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On men who don’t look like their pictures (on online dating sites)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:48 am - May 15, 2013.
Filed under: Dating,Friendship,LA Stories,Random Thoughts

Last night, I had a pleasant dinner, spontaneously arranged, with one of my closest friends in LA.  He and I had met about six years via an online dating service.  We didn’t feel much romantic chemistry, but did enjoy each other’s company and became friends.

as we occasionally do, we shared our stories about online dating, he kvetching about a man who didn’t call when he promised, but who subsequently kept pestering him with texts, I sharing stories about a number of decent dates I had with guys whose profiles presented a pretty accurate portrait of their personality, profession and passions.

And then we fell to talking about guys who misrepresented themselves on line, with both of us recalling dates with men who just didn’t look like their pictures.  I related a tale about a guy I met depicted as thin in his online pictures, but who in person, suffered from a severe shall we say, a severe absence of thin.  (After our coffee date, I went back home and checked his profile and ascertained that that was clearly the guy depicted online, but the pictures were at least ten years old.)

And we wondered last night, my friend and I, we wondered what these men thought when they posted these pictures, that their scintillating personalities would make up for the difference in appearance?  Didn’t it occur to them that men who responded to the ad would be attracted to that picture and expect to meet someone who looked like the guy in the picture? Or did they believe that the picture merely served to draw the potential date to the profile and that the qualities delineated therein constituted the real nature of said date’s interest?

Or did they believe their own propaganda, that they actually looked today like they did ten years ago, despite the fact that ten years ago, they exercised regularly whereas today they’re making plans to exercise next week? (more…)

What overly politicized left-wing friends teach us about friendship

Many of us, including yours truly, often challenge our liberal friends’ comments and links on Facebook, generally engaging in intelligent exchanges, but sometimes in exchanges of insults.  In a handful of cases, we suddenly find a partisan adversary has silently “de-friended” us, other times we finds ourselves subject to a barrage of insults accusing us of narrow-mindedness, self-hatred or even racism.

The other day, a gay conservative lamented on Facebook that it had . . .

Been a rough year with politics! Lost friends of 20 years and more because of Obama. Went from everybody liked being around me to the outcast with very few gay friends. Attacks have been very personal. Kinda blue here.

And he’s not the only one — as indicated by the comment thread. One man reported that a friend had told him he “deserved [his] heart attack for opposing Obamacare.” Another wrote that at a gay and lesbian film festival (not in LA), he and his partner sponsor:

People will be openly hostile to me and my partner (we’re both conservative). Very few are what I would even call tolerant. I continue to be a sponsor of the film festival because it is my last remaining tie to the gay commnunity. Without it, I have ZERO contact with the gay “community” – and my circle of gay friends is only a few. When I was a lib I had literally dozens of gay friends and was quite known in the gay community at the time.

Interesting that with a few notable exceptions, I have had almost the exact opposite experience at Outfest, the gay and lesbian film festival here in LA.  Most folk there continue to treat me with respect even after learning of my political leanings.

Another participant in the thread had not been so fortunate.  Three “so-called good friends” of another gay man told him “they could not be friends [because of his] dislike of B.O.”  From their attitude, he gleaned “they were not true friends, because all of my true friends, while we do not agree politically, we accept it, and move on” — which is what most of us experience. (more…)

Will Andrew Sullivan Make My Dissertation?

Now that I’ve finished “original” research for the first draft of my dissertation, I am reviewing several books on gay psychology and essays on gay relationships as I prepare to write the paper’s final chapter.  Due to the unique nature of my program, I intend to apply the insights I gained in studying Athene’s role in the lives of the men of Greek mythology to the needs of gay men today, considering particularly how feminine friendships can benefit us.

And one essay which I believe beautifully addresses gay friendships is Andrew’s piece, “If Love Were All,” in his book Love Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex, and Survival.  In that insightful essay, he reminds us of “the need for nonfamilial and nonsexual intimacy [which] is surely uppermost in our minds, however hard it its for us to articulate it.”

As I review his essay, I’ll be seeing if he can offer any insights on the gay male “need” for a guiding female hand as we seek to find our place in the world.

One more thing to note; in that essay, Andrew addresses some issues raised (at least in my mind) by Tyler Clementi’s suicide — on the importance of friendships in helping us feel we have truly found our place.

I may or may not use his essay.  I won’t know until tomorrow when I review the underlinings I made and the notes I took when first I read it.  That said, I still recall how moving was his prose.  While we may not today share his politics, we should at least appreciate how thoughtfully he addressed an issue which merits more discusion.

Gay Men, Marriage & Friendship

One reason I have a great deal of difficulty taking seriously most (but not all) gay marriage activists (particularly those of my sex) is that they are loath to discuss the emotional significance/meaning of the institution.  And as I study male psychology, I wonder that it often takes a woman (or a child, or combination thereof) to activate the nurturing aspects of our psyche that seem to come more naturally to women, aspects essential for developing enduring relationships.

To be sure, there are some men who seem to have already internalized those “feminine” qualities.

Several years back, I had an e-mail exchange with a leading advocate for state recognition of same-sex marriage.  He practically bristled at my questions about his failure to address monogamy in the conversation on expanding the definition of this ancient institution.  He simply could not (refused to?) see the link between sexual fidelity and emotional intimacy, how that ideal deepens the bond between the two individuals in a marriage.

Indeed, at those meetings on gay marriage, I found that those most willing to point out that monogamy was an (essential) aspect of marriage were (almost*) always women.

Look, I realize these thoughts may seem kind of random, but because of several serendipitous circumstances on my cross country journey coupled with thoughts about my dissertation — and how Athena’s relationship with Tiresias (this paragon of wisdom to the ancient Greeks being the only individual who had lived as both a man an a woman) fits in — has got me thinking about this yet again.

I fear sometimes we men don’t work at developing emotional relationships with other men.  That so visual and physical is our sex drive, we don’t want to consider the emotional consequences of infidelity.**  This is not to say that men don’t achieve emotional intimacy, indeed, many do.  But, they’re not the ones at the forefront of the movement for state recognition of same-sex marriage. (more…)

GayPatriot Dinner with Thatcher Honoree; Tues. 04/28 in LA

Because Dr. Nigel Ashford, a distinguished British political philosopher, whom we believe to be the only openly gay man honored by Dame Margaret Thatcher, will be paying homage to that great lady’s colleague in bringing down communism, we’ve had to reschedule his Los Angeles dinner to next Tuesday, April 28th.

The current plan is to meet in Santa Monica for dinner at 7.  If you’d like to join us, please RSVP to me for complete details.

Santa Monica Tea Party Report: Lesbian for Liberty

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:19 am - April 16, 2009.
Filed under: Freedom,Friendship,LA Stories,Tea Party

For my first report from the Santa Monica Tea party where we gather that about 400 gathered at its height. People had been coming and coming from about 1:40 or so when I got there until about 6:00 when I left.

This is my left-leaning lesbian friend, featured frequently on this blog. Left-leaning she may be, but liberty she loves.

When she was waving this sign, a socially conservative woman asked her, “Aren’t you afraid of us?”

To this my friend replied, “Are you afraid of me?”

She wasn’t. And together they continued to demonstrate their disgust at the excessive government spending the president has proposed.

GayPatriot Dinner with Thatcher Honoree; Mon. 04/27 in LA

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:22 pm - March 30, 2009.
Filed under: Conservative Ideas,Friendship,Great Men,LA Stories

Nigel Ashford, a distinguished British political philosopher, whom we believe to be the only openly gay man honored by Dame Margaret Thatcher, will be in Los Angeles the last week in April and has agreed to join GayPatriot readers for dinner on Monday, April 27th.

Please save that date for this festive occasion.  Details to be provided when we get a sense of how many will be joining us.

They Call their Man, “Barack”

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:28 pm - November 26, 2008.
Filed under: Friendship,Obama Watch,Random Thoughts

In a post earlier today, Jennifer Rubin held that “it seems disrespectful at this point to refer to the President-elect as ‘Barack.’“  I agreed that this does seem disrespectful.  Yet, her comment make me wonder if there is some sort of cultural phenomenon in this apparent familiarity with the president-elect.

Shortly after the election, at a gathering of fellow Williams alumni, with everyone who offered an opinion on the recently-concluded presidential election (save yours truly) having supported the victor of that election, a handful of his backers continually referred to their man not as “the president-elect” or “Senator Obama,” but instead as just plain “Barack” as if they actually knew the guy.

This wasn’t the first time I’d heard Obama’s supporters so address their man.  I don’t recall Bush supporters referring to the Republican as “George” or Clinton supporters calling their man, “Bill.”  (Well, there were “Friends of Bill” . . . . )

I don’t really know what to make of this.  Maybe the president-elect radiates a certain fraternal aura that makes people feel we know him, kind of like that of such movie stars as Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.  (For me, it’s Laura Linney.  When I see her on screen, I feel certain I know her.)

Indeed, after watching both presidential candidates in the Saddleback Forum in August, Rich Lowry found that Obama seemed “more like a potential friend.

Maybe it is just the aura he radiates.  Food for thought.

Blogging Hiatus

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 10:30 pm - June 16, 2008.
Filed under: Blogging,Friendship

I had thought I would resume blogging today, but then again, had also assumed I would have had a chance to blog this weekend.

On Friday, a good friend from grad school and I headed to Utah to help the wife of another grad school buddy surprise her husband on his birthday.  As that friend often checks this blog, I didn’t want to mention anything that might tip him off to my trip.  Sure enough he was totally surprised.

While in Utah, I spent the better part of my time engaged in great conversations with my friends (and my Utah friend and family) about politics, mythology, graduate school and faith — not to mention superheroes.  I also had fun being an “uncle” to his kids, playing Justice League with his sons and taking his daughter to see Kung Fu Panda, a fun flick I cannot recommend highly enough.

As a result, I didn’t have any time for blogging, indeed, didn’t even have time to check the news.  I only knew that the great Tim Russert had passed (perhaps the most even-handed Sunday talk show host/broadcast journalist) of our day because a friend texted me the information.  Truly a great loss.

Russert was a man unwilling to bow to the liberal tenor of his colleagues, frequently asking tough questions of Democratic politicians as well as Republican ones.  While some of the far left may berate him, he was the first to ask truly challenge their nemesis in the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination–Hillary Clinton–when he pressed the New York Senator on whether she supported the then-New York Governor’s plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

Perhaps he became such a classy guy because he got his political start working for Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a liberal New York Senator who had a deep understanding of and respect for conservative ideas.

(more…)

On Movies & Storytelling

When I first moved to LA, most of my friends were in or, as I, aspired to be in the entertainment industry. Oftentimes when we got together, we would have long discussions about movies, what makes a film great, why chemistry between actors is so crucial, how a good director can tease a great performance out of a mediocre performer or just about why we love this form of story-telling so much.

As I’ve moved away from pursuing a screenwriting career and focused more on studying mythology and writing about politics and cultural matters, I’ve lost touch with some of those friends, a number of whom have left town when they didn’t break into the business as they had hoped. And I haven’t talked about movies as much I would like.

So naturally last night, I was delighted to finally have dinner with a new friend who, unlike most of my friends in LA, is a movie buff. How I loved talking movies with someone who could guess my favorite director with only two clues, he was Greek and controversial. (Now if I could just find a friend who loves movies, is gay, votes Republican and reads mythology.)

Anyway, when we were discussing two of his favorite directors, Françcois Truffaut and Federico Fellini, I called them filmmakers, distinguishing them from the story-tellers I love (Kazan, Billy Wilder, Frank Capra and Stephen Spielberg to name a few). What these latter understood, I said, was that movies showed us all that is good in the world.

I thought that line, about movies and showing us all that is good in the world, simple as it was, trite almost, really got at my love for the medium. At the moment, it sounded so profound. And perhaps it was in the context of the conversation. Sometimes, we find the greatest lines come to us when we’re not looking for them (and oftentimes when we lack a pen or pencil to jot them down).

Anyway, it struck me, especially given the most recent Academy Awards, that Hollywood seems more eager to reward filmmakers than to honor storytellers, those directors can show a human being on a journey, how, in relating to his fellows, he learns an important lesson, a lesson which relates the struggles all of us, not just the celluloid hero, face. In part because of that universal theme, the director succeeds in engaging the audience, those following that journey through the medium of film.

(more…)

Ohio, My Family and Presidential Politics

I just returned from a wonderful trip to the Buckeye State where I spent some time with my family in Cincinnati (including my brand new niece) and Cleveland where I attended the fourth eldest PatriotNephewWest’s Bar Mitzvah.

While in Ohio, I had lunch with my best friend from elementary and Middle School whom I hadn’t seen in over two decades and with whom I had a falling out in high school. For now, I’ll just say we reconnected and reconciled, renewing our friendship.

When driving around the various locales I visited on my journey, I noted the proliferation of Obama bumper stickers, but can’t recall seeing a single one favoring Mrs. Clinton. This kind of parallels my experience in Los Angeles where I have seen lots and lots of Obama stickers and only a handful backing the former First Lady. While this bumper sticker “poll” does not correspond to the results of most “scientific” surveys, it does at least show more enthusiasm for Illinois’s junior senator than for his New York counterpart.

In my family, none of the Democrats are particularly enthusiastic about Mrs. Clinton, with the New Yorkers openly contemptuous of their senator. Once again, I note the intense animosity among some Democrats for her.

All the Republicans, including my eldest nephew, a sophomore in college, had high regard for Mitt Romney, noting his performance in the debates and his conservative platform. With all these educated Republicans backing the former Massachusetts governor, I wondered why he hasn’t done as well at the polls. I have some thoughts on the matter and hope to address them in a post later this week.

As one who doesn’t travel much, all the cross-country journeys I’ve been taking has been kind of disorienting. When a friend picked me up at the airport this afternoon, I observed that I had been on more planes (8) in the past two months than I had been in the preceding two years. But, probably far fewer than my co-blogger who seems to log that many flights in two weeks.

This morning, when I left my Dad’s house, it was snowing outside. This afternoon, I arrived to sunny skies in LA. On days like today, I do love LA. But, boy do I miss the decency of the people in the Buckeye State. I hope that wherever I travel, wherever I settle, I keep that part of the Midwest with me at all times.

- B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)

Hugging at Airports, Mayonnaise on Sandwiches, Obama in CA

Despite the rush of the political season, blogging may be slow as I get caught up from my trip and prepare for another (nephew’s Bar Mitzvah in Cleveland next week).

Today, I picked up a friend at the airport. It only occurred to me after we were in the car that I didn’t think twice before hugging him (and giving him a peck on the cheek) when he arrived. I hadn’t checked to see if anyone was looking askance at us.

Later, we went to lunch at Pete’s Cafe in downtown LA. After a few bites of my sandwich, I wondered if it had mayonnaise (something I don’t eat as it can upset my tummy). When I confirmed with the waiter that they had indeed put that dressing (or is it a condiment?) on the bread without indicating as much on the menu, the waiter offered me a cup of mint tea (which soothes the stomach).

When we got the bill, he had removed the sandwich and not charged us for the tea, earning him a large tip and guaranteeing my return to the restaurant. It’s nice when an establishment acknowledges such an error. And I wondered why restaurants (and other places which make sandwiches) are so eager to put such condiments (or dressings) on sandwiches without informing consumers. It seems to me they should just serve them plain, adding extras only when requested.

As we ate, we noticed a number of people sporting Obama buttons eating at adjacent tables. Later, when I approached one of them (it seemed I had seen him on TV), I learned that the Illinois Senator’s campaign had just held an event across the street. This staffer had himself just flown in from Iowa.

I was struck that the campaign did not dispatch him to New Hampshire and wondered if the Obama campaign is feeling increasingly confident about their chances in the Granite State. (Or maybe realizing they don’t need to win there to sustain their momentum.) Now, that their man’s definitely in the game, they want to strengthen their campaign’s presence in the Golden State.

I did get a chance to talk to their gay outreach director for Southern California and gave him my card with the blog information (he did not have one of his own). He seems like a nice guy and promised to contact me. If he does so, I’ll report on our conversation.

When I asked about the latest polls in the Golden State, he said that after last night, they didn’t much matter. He’s probably right. Those polls do show the former First Lady with a comfortable lead, but were all taken not only before Obama’s Iowa victory, but also before the holidays. My sense is that the double-digit lead Mrs. Clinton once enjoyed has been cut in half. And then some.

How to Suddenly Feel Rich(er)

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:54 am - December 17, 2007.
Filed under: Friendship,Synchronicity

Last week, after I had deposited a check and paid some bills, I tallied my recent payments and found that I was a little behind for the month. Well, I figured I’ll just be a little more careful for the balance of the year. I wasn’t in that much of a hole. But, as I looked at that final sum, I wondered how I could have fallen short when I had just put some money in the bank, not much, but enough to more than cover that apparent deficit.

I didn’t think much of it for a while, but then decided to check my math. It turns out that instead of adding the total amount of those checks ($216), I had subtracted them. Then, I redid my calculations, adding where I should have subtracted and came out $432 ahead of my previous total.

Probably because I had accepted (albeit briefly) the lesser amount, I suddenly felt richer. I wouldn’t have to scrimp on the holiday gifts I had yet to buy for friends and family members. That evening, I went out that night to Barnes & Noble — and with a coupon in hand where I saw something that I knew one of my closest friends would like, but cost a good deal more than I had intended to spend. Well, feeling flush, I got it for her.

And I’m still ahead of where I had feared I might be financially just a few hours previously.

It’s kind of weird to think that had I not made the mistake I might not have bought the gift I did for my friend even though I could have afforded it. It’s just that bracing myself for a smaller balance had made me realize how much money I really did have.

Maybe there was some other force at work that day. Whatever it is, I’m grateful for the error and will soon find out if my friend is as well.

Coincidence or Synchronicity & the Meaning of Life

A few days ago, the employer of a close friend asked him to buy a digital camera. Instead of asking the firm to reimburse him for the camera, thus making it the company’s property, my friend decided to pay for it himself so he might keep it, observing that it would allow him to capture images of his friends and family. For, he noted, he found his greatest happiness in time spent with others.

And he came to this wisdom despite his refusal to read Silas Marner, one of George Eliot‘s great novels. The power of human relationships is one of Eliot’s great themes.

At the same time as my friend offered his pearl of wisdom, I’ve been reading Anthony Kronman’s Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life. (I learned about this book one day while perusing Instapundit.) As I began to read it, I learned that Mr. Kronman is a graduate of American’s finest liberal arts college. No wonder he can offer such important insights.

I expect to have more to say about Kronman’s book as a later date, particularly about what the abandonment of the study of the meaning of life means for gay people. So far, I have really enjoyed the first third of the book. The author, the former dean of Yale Law School, provides a good background on the conversation about life’s meaning and the history of colleges and university curricula in America. He may be a little repetitive at times, but that repetition does not detract from the book’s strengths.

It stuck me as interesting synchronicity that the same weekend my friend would offer his insight on the moments of true happiness that I’m reading a book about the meaning of life. It seems to me that it is in large part through the human relationships we establish that we discover life’s meaning. Perhaps that reading has put me in a philosophic mood these past few days, hence the slow blogging.

I do hope to blog a little more for the balance of the week, as I have a few followup posts in mind on the controversy I excited in speculating about the MSM’s Disinterest in the Anti-Conservative Attitude of some gays, a piece wondering about the President’s screwups, a few ideas about men and (gay) marriage and some thoughts on the upcoming release of a movie supposedly inspired by the most important literary work in a European vernacular language between the fall of Rome and the publication of The Divine Comedy.

Oh, and in line with my thoughts on the misundertanding and loathing that some on the left, particularly the gay left, express toward conservatives, I should note that the friend whose comment inspired this post is a Democrat who has never voted for a Republican in his life. He may rib me for my politics, but it doesn’t diminish the quality of our friendship. Indeed, in some ways, our political differences strengthen that friendship.

“Dogs Are Family”

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 7:25 am - November 6, 2007.
Filed under: Dogs,Friendship,We The People

There’s not much to add to this sentiment from Mark Levin’s new book, Rescuing Sprite. (h/t – The Corner)

I think there is something special about dogs. There’s a special connection or bond between humans and dogs. It’s as if dogs exist to bring people happiness. They teach us about life, loyalty, joy, trust, responsibility, and laughter. They help us clear out all the clutter that surrounds our busy lives and focus on what’s really important. They tell us it’s okay to take time to play sock-pull or have a catch, make silly noises, and enjoy yourself despite all the pressures we adult humans have deal with. Let me put it this way: Dogs are not pets. Dogs are family.

And while we are on the topic of recommending dog-related books….

marley.jpg

…this one is a must-read and a serious tearjerker.  You will fall in love with Marley, I assure you.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Attempted Bombings in UK designed to test new PM Gordon Brown?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:35 pm - June 30, 2007.
Filed under: Friendship,Politics abroad,War On Terror

Not only am I upset by the attempted car bombings in recent days in London and Glasgow, but am incredibly anxious as one of my best friends is currently in Edinburgh, slated to fly back home tomorrow.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these bombings took place this week, coming as they do, only days offer a new British Prime Minister, a Scot born in Glasgow, site of the attempted airport bombing, assumed office. It seems the terrorists are trying to test him. Or perhaps, acting at a time when, because of the transition, they assume the Brits would be least on their guard.

Well, given the example shown by that brave cop in London (do we call him a “bobby“?) who defused one car bomb as well as the police in Glasgow who wrestled the drivers of the burning SUV “to the ground,” it seems the terrorists underestimated our friends across the pond.

And let us hope that the new British Prime Minister show the same resolve as his immediate predecessor when dealing with terrorism. The same resolve his most distinguished predecessor of the last century showed when confronting evil.

And praying for my friend’s safe return.

UPDATE: Just noticed that over at Hugh Hewitt’s blog, Patrick Rufini yesterday offered a similar thought to that expressed in this post:

there’s an eerie parallel between today and the 7/7 attacks. Today was the first week of Gordon Brown’s premiership. 7/7 was the first day of the Gleneagles G8 summit. They seem to have a habit of planning to strike when Britain is in the headlines around the world.

UP-UPDATE (07/01/07 11:30 PM PST): He’s back safe and very jet-lagged. :-)

Thoughts on Jury Service & Friendship

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:54 pm - May 24, 2007.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Friendship,General

Well, I completed my jury service just before noon today (Pacific Time) and have to say I was impressed with my fellow jurors. While we came from diverse walks of life, we were able to discuss the case in a civil manner and even reached unanimous verdicts on all seven counts — even though unanimity was not required in this civil suit.

We all sympathized with the plaintiff who was suing the defendant for damages because he allegedly had sexual contact with her when she was a minor. None of us, however, thought that the plaintiff’s attorneys have proven their case. And we were able find for the defendant even as we recognized his flaws and errors in judgment.

It was, to say the least, an interesting case. And it was very difficult not to talk about it.

I may well have more to say about this at a later date, but will say that I was fortunate to be on a jury with a good group of people and enjoyed our conversations outside the jury box — about all sorts of matters except the case at hand. It was quite a relief yesterday when we began our deliberations and could finally discuss the matter that had occupied our attention for the previous week. And it was remarkable that we were able to reach a consensus on the difficult matter.

It will be weird not seeing these people tomorrow, given that I have become used to using them for these past seven weekdays, almost as if they were colleagues in an office. But, I do expect to see at least two of them again. The three of us became friends, lunching together on a regular basis and talking about our families, our passions and our work.

It’s often interesting where you meet good people in this world. In a situation that I had hoped to avoid, I may well have made a few new friends.

Thoughts on Jury Duty & Transient Encounters in Today’s World

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 2:14 am - May 16, 2007.
Filed under: Friendship,General,LA Stories

I have to return to the Courthouse today and may well have to serve on jury for a trial lasting several days so may not be able to blog as regularly as I would like.

As someone who likes to express himself, it’s kind of odd to be in a situation where I cannot speak out. I’m not sure I can even discuss the nature of the case to which I have been assigned. Indeed, when I had dinner tonight with one of my closest friends, I only mentioned that it was a civil suit. I think that’s really all I can say. So I’ll leave it at that.

This is the first time I have had to go in for jury duty. It was interesting waiting with a diverse group of my fellow Angelenos. I did get to talk to a few people called up to serve today — and wonder if I will ever cross paths again with any of those not selected to serve on the panel with me. (And even with those selected.) But, I guess that’s just one aspect of our life today. Just like our encounters with those with whom we share a long plane flight (or other journey).

Unlike people a hundred years ago or so, we continually interact with people for a few hours, a day, maybe even a week who come into our lives and then disappear. Perhaps, we have an interesting conversation (as I did today about the movie business with one potential juror) or find we have something in common with those we meet, but instead of these connections serving as the basis for a friendship or other relationship, they just become pleasant means to pass the time and to learn a little more about our fellows.

Interesting that after a somewhat disorienting day today — where I returned home to nearly 100 e-mails and two small fires to put out (for volunteer responsibilities I have with my college alumni association), I finally felt that I began to decompress when a friend came over for dinner. In a day filled with apparently transient connections, I finally begin to feel fully human when together with someone with whom I have found a more lasting connection.

Of Narrow-Minded Critics & Broad-Minded Friends

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:01 pm - May 2, 2007.
Filed under: Blogging,Bush-hatred,Civil Discourse,Friendship,Liberals

For the past week or and haven’t had as much time to focus on the blog as I would like. My greatest contact with the blog has been via the “Moderation Queue” where our server holds e-mails which it “thinks” may be spam.

When I read some of the flagged comments, what strikes me (yet again) is the narrow-minded vitriol, the hate, of some of our critics. How they take time to read the blog of people who they have decided are self-hating hypocrites (or worse) and level insults against us or otherwise spew mean-spirited venom. Rarely do they seem to recognize our arguments, even those put forward in the post to which they attach their comments. (I know I’ve said this before.)

Incredulous that gays could be conservatives or Republicans, they just continue to define us as they want to see us and act as if this blog serves as a vehicle for them to spout their narrow nonsense. As if the opinions expressed by the blog owners, those who write here, matter little, except as things to deride. You’d think that if they spend so much time here, they’d at least make an effort to familiarize themselves with our ideas, to try to understand why we are conservative, why we generally support the GOP even when disagreeing from time to time (particularly on social issues) with our party’s platform and leadership. And why we take the time to write.

It’s just the same with their attitude toward the President. When they take issue with his policies, they all but ignore the justification he has offered for them. Instead, they deride him as a liar (more on that anon). And barely mentioning the words he has spoken (unless to use snippets, frequently taken out of context (à la Michael Moore)), they assume he has diabolical or dastardly motives. Instead of doing the noble thing and saying why they think he’s wrong, they resort to attacking his motives (that is, his motives as they (his critics) determine them to be).

Now, I’m sure there are haters on the right. Those who would rather malign the left than engage them. And I certainly decry such attacks. But, I write as a gay conservative, a blogger on this blog and address its critics (and others who attack conservatives as do they). So it won’t do for our critics to justify their behavior by saying conservatives do it too. It’s wrong when either side does it. (I’ve said this before as well.)

But, today it’s becoming increasingly difficult to engage the left because instead of putting forward ideas, many on the left merely oppose the President’s policies because the president is George W. Bush. In their mind, his policies must necessarily be wrong because they’re his. Because he’s George W. Bush and he’s horrible, no good and very bad.

Just as many on the left assume that the president’s motivations are deception, greed or big oil, many of our critics assume ours are self-hatred (or something similar). It’s too bad that for all the time they spend here, they show such little respect for our ideas. Or for the time we take to put together our posts.

I wonder if they would have a better opinion of us, of me at least, if they learned that one of my best friends is a Democrat who has never voted Republican in his life. Indeed, many of my close friends are Democrats.

Being a gay Republican, while challenging at times, gives me a better chance to determine a man’s worth. Since so many gay people are of the left, we can see if they are as intolerant of conservatives as they contend Republicans are intolerant of gays. If they dismiss us merely because of our politics, then we know what kind of people they are — and realize, early on, that they wouldn’t make good friends. But, if they accept us as they are even when they disagree with our politics, we see that they are good and decent people who look beyond an individual’s political affiliation to see his truth worth.

It’s unfortunate that too many of our critics are of the former category. And I’m more than grateful that I have recently met many Democrats of the latter. For their friendship has greatly enriched my personal life. And made me see yet again that a man’s political views are only one aspect of his identity. And frequently of little consequence when building a real relationship.

- B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)

UPDATE: Over at Hugh Hewitt Dean Barnett notes this phenomenon in the debate on torture, where people would rather insult than to engage in a thoughtful discussion of ideas:

For some prominent blogosphere residents, name-calling is practically a cottage industry. It’s certainly easier to personally insult someone as, say, a Christianist, than to thoughtfully respond to their ideas. In deriding their chosen art form, I was peeing in their virtual garden. Sorry about that, fellas.

Now that I’ve whet your appetite, just read the whole thing!

Soon back to blogging/Thoughts on Friendship & Romance

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:34 pm - April 2, 2007.
Filed under: Blogging,Friendship,Romance

I apologize for not having blogged in some time, but my last round of papers really drained me. And not long after returning from my last class session (also draining) and beginning to prepare for the next round of papers, I had to start preparing for Passover which starts tonight at sundown.

Anyway, as I post this, I’ll note a conversation I had with a close friend this weekend where I wondered if a friendship between two gay men could develop over time into a romantic relationship. My friend, while open to the possibility (in the abstract), wondered if each friend/partner might end up seeing the other as his “default” boyfriend. I wondered, if over time, as each began to appreciate the other’s qualities, that he might realize that what they shared was more important than intense sexual attraction.

So, as I prepare for my Seder, I leave you with that question — and invite you to share your thoughts.