Friday, September 19, 2008

My 736th Rant About How Words Are Important!

Or maybe it’s not that many. But sweet Jesus Christ, you’d think if you were going to use a word on national television, you’d make sure it was the right word! Unless of course you were an empty sock-puppet of a VP candidate, the political equivalent of a pin-up girl on a Rigid Tool calendar, who’s been spoon-fed sound bites by party handlers and who regurgitates them on command. Like, say, Sarah Palin.

I’m really trying not to bore everyone with my obsession (and subsequent ranting) with the political/economic situation right now. I just bore my close friends with it. The rest of ya’ll don’t come here for that and I know it.

But. This is a farce. This a travesty. I have never felt so insulted in all my life as I do by the campaign the Republicans are running. I've done lap-dances for drunken frat boys who were more respectful of my intelligence than this.

Look, I liked John McCain all right two years ago. And while I do like Obama, I don’t consider him the Second Coming or anything. (Biden’s all right, too – even his habit of putting his foot in his mouth on a regular basis I find oddly endearing somehow. He cops to it, he’s humble about it, so, okay.)

And as I have said before, I take a fairly moderate, centrist position on most political issues. So when it became clear that it would be Obama vs. McCain, I thought, “Okay, well, there’s upsides and downsides there whichever way it goes, but I can live with either one of those options.”

I was wrong.

McCain sold his soul to devil – that’s the only way I can account for his complete metamorphosis from reasonable-if-conservative-guy to the mendacious, quavering, hollow-eyed maĆ®tre d' to Dick Cheney’s hunting buddies. And having, I suspect, bought and paid for McCain, those king-makers now shake him like a Magic Eight-Ball that’s loaded with meaningless platitudes, sleazy insinuations, and outright lies. The McCain/Palin campaign thinks we are idiots, and that’s how they are treating us.

Now, there are a lot of idiots in the world, I’ll grant you. But I am not one, and I know a number of other non-idiotic people. So the arrogance and the hubris of this enrages me. It’s like they think they can just say anything they like, truth or lies, or not answer questions at all, and it won’t really matter, because “the voters don’t care about petty details like that.”

I care. I care very much. And I’m watching.

Other writers are covering the campaign far better than I can, because I’m not a political journalist. So I’m not going to go on about all the things the McCain and Palin have said that make me crazy. I swear I'm not. But here’s one thing that makes me literally howl with outrage: Sarah Palin can’t even say her lines properly.

Take the interview about foreign policy she did with Charlie Gibson. Now, there was a lot wrong with that interview. (Including Charlie Gibson. Long ago, I used to have a client who’d adopt that professorial, looking-over-the-glasses manner with me, and I hated it. Mr. Gibson should have taken a different tack.)

Anyway – she said “nuclear” just like George Bush says it. The word is pronounced noo-clee-ar. Not nu-cue-lur. That’s wrong. And if you’re campaigning for a position with your finger on the button, you should at least be able to say the fucking word.

And then yesterday, she’s defending McCain’s “the fundamentals of the economy are strong” flub by saying people were picking on his “verbage”.

There is no such word. So, not content to merely continue GWB’s political policies, she is now also carrying on his well-documented assault on the English language. I’m sorry, was it too much trouble to learn how to properly express the sentiments your Martian leaders taught you, Ms. Palin? Let me help. There is no such word as “verbage”. And you did not say “Thanks but no thanks” to Congress, either. Stop saying both those things.

Oh, there’s the word "verbiage"- verb-bi-age. But that’s not what she said. She said "verbage". And she clearly doesn't even know what that word means, because to call someone’s speech verbiage is not a flattering or even neutral choice of words. The first definition of verbiage is: a profusion of words usually of little or obscure content.

Huh. Well, when I think about applying that word to the McCain campaign – maybe I’m being too rough on Sarah. I think that’s about the truest thing either one of them has said so far.

Edit: Yes, I know there’s a slang term, but it’s not widely used and accepted, much less in the dictionary, and I don’t think Ms. Palin was trying to show her hipster street cred in the interview with Faux News. Plus, it means "garbage." So, same difference. She fails.

One More Edit: Oh, yeah, I wrote a column. It's not about politics, but I hope you like it anyway. Congratulations again, Lochai, I'm sure you'll do a great job. Now pardon me while I go fume some more.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

While I go off and spend a few days with a friend, a random pull from the mailbag for you to enjoy…

I just read your article about meeting new people, and that is the only piece of yours I have ever read. I don't know who you are- I'm new in town- and in fact, I'm not very familiar with the kinky stuff you mention.
I'm 24 soon/ m/ thin. Work f/t.
Would you like to chat, with somebody not from your scene?
Thanks/ cheers,
Not a groupie of yours

Before it was published, I was telling Monk about the column this gentleman is referring to, and he said “Oh, man – you know you’re going to get a ton of guys emailing you, asking to go on dates with you.”

“Oh, do you think so? No. I mean – the point of the piece is my expectation - and then the reality - of how it would feel interacting with people who didn’t know me as Matisse. And if you’re a stranger, reading my column, then… You do know me as Matisse.” I made a little so-you-see gesture with my hands.

“Sweetheart, when did reality ever get in the way of a guy with a hard-on?”

Monk does cut to the heart of the matter, doesn’t he? But I actually only got this one email. And I must say I am amused at the sender’s attempt to simultaneously admit knowing who I am – because he read my column, and yet still claim to not know who I am - because he perceives that’s what I want. Takes some verbal gymnastics to hold two mutually exclusive positions at the same time. This man should work for the McCain campaign.

And I’m not sure what to think about the idea that you could read even one of my columns and not be instantly transformed into a groupie. What, I didn't change your whole life in 525 words? Pah! Clearly, sir, you have no discernment, no understanding of my complete literary fabulousness! (Can men even be groupies? I always thought that term was applied to women exclusively.)

I also wonder if this man really and truly sent me this email without checking on one vital bit of information about me first – my photos. The implication is that he knows nothing about me but that one column. But, come on - if he didn’t Google up a picture of me before firing off this note, then he is unlike any guy I have ever known. Hell, that’s what I’d do.

In case you were wondering: no, I’m not dating anyone new right now. I don’t foresee doing so anytime soon, either. It’s a charming idea, but not very feasible. We say in polyamory that it’s not the amount of love one has to give that’s the limiting factor in how many relationships you can have, it’s the amount of time you have to give to them. Ain’t that the truth?

And if for no other reason, I would decline this invitation because of the slash-marks and the abbreviations. I reluctantly accept them in text messages. Reluctantly. But email does not charge by the word, and first impressions count. If you cannot be bothered to write out simple words like “male” and “full-time”, well – one wonders what else you’d take shortcuts with. I am a writer. Do not shortchange the language with me, friends. That doesn’t make me swoon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A call to action, from The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom...


Kinky is NOT a Diagnosis!
The DSM Revision Petition

The DSM Revision Petition is gathering signatures from individuals and organizations calling on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to adhere to empirical research when revising the diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Statements currently within the DSM Paraphilias criteria are contradicted by scientific evidence therefore NCSF must conclude that the interpretation of the Paraphilias criteria has been politically – not scientifically – based. This politically motivated interpretation subjects BDSM practitioners, fetishists and cross-dressers to bias, discrimination and social sanctions without any scientific basis.

"We, the undersigned, support the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) own goal of making its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) a scientific document, based on empirical research and devoid of cultural bias. A diagnosis of a mental disorder can have a severe adverse impact on employment opportunities, child custody determinations, an individual's well-being, and other areas of functioning. Therefore we urge the APA to remove all diagnoses that are not based upon peer-reviewed, empirical research, demonstrating distress or dysfunction, from the DSM. The APA specifically should not promote current social norms or values as a basis for clinical judgments."

To sign, go to: (You can make your signature anonymous on this secure petition site so it doesn't appear on the Internet)

To find out more about the DSM and the Paraphilias section, read the NCSF & ITCR: The
Foundation for NCSF's "White Paper on the DSM Revision" at (Mistress's note: At the moment, I am unable to access the White Paper. I hope that gets fixed soon.)

For more information, email: