Follow Up on Louis CK/”Faggot” and Many Court Decisions

Hey everybody. It’s 8:33 PM EST as I start this post and it’s turning out to be a most exciting evening. Already we had two rulings out of Massachusetts that DOMA is unconstitutional. I’m going to be reviewing those two decisions and getting posts up later tonight and tomorrow for each.

We also just got word that we can expect the Prop 8 decision by the top of the hour.  That will be most exciting, and I’ll get to work on reading it too. Knowing how much testimony there was, the decision might be lengthy. I will be doing a lot of work in the coming hours. 🙂  This turned out to be a false alarm!

In the meantime, I wanted to follow up on my post the other day about the new FX show Louie and the poker-table conversation about the word “faggot.”

Louis C.K. was on NPR’s Fresh Air and talked at length about that scene and LGBT issues in general. The whole interview is really a great listen.

Fresh Air: Louis C.K. (7/7/10)

A lot people commented that the whole “burning” story isn’t known for sure to be the true etymology for how “faggot” is used today, and I loved how Louis addresses this in the interview:

I don’t know, and I’ve actually read things online where people are saying that’s not accurate. I don’t think it matters. I love that on all sorts of websites and gay blogs and stuff that this scene has sort of, like, stirred up conversation, which I think is just healthy.

And this scene is about a guy who believes that to be the true origin of the word, and it’s about his feelings about it and what impact it has on me.

If it’s not the real explanation of the word faggot, I don’t think it matters. The point of the scene isn’t to be accurate. It’s not a news show. It’s an exchange between characters.

I’m inclined to agree. Even if we cannot demonstrate the validity of the story, I think it’s an important description because it still effectively captures the power of the word. It might be more metaphorical than etymological, but I think that’s okay.

I also want to share something else Louis shares that I think fits in with all the conversation on my post yesterday and also on today’s Queer and Queerer. He talks about what gay men have to go through to be comfortable with their sexuality and how heterosexual men do not go through that:

And it’s funny because, you know, gay men have to – they’re put sort of a crucible. And I’m speak–you know, it’s not – I’m just taking liberty in saying this. Gay men have to go through something to own their – who they are. They get beat up. They get ostracized. Whatever they go through, if they survive it, they come out very confident people.

They come out having been tested and having to really figure out who they are to get through it, because I think that’s how you get through any kind of a test is by really finding your strengths and believing in yourself. So a lot of gay people who are still standing and still strong, that’s who they are.

Heterosexual men have never been put through that test. We don’t get -nobody goes, oh, my God, you like women? And you don’t have to defend it for your whole life. So we’re not so sure about our sexuality. I think that’s one reason why heterosexual men attack gay people or are afraid of them because they’re now confident and they’ve gone through this, but we don’t know who we are sexually. We’re a mess. So I think that that’s why the two sides of the sexual barrier is such an interesting – it’s such an interesting conflict.

I think Louis CK is a pretty smart guy, so definitely listen to the interview if you get a chance.

Stay tuned for several posts in a row with analysis of all today’s decisions related to same-sex marriage!



Thanks To You, I’m Going To Netroots Nation!!!

Hey readers!

I was waiting until the holiday was over to share the good news:

I’m going to Netroots Nation this month!!!

Here’s the official announcement on Open Left.

Thanks to all your diligent voting (and your tolerance of my nagging reminders to do so), I was a winner in Freedom to Marry’s Blog 4 Equality contest!!

Congratulations to all the finalists who are continuing to do wonderful work!

You can expect a lot of posts from Vegas with all the wonderful experiences I’m having there!

A lot of thanks to everybody who is helping make my trip possible. I think it speaks highly of the LGBT Netroots that there are great folks willing to be mentors to relative newbs like myself. A special thank you goes out to my friend Hemant Mehta who helped support my candidacy. Thank you atheist community!!

If you voted for me, I assume it means you care about the work that I do in some way. I surely hope it means that you appreciate my writing here on the blog, since that’s what the contest was about. If any of you who voted want to make special requests about topics I might not normally cover, feel free to leave these ideas in the comments. I so appreciate your support that I feel I have to give something back, so how about more of the quality content you voted for? Let me know, folks, and again, THANKS SO MUCH!!!



I Hate Popularity Contests, But I Need Your Votes This Week!!

I am honored to be among ten finalists selected to win full scholarships to Netroots Nation through Freedom to Marry.

All the other nine bloggers are doing important work to advance marriage equality, but this week, I’m asking that you help send me to Netroots Nation. If you’re not familiar, Netroots Nation is a convention for progressive activists that focuses on effective ways of using technology to exchange ideas. I’m ecstatic about the opportunity to hone my skills and access new resources for improving this blog and my personal efforts to educate people about certain issues. Your vote can open this door for me.

I think I bring a lot of unique perspectives to the Queer Equality front. My analysis of court decisions and research helps folks connect with historic moments that affect the movement. Plus, my comprehensive coverage of the Prop 8 Trial and Protect Marriage over the past six months has helped open people’s eyes to the importance of marriage equality.  The podcast I share with Peterson Toscano helps advance conversations about important issues in approachable ways. My perspective as an atheist helps untangle the web of religious privilege that holds back queer equality while my perspective as an educator helps keep the focus on interrupting ignorance rather than simply adding to the shouting match.

Most importantly, my top priority in blogging has always been to synthesize current events in original ways with a fresh perspective.

I encourage you to investigate the work of all ten finalists, but I hope that when you do vote, you are still eager to support me in my efforts to get to Netroots Nation.

Voting is open until Friday, and each person can vote once per day. If all of my readers continue voting for me this week, I’m sure I have a great chance at this wonderful new learning opportunity.

My thanks to Freedom to Marry for sponsoring this scholarship and to all the other entrants for their own hard work toward advancing marriage equality.

Please go vote now! And follow me on twitter for daily updates to vote! Thanks in advance for your support!



Life Happens

Hey readers! I’m doing some traveling this week (and having some delays—wah wah) so posting will be limited. Despite the delays I plan to do the best to cover the Prop 8 closing arguments! I just don’t want you all to think I’d abandoned you. Take care!

Here’s a funny picture of me to hold you over, courtesy my buddy Bil Browning.



Do I Have a Successful Blog?

Do I have a successful blog?

I try to do both, but like the smartass in today’s xkcd, I spend more time thinking about content. I want readers who come to the site because they are interested in the content, and hopefully want to interact with it.

How am I doing, dutiful reader(s)?



ZFb Is Now Facebook-Ready

Today was one of those days where I spent hours messing around with the blog to ultimately not accomplish very much. However, ZackFord Blogs is now connected to the brand new Facebook social plugins.

At the bottom of each post (and I mean the VERY bottom, just above the comments), you can now “Recommend” a post automatically on Facebook (including a comment of your own, if you wish) and also see which of your friends have also shown they like it.

You can also now easily “Like” (formally “Become a Fan”) the blog itself using the widget on the left sidebar. There is also a “Like” widget now on the Queer and Queerer Podcast page. (Hopefully, Facebook fixes the color situation soon, but oddly I can’t do anything about it for now.) By liking these, you will automatically receive updates in your Facebook News Feed when new posts are up.

It’s super easy, so if you like what you’re reading, just go ahead and click Like at the bottom of the post! It’ll help bring more people the site and hopefully more dialogue with it!



Wait, a Podcast? When did that happen? Queer and Queerer is Here and Heerer!

You may have missed it on Friday afternoon, but ZFb is now the proud home of a fun new podcast called Queer and Queerer!

And it kind of happened very quickly. You see, Peterson Toscano and I have been hanging out a lot lately and just having some great conversations about LGBTQ issues and other things we have in common beyond our blogging and activism. Even though he’s not a staunch atheist like I am (he’s a Quaker, which is cool in its own ways), we both have our concerns about religion. As many know, Peterson spent a lot of time and money on reparative therapy trying to degayify himself, but of course, that didn’t work out so well.  Another thing we have in common is that we’re both trying to get work in higher education, except I’m trying to get a full-time job in LGBT Affairs and he’s mostly trying to get performance gigs for his plays, Transfigurations—Transgender Bible Stories and I Can See Sarah Palin from my Window! with awesome workshops to go with, of course. We also both live in rural central Pennsylvania,which is an interesting experience in itself, and our age difference of 21 years informs our unique perspectives (and also allows for frequent “daddy” jokes, most coming from Peterson).

So, last week, I just said, “We should do a podcast! We should record these conversations!” At first I wasn’t sure my own idea was serious or whether he would think it was either, but he agreed, and we went for it, and so was born Queer and Queerer to rave reviews! We had a lot of fun doing it and are eager to continue putting out episodes!

Subscribe to the Queer and Queerer podcast and you can expect an episode once every week or two about queer news and culture, religion, and higher education. We’re just getting started, but as we progress, we hope to implement regular features to help give the show a unique identity. In the meantime, you can just enjoy the fun back-and-forth as we get on-and-off track about current and relevant issues, a unique blend of the serious and silly.

If you missed our first episode, go listen to it now! We had a fun conversation about Rufus Wainwright, 50 Cent, Ricky Martin, and the idea of satirical celebrity outing and also took a critical look at President Obama’s memo regarding hospital visitation rights. It was our first try, so we don’t have any music or anything yet, but I think our banter is pretty entertaining on its own!

We will be putting together another episode this week talking about official defection from the Catholic Church and the phenomenon of Gaypril, plus who knows where else the conversation will go? You’ll have to tune in to find out!

While Queer and Queerer episodes will be hosted here on ZFb, the podcast does have its own unique feed, so you can subscribe with your podcatcher or feedreader of choice without getting all of my other content. However, if you have feedback, please feel free to comment directly on the posts for each episode! Make sure you’re subscribed to Peterson’s blog so you can keep up with him too!

Also, if you like what you hear, you should become a fan on Facebook!



The Ads That Appear On ZackFord Blogs, Ft. Scientology!

The ads that appear on my blog amuse me. Sometimes they fit what my readers might want to click on and other times the complete opposite. Sometimes there are religious ads. Sometimes there are anti-gay ads. I have a few thoughts about this. I doubt my readers are worried I endorse these things (I definitely do not). I do think it’s important to see how those I consider opponents market themselves. Plus, if any of my readers click on the ads, then I make money from those organizations. I’d rather that money go to me than go towards the cause advertised. So, generally, I let them go.

Recently, I did block the site “ladyboykisses.com” after one of my readers pointed out that the site used the offense terminology of “shemales” to advertise itself. I definitely do not want my readers to be uncomfortable or attacked, but as long as it’s not outwardly offensive, it can stay on the site.

Today, I noticed another interesting juxtaposition. Check it out (click to embiggen):

There are a surprising number of Scientology ads appearing here on the blog. They are incredibly vague and bizarre. For the record, SCIENTOLOGY is a dangerous cult who doesn’t care about your happiness, only about controlling your life and all of your assets! If you choose to click on an ad, do so very cautiously and do not buy in to anything they tell you!! With this in mind, their ads are kind of amusing. One says:

To love is the road to strength; to love in spite of all is the secret of greatness. Scientology.org

Huh? I actually kind of agree with that sentiment, but I fail to see how that has anything to do with the absurd beliefs (redundant, I know) and manipulative tactics of the Church of Scientology.

Here’s another:

Who am I? Where am I going? What am I? What do I want to be? What do I want to have? Scientology.org

Scientology offers the following answers, respectively: “Nobody;” “Broke;” “A pawn;” “Brainwashed;” “No free will.”

And here’s another:

You are not your name, your job, or the clothes you wear, so who are you? Scientology.org

That’s right, Scientology gets to decide who you are. By the way, I’m still Zack Ford, and that’s not changing any time soon.

Another:

Love, Hate, What is the answer? Scientology.org

What is the answer? What is the question?

And this one takes the cake:

You live. You hope. You dream. So who are you? Know yourself. Know life. Scientology.org

Scientology isn’t really happy about all that living, hoping, and dreaming. They’ll help you stop all that.

Anyways, if you see a Scientology ad, have a good laugh. If you think I should block these ads, feel free to comment and say so. I’ll consider it.

In case you missed it, here was the other funny ad juxtaposition I found last week. Enjoy:



ZFB Background Changes Including New Higher Ed Showcase

Hey all! While I haven’t been posting as much lately, I have been working on some other content in the background that is now complete! Here’s what’s different!

The biggest change is the Showcase for Higher Ed Employers and Colleagues. As I job search and grow as a professional, this will be a place I share my work with colleagues. It includes some of my academic writing, my amateur graphic designs, and speeches I’ve given. I also transformed what was my “Higher Ed and Student Affairs Archive” into an updated portfolio of blog posts about higher education. If you’re curious about who Zack Ford is beyond the blog, now you can see more for yourself!

For now, I am no longer linking to the ZFb Highlights page. It was out of date, and since I have written so much since I started the blog, that page doesn’t really seem to be serving the blog well. I’m considering a new page for first-time visitors with a few select posts that exemplify ZFb, but this is still under consideration.

I have, however, completed a long-overdue update to the Defining Nonbelief and Atheism Archive. For folks looking to read more about atheism, this collection is for you.

I hope my readers find these changes helpful and interesting!

Also, here’s a funny “Battle of the Ads” I saw on my blog today. It’s “Ain’t No God! vs. Jesus 2020!” (Click to embiggen!)



I’ve Been Nominated, And I’m in Great Company!

Over the past year, I’ve occasionally received pingbacks from Alejna at collecting tokens and Holly at Cold Spaghetti for their regular collections of “Just Posts.” These are fresh blog posts they find on the internet that they think reflect a worthwhile perspective on social justice that ought to be shared more wildly.

Typically, they share their Just Posts in monthly collections, but recently they have undertaken the gargantuan task of trying to determine the Best of the 2009 Just Posts. At this point, they have narrowed it down to about 130-or-so semifinalists, and I’m proud to say that three of my posts are among them.

This is a wonderful endeavor that Alejna and Holly have undertaken, and I would encourage my readers to be a part of it. Check out the complete list and read through some of the posts. I’m sure Alejna, Holly, and their supporters would welcome your feedback as they move towards a list of finalists!

There are a lot of great folks out there writing about a lot of important topics and I am honored to be among them!

collecting tokens: Best of the 2009 Just Posts: The Semifinalists

Cold Spaghetti: The Best of the Just Posts for 2009: Semi-finalists!