From guest blogger, BroKen
A number of clinical psychologists are finding a persistent group of patients who are unable to overcome their condition despite years of therapy. These psychologists are beginning to suspect that the condition is not a pathology but actually an undocumented expression in human behavior. The condition: homophobia.
Dr. I. M. Fine, an unofficial spokesperson for these psychologists, describes the typical patient with this condition. “They come to us with a great deal of guilt. Family and friends have been telling them for years that they need help. So they are highly motivated to change. While a few have made progress after sensitivity training, there is a persistent core group that never gets it. We’ve decided that it must be normal for them.”
Those suffering with this condition come from all walks of life. Stereotypes of poor red-necks no longer fit as homophobia can be found everywhere from night clubs and churches, to country clubs and ghettos. In fact, you can find it almost anywhere but university faculties. Dr. Fine explains how the condition has gone unnoticed for so long. “For most of our history people could live their whole lifetime without encountering fear inducing stimulus. Nowadays it seems our patients can never find a safe place.”
One patient of Dr. Fine, who asked that we not give her name, told us, “I used to go years without an incident. Now, I’ll be watching TV and a Richard Simmons infomercial comes on, or a re-run of Will and Grace, and BAM! I’m talking to Ralph on the big white phone!” (She means throwing up in the toilet. Ed.)
Studies of the phenomenon are rare since this perspective on homophobia is still in its infancy. Dr. Fine tells of a "twin study" to determine whether there is a genetic cause. But there is a lot more work to be done. He explains, “I have a colleague using DNA sequencing to find genetic markers or even a specific gene which determines homophobia. But he is having trouble getting the necessary funding. He suspects that 90-100 percent of the population could have that gene. If so, that would explain why isolating the gene is so difficult. Actually, my friend is homophobic himself but hasn’t come out of the closet, yet. You can imagine what people would say about his data if they knew he had the condition. He is a courageous man but he is afraid he would lose tenure if people knew.” (Dr. Norm Allmann refused to be interviewed for this article. Ed.)
Gayle Esbienne, spokesperson for the National Deeply Confused Individuals Task Force, believes Dr. Fine and his patients are “mean-spirited dweebs who should shut their %$@#& mouths.” The NDCITF recommends mandatory isolation of homophobic people in camps which will provide re-education and re-programming… or death.
But Dr. Fine is still speaking up for the tragic victims of this pernicious social stigma. He asks, “Did you know that in almost every state, a homophobic person can be denied service in a restaurant? It is so unfair. These people can’t help the way they were born!” Another patient echoes this sentiment. “Do you think I want to live like this? I want to get married and raise a family like everyone else. Why won’t people just let me be me?"
One troubling development is that some of Dr. Fine’s patients have taken a militant stance. Last week we found a few in front of a cable news channel with signs which read, “Straight isn’t Twisted” and “Homophobic! Loud and Proud.”
As the question of homophobia plays out on the stage of America, one thing is sure. The more controversy we journalists create, the more money we make.
You Can't Say That On Television
Unless you're on cable, satellite, or an Internet stream
On December 9, 2002, Cher received a lifetime achievement trophy at the Billboard Music Awards. Overcome with emotion, the Armenian-American singer noted that she had faced "critics for the last 40 years saying that I was on my way out every year." Then she added, "Fuck 'em." Fox broadcast the scene live, f-bomb and all.
So began an epidemic of unexpected expletives at award shows. A month later, as NBC transmitted the Golden Globes, the singer/lobbyist Bono announced that his Best Song prize was "really, really fucking brilliant." And in December 2003, when the Billboard Music Awards came on Fox again, the reality TV star Nicole Richie asked the audience, "Have you ever tried to get cow shit out of a Prada purse? It's not so fucking simple."
Before the contagion could spread, the Federal Communications Commission stepped in. After initially announcing that Bono's comment was acceptable—his phrase "may be crude and offensive," the regulators had declared, "but, in the context presented here, did not describe sexual or excretory organs or activities"—the agency reversed itself, ruling that broadcasters could be fined for airing even fleeting, unplanned cussing at live events. The f-word, it explained, was "one of the most vulgar, graphic, and explicit words for sexual activity in the English language," and there was no place for it on television.
No place, that is, except the hundreds of channels that the content cops weren't allowed to regulate. When it came to "indecent" images and language, the Bush-era FCC toughened its rules, increased its fines, and stepped up its enforcement, but the commission's grip on mass communications wasn't as complete as it used to be; as cable and then the Internet exploded, the area outside the indecency police's grasp was growing. Like the sheriff of a dry county surrounded by rowdy biker bars, the FCC could make life miserable for the people under its jurisdiction but it couldn't do a thing about what was going on right next door.
The crackdown was bipartisan—the noisiest censor at the commission, Michael Copps, is a Democrat—but it was a post-Clinton development. In the '90s the networks had started to behave as though they had the same liberties as their cable competitors: You could hear the word "piss" on Northern Exposure, see Dennis Franz's bare butt on NYPD Blue, watch Schindler's List—naked bodies and all!—in prime time on NBC. In 1997, when then-congressman Tom Coburn complained about the latter program's "full-frontal nudity, violence, and profanity," he was roundly mocked for treating an earnest Holocaust drama like it was Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS. In 2004, by contrast, after the clampdown was underway, several ABC affiliates refused to air an equally earnest Spielberg picture, the World War II drama Saving Private Ryan. In a model example of a chilling effect, the stations feared the government would fine them for the film's rough language.
Yet while the FCC was reasserting control of its corner of the media, audiences were exiting in ever-greater numbers for non-network news and entertainment. If you wanted to see a singing turd on South Park, or Tony Soprano screwing a stripper in a back room at the Bing, or a bestiality film on a fetish site—well, there wasn't anything the commission could do about that. But a fleeting expletive at an awards show: That was fair game.
Whether it stays fair game is another matter. After the commission declared that Cher-style vulgarity was verboten, the major broadcast networks jointly filed a suit to stop the policy. Their case has been bopping up and down the courts for several years now. This week the U.S. Supreme Court refused to accept a procedural argument against the FCC's orders, but the justices left the door open to later declaring the rules an unconstitutional infringement on speech. For now the legal battle will return to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, from where it will probably crawl back up to the Supremes.
When the justices wrote their reactions to the case, some of the sharpest comments came in Clarence Thomas's concurring opinion. While siding with the commission on the technical legal question immediately at hand, Thomas signaled his sympathy with the argument that the rules violate the First Amendment. The two precedents that supported the FCC's authority—1969's Red Lion decision, which upheld the Fairness Doctrine, and 1978's Pacifica decision, which upheld the government's right to restrict indecent language—"were unconvincing when they were issued," Thomas wrote, "and the passage of time has only increased doubt regarding their continued validity." He continued:
Broadcast spectrum is significantly less scarce than it was 40 years ago....Moreover, traditional broadcast television and radio are no longer the "uniquely pervasive" media forms they once were. For most consumers, traditional broadcast media programming is now bundled with cable or satellite services....Broadcast and other video programming is also widely available over the Internet....And like radio and television broadcasts, Internet access is now often freely available over the airwaves and can be accessed by portable computer, cell phones, and other wireless devices....The extant facts that drove this Court to subject broadcasters to unique disfavor under the First Amendment simply do not exist today.There is no credible reason we shouldn't have the same right to free expression on the FM and VHF bands that we have when using WiFi or cable. Now, there are those in the commission, the courts, and the Congress who would resolve the contradiction by extending the indecency rules' reach to cable and cyberspace. But if the courts respect the language of the First Amendment, they'll extend the reach of free speech instead.
In the meantime, the FCC is simultaneously empowered and impotent, an agency reduced to chasing passing curse words on network TV while cable subscribers enjoy unhindered access to Spice and the Playboy Channel. The bad news is that the courts might tell the commission it's within its rights when it censors the networks. The good news is that the free speech zone outside the FCC's dominion keeps growing
Muslim preacher of hate is freed early from jail in Britain
This guy does plenty of incitement to violence and incitement to violence is not normally protected by free speech laws -- not that there's much free speech in Britain anyway
One of Britain's most notorious preachers of hate is back on the streets after being freed early from jail. Abu Izzadeen, who publicly confronted John Reid when he was Home Secretary, had his jail term reduced by the Appeal Court - along with four other extremists convicted of supporting terror. The ruling meant the ranting fanatic and a number of his fellow hardliners could immediately walk free because they had already done half of their reduced prison terms.
Douglas Murray, director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, said the men were a danger to society. 'Abu Izzadeen and his organisation publicly call for attacks against those whom they see as enemies of Islam,' he said. 'Their ideology not only glorifies violent jihad but teaches their followers that taking part in suicide bombings is their duty as Muslims. 'The early release of a hate preacher like Abu Izzadeen demonstrates that the British courts are still far away from understanding the very clear and present danger that this country is facing from militant Islamists.'
Izzadeen - who was born a Christian with the name Omar Brooks, later changing his first name to Trevor - was jailed for four and a half years last April for inciting and raising funds for terrorism. He and fellow British-born Muslim convert Simon Keeler were handed the same jail term after making a series of rabble-rousing speeches at a central London mosque. Four fellow fanatics were also jailed. The defendants were all members of an extreme Islamist group known as Al-Muhajiroun, which has been banned only to allegedly regroup under a different name.
They made speeches in November 2004 outside the Regent's Park Mosque in London - at the same time as U.S. and British soldiers were fighting fierce battles against insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq. The court heard the men urged their audience to join the fight against coalition forces and to donate money to insurgent groups. Izzadeen was also recorded voicing his support for Osama Bin Laden.
Izzadeen, who lives in East London, walked free on Saturday. His release has been celebrated on extremist Islamic websites. Three other defendants also had their sentences reduced. A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: 'All offenders subject to probation supervision on release from prison have to adhere to a set of strict conditions.'
The power of numbers
"Malki will never become just another number," we vowed, days after our daughter was murdered in the August 2001 terror attack on Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria. We never imagined that she could ever fade into less than "just a number." Yet that is what has happened to her in the mindset of Israel's spokesmen...
Like Malki, the scores of Israeli children murdered since October 2000 have been forgotten. Their precise number has never been tallied by our government, let alone publicized in the international media.
Deflated statistics of Israeli children murdered by Palestinians in this millennium have been widely disseminated on Palestinian Web sites. There they are cited in comparison with the far greater numbers of Palestinian children killed in this conflict.
The refrain "numbers speak louder than words" is now being brandished obsessively in columns and reports about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the number of Gazan civilians killed in Operation Cast Lead, the number of Gazan houses destroyed, the number of Gazan women and children injured. Their impact on world opinion is immeasurable.
Here is what Prof. Rashid Khalidi wrote about numbers in an op-ed piece that appeared in the New York Times this past January, while the Gaza campaign was underway: "But the numbers speak for themselves: Nearly 700 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed since the conflict broke out at the end of last year. In contrast, there have been around a dozen Israelis killed, many of them soldiers."
There is no doubt that Palestinian numbers have won many hearts and minds. The recent resurgence of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism - January and February saw a sharp rise worldwide - is, in many instances, testimony to that.
The numbers cited by the Palestinians dodge issues and trump logic. They obviate the need to explain how Israel is supposed to react to attacks on its civilians without incurring the ire of "human rights" defenders. Those numbers ignore the dilemma Israel faces when its enemy hides in hospitals and in apartment buildings filled with women and children and other noncombatants.
But the numbers "game" is not played for fun and we can no longer afford to ignore it. Israel's security depends to a large extent on how it scores in this unsavory game. Unfortunately, our spokesmen have been derelict in their duty by failing to arm themselves with fighting numbers.
The murders of 144 innocent Israeli children, targeted while they played, ate, studied, hiked or rode buses to and from school over the past eight years, are a potent verbal weapon. Not one of those children was armed, not one was caught in soldiers' crossfire, not one was used as a human shield by Israeli soldiers.
These 144 children provide a context for much of the IDF's activities since terrorism became a major threat in October 2000. This number explains the checkpoints, the security fence, the arrests, and even Operation Cast Lead - all of which have ignited venomous vilification of Israel. Against the backdrop of our murdered children, Israel's conduct can fairly be viewed as not only justified, but unavoidable.
Our phone calls and written inquiries to the appropriate government bodies failed to yield publication of the forgotten number. The tally was reached, rather, by reading the complete list of terror victims posted on the Web site of Israel's Foreign Ministry and counting the children one by one.
Why our diplomats have chosen to conceal the children bombed, shot and stabbed to death by Palestinians remains a conundrum. But it is not too late to rectify the error. In numbers, at times, there can be strength.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.