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September 18, 2008

"Reflections from a Home-Owner-Sexual"

Enough -- Blog Archive -- Reflections from a Homownersexual

The true story of what happens when a half dozen queer white kids buy a house in a primarily black neighborhood and try to plan a post-gender utopia.

They spend a lot of time considering the financial and ethical impacts of all their actions in a way we just don't see these days. In the end they turn down an offer for $100K in favor of one for $65K just to prevent further white gentrification of the neighborhood. There's a lot to think about here.

. . . We had anti-capitalist intentions in buying this house, but we were hazy on the strategy. We made a commitment to each other that we wouldn’t sell the house for a profit, and definitely never to a developer. We didn’t really imagine selling the house, though, so we never put anything in writing, and that made things difficult when we faced the reality of actually selling the house in a capitalist system. We planned to live there for a long time, to take an old house and restore it with the labor of ourselves and our friends, with recycled and trashpicked materials. We wanted to create a home that felt safe and comfortable for our queer community to take refuge in. We didn’t want to pay rent to a shady landlord, we wanted our broken friends to have a place to heal without needing to work a job to pay rent. We dreamed about the projects we would start once the house was paid off, like solar panels and roof decks for gardens. I think we did succeed in creating the feeling of both a cozy home and a place of refuge for ourselves and many other people, and we did some exciting restoration and painted the house a ton of bright colors and paid our friends to work on the house when projects were beyond our own skills. All of the people who lived in the house also worked on house-fixing projects, and there was an explicit agreement that both working on the house and paying “rent” were investments in the house, that the worth of the house belonged to all who invested in it, and that if the house was never sold that investment was a more philosophical one, a gift of community-building for the future people who would live in the house. . . .

(via Feminisitng)

September 17, 2008

Much love to newlyweds George Takei and Brad Altman

takei.jpgPerhaps the most interesting living TOS actor? And since Shatner's still breathing, that says a lot. via | Beeb | Star Trek's Takei marries partner
Former Star Trek actor George Takei has married his long-term partner in a Buddhist ceremony in Los Angeles. Takei, 71, who played Mr Sulu in the sci-fi series, married business manager Brad Altman, 54, in front of a number of his Star Trek co-stars. They included best man Walter Koenig, who played Chekhov, and matron-of-honour Nichelle Nichols - Uhura. The wedding - at Japanese American National Museum - came after California lifted a ban on same-sex marriage. The couple, who have been together for 21 years, wore matching white tuxedos in the ceremony.... Speaking before the ceremony, Takei said: "We have a relationship that's been stronger and longer-lived than some of our straight friends and yet we were not equal. "What this does is give us that dignity."

September 16, 2008

Bill Moyers on hate radio and the death of political discourse

moyers hate radio.JPGBill Moyer's Journal | Rage on the Radio
What happens when America's airwaves fill with hate? BILL MOYERS JOURNAL takes a tough look at the hostile industry of "Shock Jock" media with a hard-hitting examination of its effects on our nation's political discourse. The JOURNAL traveled to Knoxville, where a recent shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church has left the pastor asking what role hateful speech from popular right-wing media personalities may have played in the tragedy. "A lot of people are hurling insults from the safety of television studios, the safety of radio studio, the safety of cyberspace," says Rev. Chris Buice, "So that's a void in our community — the chance to be in the same room and to have these exchanges and remember the humanity of the person on the other side." The Reach of Talk Radio Talk radio is loud — very loud. According to TALKERS magazine, the leading publication of the talk radio industry, Rush Limbaugh attracts more than 14 million listeners across the nation each week, one of the largest audiences in any broadcast medium; Sean Hannity, over 13 million; Michael Savage, more than 8 million. With such a large and devoted audience, the topics the hosts focus on may significantly impact the national discussion. Media expert Kathleen Hall Jamieson noted during the last election cycle that talk radio may well wield the power to set the agenda:
When something gets into mainstream media, it has a half-life of about 30 seconds. Where something that moves into talk radio can have a half-life of two or three years.
Not all talk radio is politically conservative, but in TALKER magazine's list of top ten personalities by audience, nine are conservative, and one is lifestyle and finance.