Tag Archives: gay marriage

Payback.

It’s official, I guess: people just love to fight.

fighting 3Anyone who read yesterday’s Swami will know that there’s a major political battle being waged over there about that vile demon “socialism”, one that even throwing buckets of water over the participants hasn’t managed to quell or assuage as yet. It’s still going on. You should check it out.

BAM! POW!

I too have been caught up in a lot of involuntary bare-knuckle scraps in my time, mostly with critics and radio listeners who hate my work. When you’re in radio, on TV, or in the public eye in any way, however minisculely, you’re setting yourself up for inevitable ambushes from time to time. Face it, there’s bound to be somebody out there who is jealous of you, and who somehow manages to find time in their busy day to write in and say how much you suck. Or else they just hate you indiscriminately. I have that too.

Indeed, I believe I still hold the record for the highest number of threats of physical injury made against a commentator on public radio, for a report I did many years ago about a 12th Century prison in Ireland.

Kilmainham Jail is beyond dreary, and the bleak, drizzly Dublin weather did nothing prisonto enhance it. So, during a tour of this gray granite hellhole I happened to volunteer a number of ways that it might be cheered up. Drapes, benches in the courtyard, potted plants, a feature pond with carp…nothing drastic, just something to take off the harsher edges and give it eye-appeal.

Well, the response was nothing short of vitriolic. Listeners in their hundreds objected – they were incensed! – to the idea that a monument of such standing and with such a bleak history should be in any way dressed up. We differed over terminology. They called it desecration; I called it a makeover. But the result was dire: a lot of fighting Irish in Boston calling the show, volunteering, at no cost, to cave my head in for me.

BIFF! WHACK!

Mercifully, I don’t receive all that many compaints as a rule. Though some of the worst came during my TV show, when for some reason people who absolutely hated it insisted on watching every episode anyway and writing to tell me how vile it was, using language so salty it would make a nun’s ears bleed. Of course, being seasoned in the complaints biz, I took it all in my stride. Besides, even after three years, I still hear from people every single day who absolutely loved Stranded. So the critics were wrong. And you simply have to step over their words as you would vomit on the sidewalk and move on.

naked book 2Some complaints, though, are motivated by unspoken factors and are harder to reconcile.  Last week, for instance, I received a horrible put-down, this time on my Facebook page. About my new book, Naked in Dangerous Places.

“Although I do like your sense of humor,” the guy wrote, “and the book was an interesting read….”

So far I’m quite enjoying this. But wait, there’s more.

Having got the faint praise out of the way, he went on, “…I was surprised at how you think you can say whatever you please and expect people to still like you. Have you never heard the expression “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”? ….. I finished this book of yours, but I won’t buy or read another.”

He signed himself ‘Disappointed.’

Oh yeah? Well, not half as disappointed as I am, believe me, Disappointed. No author wants readers to walk away from his work disgruntled, right?

But then I thought about it some more, and probed a bit, and realized that Disappointed had an agenda.

In Naked, as you’ll know if you’ve read it, I’m not shy about saying how evil Christian evangelicals are when it comes to complaining. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that nobody, in my experience, writes hate-mail quite like a right-wing Christian fanatic. As the gay marriage debate has shown time and again, they judge when they shouldn’t be judging, they threaten and despise when they should be spreading love and acceptance, and they’re quick with an unkind word when they feel the situation calls for it. It’s the exact opposite of what Jesus preached, I’ve always thought. But they don’t see that. Indeed, I’ve argued with my father for years that if he just practiced all the principles spread by Jesus, we’d have a great relationship and be best buddies. But he’s a Christian, so I don’t see that happening any time soon.

KABOOOOM!

Anyway, it turns out that the guy who wrote telling me he didn’t like Naked has his own book coming out. Well, how very exciting. Self-published, by the looks of it. (Nothing wrong with that,  I’m about to self-publish one of my own  Still…) Here’s an extract from the blurb on the back cover to whet your appetite:

After stopping to admire the view on his leisurely hike down a mountain, Jesusour main character realizes that he is now in Heaven….. “Wasn’t I supposed to walk out of fog-like clouds to see the shimmering, pearly gates of Heaven? I had always imagined being waved in, walking on a street of gold with people who have passed before me on either side clapping. I knew that I would shortly meet Jesus…”

No, it’s not a comedy. At least, I don’t think.  But seeing this and knowing what I now know, I would have told Disappointed ahead of time – pleaded with him actually: “Don’t read my books. They’ll only offend you. If you full-on buy into this streets of gold in Heaven stuff, there’s nothing – nothing at all – about the worldly reality I present in my work that’s going to do anything but unsettle you.”

That said, oddly – and call me strange – the blurb works well for me: I now very much want to read this and plan to buy a copy at the first opportunity. I know many other people will too. It looks like an instant classic.

For instance, I don’t think there’s a book jacket in existence that refers to the main character as “our main character” – is there?  Don’t they usually tell you his name to draw you in? For some reason, that gives me hope that I’m really going to enjoy everything else Disappointed writes too.

Anyway, more to come once I’ve read it. If it’s any good, the TV Swami will do his bit and help promote the book he currently refuses to name.

BOOOOOM! ZAAAAAP!

Oh, and since I’m talking about spats, let me wind up with a couple of TV clips. Remember a few weeks ago, when David Letterman made a joke – a crude joke, but a joke – about Sarah Palin’s daughter, and an almighty kerfuffle broke out, forcing Dave into a massive retraction?

No? Then bring yourself up to speed here.

It was all pretty turgid back then, but it’s over. Or so we thought. Dave, it seems, having been humbled, can’t let it go. Last week, using the possibility of having Dick Cheney run for president in 2012 as a launching point, he got a chance to revisit the Palin moment. He handled it so well that I thought it was worth rerunning here. Enjoy.  And God bless.

www.cashpeters.com

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Sickening. I can’t watch.

First, an official announcement: tonight’s BBC broadcast will be on twenty minutes earlier than normal to make way for the tennis. Like we don’t have enough problems in this world, without complicating everything with tennis.

Ben & JerryAnd while we’re at it: a second announcement. More of a press release really. I don’t eat dairy, so I never buy Ben & Jerry’s, but today, for once, I’m tempted. They’ve introduced a new flavor (or rather, renamed an old one), Hubby Hubby, in support of gay marriage in Vermont. Yay. That’s so wonderful. In fact, even though they’re owned by corporate leviathan Unilever, I feel so warm towards them right now, I could melt their entire product line. Check it out HERE.

Having said that, d’you want to see something truly ghastly? Something I myself cannot watch?

It’s tricky. I’m in the unusual position of posting a video on my blog that I am completely unable to sit through and never will. It shows thousands of chickchicks being fed into a grinder. Apparently, the footage was shot undercover and is being spread around the internet by Mercy for Animals, an animal rights group campaigning for, if not an end to this brutality, at least a warning message on egg-boxes informing customers that “Male chicks are ground-up alive by the egg industry.”

Oh sure, that’s going to happen.

In the video, if you can bear to watch it – and I repeat, I’ve not seen this – I’m told there are examples of what’s called “spontaneous euthanasia.” Which is billed as the most instantaneous way to kill chicks. And that’s all matters, of course: killing things instantaneously. I’m appalled.    

Today is Day 57 of my raw food diet. Back in early July I converted from risottoeating dead, unnutritious food to a diet of only living food packed with enzymes. Bar one or two necessary lapses and a couple of adjustments to make sure the entire world didn’t drop out of my bottom – which seemed like it might happen at one point – it’s turned out to be a magnificent way of going about things. Not only healthy, but thoroughly humane. And that’s why I’m posting this video.

Last week I had lunch with a producer who worked on my TV show. She ordered a burger and fries and I chose a salad. We got talking about the raw food diet and she, in defense of her lifestyle, launched into a rhapsody about how succulent white meat chicken is, cooing, “I know it’s cruel, but it’s so tasty!”

I could see by her expression that she didn’t get what she’d just said.

Caring for animals, being kind to them, and respecting other lifeforms on the planet rather than killing them en masse simply for our pleasure simply didn’t compute. Not when compared to the scrumptious yumminess of white meat chicken cooked in a marinade.

On the way back to the parking lot, she also, by the way, merrily launched into a neat justification of why it’s okay for TV executives to steal a writer’s program idea and not pay him for it. “Otherwise the network doesn’t make as much money. If they take an original idea and adapt it as their own, changing it just enough so that it becomes different and the writer can’t sue, then that saves them a lot of money down the line.”

“Er….sure,” I argued, speaking as one who’s had several great ideas pilfered by networks over the years, “but they wouldn’t be making any money in the first place without the writer, would they? So why can’t they just be fair about it? Then everyone gets rich.”

Well, I swear, she didn’t see this at all. Why should “everyone get rich”, was her response, delivered in an incredulous voice, when there was a chance that, by stealing material, the rich could become even richer? Wasn’t that what business was all about? And she promptly took an idea for a panel game I tossed at her over lunch and told me, “I’ll develop this.”

I’ve never heard from her since.

With a similar baffling lack of logic, critics of my diet have said to me, “But surely veganism is cruel too. If your food is alive, the way you say it is, then you’re killing cucumbers and carrots. It’s vegetable cruelty.”

I’m serious. I’ve been told this more than once. Which only goes to show that, as surveys suggest, there really are some very stupid people in the world. 

Anyhow, here’s the video. BE WARNED: It shows chicks in pain and being ground up alive in a factory. Only watch it if you need a lesson on why you should at the very least be vegetarian.

Background material to this appears HERE on the Huffington Post.

www.cashpeters.com

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Bigotry Lite

I know, before you say it – Carrie Prejean is a stupid, vacuous, delusional young woman. I was going to say bitch, but Perez Hilton beat me to it.

More than that:  a stupid, delusional, vacuous young woman whose show of outrage and cynical tears at a press conference yesterday was so preposterous that it made David Shuster on MSNBC want to vomit, and he said so.

Prejean has been brainwashed by the upbringing she keeps mentioning (and actually, with no trace of irony, seems quite proud of) into believing that God and the Devil are fighting inside her head. Inside her head, though. That’s what she told Focus on the Family’s religious nutjob leader Frank Dobson on his radio show, and she honestly believes it. God and the Devil chose the head of a glamorous, over-preened dimwit as their battle-ground to wage this particular stage of their eternal struggle.

And while they’re duking it out, fighting for supremacy – Satan’s using hateful gay people like Perez Hilton to get his message out there; God’s using Carrie herself –  God and the Devil are telling her things. Things only Carrie can hear, of course, but which she’s happy to interpret and relay to the rest of us who have the misfortune of not being completely bonkers.

God, for instance, is saying things like, “You – you of all people, Carrie – on April 19th, the day of the Miss USA Pageant, were chosen to be a role model for discrimination and division, and you need to get out there right now, little lady, and use your title as Miss California to spread as much unrest and  misinformation as you can and let the world know that “opposite marriage” is Satan’s work.”

Or something like that. I was too busy laughing to catch every word.

And to help her along, God got Sarah Palin to rush in and endorse Prejean’s brand of Bigotry Lite, as well as inspiring thousands of equally narrow-minded dimwits around the country to send her emails of comfort and support, convincing her she’d done the right thing.

And I have no doubt that, if this were the late 1800s, they’d be writing in to support her decision to back slavery as well.  

That’s why I believe that yesterday’s announcement by Donald Trump, the guy who owns the pageant, to let this twit keep her crown, despite a bunch of tits-and-ass-related lies and deceptions and rule-breaking that TMZ.com and others are claiming went into winning it, is a PR masterstroke.

Trump truly is a genius. I’ve never admitted that before. But after he managed to bring the tired old Apprentice franchise back from the dead and turn it into a smash hit again, and now this – well, I take my hat off to him. And I don’t even own a hat. So you can tell how much I admire the guy.

He’s such a total shrewdie. 

Having seen, I assume, that Prejean was heading for trouble. That she was destined to be a victim of her own dumb mouth and a national hate-figure. And possibly suspecting that her pre-packaged, all-American, natural blonde beauty hid within it a dark core of fear, ignorance, and prejudice that would appeal to millions of similarly misinformed Christians across the country, he leapt at the chance of having her as a figurehead within his organization.

His reasoning in a nutshell: “Hey, she’s cute. It’s the 21st Century. These things happen. Get over it.”

But that’s not, I believe. the real reason.

Why did he really bend over backwards to keep her in the game?

Because, like Sarah Palin, everywhere this girl goes from now on she’s going to be dogged by controversy. And any kind of controversy, as we know, is excellent for business. Donald’s business.

Starting yesterday, Prejean became an even bigger target. At every public appearance, she’ll no doubt be cheered by a few similar dimwits who share her views, while being jeered and despised for her ignorance by everyone else. David Shuster isn’t the only one who feels like vomiting when he hears this woman speak. Hell, I’ve never been an activist, but even I would turn up to an event to heckle Miss California.

Possibly foreseeing how this despicable drama might scotch the reputation of what has been, up to now, a fairly clean competition, Shanna Moakler, the pageant director, today resigned her post and walked off the stage. Good for her. At least someone has principles we can believe in. 

But the best thing of all – at least potentially – and here’s where Donald Trump really has himself a coup – maybe – is that the issue of gay marriage is currently rolling through the California Supreme Court. By June 3rd, we’ll know whether the judges have decided to overturn the cataclysmic Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage, pro-hate move sponsored by the despicable Mormon Church, and allow equality for all.

Five states have already seen reason; California could be the next to go.

And if it does, we will witness the most deliciously ludicrous situation develop: one in which Miss California, prominent fool and vocal proponent of division and inequality, finds herself playing the representative of a state that completely undermines everything she stands for.

Oh dear almighty God – now she’s got me talking to him too – please, please, please make this happen, I beg of thee. 

To sum, up: the current state of play is this: Miss California has won the right to keep her crown, despite a whole bunch of tits-and-ass-related shenaningans. By June 3rd, gays in California may well win the legal right to get married finally. But…

The overall winner, whichever way the Supreme Court dice fall, is Donald Trump and his crummy Miss USA Pageant, another faded, forgotten hack tradition that he’s managed to turn around and make current and exciting all over again.

As I say, that man’s a genius.    

UPDATE: June 10th 2009. Carrie Prejean has finally been booted from her title of Miss California. 

This from the TMZ website:

Donald TrumpDonald Trump just told TMZ he gave the green light to fire “biblically correct” Carrie Prejean‘s award-winning butt because she just wouldn’t do the job and treated people badly.

Trump told us Carrie refused to appear at around 30 events on behalf of Miss California USA. He says Prejean was contractually bound to appear and she just wouldn’t do it. He doesn’t think her attitude has anything to do with her politics.

Trump said: “To me she was the sweetest thing. Everyone else — she treated like s**t.”

 

The Miss USA Pageant gets four magic carpets out of five. Carrie Prejean gets zero.

TV Swami – he say NO to bigotry.

www.cashpeters.com

There’s a great parody of Carrie’s ridiculous, two-faced speech on YouTube.

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“Damned homos! Why can’t they be miserable like the rest of us?”

Over the many years I’ve been staking out American television, and one corner of it especially – the lame hodgepodge of scares,  misinformation, and manipulation referred to as “the nightly news” – there’s a part of their coverage that’s given me cause to laugh like no other: same-sex marriage. 

And not for the reason you might think.

Nothing seems to get your average American all riled up, or to fuel divides, or create animosity and tension like the hot potato topic of gay marriage. Or gay anything,  for that matter, but mostly the marriage part. And TV producers know that.

Look at Miss California and what happened there. Having disgraced herself on the Miss USA Pageant by standing up and declaring openly that she’s a devout Christian and therefore, almost by definition, homophobic, supporting discrimination, division, hate and unkindness, a move that cost her the title, she’s evidently so dumb that she took away nothing at all from the brouhaha that followed, and is now out there making news again, by actively campaigning against gay marriage, because: “it’s what God wants, I know it in my heart.”

Oh yeah, really?

Within days, guess who called Miss California to lend her support? Another devout Christian – Sarah Palin. Of course. 

In truth, I’ve yet to meet an average American that cares if I’m gay or not. Indeed, outside of my bizarrely angry family members back home in England, I’ve yet to meet an average anyone at all in the entire world who has met me and cares if I’m gay or not. That’s just the way the world is: in my experience people have more pressing matters on their mind.

The ones who really do care, though, and care very, very deeply are fear-filled right-wing religious groups. Which is another oddity.

The more faith someone says they have in God, the more afraid they seem to be about life, I’ve noticed. When actually the reverse should be true.  And right now what religious people are really afraid of more than anything is those ghastly gays getting married.  

Afraid for the welfare and safety of children – because all gay people are sexual predators, of course. That’s not even up for debate. They just are.  

Afraid that gay marriage is a threat to the stability of all straight marriages – and one thing we know for sure is that straight marriages are incredibly stable. Otherwise there’d be separations and divorces, and there aren’t.

Afraid that gay marriage breaks God’s law. God loves families and intends marriage to be between a man and woman for the purposes of procreating children.  A valid point and one I must concede. Nothing else makes sense. And the kids born out of wedlock, or who hail from broken homes; the kids and wives that find themselves routinely abused by violent heterosexual dads; the dads who take a shotgun and kill their kids, their wife, and then themselves – well, how did they get into that mess? That’s not God’s doing. They must have turned their back on him and listened to the Devil instead. That’s what they did.    

Afraid that God will be offended. After all, he did NOT make Adam and Steve. Got that yet? God focuses on making only certain kinds of people, the ones he likes and approves of, much the same way Santa might choose to turn out only red toy trains one year, then Barbies the next. Lucifer takes care of everybody else. 

Afraid that, if you allow a man to marry a man, it won’t be long before  a man will be marrying his dog.  Again, very valid and I agree. Because in the part of the ceremony where  the dog has to give its legal consent to marriage and say “I do”, and later when the dog comes to sign the papers, and…oh hang on. I may have spotted a flaw in that one.

Bottom line: it’s all thoroughly laughable.

In the week that yet another domino fell, when Maine did the right thing by putting centuries of hate and fear behind it and making gay marriage legal – how many states is that now? I forget – the Rachel Maddow Show last night showed a clip from the 700 Club, Christian TV’s daily infusion of shameless moralizing bullshit dressed up as intelligent comment – in which a very straight, very frightened-looking, very offended – oh boy, was she offended! – woman urged President Barack Obama also to do the right thing and celebrate the National Day of Prayer at the White House by allowing Christian groups to hold a big party there, the way her hero George W. Bush did for the past eight years.

Luckily Obama didn’t agree with her. Instead, he honored the day in his own special way: he turned his back on the 700 Club  and got on with solving the country’s problems, which is what the rest of us non-fanatics and non-creepy, non-obsessed people would prefer him to do.  

Juxtaposed with this item was an interview with a soldier from the US military who’d just received his marching orders: a letter booting him out of the army under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, for announcing on TV a few months ago that he was gay. Not just on TV, though, he announced it on the Rachel Maddow Show. Making the host not only the reporter of the problem, but the actual cause of it. That doesn’t happen very often.

But Maddow, who’s a lesbian herself, excels at highlighting the nonsensical nature of sexual discrimination, and I love her for that. She leaves you feeling even more astonished than before at how ludicrous all of this is, how laughable.

That a guy who’s a brilliant soldier – more than that, he’s a precious gem: fluent in Arabic and willing to risk his life for his country in Iraq – is discharged simply because he prefers men to women.

That two people who love and care for each other can’t have that love validated by marriage like their heterosexual counterparts.

But most of all that we pay even a millisecond’s attention to the 700 Club and all those other religious nuts who would infuse our minds with the same muddle-headed Biblical claptrap that keeps them chained to lives of quiet, fear-filled despair – well, it’s beyond laughable, it borders on insane.

No wonder young people are shunning religion by the tens of millions. They’re suddenly realizing something the rest of us have known for a while: it’s all made up. Spirituality is real, but religion is an entirely human construct aimed at keeping the masses duped and in check, in order to rake in huge amounts of money for church leaders. That’s it. It’s very uncomplicated.

As it is – back to the topic – I have my own, less contentious theory of why right-wing straight people don’t want gays spoiling everything by getting married.

It’s because they’re jealous.

They’re secretly very jealous of our lifestyle, our taste in home furnishings, our open-mindedness, our ability to relate to men and women equally without barriers, our ability to whip up a musical in minutes, but most of all they’re jealous of the loose gypsy nature of gay sex and its preferences, and only wish they had it so good.  “They have all that, and now they want equal rights as well? Oh my gosh, then their lives would be perfect. And we can’t have that!” Irrational, of course, but that’s what it’s about. And why it’s such a huge topic.

And yet it’s not. It’s not huge at all. It’s the obsession of a blinkered, narrow-minded few, and we shouldn’t forget that. Enough people to make politicians think twice before committing positively to the issue, but still a few.

In fact, it’s my theory that most rational Americans, if you were to ask them, are privately on our side. Maybe for the wrong reason, but they are. Because what they really want to say is,  “Yeah, sure,  bring it on. Get married, you homos. Go for it. It’s about time you suffered like the rest of us.” 

Now, that’s an argument I can relate to!

 

TV Swami – he say NO to religious fervor, mindless prejudice, and hate. Natch.

www.cashpeters.com

While you’re here, why not watch the video for Cash’s new book, Naked in Dangerous Places?

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