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Brokeback Perry

Posted: January 1st, 2012

Brokeback Perry
By Wynn Wagner

Kudos to the Dallas Voice for the best photo caption in a long time: Brokeback Perry.

Tammye Nash is the editor of this Dallas LGBT newspaper. She’s done good with it.

 
 

Civil Unions is a half-measure

Posted: December 31st, 2011

Photo is from Diane’s Muse

By Wynn Wagner

Several states now allow what they call civil unions.

I’m happy that my gay brothers and lesbian sisters can approach equality with those born heterosexual. It’s a step, but it isn’t equality.

This isn’t a gay issue. It is a matter of religion.

My church — the Old Catholic Church — teaches that sexual orientation is not a barrier to marriage. Gay men and lesbian women can marry in the Old Catholic Church. Most priests don’t blink an eye or hyperventilate when they’re asked to perform a gay wedding. In fact, one of the oldest marriage rites we have is for two men from what we call the Orthodox Church.

The Roman Catholic Church thinks it differently. Rome’s church was established in the year 1054, regardless of their marketing attempts to claim it is the “original” Christian sect. Rome says that so-called traditional marriage is always between one man and one woman. Balderdash.

The Roman emperor Charlemagne (742-814) is considered one of the great Christian emperors. He led the Rome back when there was one Christian denomination. He was the leader of Rome when the Old Catholic Church was formed in Holland, by the way.

But here’s the thing: Charlemagne had eighteen children over the course of his life with eight of his ten known wives or concubines. He had multiple wives at the same time, and he never apologized for that. He was a Christian with a stronger claim to “traditional marriage” than anything Rome can put forward.

It’s find for a religion to define marriage however they like. If the Romists and Baptists want one-man-one-woman as their prototype, they’ll never get an argument from me. The argument comes when they try to inflict their dogma onto my reality map.

I’m not Roman Catholic. I’m not Baptist. Yet, they try to control my church.

The Bill of Rights in America says that government isn’t supposed to pass laws that restrict the free exercise of religion, but they do pass those laws. They have judges who claim to be reasonable but restrict my religion every day.

What needs to happen is this: the US government needs to get out of the religion business. My church heralds love in a diverse array. Marriage is a glorious gift.

I shouldn’t have a law that promotes rules of some johnny-come-lately churches like the Roman Catholics and the Baptists.

Bravo for civil unions! Now, can y’all stay the heck out of dogma?

Photo is from Diane’s Muse.

 
 

I’m a godless heathen, and I approve this ad

Posted: December 8th, 2011

Gov Deep ThroatRick Perry is the guy who barely pulled off a C average at Texas A&M University and battles “Ma” Ferguson as the worst governor of Texas. He brags about how stupid he is, and he does this were others can see. The is happy to tell you he hates at least 10% of the population of the state he’s supposed to be leading. The same brain that can’t remember things he’s said, now thinks it’s a dandy idea to run for President of the United States.

The folks at Second City TV think otherwise. They have a spoof of one Rick Perry TV advertisement that’s been running in Iowa. Perry’s ad supposedly stirs up evangelicals to hate LGBTs. Perry thinks nervous natives will somehow translate into votes. I pray that Perry is wrong. Somebody who can’t even pull off a C report card in a fairly simple college program isn’t to be trusted with nuclear bombs.

Second City is hilarious and spot-on:

 
 

World AIDS Day

Posted: November 30th, 2011

HIV / AIDS

All I want for Christmas
is the cure
and all my friends back.

 

 
 

Mixed up Christmas

Posted: November 30th, 2011
Religion Professor: We need to get back to the original meaning of Christmas.
Me: Mithras?
Religion Professor: (hits me)

The airplane wins this contest 87% of the time.There was a little confusion reported in the whole concept behind a store window display in China a few years ago. I’m sure they meant well. The store celebrated Christmas by putting Santa Claus on a cross.

It was sooooo close, but really missed the point.

On the other hand, a little chaos can bring a spirit of fun to the holidays. One of my favorite holiday songs is “Christmas in the Ashram.” It was written and performed by Chris Rosser. Tom Prasada-Rao recorded an excellent cover. It’s a wonderful mishmash of ideas, like putting Santa onto a cross.

From the west to the east
They left their homes in search of peace
A transcendental mystic yogi
Took them in, he was kind and holy
California to Bombay

They travelled far to sing and pray
But on the last week of the year
Their songs became a little weird

Chorus:
Singing Om Alleluia – Hare Hare Krishna
In Excelsis Deo – Rama Bolo Rama Bolo
Gloria Gloria – Govinda Gopala
Om Noel – Jay Siya Ram
Christmas in the Ashram

The guru must be out of town
There’s tinsel in Vishnu’s crown
Someone hung a Christmas star
From one of Shiva’s extra arms.

There’s egg nog in the black spice tea
Lotus petals on evergreen
Incense burners green and red
Santa hats on shaven heads

(Repeat Chorus)

They sang Gospels and Upanishads
Psalms and Vedas praising God
Maybe Christ and Krishna are amused
When humans get a little bit confused

(Repeat Chorus)

 
 

Wynn at The Authors Guild

Posted: November 29th, 2011

Wynn at The Authors GuildI am very pleased to let you know that most of my books are now listed at The Authors Guild.

The Authors Guild has been the nation’s leading advocate for writers’ interests in effective copyright protection, fair contracts and free expression since it was founded as the Authors League of America in 1912. It provides legal assistance and a broad range of web services to its members.

This is the organization that fights for fair contracts for writers. It takes on large corporations, such as Amazon and Google, to make sure an author’s copyright is honored.

 
 

Government Imprimatur of Marriage

Posted: November 28th, 2011

Government Imprimatur of Marriage

By Wynn Wagner

When I was a kid, divorce laws in Texas were so strict that it was darn near impossible to get un-hitched. Married couples once went to Nevada or Mexico for divorces because their laws were more lax. When the non-Texas divorce was final, there was never a question that it was a legal divorce. Get divorced in Mexico, and you were divorced everywhere.

That’s all different from the marriage apartheid that some right-wing religions are imposing on citizens. Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics don’t cotton to same-gender marriage. If their own gay members can’t marry, they say that no gay couples should marry.

It’s one thing for a religious cult to keep a sacrament or rite of passage from a minority group within their ranks. It’s quite another to let them dictate the canons for other religious groups.

These religions style themselves as “mainstream.” What they are doing is trying to weld themselves into secular government. These finaglers are trying to be the state religion. In Texas, they’ve succeeded beyond belief.

If cults like the Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists can’t control their own members, they shouldn’t be allowed to get the government to do their enforcers. No government should be the muscle for any religion what can’t keep its own membership to live withing its rules.

My church says that marriage is good. Old Catholicism teaches that we all need love, regardless of race or gender or any of the other accidents of birth. That isn’t good enough for Texas, of course.

My church says I’m married, but Texas thinks it knows more about theology than my church. New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Canada, Scandinavia, and the District of Columbia all say I’m married.

Couples can get divorced in Nevada but can’t get married in New York.

I don’t remember any Southern Baptist saying Texas should ignore Nevada divorces. Some said Nevada was immoral, but that’s different from the caustic effects of getting government to enforce your bigoted notions. If Nevada divorces were legal, then New York marriages should be legal.

This is gerrymandering morality laws.

 
 

The Buzz Kill of Coaching

Posted: November 28th, 2011

Note to coaches: it’s okay to be gay, but keep your pants zipped around kids. There are plenty of other gay coaches you can diddle.

 
 

10 Steps to Writing a Novel

Posted: November 26th, 2011
  1. Plot bunnies become too treacherous to ignore.
  2. Bunnies are off’d with great alacrity (stir in fresh bunnies to make the plot thicken).
  3. Plot is almost finished (except for the most important parts).
  4. Cheeky muse vanishes (abandoned, time of peril and need).
  5. Rewrite (hate plot/publisher/agent).
  6. Rewrite (hate missing scenes).
  7. Revisit ill-fated decision not to study pre-law.
  8. Rewrite (put out hit on muse).
  9. Plot fairies visit and miraculously finish missing scenes.
  10. Solitary plot bunny spotted in yard.

 
 

The Best Writing Class Ever

Posted: November 23rd, 2011

TCU

By Wynn Wagner

It was 1971 (give or take), and I was in a writing class at TCU. It all seemed innocent enough. This would be an easy A because I had been out in the world, writing as a professional journalist with a professional editor on a professional newspaper. What could go wrong?

The professor was the head of the English Department.

“Please take out paper and pen,” he said. Action: good for him. I like it when you get right down to the nitty and the gritty.

“Spelling doesn’t count in here,” he said. I was borderline in love with this man. “You’ll all have editors, and spelling is their job.”

What more can you want in a class?

“Take a half hour,” he continued. “Write an essay called ‘What I Did on my Summer Vacation.'”

The hell? He dropped his condescending little bomb and left the room. Are we not English Majors here? This was supposed to be an upperclass course on writing. We’d all seen all sorts of classes, but this was a cheap shot. What’d I even done for vacation?

I wrote and turned it in. The next class, the professor read a few papers. He read mine, and I had everyone holding their sides laughing.

“You like it?” he asked, and everyone said they did. There were a few hoops and a couple of hollers.

“It was funny, Mr. Wagner,” the professor said, “but it wasn’t an essay.”

Oops. I thought it was.

“Anybody want to tell Mr. Wagner what an essay is?”

Nobody was there to pour pepper sauce into the gash in my ego.

“An essay is a short work where the narrator learns something and changes,” the professor professed. “What Mr. Wagner did was clever reportage.”

And he went on and on, doing things to change my wound into scar tissue. Everything was good about my paper, except that I missed the point of the assignment about as thoroughly as a point could be missed.

He read a few more and then turned to the blackboard. The professor wrote about 15 emotions on the board.

“Write all these in order on the back of your essay (or report paper, in at least one instance).”

Did he have to add that? I already got his cruel jab. The School of Hard Knocks had moved inside an institution that would one day be awarded an .EDU domain. The professor knocked me down, and he was adding some locker room towel slaps. Wasn’t it? I was a slick commercial journalist with real world writing creds, but I wasn’t an essayist. I thought reports probably paid more than a stupid essay. They only pickup essays to stick into English textbooks, and that only happens after the author is dead. I was there to learn how to make more money from my craft.

“Got the emotions?” the professor asked. “Good. Now circle the emotion that best fits your essay. Mr. Wagner, please just circle the first emotion because slapstick isn’t really an emotion.”

I wondered what I could do to make this guy cut me some slack. (Hint: Nothing.)

The assignment for the next class was to write the same essay but make it the next emotion in line. We weren’t allowed to add any new facts. It had to be the same essay with the same storyline.

And that was our entire semester. We rebuilt and re-crafted our original paper using the next emotion on our list.

Horned frogIt was the most amazing semester that I spent in college. This professor (cold heart and all) took away the problem of lining up facts. We did that our first class. What happened for the rest of the semester is that we learned how to turn anything into whatever emotion we needed.

I hated the class, of course, because I had to endure a year of being picked on.

So bite me, prof. And thanks too.