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Archive for July 10th, 2008

Lust for Life – Prolific science fiction scribe Samuel Delany shares his passions in The Polymath

Posted by invizweb on July 10, 2008

Sam Adams wrote for Philadelphia City Paper:

One of Delany’s most enduring ideas is the importance of cities, and particularly the interactions between people of different social and economic backgrounds that living in the city facilitates. In Times Square Red, he writes, “Life is at its most rewarding, productive and pleasant when large numbers of people understand, appreciate and seek out interclass contact and communication conducted in a mode of goodwill.”

That these thoughts appear in a book whose first half is dedicated to Delany’s memories of cruising movie theaters in Times Square’s glory days is no accident. The ability to reach out and touch someone across the lines that usually keep the classes separate is, he says, “one of the most important things about gay sex, particularly in its aspect of public sex.” In The Polymath, he recalls taking a break from his writing routine to have sex with a New York City garbage man in a darkened movie theater — not the kind of thing you can imagine James Joyce doing on his lunch hour.

By Delany’s estimate, he would have sex with as many as 10 or 15 men in the course of a normal day, while still logging a full day’s work at the typewriter. He puts his lifetime total at something on the order of 50,000 partners. “I don’t know whether it resolves any particular conflicts,” he says. “You learn a lot about different people, different groups — and it’s a lot of fun.” Although he does not practice safe sex, he has remained HIV-negative, in part because he engages only in nonpenetrative sex.

Now that Delany is, as he puts it, “notably closer to 70 than I am to 60,” the opportunities are less. “When all is said and done, sex is still a young man’s or a young woman’s game. It would be nice if there was a little more of it available for us older folks, but we make do.”

Delany’s long-term project of changing the discourse is all about giving his readers, and his students, the tools to facilitate such interactions, sexual or otherwise.

Read more.

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Homophobic Attack in West Queens

Posted by invizweb on July 10, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2008

Press Contact: Marisa Ragonese, 718-204-5955 (w) or 917-428-0250 (c)
or via email at MRagonese@QueensCommunityHouse.org

LGBT Youth Drop-in Center Responds to Gay-Bashers Assault
on Astoria Priest

In aftermath of Monday’s assault on Father Braxton, Director of Carmen’s Place, a homeless shelter for LGBT youth, participants gather to discuss hostility they face daily in school and in the streets of Queens.

***
Astoria, NY – On Thursday, July 10th at 3 PM, youth participants of Queens Community House’s Generation Q, the sole drop-in center for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) youth in Queens, as well as residents of Carmen’s Place a homeless shelter that serves the same population, are holding a press conference in front of Carmen’s Place, located at 31-14 Steinway Street. Father Lewis Braxton, director of Carmen’s Place, was attacked in front of the shelter by four teenaged boys on Monday night after stepping in to defend one of the residents of the shelter who was being harassed and threatened.

“I’m shocked that this happened on such a busy street,” said Father Braxton. “This speaks to the need for a real conversation about the safety of trans people in this city. ”

With somewhere between 20 and 40 percent of homeless youth identifying as LGBT and statistics showing that LGBT youth are 3 to 5 times more likely to commit suicide, this shelter meets an essential need. These young people, many of whom have been thrown out of their homes, depend on safe havens like Carmen’s Place and Generation Q to fulfill their emotional, psychological and social needs, and in the case of those without homes, their most basic needs.

The youth at Generation Q would like to take this opportunity, while there is a spotlight on the homophobic assaults in Queens, to speak directly to the media and public about the dangers they face daily and the need for hate crimes law, school-based initiatives such as Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) that focus on prevention of hate crimes as well as interventions of identity-based bullying, and funding for safe havens like Carmen’s Place and Generation Q.

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Posted in Civil Liberties and Social Justice, New York | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Man Who Put Charles Manson Behind Bars Envisions The Same For President Bush

Posted by invizweb on July 10, 2008

Thanks to Mind Virus @ Disinfo

Mark Rahner, Seattle Times staff reporter, conducted an interview with former Tate-LaBianca murder case prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi:

The man who put Charles Manson in the big house wants to do the same thing for the occupant of the White House. At the very least. Just the title of legendary prosecutor and best-selling true-crime author Vincent Bugliosi’s new book makes it a hot potato: “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder” (Vanguard Press, $26.95, currently No. 12 on The New York Times hardcover nonfiction list). Nutshell: Because the president lied America into war, he’s responsible for every resulting death.

In other words, light reading.

Bugliosi, 73, told me by phone from his Los Angeles home I was the only one from a major paper to interview him so far, and no TV either. Said he’s been “blacked out” for the first time.

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In Satanist’s Custody Battle, Law May Play Devil’s Advocate

Posted by invizweb on July 10, 2008

Thanks to TiamatsVision @Technoccult.

ROCHESTER, Ind.—The T in Satan’s name inked on Jamie Meyer’s left leg is drawn to look like an upside-down cross. The crucifix suspended above his bed hangs upside down too.

Meyer’s ex-wives say he also has turned their children’s lives upside down since he joined the Church of Satan—an organization that eschews spirituality and celebrates man’s selfish desires.

One of Meyer’s ex-wives is citing his religious affiliation as the main reason an Indiana judge should restrict his visitation time to allow his three youngest daughters to attend Christian church. A Fulton County judge could decide the case Wednesday.

“My children are my legacy,” said Meyer, 30, a factory worker. “It is because of them that I am still here today. I will always fight for my rights as a father.”

Across the nation, child-custody disputes involving religion are on the rise as the frequency of interfaith marriages and religious conversions increases and fathers become more active in their kids’ upbringing. Judges risk crossing the line between church and state, experts say, if they try to choose the religion in which a child should be raised.

“People continue to bring it up even though the judge tells them they won’t consider a belief system,” said Ronald Nelson, chairman of the American Bar Association’s custody committee. “Judges are people. They are swayed by their emotions and biases just like everyone else. . . . What better bias than religion? It’s a visceral thing.”

Experts said the burden is on the ex-wife to show that the religion was harmful to the children.

Gaetano Ferro, immediate past president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, said the U.S. Constitution prevents judges from showing a religious preference. But the burden of proof might be on Meyer to prove the Church of Satan is an authentic faith.

“If Satanism is treated as religion, that’s strike one to her case,” Ferro said.

Indeed, the Internal Revenue Service defines the Church of Satan as a religion. Furthermore, that’s how it defines itself.

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Posted in Civil Liberties and Social Justice, Current Events, Philosophy & Religion & Spirituality | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Jesus Loves You — And Your Orgasm

Posted by invizweb on July 10, 2008

Thanks to Ralph Bernardo @ Disinfo

Louis Bayard writes in Salon:

The religious right is celebrating sex to stroke its conservative message. Liberals better rise to a secular defense soon.

July 8, 2008 | “My worst one was right on the money.”

The subject is orgasms. The speaker is pretty clearly a man. (Woody Allen, to be exact.) And the time is just as clearly the late 1970s — that cresting point of sexual liberation when orgasms were an unqualified good, no matter who was having them.

Those really were the days. In our modern times, suggests historian Dagmar Herzog in her new book, “Sex in Crisis,” the twin titans of Viagra and Internet porn have made the orgasm so large an imperative that we can no longer consider ourselves complete without one — which has naturally resulted in making us less likely to achieve one. Today’s man must, at every available moment, be rocking his partner’s world. Today’s woman must demand nothing less than to be rocked.

Small wonder, then, that we have become an anxious nation — forever wondering if we’re having enough sex — or good enough sex. What if our orgasms really aren’t right on the money? “Never have so many Americans,” writes Herzog, “worried so much about whether they really even want sex at all.”

Being a man, I tend to think sex will shrug off this particular slump and come roaring back for next year’s pennant race. But I wonder exactly how many Americans are, as the author claims, on the verge of swearing off coitus. (Is one of them my partner?) Herzog never offers much in the way of hard answers. Which makes the starting thesis of “Sex in Crisis” — that we are in the midst of a “sexual revolution,” or more properly a devolution — look pretty damned soft, even by the loose standards of sociological treatise. The good news: Herzog has a more interesting agenda up her sleeve than critiquing our ejaculations. She wants to anatomize the subtle and unsubtle ways in which the Religious Right (a rubric that, in her cosmos, must always be capitalized) has warped our sexual politics and forced even the most hardened secular humanists to sing from the Christian hymnal.

“For liberals, sex has become the problem that has no name; one simply does not hear liberals articulate a defense of sexual rights. Instead, what we have witnessed is a coalescing of conservative evangelical and mainstream secular perspectives on sex. The conversation on sex in America — when sex is discussed in a serious and earnest way at all — tends largely to adopt the parameters set by the Religious Right.”

Assuming this to be the case, how exactly did it happen? Herzog’s intriguing and deeply researched thesis is that evangelicals, over the last couple of decades, have beaten liberals at their own game by adapting liberal rhetoric for conservative ends.

As recently as 2003, for example, a certain public figure was arguing that voluntary prostitution was “despicable” because it “demeans the value of women” and promotes “the severe degradation and exploitation of women, the literal rape of countless women around the globe.” Was it Andrea Dworkin? Catharine MacKinnon? The correct answer: pro-life Rep. Smith, R-N.J., whose distinctly illiberal purpose was to limit AIDS outreach efforts to prostitutes and sex workers in developing nations.

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Posted in Civil Liberties and Social Justice, Cryptopolitics, Human Sexuality, Philosophy & Religion & Spirituality | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »