Monday, November 30, 2020

Music Monday: Dolly Redux

As I’ve already gone on and on about the absolute national treasure that is Dolly Parton, but suffice to say she deserves all that love and so much more. Not only did she make that $1 million donation to aid in coronavirus vaccine research way back in April, that charitable act has paved the way for one of the most promising (to the tune of some 95% effective) vaccines against the virus. So, yeah, if Dolly ends up saving us all from COVID-19 I hereby declare that all remaining confederate statues be torn down and replaced with statues of Ms. Parton. I mean, let’s salute the real heroes in this country for a change. Happy last Monday of November, kittens. One more month of this infernal year. May it do as little harm, and bring about as much good (thanks in no small part to Dolly) as possible.

p.s. For a song about a global pandemic, this is actually incredibly catchy and rather moving. So, you know, Dolly forever.

Friday, November 27, 2020

My Weekend Crush

While I can’t necessarily recommend “Ratched” as a series, I still delight in the onscreen pairing of Sarah Paulson and Cynthia Nixon as its mental ward-crossed lovers Mildred Ratched and Gwendolyn Briggs in the Ryan Murphy psychodrama. I’ll tell you one thing, 2020 was not lacking in front-and-center lesbian romance and sexual innuendo on the large and small screen thanks to “Ratched,” “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” “Happiest Season” and “Ammonite.” And while the degrees of sexuality vary greatly among the projects (so much more on “Ammonite” coming later, so much more), I think this oyster eating scene is one for the history books in its full on nudge-nudge, gulp-gulp joke about lesbian sex as portrayed by two out queer women. Plus, who doesn’t love a nice, fresh oyster all laid out for the slurping like that? Happy health, safe and righteous Thanksgiving weekend, all.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Stay Home for the Holidays

It’s almost cruel to ask us what we’re thankful for in this universally infernal year. In case you forgot, we’re in the midst of the first global pandemic in over 100 years. And this thing is only getting worse instead of better after more than eight months of failed federal leadership. Half the country won’t take even the most simple precautions, from wearing a damn mask to social distancing from anyone not in your immediate household to, say, NOT HOSTING BIG THANKSGIVING DINNERS.

It’s painfully obvious that we’re not living in the same realities in America. We’ve got new members of Congress who believe in thoroughly debunked not to mention incredibly dangerous conspiracy theories. About half the country actually thinks Donald fucking Trump deserved another four years in office. And, there are folks who refuse to make the most cursory concessions to an ongoing health crisis that has killed over 250,000 of their fellow Americans.

Look, I get it, it’s hard. I haven’t seen my mother now in well over a year. I haven’t seen my sister and my nephews and niece in longer than that. I had considered flying home quickly for the holidays to see at very least my mom, but then reconsidered as the numbers continued to climb. I could never forgive myself if I made her sick, or if I made other people sick. So this year, I’m thankful for all the kind, empathetic, science-believing people who are doing their best to keep themselves, their loved ones and everyone else by not getting together this Thanksgiving with anyone from outside of their households.

It may not feel heroic staying home and not doing much of anything. But I’d rather go through some boredom and loneliness than act selfishly and possibly make it so someone else will never again sit down at the Thanksgiving table with the people they love. This year, we should all stay home for the holdays. And may we all have all new, wonderful things to be thankful for next Thanksgiving. Thank you for caring, kittens.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Review: Happiest Season

If you’re a lesbian or queer women who likes Christmas, or you ever dreamed of kissing a woman under the mistletoe, or you made out with your bestie freshman year when you both stayed in the dorms over winter break only to feel funny about it for months afterward, well, do I have the the movie for you.

“Happiest Season” comes out today on Hulu, exactly one month before Christmas. And it’s the early Christmas present your little gay heart always wanted to find waiting for you under the tree. In fact, it’s the lesbian holiday rom-com your inner cheesy rom-com watcher wishes she could be watching instead all those Lifetime/Hallmark Christmas rom-coms about marrying princes, medievel knights and/or blueberry farmers you secretly watch while wrapping presents year after year.

What’s most remarkable about “Happiest Season” isn’t its cast (which is undeniably remarkable given it’s filled with A-list names from Kristen to Mackenzie to Dan, Mary, Victor, Aubrey, Alison and more) or its subject matter (this is a year filled with a truly remarkable variety of quality choices for queer women who like everything from moody ghost stories or fossil hunting historical pieces and now holiday rom-coms). What’s most remarkable about “Happiest Season” is how utterly conventional it is, and I mean that in the best way possible.

“Happiest Season” is exactly what you’d expect from a holiday rom-com, down to scenes of sibling rivalry devolving into slapstick violence to The Big Unforeseen/Unlikely Obstacle that almost breaks them apart to that most classic of rom-com of moves involving one half of a non-married couple hiding semi-clothed behind a bedroom door from disapproving parents. And, like their straight counterparts, they get just physical enough to remind you they are adults who totally have sex, but not enough to make it too awkward to watch with your mom.

Yes, it’s that kind of movie. And that’s OK. That’s very OK. It’s OK because the big difference is, of course, instead of a good-looking straight couple at its center, there’s a good-looking lesbian couple at its center.

I have now watched “Happiest Season” three times in full and can honestly say that I plan on rewatching it each year during the Christmas season. It’s that kind of movie. In fact, along with “Carol,” I believe lesbian and queer women now have two – albeit very different - holigay classics to enjoy of their very own.

The light-on-its-feet affair is helmed by Clea DuVall, who directed and co-wrote the film. Along with proving the movie unassailable queer bona fides, DuVall and Stewart’s presence roots the movie in the modern gay experience. DuVall also makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance during the credits, finally bringing your youthful crush on her since her Graham days in “But I’m a Cheerleader” full circle.

“Happiest Season” walks that razor-sharp-enough-to-trim-your-lesbian-undercut line between appealing to its eager contemporary queer audience and reaching out broadly to straight folks. Hence the subject matter, which is admittedly some fairly basic Gay 101 stuff. A lesbian couple (Kristen Stewart’s Abby and Mackenzie Davis’s Harper) goes home for the holidays, only to find out that Harper hasn’t come out to her parents yet, thus complicating Abby’s plans to propose.

Along the way exes show up (someone get every single lesbian Riley’s phone number - hello, a single lesbian doctor working at Johns Hopkins as played with hand-in-pockets authenticity by Aubrey Plaza). And Parker’s sisters played by Alison Brie and Mary Holland (the film’s other co-writer) add plenty of zany WASP-families-are-secretly-crazy comedic interludes.

If you’re used to seeing K-Stew from the “Twilight” franchise or her more edgy indie fare, “Happiest Season” will give you a window into her funny side. It’s a little unbalancing at first watching someone so patently hip use a dorky reindeer glider to skate around an ice rink or awkwardly fail to impress the parents. Her very specific, low-key, continually too-cool-for-school persona at first might seem an odd fit for a rom-com. And at times, it seems Mackenzie and Kristen’s energies don’t entirely connect. But they have enough chemistry to make you care, and that’s what matters.

Making “Happiest Season” so traditional in many ways is perhaps the perfect bait-and-switch. It gets more people to watch what for queer viewers will be an affirmation and for straight viewers will hopefully be an eye opener about why some people still struggle with coming out. In the end, we’re all just humans who want to be loved, and anything that puts up potential barriers to that love is, shall we say, complicated.

Yes, a lot of things have changed in our political landscape. Things have gotten better. We can legally marry. We can serve in the military (and hopefully our patriotic trans and non-binary servicemembers will soon again – fuck, and I mean this most sincerely until the end of time, Donald Trump). But so much is still not equal, and we have so many fights left to win. And that fact that it took until the year 2020 for a mainstream holiday rom-com featuring lesbian leads to be even be made.

Dan Levy brings his best Woke David Rose energy to the role of Abby’s gay male best friend. He also provides its compassionate heart while walking hetero watchers gingerly through The Gay Experience, a bit like the unseen stage narrator of “Our Town,” except he is very seen and very welcome. Still, if you’re a hardened gaymo like me, you’ll find your heart growing several sizes as the movie reaches its inevitable emotional crescendo.

Look I never thought, growing up as as a nerdy kid in the Midwest who liked Jennifer Connelly in “Labyrinth” a little too much, that one day one of the biggest movie stars in the world who also happened to be gay would play a gay character in a lesbian rom-com with a major joke/plot point about literally hiding in the closet - but here we are. Now every little lesbian and queer girl growing up has a cheesy – and I mean that in the best way possible – lesbian rom-com of their very own. And that matters.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

A Very Gay Christmas

As all you kittens well know, I’m always all about the ladies here at Surrenders. But, I hope this is also an inclusive space where gay, bisexual, trans and queer men and women and non-binary friends can come to enjoy some of the effervescent joy of the culture we call pop. Sure, things have been pretty serious of late because the culture has been pretty serious. But, things are looking up - and perhaps a little bit like Big Gay Christmas. Anyway, this is a really long introduction to today’s trailer for “Dashing in December,” which I can only accurate descibe as the Lifetime Gay Western Christmas Rom-Com of your wildest dreams. Look, if we can celebrate the first mainstream lesbian holiday rom-com (which premieres tomorrow on Hulu, I'll have a review here tomorrow too), we can certainly give the fellas their moment. Also, I would totally watch this while wrapping presents. What, Andie MacDowell in in the movie, too!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Music Monday: Early Christmas Edition

Well, this is Thanksgiving week. So that means here in the states that the holiday season is about to officially begin. Now, normally, I’d frown on playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. But, let’s be honest, it’s been a hard year. We all needed a little Christmas early this year. So please enjoy this flashback to a couple weekends ago when half of America felt like they’d awoken to find the biggest present under the tree. If people literally dance in the street after voting you out at the ballot box, you should probably permanently change you name to Scrooge. But then Scrooge had a change of heart. And Trump, well, he’ll go down as a lying, cheating, whining loser forever. Man, that was a good, good day. Like, maybe even better than Christmas. Happy Monday, kittens.

Friday, November 20, 2020

My Weekend Plea

I know we all want to see our families, or the people we consider our families, this holiday season. I know it doesn’t feel right staying home instead of gathering together for Thanksgiving. I know it’s been a tough year. I know we need to be with each other more than ever. But, this year, we simply can’t. We can’t because we love them. We can’t because we’re in a goddamn global pandemic. And, despite being at this for eight plus months already, it’s only getting worse.

We all know this has been a horrible year. The desire to take small or even big risks is understandable. We’re exhausted. We just want to feel normal. But we’re doing this so we, and countless other people, can live to see an even better next year and year after that and many more.

We made the difficult decisions not to see our families for Thanksgiving. And I’m not going back to Indiana to visit my mother for Christmas, despite not seeing her in well over a year now. We’re going to celebrate the two of us, just our little household (plus the three cats and dog). And that will be enough.

The human cost has already been staggering. More than a quarter of a million people have died, and it’s not even really winter yet. This year has been monstrous in its grief, yet at this point we seem almost numb to the magnitude loss. But those are 250,000 families with someone missing from the holiday table forever.

This virus does not care if you are a Republican or a Democrat. It doesn’t care who you voted for or what you believe. Even if this thing doesn’t kill you, it will probably still be a struggle. You might have long-term consequences and serious ongoing health problems. Still if you are lucky enough to get a mild case, the person you go on to infect unknowingly may not.

So, please, heed Rachel Maddow’s words. The person who gets sick may not be you, it may be the person you care about most in the world. And then, there could be no more Thanksgivings together ever. Stay home for the holidays. Don’t gather with people from outside of your household. Keep social distancing. Keep washing your hands. And wear a damn mask. Be safe and save a life. Happy safe, healthy and righteous weekend, all.

p.s. Deleted those comments saying the flu is worse than COVID because this scientist's daughter isn't allowing dangerously deluded misinformation on her personal blog during a deadly global pandemic. Everyone has a right to an opinion, but not a platform. Fuck, and I mean this most sincerely, off with that bullshit.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Gender Fuck Thursday: VP Straight Bette Porter

Look, I’m not saying my more-than-two-year campaign to get Straight Bette Porter elected to the executive branch is the reason she got elected to the executive branch. But, I’m also not saying it’s not the reason Kamala Harris was elected Vice President. I mean, we all know the polling absolutely sucked. So, who can say – really? Ahem.

In the continuation of my highly scientific research into the definitive correlating properties between Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris and runner-up Los Angeles Mayoral Candidate Bette Porter, I present you both in signature suffragette white. I mean, as soon as our new Madam Vice President came out in her white suit for their victory speeches, we all knew this post was coming.

And now that it’s here, well, I think we’d all agree that the science remains indisputable. Four years of Vice President Straight Bette Porter sure looks good, kittens. It sure, sure does.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Romancing of Bly Manor

I was lucky enough to get screeners for both "Ammonite," which opened in limited release in whatever movie theaters are actually open last weekend, and “Happiest Season,” which starts streaming on Hulu next week. They are very (very, very, very, very) different movies. And while I have some issues with both, I will say that both movies are proving my theory that lesbians and queer women are doing their level best to rescue 2020. Now, I can’t offer a full review on “Ammonite” until closer to its Dec. 4 video-on-demand release, per an embargo. And I’ll be posting a full review of “Happiest Season” next week.

Now, this isn’t about either “Ammonite” or “Happiest Season,” but it is about yet another worthy piece of lesbian media that came out this year, “The Haunting of Bly Manor.” While I had issues (there they are again) with the ending of the series, I enjoyed its moody build-up. But to have a bit of fun with the ghost story instead, here’s a reminder of the power of editing and music. This is some “Imagine Me & You” level cute for a story with this many terrible deaths. Please enjoy “Bly Manor” the rom-com, by video editor extraordinaire Foomatic.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Tank Top Tuesday: Dr. FLOTUS Edition

Our incoming FLOTUS is many things: lifelong educator, wonderful former First Second Lady, avid runner and, luckily for us, tank top enthusiast. Yes, I know, we’re not supposed to comment on the First Lady’s appearances. But, uh, how can we not when they drop this picture on us in her official DNC biography video? I believe the only correct descriptor here is, well, smokeshow. Ahem.

One of the other great things electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris means we’ll once again have a FLOTUS who actually cares about average Americans and also gives a fuck about children being put in cages. Not to mention a FLOTUS who won’t keep filming weird sideways promos and glamour shot readings.

Dr. Jill Biden will also continue teaching English as a professor at Northern Virginia Community College, as she did as Second Lady. Yes, America, we are about to have a First Lady who works a full-time job outside of the home. In the year 2021 this should not be revolutionary, yet here we are. We’ve come a long way, slowly. Basically she’s like the anti-Betsy DeVos and Melania rolled up in one feisty package. Four years of Dr. Jill in the White House? Please, and thank you, America.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Music Monday: MVP Edition



♬ Walking - Mary Mary

Madame Vice President is walking, people. She’s walking. Also, if you need a little more profane celebration, please enjoy Chrissy Teigen and John Legend recreating me and my wife celebrating from the previous weekend. And in 64 days, we get to do that permanently. Happy Monday, kittens.

Friday, November 13, 2020

My Weekend Presidential Crush

It’s hard to put into words what this election has meant to America. Yes, we fired Donald Trump in no uncertain terms. That asshole lost. And, no, it wasn’t even close. It only seemed close because it takes a long while to count all the votes, particularly the increase of mail-in votes because WE’RE IN A FUCKING RAGING PANDEMIC YOU ABSOLUTE SELFISH NON-SCIENCE BELIEVING MORONS. Not that I have strong feelings about that last part - or any part of the last four years. But more than 5 million Americans choose sanity and competence over unchecked hate, greed and dishonesty. So that is at least something.

The uninhibited and hard-earned joy we felt on Saturday, when the race was called, has since evolved into extreme relief and continued exhaustion. So much still must be fixed, even to get back to where we were let alone make real progress.

And then there’s the fact that so many millions upon millions of our fellow citizens still voted for that man. It’s beyond disheartening that nearly half of America saw Donald Trump and his racism, his sexism, his homophobia and transphobia, his corruption, his ineptitude and his pathological narcissism and said, “Yep, four more years of that, please and thank you.” And it’s just as disheartening that just about the entire Republican Party is indulging his vanity and vengeance with this “stealing” the election nonsense. It’s all lies, per usual, but they’re politically expedient lies and the GOP cares about holding power above all else and especially above helping people.

I know it won’t be easy these next four years. Heck, I know it will be pretty much hell these next two months and change as we watch That Orange Stain wallow and lash out. There is perhaps no one more accustomed to getting his way than Donald Trump. But now he’ll forever be an impeached one-term loser who let more than 240,000 Americans die and couldn’t even protect himself or his family from a deadly pandemic.

It’s sad to say that the relief I feel in us at very least ridding ourselves of this monstrous excuse for a human being has somewhat overshadowed the history this election represents. Vice President Kamala Harris. Madam Vice President. The first woman vice president, the first Black woman vice president, the first South Asian vice president. So many first we should be reveling in but instead we’re all just waiting for that hateful, grifting Oompa-Loompa to exit the Oval Office.

The duality of these emotions reminds me of 2008, when the elation of electing the first Black president was tempered by the passage of homophobic Prop. 8. One step forward, but also one step back. The arc of the moral universe is indeed long, and some days it feels like it just keeps getting longer. But at least we keep trying to bend it toward justice. Well, at least 77.5 million and counting of us are. Happy safe, healthy and righteous we’re gonna have a new president weekend, all.

p.s. It is just now dawning on me that I get to write Vice President Straight Bette Porter for the next four years. See, 2021 is definitely already looking up.

p.p.s. To the "Anonymous" dropping novels in the comments, no politician is perfect. Not Bernie. Not Liz. Not AOC. Not Obama. None of them. You vote for the best candidate with the best chance of winning and moving the government and society toward the goal of full equality and civil rights for all - especially the marginalized and the underrepresented. You have the audacity to call Kamala pure evil when Trump has been president for the last four years? Damn that Kool-Aid must be delicious. Has she made political decisions I disagree with? Sure. Every politician has. But if you want to write a novel about her being pure evil find another blog to haunt. And if you want to deny the science of the pandemic, well, I invite you to sincerely and with my full blessing kindly fuck right off forever. It's my personal blog, and your freedom of speech is not being infringed upon. Go start your own blog and write posts on it every day for 14 years. It's still a free country.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Christmas (Again) in November

Look, at least I waited until November to post holiday content. First "Happiest Season" and now Dolly does Christmas. I guess the movie gods are trying to help make up for the past four years of nothing but bah-humbug. And we could all use a little extra Christmas spirit right about now. (Or, of course, whatever holiday you celebrate that gives you the warm and fuzzies and possibly presents.) And Christmas plus Dolly Parton? Well, who knows maybe 2020 will have a strong finish after all. So, yeah, we deserve an early Christmas this year. And that’s a good thing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Cookies & Equality

Well, after the week (this year, these last four fucking years) we’ve all had, I think we deserve a week of nothing but good things. Like really, really good things. Like cookies and love and did I mention cookies? I know that brands are not our friends. They’re brands and all they care about is making their brand money. But, again, when brands do make progressive statements it means as a country our collective consciousness registers those opinions as positive. In the past, they were controversial, but now they’re moneymakers. Capitalism, yo. But that, that’s still progress. And progress, like cookies, is always a good thing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

A Lesbian Little Christmas

Look, I spent the entire weekend (and then some) after about 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time Saturday morning drinking champagne, blasting “Fuck Donald Trump,” and intermittently crying about the fact that now, finally, we have a chance to maybe do a little good – or at bare minimum stop doing so many incredibly horrible things. Hearing them make the call was both a moment of total elation and exhausted relief. But, at least this past weekend, it was all about the joy. We’ve had to make our own these past four years. So if it feels a little bit like Christmas came early, well, there’s a reason.

And, it also helped that the trailer for “The Happiest Season” dropped yesterday. It’s the first mainstream lesbian holiday rom-com to be released here in the states. (Yes, I know there have been indie holiday lesbian movies, but let’s be real they didn’t have Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis.) But I think what I like most about it, aside of course from seeing K-Stew and Yorkie as a couple, is how extraordinarily conventional it seems – from a rom-com standpoint.

A cute couple is going home for the holidays for the first time together, one gets advice from her sassy gay friend (Dan Levy, David Rose-ing himself through life with aplomb), they try to avoid spilling the beans about something to the clueless parents and an emotional and/or physical obstacle is presented for them to overcome. Granted, the obstacle here is coming out and not being honest about one’s sexuality. But they are even sight-gag jokes about her hiding in the closet. And hiding from the folks behind the door to your childhood bedroom? That’s practically wholesome.

So while the storyline perhaps feels a bit basic for those familiar with queer cinema over the years, I have to think that’s the point. Again, this is the first mainstream lesbian rom-com. And it stars perhaps the most famous out actress working right now, and also has a queer filmmaker/actress in Clea DuVall behind the camera. The idea is both mass appeal, and to give I think lesbian and bisexual women who’ve been yearning for their own cheesy (and I mean that in the best possible way) holiday rom-com to call their very own.

p.s. Don’t worry, I put “Happiest Season” in an entirely other Christmas-time category than The Queen of Lesbian Holiday Movies, “Carol.” There’s room in this world for both, and in fact, so many more. Bring on the holly and the jolly, but make it super gay.

Monday, November 09, 2020

Music Monday

Please enjoy this moment of grace and beauty courtesy Alicia Keys, Brandi Carlile and your votes. We did it. We really did. I'll have more to say this week. A lot more. But for now there is just music. Happy Monday, kittens.

Friday, November 06, 2020

My Weekend Crush

Remind yourself that there are still good things. The crunch of autumn leaves under foot. The warmth of a cat snug on your lap. The knowledge that no matter how the Electoral College ultimately plays out, more Americans voted for the kind, decent man than voted for the hateful, corrupt man – by the many millions. (And he's gonna win the stupid, racist, outdated Electoral College even, barring Trump cheating and other bullshit.) Still it’s hard to believe in good things in a year like this. But, guess what, love still exists despite – or perhaps in spite of – such intentional cruelty. Like, maybe between two professional athletes who happen to be tops in their respective games who also happen to be women and then happen to be in love and finally happen to decide they’re going to tie the knot despite – or perhaps in spite of – the ugliness of our current world. You know, like Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird getting engaged in a preemptive strike on the shittiness of 2020. Leave it to the lesbians to single-handedly try to turn this unrelentingly abysmal year around. You’re welcome, world. Have a safe, healthy and righteous weekend, all. And COUNT EVERY VOTE.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Like a Whisper

No, we did not get the loud, unmistakeable revolution we wanted. But all we need is a whisper. Please allow Tracy Chapman's first televised appearance in five years soothe you with its serene yet steely resolve. Finally, those tables might start to turn. Count every last vote.

ETA: The Late Night With Seth Meyers clip got taken down, so please enjoy the origial. Always good, always.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Count Every Last Vote

I know we all wanted a landslide. We wanted a total repudiation. We wanted to CRUSH HIM. But America is too irreparably divided and wilfully uninformed for landslides these days. And, quite frankly, too damn big. All we can hope is that when all the votes are counted (and we will count every last one) that more good people came out than people who willfully overlook and/or actually admire this man’s endless racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and corruption. The truth is, we were always in for a storm. It was never going to be a cake walk, so now we must weather the wait for results.

Does it make me despair that it’s so close? Of course, of course it does. I keep wanting to believe in the overarching goodness of America. But the truth is there are a lot of terrible people here. A lot of racists and a lot of folks who don’t see racism as a dealbreaker as long as their stocks are high and taxes are low. Or folks who are, let’s be perfectly honest, truly deplorable and probably a little nuts. And a lot of them have guns because AMERICA.

In 2016 I came to grips with the fact that there will probably always be about 40-50 percent of the electorate who votes Republican no matter what - at least in my lifetime. Like Donald Trump did the political equivalent of shitting the bed and shooting people in the middle of the street and he might still win. I can’t explain it other than Americans see politics as a personal identity instead of a practical application of how they want the government to work. So, as with sports, they’ll continue cheering on a team even if it clearly sucks. Because it’s their team, and they don’t care what they do as long as they beat the other team. Has your life actually improved? No, but you made the other team cry so you consider it a win. What is wrong with us?

Because of that mindset there will always be about half of the country that votes against extending civil rights to all Americans. That votes against allowing women and anyone who can become pregnant from having full bodily autonomy. That votes against their own self interest and pocketbooks (‘cause we’re all gonna be billionaires one day, don’t ya know?) That votes for him despite him being impeached and bungling our pandemic response to the tune of 230,000 dead Americans. That votes to hurt other people because the cruelty is the point.

And you can clearly see how differently Democratic voters and Republican voters view election results. The Rs will take any win, no matter how small, and celebrate the victory. A win is a win, after all, and they will act like they have a mandate no matter if they won by one vote or one million (which, ha, because the GOP hasn't won seven of the last eight popular votes).

But we Ds want the big win for moral authority and are sad with anything smaller. That’s dumb. A win is a fucking win. Joe can (and should) still win. It is just that we live in a bonkers system where we all know Joe will win the popular vote by millions, but still dont know who will win the presidency for sure.

I think what it really illustrates is how actually low-stakes too many Americans see politics. They don’t see it as a way to help other people, or even improve their own lives. Perhaps they’ve been disillusioned by everything broken in our system. Or, more likely, too privileged to care. They only see elections as a scoresheet Win or Lose. And they always want the W.

This election is a reminder of how much work is left to be done in America. And why even if Joe and Kamala win, which I fervently hope and still believe they can do even as That Orange Stain tries to steal it in broad daylight, it will be a long hard road to finding our soul as a nation. The work to make this a less racist, less selfish, less hateful country will not be easy. And it was never going to be solved on Election Day alone.

In the end all we can do is have faith, count the votes and keep fighting. That or convince our Canadian friends they should adopt California.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Vote for Joe

While I cast my ballot two weeks ago, today I am voting for Joe Biden in my heart. And I’m voting for him in memory of my father. No, Joe wasn’t my first choice, or my second choice. Gosh, probably not even third. But I do think Joe can be reasoned with and when needed pushed to do the right thing. I think he realizes the critical importance of this moment. And I think he knows that mere moderation alone will not make things better after the unprecedented corruption, blind incompetence and outright evil we’ve all endured. I say this because I believe Joe is a man of character. And my father was a man of character. He was the kind of man who could be reasoned with. A man who also believed in helping other people. A man who believed in education, science and passing along knowledge.

One of the many reasons I’m still so sad about my father’s sudden passing 16 years ago (including that he never got to meet my wife), is that he never got to see Barack Obama become president. My father, a scientist, was of course a life-long Democrat. He voted for so many losing candidates. Carter. Mondale. Dukakis. He loathed Dubya with a passion. But, as a native New Yorker, he naturally loathed Donald Trump more. I guess the smallest of silver linings is he never lived to see That Orange Stain become president. My poor dad would have been apoplectic watching a man he considered the ultimate bullshit artist terrorize America like this.

So, no, Joe wasn’t my first choice. But over time, especially since the primaries, I’ve gone from begrudging to fully resolved in my vote. Today in my heart I have zero reservations about voting for him. I say this because I believe Joe is a decent and kind man. Like, again, my father. Now, it may not seem like saying someone is kind means a lot in the realm of presidential politics. But, to be honest, these days I just long for decency. After four years of our fellow citizens, our neighbors, and all too often even our families rabidly cheering on a man who has hurt countless people – ourselves included – we are all too familiar with the concept of cruelty for cruelty’s sake. I want to believe that people aren’t all bad, despite reality screaming otherwise at me endlessly each day.

From the guy down the street to the politicians in Congress to our Hatemonger in Chief, we are bombarded with the mean, spiteful, bigoted, irrational, greedy and unhinged underbelly of America. On Nov. 3, we will finally start to know whether that ugliness truly represents most Americans, or we can find a soul and the will to make ourselves better and treat one another with actual kindness. Yes, decency is on the ballot. And, yeah, I welcome having a kind man be president. I mean, it worked wonders having a kind father. So go vote for Joe, America. Do it for everyone, because we all deserve the kindness. I know my father would have thanked you for it. Vote Joe.

Monday, November 02, 2020

Music Monday: Vote Edition

One day. One day and one vote and we can turn 2020 around for the better. One day and one vote and we can make America a kinder country again. One day and one vote and we can banish the worst president of the modern era from our lives forever. One day and one vote and we can make history. But it starts with that vote. Vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Vote for Democrats up and down the ballot. Vote because America needs you to vote. Happy Election Eve, kittens. Now get out there and vote.

p.s. Oh, and since yesterday was my birthday if everyone would vote for Joe and Kamala tomorrow that would make my birthday wish come true this year.