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Roundup: Return of the Mouse Edition

June 15th, 2007 · 4 Comments · Activism, Apple, Books, Comics, Culture, Fiction, Food, Hate Crimes, Health, Healthcare Crisis, HIV/AIDS, iTunes, LGBT, Lit, Macintosh, Music, News, Organic Food, Politics, Roundup, Tech, Theater

Michael Tolliver Lives

  • BOOKS: This week marked the release of Armistead Maupin’s new book Michael Tolliver Lives, which picks up the story of Michael “Mouse” Tolliver, the iconic character from Maupin’s Tales of the City series. Mouse is now in his mid-50s, living with HIV but happily married. Maupin says, “I wanted to tell the story of a gay man getting older — especially one who thought death was imminent and is now confronting normal mortality.” (We also get to find out what’s become of Mary Ann Singleton, and other characters from the series.) In honor of Maupin and the new book, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom declared Tuesday “Michael Tolliver Day.” Meanwhile, this piece from the SF Chronicle gives some interesting background on Maupin’s misguided conservative youth — including a stint working for Jesse Helms! — and his eventual proud transformation into someone worthy of being denounced by Helms on the Senate floor.
  • POLITICS: John Edwards offers new details on his proposal for universal health care: “… [Edwards] also said his plan would require health insurance companies to spend at least 85 percent of the premiums they collect on patient care, adding that 30 percent of insurance premiums currently go toward administrative expenses and profit. He said New York, Minnesota, New Jersey, Florida already impose similar requirements.”
  • THE GREEN SECTION: The Independent reports that organic farming is booming in Europe, and helping European farmers turn failing farms around. But there is some controversy over proposed organic labeling standards, which would permit up to 0.9 percent genetically modified organisms — which green activists say is too high of an allowance.
  • Polar bears are not only under assault from global warming — trophy hunting is taking a toll as well. Back in 1994, Congress gave in to pressure from trophy hunting groups and amended the Marine Mammal Protection Act to allow hunters to bring home dead polar bears from the Canada Arctic. Fortunately, a new bill called the Polar Bear Protection Act has been introduced to restore the protections of the MMPA to polar bears. You can read more about it, and contact your legislators to support the bill, on the Humane Society’s site.
  • The horrible things we do to animals. A man drowns a horse at an annual county horse fair in the UK, as part of an abusive “dunking” tradition, during which horses are ridden bareback into the river and then the horses’ heads are dunked under the water by their riders. The worst part of it all? Despite the accident, this idiotic event will happen again next year. “… Eden councillor Ella Langan, who chairs a committee in charge of planning the event, said there were no plans to stop the tradition in light of Friday’s accident. She said: ‘We’re hoping to introduce a ramp for the horses to get into the water for next year, but there’s certainly no way the historic ritual will be stopped.'” Via Towleroad.
  • THE PINK SECTION: Are local media in Indiana guilty of ignoring a horrific anti-gay hate crime? After fatally beating Aaron Hall for two hours, “dragging him down a staircase while his head slammed into each step,” and then leaving him in a ditch to die, his teenage murderers are hauling out the gay panic defense, claiming they did it because Hall “propositioned” them. Only a single alternative paper in Indiana reported on the crime, and many have been questioning the Indiana media’s silence.
  • In a big step forward, three major reggae stars have agreed to stop promoting anti-gay violence. The three, including Beenie Man, Sizzla, and Capleton, have all been guilty of using homophobic lyrics that in some cases call for the murder of gay people. The new agreement, called the Reggae Compassionate Act, has the artists pledging to “respect the lives of all individuals to live without fear of hatred and violence due to their religion, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or gender.” The artists also say they’ll stop making statements and performing songs that incite hatred or violence toward LGBT people. However, a number of major reggae artists – most notably Buju Banton — have not signed the agreement and will apparently keep on spreading hate.
  • STAGE: Mel Brooks decides not to cast Cloris Leachman as Frau Blucher in the new musical version of Young Frankenstein, but Cloris doesn’t want to take no for an answer.
  • The critics can be so catty: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s kitten Otto has reportedly destroyed the score for Lloyd Webber’s sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. The composer told the Daily Mail, “I was trying to write some new music; Otto got into the grand piano, jumped onto the computer and destroyed the entire score for the new Phantom in one fell swoop.”
  • TECH: Macworld has a first look at the new Desktop and Finder in Leopard. Some of iTunes’ cool navigational features, like Cover Flow and the sidebar setup, are being extended to all Finder windows. And I have to say the new Dock’s “platform” design looks really cool.
  • A new filter for cameras may make it easier to take clear pictures in low-light conditions. Camera phones may benefit the most. “Eastman Kodak Co. said Thursday it has developed a color-filter technology that at least doubles the sensitivity to light of the image sensor in every digital camera, enabling shutterbugs to take better pictures in poor light.”
  • THE COMICS SECTION: Tom Tomorrow has a typical day at the Justice Department circa 2005.

(h/t Norm Sloan for a couple of items here.)


4 Comments so far ↓

  • Aaron

    I liked this comment in response to the Aaron Hall story in Towleroad:

    “I find religious conservatives to be assholes hell-bent on ruining my life as a gay man. If one tries to convert me on the street, can I kill him in a bout of ‘bullshit panic’?”

    My fave! Ever! Another blogger on the message board (who’s a friend of one of my Morehead kids, though I’ve never met him) says the reason the LGBT community hasn’t made more of an issue out of it being a hate crime is because it isn’t one. Apparently, all the men knew Hall, and he wasn’t gay and they knew it. They’d all been drinking and Hall made a derogatory comment about one of their mothers (maybe the fact that she was also his sister? We’ll never know). Anyway, after they killed him, they wanted an excuse, so they dragged that lame one out. But the LGBT community doesn’t want a big deal made out of it being a hate crime, since it wasn’t really, and it might hurt their chances of getting actual hate-crime legislation passed. (People will say, “They’ll scream ‘hate crime’ at everything,” in other words, and vote against the legislation…)

  • Ocelopotamus

    Yes, I saw that thread on TR. I think the situation with Aaron Hall is confusing and it’s hard to know what exactly happened there. But I also think the story needs to be covered by the media precisely because his killers are using the gay panic defense — and what’s clear is that if they want to claim he was gay, and that’s why they killed him, then they should be prosecuted for a hate crime.

    The story, in essence, is that some people still believe making a pass at someone else is grounds for an immediate death sentence.

    As someone (can’t remember who, unfortunately) put it during the aftermath of the Matthew Shepard case, imagine if women were allowed to summarily kill any man who made an unwanted pass at them.

    The best antidote to this gay panic crap is for defendants who try to play that angle to find that they’re incriminating themselves and making themselves eligible for hate crime penalties, rather than setting themselves up for exoneration by a jury that shares their prejudices.

  • Aaron

    That’s a really good point. Because using the “gay panic” defense in falsehood is even more despicable–in effect, saying that “if all else fails, we’ll blame it on the queers. They’re the least important of all.”