Saturday, July 07, 2012

Some July Internet Wading

I’ve been busy with work the past week or so, and haven’t had time for proper blogging. So, here are a few things I saw on the Internet that I haven’t had time to blog about:

Across the Internet, heterosexuals asked why Anderson Cooper had to formally come out. “Because you do not have to come out as heterosexual,” says Tiger Beatdown blogger Emily Manuel. She continues:
Heterosexuals do announce their sexuality in public, all the time, of course. Walking down the street holding hands, kissing their lover, wearing wedding rings, clothing and other aesthetic codes. But it is not a movement from unacknowledged to public, it has no risk or social consequences in itself. In his coming out letter, Cooper notes that he didn’t come out because a reporter’s private life shouldn’t matter. Indeed. But part of the point is, being heterosexual isn’t private—it’s public
So when heterosexuals ask, "Why did it take so long for him to come out," I reply with a question of my own:"why did it take you so long to make him feel safe enough to do so?"
However, it wasn’t exactly a secret that Cooper’s gay, so is it really news? Rising hip-hop star Frank Ocean also came out this week, and Rod McCullom argues on Ebony.com that Ocean’s coming out is a “game changer” because it could mark a turning point for hip-hip, which has a reputation for blatant misogyny and homophobia.

Not every gay person’s coming out is voluntary, let alone safe: Sunday’s New Zealand Herald website republished a GayNZ.com story about a gay Ugandan man who fled to New Zealand after the country’s leading newspaper named him as one of the country’s “Top 100 Homos”, which included the demand “Hang Them”. The situation is the direct result of the hatemongering of US far right anti-gay “Christian” activists in Uganda, and the danger they released is far from over. The original GayNZ.com story is somewhat different, and shows the front page of the newspaper in question.

While religious extremists from the US may have thought that using their god to promote hatred in Africa was a good idea, they will be disappointed to learn that Einstein did not prove that their god exists.

This past week, several folks on Facebook suddenly decided to post a supposed dialog between an “atheist professor” and a young student who at the end is said to be Albert Einstein. Trouble is, it’s nothing but another false urban legend. Einstein was an agnostic who didn’t believe in a personal god, and he didn’t take part in the alleged incident, which has been around in this form since at least 2004 (another version that didn’t mention Einstein appeared in 1999).

When I read the story, the first thing I thought to myself was that it sounded suspicious, so, in a case like this, my first stop was to check urban legend sites, which confirmed my suspicions (as did a more religion-focused site). Whenever something sounds too good to be true, or when something merely sounds implausible, I try to check it out. I have some sympathy for the people who posted the urban legend, though, because I don’t always stop to double check things that reinforce my beliefs or that say things that I want said.

In checking it out, I found a video version of the myth on YouTube in German (with subtitles) and set in a primary school instead of the usual university setting. I also found a recent (and rather foul-mouthed) YouTube video debunking the myth, something that was notable to me primarily because it was from someone who was similarly irritated with people posting it to Facebook.

And that’s a small sample of what caught my eye over the past week.


Roger Owen Green said...

I hope I was clear in a recent post that I thought it was fine that people come out. I just find it an extra burden that "the other" has to endure that everyone else doesn't. I've had a few of those myself.

Arthur Schenck said...

Yeah, your post was great. I was even going to post a follow-up here, but didn't get around to it. It may yet turn up in another version.