I am writing this during the blizzard, staying
inside like the governor said. Listening to Judy Collins mystical
"The Blizzard" from her 1990 "Fires of Eden" album, enjoying the
My Jewish friend Bob Katzen, of the Beacon Hill
Roll Call, came out from Boston on Christmas Eve, as he has for many
years. This time he, my partner Chip and I watched "A
Christmas Story," about the 9-year-old boy (Ralphie) who wanted
a Red Ryder BB gun. None of us had seen it, and were curious since
it is mentioned so often on "favorite holiday movies" discussions on
When it was (finally) over, Bob insisted that it
was the worst movie he had ever seen. He has since sent us online
commentary backing up his opinion, including this one from someone
named Jacob: "I'm the only one in my family who hates this movie.
They think it's the funniest movie they have ever seen. It's
currently on right now and it's killing me. Last year around
Christmas we had to go on a trip to see (Ralphie's) house in
Cleveland. It made me hate the movie more."
Another holiday tradition is born. I'm sure it'll
be funnier the second time we watch it, next Christmas Eve. Or maybe
we should take a road trip to Cleveland ...
My favorite holiday movie, in fact my favorite
movie, is the Oscar-winning "A
Lion in Winter," with Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn as
Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Their son Richard is played
brilliantly by a young Anthony Hopkins.
Richard, who is outed as gay during the
dysfunctional-family festivities, later becomes Richard the
Yes, it's "lionheart," not "lionhearted."
According to legend, when he led a Crusade to the Middle East,
Richard killed a lion in close combat and ate its heart to
intimidate the Saracen enemies. Of course "lionhearted" works, too,
as he was a fiercely brave warrior. Speaking of gays in the military
Since it's a timely subject, let's speak of them
more: Alexander the Great. The Greek hero Achilles. British army
lieutenant Lawrence of Arabia.
One of the toughest military units in the ancient
world was the Sacred Band of Thebes. Commanders chose lovers who
were paired for combat because it was assumed that they would fight
more fiercely with their lovers at their side.
This seems counter to the argument of those
opposed to repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" that fears a loss of
unit cohesion. Maybe our military should try the Theban plan and let
gays have their own units, solving the "shower" problem we keep
hearing about from opponents.
I laugh at the concern some men have about having
a gay man possibly attracted to them. Try being a woman sometime,
living much of your youth with men you aren't attracted to looking
at you "that way." We get used to it. Maybe the motto could simply
be "Feel free to ask and tell, just don't touch," and get on with
the real battles.
Initially I stayed away from this subject,
thinking that since I've not been a military man myself, I probably
don't "get" the unit cohesion thing and should leave it up to the
military to determine what works best. But then I heard a caller to
talk radio, an older retired military man, seeming to suggest,
somewhat hysterically, that if gays had been in his unit they could
properly have been "fragged" (killed by their own troops) and I was
horrified. Enough of this. God bless all those who choose to serve
I do understand that when it comes to activist
ideologues, things quickly get out of hand; the military is no place
for political correctness or lawsuits about promotion decisions.
Common sense must prevail: If there is a proximity problem, the
offending gay needs to be held under a cold shower by the other men.
Then, in an adult world, no one charges a "hate crime" — the band of
brothers, gay and straight, laugh and go get a beer together.
This is my New Year's resolution: to vigorously
express intolerance of irrational intolerance. I honestly don't see
how anyone's sexual orientation is any of my business. Don't care
who marries whom. What race, color, or nationality anyone is, as
long as I don't have to subsidize them because of it. Which religion
anyone chooses, as long as that religion doesn't try to interfere
with my choices.
There is, of course, an entirely appropriate,
even necessary RATIONAL intolerance. I'll continue to battle any
intrusion on my natural freedoms and insults to my intelligence; to
oppose higher state and local taxes that fund outrageous
expenditures and benefits for the privileged government class; to
tea party against the growing national debt.
Our country, and the free world, are at a
crossroads, and we all have a role to play in deciding the direction
of the future. The war in Afghanistan continues. Economies are
failing. Populations are growing and aging. The only thing I'm not
worried about at the moment is global warming, as I play "The
Blizzard" and sing along.