Good news: Both my father and my little brother were born on 21 March, and I was able to go to my hometown for their celebration lunch today. Happy birthday again, guys.
Bad news: That stupid, pork-packed, bureaucracy-inflating health-care bill is looking likely to pass. I was able to spend most of the day distracted by wine and birthday cake rather than checking CNN.com every five minutes…which is probably just as well, since there’ll be plenty of time to get worked into a froth of rage over the damned thing once its provisions start poisoning our lives.
Good news: James Randi, the magician and rationalist debunker of all manner of delusions, has come out on the blog attached to his website. I hadn’t particularly thought about it one way or another, though I did enjoy some of the bitchier passages in his Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural. Comments are almost all of the “We’re glad you told us, but don’t expect anyone to make a big deal of it” variety, which is great. The man is in his eighties, so he came of age when there was none of the infrastructure that those of us who came out in the last twenty years have had to draw on.
Bad news: Barney Frank thinks a Tea Party protester called him a faggot; so does someone from Talking Points Memo. I agree with Frank that denigrating him for being gay is unfair; he’s repeatedly demonstrated that he’s a total ninny in ways that have nothing to do with sexuality. But I also agree with Eric: there’s plenty of reason to wonder whether people heard what they think they heard. Faggot is a short, sharp word that any number of noises at a lively protest might sound like. Hell, “Barney, you faggot!” might not sound all that dissimilar from “Barney [pause for breath] Frank!” if there were plenty of background noise. As Eric says:
This is not to accuse Brian Beutler of lying, because he might be accurately repeating what he heard, but that does not shed any light on whether the old white guy was with the Tea Party movement or whether he was some sort of Fred Phelps style agent provocateur. The only way to know what was said and who he was would be to see some video, and considering the omnipresence of cameras these days, it would not surprise me if the footage of Barney Frank leaving his office turns up.
And if we assume that this happened, how on earth is that an indictment of the thousands of decent, ordinary Americans who showed up to protest Obamacare? Is it fair to call them Ku Klux Klanners and bigoted homophobes on the basis of a report that someone said something? Does anyone realize how easy it would be for anyone to just show up and yell “FAGGOT”? On what basis can an assumption be automatically made that this person was a Tea Partier?
Right. How much can we generalize from this, even if it turns out to be true? Given Frank’s history of capitalizing on any excuse to feel put upon, it seems wise to reserve judgment.