Stubborn Young Fool

I’m so sorry you’re an idiot
I regret that you’re so dumb
Who cares about my identity?
What does it matter where I’m from?
It’s sad you just can’t handle
This inconvenient truth
Your candidate is garbage
Her losing is the proof

You asked a sincere question
How could she possibly be worse?
So I supplied the answer
And you began to curse
“Check your privilege, cis white male!”
A reply that made no sense
“I’m embarrassed that you’re a follower”
I didn’t know you were this dense

As I tried to explain
How I came to my position
You were seething in response
And made an impulsive decision
You refuse to listen to facts
That can never be refuted
She’s hurt people of colour
So many it can’t be disputed

In the end you revealed
You’re a stubborn young fool
Who just didn’t appreciate
Being taken to school
I was kind and supportive
And you were once the same
But when I noted her flaws
I was the one to blame

I wasn’t looking to fight
Or to sour your mood
I’ve always been respectful
This time, you were fucking rude
I will always remember
Your derisive scoff
So take your own advice
And kindly fuck off

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, February 6, 2017
10:43 p.m.

Advertisements
Published in: on February 6, 2017 at 10:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

You’re Not Listening

I wasted my time giving you hell
So much aggravation for such a long spell
Questioning your denial is a thankless task
You’re not even listening so why do I ask?

I spent years exposing your foolish thoughts
The endless frustration tied my brain up in knots
You continuously refuse to listen to reason
Your heart’s so cold it’s practically freezin’

Shaming you publicly clearly doesn’t work
When you hang with Obama is ignorance a perk?
There is nothing I can say that will change your mind
I see so clearly, you’re undoubtedly blind

Moments of temptation will surely arise
It’s now up to others to debunk your lies
I’m pulling the chute as I jump off the plane
Holding you accountable drives me insane

So go ahead and be as dumb as you are
Pretend you really matter, you glamourous star
One day the truth will land a significant hit
Until then, I no longer give a shit

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, May 16, 2015
2:08 p.m.

Published in: on May 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm  Comments (1)  

Lena Dunham & The Importance Of Childhood Boundaries

30 years ago, I attended a birthday party.  It was for my best friend at the time who was a classmate in primary school.  We were inseparable, often going to each other’s houses to enjoy each other’s company.  We laughed & fought often as young kids our age are bound to do.

She was turning either 8 or 9 at the time.  Of the dozen or so classmates who were invited to come celebrate with her and her lovely parents, I was the only boy.

After we scarfed down some delicious pizza at a local restaurant, we went back to her family home.  Before she opened her gifts in the living room, we all ran up the stairs to her tiny bedroom to kill time.  In the middle of incessant giggling & chattering, one of the girls (not my best friend) suddenly asked a provocative question:

“Anybody wanna see my vagina?”

The specific details about what happened next are difficult to perfectly recall.  All I remember is that someone turned out the lights & when they came back on, this girl wasn’t wearing any bottoms.  All the other girls screamed as we all stared.  It was very uncomfortable for me.  And it was about to be even more so.

After she proudly put her underwear and bottoms back on, every girl in that room then demanded I give them a peek, as well.  I could feel the collective intensity of their gazes.  I started to sweat.  I said no.  They insisted.  I still said no.  For the first time in my young life, I felt immense pressure to do something I did not want to do.

Knowing full well they would not stop pushing me, I made a compromise.  I would show them my penis briefly but only with the lights out.  They accepted.  In the dark, I reluctantly pulled down my pants, my long johns and my briefs.  (It was winter time.)  I will never forget the screams.  It was one of the most mortifying experiences of my entire life, let alone my childhood.

I was only exposed for a few seconds but it felt like years.  The humiliation was palpable.  Anyone could’ve read it on my face, even in the darkness of that confining space.  I felt so dirty and ashamed.

As I immediately pulled up my underwear (which somehow got twisted backwards), my long johns and corduroy jeans, I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the evening.  In fact, I don’t remember anything else that happened afterwards.  I don’t even know what I got my friend for her birthday.  (My Mom bought the gift.)

When I came home, my parents noticed how strangely I was acting.  Mom started asking questions.  I confessed the bare minimum.  She actually stifled a laugh.  She told Dad.  He laughed, too.  I was humiliated all over again.

Curiously, as the years progressed, I would start laughing as well.  I transformed a terribly traumatic event into a humourous anecdote (mainly by exaggerating the vagina flashing & completely downplaying my own emotional devastation).  Or so I thought until 20 years later when one woman I recounted the story to over the phone didn’t find it all that amusing.  In fact, she felt bad for me.  She was saddened by what I went through.

Her reaction jolted me.  How could she not find this funny?, I wondered.  But she really didn’t.  The way she talked about it made me feel like I was a victim.

All of these years later, I finally realized she was right.  The blinders are off and my denial has disappeared for good.  I didn’t “enthusiastically consent” to the idea of flashing my female classmates at that party.  I simply gave in to their relentless demands.  I submitted.  I compromised.  And I felt horrible the entire time.

So, why did I spend the next couple of decades reframing this painful story as something comedic?

Because it made it less painful.  Unfortunately, it also made it less honest, as well.  Stripped to its vulnerable core, this dark, personal trauma really wasn’t funny at all.

And it wasn’t a harmless experience, either.  It had lingering consequences.

In the years that followed, I barely dated.  How could I when I lacked true self-confidence.  At times, I was the walking definition of awkward and I wasn’t always respectful to girls, either.  (As a stupid, insecure teen, I remember grabbing or touching a couple of girls’ asses without their permission.  (They weren’t pleased.)  I haven’t done that since, thank goodness.)  Due to deep physical and mental inadequacies, I always felt less than all the other guys in my classes who were much bigger, even though I had friends, participated in a number of extracurricular activities and was a very good student.  It didn’t help matters that many of the girls I crushed on didn’t reciprocate my feelings.  Looking back, I can’t exactly blame them.  I didn’t have my shit together.

Already fearful of getting someone pregnant and/or catching some incurable STD (I’m allergic to penicillin), I didn’t end up losing my virginity until I was 29.  (My ex was the only woman I’ve ever been intimate with, as of this writing.)  I’ve always had body issues.  (I’m nearly 6 feet tall now but still only weigh about 125 pounds.  I should be 150 but with all my numerous food intolerances (and the fact that getting to that ideal weight would involve having Ryback’s appetite), I’m permanently underweight.)  Most painfully, because of what happened that cold winter night, for more than 20 years afterwards, I had always felt woefully inadequate down below.

I’ve been reflecting about all of this while following the latest Lena Dunham controversy.

The Girls creator recently put out a much anticipated collection of personal essays called Not Your Kind Of Girl.  In a recent National Review article (picked up by a conservative blog), there are passages in the book where Dunham reveals that at age 7 she touched her baby sister’s vagina when she was 1 & when they were a little older she tried to bribe her with candy so she could kiss her.

All of this has led to heated debates online & in the press between her growing detractors and stubborn supporters.  I wish those conversations focused on one key point here:  the willful, unrepentant violation of another child’s personal boundaries.

It’s hard to know exactly what happened here.  Dunham openly calls herself an “unreliable narrator” which isn’t exactly helpful.  What bothers me about what she did write is not only her creepy interactions with her younger sister but also the lack of contrition she feels today for being completely inappropriate with her when they were kids.  Like all those years I tried to make a painful childhood memory amusing to myself and others, the lighthearted tone she uses to recount these stories feels like a major disconnect from the truth.  Dunham portrays all of this as weird but innocently goofy curiosity but that’s not how it comes off to the reader, at least not to me.  Whatever her intentions, she had no right to bother her sister in the manner that she did.  Children being curious about each other’s bodies & touching them without their permission are not the same thing.  Surely, she wasn’t too young to know the difference then and she’s old enough to know better now.

At first, when the revelation of all this caught fire on social media (it was curiously not mentioned in the media prior to the National Review posting), she lashed out rather defensively in what she deemed a “rage spiral”.

Days after calming down, however, she offered this public statement to Time.  Did she apologize for violating her baby sister’s boundaries?  No.  Did she express even a sliver of regret for what she did?  No.  “…I want to be very clear that I do not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances,” she said.  Her own misconduct not included.

Instead, she apologized for “the comic use of the term ‘child predator'” which she belatedly acknowledged was “insensitive”.  And she said “sorry…[I]f the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read…that was never my intention.”

Unbeknownst to me until recently, Dunham is a divisive figure in the feminist movement.  (The “child predator” remark wasn’t the first time she’s been accused of being “insensitive”.)  And perhaps, it’s no surprise that a number of prominent, mostly white feminists are defending her recent controversy.  (As they are so fond of saying to everybody else, “Check your privilege, ladies.”)  A certain Cosmo writer lamely dismissed it on Twitter as the result of  “Lena Derangement Syndrome” caused by “the right wing”.  Tell that to numerous minority feminists (along with a number of dissenting white ones) who are rightly angry about these revelations, as well.

As much as Dunham’s die hard sisters-in-arms want to downplay, misrepresent or outright ignore what she wrote and did, there’s no escaping two basic truths.  When she was a child, she touched her baby sister’s private parts without her permission and when she was older she tried to coerce her into being kissed by offering her candy.  Today, it’s comic fodder for a book.  How is any of that defensible?

A year or so before I was victimized at my then-best friend’s birthday party, I was in a school bathroom when a classmate, a weird boy in glasses who was always crying about something and constantly getting into trouble, suddenly groped me.  He grabbed my genitals over my cords.  It was simultaneously painful & peculiar.  I remember looking at him with a puzzled look on my face.  I can’t recall now if I shoved him off or if he let go voluntarily.  But once he did let go of his firm grip, that was it.  He left and it never happened again.  In fact, he would eventually leave the school we attended altogether.  I was 7.  He may have been a year older, I’m not sure now.

Again, this isn’t about mere childhood curiosity.  It’s about disrespecting someone else’s physical autonomy.  The young Lena Dunham didn’t care what her sister thought when she decided to do these creepy things.  She just went ahead and did them anyway.  And judging by what she wrote & how she’s reacted to the criticism, she still doesn’t care.  It’s all just fodder for punchlines in a book.  Hilarious.

But what exactly is funny about her stories or mine, for that matter?  Absolutely nothing.

In fact, they’re quite distressing.  If Dunham had written these stories with the intent of cleansing her conscience or even just to express regret for her actions, no reasonable person would have had a problem with that, including me.  Honestly, it would’ve been great if she had done that.  But her agenda was getting laughs, not making peace with childhood mistakes.

21 years after my humiliation at my friend’s birthday party, I was in the park with my then-girlfriend.  It was our first date.  There was a definite, unmistakable attraction.  After having many sexually charged conversations with her online and on the phone for months off and on, it was time for us to embrace the heat.  After some inevitable awkwardness (I was a little antsy and she wasn’t quite ready for that), we moved from a picnic table to a spot beside a giant tree.  In the midst of what turned out to be my very first French kiss (she had to teach me how to do it), she showed me one of her breasts (I think it was the one with the nipple piercing).  Hot.  I returned the favour by voluntarily unzipping my jeans, then pulling them & my underwear down slightly.

She didn’t scream.  She didn’t laugh.  Instead, she looked very pleased.  (I imagined her thinking, “I can work with this.”)  The resuming makeout session got a lot more exciting after that.

For the first time ever, I didn’t feel inadequate or ashamed.  I felt attractive and wanted.  Eight days later at her place, she deflowered me.  It was glorious.  (Too bad the relationship didn’t work out.  After many more conversations & 3 more dates, we broke up two months later.  Despite more online entanglements with several other women, I’ve not had any other real-life physical encounters since.)

I’m not that terrified 9-year-old child any more (although I am, by no means, 100% confident and secure as a man approaching 40) and now I’m far more respectful of people’s personal spaces, especially when it comes to women.  Now that she’s an adult like me, here’s hoping Lena Dunham has finally learned to respect the boundaries of others, as well.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, November 6, 2014
12:56 a.m.

Published in: on November 6, 2014 at 12:56 am  Comments (1)  

Sophia Bush’s Revealing Buzzfeed Interview & Warmongering Human Rights Activists

Last week, Buzzfeed.com posted an interview with actress/activist Sophia Bush.  She gets the usual fawning treatment with zero tough questions.  Look, I get it.  She’s a talented, glamourous TV star who has also embarked on positive charitable endeavours – I’ve praised her for all of this myself – but as I’ve also noted in this space for almost 2 years now, there are legitimate reasons to be critical of herLongtime readers know why.

But back to the interview.  While generally reflecting upon her nine-year stint as Brooke Davis on One Tree Hill, Bush said this:

“The biggest thing I learned from that time was to trust my gut instincts about people, both professionally and personally…There was a time in my life when I would see behavior I didn’t like and think, The universe put us together for a reason; obviously I should stick it out and try to make it work…I wish I’d known to trust my instincts more.”

She could be talking about her now regretted short-lived marriage to OTH co-star & possible biological son of David Caruso, Chad Michael Murray.  But I wish she was talking about President Obama.

In fact, it’s rather curious that his name is not once mentioned in the interview.  Buzzfeed reporter Jarett Wieselman apparently didn’t ask her about him.  If he did, it certainly didn’t make the resulting article.

It’s a shame because when Bush talks about the President, she greatly embarrasses herself with either her incredible ignorance or steadfast denial of what he’s actually done while in office.  For two straight federal elections, Bush publicly vouched for Obama, completely buying into his seemingly liberal “hope & change” rhetoric.  (I supported his first campaign, as well.)  But while many of us now see how petty, vindictive, torturous, murderous, secretive & dishonest he has turned out to be – a Dick Cheney Democrat – Bush hasn’t joined in with his growing chorus of critics.  In fact, if anything, she has become curiously silent about the man altogether.  No one should be surprised.

Oh yes, as I recall her telling me on Twitter last year, “…I have many more discussions with news outlets and friends around my dinner table alike than you will ever know.”  In the Buzzfeed interview, she told Wieselman, “Whoever knows me knows I could talk to a wall all day; I wanna have five-hour dinners and drink wine with the people I love and dig into issues and get really deep with people.  That is a quality I like about myself.”

How many of these epic get-togethers involve any actual, substantive criticism of the President?  If only walls could talk.  God knows this isn’t happening out in the public sphere.

Continuing her lament about not trusting her instincts in the OTH era, she further notes, “When a red flag comes up and you ignore it because you’re trying to be nice or keep things easy, I’ve learned not to do that. I’ve really realized I don’t need to be a people pleaser. I don’t need to give anyone else’s opinions more weight than my own. My opinions should matter the most because they’re mine. [emphasis mine] And if your opinions are formed from a place of genuine honesty and kindness for others, then your opinions are worth defending — and now I do.”

Sophia Bush doesn’t care if your opinions are more factual than hers.  Her opinions “matter the most”, you see, because she’s Very Important.  (“[my fans] love me for who I…really am… all my excitable, loud, messy, sensitive, courageous, badass tendencies.”)  And she has a “presence” that doesn’t require talking!  As for this business of her forming views “from a place of genuine honesty and kindness for others”, give us a fucking break.

As I’ve previously noted, Bush isn’t above name-calling.  She just doesn’t like being called names herself.  And forget about challenging her on any of her political bullshit.  When you do, you’re a “petulant child” who needs to “grow up”.

Regarding “red flags” she used to “ignore”, where is her public outrage for Obama’s once secretive global mass surveillance state, his constant droning of innocent Muslims, his endless persecution of whistleblowers & journalists, his torturing of mostly innocent Gitmo detainees, his continued support for oil & gas drilling, his heartless record-setting deportation of mostly harmless Latinos, his protection of CIA torturers, military war criminals & Wall Street crooks?  It’s nowhere to be found.

Bush’s problem isn’t that she used to be a people pleaser who refused to be assertive, it’s that she’s a moral coward who refuses to hold her own “hilarious” President accountable, both then and now.

In a terrific commentary for the Boston Globe, Stephen Kinzer writes about the startling transformation of human rights activists like Bush in the Obama era:

“Now, several decades after the human rights movement traded its outsider status for influence in Washington, it is clear that this has produced negative as well as positive results. The movement has become a global behemoth. Sometimes it functions as a handmaiden to the power it was once dedicated to combating.

The most appalling result of this process in the United States is that some human rights activists now regularly call for using force to resolve the world’s problems. At one time, ‘human rights’ implied opposition to war. Now some of the most outspoken warmongers in Washington are self-proclaimed human rights advocates.”

Sophia Bush is one of them.  For 2 years now, she has supported the ongoing military mission to capture Ugandan LRA leader Joseph Kony, the man who was the subject of Invisible Children’s controversial Kony 2012 video.  In 2011, she defended the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.  Regarding the murder of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi that same year, on WhoSay she channelled noted political expert Keanu Reeves when she wrote, “Whoa.  Heavy.”  The country has since deteriorated since Obama’s unauthorized American invasion which Bush never talks about.  Her silence speaks volumes.

As Kinser observes in the Globe, “This is a radical development in the history of the human rights movement.  Once it was generals, defense contractors, and chest-thumping politicians who saw war as the best solution to global problems.  Now human rights activists play that role.  Some seem to have given up on diplomacy and statecraft.  Instead they promote the steady militarization of American foreign policy.”

I don’t remember Martin Luther King Jr. supporting America’s assassination policies or kissing the military’s ass.  Nor do I remember him remaining silent during a Democratic Presidency.  In fact, despite the anger it would cause within the civil rights movement itself, he publicly came out against the Vietnam War in a famous 1967 speech declaring, “America is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” a statement that remains true in 2014.  Has “human rights activist” Sophia Bush said anything remotely similar about Obama’s treasured inheritance and institutionalizing of Bush/Cheney’s ruthlessly tactical War On Terror?  Has she complained to her hero in person about the unforeseen dangers of weaponized drones like 16-year-old education activist Malala Youzasfai did herself when she visited the President in the White House?  Of course not.  She’s too busy laughing at his jokes at annual White House Correspondents Dinners.

“The world needs fearless truth-tellers, ” writes Kinzer.  “Some human rights advocates are.  Others have succumbed to the temptations of power.  Their movement is in danger of losing its way.”

Sophia Bush lost hers the moment Barack Obama was sworn into office.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
2:00 a.m.

Published in: on May 27, 2014 at 2:00 am  Comments (1)  

The True Meaning Of Indecency

I wish you were an ally
Instead of a distant foe
I wish you’d embrace reason
Instead of always saying no
I wish you would listen
And not fly off the handle
You must realize that your arguments
Are so easy to dismantle

I wish you weren’t stubborn
And more amenable to change
I wish you weren’t a partisan
Your blind devotion is so strange
I wish you gave me a chance
Instead of acting so dismissive
He’s not worthy of your praise
So stop being so permissive

I wish you’d open your eyes
And acknowledge basic facts
I wish you’d stop pretending
He’s incapable of heinous acts
I wish you’d pay attention
To the state of your nation
You embarrass yourself
With this gross infatuation

I wish you weren’t a phony
Who refuses to be accountable
I wish the odds of you evolving
Weren’t so insurmountable
I wish you weren’t defensive
When I point out your flaws
I wish you weren’t so silent
When your President breaks laws

I wish you’d admit
It’s no big achievement
Endless assassinations
Only add to their bereavement
I wish you were disgusted
With all his needless secrecy
I wish you understood
The true meaning of indecency

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
7:54 p.m.

Published in: on March 25, 2014 at 7:54 pm  Comments (1)  

Sophia Bush’s Lack Of Concern For Persecuted Gay Patriots

For years now, actress/activist Sophia Bush has been a major champion of the LGBT community.  Need proof?  Just look at her official Twitter account.  When she’s not sparring with opponents of gay marriage or gay rights in general, she’s voicing her full-throated support for LGBT victims of crime & injustice and celebrating many moments of triumph they achieve on the long road to full equality.  When she lectures people about being on the right side of history, in this case, she’s right.

So, why hasn’t she said a word about Bradley Manning?  The former American army analyst was officially sentenced today to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents (plus a video) to WikiLeaks, the adversarial website dedicated to holding global governments accountable since much of the media can’t be bothered.  The heroic whistleblower’s tragic farce of a court-martial (he also loses all future pay & benefits and is now dishonourably discharged from the military) got scant coverage on cable news channels and not nearly enough in mainstream newspapers (although journalists like Alexa O’Brien, Kevin Gozstola and the Freedom Of The Press Foundation relentlessly documented the proceedings online).

Manning was deeply troubled by what he experienced in Iraq, particularly the lack of concern for civilians harmed and killed by the American military.  When he tried to speak up about it to his superiors and fellow soldiers, no one cared.  Before he made his decision to leak to WikiLeaks, he initially tried getting The New York Times and The Washington Post to listen.  They didn’t care, either.

And, judging by her complete silence on the matter, neither does Sophia Bush.  Which is odd because Manning is gay/transgendered.  You would think that fact alone would warrant Ms. Bush’s interest.  You would be wrong.  You would also think that because Manning was psychologically tortured for much of the first year he spent in custody (which only stopped because of a public outcry), this blatant violation of the Eighth Amendment would also inspire some kind of a public comment from her.  Again, you would be wrong.

So why the lack of outrage?  Only Ms. Bush knows for sure but my guess would be that defending Manning would strongly conflict with her undying love and support for her hero, the “unicorn” President Obama.  (In this recent interview, she says she’s worked with him and the First Lady “on a few [unspecified] things.”  I bet none of them involved transparency.) Despite claiming that she’s been disappointed with his first term (she put most of the blame on Republican obstructionism, however, as if he has no other way to work around that) and even admitting to me on Twitter that he isn’t perfect (so harsh), when has she ever uttered a single, substantial criticism about the 44th President of The United States?  Has there ever been a peep of protest about drones, Gitmo, the drug war, secret mass surveillance, the war on whistleblowers, the war on the press, his plan to drill in the melting Arctic and the dirty wars being fought far away from Congressional oversight in numerous countries in Africa and The Middle East?  If there is, I’ve haven’t seen it, read it or heard it.

But back to my point.  For all the kindness and warmth she freely shows for the LGBT community generally, where is the kindness and warmth for Bradley Manning specifically?  Is it because he exposed the lies of this administration (and the previous one), not to mention countless war crimes, that she is indifferent to his cause?  Is stubbornly supporting a disappointingly heartless, gutless, lying Obama preferable to her than the humble, courageous decency and honesty of Manning?  Put simply, is a man who exposes war crimes less worthy of support than a man who commits them and covers them up?

Also curious is her lack of comment on Glenn Greenwald, the openly gay journalist who has led the way in reporting the shocking secrets of the American surveillance state, a subject he’s been writing about for years.  Earlier this week, Greenwald’s husband, Brazilian David Miranda, who often assists him in his work, was on his way back home from a trip to Germany to visit filmmaker Laura Poitras, a fellow collaborator on the NSA beat, when he made a pit stop in Britain.  (He was in Berlin to retrieve materials for The Guardian journalist.)  Unfortunately, he was flagged and not allowed to board his connecting flight.  Then, he was grilled by the Heathrow Airport police for nearly nine hours about his association with Greenwald and the NSA stories he’s been writing.  He also had all his electronics confiscated and had to give up passwords or be thrown in jail.

How were they able to do this?  Easy.  Through a section of The 2000 British Terrorism Act, a supremely broad law which allows them to detain and question “suspicious” passengers who have very little due process rights.  Anyway, after Greenwald wrote about it on The Guardian website, it has become a major worldwide scandal, most notably in Britain where a injunction has been filed on Miranda’s behalf to retrieve the confiscated items and prevent any public official from retrieving the data contained within (which probably can’t happen away because much of it is encrypted).  As the world hopes to get answers from David Cameron’s increasingly authoritarian government on the embarrassing episode, there’s also a growing British political movement to re-examine the BTA.

But does Sophia Bush say a word about any of this?  Does she show any concern for an innocent gay man detained and interrogated by the British authorities for reasons not at all to do with terrorism in order to send a sinister message to another innocent gay man, a respected journalist highly critical of both the American and British federal governments?  Keep dreaming.  Honestly, is she not taken aback by the fact that the Obama administration was well aware of what was going on and apparently approved?  Is that the kind of President you support, Ms. Bush?  One who intimidates and persecutes whistleblowers & journalists (gay or straight) and their loved ones because they care about criminal actions committed by your hero’s administration and want justice for them?  Then again, you defended Lance Armstrong up until last summer, so the answer must be yes.

You know what, carry on fighting the good fight against Vladimir Putin’s ruthless anti-gay campaign in Russia and keep defending gay marriage and the LGBT community in general.  I wholeheartedly support you in doing all of that.  But at the same time, maybe you should think about defending Bradley Manning, David Miranda and Glenn Greenwald, as well.  Otherwise, you look awfully selective about which gay folks you stand by.

I mean, if Lady Gaga can voice her welcome concern for Manning, why can’t you?

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, August 22, 2013
2:17 a.m.

Published in: on August 22, 2013 at 2:17 am  Comments (3)  

Questions For Sophia Bush

1. Considering your absolute lack of interest in holding your hero President Obama accountable for his numerous human rights violations, wouldn’t it make more sense for you to host the Do Nothing Awards?

2. Will you ever apologize for falsely claiming that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who you still follow on Twitter, was the subject of an unwarranted “witch hunt”?

3. If you care so much about the environment, why aren’t you raising hell over Obama’s plans to drill in the melting Arctic?

4. Why do you lecture people about name calling on Twitter when you do it yourselfIf you can’t live up to your own standard, why maintain that standard in the first place?

5. When Obama orders drone strikes that kill innocent children, teenagers, men, women and expectant mothers in Middle Eastern countries, how can you stay silent?  Where is your outrage?

6. Is it fair to say that the only human rights violations you don’t care about are the ones President Obama is responsible for?

7. Although you have linked to two articles that praise American whistleblowers on Twitter, why no personal comments of support for Bradley Manning, John Kiriakou, Barrett Brown and Edward Snowden?

8. Do you regret totally accepting the federal government’s initial story regarding the 2011 assassination of Osama Bin Laden without any skepticism when major elements turned out to be false or, at the very least, disputed?

9. Specifically referencing Joseph Kony’s alleged war crimes, you once tweeted: “If we allow this to happen, we are complicit, and thus guilty. We cannot turn a blind eye to this horror.”  So, because you’ve turned a blind eye to President Obama’s proven war crimes, does that mean you’re also responsible for the drone murders of thousands of civilians; the torture and humiliation of unlawfully imprisoned, never convicted Gitmo detainees (half of whom have been cleared for release); the indefinite detention of violated Muslims in Bagram; the ruthless prosecutions of honourable whistleblowers, gamblers, journalists, drug users, immigrants, protestors and cancer patients; the increasing militarization of American law enforcementthe racial profiling of Muslims both here and abroad; the immunization of Wall Street as well as telecoms & Internet companies who helped the NSA violate the Fourth Amendment rights and invade the privacy of ordinary citizens worldwide?

10. You sit on the Advisory Board of RYOT.org.  Has the website ever reported any important news that didn’t originally come from a more established media source like The Associated Press?  Would a potential whistleblower willing to expose malfeasance in the Obama Administration be comfortable with the idea of leaking to your site and would a reporter be willing to cover the story and protect them from inevitable persecution and retaliation?

11. Do you avoid publicly criticizing President Obama because you enjoy visiting him & getting your picture taken with him at The White House?  Do you stay quiet because you don’t want to lose that personal access?

12. Don’t you think it hurts your credibility as a human rights activist to not say a word about Obama’s numerous violations of the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions?

13. Martin Luther King once wrote, “The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be.  Will we be extremists for hate or for love?”  As a longtime supporter of President Obama, doesn’t that put you in the first category?

14. Speaking of MLK, you retweeted this quote of his:  “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  Have you been silent about Obama’s war crimes and constitutional violations because you feel they don’t matter?

15. When you don’t voice your disapproval for Obama’s human rights violations publicly, does that mean you support them secretly?

16. How is that John Cusack is “poignant and brilliant” when he criticizes Obama but when I do it, I “sound like a petulant child” who needs to “grow up”Can you explain the difference to me because I don’t understand.

17. Speaking of Mr. Cusack, if you admire him so much, why don’t you follow him on Twitter, retweet anything he posts or single him out for praise?

18. You acknowledged the suspicious death of Rolling Stone/BuzzFeed reporter Michael Hastings on Twitter.  Considering how adversarial he was with regards to Obama’s foreign policy, why aren’t you as critical of The President?

19. In this tweet, you write:  “some of my favourite friends and people on Earth are Muslim.”  And in this one:  “I don’t put up w/ bullies.”  Then, why do you support a President who not only orders the profiling, torturing and killing of innocent Muslims but also threatens countries that refuse to do his bidding?  Furthermore, do your friends appreciate your lack of public condemnation for the general mistreatment of Muslims by this administration?

20. You once told Fox News, “I will not vote for a candidate who thinks that he has more rights to my uterus than I do…” And yet, when President Obama tried to enforce age restrictions on Plan B (which he eventually abandoned), you stayed silent.  Why?

21. Back in March, you tweeted to me, “…I have seen marginalized people gain rights they didn’t have before since he’s [meaning Obama] been elected.”  Which “marginalized people” are you referring to and what new rights have they gained under this administration?

22. You also tweeted to me, “…I have many more discussions with news outlets and friends around my dinner table alike than you will ever know.”  Do any of these discussions involve Obama’s numerous human rights and constitutional violations and whether or not you support or condemn said actions?

23.  In another tweet you wrote to me:  “To criticize another person’s human rights work as, to paraphrase, ‘not the right kind,’ or ‘not enough’ or ‘convenient,’ is deeply insulting and offensive.”  Where in my writing did I actually do this?

24. In this tweet, you said, “I speak about things I am passionate about.  Things that have affected me personally.”  Why do you need to have a personal experience with either an issue or an injustice in order to speak out about it?

25. You recently retweeted: “You can only watch injustice go on for so long until you’re compelled to say something.  To speak out against it.”  How long will you be watching the injustices caused by President Obama’s policies before speaking out against them?

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, July 29, 2013
12:17 a.m.

Published in: on July 29, 2013 at 12:18 am  Comments (2)  

Why Sophia Bush Blocked Me On Twitter

I shouldn’t be surprised.  In fact, I’m amazed it didn’t happen sooner.

For some time now I’ve been a major critic of actress Sophia Bush.  No, not because of her acting, but because of her inconsistent approach to political activism.

For all the good work she’s done defending the LGBT community, the cancer community, domestic animals, domestic violence victims, the poor and the environment, when it comes to the shoddy human rights record of her beloved President Obama, however, she’s not so outspoken.  “I don’t think the man is perfect,” is about as tough as she’s gotten.

It’s true.  She has been completely onboard with the controversial Kony 2012 campaign.  (I’ve yet to see any proof Joseph Kony is a bad man worth worrying about but if this Al Jazeera commentary is accurate, why hasn’t he been arrested and put on trial?)  And, three days ago, in regards to the recent uprising in Turkey, she tweeted, “human rights violations are the entire world’s business.  We are watching.  We will not be silent.”

But on the issues of Obama-ordered drones killing hundreds, possibly thousands of innocent Muslim and American civilians; the indefinite detention and torturing of hunger-striking, never-convicted-of-any-crime prisoners in Gitmo; the outrageous war on courageous whistleblowers including the tortured Private First Class Bradley Manning (whose joke of a trial finally began after his three years in military custody); the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya; the war on the press and the growing tentacles of the ever-expanding surveillance state, all “human rights violations”, she is completely silent.  You see, she believes The President is “a unicorn” and “heroic” so he’s allowed to do whatever he wants, war crimes and all.  No wonder he had his picture taken with her.  She never holds him to account.

It’s clear now that some human rights matter more to her than others (a commonality among die-hard Obama supporters who railed against the Bush Administration for the exact same transgressions), a glaring discrepancy I’ve pointed out in several pieces in this space and in a number of tweets.  (Silly me.  I thought all human rights mattered.  My bad.)  Back in March, much to my utter amazement, she actually responded to me on Twitter.  Let’s just say she wasn’t too pleased with my critiques.  (Who would?  They were severe and unflinching.)  Ms. Bush was even less enthused after I wrote this as a rebuttal.  (“…grow up…” “…you sound like a petulant child…”)  She absurdly claimed I knocked her charity work when the truth is I’ve always praised it.  I don’t know if she read the second update.  She wouldn’t have liked it, anyway.  The thin-skinned actress prefers to have her ass thoroughly kissed.  That’s not what I do here.  I’m too honest for that.

Since then, I’ve continued to occasionally write and tweet about her, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, without garnering another response.  Not a huge shock by any means.  I mean, let’s be real here.  No one likes to be harshly criticized, especially when that criticism is valid and can’t be refuted.  But it’s not as though she’s afraid to be combative as this aptly demonstrates.  (Too bad she was wasting her time with creepy jerks who successfully wound her up just because they could.  Sad.)

But two and a half months after our brief exchange on Twitter, she’s now blocked me.  (I consider it an honour, quite frankly.)  Yesterday, when I clicked on one of her tweets to check out the responses, the dreaded “You are not authorized to look up related results for that Tweet.” message popped up.  Weirdly, I was able to see the responses, at least some of them, after clicking “Details”.  And then that message returned as if I didn’t understand it the first time.  Also, when I now check my Twitter home page for tweets that I directly sent to her (there weren’t many), I can see what I wrote but her tweets have now been replaced with “@SophiaBush’s account has been protected”.

Protected from what, exactly?  Reality?  Thankfully, when “Details” is clicked on any of these tweets, her comments are visible.

So what was the final straw for the One Tree Hill star?  This and this.  Although, I’m pretty sure this, this and this were major factors, as well.  Who knows if she returned to this space, too.  Her reaction would’ve been the same, I’m sure.

But, like I said, this isn’t a surprise to me.  When you write brutal poetry like You’re Not As Smart As You Think You Are, Hot Girl Bubble, Silence Isn’t Justice and I’m Your Conscience as well as an ironic piece entitled Sophia Bush, The Queen Of Consistency, you shouldn’t expect a bouquet of roses in appreciation.  You should expect either some kind of negative response or none at all.

I was fortunate.  I got a taste of the former in between the latter.  Honestly, considering the sheer volume of tweets she must receive everyday, both negative and positive and not just from her near 800000 followers, she took the time to write to me on Twitter on two separate occasions.  That’s significant.

It’s also disappointing that, thanks to my typically blunt manner (it’s in the genes), I’ve not been able to convince her that Obama is no hero but rather, the latest shady ruler of the crumbling American empire.  What is happening under his watch is a fucking disgrace and the more voices, particularly the famous ones, who speak out about his betrayal of the values of The Land Of The Free, the more likely things will actually start to improve.  (Kudos to folks like Russell Brand and John Cusack for doing their part in using their popular voices to raise awareness of these issues.)  Like the situation in Turkey, governments should fear the people and not vice versa, and like my poem says, silence isn’t justice.  Ms. Bush doesn’t agree.

Despite my stubborn hope that she will one day wake up and accept that all of this heavy stuff is actually going on thanks to Obama and is not simply “theoretical”, she is remaining equally stubborn with her resistance.  And now she will no longer entertain the nuisance that is me on Twitter.  I completely understand.  It’s not easy to deal with someone who points out your hypocrisies, your inconsistencies, your blatant disregard for legitimately holding your American government officials responsible for so much suffering at home and abroad.

It’s so much easier to look away and pretend it’s not happening.

Thankfully, Bradley Manning is not Sophia Bush.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
3:52 a.m.

UPDATE:  I don’t know exactly when and I don’t know the reason why but I’m no longer blocked.  After not checking her account for several weeks last year, out of curiosity I went back, opened up a tweet and was surprised that the “you are not authorized” message no longer appeared.  I thought it was a mistake.  Twitter has gone through some changes in the last little while and surely that was why it didn’t show up.

No.  It wasn’t a mistake.

Just to make sure, after a long break, I sent her this tweet on Friday.  (It went through without incident.  She has not responded to it.  Probably never will.)  Bush opposes the proposed Northern Keystone XL pipeline (as do I) but, to my knowledge, hadn’t mentioned the fact the Southern portion (which I also oppose) was already approved expeditiously by President Obama in March 2012 and is currently operational, much to the annoyance of opponents, activists and residents in the Southern United States.

However, she did retweet this alarming DeSmogBlog article this weekend.  (I retweeted it, as well.)  Reposted on Ecowatch.com, it exposes serious concerns with the Southern pipeline thanks to an outspoken whistleblower who is very worried about the possible environmental consequences to Texas land.  (One concerned, elderly citizen has been libelled an “eco-terrorist” by TransCanada, Keystone’s manufacturer, for bravely protesting the pipeline.)  Sadly, unlike the link I sent her, the DeSmogBlog report doesn’t mention Obama’s embarrassing advocacy for it.

Also, on her Twitter bio, “Activist” has switched places with “Storyteller” (for some reason, she prefers this over the more accurate “Actor”; she’s not a screenwriter and hasn’t directed since her One Tree Hill days).  Originally, Activist was first and Storyteller was second.  Now, she has reversed them.  I know to most this is not very interesting but considering all of my criticism over the last year (although I suspect it had absolutely nothing to do with the change), it’s curious.

Finally, since the original posting of this article, Bradley Manning made an official change. The persecuted whistleblower is now a transgendered woman who prefers to be called Chelsea Manning.  She remains wrongly incarcerated in military prison for exposing American war crimes going back to the George W. Bush Administration.  May she be pardoned and released very soon.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, March 16, 2014
2:56 a.m.

UPDATE 2:  Now I’m wondering if I was ever unblocked at all.  More than 2 months later, I’m unable to retweet this comment.  When I tried, I got this message:  “Your account may not be allowed to perform this action.  Please refresh the page and try again.”  So, just for the hell of it, I did try again a few additional times, just to make sure.  Same result every time.  So, I’m guessing my supposedly “unblocked tweets” were never actually seen by her.  It’s just as well.  She’s too stubborn and foolish to embrace what I say anyway.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, May 26, 2014
3:45 a.m.

Published in: on June 5, 2013 at 3:52 am  Comments (4)  

I’m Your Conscience

I can’t penetrate your wall of denial
Your fragile beliefs are well protected
As reality surrounds you at every turn
You have no fear of being infected

Engaging with me does you no good
So you’ve cut off all communication
I represent what you can’t handle
The antidote to your oversimplification

You claim to be wise and in tune with the world
You even studied the Koran for half a year
But America’s crimes are not your concern
You’ve made that unmistakably clear

Force feeding the innocent, silencing the brave
These violations never raise your ire
If you think your President is heroic and noble
You’re either naive or a pathetic liar

How do you live in an ignorant state of bliss?
How do you rationalize your blatant inconsistencies?
How do you turn your back on human suffering?
Your hero has many deficiencies

The pace of change is always glacial
When you solidify your foolish misconceptions
One day you will remove your blinders
And be aghast at all his deceptions

But achieving that breakthrough is supremely hard
Your resistance to reason is a burden
You’re not at all outraged by the deaths of thousands
That much is painfully certain

Projecting your insecurities is a sign of desperation
Are you really as indifferent as you appear to be?
The most difficult leason I’ve had to learn
There are limits to your empathy

You scream bloody murder when it happens in the Congo
You keep demanding the arrest of Joseph Kony
But American violators don’t meet your same standard
You’re a preachy, self-righteous phony

You’re an unlikely shill for a decaying empire
Their unwitting spokesperson for hate
If you ever lived up to your values
Fearful Muslims would celebrate

But instead they suffer all on their own
As you endlessly espouse discredited orthodoxy
I’m your conscience, Ms. Bush
But I really shouldn’t have to be

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, May 3, 2013
6:00 p.m.

Published in: on May 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm  Comments (2)  

Sophia Bush, The Queen Of Consistency

“I make no claim that my opinion should be yours.  I make no claim to know more or less than anyone else.”

From “First Blog” (bottom entry), sophiabush.com, June 22, 2010

“If you can look another human being in the eye & tell them they are not equal to you, you shouldn’t be living in #TheLandOfTheFree #equality”

Regarding gay marriage opponents in America, from her official Twitter account, April 25, 2013

“All I ask is that we treat each other with kindness here.  There is a saddening and prolific pattern on the internet of faceless typers insulting one another, being cruel, and saying things that cut to the quick of people.  I will not support that.”

From “First Blog” (bottom entry), sophiabush.com, June 22, 2010

“we can agree to disagree, but how about you not type things like ‘BULLSHIT’ at me, and call me an idiot b/c I’m an actress? #rude”

From her official Twitter account, November 6, 2012

“…her usage of the term ‘assclown’ makes her sound like a petulant child. #idiot

Criticizing Sarah Palin, from her official Twitter account, April 28, 2013

“Because it just reaffirms that they are idiots. Harsh but true.”

From her official Twitter account, November 18, 2012

“I have no tolerance for moronic little boys who spout ignorant bullshit.”

From her official Twitter account, March 27, 2013

“There is NO ONE celebrating a death…However ANY criminal, in any situation, who resists arrest with a firearm is going to get shot. Period. And this particular man, guilty of murdering thousands of people, in a number of countries around the world, is no different…he didn’t surrender. Nor did he give that chance, of life, of escaping a tragic death, to the thousands of people he mercilessly killed over the years… I for one am proud of the US military for providing all of us with such security. #USA

Regarding the much celebrated murder of an unarmed Osama Bin Laden who was never convicted of any criminal activity in a court of law, from her official TwitLonger account, May 6, 2011

“Honestly, all the shit talking that happens on social media exhausts me sometimes. And just breaks my heart. Be nice to each other! #overit”

From her official Twitter account, March 24, 2013

“You are a jackass.”

From her official Twitter account, April 8, 2013

“…sir. Kindly pull your head out of your ass.”

To a gun control critic, from her official Twitter account, April 18, 2013

“…I own a gun, so fact check, asshole.”

To another gun control critic, from her official Twitter account, April 8, 2013

“What moron made that?”

Regarding this, from her official Twitter account, April 3, 2013

“he is literally batshit crazy insane. What a fucking lunatic.”

Regarding Glenn Beck, from her official Twitter account, April 18, 2013

Let’s spread kindness!”

From her official Twitter account, June 17, 2010

“It’s so silly and sad to see a woman, and a mother, attacking and name calling other women.”

Her response to Michelle Malkin’s criticisms of her, from her official WhoSay account, October 23, 2012

“If a cranky, extremist blogger has nothing better to do during the Presidential debates than troll the twitter accounts of actors who she demeans, and slams as unintelligent…But it reinforces the fact that Fox News is merely a tabloid organization masquerading as news. After all, tabloids drum up celebrity gossip. And so do these wing nuts.”

From the same WhoSay entry, October 23, 2012

People should chill. Simply a clarification of grammar. You know how I love the #grammarpolice ;)”

From her official Twitter account, March 19, 2013

“…your grammar sucks. It’s ‘YOU’RE UGLY’. #spelling

From her official Twitter account, November 12, 2012

I believe you meant to type ‘you’re’. And the NYT is hands down the most reputable new [sic] source in the country. Adios.”

From her official Twitter account, November 6, 2012

“…I don’t think it’s ok to give a convicted abuser an endorsement deal.”

Regarding football player/dogfighting enthusiast Michael Vick re-signing with Nike, from her official Twitter account, July 2, 2011

“He’s passed all these tests and they’re still digging?”

“Disgusting. #WitchHunt #Hero

“…#RealMen….@LanceArmstrong”

Her stubborn defense of the abusive, highly litigious, then-heavily endorsed cyclist Lance Armstrong, who later confessed to drug cheating on Oprah’s Next Chapter, from her official Twitter account, August 23, 2012, (here, too) and July 2012.  And for the record, he did fail several drug tests.  Furthermore, she hasn’t commented on the scandal, at least not on Twitter, since these tweets.

“Choose to live an intentional life. Prioritize ‘consistency in your compassion’ – @BenKeesey #MOVEDC @Invisible”

From her official Twitter account, November 17, 2012

‘Will you be an upstander or a bystander?’ – John Pendergast…Be an UPSTANDER. Stand for those who cannot. Use your voice for the voiceless. And MOVE.”

From her official WhoSay account, November 17, 2012

I will always say f[uck] you to hate policy.”

Regarding the discrimination of the LGBT community, from her official Twitter account, January 9, 2013

I don’t value life on a sliding scale. #Equality”

Regarding M23, from her official Twitter account, November 29, 2012

“If we allow this to happen, we are complicit, and thus guilty. We cannot turn a blind eye to this horror.”

Regarding M23, from her official Twitter account, November 29, 2012

I don’t think the man is perfect. I don’t think the world is perfect. It’s a scary place.”

Regarding my criticism of her lack of criticism for President Obama’s atrocious human rights record, as pointed out here, from her official Twitter account, March 23, 2013

“…I heart Barack Obama so much right nowHe cares about us, the average citizens of this country, more than he cares about pleasing all the scared-to-change people in power. That’s heroic, admirable, and exactly what we need. Fuck yes, Mr. President, you are a unicorn.

Her severe criticism for the watered down Affordable Care Act pushed by the corporation-supported American President, from her official Twitter account (via US Weekly), June 28, 2012

The Pres. is SO inspiring! This giant room is riveted, charmed and laughing so hard because he is hilarious.”

More harsh condemnation about Obama’s secretive drone program by the once aspiring adversarial journalist, from her official Instagram account, April 28, 2013

“…we’re very in tune with what’s going on in the world.”

From AOLTV article: “CW Stars Sophia Bush And Misha Collins Give Back”, August 31, 2010

“while theoretically I understand your position, you have to grow up. Honestly.”

Responding to my criticism that she doesn’t talk about President Obama’s ruthless prosecutions of whistleblowers like the psychologically tortured Private Bradley Manning (who has been in government custody since 2010) and longstanding human rights abuses of Muslims, from her official Twitter account, March 23, 2013

You don’t have 7 minutes to be a more informed, conscious citizen and compassionate human being? I think you do. #SmartIsSexy”

Regarding the Kony 2012 anniversary video, from her official Twitter account, March 6, 2013

“…I don’t find time to discuss every single event in the world on twitter every single day.”

A strawman argument regarding my critical tweets and poems about her lack of interest in the Bradley Manning case (I suggested she post a single tweet about it here) and the chronic human rights abuses committed by the Obama Administration, from her official Twitter account, March 22, 2013

Violence is never the answer…”

Regarding the 2011 Arizona massacre that killed her nine-year-old second cousin and seriously wounded Congressman Gabrielle Giffords, from her official Twitter account, January 9, 2011

“The world is a better place with him gone.”

Regarding the illegal assassination of Osama Bin Laden, who was once financially supported by the American federal government during the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan (1979-87), from her official TwitLonger account, May 6, 2011

“Hopefully we can open each other’s eyes, teach each other new things, and prompt one another to do just a bit more with our spare time. A bit more good that will affect us and those around us.”

From “First Blog” (bottom entry), sophiabush.com, June 22, 2010

“Demanding that I agree with you, or write like you. Or decide to fight the wars you want to fight, is childish.”

Her response to my above-mentioned criticism, from her official Twitter account, March 23, 2012

“20. I believe people are inherently magical and good.”

From her US Weekly article, “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me”, March 21, 2012

People are crazy.”

From her official Twitter account, March 27, 2013

“You know gay is my favourite color ;)”

From her official Twitter account, July 6, 2010

”                                                                          ”

Her public comments on tortured, incarcerated, gay/transgender whistleblower, Private First Class Bradley Manning, to date.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
1:52 a.m.

Published in: on April 30, 2013 at 1:53 am  Comments (5)