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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Family Values

I have watched with interest the primitive and rather perverse convulsions pushing for a Minnesota constitutional amendment to define marriage as between "one man and one woman."

They don't actually say which one man and one woman, but I suppose they have some idea.  Hopefully they don't mean a man and woman who, like so many, will later decide to be divorced from their partner "till death to us part," or find some other one man or one woman to have occasional casual sex with.  Anyway...

I note that those on the Moral High Ground -- over there, across where I'm standing -- say it's all about Family Values.  I am in favor of family values, having grown up in a rather large Family I deeply and profoundly value.  If any of those folks want to say I don't value families, they can explain why, the second or third time they pick their bruised and battered butts up off the ground after attempting to say so.

So, Family Values.  Great stuff.

Alright, I'll buy that.  It's all about Family Values.

I do value Families.  I am also struck by the idea that it is entirely possible that a gay guy (I am profoundly straight) might also value families.  For that matter, a couple of gay guys might also.  Lesbians, or couples of lesbians, might also value families.  For that matter, it becomes rather obvious they do value families -- they want to create a family, with someone who they love and care for deeply.   They know that much of society, especially those steeped in Christian Love and Muslim Peace and other violent and intolerant emotions will abuse them viciously, possibly injure or kill them, and they still want to create a family.  A greater love, and so on.

In fact, after centuries of abuse for not being willing to enter a committed relationship (expected to be Between One Man And One Woman) they are willing, before God and Everyone, to form a committed relationship... and some folks want them forbidden to do so.

These are folks who value families deeply and profoundly.  They are willing to face whatever obstacles, pay any price, bear any burden, support any friend, oppose any foe, to ensure the survival and success of their family -- because they love and are loved, and nothing is more important to them.  That is, the definition of every worthwhile family in the history of humanity.

And I should be against this... because of Family Values.

And don't even start with me about polyamorous families.  Not only do they love each other, not only are they willing to pay, bear, support, oppose, and so on, they have a fundamental advantage over anyone you care to name as to Family Values.  They can, collectively, actually afford to support their children.  They have X number people working together to produce enough income to support their families.  Back in the '50s and '60s, my folks managed to support us 5 kids.  Back in those days, two working adults could support five kids.  Now, I really doubt it.

"It Takes A Village To Raise A Child."  Yeah, what she said.

So, what are we really talking about here?  Legalizing committed relationships?  They already have committed relationships, and no government had to give them permission to have them.  What these constitutionalists are trying to preserve is the special treatment given to those allegedly committed relationships that involve One Man And One Woman.  They want to preserve the few remaining tax benefits to those liable to sexually reproduce by accident.  And they want to preserve the Cash Cow of religious corporations over the past millenia, the idea that they can sell the permission of god to have sex over the long term with one's chosen partner.

But I digress, and tend to growl and foam at the mouth.   Bottom lines:

Committed relationships are committed relationships, and families are families.  They should respected and acknowledged, whatever the details of their internal relationships.  (And what's all this obsession with the sex?  Shouldn't that be private?)

No special privileges should be accorded any particular flavor or flavors of committed relationship or family, as long as that is what they are at their hearts.

Trying to require government endorsement of any particular flavor of committed relationship or family is shameful.  Before you go grab the strawman, there are some sorts of "family" that are exceptionally abhorrent, and should be treated exceptionally -- because they are exceptional.  But those exceptions already are unlawful.

I value families.  If people who love each other and are committed to each other want to form a family, I hope they will.  And I hope my Constitutions, federal or state, won't be perverted to attack these families.  Probably will though.  It's the Government,  and they'll likely screw it up.  Maybe not.  You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Time travellers

Authors say ideas for stories are easy, and I suppose they are.   They're authors, I suppose they'd know.

Had an idea about a direction for a story I will never write, and probably doesn't need to be written.  It's really just a view of other stories from just off to the side a bit.  Whenever they do a story about very long space voyages, they point out the long delays of communications after a certain point.  The space traveler may only be heard months or years later, and might likewise not hear comments for months or years.

My first thought was that, if the traveler recorded interviews on leaving earth, and traveled fast enough for time dilation, sending those recordings back on the stream could be of historical interest.  Then it struck me, an ever more delayed outgoing message, with ever more delayed reactions and comments -- reminds me a lot of my experience of podcasting.

And I wondered... if you did that sort of story, with a focus on the traveler being a podcaster, would there be interesting implications there?  There's that historical-interviews thing from early in the trip, sent out later.  As the distances and times became greater, the audience would be listening to a perspective years or decades different than their own.  Their comments would be "futuristic," I suppose, to the podcaster.  But when they were heard by the audience, they might be from their own youth, commenting on how they felt about the shows back then.  And they would be hearing perspectives, not only from the past, but from a fairly young person from the past.

And I am puzzling over whether I feel that this is related to the current state of podcasting.  Certainly many of us either started older than the 18-30 target demographic, and if we weren't many of us are now.  With few exceptions, comments to podcasts are scarce, and voice comments even more rare.  So when we receive a comment, it can certainly seem to come out of the blue, and often refers to something we said a long while ago.

Can't claim to be that "young person from the past," really.  But inside my own skull I'm still pretty much that 18-year old geek in high school just discovering computers by typing on a Decwriter sending across phonelines to a college's timeshared computer, or posting to CompuServe, or to the BBS networks.  I miss all that, and feel somewhat lost without all that stuff I actually understood.

So that may be a time-and-space-travel story that doesn't need to be written.  Or it might be we're writing that story every day.  Or both.

Thoughts?