|Two reasons for feeling rather hopeless about tomorrow's election:
Here's hoping the concentration camps have good dance music.
- This morning a nice guy in one of my classes thanked me for being honest with him about why he should consider voting against Ohio Issue 1, said he had to vote his conscience nevertheless, and hoped we could still be friends. I replied that I appreciated his integrity in being honest with me, that we could still be friendly (there's no point in hating), and that I didn't think I could truly be friends with someone who would vote to make me a second-class citizen.
- This evening I spent a little time in gay.com's Dayton 1 chat room where I learned that at least two ditzy faggots there did not even know what Issue 1 is. One said he spends too much time chatting with his online friends to read newspapers. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that straight people haven't done any research on gay issues, but I naively hoped that gay people at least would be less apathetic.
I knew it was coming and I knew what people in Colorado and Cincinnati felt like when their neighbors voted to make them second-class citizens, but I didn't expect to feel so depressed once it officially happened in Ohio. I suppose I should take some solace in the fact that Ohio's amendment passed with a lower percentage than amendments in other states (only 62% of Ohioans think that not only should I be barred from marriage but also from even civil unions -- whoopee!). I suppose I should take some solace in knowing that 2 million Ohioans did in fact vote against Issue 1. I do take some solace in knowing that most of my friends and family voted against Issue 1.
It's not solace enough however. I didn't choose to be gay and I didn't choose to be an Ohioan. Although some might argue that in fact I can do something about the former, everyone must acknowledge that I can do something about the latter. There are states and in fact countries in which gay and lesbian people can have equal rights. I don't have to beg and plead with people in Ohio to treat me equally. I can leave and go someplace where I will be equal.
This is similar to a decision I made several years ago to leave the United Methodist Church. It wasn't that there aren't good people in the Methodist church, but it was that I was tired of being in a place where people were always arguing and voting about whether I deserved to be treated equally as a child of God. I was incredibly lucky to meet people forming a new church in which all would be truly welcome and equal, and we were lucky to find a denomination which has already had the arguments about whether gay people are made in God's image and deserve fair treatment. That church is Cross Creek Community Church, and it's something about Dayton that I'll miss.
I have a scholarship to study in Germany for six months next year, so I was going to get away from the divisiveness in the United States anyway. I'm not sure what I'm going to do after that. Probably grad school, probably somewhere in the United States, but it won't be in Ohio. The incredible freedom of being out is that I face less (overt, at least) discrimination, for example, in employment, because I wouldn't take a job someplace that didn't accept gay people. I'm going to apply that freedom to where I live too.
local copy -- click
for a larger view
This is incredibly something-ist (elitist, classist, academicist?) and is probably meant more as humor (snopes.com debunks an urban legend on a similar theme) than something serious, but it makes a lot of sense to me. Of course the fact that I learned about it on a university listserv probably says something about this viewpoint too, but I don't care -- I still agree with it. I'd point you to a blog entry or an article, but there isn't one, just this graph on a webserver that doesn't have an index page (though there are references on google to the site).
What am I talking about? This chart showing which states were blue and which red in the election along with the average IQ for each state. All the states with average IQs over 100 voted for Kerry; none with average IQs lower than 99 did. Bush has a mandate, all right, but not an incredibly bright one.
Update 11-09-04: Cartoonist Ted Rall, who happens to be an ex-Daytonian, has a column out today that explains why Kerry voters are smarter than Bush voters.
Issue 1 votes in Montgomery County
Presidential election 2004 in Montgomery County
See that island of dark blue slightly to the right of the center of first map to the left (you might need to zoom in to see it)? Those are the precincts in Montgomery County that voted against Issue 1 by a margin of at least 2:1. I live in one of them, Dayton precinct 1-B, which voted 307-90 against Issue 1, or a margin of about 3:1. (The gray areas also voted against Issue 1, just much more narrowly.) The vast majority of my immediate neighbors think that I should have equal rights, or at least that Issue 1 went too far in denying me equal rights. That shouldn't be too surprising since many of my neighbors are gay. So if you have to live in Dayton and want to live in the best part of town, check out the Oregon District.
The second map shows how precincts in Montgomery County voted in the presidential election. (Both these maps come from an article by Dayton Daily News reporters Jim DeBrosse, Lawrence Budd and Ken McCall.) You'll notice that in this map I live in a somewhat larger island of blue, roughly corresponding to the city of Dayton. (My precinct isn't dark blue, however, as some of my neighbors, even some gay ones, supported Bush.) Interestingly, there's a gray section from the first map that is pink in the second map (perhaps Oakwood and parts of Kettering?). Maybe these are the Republicans who actually listened when Governor Taft and Senators Voinovich and DeWine told them Issue 1 was a bad thing.
What does this mean for me? I'm still leaving. I wouldn't mind living on an island, but I'd prefer a different one.
I went to see The Motorcycle Diaries, mostly because I think Gael García Bernal is cute but partly for a class. There's an entry in my books section if you want to know what I thought. You can see the film yourself at Neon Movies for at least another week.
Gael García Bernal
I've lived in the Oregon District six years this month, since November 1998. Knowing that I won't be living here next year makes me a little sad, not enough to reconsider moving, but I will miss my house. When I bought it, the previous owners, the Brubakers, left me a notebook of photos from the renovation of the house in the early 1980s. They bought the house in 1984, historic but with all new innards.
I finally got around to scanning the pictures, which you can now see online. In addition to the photos, I scanned the tourbook from the 11th annual Dayton Heritage Tour, held Sunday, September 23, 1984 and sponsored by the Oregon Historic District Society (visit the OHDS web site to find out about this year's tour, to be held Dec. 6, 7 and 8). The Brubakers were #1 on the tour. Here's the info about the house from the tourbook:
Sold for $48 at a public autction held at the National Hotel, the lot which was to eventually gird this post and beam, Greek Revival home was purchased in 1835, by constable Ebenezer Henderson and his wife, Mary. In 1836, they built the home they were to reside in for the next 17 years.
Hamilton Bates, moving here when a foreman at a machine shop, eventually owned Hamilton Bates & Sons, manufacturers of woolen machinery, blacksmith's drills and washing machines. Various members of his family continued their residency here after his death in 1884.
In today's Dayton Daily News is a story by Laura Dempsey about the Big Read, a project to get everyone in the community to read the same book and to talk about it. I'm betting that most of you have never heard of the Big Read. Why? Because only 1,301 people participated in the vote to select a book for it.
There are many ways to slant a story, and I guess I'm taking the cynical one. I heard about the Big Read because I read the paper, I use the Dayton library and I go to Wright State, so I heard about it more than once. Over 10,000 people attend Wright State, the Dayton library circulates 6,149,550 books a year, the Dayton Daily News has an average weekday circulation of 126,642, and over 550,000 people live in Montgomery County. 1,301 people (assuming none voted twice, which was possible) voted in the Big Read. In other words not many people in the area care about the Big Read.
LOL, of course even fewer people read this blog.
In case you're curious, the winning book, which won by a landslide of 461 votes (including mine), was Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich, and is about whether it's possible to live in the U.S. working minimum wage jobs. I haven't actually read the book yet, but I read its first chapter before it was part of a book, as an article Ehrenreich wrote for Harper's. Ehrenreich lives in Key West, one of my favorite places in the world, and wanted to know if she could survive there on minimum wage. The answer is yes, but barely, and only working more than one job at a time. (One of the more interesting reader reviews on Amazon points out, however, that Ehrenreich tried to make it completely alone, no family, no roommates, no church.)
Dempsey proclaims in her article that "the people have spoken," but she doesn't get what they've said. After over two years Nickel and Dimed has nearly a million copies in print, which means that less than half a percent of the over 293 million Americans have read it. More people saw National Treasure in one day (1,375,000 last Friday if you take its $11,000,000 box office gross divided by an average ticket price of $8) than those who care to read about the working poor. The people have spoken, and what they've said, among other things, is that they don't care about reading.
You've missed it, and I almost did, catching Being Julia on its last day at the Neon. Based on a novel by Somerset Maugham the film gives Annette Bening a chance to shine, which she does, achieving a happier ending than does Bette Davis in All About Eve, the classic mentioned most in reviews of this movie. I did think Bening was fabulous (isn't that a typically gay adjective), but it wasn't she who caught my eye, nor was it her younger lover T O M (you have to see the film to catch that reference) played by Shaun Evans. No, it was another Tom, her son, a little hottie played by Tom Sturridge. There's a fun bit where he tells his mother about his having sex earlier that night for the first time ever, and he doesn't get what's so great about it. Perhaps it's just that he hasn't figured out yet, as Bening's older lover Lord Charles (played by Bruce Greenwood, who's pretty hot too) later confesses to her about himself, that he "plays for the other side."
This year my sister and her husband hosted Thanksgiving. My mother and I live in the same neighborhood, the historic Oregon District near downtown Dayton. I walked over to my mother's, so we could ride together to my sister's. Before I left, I took a picture of my cat, Phineas, who wasn't invited to dinner. He was happy enough for me to leave him on his favorite chair. On the way I took a picture of the Thanksgiving display in Newcom Park in the neighborhood.
Across the street a crew was hard at work on the old Southern Belle bar building. No parade watching for them. The Southern Belle moved a year or so ago to Patterson Boulevard, near Fifth Third field, and now its old building is being gutted and converted into a residence, with an upstairs even!
Yes, I still have my tomato plant on my deck. I should have dug it up a while ago, but I'm lazy. However, the result of my laziness is that I now know that squirrels like tomatoes. I already knew squirrels could scurry up and down walls. I caught this squirrel scampering onto my deck, picking up a tomato with his teeth and trying to scurry back up the wall. Unfortunately for him, he dropped the tomato. He went back after it once, but after his second attempt he scurried up the wall without it and spent a few minutes looking down at it, perhaps trying to figure out a better way to retrieve it. I was surpised he hung around long enough for me to get my camera, but after I got these pictures Phineas wanted to see what was up and scared the squirrel away.