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Four Decades Along the Rainbow Road

Friday, August 24, 2018

Oh Dear, Homophobe Daniel Murphy is at it Again

Daniel Murphy adding more fuel to the fire.
I pictured newly acquired Chicago Cub Daniel Murphy standing at home plate at Wrigley Field this Sunday in front of a mic during the Out at Wrigley event.  My dream, perhaps delusion, would be that Murphy would address the crowd, Lou Gehrig-like, and walk back his homophobic comments from three years ago, which angered LGBTQ folks and allies around the nation.

Those words were stated while as a New York Met at a time when many people were tricked into thinking that homophobia was on the wane following the Supreme Court’s decision making marriage equality the law of the land.  Murphy was asked a question about Major League Baseball’s Ambassador for Inclusion, Billy Bean, a former major league baseball player who came out as gay following his career.

“I disagree with his lifestyle,” Murphy said, citing his faith. “I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him. I don’t think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect.” Since then, Murphy had become friends with Bean.

In a commentary in The Guardian on August 23, Parker Molloy, who is lesbian, wrote: “The truth is that saying you ‘disagree with the fact that [somebody] is a homosexual’ is homophobic. It’s like somebody saying ‘I disagree with your hair,’ ‘I disagree with your race,’ or ‘I disagree with your gender’. In all three examples you can say that you don’t like someone’s hair, race or gender; but it’s not exactly yours to disagree with in terms of existence. The same goes for the statement, ‘I disagree with his lifestyle’.

Molloy adds, “Being gay is no more of a ‘lifestyle’ than being straight is, and treating it as such is honestly pretty demeaning to those of us in the LGBT community. It suggests that we’re lesser, that we’re broken, that we’re wrong for being who we are. It’s hurtful, plain and simple.”

But any aspiration that Murphy, 33, would show that he evolved and perhaps backed off from those comments was dashed when he was told at a presser that Cubs fans are unhappy he joined the team because of his anti-gay stance and would not root for the team.

In a mocking tone, he said, “Oh dear. I would hope you would root for the Cubs.”

Those comments are shown below.

Cyd Zeigler of OUTsports, a website that discusses the intersection of sports and the LGBTQ community, opined: “'Oh dear,' he said, as he looked off dismissively into space. In other words: These gay people are just so damn overly sensitive when Christians like me say they bad things about them.”

Added Zeigler, “He went on with a I-couldn’t-care-less-what-those-gays-think answer about how gay fans should continue to cheer for the Cubs.”

After being unsigned by the Mets, Murphy was picked up by the Washington Nationals—a team which benefited from Murphy’s strong batting—and who holds annual Nights Out at the Ballpark.  Though the controversy regarding his homophobic comments did not overtly surface in the district, which has the highest percentage of LGBTQ people in the nation, and no other similar public comments were made during his tenure in D.C., some were still wary at the outset.

“We expressed our concerns to the Nats about this as well as when Yunel Escobar was traded to the team a couple of years before,” said Brent Minor, Executive Director of Team DC, the organizers of Night Out.  “During one Night OUT game, we worked with MLB to have Billy Bean come and speak to the team about diversity and inclusion.

Minor indicated that he had a conversation with Bean in which he was told that Bean spoke directly to Murphy and while acknowledging he still held deeply religious views on the topic, felt he was heard and respected.

Minor went on to tout the Nationals and their support of Team DC and the Night Out series.
“They even had the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington ‘sing’ their holiday card that is sent to all season ticket holders a few years back.” He also saluted pitchers Max Scherzer and Sean Doolittle for their vocal support of the LGBTQ community.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer reached out to Billy Bean prior to the trade and the Cubs was satisfied with his response.

It will be interesting to see what the fans’ reaction may be upon Murphy’s introduction during Out at Wrigley on August 26. The second such event held this year at Wrigley, and which bills itself as “The Nation’s Original MLB Gay Day,” is intended to celebrate the LGBTQ community. Wrigley Field is just outside the iconic gay “Boystown” neighborhood and the Cubs is the only MLB team with openly gay owner in Laura Ricketts.

I would suspect that many fans would back Murphy because they see the LGBTQ community in the same light. Others clearly would be angered. 

But oh dear, don’t expect him to apologize.  

Monday, August 20, 2018

Things Are Looking ‘Up’ for Trump

As President Trump revels in the fact unemployment has gone down and is quick to take credit for it, I believe it is important to note what has gone up since he was inaugurated in front of that sparse crowd.

Gas prices have gone UP

 Food prices have gone UP

 Health care costs have gone UP

 The national debt has gone UP

 Income inequality has gone UP

 Corruption in his administration has gone UP

 Lies to the American people from himself and/or surrogates have gone UP

 Hate crimes have gone UP

 His racist, misogynous or xenophobic comments on tweets have gone UP

 Administration turnover has gone UP

 Distrust among our allies towards the U.S. has gone UP

 Indictments from the Mueller-Russia investigation have gone UP

 The number of versions of the infamous Trump Tower meeting has gone UP

 The number of Republicans in Congress cowering to Trump has gone UP

 Babies in cages have gone UP

Please add any others directly to the Comments section of this post.

Don’t get mad…VOTE!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

‘A Change in Worlds’ Shows the Dead are Not Powerless

It took nearly a decade for Josh Aterovis’ fifth novel in the Killian Kendall mystery series to be published but it was worth the wait.  Three publishers in a row went out of business that led to the delay in the next installment in the young adult mystery/paranormal genres that feature the gay teenage private investigator, Killian Kendall.

The series has received accolades. Aterovis’ third book, All Lost Things, for example, was a 2010 Lambda Award finalist for Best Mystery. MLR Press, an independent LGBT publisher, expressed interest in the acclaimed series, which is back in print with updated editions, setting the stage for the fifth book’s arrival.

With A Change in Worlds: A Killian Kendall Mystery, Aterovis continues his mastery of storytelling, scene-setting, character development and detail. The book has a fast pace and commands your attention with a host of dramatic sequences and a bit of humor thrown into the mix.

Gorgeously written, there are passages in which the prose is near poetic. Eighteen year-old Killian Kendall describes the action in the first person and elicits likeability so there is no choice but to root for him as was the case in the previous novels.

It is difficult to fathom, however, that the central character is indeed a teenager. His knowledge of antiques, d├ęcor, criminal analysis, investigative techniques and other areas is such that one would expect from someone twice his age or older.  His wisdom is well beyond his years. And even his vocabulary is more akin to an older person when using such words as “odiferous” and “prickle.”  Do 18 year-olds actually say such things?

Nonetheless, Killian is presented as a role model for gay youth and is a hero in all his adventures.

As described in the previous novels in the series, Killian had to overcome his challenges growing up gay on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. His father rejected him and was ultimately taken in by a gay couple named Adam and Steve, no less. He witnessed a friend being murdered, and Killian had also been nearly murdered himself on several occasions as well as actually having killed someone (in self-defense). He possesses Gifts in which he can be visited by the dead under certain circumstances—not something he welcomed and has had difficulty in controlling. 

His earlier solutions to crimes led him to being employed as an assistant to a private investigator whose guidance and instruction led Killian to be proficient in the field allowing him to probe cases on his own.  On top of that Killian had a boyfriend named Asher.  They broke up.  A new boyfriend Micah emerged. And the drama involving these relationships came to head in the subplot in A Change in Worlds.

Author Josh Aterovis
The main storyline in this novel centers on the theft of potentially valuable artifacts from an archaeological excavation at a Native American site on the Eastern Shore.  Fletcher, a tribal elder, was assaulted resulting in his suffering a heart attack in which he survived.

Killian was asked to look into the thefts and along the way, two people were murdered and he narrowly escaped the same fate.  Interspersed throughout is Killian’s awareness of angry spirits through his Gifts—angry because a sacred burial site has been disturbed by the archeologists—with one such spirit, seeing that Killian is an ally, ultimately saved his life. As quoted in the book, “The dead are not powerless…There is no death, only a change in worlds.”

Through Killian’s investigation, Aterovis takes the reader on numerous interviews of potential suspects regarding the thefts and murders.  Each encounter provides a plausible reason not to rule the subject out altogether, but at the same time no direct linkage to the crimes could be established. The pace is brisk and the tension mounts as Killian attempts to solve the crimes while putting him in danger.

As that takes place, Killian’s love life is also examined effectively resulting in pressure in attempting to figure out what he wants.  He is guided by his extended alternative family as well as sage advice from his mother.

There is much to describe regarding the plot and the characters but it would do no service to spoil any of the suspense here. What can be said is that Aterovis’ A Change in Worlds is a solid Grisham-esque mystery thriller with a heart-pounding climax that makes us yearn for the sixth installment of the series.   
A Change in Worlds; Josh Aterovis; published by MLR Press, LLC; August 2018; $8.99; print format: ISBN# 978-1-64122-168-9; eBook format available.

Book Release Party


Author Josh Aterovis will host a book release party on September 3 at the Windup Space, 12 W. North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21201.  The event, which will take place between 7 and 10 p.m., celebrates the release of A Change of Worlds and the upcoming release of Never Alone and Other Stories, Aterovis’ book of short stories.

All five books in the Killian Kendall series will be available for sale.  There will also be readings and drag performances including local favorite Betty O’Hellno.  

Friday, August 03, 2018

Lock Him Out

It’s time the media boycott Trump’s incendiary rallies.

For decades, Donald Trump has thrived from extensive media exposure. Many pundits agree that his unlikely nomination for President in 2016 was in part due to this oversized coverage.  The same could be said for the general election in which the media managed to repeat every utterance and gesture—particularly against “crooked Hillary”—that undoubtedly had an impact on the electorate. (Of course, these public rants in front of an eager press corps may have ultimately worked against Trump as they could very well be key evidence in the Mueller probe on the question of conspiracy with a foreign adversary against the U.S., e.g. “Russia, if you’re listening…”)

Since taking office, Trump has held numerous fiery rallies, which are intended to keep his worshipping base in tow.  Re-litigating the 2016 election and lies about voter fraud have been staples of his diatribes.  Another, which has been emerging with increasing rage, is his constant berating of the media as “fake news.” He went off the rails at a rally on August 2 in Pennsylvania when he characterized the press for delivering “fake, fake disgusting news.”

“What ever happened to the free press? Whatever happened to honest reporting?” Trump asked, pointing to the media in the back of the room. “They don’t report it. They only make up stories.”

Trump supporters heckling CNN's Jim Acosta
His grievance with those journalists covering him (FOX News and Breitbart among other right wing outlets excepted) is that they don’t recognize what he calls achievements, and they seem to cast a shadow over his legitimacy as President by the relentless reporting on the Special Counsel investigation.

Trump wants it only one way: favorable coverage or the news, if negative, can only be fake. Moreover, his mantra that “the press is the enemy of the people” is a direct assault on our democracy and the First Amendment that guarantees a free and open press.  These statements come from the same playbook employed by autocrats, despots and dictators throughout history. 

His base eats it up.  Fired up by this rhetoric, Trump’s supporters at the rallies curse and shout obscenities at the press area in the back of the venue.  The other night at a rally in Tampa, CNN’s Jim Acosta faced a barrage of insults from the heckling rabid Trump supporters.  His concern is that the escalating hatred towards the media could lead to violence.  Acosta tweeted:

Since it is all but guaranteed that Trump will not modify his behavior or demonstrate any attempt to restrain his followers, here’s a possible solution: deprive him of the media coverage that he craves at his rallies. 

Don’t bother to show up since there is seldom any news to be reported anyway.  Starve the beast. He is nothing if he can’t be the focus of national and international attention.

Perhaps only then will he act like a mature adult holding the most powerful office on earth instead of a toddler banging on his crib.

But don’t bet on it.