The candle flame gutters

I’ve been blogging for a year now here at missing sparkles. It started as a small group of us, each presenting our own views, opinions and discussing what we each saw as important issues within the queer community, the greater social environment (I was going to use the word milieu, but I don’t want to look like a wanker) and the intermingling thereof.

However, our numbers quickly dwindled, some before we even started, as each individual author found themselves too busy, usually engaged in the sisyphean endeavour known as the PhD.

Before long, there was only me. With my idealistic cynicism, loving disrespect for politicians, affable polemic, and occasional use of naughty words. Words like fuck, for example.

After the others left to pursue academic titles and post nominals I entertained the notion that I would find replacements and other people to cover the wide gamut of queer identities, but for various reasons they never manifested — typically because those I found who were interested were themselves too busy doing other things, and those who were free were already blogging or writing in their own spheres.

So it was just me.

I had never intended to stay with missing sparkles forever, but I thought I would be here for a long time. I’ve been planning to finish up here for a while, but now a series of events has hastened my departure.

I written before of my mental illness — I’ve never been shy about being public about it — and it’s affected my blogging here in the past. But now it’s come racing back and caught me blind in a dark cul de sac, it’s black robes fluttering around me as it drags my optimism into the darkness of shame and despair.

The other issues hastening my departure are as complicated as they are my own.

It’s a shame to see this blog end. I built up a nice little audience, got myself into a few intellectual scuffles, had endless fun with Tau Henare, and ended up pissing off some of my friends.

I will return before too long, but not here. Maybe not even as Mr Wainscotting, though I am quite attached to the identity. I’ve always felt an affinity with the phoenix — in a purely symbolic sense, of course — and I will rise again, with a new blog where I can write about a greater range of issues (perhaps not with the same grandiosity as the legendary bird, but a boy can dream).

Many years ago, when I was at my lowest, I purchased a book that gave me a perspective that brought me back from the brink. That book is Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Being dyslexic, books have to be very interesting for me to be able to read them, and Sagan never fails to disappoint. I almost never read fiction books — I get my escapism from daydreams and cinema. It is in non-fiction that I find most pleasure and in the realms of science and particularly astronomy that I find my perspective.

I’m going into my room now. I’m going to curl up with my hot water bottle, maybe snuggle with my Ted E. Bare teddy bear, and read that book.

“The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.”

Good night.

Dear Colin Craig,

“New Zealanders are getting so tired of politically correct posturing. Political correctness doesn’t change how people think, it just prevents them speaking up. I am happy to speak up and go on record as one who would vote against this proposed bill.”

I’ve written before of my opinion of the “political correctness” canard, and Craig swans out with it as if it’s an actual argument.

“The marriage institution being a relationship between a man and a woman predates government. It is not the job of government to start re-defining marriage.”

And it’s not your job to be defining it. If the government’s going to have marriage written into law, then it must keep up with society’s changing definitions of what it means. The definition of marriage has changed more than conservative Christians care to remember or even believe.

Saying that marriage is an institution that belongs to a one cis-man, one cis-woman couple is like saying that writing belongs to right-handed people. The importance of right-handedness certainly predates government, and in modern times it seems rather silly to think of it as being any kind of privilege (it’s easy to forget that only a generation ago, children were being caned for writing with their left hands).

If Colin Craig does “not support an ever expanding state meddling in the affairs of it’s citizens”, then he’s contradicting himself by saying that we should therefore oppose marriage equality. But then, cognitive dissonance is something people like Craig have become rather skilled at.

I prefer bars not run by douchehats

Edit: This story has made the ODT.

UniQ Otago is hitting out at the owner of The Southern Break bar in Dunedin after he posted homophobic comments on his Facebook wall. After some kind of altercation at a competing bar, the owner went home to say that they can “suck a dick” immediately followed by calling them “fucking faggots”, later saying the bar was run on “liquidation letters and aids.”

UniQ Otago is not happy:

“Those comments are disgusting and should not be tolerated in our society.

“Running an establishment full of people under the influence of alcohol, they must provide an environment that is safe for all their patrons. We do not believe this is truly possible if the owners are being outwardly homophobic.”

I’ve read the comments myself, though I shan’t publish them in full here, and another person further down the comments said “Loving the banter.. feed the fagot [sic] fire!!!”

UniQ Otago is right to be incensed and outraged. I’m incensed and outraged. Once again, we see an example of people turning to homophobia as an attack. He may well have had a bad experience at the other establishment, but that does not excuse him of shouting “faggots”, not at all!

Furthermore, as a bar owner, he has a duty to the community. If he is unable to show that he is an upstanding member of the public, then he’s ineligible to have his liquor licence renewed. This is precisely the sort of thing that shows that his standing is not up.

Homophobia is still rife in this country, and it’s shit like this that keeps knocking us down. Homophobia and intolerance like this is something up with which we should not put.

You can marry your cousin, so long as he isn’t gay

North Carolina. Once again proving the adage that democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.

The state, where it’s legal to marry your cousin, recently went to the polls to vote on a constitutional amendment prohibiting not only same-sex marriage, but also civil marriage and domestic partnerships.

Last time the state made an amendment to their constitution about marriage, it said this:

All marriages between a white person and a negro, or between a white person and a person of negro descent to the third generation inclusive, are hereby forever prohibited.

While we have all the legal trappings that civil unions grant in New Zealand, we still don’t have the dignity conveyed by marriage or the respect it has in society, and we also still cannot adopt.  We’re forced to compromise with a “good enough” alternative.

North Carolina, however, seems to believe that teh gayz don’t deserve any recognition of their relationships and should forever be relegated to being second class citizens. Once again, they’ve used the cry of “religious freedom” as a cudgel against the rights and freedoms of others.

Hopefully it won’t be long before they realise the folly of their ways and look back at Amendment 1 as an embarrassing blight upon the history of their state.

Persecution in NZ

A 4 year old child has effectively kicked out of kindergarten and his family ostracised because he is living with HIV.

The outrage over this is already loud, so I thought I’d add a little to the cacophony. I’m simply going to link to the Campbell Live episode OnDemand:

Clicky clicky click.

And a quote from Shaun Robinson, NZAF Executive Director:

“The reaction of the childcare centre management isn’t due to a lack of information or awareness or education. The NZAF, community members and doctors have all spoken to them on the phone, given them information and materials and been to hui with them. They’ve been very well informed but the sad fact is, the management team don’t want to know that there is no risk whatsoever to the other children, they’d prefer to persecute this child and create hysteria in the community.” [Emphasis mine]

The treatment of this boy and his family is abhorrent. I find it amazing how quick we were to forget our past and continue persecution into the future.

It’s 2012 for fuck’s sake.