Monday, May 21, 2007

 
Devious Steve-O (thanks, Steve!) featured this survey on his blog, and here's my response:

1. Do you try to look hot when you go to the grocery store just in case someone recognizes you from your blog?
No, but I try to look good because my supermarket is full of gay guys and, well--you know.

2. Are the photos you post Photoshopped or otherwise altered?
No. A) I wouldn't falsify anything and, B) I wouldn't know how!

3. Do you like it when creeps or dorks email you?
I like it when ANYBODY emails me.

4. Do you lie in your blog?
No, never.

5. Are you passive-aggressive in your blog?
No.

6. Do you ever threaten to quit writing so people will tell you not to stop?
No, that's manipulative bullshit.

7. Are you in therapy? If not, should you be? If so, is it helping?
No, and No. I tried a bit of therapy during a traumatic break-up many years ago and the therapist finally told me I was too realistic about things and insufficiently delusional--I should just go home and live my life. I did.

8. Do you delete mean comments? Do you fake nice ones?
No to the first. As for the second, I've never faked anything (ahem).

9. Have you ever rubbed one out while reading a blog? How about after?
Maybe once while reading a blog. Several times when watching webcams in the past.

10. If your readers knew you in person, would they like you more or like you less?
They seem to like me a great deal. It's because I'm interested in them, I think.

11. Do you have a job?
Technically, yes. But I'm very soon beginning an early retirement, so I won't have one in a couple of months.

12. If someone offered you a decent salary to blog full-time without restrictions, would you do it?
Very probably.

13. Which blogger do you want to meet in real life?
Teddy from The Neighbors Will Hear. Also, Nicky from Dominic's Corridor. I've been lucky enough to meet several bloggers and have enjoyed their company greatly.

14. Which bloggers have you made out with?
None, but the thought HAS crossed my mind.

15. Do you usually act like you have more money or less money than you really have?
I act like me. I don't play for image of any kind.

16. Does your family read your blog?
No. But my husband does.

17. How old is your blog?
Four years this coming August.

18. Do you get more than 1000 page views per day? Do you care?
Ha! I get between 130 and 150 per day. I kind of care. I'd love to have more readers (Joe.My.God and Mark from Zeitzeuge can write about what they had for breakfast and have 45 comments by lunch time). I consider my circle of reader/commentors to be small but choice.

19. Do you have another secret blog in which you write about being depressed, slutty, or a liar?
No, not that I haven't considered it.

20. Have you ever given another blogger money for his/her writing?
No. But I've supported Mark of Zeitzeuge, Jake of NoFo, Bryan of Chaos in Austin and a couple of others for doing AIDS walks, rides or runs.

21. Do you report the money you earn from your blog on your taxes?
I don't make any, and don't care to.

22. Is blogging narcissistic?
Exhibitionistic, perhaps--but not narcissistic, at least not in my case.

23. Do you feel guilty when you don't post for a long time?
My goal is to post every two days. If I go longer, I don't feel guilt but am concerned about losing readers.

24. Do you like John Mayer?
I know of him but have never heard him.

25. Do you have enemies?
I'm sure. We all do.

26. Are you lonely?
No. Alone sometimes, but never lonely as long as I know Fritz is there in my life.

27. Why bother?
Because to bother--to care--is to live.

*******

The Body Electric weekend was most enjoyable. Three men we've know well for years were the presenters. There were some great guys among the participants--it was on average a much younger group than normal--but two decided to drop out during the weekend which is very unusual.

On Saturday night we did the usual fancy banquet-style dinner by candle light with a nice menu (Fritz's special chicken in rosemary-herbed sour cream sauce, green beans, salad and fudge brownies with ice cream for dessert. After dinner one of the guys showed a film which he helped make and in which he's featured, a documentary of the gay singing duo, Y'All. The two singers, partners professionally and personally, toured around the country in a 20 foot trailer (celebrated in their song "Life in a Box") and one night the young man who was with us for the weekend sat in the first row at one of their performances.

The three shared a dinner later that evening and very quickly fell in love. The documentary traces a year in their relationship, the change in the dynamic between the original lovers, the evolution of the threesome, and the final decision for each of them to go his own way. Well made, if somewhat choppy in the editing here and there, the film was an interesting anatomy of a three-way relationship and a tribute to the ups and downs of love among men. When it was over and the lights came up, one of the guys commented, "aren't all threesomes unstable by nature?" which brought the retort frome someone else "arent all couples unstable by nature?" Laughter, and point taken.

*******

There was some real sadness around Boston at the announcement that the Jesuits are going to close their Jesuit Urban Center in the South End after many years' ministry to the city's gay and lesbian Catholics.

The story is interesting and complex. As an order of priests specifically created during the counter-Reformation to combat the development of Protestantism, the Jesuits were always both the intellectual arm of the Church (intellectualism not being high on the list of virtues the Catholic Church holds in regard because it leads to asking questions) and a conservative force for the preservation of the traditional faith. However in Boston the Jesuit Urban Center, focused on its splendid 1860s church in Roman Baroque as imagined by the Victorians, became The Gay Catholic Church.

The road was somewhat rocky. Up until 2000, there was a steady congregation of around 400 and that was enough to pay the bills and keep up the property. But in that year a nun employed at the Center was fired for baptising the child of a same-sex couple. A priest was also let go in connection to the incident. The Jesuits maintained that the gender of the couple never came into it, but that nuns are forbidden to administer sacraments like Baptism except in extreme emergencies. Nevertheless, there was anger among the faithful and about half the congregation departed never to return. In succeeding years, there was further attrition and debts mounted up.


The Jesuits altered the interior of the church to build offices for the noted early music ensemble The Boston Camerata, and they took in single performance events such as our Intermezzo Chamber Opera production last November of Benjamin Britten's "Curlew River." But even that income wasn't enough.

As the ministry at the JUC became more and more focused on serving the gay community, groups like Mass Resistance, a homophobic organization devoted to stamping out all gay rights and gay visibility, urged mainline Catholics to rat out what was going on in the South End to the local hierarchy and to the Vatican. But it's neither of them who has decided to close the Jesuit Center, it's the order itself. The Jesuits' income comes largely from the salaries of members who teach at Boston College, and as with all religious orders in the U.S., as older members retire or die, there are fewer and fewer young men coming in to replace them. They simply don't have the money and will put the property up for sale and disband the ministry.

"We don't want it to become a condo" said one highly placed local Jesuit, but condo conversion is the virtually universal fate of churches that have lost their congregations in Boston, particularly downtown and in the immediately adjoining neighborhoods of Back Bay and the South End.

As to the gay community left without a place to gather for Catholic and social services, the Jesuit Order invited them to check out a church inf Chestnut Hill near Boston College (a big trek); the Paulist Center downtown (albeit the apostle Paul himself was hardly cordial to gays or to women of any sexual orientation); the church of St. Ignatius in Boston--or the Cathedral of the Holy Cross several blocks away. The latter, the Jesuits admit, may not exactly be appetizing to gay Catholics as it's the seat of Cardinal Sean O'Malley, a rabid homophobe closely allied to the former-Hitler Youth Pope who clearly hates them as well as homosexuals everywhere.

Sad. What possible value does a religion have that isn't devoted to bringing people together and helping all people live in fruitful harmony?

Comments:
Nice thought provoking post. I wanted to comment about photoshopping. I post a lot of pictures on my blog, and I do photoshop them. In my case it means doing two things: adjusting the contrast/brightness so that the images look nice and re-sizing the images so that the file size is manageable. Ocasionally I crop the image, once or twice I have added an arrow or other marker to point something out. I mention this to illusterate that it doesn't necessarily falsify anything to do some photoshop work on an image.
 
Isn't question 6 really just another version of question 5?

Fake comments? Photoshopped photos? Based on these questions, I had no idea that some bloggers could be so devious -- or -- er -- I mean creative.
 
Heh. Some of those questions have a pretty clear agenda, don't they? I'd guess that somebody had been burned by a fellow blogger and is still bitter.

It always saddens me to read about gay Catholics and the machinations they go through to try to fit in. I understand the desire to remain in the tradition you were brought up in, but I wouldn't belong to any church that didn't want me.
 
Great list! I just did mine in his comments because I was too lazy to post my own this time around. Maybe I should anyway. :)
 
Doug--
Yes, I know that photoshopping doesn't necesarily mean manipulation of the image itself, but whenever I hear the phrase 'I photoshopped it," I'm always a bit suspicious, p[articularly as my students are addictd to the practice.

Anthony--you're right, they really are very much alike, although I guess one COULD be passive-aggressive about something besides treatening to leave if he/she's a comment whore.

Teddy--I'm with you on that one. I got out and worked hard to free myself of all the heavy Catholic school indoctrination as soon as I could. I've learned in life not to try to push myself into places where I'm obviously not wanted.

Kevin--I decided to post the list on my blog because while I'm not narcissistic, I am an exhibitionist and can be seen as such at nude beaches in New England--at least those the 'phobes haven't closed down.
 
Wow, Will. Some of the people who comment on your blog really are jerks. Or maybe they just enjoy acting that way.

[Comment edited to comply with PG MPAA standards.]
 
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