Monday, April 26, 2010


UPDATE: An important email from Don Charles, that I received this morning, that should also be taken very seriously:

I've come to the painful conclusion that this movement is in a shambles, and it's getting worse every day! The majority of LGBT folk have priorities other than social justice. They haven't got their minds on liberation. Their minds are on escapism and marginalization. They think Gay stigma is fun! They couldn't care less if DADT or DOMA is repealed, or if GENDA gets passed. They are unconcerned about how safe public schools are for LGBT youth. All they care about is the next Pride Parade, the next Folsom Street Fair, the next big drag extravaganza, the new "Queer Art" exhibit, the latest "Queer lit" or "Queer film" review. Everywhere you look, there are "Queer Studies" programs on campus, depicting Gay American history as marginal, and "Queers And Allies" campus groups, alienating students who are making their first tentative forays outside the closet. On TV, scuzzballs like Dan Savage get tapped as spokesmen for Gay Rights, and Congressional Gay sex scandals are sure to unleash a flurry of crass Gay jokes from pundits like Keith Olbermann and Bill Maher. Religious fundamentalists get free reign to demonize Gay identity while Gay "leaders" concentrate all their attention on lobbying Congress. Then there's the sickening trend of make-believe activism, folks using the movement as excuse to stage cheap publicity stunts: Lesbians marrying Gay men "in protest", demonstrations in the nude, the "Day Without A Gay", the raunchy Prop 8 YouTube musical, and the Million Fag March. Cynicism has set in big time. Few people take Gay Rights seriously, least of all Gay people themselves! This problem was brought into crystal-clear focus for me last week when I heard about this new organization called When an activist veteran like David Mixner, who's had access to the most powerful people in government, believes that the public will take seriously Gay Rights protesters in leather fetish gear, glitter thongs and sequined ball gowns, you know for sure that cognitive dissonance is running amok! And Lt. Dan Choi has bought into this wacky idea, too! What have these men been smoking? The brutal truth is, Gay Rights remains a firm priority for just a handful of Gay people, along with a growing number of Straight allies like yourself. How can Straight allies avoid growing disillusioned, though, when their level of outrage over sex and gender discrimination seems to dwarf ours? And when our strategies for winning equality are so misguided and confused? You and I both put a lot of time and energy into raising consciousness, but more and more these days, I ask myself: Is it all too little, too late?

I like to rip the bedclothes off retrograde thinking and expose idiocy in all its shameful nakedness! Saying things nobody wants to hear or think about will make you unpopular, no doubt about that! However, the alternative is to STFU, go along to get along, and be just another dishonest pundit, pretending that the Emperor parading down the avenue isn't as naked as a jaybird. I find myself temperamentally incapable of being that kind of pundit. My mission is to root saboteurs out of the Gay Rights movement so that its objectives aren't compromised from within.

The above statement prefaces the news blog by Don Charles [Pictured] that is entitled, IGNORANCE IS PLENTIFUL: HOME OF THE DUMB DORA AWARDS that focuses on the much needed area of the betrayal of the LGBT Civil Rights Struggle by self-styled Gay "activists," many of whom get needed recognition and/or financial rewards for that betrayal.

It is to be expected that when the honest person tells the gullible and/or cowardly people that the Emperor has no clothes, that person will be vilified by the very same people he/she is trying to help. However, Don Charles has undertaken that very task in calling out, and publicly confronting, those who might as well be on the payroll of the most strident homophobes.

These self-styled, often professional, "activists" are doing inordinate harm to LGBT people; retarding the acquisition of full and equal civil rights; encouraging self-destructive behavior; sticking a finger in the eye of potential Straight allies; showing themselves to be traitors to this civil rights movement, for their 15 minutes of fame and/or for financial rewards.

The following is a brief excerpt from Don Charles' new blog that I hope will both whet your appetite to carefully read his blog, and also take to heart what he is telling all of us who are genuinely motivated to see to it that the LGBT Civil Rights Struggle is taken seriously by both those against whom we struggle to acquire those rights as well as by those who claim to be "activists" in gaining those rights.

All my rowdy friends are coming over tonight: Gay Uncle Toms, fagsplotiation schlockmeisters, make-believe activists, craven opportunists, clueless radicals, arrogant know-it-alls, and embarrassing Black people like you've never seen before. Get ready for the third edition of the Dumb Dora Awards! For the first time, this glittering ceremony is being held in our fabulous new Piet Mondrian theatre; we're showcasing stupidity in high style! Direct your attention to the stage, where my lovely hostesses are poised to call our 2010 winners up to the Imbecile's Podium. There they will receive their richly-deserved tin jackass statuettes, the highest honor willful ignorance can receive (other than the old reliable oh-no-you-didn't eye roll). Providing the music for this gala evening is Mariachi Lowrider, courtesy of the Pop Culture Cantina. Featured on vocals is the band's musical director, Big Buffy Chingas, accompanied by The Cochinada Brothers. Andale, tocan la música, muchachos! Everybody sing!

Say hello to the worst group yet
Ignorance is plentiful
So let's plumb the depths
And oh, what depths we'll plumb!
Who'd have thought that folks could be so dumb?

Don Charles' new blog is one of a kind, and is very much needed at this time when so much is at stake for LGBT people and the acquisition of full and equal civil rights.

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Thomas Waters said...

I'm not so sure. I read over most of his "awards" and I think this type of critique comes off as childish attacks without thoughtful commentary. Sure, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, including Don Charles, but is it really a step forward, or simply more in-fighting?

I firmly believe that "we" as a collective of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people must be in dialogue and working to find productive tactics and positions from which to gain full civil rights, but this doesn't really sound like a step towards dialogue.

Remind me again, who is Don Charles? How is he selling himself as a person of authority capable of determining what others are doing is good or bad? Or is he just one more blogger adding words to the blogosphere, sharing his own opinion?


As always, thanks for the plug, Jerry. Ignorance Is Plentiful is the kind of blog you hope will have a short life span, but unfortunately, current events suggest that the opposite will be true. I really do think this was the worst group yet, don't you? The bad behavior exhibited by Dan Savage, Steven Petrow, Adam Bink, Israel Luna and Rod McCullom in particular represents the very bottom of the barrell. Every time I read that famous quote of Lily Tomlin's, it seems more true: "No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up!"

Jerry Maneker said...

It is a pleasure to let people know about your new blog, Don Charles. It serves a very vital purpose and, as far as I know, it is the only one of its kind.

Regarding those named as being "the very bottom of the barrel," I've learned that as low as I feel things are, I'm still kicked in the teeth by reading or confronting those whose rhetoric and/or actions are even lower.

Best wishes, Jerry.

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Thomas: Don Charles can best speak for himself, but he has long had a superb blog, "Christ, The Gay Martyr," and his provided essential insights as to how to move the fight for equal rights forward.

He, like me, is very frustrated by counterproductive, if not traitorous, rhetoric and actions by those within the LGBT communities who are unwittingly (or maybe even wittingly) sabotaging the acquisition of equal rights, and are handsomely paid, in one way or the other, for their traitorous actions.

By the way, I like your blog and I'm adding it to the Links section of my blog. Best wishes, Jerry.


Mr. Waters,

I find your analysis of my work condescendingly dismissive. It's all too typical of the knee-jerk hostility that contrary opinion generates among Gay people online. If you truly think my commentary lacks thoughtful analysis, then you must lack good reading comprehension skills. You'd better stick with blogs that are less challenging; my content is obviously more than you can handle.

Dialogue is fine, and I welcome it, but that's not the reason I launched Ignorance Is Plentiful. I tried dialogueing online with other Gay people, only to discover that their minds were closed to certain topics. When I raised the issue of counter-productive behavior in our ranks, their conversations with me (and with Jerry) quickly degenerated into vicious name-calling and irrational accusations. Time is precious; I refuse to waste it on such foolishness. My current goal is to nudge readers toward confronting problems in the equality movement that they resist talking and thinking about. My nudging is brusque at times, but I mean for it to be! Experience has shown me that the high degree of denial in activist circles requires it.

There's no "infighting" going on, sir. I'm not an insider. I've never been part of the online activist clique, so they don't fight with me! Frankly, they seldom pay any attention to what I have to say. All well and good! I can concentrate on addressing important issues instead of jousting with their inflated egos. I do resent your implication that I'm trying to "sell myself as a person of authority", and that I have no right to criticize if I don't. Hear me well: I don't need your permission or anybody else's in order to speak my mind out! I have every right to weigh in on the actions of those who presume to act on my behalf. First of all, I'm an American! Second, I'm an older Gay man who's known much discrimination and harassment, and I have a stake in how the equality struggle turns out. Third, I care deeply about improving the lives of LGBT folk, especially future generations of us. Much of what I see going on is unacceptable, and I feel compelled to call attention to it. I will not be silenced, especially not by those who value Gay Rights movement cohesion over Gay Rights movement effectiveness. To be sure, that's one of the main sacred cows I intend to slay!