Friday, January 14, 2011

Dumb Fuc*s and Smart As**s

So many dumb fucks this week, so little blog. A tragic week brought horrifying responses from the usual creeps. But Palin and Limbaugh's repugnant responses are so hellish they'll have to wait till they get there to make that list.

So who'd I pick? A little known story that's absurd in its own way, and indicative of the times. Joe Wilson's Mouth Emblazoned on Assault Rifle!

Yep, the manufacturers are honoring Disrespectful Joe by commemorating his words on their assault weapons. That gives them wonderful Dumb Fuck status.

So cool, right? I've always wanted to shoot someone with a "you lie" rifle. But then again, who hasn't?

On that pathetic dumb fuck note, we leave you with a Smart Ass. In a dismal week, his was the one of the best quotes of the week, as well as one of the bravest, considering.

'NRA should just change their name to "Assassin's Lobby."'

Gotta love that brave soul. Yep, it's Bill Maher. A proud addition to the Smart Ass of the Week.

Now THAT'S a smart ass.

Since you made it all the way through, I leave you with a smart ass of my own choosing. wasn't that worth it?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Colin Richardson on Pain

Continuing my interview project, I spoke with Australian Colin Richardson, who I've never actually met; we know each other through Facebook. Colin's story is an amazing one. No background information is needed.

Here, 10 Questions for Colin Richardson:

One: Can you tell us what you’re injury is and when you got it?

Lower back disc and sciatic nerve root damage. It actually happened 23 years when I was a storeman working for a mining company. It was nothing but a slight twist in the wrong direction, something went "snap" in my lower back. I haven't had a day without some pain since.

Two: How much pain are you in now, and what do you do for it?

I'm in constant, severe pain. I have a "Spinal Stimulator" implanted, and I wear "Norspan" patches that feed a measured dose of heavy analgesics into my system. I also take anti-depressants.

Three: How has your injury affected your life?

My injury has gradually taken away all but a small part of my former life. I have not worked for 10 years, and am told I never will again; something that breaks my heart. I can't even do the smallest amount of gardening anymore, and can walk only with the aid of a stick, and no more than 100 meters.

Four: You’re a gay man over 50, who suffers from chronic pain; what kind of social life do you have?

I have no social life at the moment.

Five: How social were you before you hurt yourself?

I was an extremely social person both on the gay scene and in other circles.

Six: You have a child, I believe. How old is she, and what is the status of your relationship?

I have a daughter who is 26, she has a daughter who is 3; we speak occasionally on the phone. She doesn't have a problem with me being gay, but she lives a long way away and has a life of her own.

Seven: When did you come out?

I didn't come out till I was 30; a combination of being a farm boy, fundamentalist Christian childhood, and self-denial, I suppose.

Eight: What could President Obama learn from Australia?

I'm not sure what President Obama could learn from Australia, because even if he wanted to implement the social and financial policies of my nation he would be strung up as a "Socialist" back in the USA!

Nine: What’s the best thing about life in Australia?

The climate and the philosophy of a "fair go" for those who have had the misfortune to have problems both with their health and/or finances.

Ten: What do you do for fun?

Fun? I'm not sure computers and reading could be called fun, but it keeps my mind active.

--david toussaint

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The New Column, with Notes!

I wrote a new column last week, The Death of Death, after a long struggle to figure out the voice.

Since nothing's more boring about the technical aspect of writing, I won't dwell on that. Suffice it to say that writing is quite difficult.

I got the idea when I saw the performance artist Tom Judson awhile back.

As you can see, Judson's a hunk. Yeah, that's him on the left.
He used to be a porn star and a Broadway performer, which means he was hustling twice a day.

He talks about AIDS in his show, because his longtime lover died of the disease a long time ago in a city far far away. I noticed, as I looked around the room, that AIDS was, ironically, no longer onstage. It surrounded the room but it didn't take center stage. Judson's story did.

I also mentioned a guy named Jack Mackenroth, who I think is a wonderful role model for HIV-positive men. He's proud of his body and shows it off pretty much all the time. That's a great way to de-stygmatize the disease; to show we no longer need to hide our bodies or feel ashamed of ourselves. We've come a long way. It's a celebration of life, of conquering a disease we once thought would conquer us. He's been at the forefront of that movement, and I applaud him.

Mackenroth (below) wrote me to tell me it was a huge insult and that I was a horrible writer. To each his own. He was offended that I mentioned his constant state of undress in magazines and online. Then he instructed me to remove him from the column. Mackenroth is not my boss or my editor or my friend and I've never met him. Columnists are not paid to write puff pieces subject to the approval of celebrities' whims. There was no interview beforehand nor did there need to be.

I talked about it with friends of mine, even re-read the graph several times to decide if I'd made a mistake in how I approached the subject of his sex-appeal. In the end, I left the piece as is. In writing, as in life, always go with your instincts. Never second guess yourself or what others might say. I think he's an amazing role model, and admire his courage and honesty in his personal life. That was my intent in mentioning him.

When you are a columnist or journalist, or in the business of writing, you need to be thick-skinned in regards to your audience. I've written what I thought were Valentine's to people, who later told me they didn't approve. (I've also written articles that have received high praise from the subjects.) Point is, you can't live by what others say--that's not our job as writers. Our job is to tell our truths as best as we can, and let others judge. As someone once said, "Never criticize your own work; plenty of other people will be thrilled to do it for you."

My mom reads everything I write, and I often cringe at the thought that she might be going over a graph in which I discuss sex. But I can't censor myself for my mom, or for anyone else. I write from the heart, good or bad. I strongly encourage others to do the same.

All my best,