Sunday, January 2, 2011

The "This Is So Gay" Agenda

I was happy to see (via) that Batocchio at Vagabond Scholar is carrying on the late Jon Swift's tradition of inviting bloggers to nominate what they consider their post of the year, and then compiling a big post of same. I'd been thinking about trying to do that myself, but didn't think about it until too late in the year to begin the job, and now I can just let Battochio do it. I didn't find about it in time to offer mine, so I'll toot my own horn right here.

I don't know that any single post of mine stands out for me as one I'm especially proud of, though, partly because I wrote so many last year. Yes, some were mere one-liners, and others mainly pointed to or quoted the work of others, but even so I think I managed to be pretty productive. Rather than try to single out one best post, I'll just mention some of what look like highlights to me as I skim over what I wrote in 2010. This summary may be helpful to people who come to the blog, see the large backlog of material, and don't know where to start digging in.

Science and Philosophy. If I had to choose, though, I think I'm proudest of a couple of posts I wrote about the Science Wars, which still rage. One was a critique of a recent book by Theodore L. Brown on the authority of science; the other took on a less recent book by James Robert Brown on the Science Wars and "social constructivism." I wrote several posts about issues raised in Tamler Summer's A Very Bad Wizard, a book of interviews with social scientists and philosophers about issues of power, culture, and ethics. And I think this post on the perennial science vs. religion conflict is pretty good.

Politics. I'm pleased with two posts I wrote about excessive deference to the President of the US, and a few more on the state of debate between conservatives and non-conservatives in our country. I began writing about Wikileaks when the "Collateral Damage" video was released last spring, and I am still proud of that first post. My discussion of Michael J. Smith's gripefest about "studies" departments in academia apparently gave him food for thought, but he still seems to think I'm an academic instead of a kitchen worker. I took a couple of swipes at George Scialabba's disappointing defense of elitism. And I'm still fond of this post about the evangelical tone some secular progressives adopt toward the unsaved heathen to their right, as well as this one about the deification of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull, and the celebration of His wrath.

I went to South Korea again last summer, in time for the sinking of the Cheonan and the Korean off-year elections. Also World Cup. It also happened that I was there when Israeli forces hijacked a supply ship violating the embargo of Gaza, killing several of the civilians on board, so I attended a protest in Seoul.

It was an election year in the US too, which gave me a lot of material, especially about Obama and the Democrats' attacks on the progressive elements of their base. A couple of times I took on a True Pure Centrist who kept up the Dem apologetics right up until Election Day, then smoothly began criticizing Obama as though he'd been doing it all along.

GLBTQ Issues. I finally got around to writing about assimilation. Ricky Martin's coming-out led me to write again about post-colonial theory and international queers. I did a few posts on the same problem from Chinese and Japanese standpoints. I wrote here about queer undertones in mainstream movies. The New York Times gave me fodder for some good posts (remember, this is my opinion) on homosexual behavior in animals and its implications for human beings. I found occasion to correct more of Andrew Sullivan's distortions of gay history, and similar distortions of history and gay biology by a gay Floridian helping professional. (Speaking of helping professionals in academia, I think they do more harm than good.) I mourned the passing of a role model of my youth. I had to address yet again attempts to justify Fag Discourse in Hollywood product and in left political chatter. I didn't have much to say about Don't Ask Don't Tell (and haven't written about it since its repeal, since I didn't have much to add), but I had more to say about the recent spate of media attention to gay teen suicide.

Religion, especially Christianity. The horrific earthquake in Haiti last January gave rise to several posts, especially on the problem of suffering and Christians' response to it. (Some dealt more with the politics involved, but politics and religion are often difficult to separate.) I wrote a couple of posts about Frank Schaeffer, son of the late evangelical guru Francis Schaeffer, who has tried to reinvent himself as one of the moderate Christians, not those awful extremists. I think this post has some worthwhile things to say about people's willingness to believe the worst about their gods.

The War on Christmas seems to have subsided without completely going away, so I had nothing to write about it that was as good as my posts on the subject from last year. I'm still pleased with this post on liberal Christianity and fag discourse, and with the two scripts I wrote for Second City's Sassy Gay Friend. I started giving Terry Eagleton a going-over for his lectures on religion, and spent more time on Thomas Ferguson's. There's always more to be said about faith, of course.

Miscellaneous. In this post I wrote about a male film critic's enlightened sexism. I think I did a good job in this post on the sexualization of children (or "sluts in training," as a Facebook friend called them) in America, plus this followup. Several other people liked this post on not being a role model. I wrote here in response to a book lamenting the supposed decline of the public library and what the hell, the decline of just about everything. This post, which draws on a recent collection of responses to Noam Chomsky's ideas about politics and education, needs a followup, but I think it's a good one as it is.

If I go on, I'll end up linking to half of last year's posts. As you can see, this isn't a best-of, it's more of an overview of what I wrote about in 2010. It should come in handy when I'm trying to refer back to older posts, and I hope other people will find it useful too.