Thursday, October 28, 2010

Down To The Wire

Midterm elections are four days away and I'm going to be doing my election-worker thing on Tuesday, so I won't have to hear about voter projections and exit polls and states turning blue and red until late in the evening. From every indication, it's going to be an election like none other, as a tsunami-sized wave of stupidity and ignorance threatens to wash over this nation coast to coast as a plague of locusts, I mean Tea Partiers, comes home to roost.

Like an enormous flock of really stupid buzzards, the Tea Party candidates are circling in the sky right now, just waiting to swoop down on the decomposing remains of the dignity of this country. This has been an amazing election for a number of reasons, one of the worst being the enormous amount of money that has been poured into it over the last couple of weeks. They said on TV that more money has been spent on political advertising in the past two weeks as has been spent in the previous nine months. All thanks to those monolithic dipshits on the Supreme Court, who last January opened the floodgates by ruling that corporate interests can express their political opinions just like a regular flesh-and-blood person. And they "express" themselves with their deep pockets and funnel their money through a myriad of political action organizations with innocuous-sounding names.

Stretching the First Amendment until it's nearly unrecognizable, the "Justices" (term used loosely) did exactly the very worst thing it could. The election process in this country was already corrupted and debased by enormous amounts of money, and the Court ruling only allowed more money to be injected into a very sick, very broken system. It's like trying to put out a raging fire by pouring a bucket of gasoline on it. Now, right-wing crackpot groups in New York or Florida can buy airtime and drop their noxious opinions on Congressional races in Arizona and California. How is it even possible that single-issue social-conservative groups on the other side of the country know what is best for people in Arizona? In fact, they don't know what is best for us, nor do they care. The only thing they care about is to get the candidate they favor into office, who will presumably do their bidding and advance their twisted agenda. You might think it's the responsibility of the voter to weed through this weird blizzard of attack ads and ferret out the truth, but very few people care enough to do that.

The current crop of candidates include some of the most backward, reactionary and just plain deadheaded dimwits that I can ever recall. It seems the more idiotic, ridiculous and simple-minded the candidate, the more popular they are. Sharron Angle, running for Senate from Nevada, is a bottomless pit of stupidity, saying some of the most outrageous and jaw-dropping nonsense ever heard, and still she is in the race. In any other election, someone who had said such completely ridiculous things would have been laughed off the ticket, but not this time. There is another trend among these candidates to only talk to who they want to talk to, which is usually the cesspools over at Fox News, because they know they will be handled with kid gloves, portrayed in an extremely favorable light, and not asked any hard, embarrassing questions. Just the other day some journalists tried to corner Sharron Angle to have her answer some questions and she took off running on her stubby little tree-trunk legs like she was being chased by a murderer with a chain saw.

We see that here in the state of Arizona as the poorly-embalmed, grossly incompetent Jan Brewer refused to have any more debates with other gubernatorial candidates because the first debate made her look like a complete, total idiot. Which she surely is. But her habit of just not talking to anyone asking legitimate questions and trying to get some information out of her for the benefit of the voters is bad enough, but the fact that the voters let her get away with it is the most disturbing aspect of all. How very sad for the future of this country that the voters are so ignorant and disengaged that they just don't care anymore when candidates basically spit in their faces and say, "eat crap, I'm not telling you anything because I don't have to."

We haven't heard much from the Delaware Dimwit, Christine O'Donnell, because she's thankfully sinking fast in the polls and will hopefully just be a weird footnote when this is all over. Even the eternally annoying Sarah Palin hasn't opened up her big mouth in support of the Anti-Masturbation Princess in weeks. But there is a big surplus of creeps, like Joe Miller in Alaska and Ken Buck in Colorado and Nazi cross-dresser Rick Iott in Ohio and the F-5 tornado of weirdness Rand Paul and going-to-pop-an-artery-any-second Carl Paladino, candidate of governor of New York, to name a very few, who are more than ready and willing to drag down this country in a maelstrom of idiocy and backward, regressive thinking.

Who is to blame for this very sorry state of affairs in which we find ourselves? There is plenty of blame to go around, first to the Democrats who have an astounding talent to pull defeat from the jaws of victory and absolutely screw up everything they touch. They have shown a startling lack of backbone in everything they do, and are so afraid offending anyone they end up offending everyone. President Obama gets some blame, too, for being too decent and intelligent a person, and making the great tactical error of thinking he could get the Republicans to cooperate and come together with the Democrats to try to solve some of the enormous problems that face this country. A huge segment of the Republican Party has never ever accepted a black President and barely bother to conceal their racism and bigotry anymore. A lot of them think the President is a Muslim. How can we possibly combat ignorance and stupidity of this magnitude?

But in my opinion most of the blame has to go to the American public, who somehow think the way to solve the problems of this nation are to elect the most ignorant, unqualified and stupid people that can be found. Somehow they have come to the conclusion that dumber is better, and the best thing to do is to take everyone back to the 1950s, when everyone knew their role and their place and everything was better. Back then, there was no Al Qaeda, no bin Laden, no September 11th, no AIDS, no nuclear proliferation, no global warming (although a lot of people think that is a farce), no economic collapse, no multi-billion dollar bailouts. It shows ever so clearly the intellectual cowardice of the American population, and how they prefer to do the ostrich-head-in-the-sand approach to fixing everything. I dread next Tuesday, but at the same time I wish it was already over. If it looks really ugly now, that's probably nothing compared to what it will look like on Wednesday morning.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Great Religions of the World, Explained

As a public service, and to dispel the frankly incredulous notion that this blog is somehow hostile toward any one religion, this post will seek to explain the beliefs behind the major religions of the world. The careful reader can then make up their mind as to what they want to believe. Or not.

BUDDHISM: This religion is made up of followers of Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Gautama, who lived in the 6th to 4th century BC. The prime contribution of this religion is the concept of karma, which says anything you say or do now might very well come back and bite you in the ass several decades from now. I know my butt is going to look like Swiss cheese when karma gets finished with me. Okay, Swiss cheese with a lot of cellulite, will honesty get me some good karma? Buddhists also seem to be very preoccupied with suffering. They think it is a part of life and if you're lucky you'll suffer enough to become enlightened. For a religion that seems to be all about peace and love and getting along with each other, they sure are hard on themselves. We can thank this religion for the phrase "Buddha belly," which one applies to a chubby rabbit that has never met a snack they didn't like. I guess if I was to become religious at all, other than being a Wiccan I would probably become a Buddhist, with their emphasis on meditation and respect for animals. True story: In the previous sentence I typed "medication" instead of "meditation" and for a second it made total sense. If Buddhists believed in hell, I would be going there for sure.

CONFUCIANISM: This religion is based on the teachings of Chinese philosopher Confucius, or K'ung-fu-tzu, literally, Master Kong. It is very big in the far East, in places like China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea and Japan, but not well known elsewhere. Until Chinese cuisine became popular in the West and the demand for fortune cookies skyrocketed. Then Confucianism baffled millions if not billions of people worldwide with cryptic, arcane, mostly incomprehensible little sayings, usually coupled with lottery numbers and wrapped in a crunchy, delightful treat. It also made racist, annoying, Charlie Chan movies possible. Confucianism seems really hung up on ritual and conformity and tradition, and mandates a patriarchal, gender-biased system where older males have all the power and authority. A lot of religions seem to do this, and if I was a cynical, suspicious person I'd think there was a big conspiracy behind this, all designed to keep boring, senile old men in power. Just like Congress.

CALVINISM: One of the 3,000 or so variations of Christianity, Calvinists take their cues from the writings of John Calvin, a prominent proponent from the 16th century. Calvinism says that every person in the world is inherently evil, born into the stinking morass of original sin, and a lot of people never find their way out, a concept Calvinists call "total depravity." When I first read about "total depravity" I thought they were talking about the 1980s and all the drugs and party favors that were going around. I was ready to sign up until I read further and it really is dismal and depressing and just not a happy kind of religion. God is the only authority here, and it is up to His Divine Whim whether or not you're going to be saved or damned. I know when the deck is stacked against me, and so I will take a pass on Calvinism. Those people work entirely too hard and have no fun at all.

LUTHERANISM: The main tenets of Lutheranism were put forth by Martin Luther, when he told his wife he was going to put up some signs publicizing their upcoming yard sale but instead nailed his "95 Theses" to the door of some cathedral. After the yard sale, his teachings spread like wildfire throughout Germany and Scandinavia, and quickly became ensconced in this country as the religion of choice for bachelor farmers living in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Since my primary source of knowledge about Lutheranism is what I hear on "A Prairie Home Companion," I feel I am not qualified to comment much on this religion. But it does kind of sound like fun, in a dreary sort of way.

ISLAM: Yeah, like I'm going to bad-mouth Islam. Are you kidding me? I don't want to get killed. Islam is okay with me, thank you very much.

EPISCOPALIAN: Sorry, I got nothing. This religion baffles me. Even Wikipedia says, "WTF?"

ROMAN CATHOLICISM: Fasten your seat belts, this is going to be a bumpy ride. Let's go through the checklist, shall we? Guilt? Check. Revenge/retribution? Check. Fear and loathing? Double check. Parochialism, sexism, racism, homophobia? Check. Child molestation, greed, avarice, duplicity, lying? Check. Anti-intellectualism, elitism, Inquisitions, Crusades, mortal sin, hell, fallen angels, Holy Ghosts that look like pigeons, nuns? Check, check, check and check. Catholicism has it all! Where else can you get all that PLUS original sin! Oh but wait, there's more! What other religion had the hubris and the chutzpah to take on BOTH Galileo and Copernicus and tell them they're full of crap and they would get their asses kicked if they DARED to make the Sun the center of the Solar System? And it only took them 400 years to come around and admit their gross inaccuracies and apologize. What other religion would say that God loves and cherishes you dearly but will pop your ass down into the fiery depths of hell in an second if you dare question any of their teachings, no matter how minor or obscure. The same belief system that gave us Christmas and Easter also gave us Sodom and Gomorrah and the practice of crucifixion. What other religion has untold billions if not trillions of dollars tied up in artwork and relics and property in their very own city-state, the Vatican, and around the world and then screams like a stuck pig when someone brings up the subject of taxing their vast U.S. real estate holdings? What other faith co-opted a number of pagan celebrations, most notably Saturnalia (a.k.a. Christmas), as their very own and then turned right around and condemned these same pagans as stinking non-believers? If all this stuff is enough to make your head spin, it's just scratching the surface of the Wide World of Dysfunction that is Roman Catholicism. But check this out: without Roman Catholicism, this blog would not be here. I would not be here. Take THAT into consideration next time someone asks you what's wrong with Roman Catholicism.

PROTESTANTISM: This religion came about as Christianity fractured into a bunch of pieces in the 1600s, triggered by Martin Luther's 95 Theses doctrine (see above). The main problem appeared to be the Catholic practice of indulgences, in which people could pay the Church money in order to get out of punishment for doing bad stuff. It was like a Frequent Sinners reward program, only instead of free air travel you got a couple of years lopped off your stay in Purgatory, which I imagine to be a lot like Mesa but without the shopping and restaurants. The Catholics thought this was a great way to raise money but other people had moral qualms about that. Anyway Protestants had a chip on their shoulders from the very beginning and that kind of put them in a permanent bad mood. But hey, don't take it from me, check out the finest, definitive portrait of Protestantism offered in the great movie, "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life":

JUDAISM: I admit, I wanted to be Jewish when I was a kid. I thought it was like a really cool social club where everyone was in show business. All the great comedians I saw on television - legends like Milton Berle, Phil Silver, Sid Caesar, George Burns, to name a very few - were Jewish. Even Lucy Ricardo was Jewish! I loved reading Mad magazine and it had a very New-York-Jewish sensibility. My parents hated Mad magazine and thought it was turning me into a smart-ass. I wanted to tell them sorry, you're too late - the smart-ass train left the station long before I got a hold of my first Mad. Anyway, the music was pretty cool - I thought the "Theme from the Movie Exodus" was really awesome. Being Jewish meant being the beneficiary of thousands of years of history and tradition, much more appealing than the wanna-be, derivative nature of Catholicism. In school we learned all about the trials and tribulations of the "tribes of Israel" as they bravely wandered around homeless in the desert. They were truly the "chosen people" - until they killed Jesus. I thought for a long time the Roman centurions killed Jesus, but the Jews ended up taking the rap for that. All of a sudden the nuns didn't like them anymore. After Jesus' death the Catholic Church took off, and Judaism was left in the dust. That was pretty unfair, seeing as Judaism has cool holidays like Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, and Passover. Without Judaism, Woody Allen movies wouldn't be nearly as funny and for that it gets a thumbs-up from me.

Well, there you have it. The Great Religions of the World Explained, in simple, easy-to-understand terms. It's so gratifying to me to write this blog and bring enlightenment to my valued readers. Part Two will be coming soon, in which I will take on Mormons, Southern Baptists, the Amish, Anglicans (as soon as I figure out who they are) and others. Who knows, someday I may start my own religion. If I do you will be the first to know, and discounts will be available to Careless Whispers fans!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Careless Whispers Crystal Ball

Let's take a look into the Careless Whispers crystal ball and get a glimpse of the fun and games that await us ten years into the future:

The World:
1) The U.S. will still be in Afghanistan, and is preparing for an even longer stay by opening a third Hooter's restaurant in Kabul.
2) Saudi Arabian women have given up the burqa and now prefer Snuggies, the "blanket with sleeves," for their suicide bombings.
3) Osama bin Laden is still around and has inked endorsement deals with Ensure and Metamucil. Still competing with Wilford Brimley for those "diabeetus" ads.
4) British prime minister Amy Winehouse has decided that mandatory breast enhancements are "good for the country" since it worked so well for her.
5) Alleged penis-enlarging herbal supplements have become Russia's biggest export, followed by spam emails for these same supplements. Nearly 75% of the supplements go to Japan, with no perceivable improvements.
6) The Greenland ice cap has completely melted, prompting the world to rename it "Whiteland," for some reason.
7) The South American country of Paraguay has been completely converted into an overflow parking lot for Brazil and Argentina.
8) Canada has closed its border with the United States after a Wall Street Journal article asserted that Canadian bacon wasn't really Canadian. Hundreds of south-facing billboards have been put up, reading "SUCK IT HOSERS!"
9) Pope Benedict has a lot of 'splainin' to do after reporters find a huge pile of Underoos behind the Vatican hot tub.

The Nation:
1) Alaska has been declared a quarantined zone, and all in/out travel prohibited. The people just got too damned stupid to deal with. In negotiations with Russia to take it back, at a reduced rate.
2) President Justin Bieber and First Lady Christine O'Donnell urged Congress to pass a bill which would make Medicaid cover costs for annoying haircuts and pointy witch hats.
3) Extreme stupidity has been made illegal. The Advanced Retardation and Stupidity Exclusion measure (also known as the "ARSE Act" and "Sarah's Law"), is due to take effect in 2021, about 350 years too late.
4) North and South Dakota have merged and renamed itself "Moronado." No one noticed. Also, the state of Washington received a makeover and was renamed "Nixon." Everyone moved out the next day.
5) The cities of Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York and Boston have merged into one large metropolitan area. Due to the accents no one can figure out what anyone is saying.
6) All of Texas south of a line connecting Galveston with El Paso has been given back to Mexico. Mexico says "no, thanks."
7) The 93rd Amendment is passed, making marijuana legal in all 50 states. Stock in Frito-Lay shoots up 5000%. Everyone in California wakes up and says, "far out, man!"
8) Gay marriage has also been legalized in all states except Alabama and Mississippi, where people are still required to marry farm animals.
9) The city of Chicago goes from the "City of Broad Shoulders" to the "City of Padded Shoulders" after it erects a 900-foot statue of Joan Crawford in the "No! More! Wire! Hangers!" pose.
10) Scientists announce a cure for conservatism: a really huge bowel movement.

1) Governor-for-life Jan Brewer still looks like shit, only worse. Mexico erects a border fence to keep her in Arizona.
2) Maricopa county Sheriff Joe Arpaio still can't believe he was not re-elected sheriff and has been set up with a desk and a fake telephone in the open desert north of Anthem.
3) Despite an intensive education campaign, the Arizona state legislature still thinks Millard Fillmore is president.
4) The Grand Canyon has been designated a future EPA Superfund site after the legislature okay's the dumping of old tires in the canyon.
5) The state capitol has been moved to a Taco Bell in Gila Bend.
6) In an attempt to get more retirees to move to Arizona, the state moves to install toilets on every street corner.
7) The AIMS test, Arizona's way of testing how well their schools are working, has been tweaked and weakened to the point that it asks only one question, "Why the hell are you still in this state?"
8) State population plummets as fewer and fewer people want to admit they live here.

Popular Culture:
1) Glee is still on television, despite dire warnings of another American Idol Season 16-type massacre.
2) Saturday Night Live started its 45th season by having a moldy piece of bread as co-host and offering a moment of silence for the last time anyone laughed at anything on that show, which was a "Gilley" segment in 2010.
3) The Rolling Stones embark on their 35th "Farewell Tour" as Keith Richards starts to smell really funny.
4) Sylvester Stallone is still flogging the "Rambo" franchise despite finding out in his last movie that firing an AK-47 while in a wheelchair is a really bad idea.
5) The original Saved By The Bell cast members return for a reunion show, Saved By Cheap Canadian Pharmacy Viagra.
6) Paula Abdul takes over as moderator of NBC's Meet The Press. Coffee mugs are replaced with Coke glasses filled with vodka and Percocet.
7) Las Vegas re-invents itself yet again as a fundamentalist-Christian theme park. Attractions include the Carnival of Hypocrisy, Abortion Provider Shooting Gallery, Marry-Your-Cousin wedding chapels, Airport-Restroom Fun House, Walk-On Water Park, Polygamist Playground, Bowling for Bigotry, Guess the Child-Molesting Senator, Liberal-Feminist-Homosexual Whack-A-Mole, Tea Party Nudist Colony, Illegal Campaign Funding Sweepstakes, Ballot Box Stuffing, Family Porn Factory, and the most popular ride of all: Bristol Palin.
8) Andy Dick is still a dick.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My 100th Blog Post!

This blog will be taking a short break from its regular programming of slanderous tirades, character assassinations, questionable humor and good old-fashioned bad taste to mark a special occasion. This is my 100th blog entry! WOOHOO!

Yes indeed, on March 23, 2009 I wrote my first entry, in which I took Meghan McCain to task for being a general pain in the butt. I started this blog on a whim as just a fun thing to do. I honestly felt like I would run out of things to say after 4 or 5 entries. Some people would say that is exactly what happened, but the ideas just kept on coming and I kept on writing, and nineteen months later we're at entry number 100.

It has been great fun to write this blog and I have gotten a lot of feedback from a lot of people concerning the ideas I put forth. I hope my next 100 blog posts will be just as much fun and thought-provoking.
Here are some meta-facts about Careless Whispers:

Average number of posts per month: 5.26 (one every 5.7 days)
Preferred General Targets: Conservative Republicans or crazy fundamentalist Christians. Actually they're the same thing.
Preferred Specific Target: Sarah Palin (she needs to cover her butt because it's got a big ol' target on it and just as soon as I finish this she will be back in my crosshairs)
My Favorite Posts: When We Lose One... Commercials That Suck, Perfect Moments In Life
Post Which I Reread Over and Over: Be My Baby, Ellie Greenwich
Most Frequently Used Word: "Stupid"
Post That I Hope Someone Will Read 100 Years From Now and say "Cool!": Sundays in December
Post That I Hope Someone Will Read 100 Years From Now and say "WTF?": Stuff I Think About
Most Nostalgic For Me: Kent State Plus 40 Years
Posts I Wish Everyone Would Read: Yet Another Senseless Tragedy, Arizona: But It's A Dry Stupidity

Thanks to everyone out there. Post #101 is on the way!

When Free Speech Isn't Free

A couple of days ago was the first Monday in October, the traditional beginning of the new term of the Supreme Court. This court is a bit different from previous terms since there will be three sitting judges who happen to be women - Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. It will be interesting to see how their presence affects the Court and what new viewpoints and fresh ideas they will bring.

It also sounds as if there will be some fascinating cases among the 50 or so already on the docket, with probably two dozen more to come before this term wraps up next February. At least two will deal with the hot-button topics of immigration reform and the death penalty. Our fair state of Arizona figures prominently in two other cases; one involving the use of tax breaks for donations to private scholarships, most of which turn out to be for religious schools (guess which side I am on here). The other is about the legality of our employer-sanction law, which punishes businesses for hiring undocumented workers.

But there are a couple of First Amendment/free speech issues before the Court which may prove to be more than a little sticky. The first involves a California law which seeks to prohibit the sale of violent video games to children. I never play video games so I can't say I have anything to add to the debate. It sounds like another instance of the government trying to step in and take the role the parents should be doing in keeping their little darlings from being exposed to video games with titles like "Extreme Alien Sex Crime Blood Lust III." Exactly where does the role of the government begin in these cases, and what right do they have to limit commercial activity? There are laws which prohibit the sale of pornography to minors; is this similar? This doesn't sound like a big deal, but in most cases like this, it is the precedent that is set which causes the major upheaval.

The other free speech case is much more difficult, it involves the right of members of a batshit-crazy church to protest at military funerals. The Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas has made a very ugly name and reputation for itself by protesting at military funerals in the most obnoxious and offensive way possible, holding up garishly-colored signs that say things like "God Hates America" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers". They allege that the deaths of soldiers are a direct result of the "tolerance" the United States shows for homosexuals, among other things. Presumably this "tolerance" includes hate-filled voter initiatives like California's Proposition 8, state amendments to ban gay marriage and many other legal moves to codify anti-gay discrimination into law. With tolerance like that, who needs homophobia?

You need only look at a video of these protesters in action to come to the conclusion that they are completely insane. They are so filled with twisted, perverted hatred and bile it is almost interesting, from an anthropological or psychological point of view, to see such incredible pathology on display. They must lead horrible, wretched lives - consumed with evil, anger and viciousness. They almost make Sarah Palin look like Mother Teresa, they are that bad. I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of Americas would agree that no matter what your stand may be on gay rights, men and women who gave their lives in service to their country deserve respect and honor at the very least.

But one of the cornerstones of our society is the concept of free speech; that is, people have a right to express their opinion, no matter how outrageous and loathsome, without fear of sanction. True, the protesters are vile and disgusting and their message is repellent to the extreme, but like it or not, we have to recognize their right to express it. Is there a point where free speech is so outlandish and offensive that it isn't protected by the Bill of Rights? There are some limits on free speech - shouting "Fire" in a crowded movie theater is not protected, and Congress has tried to put limits on flag-burning, but where is the dividing line between offensive and non-offensive speech? Should the toxic antics of these so-called "Christians" be tolerated?

Sadly, the answer is yes. For as much as we hate these people for their lack of respect or anything resembling common decency, we cannot stop them from acting in this way. The Constitution grants us the right to say what we will, as long as it does not directly cause injury to another person, as the movie-theater example above would. The protesters can say what they want to, and even though they make me want to puke every time they appear on television, we as members of a free, democratic society have to just turn away and let them rant and rave. Many organizations such as the ACLU and television and print media associations have come down in favor of the protesters' rights, even though it probably feels like swallowing broken glass.

Such is the conundrum and the cost of "free speech." For speech to be truly free, it must be free for all forms of speech, no matter how disgusting. Someone once said a long time ago, "I may not like what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Unfortunately, all of us have to do that in this case. But I'm thinking the Bill of Rights and the spirit of this country are strong enough that we can triumph over the horrible, loathsome scumbags that make up the Westboro Baptist Church, and take hope in the belief that there is a special place waiting for all of them in the very lowest depths of hell when they finally die, something that just can't come soon enough.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Yet Another Senseless Tragedy

Not that there ever is a "sensible" tragedy - there isn't - but the recent suicide death of Rutger's University freshman Tyler Clementi points out in stark detail a facet of our society which so often is given lip service at best or completely ignored at worse: suicide of young people who are gay.

Clementi jumped off a bridge after his roommates at Rutger's shot a video of him having a romantic encounter with another male and posted it on the Internet. There are so many things wrong with this, starting with why the roommates were so unnaturally interested in such a thing, as if it only happens rarely in this world, and that it's any of their damned business anyway. Taking the video was bad enough, but posting it on the Internet took a very serious lapse of judgment and multiplied it a million-fold.

It's impossible to believe that the two roommates had no idea what they were doing, or what it meant to post something on the Internet, where it immediately gains a worldwide audience and assumes a life that ironically will be much longer than Tyler's life. They knew what they were doing every step of the way, and the only thing left is to decide the motivation. Was it a hate crime? I certainly think that it was.

At the very least, it was an outrageous violation of privacy. It's not like Tyler was doing something really obnoxious in a public place, such as a woman breast-feeding an infant in McDonald's (don't get me started). It was done in the relative privacy of a dorm room. I think that everyone everywhere has a reasonable expectation of privacy under those circumstances, and for the violation to be done by people Tyler knew, lived with and presumably trusted, makes this whole thing all the more baffling and disgraceful.

But what it shows about our society is much more troubling. The idea that many people have about posting the most embarrassing and personal facets of life for everyone in the world to see on the Internet is a direct offshoot of our 24/7/365 trash culture and the predilection that everyone is a voyeur. Our see-all, tell-all culture demands, validates and rewards such behavior, but far more toxic is the shame that Clementi must have felt after being exposed or "outed" in such a horrible fashion. One has to wonder, would all this have happened if he had been making out with a woman instead of another man? Would the roommates had even bothered making a video or posting it? I don't know, and we may never know the true answers to those questions.

But the fact remains, homophobia is rampant in our culture and is probably the last great "acceptable" (to some people) form of discrimination. Subtly (and not-so-subtly) reinforced every day by organized religion (yes, that means Catholicism, fundamentalist Christians, Mormons, and other groups), they sanctimoniously claim to "love the sinner but hate the sin." To that, I give a resounding BULLSHIT! Those supposedly "Christian" people are motivated by nothing but hatred, bigotry, ignorance and intolerance. They hide behind their Bible as a cowardly way to shield themselves, much as Islamic terrorists carry out their work in populated areas, using innocent civilians as shields. All the while these "Christians" fight any and all normalization and integration of gay people as full members into our society, either by supporting anti-gay-marriage amendments in many states or working to pass anti-gay ballot initiatives in cities and states everywhere. They know how to use the media and code words to appeal to the homophobia and bigotry of their ignorant followers without having to answer directly for their hatred and bile. All this results in a pervasive attitude in this culture that being gay is something to be ashamed of, and gay relationships, while often longer-lasting and every bit as deep and valid as heterosexual relations, do not deserve equal recognition under law. The recent shameful actions by crotchety old cowards like John McCain to delay the repeal of the ridiculous "don't ask don't tell" military policy is another in a very long string of incidents that show just how deep-seated the bigotry of some people is, and how eager they are to show it to the world.

Justice denied to some is justice denied to all, and we really cannot claim to be a nation of freedom and equality if discrimination of this kind is tolerated, encouraged and codified into the laws of this country. The United States must be the laughing-stock of the world as so many major countries have long since made their gay citizens full members of their society, and the world didn't come to an end for any of them. So many Americans insist on showing themselves as ignorant, backward, poorly-educated and just plain hateful to the rest of the world, and that is something that degrades and denigrates every single one of us.