Monday, December 31, 2007

The Truth About Kristol Revealed

This from my e-friend, Alisa Roost:

I understand the NY Time's choice to add William Kristol to their editorial page. Cohen and Gail Collins can be added to Krugman, Rich, Kristof, and Herbert as people that are smart, intelligent, educated, usually correct about most things, and always worth reading. Friedman is, of course, insane on everything except environmental issues. Dowd is like the teenager keeping score on who is in what clique, and Brooks is keeping track of hypocrisy among liberals who care about poverty and still like a latte. That is really rather biased. That is 6 intelligent people for 3 unreliable ones. But all three occasionally get something right. Adding Kristol will give them a reliably insane, wrong-about-everything voice, which has been sorely unrepresented at the Times for some time now. It would be a shame if any journalistic organization put the 'truth' above the appearance of 'truthiness' and hearing from 'both sides.'

The Gray Lady Whimpers

Ranging between the pile of greasy pots and pans, and the clutter threatening to bury the family room, I paused to read today's New York Times editorial, "Looking at America." I wonder who pens these things, and whether the tepid tone is a mere affect or a reliable marker of the depth of this author's outrage. Empassioned prose is considered vaguely or not so vaguely embarrassing in some quarters, and carefully considered understatement is put out as one hallmark of well bred opinionators, and this is fine in its place. But sometimes, as here, the mismatch of form to content is jarring. After this litany of administration high crimes and misdemeanors, I would have expected at least a temperate call for impeachment. The writer, however, took his leave with but a whimper:

We can only hope that this time, unlike 2004, American voters will have the wisdom to grant the awesome powers of the presidency to someone who has the integrity, principle and decency to use them honorably. Then when we look in the mirror as a nation, we will see, once again, the reflection of the United States of America.
"We can only hope?" What profligacy with the Times' vast capacity to influence public opinion.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Paean to the Simple Things

Christmas sucked all the cells out of my skull again this year, the way it does every year, and replaced them with aery nothing. And then came the flu, or whatever, and if I'm not posting regularly, it must be because I'm still gulping for air at three in the morning when neither lying flat nor sitting up opens the usual airways, and everything inside my body has turned to gelatin.

But enough about me! Tell me about all the fun you had this year, dears! What did you give, and what did you get, and where did you go, and how was it all?

While you're pondering, let me tell you about my favorite presents this year.

Some things are the best there is. Of their kind, be it ever so humble, they are the undisputed best.

Stilton cheese is one of these, though how "humble" it is can be debated. If you haven't tried it, what you need to do is get a box of Bremner Wafers (also the best of its kind) and a wedge of Stilton and possibly the best pear you can lay hands on, but I consider the pear part optional.

Stilton is a blue veined, richly creamy cow's milk cheese that can be made only "by authorised creameries operating only in the three English counties of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire," and associated with the village of Melton Mowbray, not the village of Stilton.

I remember my first encounter with Stilton as plain as if it were yesterday, though it was these thirty years since. And it is Stilton that one man who shall remain (partially) nameless can thank for having been redeemed from consignment to my own private hell. When Larry served Stilton--a fine, fat wheel of browning, mouldy cheese cut fetchingly to display its warm, creamy interior amidst a lace of Bremner Wavers--he didn't atone for all the rest, but he added to the whole that saving one percent that testified to his having once, at least, had a better, higher nature.

This Christmas, I was the happy recipient of about 1.5 pounds of Stilton, from Phoenix's least impeachable source, The Duck and Decanter, and three boxes of Bremner Wafers. If you gave me a shaggy pony and a barn and a field to keep him in, I wouldn't be happier.

Ah, but that wasn't all.

Is there a Great Chain of Being of Vegetables? Doth Tomato sit at the top, or Garlic, or Peppers? I know these things can be debated, too. My own view is that the peculiar notion that Tomato is a fruit allows us gracefully to sidestep one-third of the conundrum, which leaves us to choose between Peppers and Garlic. I'm going to resolve the irresolvable. In odd years, Peppers reign, but in even, the crown belongs to Garlic. This being an odd year (a very odd year), Peppers rule, and of Peppers, there is but one Grand Dame. It is the hot Hatch green chile.

If all you crave is heat, have your Habanero and your Scotch Bonnet. Feh! But if you prefer depth, wrap-around flavor, nourishment, and fire, there's simply no other possibility.

I also remember my first encounter with a hot Hatch green chile. It was just short of 20 years ago in a no-name mom-and-pop mall eatery on the outskirts of Santa Fe wehn someone asked, "Red or green?" and obviously I didn't say "Red." What I remember is my mouth filling with the flavor of green--green--over grilled chicken wrapped in a warm tortilla and layered in jack cheese. And the residual fire. The first bite was in fact painful. After that, there was no pain. There was only the flavor and texture of smoky green chile, soft and seductive.

This must be like meth minus the downers. One hit and you're done.

I now know for certain the real meaning of love. Real love is when your parter of nearly 25 years takes time out from a family gathering in Albuquerque to drive 10 miles to a funky chile shack and load up the last four 2-pound bricks of roasted, peeled, diced, and frozen hot Hatch green chiles, pack them in the suitcase, and get them back to Phoenix intact, through Sky Harbor's baggage checkers.

If there is a Heaven, it will surely include a large pot of hot Hatch green chile pork stew on the back burner, a stack of fresh, warm corn tortillas, and an adequate quantity of very cold beer.

I'm not picky about the beer, really, as long as it's Negro Modelo, Tecate, Dos Equis, or Corona, all headache-cold.

Come to think of it, one of my best memories of all time is of a stash of same in a Taos snowdrift outside my window, and a pot of Hatch green chile pork stew simmering on the grate.

I guess Heaven isn't in doubt after all.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto

I wonder if anyone fully grasps the implications of the awful assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Twice elected PM, twice exiled, Bhutto was the daughter of the created country's first democratically elected Prime Minister, himself assassinated. A Muslim, Bhutto represented Islamic Pakistan's best hope for a strong, non-military democracy. With her assassination, the unpopular President and General Musharraf must try to hold together a turbulent nation now in chaos and deprived of its favored alternative to Musharraf. If he cannot, the danger is that the resulting anarchy will provide Muslim extremists the opportunity to seize control over one of the very few secular, moderate Islamic countries, and with that control, control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons arsenal. Bhutto had pledged to crack down on Muslim terrorists in the Pashtoon provinces bordering Afghanistan.

Its nuclear capability has given Muslim Pakistan bragging rights among Muslim nations, allowed it to leverage political and financial favors from Arab oil states, given it a means to hold India hostage against any attempted foreign intervention, and, of course, made it a symbol of Muslim power over against the US and Israel.

What we don't know now is who will succeed or create a more stable coalition government with Musharraf if the January 8th elections are held. Until that is known, we don't know who will control Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, and until that is known, we don't know how best to protect our own interests in the region and at home.

What we do know is that it was the Pakistani metallurgist, Dr. A. Q. Khan, who developed the bomb for Pakistan and disseminated nuclear technology and parts to Iran, North Korea, and Libya. He is a hero of Muslims and of Pakistanis alike.

Despite Musharraf's weaknesses and failures vis a vis Al Qaeda, it is only US aid to Pakistan that gives us significant leverage in the international attempt to stabilize the Pakistani army, which presently controls the country's nukes.

This isn't a chess board suitable for beginners, ideologues, or, dare I say it, scions of families that profit from the proliferation of weapons systems.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Export Amy Chua

Privately alerted by my cyberfriend Kyle, of Citizen Orange and his Daily Kos diary, I’ve just read an op-ed entitled “The Right Road to America?,” by Amy Chua, Yale professor and second-generation Chinese immigrant.

Throughout, Chua utilizes a variety of rhetorical devices to a powerfully nativist effect. For example, she passes off Wolf Blitzer-style questions as reasonable inquiry. Item: “But are all immigrants really equally likely to make good Americans?”

But this is not at all reasonable. Such questions always lead us to simplistic yes/no responses. For that reason alone, they are instantly suspect. But here, Chua has merely posited a (silly) straw man designed to poke the racist alarm button and stimulate a knee-jerk nativist reaction. “Oh God, Oh God!,” we’re to think. “No, no, of course not! What to do? What to do! Build a fence! Close the borders! Not a minute to spare!”

I’m very much afraid that none of us comes with a good citizenship warranty. Chua's is an idiotic question posing as serious inquiry, and it’s frankly racist. Witness: If we (just as guilelessly) ask, “ But are all native-born infants really equally likely to make good Americans,” everyone instantly recognizes the obnoxious implication that we ought to be culling the babies--especially the poor and dark-skinned ones, right?

Chua summons moronic flamethrower Bill O’Reilly as the Far-Right anti-immigrant racist. Compared with O’Reilly, she seems dispassionate and concerned, and when she cites "Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington," she seems well read, up on her stuff.

Except that Chua gives herself away at every turn. Item:

Around the world today, nations face violence and instability as a result of their increasing pluralism and diversity. Across Europe, immigration has resulted in unassimilated, largely Muslim enclaves that are hotbeds of unrest and even terrorism. The riots in France last month were just the latest manifestation. With Muslims poised to become a majority in Amsterdam and elsewhere within a decade, major West European cities could undergo a profound transformation. Not surprisingly, virulent anti-immigration parties are on the rise.
Chua is writing for an American audience for which the words “Muslim enclaves” are synonymous with cells of incipient mass destruction—well, she herself invokes “terrorism” in the very same breath. But note how she attributes the violence and instability to immigration, pluralism, and diversity with never a hint of proof. This stipulated cause/effect sleight of hand is an old and handy trick. It works as well as it does because nine of every ten of us don’t bother to challenge the hookup. As she makes immigration and, implicitly, European tolerance responsible for the decline and fall of Western civilization, she implies that the same thing is happening right here in UncleSamville.

Let’s pause for a moment and think. If it were true that diversity and pluralism per se cause violence and instability, Europe, San Francisco, and New York City would have dissolved in shed blood centuries ago. Such a sloppy generalization obscures millions of immigrants from all manner of origins who have lived here and there in peace and mutual enrichment. It isn’t immigration. It isn’t diversity or pluralism. Now as always, it’s how all of us frame and deal with these phenomena. When the loudest and longest input is Buchanan, Tancredo, and O’Reilly, not surprisingly, violence and culture clashes are on the rise.

Chua also cherry-picks and elides large chunks of history to make her point:

Not long ago, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union disintegrated when their national identities proved too weak to bind together diverse peoples. Iraq is the latest example of how crucial national identity is. So far, it has found no overarching identity strong enough to unite its Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis.
Crap. Chua inverts and suppresses facts, assuming she knows them. (Jeebus, if this is a Yale professor, we’re in deep caca. Does she have tenure? Let us fervently pray not.)

In her rendition of history, Yugoslavia is an ancient nation (it was created following WWI) whose history is easily parsed, and the Crimean War, the Balkan Wars, WWI, and WWII didn't happen. Frankish, Austrian, Russian, Turkish, Hungarian, Nazi, Soviet predations in the Balkans had nothing to do with destabilizing the Balkans. Czechoslovakia, too--ancient (created in 1918), stable, and trouble-free until all that immigration came along. Centuries of military "unification" cammpaigns involving continental complexities and hereditarily antagonistic cultural and religious entities can all be boiled down to too much tolerance of diversity. And conquest, by the way, is not immigration.

Ditto Iraq. (And Saudi Arabia and Yemen and Israel and Palestine, for that matter.) In the case of Iraq, in the 1920s, the (distinctly un-Muslim, un-Arab) League of Nations mandated, and used British armed might to enforce, the creation of a made-up country called “Iraq,” comprised of Baghdad and Basra, and later Mosul. The Western powers thus forced at least three hereditary antagonists—-Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites, into a putative nation--this in a region where nationhood is an utterly unknown concept.

Nevertheless, Chua soldiers on to her own ideological drumbeat, evidently not expecting us to know about the Balkans and the Middle East, or not to notice that the provocation, then as now, was foreign control of Arab oil. To suggest that the problem is solely diversity is appallingly dishonest or, at best, uninformed. To suggest that conquest and occupation in any way resemble immigration, which is voluntary, is a typical sleazy Rightwing smoke bomb.

Underlying and fueling current antagonisms isn’t diversity per se. Underlying them is our utter unwillingness to tolerate different theologies and our ever-readiness to oppress and exploit each other. Dissention, violence, and conflict result from diversity and pluralism only when ethnicity, race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, and religion have been used as reasons to seize others' resources, and/or strip human beings of dignity, only when aspects of personal identity are forced to become standards in a war of self defense. A disinterested reading of history yields no other conclusion. The social disruption that Chua bemoans in the Balkans and the Middle East is more about the enforced juxtaposition of religions and cultures, or their deliberate oppression, by occupying and exploitative foreign powers (or in the case of Saddam, domestic) than it is about ethnic or religious diversity per se. In Europe and here, it is about economic displacement. Where I live, exploitation is just bound to create a bad mood.

And then there’s this:

The greatest empire in history, ancient Rome, collapsed when its cultural and political glue dissolved, and peoples who had long thought of themselves as Romans turned against the empire. In part, this fragmentation occurred because of a massive influx of immigrants from a very different culture. The barbarians who sacked Rome were Germanic immigrants who never fully assimilated.

Words fail me. Oh please. The plundering barbarians never intended to “assimilate.” To call Aleric and the Germanic hordes “immigrants” is like calling the KKK a very long Tupperware party. I say again: This is a Yale professor?

After a bucolic narrative interlude in which Chua lauds the contributions of the virtual slave labor of Chinese, Irish, and other poor immigrants, insists that she's against border fences, and extols the brilliance of (non-Hispanic, non-working class) high tech immigrants, she advises thus:

Nevertheless, immigration naysayers also have a point.

America's glue can be subverted by too much tolerance. Immigration advocates are too often guilty of an uncritical political correctness that avoids hard questions about national identity and imposes no obligations on immigrants. For these well-meaning idealists, there is no such thing as too much diversity.

“Too much tolerance?” Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahhhahahaaaaaaa! Excuse me while I double up, roll myself to the porcelain throne, and hurl. Has anyone, ever, in 300 years, accused an Anglo-Saxon Protestant Christian nation of “too much tolerance”? Tell you what. Go to the nearest barrio or ghetto and say out loud that America is in danger of dying from too much tolerance. See how long it takes you to get a real education. But call me first. I want to watch.

For starters, every nonpartisan, scholarly, reputable study of immigrants finds the same thing: They contribute more to their economies than they take out. Hispanic immigrants, like others before them, become fluent English speakers in the second generation, and are fully assimilated in the third. Crime rates are lower in their communities than in ours. They use fewer social benefits than other populations. And so on.

So. “Uncritical political correctness?” “Hard questions?” You mean the part about how we say greedy, exploitative corporations and complicit administrations are willing to subject desperately poor brown people to slave wages, filthy conditions, and criminal abuse? Or did you have in mind our demands for fair wages, fair working conditions, and fair immigration quotas so that these self-same corporate interests cannot pit native-born African American, white, and Hispanic laborers against each other? Or perhaps the questions we ask about NAFTA and "free" trade?

Chua offers more idiocies, but I'll rest my case. No, there’s no such thing as too much diversity. It's fun, fascinating, informative, enhancing, enriching, stimulating, compelling, and challenging, and way cheaper than travel abroad, especially now, thanks to Bush's dropping dollar. Besides, without diversity, we get inbred, pustulous, pasty-faced, fascist reactionaries like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly. I don't know about you, but that doesn't look like a bright future to me.

But there certainly are such things as too much ignorance, too much arrogance, too much greed, too much power, too much dishonesty, too much fear, too much intolerance, too little emphasis on truly beneficial communal values, too little neighborliness, too little mutual engagement, too little common sense, too little compassion, too little empathy, and too little understanding of history.

And too little gray matter to tell the difference between bullshit and baklava.

DC Councilwoman Hilda Mason

I was sorry to read today that the Honorable Hilda Mason has died. Any sensate being who lived in Washington, DC, in the 1970s and 1980s knew Hilda Mason, and those of us on the Left respected and admired her greatly.

Mason was one of those "Greatest Generation" women who never met an obstacle she couldn't cut through. I didn't know her personally, but my recollections of her work on the City Council are of a powerhouse for kids, education, the poor, the elderly, and Home Rule for the District. She had an immensely practical eye, as people tend to do who've walked in the shoes of those who are left out or overlooked by members of Congress and city councilmen. If somebody needed something to make a life whole, and if she could provide it, the chances were good that they'd get it. Despite belonging to the Statehood Party rather than the more powerful Democratic party, Mason managed to stay in office. People either loved or loathed her, but obviously, in the District, the majority loved her.

Women like Mason take up very little space, but what they lack in girth they make up for that in the volume of justice that they create. I sometimes worry that there won't be as many in my generation or the ones after. I wonder what was in the water that nurtured the women of that generation. They could and did read, think, maneuver, strategize, act, and kick butt. It never occurred to them that they couldn't or shouldn't stand up to Power. It never occurred to them that there was anything they couldn't do.

In Mason's case, it was as if the District were her living room. It would be well appointed and hospitable so long as she had anything to do with it. If she couldn't single-handedly clean up its act--who could?--she never stopped acting as if she could. As a result, it was a whole lot better for a whole lot of people than it would have been without her. Thank you so much, Hilda.

The World is Now Prepared

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle knew about this 80 years ago.

"Matilda Briggs was not the name of a young woman," Watson, said Holmes in a reminiscent voice. "It was a ship. . ., which is associated with the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared." From "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire"

Apparently the world is now prepared.

I wasn't consulted.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chris Dodd Rules

If one senator can force the Democratic leadership to pull the FISA bill, there's no excuse for the unbelievably shabby record of this Senate. Presidential candidate Senator Chris Dodd (Democrat), single-handedly created a public rebellion against a measure that would award retroactive amnesty to telecommunications giants that blithely stomped on the Constitution and enabled the most corrupt administration in US history spy on us illegally.

Dodd rules. Call his office if you get a chance to thank him for holding this essential line. If there's anything we don't need, it's more rogue corporations behaving with still more hostility to the American people and still less accountability for it.

Wigged Out on Dumb

I'm getting wigged out on dumb.

Everywhere I look, everywhere I turn, there's another drool-slinging, toe-stumping, head-whopping, over-the-top and under-the-bottom damn stupid dumb thing ready to join up with all its slack-jawed, cud-chewing, flat-topped buddies to give me a heart attack if I'd just let 'em.

In no particular order of crawling-on-the-floor stupidity, Duncan Hunter recently opined that the US military doesn't have time to experiment with gay soldiers. Where has he been for the last 300 years? If he doesn't know there've been gay soldiers since time began, then he's too stupid to be let on national TV. If a tree falls in the forest and he wasn't there to hear it, it didn't fall? What a maroon. Then, in another episode of GOP diplomatic genius, he went on to allow as how the US military does real fighting, unlike the Brits and the Europeans. Wait. I thought they were among the "Coalition of the Willing"? I'm trying to find my way inside Duncan Hunter's head here, and it's not pretty. I'm wondering what he means. He's implying that countries that include gays in their military forces can't play rough? Like he thinks the Israelis girl fight?

I heard this morning on the news that some woman in Arizona is hosting Taser parties. Not Tupperware parties, Taser parties for that special girl in your life. They come in silver, black, and, wait for it, pink. The idea is that every female possess a Taser, I guess. As for one guest of party hostess Dana Shafman (is that an emerging pun?), "Scheur said that once the Taser enters her house, she will keep it in a locked box under her bed with the key high enough so her children cannot open the box." It might be me, but (a) what good will it do locked in a box under her bed where she will not be able to get at it when the cat burglar pirouettes through her pied à terre, and (b) what means "with the key high enough so her children cannot open the box"? High enough? Already we have people walking around with guns in holsters at, you know, the dog-walking park. Now we'll have ladies with Tasers? Suddenly Phoenix skies are slashed with blue streaks. Martial law is declared. I can't wait for the first bimbette to Tase the fool who cuts her off in high-speed traffic, and if you think Christmas shopping is fun now, just wait. Tip: Whatever you do, don't reach for the last Dooney and Bourke. Honey, pack up. We're outta here.

There's a new group. Vegansexuals. I'm not kidding. I don't think I'm allowed to tell you the image that first came to mind, but let me just say that if I were a vegetarian who wanted sex only with other vegetarians, I'd get a new brand. It reminds me of that great riff Lily Tomlin does about peanut oil, coconut oil, corn oil, baby oil . . . .

We Americans are flying in ever-decreasing concentric circles on the matter of immigration, and if you just stop and think a minute, you will see that that trajectory takes you where the sun don't shine. We are actually formulating national policy, proposing to elect a new president, and passing state laws on the basis of a whole load of crap brought to us exclusively by Far Right racists. And all this time you thought it made sense. What part of "do your homework" don't we get?

This belongs in the day-late, dollar-short category, I know. But remember when we all said that supporting Mukasey for Alberto Gonzales' replacement as AJ was stupid, because, as night follows day, it follows that anyone that Bush nominates for anything is NOT GOOD FOR AMERICA? Well, Mukasey's in now, and if his messing around with "investigating" the untimely demise of the CIA tapes doesn't hack you off, then maybe this will. Turns out the DOJ is the lead cheerleader for a new plan to allow the GOP to commit voter fraud:

In legal briefs filed at the Supreme Court before a January hearing over the constitutionality of Indiana's 2005 voter I.D. law, the Department of Justice and other defenders of the ID law are making several new arguments that, if accepted by the court, would allow states to create barriers to voting without showing these laws address real problems.

What this means is that every Democrat who voted for Mukasey is dumb as a sack of rice. Among other things, if the courts buy this transparent Kremlinesque tactic to steal the next elextion, the GOP need only allege that armies of undocumented workers are lining up to steal the vote for Democrats, and they will be permitted to erect barriers to brown, black, poor, and Democrat voters, and our "Justice" department is for it. And you thought the Democrats would win in 2008. Har.

This is all the stupid I can take for one day.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Jodie, We Hardly Knew Ye

Conventional wisdom says that coming out is an intensely personal decision. In many ways, it is. Accordingly, each of us has a right to calculate for ourselves the risks and advantages consequent to saying, "I'm here, I'm Queer, and I'm not going to be afraid of it, or hide it, or lie about it anymore."

There are real risks, God knows, especially now, when the theocrats are screaming for our blood. And almost inevitably, each of us believes the risks are greater for us, perhaps, than for others who've made the decision to come out. Surely that belief results from the intimidation and oppression that keep us in the closet to begin with. That is, we’re meant to be afraid, very afraid, and one result can be an exaggerated forecast of what will happen if we defy the chains.

I know from personal experience that it’s rarely an easy call. For the most part, I agree that it's a private decision. That's why it's taken me a little while to understand why I'm feeling unhappy at the news that Jodie Foster has finally come out.

Because of the John Hinckley horror, as a case study in celebrity outings, Jodie Foster’s is unique. No one can say how much Hinckley might have affected her need for privacy and protection, or how all that might have become entangled in her coming out decision. It doesn’t take genius, though, to see that Hinckley’s pathological fixation, and his pathetic attempt to impress her through violence, didn’t make her life as a lesbian woman any easier.

I'm disturbed because I'm sad. To the extent that Hinckley delayed Foster's coming out, his insane violence made unremarked victims of all of us. Here’s why.

Regardless of outcome, every coming-out decision has public consequences, and not only for Queer people.

For instance, those who opt to hide and dissemble--this may seem harsh, but I think it's true nonetheless--do nothing to end the lie that there's a reason to be ashamed for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. In fact, they reinforce that myth whether they mean to do so or not. It’s not possible to pretend to be someone else without hiding who we are, and not credible to put an asterisk on the closet saying, “I’m not afraid or ashamed. I'm just in here because I like clothes.” That's sad.

Also, especially when they are accomplished people, as Foster certainly is, folk in the closet deny younger Queers the role modeling that living out, loud, and proud embodies. Mistakes and all, living openly as a lesbian woman shows those who come later how to confront the challenges that come with being Queer. I can't help but wonder what it cost us that we haven't had an out Jodie all this time. It's not that I expect she'd have lived brilliantly. It's that she'd have been more authentic and impressive, the way a Susan Sarandon and a Sean Penn are authentic and impressive.

And then there are the partners. Obviously, it's just not possible for half a Queer couple to come out. Therefore, as they go about their lives, those who choose the closet deliberately put their partners in the shadows. This is the kind of thing that makes everyone wince and turn away. After all, close friends and family already know or guess. Awful as witnessing such a charade may be, subjecting one's life partner to it is grotesque and heart-breaking for what it says about everyone involved. And nobody can tell me that Cydney hasn't paid a price for closet space.

Last but not least—in fact, maybe most of all, people who choose the closet withhold their authentic selves from those who know, interact with, and love them. Who can measure that cost? If all the energy that went into playing the straight role had gone into her career, what might she have achieved? Who else might she have touched, and touched more deeply as a friend, mentor, and colleague?

So yeah, I'm glad that Jodie came out. I just wish she could have come out a long time ago. I'm feeling, simultaneously, sad that she felt she couldn't, angry that she didn't, and glad that she finally did. I would have liked having Foster squarely in my corner--not because she’s a pretty actress but because she’s an accomplished woman. I think it might have helped younger Queers to see her 14-year relationship unfold and show its staying power. It might even have helped to make the USA a little kinder to us, the way Rock Hudson forced the nation a grudging foot further toward common decency.

Anyway, I’m hoping that now Jodie Foster will join Melissa Etheridge and K.D. Lang and Ellen Degeneres in living more confidently as a lesbian, because, God willing, she’s got plenty of time left to make a difference for everyone faced with living authentically in the Age of the Christianists. God knows, we need all the support we can get.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Out, Out!

I didn't think I'd live long enough to hear Jodie Foster come out.

It is a secret she has, until now, guarded closely from the wider world. This week, however, Miss Foster finally broke her silence about her 14-year lesbian relationship with film producer Cydney Bernard.

My reactions are contradictory and not entirely pretty. I'm going to have to mull this one for a while. Comments invited.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Survival of the Cutest, or The Difference Between "Gut" and "Smart"

Has anyone done a study of candidate faces and voter appeal? I know we've done the Alpha Male thing, and apparently, judging by the person now in the White House, it's a real thing. (Can you believe it?)

I'm thinking that at least 87% of the animosity directed at Hillary and Al Gore has to do with their faces.

Now wait. Before you go all hooty on me, remember that the nation is as one on the principle that no president shall ever resemble Dennis Kucinich, Ross Perot, or Ron Paul. These things matter in the arcane process of selecting candidates for national orifice--er, office.

Allow me to begin.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Gore has a prissy mouth. To me (and I like Gore; I'm from Tennessee, and before the crust formed on the earth, I worked for his father's re-election, much to my Republican father's outrage), to me, Gore's face looks most appallingly, regrettably Victorian in a particularly parsonish kind of way. The long, thin nose points inexorably to the thin, parsimonious lips, and I recoil, expecting Rector Gore's long, thin fingers to whip out the table of contents of my own personal book of sins. We don't have time for that.

Whether he's actually like Vicar Gore doesn't matter. I suspect he isn't like that at all, or he'd never have been elected to public office, by Democrats, at least, in the first place.

What matters is what we think we see there. His odd vocal cadence, nasal tonality, arching eyebrows, and, oh yeah, formidable intellect, move him even farther from our reach. Gore looks the patrician part, has the heritage, the wealth, and the access, and by all logic ought to be a Repubican. That he is not perhaps sets up an irreconcilable dissonance between who he is and the values he espouses. Indeed, if Gore had those values, if Gore were a Rightwing Republican, with all that those sad words imply, he'd probably have a marble monument on the Mall.

All this, then, makes for essentially the same set of questions that besets Hillary, except that she has the added complication of being female. If there's anything we hate more than persnickety, withhholding Protestant parsons, it's Women Like Hillary. We just know that she eats mountain oysters for breakfast.

Let me own now that, despite my unassailable standards for good judgment and rationality (hork!), I, too, am vulnerable to these perceptions. Consequently, I don't particularly LIKE either Gore or Hillary as individuals, though I do love Gore's policy constellation and respect his intellectual powers and intellectual integrity enormously, with a caveat related to his about-face on choice. Also, I like most of what Hillary stands for, if not her penchant for obviously playing it safe. I hate that.

That said, there's something about Hillary's face that also inspires less than affection. Eyes, cheeks, and mouth, I think. Come on, admit it. She looks like she's got something up her sleeve, like she's oozing sarcasm. I don't really believe she is. Everyone who's met her says she's very nice, and if she were as sarcastic and nasty as, say, Mean Jean, I don't think Democrats would like or elect or respect her as they do.

Again, it's what her face seems to say. Those cheeks invoke Pinnocchio. They conspire with that mouth to suggest that just possibly, her nose is growing, and in any case, if we knew the half of what she knows. . . . Only, who likes to feel left out of the joke? On this score alone, you just know that Hillary is the beneficiary of 300 million unresolved high school vendettas.

But there is the tedious fact that after $80 million or so, the Republicans were never able to turn up a damn thing on Hill and Bill. When she says she's been vetted, baby, she means vetted. We're not talking Skull and Bones here.
So maybe there's no joke at all.

Still, this isn't rational stuff. This is pure gut. And the one thing Bush has contributed to American political discourse is that there is a huge difference between gut and smart.

I know where we wouldn't be if Gore had been sworn in, as he should have been. We wouldn't be up to our eyeballs in Iraq, in debt, in spies, and inflation.

Maybe we ought to reconsider how we respond to Hillary and Al. This ain't a beauty contest.

The Irrational Hatred of Hillary

HuffPo offers up an article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., that sheds some fascinating history on the Bizarre Hatred of Clintons Rightwing monkey hammer sling fest. This teaser only sets up the good part. You'll have to go to HuffPo to get that:

Even some Democrats who agree with Hillary Clinton on every issue and consider her an effective, inspiring leader, fret that the blind, irrational hatred, that burdened her husband during his presidency and that continues to dog his wife, might impair her electability. 'She is too polarizing,' they say, parroting the verdict of television's Sunday morning gas bags.

It's worth recalling the historical parallels with an earlier presidential couple. 'No other word than hatred will do,' observed a May, 1936, Harper's Magazine feature, 'They Hate Roosevelt,' by Marquis W. Childs. 'The phenomenon to which I refer goes beyond objection to policies or programs. It is a consuming personal hatred of President Roosevelt and, to an almost equal degree, of Mrs. Roosevelt.'

The similarities are striking.

Contemporary African Art, N'awlins, and, ugh, Congress

Need an update on contemporary African artists? Except for the fact that the site profiles a dozen males to every one female, it gets a heads-up from me. Go there and ask for equitable representation of female African artists. "It's a big continent. There have to be some," she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. And note: The site does cover artists in genres other than painting.

From the sublime to the not-so-much, here's a source for the flow of money and other shenanigans in Congress, including legislative issues, news, campaigns, votes, and all you need to start kicking the Democrats in the hiney and kicking the Republicans from here to Mars.

JLP/New Orleans for the N'awlins lovers and visual addicts among us. Lovely photography and informed commentary add up to a valuable, at times poetic, compendium in praise of New Orleans history and architectural style. Kudos to Jeff Lamb.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

We're In This Together

The last week has thrown me, one more time, up against all the things I don't know. I just hate that.

I attended a board strategic planning meeting of an organization near and dear to my heart this weekend. We were there officially to discuss fundraising--oy vey!--and we did that. We were given helpful planning concepts and paper tools to use to plot our funding needs for the next year, and made great strides in that planning task.

But before we got into the agenda, I had another heart attack experience. I don't mean that I actually had a heart attack. I mean that during the mildly awkward time while assembled strangers and friends await the arrival of the rest of the expected attendees, I overheard a conversation that made me realize again, one more time, that the notion that we inhabit parallel universes is a myth.

I know it feels like that. There are micro-universes out there about which I know nothing. For instance, there are flamingo fans and foundries and psychoneurolinguists and smelters and hod carriers and afficionados of Baccarat. Within some of them, whole lives pass engrossed in personalities, politics, potential lays, high policy, the next vacation, who's who in upcoming papers, and who just didn't get tenure.

Within others, whole lives pass engrossed in the cost of work boots, eye guards, and leather gloves, or bosses' dispositions, factory alliances, unionizing, what's left after paying the rent, and Oh Christ, what the fuck do I do! The foreman won't fix the hinge on the furnace door.

What I know of foundries goes back 50 years to the last time I walked a factory that specialized in making thermostats and bellows and other peculiarities. My dad was the general superintendent, the chief flak catcher. He got the 3 a.m. phone calls and worked on Sunday to make sure whatever was needed for the Sunday night shift was ready for duty.

My dad lived in the uninhabitable space between the men on the floor and top management. I take it as a great compliment that his men came to his wake and his funeral and told us many stories of ways he mentored and went to the wall for them. But that said, my dad was third from the top. His job was to mediate the conflicts among the workers and the conflicts between the workers and top management--and that meant being present, physically present, 24/7 when necessary. So, the top two lived 30 years longer than he did because they didn't log 4 miles a day on concrete. Nobody called them "a one-eyed son of a bitch" (a reference to his WWII injury) or dared them to pour the giant ladles of 2500-degree molten steel or lose face and with face, authority.

What are you on about, you ask?

Just this. Have you ever sat opposite a dad and mom describing how their young son was burned to death in a foundry because management couldn't be bothered to fix the hinge on the furnace door?

Where is the nexus, the connection to me, you ask?

Just here. When this mom and dad called on a member of the Arizona legislature to ask for a law that would address corporate malfeasance, the member asked to be excused to attend to a call of nature, and never came back.

What if that were your issue? What if you helped to elect this person? Does he represent you?

In fact, come to think of it, it is your issue. And mine. Workplace safety is everybody's issue. How much "Duh!"-er can it get?

I don't have the statistics, but I know, and you know, that the Profit Imperative means nothing more than this: Workers are not paid for higher productivity, and workplaces are not maintained in the condition that best protects the workers. No matter the hazards, there will be shortcuts, and the shortcuts will inevitably be at the expense of those who are least able to prosecute resulting injuries and fatalities. It's a simple matter of gravity. Shit rolls downhill. If the factory employees are semi-literate "rednecks" or semi-literate Hispanics, it doesn't really matter because they have no idea how to even begin to file a complaint and can't afford to hire a lawyer. Doesn't really matter who gets burned to death so long as the investors make out and the CEO gets his. Sounds like rhetoric until you look around.

So, for some of us, the stock market is the nexus. My profit, my wellbeing, comes at the expense of the basic safety of the foundryman, and this I know, and now that I know it, if I fail to leverage my stock ownership to demand less fixation on mere profit and a great deal more on worker safety and the environment, I am complicit. N'est-ce pas?

For some of us, the bellows or the thermostat is the nexus. These things are in our cars and fridges and whatever. We might not know we have 'em, bu we have 'em. They make our lives easier.

For others, the connection is our contract to provide security for the factory. Or a contract to provide the steel, or deliver the steel, or negotiate the union agreement next year, or operate the canteen outside the foundry door.

For others of us, the nexus is as thin as this post, or as deep and substantial as blood relationship to management or broker or worker or foreman.

You can see that safety in the foundry quickly becomes no more than, and mostly less than, six degrees of separation.

There are other nexuses. Everyone who makes, sees, purchases, benefits from, wholesales, or retails the steel or the bellows or the thermostat or the foreman's shirt or the workman's boot. Everyone whose labor constructs the factory, or the furnace, or the converyor for the lathe or the vat, or the milling equipment. Everyone who oversees the foreman and the workman, whose secretarial and accounting and sales and marketing position depends on the workman. Everyone whose senior managment position depends on the workman. And all their children and grandchildren.

And all the parents, and cousins, and sisters, and brothers, and aunts, and uncles, and nieces, and nephews of all the workmen.

And all the people who hear the story of how the 20-something workman was burned to death because nobody--not management, not labor, not foremen, not workmen--demanded basic workplace health and safety.

It's about all of us. Why don't we see that?

Because we aren't looking. Don't want to. Very strange. The cost-benefit analysis for seeing and doing something about this ultimately accrues richly to us.

I can thump Bibles with the best of them: "If you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto me."

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Children's Hour, Redux

Bob Herbert's column this morning, "Spies Like You and Me" (New York Times), is well worth a read. It's a relief to see anyone draw the line on abusing undocumented workers, but because of the skill with which Republican hate mongers have pitted African American workers against Hispanic workers, it's especially good to see an African American draw the line.

Regarding a question posed to Democratic presidential candidates, Herbert wrote:

'You interview a number of applicants,' Mr. Inskeep said. 'They all seem very nice. They seem like they would take care of the kids. But it would appear that their documents may not be in order. What would you want an American to do?'

Their documents may not be in order.

Mr. Inskeep didn’t make clear what should trigger the suspicions of such oh-so-solidly American parents, causing them to scrutinize an applicant’s papers with a thoroughness worthy of Sherlock Holmes. Might it be a skin tone darker than Paris Hilton’s? Or maybe an accent, like that of my Aunt Lottie, who came here from Barbados?

You wouldn’t have wanted to face my family if you were some rat who tried to turn in my Aunt Lottie.
I love this. I love it that Herbert has taken the matter from the fairly austere confines of labor to the heart of the matter: family.

Because (how my aunt would have hated my beginning a sentence with "because") the fact is that human beings can't be plucked out of our lives like lightbulbs from a carton. We have connections. No matter how much Lou Dobbs and Tom Tancredo would like to paint undocumented workers as diseased, demented aliens here to undermine all we stand for, the truth is that they have connections. They are linked to us not just by virtue of our common humanity and our common goals. They are linked, here and abroad, to families. Like Aunt Lottie, they make our lives whole.

They are our gardeners, our maids, our bricklayers, our busmen, our cooks, our nannies, our grocers, our friends. They own that fantastic Mexican restaurant we're proud to introduce to out-of-town visitors. They wash our cars, roof our houses, asphalt our streets. They own the fabulous Filiberto's around the corner. They are the unremarked bricks in the foundation we take for granted. In this way, if no other, we are connected. I see their faces every time I stop for the world's best chicken burrito or have a yen for carne seca. I see the same faces once a week, like clockwork, as they care for my neighbor's yard. We are connected. The work they do improves the quality of my life, preserves my most prized possessions, and makes me safer.

There's something of every one of them in everything they touch, and so, as they touch my life, they are a part of its tapestry--invisible as a single stitch and just as essential.

So, if we do violence to them, we do violence to ourselves. If we pluck them out by the roots without some means of closing the wound, we hurt them and we hurt ourselves. That is the way of the world, although I do admit that sometimes it takes an awfully long time for karma to come around and make the point in a way that we understand.

If we don't extend to undocumented persons the protections of law, civil rights, humane treatment, due process, and compassion, we tear at the tapestry that makes our lives what they are, our towns and cities what they are, our families what they are, and our country what it is. If we don't acknowledge all the reasons they're here and all the ways we enabled and exploited them for all these decades, we lie in our souls, as well, and in all these ways, we store up a generation of rage and retribution. It is said that an exploited person will get your attention one way or another.

Of course Herbert's larger point is that the idea that we are obligated to report someone we suspect of being an undocumented immigrant is obnoxious and abhorent. It is.

Paradoxically, it is also fatal to the ideal of justice we claim to revere. Precisely here, in this kind of minding someone else's business, "duty" is unmasked as self-righteous ignorance and meddling. This busybodyness doesn't uphold our liberty and way of life. On the contrary. It wrecks their very foundations, which are trust and justice. It is precisely this supercilious piety that Lillian Hellman exposed and condemned in her play, "The Children's Hour." In case you're unfamiliar with it, it's about what happens--to everyone--when a student accuses two teachers of lesbianism.

That's also the world of the infamous and disgraced House Unamerican Activities Committee(HUAC). It's not the kind of world I wish to inhabit, and it's not my idea of justice or my idea of truth.

The notion that we are here to police each other not only contradicts my understanding of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Significantly, it also goes directly counter to one of the wiser admonitions in the Bible: "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:5)

The point there, as I understand it, isn't merely that the accuser is a hypocrite, which of course he is, just as we are when we ignore our own multitudinous triflings with the law and jump all over someone else's desperate misstep. The point is also that we mortals are just not in a position to know all the consequences of our actions. We just don't know all the ways we're connected, and so we can't gauge the extent of the damage that we can do when we act without mercy, patience, integrity, or understanding.

Giving license to witch hunts might make sense in a mean-spirited, totalitarian Republican world, but that's not the kind of world I want to live in. Not now, not ever.

Friday, December 7, 2007

America's Holiday Greetings to GLBT Americans

According to the Washington Post, Secretary of State Rice sent us a special holiday greeting this year:

Michael E. Guest, a tall, soft-spoken man with salt-and-pepper hair, looks every bit the diplomat. At the young age of 43, at the start of the Bush administration, he was named ambassador to Romania, and since he returned in 2004 he has trained new ambassadors before they ship out overseas.

But last month, after 26 years in the Foreign Service, he did something uncharacteristically undiplomatic.

Guest resigned from the State Department, giving up a career he loved, in order to protest rules and regulations that he believes are unfair to the same-sex partners of Foreign Service officers, giving them fewer benefits than family pets. He had spent the years since his return from Bucharest trying to win changes in policies, appealing directly to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but said his proposals were met with indifference and inertia. . . .

Within the State Department . . . same-sex partners -- or unmarried heterosexual partners -- are refused anti-terrorism security training or foreign-language training and are not evacuated when eligible family members are ordered to depart. Unlike spouses, they do not receive diplomatic passports, visas or even use of the State Department mail system. They also must pay their own way overseas, get their own medical care and are left to fend for themselves if a partner is sent to a dangerous post such as Iraq.
Congress, too, didn't get the memo that says "all men [and women] are created equal." This week,
House and Senate negotiators yesterday nixed a measure to expand hate-crime protections, removing it from a Pentagon policy bill that is now likely to pass both chambers by wide margins.

Negotiations on the defense authorization bill had bogged down, with House Democratic leaders worried that they did not have enough votes to pass the bill if it included the hate-crime measure. The bill, which has been vigorously supported by gay rights groups, would have extended hate-crime protections to victims based on gender, sexual orientation or disability.
When I read this kind of thing, I wonder how it can be that anyone whose civil rights were denied for so long, and whose rights in many cases are still unrealized, can fail to see that extending full civil rights to other human beings is the right thing to do.

It was right in the 1960s. The country knew it, including the hundreds of thousands of gays, bisexuals, transgender people, and lesbians who stood up for and fought for civil rights for African Americans. We knew that what the bigots said didn't make a bit of difference to the bottom line. Even when they hauled out the Bible to justify slavery and called black skin "the mark of Cain," we understood that what they said was sheer bigotry. Those among us who were Christians--that is, Christians and not Leviticites or Deutoronomists--could see plainly that Jesus taught something radically different. We had gotten the memo that said "all men [and women] are created equal," and we knew there isn't a footnote reading, "unless you happen to disagree."

It seems there are always some who do disagree, some who can always find a passage of scripture somewhere to abuse in order to justify refusing equality--even common civility--to some of the people all of the time.

Those folks never seem to notice that each generation has had its bigotry target and its justifications, and that in each, those justifications were always regarded by millions as perfectly rational and often biblical. Yet every single time, bigotry has been proved wrong. You'd think we'd notice the pattern.

For these folks, however, it's always different "this time." "This time," there's a reason, it's in the Bible, it's different, yes but, blah blah blah. They don't seem to have noticed that as time passes, unfailingly the veil of misunderstanding lifts and we see, still yet again one more time, that etched on the great constitution of the human heart is the Truth that bigotry is always wrong.

New Rule

OK, I've got an idea.

Instead of spending our lives protesting as half of America deports Mexicans; threatens African Americans; strives to keep women poor, barefoot, and pregnant; exploits workers; starves the old people; beats up Queers; invades foreign countries; steals our tax dollars; spends the country into oblivion; denies us all affordable healthcare; poisons our environment; trashes the infrastructure; thumps the Bih-bul at us; kills the polar bears; snoops in our email; breaks into our houses; makes up "news;" cheats in elections; passes really stupid laws; makes crappy consumer goods; steals our 401(Ks); arms people to slaughter school kids and mall shoppers; tortures folks and lies about it; builds very expensive border fences (as if), refuses to regulate criminal businesses, and marches around in sheets, how about we just get rid of Republicans?

There. Problems solved.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I Been Thinkin'

For some people, the fact that we receive -- feel good -- when we give, vitiates the goodness, the virtue, of our giving.

For me, that fact is part of the brilliance in the design of The Way Things Are. That both giver and giftee feel wonderful as a result is somehow a "bad" thing is incomprehensible to me. I find no more shame in that beautiful reciprocity than I find in the joy I feel when I contribute to feeding my family. Isn't that as it should be? Shouldn't I be hard wired to feel joy in the consequences of my generosity? Wouldn't the world be a fabulous place if all of us allowed ourselves to be propelled by that dynamic instead of the warmaking dynamic? Who can deny it?

I've also been thinkin' about whether New Orleans ought to be allowed to be rebuilt. Here's what I think.

When Malibu is banned, and the Keys are banned, and Ft. Walton Beach and Pensacola and Mobile are banned, and Palm Island and Hilton Head are off limits, and when Kill Devil Hills and Holden Beach and the Outer Banks and Martha's Vineyard and Miami and Jacksonville Beach are banned, then maybe we ought to think about New Orleans.

When Galveston is banned, and Sanibel Island, and the Gulf Coast casinos are banned, and when Portland and San Francisco and Seattle and Boston and Baltimore and Kent Island are banned, then maybe we ought to think about New Orleans. A settlement in New Orleans was here long before they were.

When Las Vegas is banned, and Palm Springs, and El Paso, and Tucson and Phoenix and Yuma and Lake Havisu are banned, then maybe we should think about New Orleans.

Who the hell are we? What makes an American an "American"? We like to think it's generosity of spirit and purse. We like to think it's a nobility of mind, something that prefers honor and justice to mere advantage. We like to think it's tolerance of difference.

I been thinkin', and what we like to think bears less and less resemblance to how we are actually behaving.

Only we can do something about that. Which is to say, only you.

Make It Right NOLA

Remember what we did, together, for the people wiped out by the tsunami? Remember how Americans dug into our hearts and pockets for people on the other side of the world and sent millions to people we never laid eyes on, to help them rebuild?

Remember how we didn't ask whether they deserved our help, or if they were upstanding good people, or whether they all had jobs, or whether they should build there again? Remember how we just helped?

That's what we can do now.

We have that chance.

We can join Brad Pitt at makeitrightnola, and help our fellow Americans. It doesn't take much. It only takes putting yourself, for a moment, in their shoes. It only takes remembering how much you love New Orleans, and realizing that that love? There wouldn't be a New Orleans for you to love so much if it weren't for the people who make New Orleans what it is. The people you see, the people you don't see.

It's about the waiter at your table, the maid who made your beds. It's about the taxi driver and the trolley driver and the shop keeper and the feller who made your cafe au lait. It's about the doctor at the hospital you could land in, and the nurse, and the pharmacist. It's about the people who work the docks and haul the goods that make your life a little better every day. It's about blue dogs and rarified antiques and Newcomb pottery. It's about the history of New Orleans -- the slaves, the Creoles, the jazz Greats, the jazz not-so-greats. It's about the Saints and the sinners. It's about the drag queens and the Mardi Gras floats and the Hurricanes and the beads and the people who made them for you. It's about the funerals, the live oaks, the red beans and rice. See what I'm sayin'? Somebody made the jambalaya, the red beans and rice, the mudbugs, and the chances are pretty good that that somebody lived in the 9th Ward or loved someone who did.

Step up. Put the judgment down. Leave that to Somebody in a better position to do it right. For now, just step up and help out. Just do it. Don't say New Orleans never gave you anything.

You know better than that.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Parse This

Saturday, December 1, 2007

If This Man Preached in My Town . . .

I'd go to back to church.

This from BBC:

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has criticised the Anglican Church and its leadership for its attitudes towards homosexuality.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4, he said the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, had failed to demonstrate that God is "welcoming".

He also repeated accusations that the Church was "obsessed" with the issue of gay priests.

He said it should rather be focusing on global problems such as Aids.

"Our world is facing problems - poverty, HIV and Aids - a devastating pandemic, and conflict," said Archbishop Tutu, 76.

"God must be weeping looking at some of the atrocities that we commit against one another."
This Archbishop is a Christian. Guys like the one in Canterbury are more like Leviticites or Deuteronomists.

I have such vast respect and affection for Archbishop Tutu. He's fearless, loving, highly educated, genuine, and altogether beautiful.