Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Who do blame Katrina, Katrina's destruction, & response on

As Hurrican Katrina's death toll and destruction assessment comes in, murmurs of who to blame are quietly being blogged: MISSISSIPPI GOV. BARBOUR PARTIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR HURRICANE'S SEVERITY According to a Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. article(1) on The Huffington Post :
"Governor Haley Barbour played in derailing the Kyoto Protocol and kiboshing President Bush’s iron-clad campaign promise to regulate CO2" (1)
in 2001, as a oil industry lobbyist and former RNC chair and member of the Bush campaign. CO2 has been linked to global warming which is linked to increased hurricanes. HURRICANE WAS GOD'S JUDGEMENT AGAINST NEW ORLEANS FOR WELCOMING GAYS and noted that a fringe, anti-gay Christian organization linked the hurricane to God's judgement against gays. According to today's press release(2) from the anti-gay, fringe Christian organization Repent America:
"'Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city,' stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. 'From "Girls Gone Wild" to "Southern Decadence", New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. May it never be the same,' he continued." (2)
Southern Decadence is an annual gay festival that was scheduled for Labor Day weekend. IRAQ WAR RESOURCES COULD HAVE BEEN USED ON KATRINA (blogged allegations I'll look up later: * US Army Corps, which maintains New Orleans' levy system, hampered by poor communications. Why does the Corps rely on civilian communication system? * US infastructure, such as New Orleans' levy system, could have been better prepared had resources not been spent Iraq. * National Guard personnel could be used in rescue efforts are in Iraq.) (1) (2)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Alan Ball Interview Excerpts

Yes, I don't have a life. I decided to transcribe parts of Terry Gross's August 23, 2005, Fresh Air interview(1) with Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball. I basically transcribed his statements about the character and story. MONTAGE'S HIDDEN STORYLINES TERRY GROSS: "...Why did you want to resolve things with reasonably happy endings for everybody?" ALAN BALL: "Well because I feel like the final stage of grief -- and if anything I've sort of looked at the show as a meditation on grief -- the final stage of grief is coming out of it and sort of reconnecting with life. "I don't for a minute believe that these people moved forward and their lives were without drama and without conflict and without pain and without struggle. We just didn't see that. But certainly you look at what happens and certainly you know ... David is devasted by the death of Nate. It wasn't as clear in the final montage but Brenda had two husbands after Nate. I mean I don't think those relationships were easy. I don't necessarily think Ruth and George lived happily ever after. And Claire, you know, came back to her mother's funeral when she was in her mid-forties and got[?] reconnected with Ted. Who knows what happened in those years up to then. ... Were there marriages? ... "...But I feel like at the moment Claire leaves to go off into her new life that's where those people are at that time. But ... I never felt like, 'okay, everythings tied up in a nice little package'. .. I just felt like, well, ... they've started to come out of the tunnel of Nate's death and she's leaving and something new is starting and that's the end of this show." KILLING NATE GROSS: "...Can you talk a little about the process of sitting down alone or with the other members of the writing staff to figure out what the final fate of the characters was going to be and to even write lives past the end of the series for them?" BALL: "Well, we reconveyned back in August, I guess about a year ago, to start figuring out what the final season was going to be. And within the first week somebody had pitched -- I wish I could remember because I felt like it was such a great idea -- that we actually see the deaths of all the characters. And so, it just felt so organically appropriate to the show. "And there was a lot of conflict in the room about whether Nate should or shouldn't die. And I was open to him not dying, but I -- I'm very instinctive -- and I just went, 'pitch me something that is as effective or as, you know, works as organically and fits within -- and is what would be the final chapter of this if it were a big long novel. Pitch it to me.' And nobody was able to. ...We didn't want to kill Nate in the very last episode. We wanted to see the family deal with the grief and the loss. And see how Nate's life -- now that is was actually finished at least in this plane -- how it would affect those who loved him and those whom he loved." NATE'S MORALLY MESSY ENDING GROSS: "...Why did you and the writers want him to die at such a morally messy moment?" BALL: "Well, personally -- I can't speak for the other writers -- but I think one of the things that appealed to us throughout the production of the show is things that are morally messy. Because to me that seems to be so much more of what life is about than this facsimile of life that we see depicted on television which is always about these very clear-cut moral choices and these very clearly defined heroes and villins and this world in which people really do sort of figure things out and live these really manageable lives. Now, I don't know if I'm so far out of the mainstream that...that just doesn't make sense to me or if it doesn't actually make sense to most people." NATE'S HYPOTHETICAL LIFE WITH MAGGIE OR BRENDA GROSS: "In your mind, if Nate had lived, would he and Maggie had become lovers? Would that have been the true love in his life or do think that would have ended too?" BALL: "In my mind, I'm not sure that had he lived, he and Brenda really would have split up. I think he was feeling something very deeply and passionately at that moment and then he expressed and then he died. And there is something really deeply tragic in that which I'm drawn towards in terms of drama, in terms of telling a story. ... I think had he left Brenda and gone with Maggie I think should would have had a really hard living up to what he saw in her. ".. I think, possibly, had he stayed with Brenda, it might have been the thing that really brought them together and they were able to move forward and into a new and different place. It may have just been a placeholder and later something else would have happened -- on both their parts. I mean, Brenda was in sort of a better place at the time when the series ended, but she certainly had her own streak of confusion that could have led her to different places." BRENDA & BILLY'S SIBLING SEXUAL ATTRACTION GROSS: "...In the, I think it is the next to the last episode, there is a sequence in which they [Brenda and Billy] actually start to physically touch in a sexual way. And I was so relieved when Brenda wakes up and it's just a dream. And everyone I spoke to about that scene said exactly the same thing, 'I'm so glad it is just a dream'. Can you talk a little about what went on in the writers' room about that scene and about whether to do it and so on?" BALL: "Well there were actually people in the writers' room saying, 'Brenda and Billy ... we just need to get them together and just let them be together'. -- And, of course there were people in the writers' room who were pitching at the end of season four that there actually was a nuclear holocaust and season five take place in a nuclear wasteland. -- So I said, 'no, I don't think that is going to as satisfying experience for our audience and I also don't think it is right for the show'. These two, who saved each others' lives growing up with these kind of mythically horrible, greek tragedy monsters of parents that they had... "And so, Craig Wright, a very talented writer, was the writer who that episode was assigned to. And we knew we wanted it to it go on so long that you actually got really physically uncomfortable and you thought, 'Oh, my god, this is really happening', before she woke up from the dream. "And Craig went off to write his first episode and he brought it back and I remember I read the episode and the line where Billy goes, 'This is what your penis would look life if you were a boy'. And I had this moment of revulsion. And I thought, 'I'm not sure we can go there'. But every other writer at that table said, 'We have to go there. That's what so exciting about this moment is because you really do see the truth of what is there on some subconscious level about their .. you know part of that weird attraction between them that was formed when they were children with this wildly sexually inapproriate parents and friends acting out all around them .. is that they felt like they were each other.' "And I said, 'okay, I'll trust you, I'll trust you guys on this'" INTENDED MYSTERIES: MAYA'S BIOLOGICAL FATHER; HOYT AND LISA GROSS: "...Do you, as the creator of the series, know for sure who Maya's father is? Was it Nate? ...Or was it Lisa's brother-in-law?" BALL: "Do I know for sure who her biological father is?" GROSS: "Yes, biological father, yes." BALL: "No, no I don't. "And I also don't really know what happened between Hoyt and Lisa when she died. I don't really know exactly what went on there. And that's part of what we wanted to dramatize. What about those things you never really know. "... you know part of what consciousness and society and certainly our modern consumer, media-driven society has done is, it's given us the idea that there are answers to everything and that you can know everything. And what gets ironed out by that kind of concept is mystery. ... I think, at the risk of sounding really stupid, ...there is so much that we will never be able to comprehend that we don't even have the senses to comprehend. And I think part of living a spiritual life is being okay with not knowing answers that you can't get. "'Was Maya Nate's biological daughter?' We don't really know. 'Was she his daugher?' Yes. He was her father. Ultimately, whether or not his DNA is in that child is not as important as, 'Did he love her to the best of his ability and see her as his child and make her welfare something more important than his own?'" (1)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Terry Gross questions eHarmony founder about exclusion of gays

I don't know whether it's intentional or whether she is just being thorough, but Fresh Air(1) host Terry Gross always seems to find the gay angle in most of her interviews. Last week, she interviewed(2) eHarmony(3) founder, psychologist, and Evangelical Christian Neil Clark Warren. After Warren proclaims that eHarmony provides services to (straight) couples of a wide-range of beliefs including atheists and Wiccans, Terry asks him why eHarmony declines to match gays and lesbians. He initially states that in his 30-year practice he has not counseled same-sex couples, he is not familiar with the dynamics of gay relationships, and the principles in same-sex relationships are probably different than straight relationships. Terry counters that he probably hasn't counseled Wiccans either. Warren then seems to evade the topic by explaining that eHarmony is based on matching people by religious similarities. Terry then slightly interrupts Warren's explanation by asking a more blunt question:
"Let me just ask you, are you sure it's not just because you are uncomfortable with homosexuality that you are not doing it as opposed to the fact that you haven't counseled a lot of gay couples because you know a lot of people say love is love and an attraction is an attraction and it might not be that different to match the tastes of a gay couple and straight couple?"(2)
Warren responds:
"You know it might not. I don't know that. I have a deep desire for gays and lesbians to be matched well if they are going to be together. The fact is that same-sex marriage in this country is largely illegal at this time and we do try to match people for marriage. So that is one issue for us. The other issue ... I don't try to sneak away from it. It's the biggest political, most contentious kind of question in American right now. And, you know, I have come up through the Christian side. I have a great amount of experience in all of that. And given the fact that we don't know much about it and given the fact that it is so inflammatory on both sides, we've tried to steer clear of it. ..."(2)
He continues to explain that he has spent a lot of time with an unnamed gay group that sought his advice for a similar matching website for gays. But he concludes, "We've taken a position right now that we choose not to do that."
What I love about Terry Gross is that she cut-off his seemingly BS answer and forced him to answer a well-reasoned and specific accusation. Although he tried to maintain a compassionate conservative answer, it seems his response is that he and eHarmony want to avoid controversy. Of course, by discriminating against gays and lesbians, eHarmony is inviting controversy from gay and lesbian groups. A more truthful response may have been that eHarmony does not want to offend its conservative Christian customer base. Norm! (1) (2) (3)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Six Feet Under final episode (spoilers)

I just watched the final episode of Six Feet Under. It was a little underwhelming, but series finales rarely live-up to expectations. My main complaint was the Claire/Ruth crying scenes seemed overplayed -- although, they did establish that the characters are certainly different than when the show began. I liked how the episode jumped forward a few weeks after each white-out. (big spoiler) I also liked how the last ten minutes showed how all the characters die in the future. It seems Alan Ball recognized viewers' need to know what eventually happened to the characters while killing any need for a series revival. David & Keith live happily ever after David & Keith continue the Fisher & Sons legacy. They have a formal wedding -- maybe gay marriage is eventually legalized (BTW, the closeted gay pastor conducts the wedding.) The oldest adopted child is hinted at taking an interest in the family business. Keith starts his own armored truck business of some sort, so it is assumed that he doesn't take an active role in Fisher & Sons. During Keith's death scene, he is seen emptying his armored truck himself, so I assume the business is small operation. David dies at a family picnic while remembering Keith. Their middle- and old-age make-up jobs looked really silly. I can't imagine how two trendy gay men would let themselves age into fat father stereotypes. I admit it's a gay stereotype, but I can't imagine Keith letting David have a comb-over. Maybe the fat father images demonstrate that David & Keith settled into a comfortable family life and let go of the metrosexual image. Ruth lets go of caregiving and joins the girls in running a dog-sitting business Ruth becomes a bohemian like her sister and lets go of caring for others. George remains in her life as a companion, but not a husband. Rico & Vanessa live happily everafter Keith buys Rico's share of Fisher & Diaz and it is assumed that Rico and Vanessa start their own competing funeral home. Unfortunately, the episode really skipped Rico and Vanessa's futures. I suppose Diaz and Fishers permanently seperate and have little to do with each other. Rico is just seen collapsing on a cruise ship deck with Vanessa probably during their retirement. Brenda moves on, dies accompanied by Billy Brenda is seen at Keith & David's wedding with an attractive man, so it is assumed she re-marries. However, her daughters or husband do not appear to be at her bedside. Rather, she dies in Billy's presence. Through it all, she ends up stuck with Billy again. Claires lives to be 101 years old and dies alone with her memories. Claire returns to the Republican at David & Keith's wedding (which seems really far-fetched) She is seen dying alone in room of her pictures of her family with clouded eyes. Of course, if she is 101 year-old, she may have outlived any children and spouse(s). The tricky thing about the end future deaths is that they are all seen while Claire is driving so they could be her own fantasies about the future. Overall, it wasn't the best episode, but it did what needed to be done to end the series. There are many characters that did not comeback this season that I think were missed. Notably the futures of Arthur and Gabe were left mysteries.

re: what does ex-gay mean

Comment submitted to ex-gay Ben's blog,, in response to his post, what does exgay mean?: As pointed out by Nick, the definition of "ex-gay" depends on one's definition of "gay". I believe "gay" is most often used to describe people who have mostly same-sex attractions - regardless if their attractions are wanted or unwanted. However, in the context of one's ex-gay struggle, "gay" means self-acceptence of same-sex attractions. Therefore, "ex-gay" would mean someone who no longer accepts their same-sex attractions as in, "I'm no longer identify myself as gay." However, "ex-gay" doesn't necessarily mean loss of same-sex attractions. Most ex-gay ministries I know of are very careful to insert disclaimers into their programs that the purpose of their ministries is not to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals. (And yet, ex-gays who are heterosexually married are more often promoted as successful examples than single ex-gays who continue to struggle.) Many ex-gay promoters like to use the alcoholics analogy -- especially when responding to low ex-gay success rates and ex-exgays. The important difference is that the first step for most alcoholics is to take on the identify of an "alcoholic" and to understand that it will be a life-long characteric (hence, "one day at a time"). Although most ex-gays admit continuing same-sex attractions, I don't believe most ex-gay ministries describe the ex-gay lifestyle as a daily, life-long struggle (or battle) as recovering alcoholics might. So, I would say "ex-gay" describes a person's particular viewpoint regarding their same-sex attractions. The ex-gay ministry I attended was very reluctant to use the "ex-gay", because its definition isn't quite clear. But they did use term because it was a convenient short-hand term than "homosexual-who-is-striving-toward-sexually/spiritual-wholeness". Norm!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Religious Right Attacks Gay Youth Agency

Right wing groups are publicizing an ex-gay activist's attack against a local gay youth agency. Ex-gay DL Foster has publicized allegations on his blog(1) that a Virginia gay youth agency, Richmond Organization for Sexual Minority Youth ("ROSMY")(2), "...encouraged sexual interaction between men and boys on its website"(3). The American Family Association's Agape Press news service(4) and James Dobson's Focus on the Family(5) publicized his allegations. Foster's allegation against ROSMY is based on an old recruitment ad on ROSMY's website. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

update: Exodus Canceled Jay Bakker's editor, David Moore, posted a follow-up regarding Jay Bakker's canceled Exodus conference appearance. As Moore and Bakker had suspected would happen as a result of their interview, Exodus canceled Bakker's scheduled appearance at its annual conference:
"I was asked not to speak because of what I had said in Q-Notes," Bakker confirmed. "They weren't very happy about it. "They never asked me what my thoughts or feelings on homosexuality actually were. So when they asked me after the fact, 'do you think it's a sin?" I had to tell them what I felt. I told them I was leaning towards no on that and we apparently didn't see things from the same perspective." (1)
Miller contacted Exodus which confirmed that they canceled Bakker:
"Upon learning of some theological differences regarding the issue of homosexuality, we have chosen to pursue other speaker options at our national conference and Youth Day event," [Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International] wrote. (1)
Exodus' Bakker uninvite seems to be a major oversight on its part that raises several questions:
  • Why would Exodus invite a speaker to its conference without verifying he shared its same theology?
  • Why didn't Bakker's initial refusal to sign Exodus' speaker agreement raise red flags to conference organizers?
  • Why were conference organizers so insistant on having Bakker appear at this particular conference that featured Jerry Falwell -- a man the Bakker family would seem to have a bitter history with?
Either Exodus conference organizers were incompetent or there was some other agenda in bringing Bakker to the conference. Although Bakker has granted interviews with Miller, he doesn't seem to want to draw attention to the rejection. When Exodus canceled his appearance, his ministry's website simply stated "canceled" without attributing cause (for whatever reason, Exodus stills lists Bakker as a conference speaker on the conference's website(2)). It seems Bakker doesn't want the incident to overshadow his ministry. (1) (2)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Blog Start #2

Okay, this is my second attempt at starting a blog. I started a blog at, but it doesn't seem to be as flexible or as widely used. I suppose I'll just use this blog to post my own self-entertaining thoughts and observations. I'll probably post things I post on other message boards and things that don't fit on the Yahoo! group.

40 Year-Old Virgins?

Y! group exexgayministry message #3799: There has been an interesting discussion over at exgaymensministry about the new comedy The 40 Year-Old Virgin(1) (starring Steve Carell of The Daily Show). Several exgay members appear to relate to the movie's title because they are 40+ year-old men who have not had heterosexual sex. What's interesting is that some exgay members still consider themselves virgin because they have not had heterosexual sex. The original poster states:
"...I have had bisexual attractions but have never had sex with a woman. I have acted out homosexually as that has been eaiser for me." (2)
Under exgaymensministry's virgin definition, I suppose that would mean I'm a virgin too. There seems to be a gray area in the virgin definition. Technically, a virgin is a "person who has not experienced sexual intercourse"(3). However, according to the Yahoo! dictionary, 'sexual intercourse' does not necessarily mean heterosexual sex. Rather, sexual intercourse mean "sexual union between humans involving genital contact..."(4). So, it would seem homosexual sexual intercourse could be included as a way of breaking one's virginity. However, if one's virgin status is so important, who am I to argue. Afterall, I don't think any compassionate person would argue rape victims should not retain virgin status. All that being said, I think it's silly for gay men who have been sexually active (or exgay men) to argue that they're virgins because they have not had hetero-sex. From the previews, I assume the point of the comedy is that the 40 year-old virgin is not virgin by choice, but because he is socially inept. In contrast, gay men (and exgay men) are hetero-virgin by choice of preferring not to have a sexual relationship (or marriage) with a woman. or "poontang" as Mr. Garrison would say Norm!