Saturday, August 31, 2013

my bio draft part two

By 2002 I had been an activist for about five years but the constant uphill battles, in-fighting and cut throat atmosphere was starting to get to me. Although It had given me annual trips to New York City and some great friends, there was no real art in it. I started to see that I needed to express my self creatively. I continued to be an activist for several more years but my enthusiasm began to break down. By 2002 I had also hit rock bottom health wise and had to slow down and face myself. In 2003 I decided to take one more stab at music and performing but by the end of that year it was clear that that was not in the cards for me. 2004 began with me in a deep depression. What on Earth was I going to do with my life?
    One night I was watching a movie. One of the characters was a crooked cop who was also an aspiring novelist. It made me remember an idea for a novel I had had back in 2000. I remembered I had written the first page but got discouraged and tossed it in a drawer to gather dust. When the movie ended I went to that drawer to see if it was still there and there it was, right where I left it! I decided I would work to finish and publish the novel and over the next four years I did just that.
    I named the novel Rainbow Plantation Blues. It's about a Slaveholder in 1850 South Carolina who falls in love with one of his male slaves. I thought LGBT love and relationships in the antebellum South was a unique and timely topic and would generate a lot of interest. It also seemed to satisfy my love of history, my need for artistic expression and political activism and my talent for writing.
    My health is now better than ever and I have a national audience for my work. Rainbow Plantation Blues has been well received and continues find a readership, despite my over three year break in promotions. Today I am focused on finishing the sequel, self-promotions and blogging.

Friday, August 30, 2013

my bio draft part one

Today I have to draft a bio for my Facebook fan page and my Amazon Author Central account. So, here I

 I was born in Cleveland, OH in the tumultuous year of 1968. I was raised in Cleveland and Geneva, OH. Upon graduating from Geneva High School in 1987 I moved to Hollywood, CA with the hope of succeeding as a singer. After less than a year of living there I moved back to Ohio, but continued to write and record songs, perform, take voice lessons and send out demos for many years in Cleveland.
    By the late 1990's I found myself drifting away from music and moving into political activism. I had always liked to read non-fiction and throughout my pursuit of music I was reading a lot of biographies, history[mostly African-American, LGBT, Women's and labor history] and politics. But I thought my studies were just a side interest . Slowly, I began to feel that the last thing the world needed was another pop star and that political activism might be a better service to humanity. So, I got involved with some local LGBT political groups and began to network and organize. A lot of my political work involved writing letters to the editor, speeches and articles. All of my letters, speeches and articles were well received and this is when I first realized that I might have a talent for writing. I had also begun to recall peoples' casual compliments on my song lyrics. I thought my lyrics had always been secondary to my singing, dancing and acting but as I looked back I saw that it might have been the other way around all along.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

london river : a review

I know I need to get back to my study of A Queer History of the United States. I also need to write a bio for my facebook fan page, which I intend to write on this blog. But today I'm going to write a review of a  great movie I saw last night called London River. It takes place in the aftermath of the London 7/7 bus bombing back in 2005. A British women who lives on the island of Guernsey and a West African man who lives in France have children that live in London and they are concerned for there safety. They both come to London to try and find them but to no avail. They end up meeting each other and having to work together to find their children. The problem is that they come from completely different cultural  backgrounds and they have to overcome their differences to achieve their objective.
    The actress who plays the women is Brenda Blethyn and the West African man is Sotigui Kouyate. All I can say about them both is that I now have two new names added to my list of favorite actors, and I will be on the look out for more of their work. Blethyn had a look and style similar to my other favorite British actress Patricia Routledge of Keeping Up Appearances and Heddy Wainthropp Investigates Fame but with something uniquely her own that I cannot put into words. Kouyate was unlike anyone I've ever seen before. Both of these actors are clearly seasoned professionals and at the top of their game.
    The story was well written and required actors who could portray ordinary, everyday, working class parents with a genuine concern for their children. The casting director knew exactly what they doing when they cast Blethyn and Kouyate. Another thing I loved about the film was the setting. It took place in a working class, mostly Muslin neighborhood of London. An armchair traveler, like myself, really got to see the London that you just don't see on most travel shows. I also felt like the neighborhood with it's store fronts, traffic and bustle was a character of it's own that added perfectly to the sober mood and look of the film. Do I recommend that you see this movie? Take a Guess!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

''tap dat ass'' kinds of stuff!

I found out some disturbing news about that book trailer my ex-coworker, he has sense left the job, and I made and posted on YouTube back in early July. It turns out that it has no description and no link to more information about me and my work. It's also on his account, which I knew, but apparently he's got a bunch of videos posted that, shall I say, don't fit my image as an author. My friend and IT consultant discovered all this in researching my name on YouTube. I guess I'm not all that familiar with how YouTube works but I thought he would be since he has a YouTube account. She also suggested that the video itself be redone. She said she can redo it and have it flagged to be taken down or off his account. I'm not exactly sure how all this works and that's why I hire people to do IT work for me. She said it only has fourteen views and we concluded that that was probably a good thing. She said that his other videos are all raunchy ''tap dat ass'' kinds of  stuff! I can't be associated with that!
    In other news, listen to me trying to sound like a anchorman, I got an e-mail reply from Clevester about my ''issues'' with the summer issue of Rainbow Lit magazine. If your reading this for the first time you can go back to my August 14, 2013 shit happens...! post to catch-up on what I'm talking about. Anyhow, he said that he deliberately changed the title of the article to coincide with summer and to let him know the page numbers where the typos are so he can re-read it. I have talked to him on the phone since that e-mail but we didn't talk about the magazine. I didn't bring it up and neither did he. I may or may not even bring it up again. I'm still going to send Clevester articles for the magazine regardless, but I'm also going to post them on Facebook fan page, too!

Monday, August 26, 2013

a wolf in sheep's clothing

Yesterday I had another meeting with my friend/IT consultant. We took some pictures of me and set up my facebook fan page. We still have a lot to do but at least the ball is finally rolling. My facebook profile I set up back in 09 was still there just as I left it. The last time I was on it was April 2011. To be perfectly honest, I'm not thrilled about social networking sites but they are good for self promotions. I think there something of a wolf in sheep's clothing but that's another subject.
    So, I'm going to meet with her again next Sunday and we'll continue getting my profile/page together. I want to link this blog to it somehow and get my book cover next to my photo. I also want to take more pictures. Getting good pictures is not as easy as it seems, at least not for me. I don't know if it's because I'm not photogenic or because I'm just picky but I always seem to take scores of them before I find one or two that I like. I would also like to post chapter one and eventually make some videos. We also talked about linking my Amazon Author Central account, which we still have to set-up, and links to places were people can order the book.
    I road my bike to meet my friend yesterday. It was twenty- four miles there and back. I love long distance biking. For some bikers twenty-four miles is nothing! For most people in general biking Twenty-four miles is amazing. It took me an hour and ten minutes each way. I say that's pretty good!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

thoughts on yesterday's post

Last night I thought a lot about yesterday's post and decided that since nobody else is commenting on my postings I'll do that myself, too! Anyhow, years ago a friend and I had a long discussion about pre-civil rights America and what it must have or might have been like. He was African-American and Gay like myself so we talked about it from those perspectives. First, I want to say that I was born in 1968, one month before Martin Luther King's assassination and my friend was born in 1970. So, we both are of the first generation of Americans to live in a desegregated society. I was born one year before the Stonewall riots and he one year after. Both the civil rights movement and the Stonewall riots would have profound effects on both of our lives. We don't know whats it's like to be denied a hotel room because of our skin color or to have to worry about a Gay bar being raided by the police.
    With all the injustices that were going on in America before my life began I still wonder how people coped and adjusted to it all. First, we concluded that Black and Gay people didn't know any thing else but oppression. Oppression was the norm to many of them. There's an old saying that what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, and I think there's truth to that. I've talked to African-Americans who remember segregation and some of them have said that desegregation brought a whole new set of problems, like covert racism instead of overt racism. They've said that back then you at least knew who your enemy was! As far as LGBT's are concerned I'm sure that there were, and still are, people who liked or like living and lurking in the shadows and the underground of society. The ''forbidden fruit'' is always the sweetest for some people.
    My friend and I basically concluded that if we had lived in that America we probably would have made it work somehow. A lot of people did and lived to tell about it! We also concluded that there had to have been a lot of White people and straights who knew that segregation was wrong and that the government had no business in the bedrooms of consenting adults. When one studies history one has to read between the lines and consider human nature and common sense.

Friday, August 23, 2013

turning water into wine

So, what effect did all this gender segregation in housing, racial segregation in public facilities and sexual regulation in private bedrooms have on American Society at large ? Well, for one thing it forced African-Americans and LGBT's into their own neighborhoods. Greenwich Village and Harlem flourished with very distinct cultures of their own. When people are marginalized, stigmatized and criminalized it forces them to have to work together and rely on their own to turn water into wine, so to speak. African-American and LGBT cultural expression, instead of being snuffed out, was nourished, cultivated and fine tuned.
    African-American LGBT's during the Harlem renaissance, and some white LGBT's, were basically excepted in Harlem. People of color were much more excepted in Greenwich Village than in other parts of NYC. African-American Culture in Harlem was so appealing that uptown whites flocked there to see shows, cabarets and hear jazz in it's famous clubs. One famous Harlem performer of the 1930's was Gladys Bentley who performed in men's clothing. There was also an infamous drag queen from Chicago named Gloria Swanson who opened up her own Harlem nightclub, which was very popular.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

YMCA aka why i'm so gay!

I forgot to say that I've started chapter six of A Queer history of the United States. Just to be clear, It started with the last two post. Now, aside from residing in boarding or rooming houses, residential hotels and flop houses young people had the option of the YMCA[young men's christian association], the YWCA or a settlement house. The ''Y's'' were/are Christian organizations that provided inexpensive housing, food, exercise programs and even job placement and counseling services for young people new to a city. But they promoted racial and gender segregation along with Christian moralizing.
    Another housing option for youth in the big city was settlement houses. They were more of a ''collective'' housing option for lower to middle class young people. They offered housing, meals, exercise, adult and children's education and cultural programs with no particular religious strings. Some of them provided space for political organizing, especially labor groups.
    I don't know what settlement houses did in terms of racial and gender segregation but they were more independent than the Y's, so their polices probably varied from city to city and region to region. They were most often run by Women with life long female companions. It is not known for sure if these settlement women, as I call them, were sexually involved or not but from the tone of their letters and the strength of their relationships it is highly possible that they were.
    The Y's were connected into the social purity movement. In their crusade to regulate sex, sexuality and morality, they had strict homosocial accommodations and That backfired on them in the short run and the long run! Nude swimming and calisthenics and sometimes two to three guys per bed was the norm at the Y. By the 1920's and 30's the Y was a well known cruising and social venue for Homosexual men. A running joke at the time was that YMCA meant ''why I'm so Gay!'' I think that thatVillage People song YMCA is really homage to the Y's Gay legacy.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

We are family

So, where was I? Oh yes, I established that young people were coming to the cities looking for work but I did not say that that was because America was moving from an agricultural society/economy to an industrial/service economy. My last post talked about the need for and growth of public entertainments and how these entertainments often featured gender bending and ''alternative'' sexuality. But what about housing in these cities and how it effected LGBT awareness.
    Well, lets take a look at the typical family structure before the industrial revolution. First, the family was the economic center of ones life. Unmarried people of all ages lived with and were economically dependent on their biological families, even in urban settings. But the industrial revolution not only brought a new economic base to the U.S. but a new social structure. Unmarried people were beginning to live in or rather reside in their own spaces. Cheap boarding and rooming houses, flop houses and residential hotels were all over the cities, and some of them provided meals and laundry/cleaning services with the rent. I picture these places being run by headstrong, independent women who didn't take any crap and who would kick you out at the first sign of any trouble! I can also picture the young men and women living in these places as being or becoming friendly associates, or something of a makeshift family. What I am saying is that this new way of living apart, or away, from ones biological family did provide a new example of how life could be lived. Unmarried people did not have to reside with and depend on their biological family they're entire lives. To quote Mr.  Bronski's book directly, because I can't think of a better way to say it, ''nonmarried single gender groups were creating spaces and situations that concretely led to the formation of communities of people who desired their own sex.''

Monday, August 19, 2013

refuge on the stage

Okay, back to A Queer History of the United States. So, with the emerging ''concrete jungles'' all over the U.S., that people were flocking to for work, came the need for entertainments. Vaudeville shows, plays, burlesque, movie houses, etc. were popping up everywhere. These entertainments were often risque and involved gender bending and ''alternative'' sexuality. The social purity movement saw these public entertainments not only as immoral and even criminal but as breeding grounds for fantasy, imagination and possibility. Those were the real dangers!
    There is no doubt that LGBT's saw themselves in these public entertainments. They may not have been able to pinpoint themselves in the audience, on the street, in they're families or in the workplace, but in these shows they found refuge and representation.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

the language of politics part three

Yesterday I said that the social purity movement had opened Pandora's box with it's crusade to repress sex and sexuality through legislation. But they also found a way to open Pandora's ''trunk,'' too!
    With the huge influx of people moving into cities at the turn of the century looking for work, American urban culture was growing and developing. It's true that much of that culture included drinking, gambling, prostitution, drugs and violence, and the social purist did address those issues. But they were also obsessed with sex, sexuality and masturbation. What they did was publish ''moral'' and ''marriage guides.'' These booklets and books were aimed at youths and young couples to help them avoid the pitfalls of city life. The problem, what I call Pandora's trunk, was that these publications allowed people to read and think about sex, sexuality and masturbation and were not only explicit but were seen as quite erotic! They sold like hotcakes because they encouraged the very thing[s] they were suppose to be curtailing! We must also remember that the social purity movement backed the Comstock act/law that was passed in 1873 to stop ''lewd and obscene'' materials from being sent through the U.S. mail. Well, these moral and marriage ''guides'' were not considered lewd or obscene but people were reading, talking and thinking about sex, sexuality and masturbation more than ever because of them!
    These guides, for example, would go into great detail about ''what makes a women desire another women''. According to them she was ''idle, bored, lonely and under or oversexed...''! Dr. Joseph Collins MD, in his ''medical'' marriage guide entitled The Doctor Looks at Love and Life, devoted forty pages to discussing Homosexuality alone! I think these guides achieved two things. One, they unintentionally helped to further identify the existence of an oppressed or ''repressed'' class or minority and, two, they got people off!
    The social purity movement, in my opinion, is a perfect example of what happens when you try to make change outside of yourself. You have start with yourself and be the change you want to see in the world. You have to effect others with your energyor vibration without saying a word.

Friday, August 16, 2013

the politics of language part two

So, sexology may have had a stronghold on public opinion regarding Homosexuality but that stronghold was not 100%. Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman's lover, released his widely read autobiography Prison Memoir of an Anarchist in 1912. In the book he talked frankly about Homosexuality in prison and it tore sexology's ''inversion'' theory, which I talked about yesterday, to shreds!
    There were other books released around this time that talked frankly about LGBT lives without being connected to sexology, like the ''Homosexual narratives''  that I talked about yesterday were, too. Earl Lind, A.K.A Jennie June, released his Autobiography of a Androgyne in 1919 and out Lesbian Mary Casal released her autobiography The Stone Wall in 1930. In it, she predicted that ''a man's love for a man and a women's love for a women will be studied and understood as it never has been in the past.''
    Sexology's willingness to talk about Homosexuality ''scientifically'' opened up a public interest in discussions of sex education and birth control, too. It seems to me that the social purity movement opened up Pandora's box in trying to repress issues of sex and sexuality.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

the politics of language part one

Today I'm getting back to A Queer History of the United States. The last section of chapter five is called  The Politics of Language. I'm going to split it up into three parts, so here is part one.
    The anarchist and the social purist were the two opposite ends of the spectrum and they both had clear political agendas. However, the new science of sexology had a lot to say about Homosexuality, too. The difference was that it used more neutral language than the anarchist and social purist. Sexology said that Homosexuals had the mentality of the opposite sex but the wrong body. They called it an ''inversion'' or ''third sex.'' This inversion did not only include same-sex desire but also the mannerisms and appearance of the opposite sex. It contributed heavily to the stereotypes of the effeminate male and butch Lesbian Because Gays and Lesbians who did not fit these stereotypes passed as straight. Sexology's ''inversion'' theory was the basic social understanding of Gays and Lesbians for the first half of the 20th century. This idea did not help women who wanted to enter the professions or suffragettes who wanted to vote, either. They were seen as ''mannish'' because of they're non-traditional goals and because this inversion was seen as an illness or disease.
    The early sexologist also distributed Homosexual ''narratives'' much like the pre-civil war slave narratives. In then, Gays and Lesbians simply told of they're same-sex desires openly and honestly. I suspect that most used pseudonyms. I don't know if they distributed then publicly or only amongst colleagues, but these narratives did give Gays and Lesbians a concrete social identity.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

shit happens...!

I read my three part articles in Rainbow Lit and an author interview last night and I found a few typos in one of my articles and one in the interview. The title of that same article is changed, too. It was suppose to be Six hours of Spring but it reads Six Hours of Summer. I know that the typos are mistakes but I'm not sure about the title change.  If it's not a mistake it still changes the premise of the article in that I was talking about the creative and artistic benefits of springtime energy in the daily seasons. I wont go into great detail about the daily seasons here but the basic idea comes from Chinese medicine. It says that the four seasons of the year also exist in a single day. These ''daily seasons'' are energy fields that one can use to plan they're daily activities around to balance the day. I hope that ''makeshift'' explanation is clear enough.
    Anyhow, I sent Clevester an e-mail telling him of the typos and the title problem. I know it's too late to fix anything now, since the magazine is out, but I thought he should know. I also went back and looked at the spring issue and found some typos there, too. In the e-mail I offered to proof read future issues before they are published for him. Sometimes the author/publisher is too close to they're work and they need another pair of eyes to look for errors and typos they might have missed. I had several people proof read my novel before it was published. There is no point in getting upset over things like this. All you can do is recognize and rectify then so they don't happen again. Shit happens, but you carry on regardless!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

milking publicity until the end!

I finally got my summer print issue of Rainbow Lit magazine! It looks good and my three part article series looks good, too. I have not read them yet, though. I talked to Clevester, the editor and chief, over the weekend and he explained in detail what had happened to make it so late. It was basically the typical challenges that come with publishing a magazine, or publishing anything for that matter! He said he is going to give it another year and see how things go before deciding whether or not to fold. That tells me to keep writing articles until I squeeze every possible drop of self-promotion that I can out of my association with Rainbow Lit! I intend to have something in every issue whether it's an article, a short story or the short ''self-promotion'' memoir I'm working on. I have to milk all the publicity I can, while I can, out of it!
    Today I worked all morning at my day job and I have a four hour break, then I have go back tonight at eight o'clock and work until we close, so I'm going to close this post. Tomorrow I'm off and I'll continue my study of A Queer History of the United States.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

our friends the anarchist part two

Getting back to the turn of the century anarchist, I would like to point out that anarchism has been grossly misunderstood. I've studied the life of Emma Goldman, a famous anarchist, and from what I gather it's not about chaos and mayhem. It sounds more like something similar to an indigenous system based on common law principles. And many LGBT's are quick to point out that most indigenous societies/cultures were or are excepting of LGBT's.
    Anyhow, speaking of Emma Goldman, she was an especially outspoken advocate of LGBT's. Goldman lived from 1869 to 1940 and what a life she led. When Oscar Wilde was convicted of sodomy in 1895 and imprisoned she publicly spoke out against his conviction on the grounds that it was none of the states business what he did in the privacy of his bedroom.
    The anarchist movement had a profound impact on today's LGBT movement in that both it's ideas of liberation and civil rights are based in anarchist thought. The labor movement presented the idea of an oppressed ''class'' of people from many different racial, ethnic, national and cultural backgrounds coming together with one common grievance.
     I'm beginning to see a kind of ''science'' to the study of history that I've not seen before. No events are isolated or independent of others and they stretch across time and space effecting one another over the centuries.

Friday, August 9, 2013

our friends the anarchist part one

From the last few post it sounds like LGBT's had no political expression at all except for the negative speeches of some doctors and articles in medical journals. The ''energy'' of the movement may have been ''watching, waiting and learning,'' as I said in yesterday's post, but the presents of LGBT's was known and spoken for by a group I have not mentioned yet, the anarchist!
    The anarchist was another movement, like the social purist, labor, women's suffrage, people of color and free-love, who were trying to get a piece of the political pie at the turn of the century. They were the clearest and most open advocate of LGBT's at the time. They felt, and openly declared, that the state had no business in the bedrooms of consenting adults, period! This included heterosexual bedrooms, because many state sodomy laws applied to any anal and/or oral sex, and interracial bedrooms as well as LGBT bedrooms. They also openly declared that sex was not just for reproduction but for pleasure, too. They felt that any man or women could be with any other man or women for as long or short a period of time as they liked and that legal marriage was intrusive and unnecessary.
    The anarchist had a huge following at the turn of the century and, because of they're stance on Homosexuals, many in that movement were probably Gay. Today the vast majority of LGBT's support same-sex marriage but there is a silent minority within them/us that sees marriage of any kind the way that turn of the century anarchist did. More on our friends the anarchist tomorrow.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

watching, waiting and learning

... A Queer History of the United States continued. So, if the medical community was analyzing LGBT's, the social purist were demonizing LGBT's and LGBT"s themselves were in the closet, understandably I might add, can we still say there was an LGBT movement going on in the late 19th century? Well, yes we can! The use of that phrase was not stolen from Obama's 2008 campaign, it just fit my point.
    Anyhow, even though most LGBT's were in the closet the groundwork for today's movement was still being laid. Other groups like labor with the 1886 Chicago Haymarket Square riots in which police killed eight protesters, the 1896 supreme court Plessy vs. Ferguson case that legalized segregation, and Women's suffrage were all showing LGBT's how it's done and that it can be done! Although Plessy... was a losing case for African-Americans it did reveal the shortcomings of using ''legal'' channels alone to fight injustice. Although lives were lost, Haymarket Square showed how violent state repression can move public opinion. And Women suffrage showed how grassroots organizing can create a groundswell of mass support.
    Today's LGBT movement is most definitely modeled after previous movements. The courts, the ''kitchen table'' and the streets have all been used, and are being used, to gain LGBT rights. So, it is fair to say that the LGBT movement existed in a dormant state in the late 19th century. If a movement can be considered a living thing, then it was standing on the sidelines watching, waiting and learning.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

the gay voice in the ''gay 90's''

Okay, back to my study of A Queer History of the United States. Now, where was I? Oh yes! In the mist of all this fighting and bickering amongst the labor, Women suffrage, free-love, African-American and social purity movements where were the LGBT's? Of course, it's true that LGBT's are represented amongst all of those groups, but where was they're specific voice since most of them were not out? Well, it appears that they/we did not have one, at least not one of our own. The people that were specifically and openly talking about LGBT's or homosexuals, in the United States, were medical professionals.  The first time the fledgling word ''Homosexual'' was used in print in the United States was in a 1892 article by Dr. James G. Kiernan. Kiernan was a well known Chicago based Neurologist. He said that Homosexuals were persons whose ''general mental state is that of the opposite sex.'' I'm not exactly sure what he meant by that but he became a kind of respected ''authority'' on Homosexuality and wrote many more articles on the subject. They often had mixed messages like ''Homosexuality is linked to crime but may not be the cause of the crime.''
    In 1893 a famous speech, or then famous speech, called Should Insane Criminals or Sex Perverts be Permitted to Procreate? was given by The Texas Medical Journal's editor Dr. E. F. Daniel and widely reprinted. In it he argued that it would be more humane to castrate sex criminals, which would have included Homosexuals since Homosexuality was a crime, than to execute them or spend tax dollars on incarcerating them. He advocated for a ''sanitary utopia'' which took social purity to another level with applied eugenics. This was the extent of the Gay voice in the ''Gay 90's.''
    The labor, free-love and African-American movements must have really found this wing of the social purity movement particularly frightening. I'm certain that they knew the vast majority, if not all, of these insane criminals and ''sex perverts'' would be conveniently found amongst them!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

so, here I go!!

I finally had my meeting with my friend who's going to do IT work for me Sunday. The meeting went very well. We were there for three hours. One thing we did was try to get me on Goggle books, but I found out I'm already on Goggle books. It just makes your book[s] show up in Goggle's search engine. From trying to get myself on they're search engine, that I'm already on, I found out that my book is only available in the U.S.
    We also looked at something called LGBT bookshop, which is a web site for LGBT books and authors to sell their books. I'm not sure how it works but we're going to check it out and see if it's something I should do. We looked at BookDaily and Goodreads, too. But what we decided we're going to focus on, for now, is creating an Amazon author central account and my Facebook fan page. Amazon author central is a ''space'' on for authors to post videos, link they're blog[s], announce events, post photos and a bio, link they're facebook and twitter accounts, etc. So, we have to take new pics of me and I have to write a bio.
    We decided we're going to meet once a week and we decided on the fee I'm going to pay her. It was a productive meeting and I'm excited about my new promotional adventures. I'm looking to do things I didn't do back in 2008/09. I want to experiment with new ideas. So, here i go!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

women, people of color and LGBT's vs. social purity

I've already pointed out how the the social purity stance on non-reproductive sex shut out LGBT's but how did they shut out women and people of color, many of whom were also LGBT? Well, let's think about it. The labor movement, which wanted fair wages and safe working conditions, etc., was in high gear. But so was the bitter South's crusade to institutionalize segregation. The labor movement wanted to empower Women. They were concerned with fairness and equality. But the social purist wanted to ''protect'' women. They were concerned with domesticity and ''womenhood.'' Most in the social purity movement saw women's  suffrage as the way to empowerment, while many  in the labor movement saw suffrage as an upper class issue. See how this gets complicated? But it does not stop there! Regarding race, the social purist were abolitionist, for the most part, but they also thought people of color, especially African-Americans, were amoral and hypersexual. Amorality and hypersexuality imply a disposition toward homosexuality, rape, etc. ''Social purity'' also meant ''racial purity'' because amalgamation, or race mixing, is a social construct.
    So, the social purist were making enemies all over the place! They're newspaper columns, letters to the editor and editorials were constantly rebutted and challenged, and often by well known activists' and thinkers like Mother Jones, Ida B.Wells and W. E. B. Du Bois.
    As an aside, I want to point out that some African-Americans, Caribbeans and Africans today see homosexuality as a product of slavery and colonization, which has an element of social purist/purity thinking.
    I personally think that the way to change society and the world is from the inside out and not the outside in. One has to change his/her self first and let his/her ''vibration'' affect others. Trying to control others will always backfire because people are motivated by whats in they're heart not by what somebody else says or a government dictates. The social purity movement, although they're intentions were good and had foundation, had it backwards.

Friday, August 2, 2013

elders, comstock and the movies

So, picking up where I left off yesterday, the social purity/pure food movement[s] may seem completely off track today but they had a lasting effect on society. Long after these movements were over stigmas about sex, sexuality and masturbation lingered on well into the 20th century. Remember Bill Clinton's Firing of Surgeon general Joycelyn Elders for merely suggesting that masturbation was perfectly normal and natural in 1994? But social purity philosophy went back to the puritans. The turn of the century social purist, like the puritans, believed that sex was for reproduction only and that any non-reproductive sex, even heterosexual oral and anal sex was sinful.
    As more of these groups formed, like The Union for Concerted Moral Effort[founded in 1891] and The American Purity Alliance[founded in 1895], they're influence in government grew. In 1874 Anthony Comstock, who founded The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice in in 1873, successfully lobbied congress to illegalize the sending of obscene, lewd or lascivious materials through the mail. This was the infamous ''Comstock Act'' that would collide with the fledgling American LGBT rights movement some eighty-eight years later. Not only did this mean pornography but also birth control, sex education materials and even books on human anatomy! The social purity movement also moved to censor the arts, especially the burgeoning motion picture industry.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

social purity and corn flakes

Now it's time for me to get back to my study of A Queer History of the United States. So, I left off talking about the social purity movement.
    By the late nineteenth century society was out of control, not that it's in control today but you get my drift. With the industrial revolution people were moving into the cities, in droves, in search of work. The immigrant population swelled too, and along with all this prostitution, alcoholism, domestic violets, gambling and family abandonment increased tenfold.
    Hundreds of ''social purity'' groups sprang up to try and combat this chaos and mayhem. Groups like the Women's Christian Temperance Union formed in 1874 and the Anti Saloon League formed in 1893. They are two of the most famous of these groups. They felt that widespread male sexual desire was the basis of the countries social problems and that legislating morality was the answer. Victoria Woodhull's ''free-love'' movement and Germany's advancing Gay rights movement, influenced by Whitman and British thinkers and essayist like Oscar Wilde did not stand a chance in turn of the century America. The memberships and supporters of these social purity groups grew year after year until, by the passage of the eighteenth amendment in 1919 which illegalized alcohol, they had millions of members.
    One interesting, and little known, outgrowth of the social purity movement was the pure food movement. Some people thought that sexual desire and alcoholism stemmed from unhealthy food. So, whole lines of breads and crackers were created to control sexual desire and masturbation. The invention of the corn flake was a result of the ''pure food'' movement.