It’s a good news/bad news kind of thing.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, the good news is that even our hard-right Supreme Court still admits there’s such a thing as the right to privacy, and struck down Texas’ sodomy law in Lawrence v. Texas — and with it most if not all similar laws nationwide. Predictably, the religious right promptly became hysterical about “protecting marriage,” a point of view perhaps finding its apotheosis in this quote from Colorado-based Focus on Family (James Dobson’s organization, I believe):

“With today’s decision, the court continues pillaging its way through the moral norms of our country,” Mr. Minnery said in an interview. “If the people have no right to regulate sexuality, then ultimately the institution of marriage is in peril, and with it, the welfare of the coming generations of children.” Mr. Minnery said the ruling violates the rights of Texans who can no longer decide “what they find appropriate in terms of sexual behavior.”

A more careful reading of the decision would, I note, point out that Texans are still free to decide this issue for themselves; what they have lost is the legal right to make that decision for others. The right-wing American Center for Law and Justice filed an amicus brief in support of the law; chief counsel Jay Sekulow said “By providing constitutional protection to same-sex sodomy, the Supreme Court strikes a damaging blow for the traditional family and will only intensify the legal battle to protect marriage.” Er, sure, Jay. I’m still trying to understand how B follows A in this picture. (Both quotes from this Washington Times story.)

What confuses me is this: why is it so damned important to these people to keep homosexuals from marrying? Why does that make one’s own marriage, or the idea of marriage, less viable or weaker? What’s the big fucking deal? It’s also pretty important to note that these cannards are pretty far from any legal or Constitutional argument in support of a law that (1) violates Privacy as understood and laid out by Griswold and Roe and (2) has even more blatent equal protection problems (the Texas law prohibited only same-sex sodomy, not sodomy between a heterosexual couple; Justice O’Connor stated that this issue alone was enough to support her ruling).

In their pursuit of hetero-only marriage, would these matrimonial Chicken Littles barter away this right to privacy? Would they allow the government into their own bedrooms to regulate birth control, as Connecticut was doing prior to Griswold? It would seem so; hopefully, the American public will see this for what it is, and make clear that the State has no right to tell them how to fuck.

Anyway, now the bad news — which is really only bad if you thought Bill Frist was any better than his bigoted predecessor. Yesterday Reuters reported that the good Doctor would support a Constitutional admendment banning gay marriage. Look closely at this. Twice in memory the GOP has disliked some SCOTUS ruling, and then tried to patch the Constitution to do an end-run around it — here, on sodomy laws, and prior to this, on flag burning. In both cases — and here’s the part most worth noting — the proposed amendment would take away rights that SCOTUS says the Founders wanted us to have. Make no mistake; this party of less-intrusion and smaller-government actively pursues an agenda contrary to both points in order to pander to the religious right, and the White House is right there with them. Watch these people. They’re the biggest danger our country faces right now. We know the terrorists want to hurt us; at least they’re honest about it.

I’ve been lax.

It’s true. I’ve been too busy to attend to this little exercise in public onanism. However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and I have reason to believe it’s not just a train.

Until then, I offer this, which I have reason to believe will amuse many of you readers, especially those named Chris (Misters M. and J., this is for you).

Here’s a phrase you don’t hear often:

“Female Muslim Comic.”

[T]he Sept. 11 terrorist attacks changed everything. Initially, she ceased performing on the logic that this might not be the time for gags about Ramadan or, for that matter, anything funny a Muslim had to offer. Three weeks later, though, she took the stage in a Soho club called Amused Moose and, with a single joke, found the very, very thin line between acceptable comedy and abominable taste: ”My name is Shazia Mirza,” she said. ”At least that’s what it says on my pilot’s license.”



You know those pendulum-over-sand desktop curios? I’m sure you do; you swing the pendulum, and it writes a pattern into the sand below, kind of like a spirograph.

Ever wonder what might happen do one during an earthquake?

Truly Strange Events

So this weekend, Erin and I capped a long couple workweeks with a trip to Austin to see one of the Alamo Drafthouse‘s Rolling Roadshow events: the 10 Year Reunion Party for Dazed & Confused. Richard Linklater‘s 1993 film starred a big pile of folks who later became much more famous, including Parker Posey, Milla Jovovich, Joey Lauren Adams, Rory Cochrane, Adam Goldberg, and (of course) Matthew “Naked Bongos” McConaughey (not to mention somebody named Ben Affleck). Since it was such a big deal for them, all of the above (minus Jovovich and Affleck) attended, which was nice. We ha da great time, and (as she will tell you given half a chance), Erin got to shake McConaughey’s hand.

Now, this same weekend, the aformentioned Drafthouse was showing a fan film in its downtown location. This wasn’t just any fan film: it was a 6- or 7-year labor of love by three kids from south Mississippi with time on their hands and a perhaps-unhealthy obsession with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Over the course of, well, the bulk of their youth, Eric Zala, Jayson Lamb and Chris Strompolis remade the 1981 film shot for shot using materials they could find and use, but also with astonishing fidelity to the original. Harry Knowles covers them here (and links to a trailer by Drafthouse maven Tim League), and the Austin Chronicle has more. That’s just pretty damn cool, if you ask me.

Here’s where it gets weird. Saturday, while waiting in line at the Dazed event, someone hollered at me. No surprise; I know lots of people in Austin. Of course, the person hollering wasn’t actually from Austin — she was Mrs. Eric Zala, of the Raiders-remake Zalas. But 11 years or more ago, way back at UA, she was my college girlfriend (see file photo from NoGators companion site). The world is very, very small, notwithstanding the distances from Tuscaloosa to Florida to Texas.

It was nice to see her, since I haven’t in about 10 years. It was nicer still to see she’s doing well, and that she’s ended up with somebody cool. They’re expecting, so we at NoGators want to with them luck. Erin and I were going to head back to the Alamo with them to see the midnight showing of Eric’s film, but, well, we’d been in the Austin sun all day, and by midnight the hotel became an unavoidable destination. I am, however, eagerly awaiting a Criterion DVD.