case you missed it, the person suing didn't see Phelps until the next day, when he was displayed on TV. You have no right to privacy from someone protesting from a legal distance in public. If you think the law can sue people for violating it by protesting on public grounds at a long distance, you're doing the constitution more harm than Phelps is.

#36 CommunityRadioVet - He wasn't inside the funeral. He was outside, 1000 feet away in public. Yes, it was distressing for the family to find out that he was protesting, but no, they are not entitled to recompense for being upset by him protesting in public.

#49 AJ - I don't feel sorry for *him*, I feel outraged that the law and the constitution is being bent to beyond the breaking point to deal with him.

The ACLU defended Neo-Nazis, not because they were good people, or because they didn't deserve suffering, but because the law was being misused to stop them.

Try imagining what America would be like if the majority decided who got to march or protest.

#57 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 09:43 AM:

CRV, my impression was that Phelps and company *did* crash civilian funerals-- Matthew Shepherd's is the highest-profile I can think of.

And yeah, it sucks when the right thing to do is to let vicious hatemongers do their thing.

#58 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 09:45 AM:

Ursula, since the "God Hates Fags!" folk don't crash civilian funerals, I didn't think it necessary to include civilian funerals in my statements against Phelps and Co. You read too much into my post.

Protesting outside a cemetery, they're disturbing all funerals taking place around that time, not just the one they're targeting.

Their choice of funerals, of course, doesn't make sense, since funerals of prominent homosexuals would make better sense for a "God hates fags" message, while funerals of soldiers participating in an immoral war would make sense for protests of said war...

#59 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 09:51 AM:

Josh Jasper @ 56

Try imagining what America would be like if the majority decided who got to march or protest.

I've seen that in my lifetime: police using firehoses, billyclubs, and dogs to prevent people from protesting in a public place as is their right under the Constitution. I didn't expect to see it again, but now I do. Soon.

#60 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 09:53 AM:

Ursula, I believe the first funeral that Phelps protested at (at least in front of cameras) was Matthew Shepard. If I were to guess, I would say their protest targets are picked for maximum attention-getting.

The Capital-Journal has a good index of their Phelps clan coverage. I read it a few years back, but I recall it being a fascinating look at an astonishingly toxic family.

#61 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 10:02 AM:

Returning to the original thread topic, here's a hypothesis as to why we're seeing so many Republicans falling out of the closet at 10,000 meters without a parachute.

Maybe a lot of people who have sexual appetites and habits outside the accepted norms of American society decided that the best way to keep on getting their jollies in secret was to join the dominant political power group. That would give them a well-defended and privileged closet.

And maybe there are two reasons we're seeing so many being outed now, first, that the power and immunity of the Republicans is being challenged for the first time in over a decade, and second, that the internal Republican power structure allowed these people to continue their activities unchallenged for so long because it's convenient to have underlings who have a secret you can control them with. And now Rove and Company* are too busy to keep them in line and keep reminding them to be at least a little bit discreet.


* and it's a big company

#62 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Ursula L @ 58

Their choice of funerals, of course, doesn't make sense

On the contrary, I think it makes perfect sense from the point of view of maximizing the outrage of the public, which maximizes the media coverage. And with people like that, the purpose of the demonstration is not to win hearts and minds at all, it's to prove to Cthulhu, or whatever infernal being they believe in, their steadfastness in following It's commandments.

#63 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Greg London @ #39: I call to your attention the opening scene of The Ruling Class. (In real life, the great underground cartoonist Vaughn Bodé offed himself this way.)

#64 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 10:48 AM:

CommunityRadioVet @55: Ursula, since the "God Hates Fags!" folk don't crash civilian funerals..."

Well, now you're just lying.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,217760,00.html

http://www.minnesotamonitor.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=2184

http://www.pamspaulding.com/weblog/2006/11/rotting-cryptkeeper-to-picket-funerals.html

Re: Bruce Cohen @ 61: See The Conformist for a terrific fictional example.

#65 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 11:08 AM:

As Bruce said, back to the original subject....

I think it can be accurately stated that "Thou doth protest too much" applies to many people who spend their time scorning others on sexual issues. I have little doubt that some of the Phelps clan are, in fact, closeted homosexuals of the variety which experience so much self-loathing, their only response is to project an image of total intollerance towards gays.

As Ursula pointed out, it's rather odd, then, that they choose to target military funerals; unless (as has been hypothesized) some clever soul in the Phelps clan deduced that being rude at military funerals would achieve quick and easy media coverage, and that quick and easy media coverage was the best way to get the "message" out.

The irony of all this is that Phelps and Co. have actually managed to build a bridge between Left and Right on this issue. I am not sure if this is what Phelps and Co. intended, but it is a reality.

IMHO the Republican party would probably do itself a favor to start shifting away from the evangelical base and begin aggressively appealing to the libertarian base. Sexual "indiscretion" only becomes an issue if you stake your claim as the "sexual morality party", which is what Republicans have done my whole life. A more Libertarian Republican stance, rooted in ostensibly neutral individual freedoms, would be easier to defend, and you'd probably have fewer scandals. And more accountability among the ranks.

But that's just my opinion.

The Republicans are in a big fat mess. When the Democrats control the White House in 2009 I think it'll be a good decade or more before the Republicans recover enough face (and the public forgets enough wrongs) for Republicans to pose a challenge to the Democratic majority.

The political pendulum, she keeps a-swingin'....

#66 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 11:12 AM:

Richard,

Those links are interesting. I'd not realized that Phelps and Co. were operating beyond military funerals. Being in the Reserve I only ever really hear about it when Phelps and Co. show up for a fallen Soldier. News of that kind of antic travels fast through the uniformed grapevine.

If Phelps and Co. are going all-out, well, I imagine we'll see more than just a single lawsuit. As Ursula pointed out, any funeral is a solemn event, and nobody likes it when their solemn event is crashed by self-designated moral protestors.

#67 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 11:13 AM:

Wow. I just noticed CRV's odd denial of Phelps "crashing" civilian funerals. It's one of the things that made him famous. I'm starting to suspect a troll here.

Getting back to the topic at hand, I think that the reason we're seeing more and more media spectacles like this is the amount of people reading and filtering information available is increasing rapidly. Blogs and story passing become good ways for stories like this to get out easier. I'm guessing that the amount of closeted republicans hasn't gone up for some reason, but the amount of people filtering and conveying news has.

Also, I'm guessing many closeted Democrats probably found it easier to come out, so I'm guessing that there's fewer of them. Republicanism encourages closeting.

#68 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 11:48 AM:

Josh @ 56: I understand where you're coming from, but I think there's a non-trivial difference between the neo-Nazis and Phelps. The right to free speech doesn't necessarily include the right to stalk and harass private citizens. The Phelps clan's "protests" included way too much of the latter. Enough anyways that they found themselves in the gray zone where majority opinion does rule.

As far as free speech goes, I worry a lot more about government attempts to curtail political protests than I do about a jury punishing Phelps for repeatedly stepping over the line.

Josh @ 67: Might be, even, that the Republican party actually attracts closet cases. If someone thinks that being secretly perverted is part of their identity, he probably would be more attracted to the party that says "yes, you're a pervert" than to the party that says "yeah, whatever".

#69 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 11:58 AM:

I think the Phelp's verdict sad. Because he's horrid, and the laws used to punish him ill-concieved (both in that I'm not that special. If I get killed [or just die] I'm the same as any other citizen, and that he has a right to be a jackass). Looking at the facts of this case it's not that he was disturbing that funeral.

His tribe attacking military funerals makes a certain amount of sense. They believe the more tolerant practices of the present have cost the US the Mandate of Heaven, and until we "reform" we can't get it back.

So the problems in Iraq are directly related to policies about homosexuals at home.

#70 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 11:59 AM:

#68 AJ As far as free speech goes, I worry a lot more about government attempts to curtail political protests than I do about a jury punishing Phelps for repeatedly stepping over the line.

This lawsuit redefines the line in such a way that it will be easier for people to curtail other forms of protests. I think your distaste for Phelps is blinding you to that.

If it was stalking and harassment, it would have been noticed at the funeral, not the day after, when watching TV.

It's not that the Republicans attract closet cases so much as they repel non closeted people.

#71 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:21 PM:

Oh please. I never "denied" Phelps crashed civilian funerals.

I said I had not been aware of such cases, since I only ever hear about the schmuck from other Army and Army Reserve I know who forward me shit in AKO going, "Look at this fucking clown!"

#72 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:26 PM:

CRV @ 71
You at #55:
since the "God Hates Fags!" folk don't crash civilian funerals, I didn't think it necessary to include civilian funerals in my statements against Phelps and Co.

Out of your own mouth.

#73 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:33 PM:

I can understand not knowing about all Phelps' hatemongering-- I didn't know he was going after military funerals. I'm not in the military, military funerals are not part of my environment, it's understandable that I wouldn't know. I know about his funeral protests because I was in theatre in high school and saw a production of The Laramie Project, then later realized that this wasn't an isolated local asshole but a national one because I and most of those around me pay attention to gay/civil rights. It's the same as me paying more attention to science headlines than others, or at least related.

#74 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:42 PM:

There were a couple of interesting posts re: lawsuit against Phelps and Co. at Concurring Opinions:

http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2007/10/funerals_and_fr.html#more

And:

http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2007/11/public_vs_priva.html#more

which was written in response to the first post and, later, updated to take into account information of which the post's author wasn't aware. It makes for interesting reading.

Back to the topic...the sooner the Republicans stop prying into the sex lives of consenting adults, the happier I'll be. Said prying (and resulting attempts to legislate/enforce sanctions against the behaviors in question) isn't going to change anyone's orientation or tendencies or proclivities, anyway. It just means more secrets. And as we're seeing, secrets do soemtimes become public...

#75 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 12:58 PM:

Josh @ 70:

You might be right that my dislike of Phelps is leading me to rationalizations.

But: I think there has to be a line somewhere, or rather a border zone, between free speech and personal harassment. I don't believe, for instance, that anyone has the right to stand on the sidewalk outside my house, screaming and picketing for days on end. I have some right to peace and privacy.

So was Phelps sufficiently far over the line? I'm not sure; it's not that easy to separate the facts of this case from his previous activities. But I'm inclined to say "yes". The Phelps clan specifically targeted the Snyder family, researching their history and posting material online. They made their protests very personal, and I'd say their actions as a whole do amount to invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional duress.

I'd say similarly that anti-abortion protestors have the right to picket clinics, but do not have the right to photograph patients, publicize their histories, or follow them home.

As for the slippery slope problem: Yes, there definitely is one. We agree on that, that this case could make it easier to squelch other forms of speech. I don't have an answer here, except to say that speech needs to be protected in proportion to how much political content it has, and the Phelps clan is spouting gibberish.

#76 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 01:11 PM:

PJ @ #72,

Dude, can I please be forgiven for not knowing that Phelps and Co. had crashed funerals?

'Denial' would mean I knew about the civilian funerals, but spoke and acted as if I did not know.

Until Roger posted his links, I was unaware that Phelps and Co. operate beyond military funerals, since the only ones I'd ever been told about were military.

Can I please be allowed to integrate new information as it is provided to me?

"I didn't know" and 'denial' are two different things.

#77 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 01:20 PM:

CRV: If you had said 'AFAIK' with that statement, you'd be in the clear. You didn't; it was an absolute and unqualified statement that they don't crash civilian funerals.

'Say what you mean.'
Don't say something, then claim you didn't, then claim a qualification of it that you didn't make at the time you said it. Right now, you're scoring high in flamer bingo.

#78 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 01:29 PM:

#75 AJ. You have a right to peace in your own dwelling. If Phelps had interrupted the funeral, there would be a case. But he didn't, and is being sued anyway. That's a pretty big problem. No one was photographed that I know of, and no one was followed home. People were distressed after the protest because they heard about it on the news.

As for CRV, denying you said something that can be easily tracked down is fair evidence of trollish behavior or just plain brain failure. Either you're not looking at your own posts, or you're in need of help with short term memory loss.

#79 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 01:31 PM:

I don't even know what AFAIK stands for.

Flamer bingo?

If this were an actual conversation, I'd appreciate being given the courtesy of allowing me to refine and clarify my thoughts and intentions as the conversation progresses.

It's been my experience that this is how 90% of conversation works. One person says something, the other person says something back, if there is a disagreement and the one person thinks they've not clarified or need to explain further, they do so, the second person updates their understanding of what the first person meant, etc, etc.

Or are you going to tell me that you "get it right, every time" with every statement you ever make, either typed or spoken?

#80 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 01:39 PM:

CRV @79: AFAIK is an acronym for "as far as I know".

"flamer bingo": you're showing a pattern of behaviour that's strongly associated with someone who's more interesting in stirring than in honest argument. Any individual thing by itself isn't a marker, but a persistent pattern will raise suspicions. It's also possible for someone to show that pattern perfectly innocently, so PJ's probably warning you that even if you didn't mean to do this, that's how you're registering with other people, and you should reconsider how you frame your posts about contentious subjects.

#81 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 01:54 PM:

CRV: I'd appreciate being given the courtesy of allowing me to refine and clarify my thoughts and intentions as the conversation progresses.

There's a big difference between that and your "since the "God Hates Fags!" folk don't crash civilian funerals" and "I said I had not been aware of such cases" -- the difference between correction and revisionism.

#82 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 01:55 PM:

CRV: If this were an actual conversation, I'd appreciate being given the courtesy of allowing me to refine and clarify my thoughts and intentions as the conversation progresses.

Refine, or redefine? I've got no reason to trust you anymore. In a conversation, when someone acts like you do, I don't trust them.

#83 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 02:10 PM:

Fine, Josh.

See my post in the other thread.

It's no longer worth my while to participate in these discussions. Too many people are trying too hard to see ill will in what I write. It's gotten out of hand. And I'm tired of being the guy on the dunking machine.

Sure, maybe I 'earned' it by just being too oblivious to the culture of this place.

And maybe some of you are just assholes?

Of course, if the group consciousness is any indicator, I'm the one who is the asshole.

This asshole is pulling his magazine, clearing his chamber, safing his weapon, and removing himself from the field of fire.

#84 ::: Alberto ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 02:18 PM:

Re: dogpile on CRV

People, can you please step away from your keyboards and take a deep breath?

Yes, CRV could have perhaps avoided making a blanket statement. He didn't, and when he was told he was wrong, he integrated the new information and tried to move on.

Everyone else yelling at him and calling him names? Not helping. I don't see CRV being a troll here. His posts aren't always the most well-considered as to the likely reactions they will elicit, but given his ongoing history and engagement on ML, it's pretty clear that he's not trolling.

Bear-bating him is most certainly NOT helping and is only making the baiters look like assholes. So please, can we just take a deep breath and be civil? I'd like to get back to lurking.

#85 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 02:22 PM:

alberto @ 84

It isn't the first time; this is fairly usual for him, usually ending with him flouncing off never to return, but he comes back anyway.

#86 ::: Alberto ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 03:23 PM:

PJ @ 85:

I understand the exasperation. I've read more than enough of his posts to understand and share in that exasperation. He often comes off badly in his posts when that doesn't seem to be his intent. The thing is, the people yelling at him still come off looking worse. Whether CRV knew better or not (in this instance), everyone else taking him to task for relatively minor points, pouncing on and ascribing malice to them, and fanning a spark into a conflagration, certainly does (even if they're acting on their exasperation).

CRV got his facts wrong. He was called on it, he tried to amend his stance to correct the mistake and immediately got lambasted for both the initial error and the subsequent attempt at amends, on a scale not in measure to what he said, but rather as a response to who he is perceived to be.

Bother. I don't want to defend him especially. I just really hate seeing this kind of dogpile on anyone, but especially when it seems to me that he was trying to clarify his statements and correct them when he learned that he was wrong. It's all well and good to evict trolls, but when they're trying to be members of the community (albeit exasperating ones)? That's churlish. Understandable and human, but churlish.

#87 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 03:23 PM:

Even if it is his usual behavior, don't help by making it right to do so.

#88 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 03:45 PM:

Maybe he was just very surprised at the result when he leaned in the door and yelled, "I got $100 for anybody who can fill my tank!"

#89 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 03:47 PM:

I agree with Alberto. CRV isn't doing anything in this thread that he should be taken to task for. He got something wrong, was corrected, and accepted the correction with pretty good grace.

That happens to me all the time. I don't always check my facts as well as I should before posting. (Jerry Orbach was El Gallo in the original Fantasticks.)

If I had made a mistake of the kind CRV made in this thread (and I have, many times), I would not get (have not gotten!) the kind of drubbing he's received here. This isn't happening because of what he said here, but because everyone is angry at him for his posts in the "Yes, Judge" thread.

While I do NOT share the opinion that CRV is a complete jerk, even if you believe that, this behavior is beneath us. Whatever you think you owe or don't owe to him, you (and by you I mean everyone, including me) owe it to this community to behave better than that.

#90 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 04:18 PM:

About the reaction to CRV:

I think a more harmonious way of refining and clarifying one's thoughts in the face of correction would be to accept the correction, explicitly, and perhaps apologize for (unintentionally) obfuscating discourse, rather than deny ever making the error in the first place. e.g., "Oh, I'm sorry. I hadn't realized that Phelps had also protested civilian funerals."

[Perhaps other regulars here wouldn't need to be so explicit about this. Perhaps that's not fair. However, we have all established our reputations, and that will color everyone else's reactions to what we write.]

Tone of voice in written text is tricky. It's not that hard to read something like "Oh, please" and think that the writer is being dismissive. To deny ever having made the error in the first place usually leads to no good.

Unfortunately, since CRV has chosen to be sidetracked, spending his time discussing his own behavior, he never got to answer the question at hand:

Now that you, CRV, acknowledge Phelps protests civilian funerals as well as military funerals, does that affect your stance?

Your relatively silence on this, after having assimilated correct information could be, unintentionally, taken as you believing that military funerals deserve a dispensation, in this respect, that civilian funerals do not.

i.e., the reason this argument started in the first place was they felt you, by singling out military funerals, were making an artificial distinction. That, despite ample opportunity, you chose to say Phelps didn't protest civilian funerals rather than saying that Phelps shouldn't protest funerals at all compounded this.

As for the ostensible topic of this thread:

I agree with the Dan Savage column someone linked to. Indulging your kinks in public reduces your chances of death. In the case of Rep. Curtis, it would have saved him from a blackmail threat. OTOH, it's unclear whether he would have had a political career in the first place.

I'd like news accounts to stop reporting his actions as the "gay lifestyle." Not all gay people live the same lifestyle. At best, this is the "Republican so closeted that he's unable to find the intimacy he craves any other way" lifestyle.

#91 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 04:35 PM:

Xopher @89:
I think you've pretty well nailed it.

I didn't know Phelps' group picketed civilian funerals. I could easily have said, pretty much word for word, what CRV said at 36: A military funeral is not the place to come and make a brash, outlandish statement about sexuality.*

And I would not have had the same treatment.

But then, I get more rope in this group. CRV has some mannerisms, and some views, that use up people's patience pretty quickly. Some of that isn't fair - having views that diverge from those of the community isn't a crime. But sometimes those views are wrong, or worse than wrong, as in the other thread, and that shortens everyone's patience.

I can't endorse CRV's treatment in this thread, though I can understand why it happened. Perhaps everyone can take a little bit of time now and come to a juster interpretation of what has happened on this thread? It might be incumbent on some people's honor to apologize. I don't know, personally, not being the keeper of anyone's conscience but my own. And I was elsewhere at the time.

-----
* I'd stop there; I don't tend to use words like "hallowed" about funerals, because I think it's less about hallowing and more about simple human grieving.

#92 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 05:42 PM:

CRV @71:Oh please. I never "denied" Phelps crashed civilian funerals....I said I had not been aware of such cases

Well, now you're just lying.

CRV @55: Ursula, since the "God Hates Fags!" folk don't crash civilian funerals, I didn't think it necessary to include civilian funerals in my statements against Phelps and Co. You read too much into my post.

Whatever you meant to say, this is what you said.

You very cordially replied @66 on being directed to news to the contrary, but watch out for that word "never." It's tricky.

#93 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 05:45 PM:

abi, though I wasn't one of the ones who responded to it, CRV's specification of military funerals bugged me, too. And no, it wouldn't have if you had said the same thing.

The difference is partly because I hold you in very high regard, which is not at all where I hold CRV, but in this particular case there's more to it.

CRV has a long history, not just in the current threads but all the way back through his posting record here, starting from when he was PRV, of making statements that imply an unthinking opinion that the military is very special and that military service automatically accords a person greater respect as a human being than anyone else. Since I'm not him, I can't say whether he actually believes this or if it's an unfortunate result of some faulty word choices (though I have my opinion), but when he's done this before, he's been told, at great length, that it bothers people here (including, of course, those people who have served), and why. So the fact that he's still doing it, even if subtly, is extremely troubling.

If I in general thought the world of you except that I had seen repeated evidence that you thought people in the military were automatically better than everyone else, that same sentence from you would have bugged me. And if I in general thought that CRV was an ill-informed nonsense-spewer with some rather nasty opinions but he had never said the things he has said in the past about military service, well, that same sentence probably wouldn't have bothered me nearly as much.

#94 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 05:46 PM:

If what I just wrote is coherent, well, thank goodness. If not, I need a nap.

#95 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 08:04 PM:

Naps are nice anyway, especially if you've got a kitty.

#96 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 09:45 PM:

As to what this thread started on, who let all the dumbasses into the Rethuglican party? Do they think they're so important and exaulted that they can get away with dumbass public behavior by making lame excuses? The Dog ate my.... oh, never mind.

As to the 'rev' P. I won't deign to write out the name or the name of his organization. I unfortunately live within 70 miles of that piece of shit and he and his moron family protest and inflict themselves in every inconvenient way they can.

(the funniest was that J and M, and some friends went to see the CSN & Y concert at Kemper a few years ago, they had developed a plan that if the protesters were at the entrance the boys would cuddle the boys and the girls would cuddle with girls. The morons were at the south parking entrance the one that almost no one knows about/uses if they're not working at the arena...)

They picket funerals for just about anyone that they think abhorrent. I don't hate much of anyone, I think it's a waste of psychic energy. But I hate that bunch of slime.

#97 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 11:56 PM:

At the risk of being late to the party, I think Alberto, Xopher and abi are right, and CRV got a bit of rough handling here, because of things which happened elsewhere; which is human, but not what we aspire to.

I understand (because I chided him for it) that his previous actions also color people's perceptions (it's how we get, or lose, what slack we have; once we get past the, "oh look a new person" reactions).

Emotional bleedover from hot-topics is something I worry about doing. I tend to to other fora to vent (on occaision that has been here, because it was one of those other fora which was the cause of distress).

#98 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 11:58 PM:

and I managed to not finish the writing of my thoughts.

I go to other fora, because I don't want to lose my level-headedness, and alienate people I might persuade.

#99 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 07:59 AM:

bryan @24 Finally in the absolute middle of the bell you have the straight Homosexuals.

Straight Homosexuals? My head's spinning at that thought. How does that work?

(Slightly more seriously, in the context of various sexual* activities is there a less confusing word than straight? The alternatives I've come up with all seem to make me snigger - "common or garden" (UK English), "vanilla" (US English))

* Or possibly drug-related

#100 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 09:10 AM:

A guy I knew a bit in high school was once driving friends home from something or other. One was giving him turn-by-turn directions to her house from the backseat.
"Turn right here, then straight for a while," she said.
"No!" he shouted. "Don't say that word in this car. It is GAYLY FORWARD."

Which doesn't give us a better word for 'straight', but it did crack up the entire car.

#101 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 09:44 AM:

I found this as a Whateverette (i.e., from John Scalzi's blog).

Richard Curtis has resigned

You know, every time someone involved in M/M sex acts claims "I am not gay", my first thought is always, "Oh, so you're bisexual then." This is probably not helpful.

Seriously, I'm reminded of Roy Cohn's speech in Angels in America where he claims that he's not gay. Gay people are powerless and disenfranchised, whereas he is neither. However, given the conservative right tends to equate homosexuality merely, and solely, with the committing of certain acts, it would be inconsistent for Richard Curtis to switch suddenly to the Roy Cohn definition.

So, I'm left with bisexuality, or some sort of weird hypocrisy. Whichever it is, I hope he comes to terms with it.

I do wonder if he had paid a woman for sex, if he'd be resigning now. To switch scandals for a second, in a weird way, Larry Craig is arguing for parity in the way we treat sex scandals. This is not to say, BTW, that Larry Craig is some sort of poster boy for equal rights for homosexuals. I'd prefer more useful rights like non-discrimination in employment and housing.

Otherwise, it's like what a really good friend claimed to me once. He thought that THE EIGER SANCTION was an advance in the treatment of gay characters in movies at the time because the creepy, gay villain was explicitly gay, rather than merely implied. I guess he has a point, but gee thanks...

#102 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 11:57 AM:

I have to say that I'm in agreement with Terry and Abi, here . . . it's somewhat disturbing, in a thread where the original subject of discourse was how much the fluorosphere dislikes Fred Phelps and all his works, to see someone get flamed not for defending the indefensible but for expressing his dislike of Fred Phelps in the wrong words.

#103 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 12:14 PM:

For me, it's not that he used the wrong words, it's that he then denied having written them. A simple "oops, I was wrong, I didn't know about that" would have settled it.

#104 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 12:26 PM:

Neil W #99:

I assume that you would also have a little trouble with "bog-standard" in the context.

#105 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 12:33 PM:

'Straight Homosexuals? My head's spinning at that thought. How does that work?'

http://www.newstatesman.com/200002140012

it's not worth making fun of Republicans anymore, when nobody even picks up on the references.

#106 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 12:53 PM:

Bryan, I understood what was meant in this context, but I was amused by how hard the word straight is having to work in this conversation.

(I finished my coffee before reading "bog-standard")

#107 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 01:46 PM:

Joel 103: What CRV said was Oh please. I never "denied" Phelps crashed civilian funerals.

I said I had not been aware of such cases, since I only ever hear about the schmuck from other Army and Army Reserve I know who forward me shit in AKO going, "Look at this fucking clown!"

This was after people were yelling at him because he said "since Phelps doesn't crash civilian funerals..." Which to me sounds like he only became aware of Phelps and his minions when they began picketing the military ones. That doesn't seem like a denial, and his statements above don't sound like a lie to me.

I think we can be mad at CRV if we want to, but being mad at him doesn't justify being unfair. I think accusing him of "denying" that Phelps crashes civilian funerals was unfair, and that it was doubly unfair to accuse him of lying when he said he hadn't denied it, and that he just hadn't known.

Don't let your annoyance from another thread distort your reading of what he wrote in this thread.

#108 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 02:25 PM:

re 102: Well, unfortunately it was par for the course, once "private" forums got going. I've been piled on several times over the years.

#109 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 02:48 PM:

C. 108: I'm not sure what you mean by "private" forums. Not at ML, surely?

#110 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 03:08 PM:

By the irony quotes I mean that blog comments (and some similar forum structures) sit out in the open, talk to the world, and invite it to talk back. But they tend to be perceived as a private space by the regulars, and dissident responses are often treated as trespassing, if not trespasses.

#111 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 03:13 PM:

Xopher @ 107: CRV said "I said I had not been aware of such cases"... and he had not said that.

There may not be much difference in intent between "X doesn't happen" and "I'm not aware of X happening", but there's a big difference in meaning when one claims later to have said one instead of the other.

#112 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 03:22 PM:

I agree that the initial responses to CRV's error should have been "no, that's wrong" rather than "you're lying/denying", but CRV should not have then asserted that he'd said that he "wasn't aware", because he had not used any such qualifier.

#113 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 04:09 PM:

I think the reaction to CRV on this thread was a miniature of what happened on ""Yes, Judge", and not just because many of the posters here were angry about the other thread. In part, CRV creates his own trouble because of the way he writes. He thinks of discussion as debate; the object not being to explore issues or find consensus, but to try ideas** against each other, with a victor emerging by beating up the loser.

Worse, I think CRV believes that Truth is revealed, not discovered, that it is handed down in inviolable form, and that Truth and Goodness are inextricably linked. Now that's an attitude that grates on me, because it doesn't allow for human reason to find out more about the universe, and that's one of my main motivations for getting out of bed in the morning. I suspect, given the very high proportion of intelligent, well-educated, experienced, and highly-articulate people who read this blog, that it bothers a lot of you as well. And so even when I agree with CRV, what he writes often makes me grit my teeth, and I see the same reaction in others.

As for being around smart people, maybe I'm at an advantage here. I'm extremely intelligent, and I do say so myself, but I can't think of a time when I didn't hang around with people who were at least as smart as me, and usually more so. Doing that may mean I don't shine as brightly as I would in a slower crowd, but it means I get to learn a lot from others, and that's well worth it. CRV may be smart, be he's not smart enough to realize that he isn't smart enough.

** In the original sense of the word "trial" as in "trial by combat".

#114 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 04:25 PM:

I'm tempted to go back and show you why I disagree, and why he didn't mean what you thought he meant when he denied all, but since he seems to have withdrawn...well, I'm not his lawyer. It's a tendency of mine to defend anyone I think is being treated too harshly, and that makes people think I actually side with the people so treated. I don't side with CRV on these issues. So I'm going to let it drop.

Bruce 113: There's a scene in Broadcast News where a network exec sarcastically yells at Holly Hunter's character "It must be nice to always be the smartest person in the room!"

She replies "No, it's awful." Fortunately for me, it's pretty easy for me to avoid that situation! When I have experienced it, it really IS awful, especially if I'm the only one who can figure out that something terrible is about to happen, and I realize that I can't possibly make the others understand. Slow-motion train wreck, anyone?

#115 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 08:37 PM:

Xopher, congratulations, you have power. The top google ad on this thread is headed "Two Fisted Train Wreck".

#116 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2007, 09:31 PM:

Bruce @ 113

That last paragraph ... I grew up in a town where that was prety much true: most of the kids were at least as smart as me, and a few of them were so smart the rest of us just looked at them in awe. (One of them became a professor of music *and* a music magazine editor *and* a writer. He still writes/performs music and acts on stage.)

I got used to thinking of myself as average, and in fandom, I can be average again.

#117 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:07 PM:

Re Phelps: the one time I've seen the Westboro protesters in my own town (I was at the counterprotest across the street), these folks also showed up, in much greater numbers, and were much appreciated.

#118 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2007, 10:48 PM:

Bruce @113:

[...] "He thinks of discussion as debate; the object not being to explore issues or find consensus, but to try ideas** against each other, with a victor emerging by beating up the loser."

Yup, and as Formal Debate, at that, wherein Points are acquired by identifying the Opponent's infractions of The Rules, _and_ by slyly & cleverly evading The Rules oneself. I struggled with an LArea fan who was upholding what I consider a reprehensible position on another topic, until I realized that he was playing that Game, for Points/Winning/Dominance, that he is a much better at such Argumentation than I am, and that I was never going to succeed in communicating the conviction that if his argument prevails, the results will be horrible. A Fight -- physical or verbal -- proves only who is the best fighter, with the result having nothing whatsoever to do with any greater basic contention.

Mind you, many of us are, to some exent, mirrors, and tend to respond with similar techniques, but it makes us all nervous, edgy, and less civil than we believe we ought to be. *sigh*

"I think CRV believes that Truth is revealed, not discovered, that it is handed down in inviolable form, and that Truth and Goodness are inextricably linked."

I'd quibble about "Truth" and suggest that "Logic" would be more applicable, but yes, he has, IIRC, identified himself as a "Christian" and the phrase you use seems crucial to modern Christian Fundamentalism.

"I can't think of a time when I didn't hang around with people who were at least as smart as me, and usually more so. Doing that may mean I don't shine as brightly as I would in a slower crowd, but it means I get to learn a lot from others, and that's well worth it. CRV may be smart, be he's not smart enough to realize that he isn't smart enough."

Having a similar background, I'd say that's the meat in the nutshell.


#119 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:04 PM:

John Chu, #101: I think you've nailed it. These guys may not be gay, but they sure as hell aren't straight either; bisexual is the only definition that fits.

Someone here, back in one of the Larry Craig threads, expressed the opinion that this was also the rationale behind the (apparent) Republican conviction that only Absolute Repression can prevent the Gay Virus from taking over the world -- because so many of them self-identify as "straight" and yet find the impulse to have sex with other men irresistable, they think that all straight men must feel the same way. Their point to their wives and children as "evidence" that they're not gay, but all that really proves is that they're under 6.0 on the Kinsey Scale.

#121 ::: Kourtney ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2014, 12:19 PM:

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