25 February 2013

Satire and "The Line"

  As a writer, I am always leery of passing too harsh a judgment on other writers; especially when it comes to attempts at satire. As George Carlin says, "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately."

  I've written my share of satire. I've toed – perhaps even crossed – that line more than once. I've made word choices for effect. But, what The Onion did last night during the Academy Awards – what they called Quvenzhané Wallis, a nine-year-old child – was well over any possible definition of "the line."

  While I certainly am not the final judge of what is or isn't funny – at least not for anyone but myself – I think any rational person would be offended by The Onion's insulting remark regarding Ms. Wallis.

  Because she was seated at the Oscar ceremony, waiting to find out if she won the award for Best Actress, I'm sure Ms. Wallis did not see the Twitter post from The Onion. And – though it may be naïve of me – I hope she does not see the apology they posted soon after. I hope no one has to explain to a nine-year-old what The Onion said that required – that demanded – an apology.

  I believe in the First Amendment. The Onion has the right to write whatever they please. I, however, am not forced to agree with them. Nor, am I obligated to continue following them on Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, and Twitter.

  I have, therefore, expunged The Onion from each of the social media platforms I use.

20 February 2013

Shakespeare the Critic

Hmmm, great indeed! "So we beat on..."

I thought this was about last night's wine-fest! Oh, my poor head!

This dude scares the $#!^ outta me! Ed, let's go get a drink and talk about it!

Well, maybe not the complete plays. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

This one writes pretty well...for a chick!

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was an age of wisdom, it was..."
 Blah, blah, blah!

Seriously, John?! As they say (or, will say in the future), less is more!
 Have you thought about trying a sonnet? Come on, 14 lines...

14 February 2013

The American Family Association is Unpatriotic and Ungrateful

Arlington National Cemetery (photo from Army.mil)

I rarely comment on the things I post on What Are You Really Afraid Of? (http://whatareyoureallyafraidof.tumblr.com/) The stories and pictures I choose usually illustrate the bigotry, intolerance, and ignorance of the "anti-gay rights" movement better than my words can.

Today, however, I must sound off.

The American Family Association (AFA) is angry that gay soldiers might be buried in the "hallowed ground" of Arlington National Cemetery.
First, I find it sad that the leaders and members of the AFA have nothing better to do with their lives than trying to deny honor to people who fought and died for their country; to people who fought and died for the AFA's right to even exist and espouse their ridiculous beliefs!
Second, I find it funny that the AFA doesn't realize there are already gay people buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Our country's fallen heroes have been buried at Arlington since the Civil War. Gay people have been around since the beginning of time!
Does anyone truly believe none of the gay people who have served in our military were killed and buried with honor at Arlington?
Now, I challenge the AFA to look at the rows of headstones lining the rolling hills of that cemetery, and tell me which of the fallen were gay! And, then, tell me why it matters?
In addition, I challenge them to look at those who visit the graves and tell me what their relationship to the fallen is? Is it a father, a mother, a brother, sister, husband, wife, son, daughter, best friend, lover, comrade?
Is the sacrifice made by a gay soldier somehow less than that of a "straight" soldier? Is the pain and loss felt by those left behind any less for a same-sex mate?
I served in the U.S. Army. In Basic Combat Training, by the simple logic of the Army, the man in the bunk next to mine was my "Battle Buddy." He and I became fast friends. We endured the physical and mental tests of BCT together. After training, I went to Panama, and he went to South Korea.
Years later, after we'd both left the Army, we found each other on Facebook. That's when I found out he is gay. You know what? It doesn't matter. I don't care that he's gay. It doesn't make a bit of difference to me. He remains my friend and battle buddy.
How does who a person loves affect the honor they receive for serving their country? For giving -- in the words of Abraham Lincoln -- "the last full measure of devotion" to the United States.
The AFA is not only bigoted, intolerant, and ignorant, but also unpatriotic and ungrateful for the sacrifice made to protect their freedom.