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Tuesday, April 10 2001
Volume 01 : Number 203

In this issue:

-Homer's "Odyssey" and George Clooney
-Gay man to run White House AIDS office
-Dr. Laura and Eminem
-Humor: Dog Sense
-Humor: HillBilly Vasectomy
-Humor: " finish?"
-Quote of the Day

From: "Ben Boxer"
Subject: Homer's "Odyssey" and George Clooney

It isn't easy to read ancient Greek literature and relate it to the world in which we actually live. Perhaps we can grasp its themes. We can see a Greek play by Euripedes or Sophocles and enjoy the timelessness of the dialogue and even some of the jokes, but it is still separated from us by millennia and has little real relevance to the Electronic Age of the now. Filmed versions of the plays in ancient costumes and settings or variations of them in modern dress and locales still do not fill the gap in time and culture between their world and ours.

Some translations into modern terms do make the grade, but they are often dark and moody. An example of this is Eugene O'Neill's "Mourning Becomes Electra," a modern retelling of the tale of the daughter of a Greek king whose gay son (her brother, Orestes) and the boy's male lover (Pylades) avenge the father's murder. (I will be posting that story on the list later this week.)

You can now experience a film, however, without a heavy touch, which tells an old Greek tale. Never at any moment in this delightful film, entitled "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?", will you have any suspicion that you are watching a serio-comic action drama almost purely ancient Greek in origin. Your one clue will be a line of type near the beginning that spells out, "Based on Homer's 'The Odyssey.'"

"The Odyssey" is an epic poem (rhyming in Greek but not in English) written by the ancient blind poet Homer. It takes place after the Greeks win the Trojan War 2600 years ago in the world bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Ulysses, who has been away from his homeland fighting the war, struggles to return home with his companions. The poem tells the tale of the hardships they encounter on the way back, and how, despite all obstacles, their fates are miraculously resolved.

Picture this: an essentially Three-Stooges trio destined to become, by the grace of Zeus, the Soggy Bottom Boys, escape from a chain gang in the Mississippi of the early 1930s and take off for the hills headed for buried treasure and home---to the tune of vintage country music---with lawmen and a bloodhound in hot pursuit. You won't know it unless you're a Greek scholar, but most of the elements of "The Odyssey" are there. Almost as much fun as watching the movie will be frantically looking for a copy of Homer's epic to figure out what you really just saw.

There are no dull moments, and every scene leads to the unexpected. If you know "The Odyssey," you will be rewarded with little private moments of muttering under your breath, "My God, he has to be Cyclops!" or "Listen to those Sirens sing!" You will have caught a cultural glimpse of the faraway Greeks who were really just like the good ol' boys way down south, including many jerks among them.

It will take a moment to recognize George Clooney in his central tale as garrulous, silver-tongued Ulysses Everett McGill because he looks so much like a rustic Clark Gable. His sidekick fellow convicts, sweet and simple Delmar, played by Tim Blake Nelson, and the maladjusted Pete, played by John Turturro, are flawless foils for each other and for the dandified Clooney who gives constant attention to grooming his hair with a sweet-smelling pomade called FOP which doubles as doggie delight.

After encountering a blind prophet, in the mold of the poet Homer, as a gandy-dancer pumping his way to nowhere along a railroad track, the three shackled escapees make a hasty run with his prophecy in their ears: "You will find a fortune but not the fortune you seek." Truly, words from Mount Olympus!

Let the plot take you where it will for I will not tell you here, but my own prophecy is that you will be racked with laughter and titillated at the sight of silverfoxy chub Charles Durning bellying his way across a stage, and at the cheerful sight of the other silverfoxes and chubby chub-chubs -- among them hefty John Goodman -- who litter the movie landscape along the way to a climax as miraculous as Homer ever wrote.
From: "Ben Boxer"
Subject: Gay man to run White House AIDS office

Ben Boxer notes: The sound you hear is me applauding George Bush.

Gay man to run White House AIDS office
(The Advocate)

President Bush announced Monday that he is appointing 38-year-old Scott H. Evertz as director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. Head of the Wisconsin Log Cabin Republicans, Evertz is Bush’s first openly gay appointee and the first gay person to head the AIDS office, which was opened by President Clinton. Nevertheless, in announcing the planned appointment, the White House has refused to discuss Evertz’s sexual orientation.

“The president wants to increase the focus on the international aspects of the disease, and we believe we have chosen the right director for the office,” an official told The New York Times.

Evertz, a close associate of Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson, was one of the Austin 12, a group of openly gay Republicans who met with Bush during the presidential campaign. In addition to leading Wisconsin’s Log Cabin group, Evertz has been a fund-raiser for the Wisconsin Right to Life antiabortion group and for Catholic AIDS ministries. He also ran an unsuccessful bid for the Wisconsin legislature in 1994.

“When I first met Mr. Bush, he wanted to hear all of our stories,” Evertz told the Times, “so I told him that the 18-year-old daughter of my partner had just voted for him in the primary, and he seemed pleased and took note of it.”

Along with Evertz’s appointment, officials said the president will announce a reorganized AIDS office that will include the formation a new task force to combat the disease. The task force will include secretary of State Colin Powell, national security adviser Condoleeza Rice, and domestic policy adviser Margaret La Montagne. Evertz also will sit on the president’s domestic policy council. Rich Tafel, president of the national Log Cabin Republicans, hailed the announcement Monday.

“This appointment is a very good sign on all levels,” Tafel told the Times. “AIDS is a very powerful issue in the gay community, and to have an openly gay official chosen on his merits means we shouldn’t have to be afraid and closeted for who we are.”
From: EArmstrong@AOL.COM
Subject: Dr. Laura and Eminem

This is an excerpt from Newsletter for Monday, April 9th:

Dr. Laura Schlessinger filmed the final episode of her TV talk show last month, but for Robin Tyler, the comic and gay-rights activist who co-founded, the battle against homophobic entertainment has just begun. Although Dr. Laurab.s spotlight has faded, Tyler said a more dangerous threat to the gay community remains: Eminem.

"Even though huge sections of the (gay) community protested against b& Schlessinger this past summer and fall, and our community generally seemed to understand why those protests were needed, somehow the spin on protesting Eminem coming from many gay and gay-friendly entertainers was that we were trying to censor Eminem," Tyler wrote in a column that appears in this monthb.s Gay and Lesbian Review.

An organized campaign, spearheaded by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), killed any chance Dr. Laurab.s show had to succeed. Members of the gay community protested and urged corporate sponsors to stop supporting Dr. Laura, who has called gays "pedophiles" and "biological errors."

Paramount Domestic Television announced the cancellation of Dr. Laurab.s controversial syndicated television show on March 29. Many stations had downgraded the show, a ratings disaster, to the 2 a.m. time slot.

But Eminem, whose singles have soared to the top of charts and radio airplay lists, has been embraced by some members of the gay community. Openly gay singer Elton John performed with Eminem at February's Grammy Awards. Gender and image may play the biggest roles in the uneven treatment of Dr. Laura and Eminem, Tyler said.

"Eminem is white, male and good-looking. He could potentially be a fantasy of gay men," she said. "It's easy to attack someone like Laura Schlessinger, a middle-aged woman who looks the way she does."

Both Eminem and Dr. Laura are threats to the gay community, Tyler said. The goal is not to silence them, but to provide an opposing viewpoint, she said. "We never said that they don't have a right to say what they want to say," she said. "But we have the right to stand up to them and fight what they have to say."

Eminem, who won three Grammy awards this year, sparked protests from some gay-rights groups because his multiplatinum second album, "The Marshall Mathers LP," contains references to extreme violence against women and gays. GLAAD organized "The Rally Against Hate" at the Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but few people showed up.

Tyler said the gay community vilified Dr. Laura, but supports Eminem, citing artistic integrity. "How artistic is it? It's not funny and it has no socially redeeming quality. I don't think hate speech is about artistic integrity," she said.

"Whether we like it our not, we live in a homophobic, misogynistic and racist environment," said Michael Greene, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Eminem "had a pretty rough life and uses a microphone as a therapist. I think a lot of people realize most of Eminem's antics are a kind of theater."

But Eminem's behavior and lyrics may encourage discrimination and brutality in his young fans, Tyler said. "Many of the 8- to 18-year-old males who buy Eminem's records do see him as a hero and do take his message to heart," she wrote in her column. "The majority will never commit a violent crime, but the homophobia and misogyny hammered into their psyche will stay with them the rest of their lives."

Homophobia is alive and well in schools. A 1999 study from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that 69 percent of gay students have been victims of verbal or physical abuse at school. About 36 percent said they have heard faculty and staff make anti-gay comments.

"There are implications when the use of words like 'faggot' and 'dyke' are dismissed as satire or as a joke," said Kevin Jennings, executive director of GLSEN. "Such humor is lost on the tens of thousands of (gay) youth who are being abused with such words on a day-to-day basis."

Artists shouldn't be protecting Eminem's rights, Tyler said. "He doesn't need protecting. The kid on the street being called faggot and queer needs protecting," she said.
Subject: Humor: Dog Sense

Things we can learn from a dog:

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

When it's in your best interest, practice obedience.

Let others know when they've invaded your territory.

Take naps and stretch before rising.

Run, romp and play daily.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and right back and make friends.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
From: SexyGreySenior@AOL.COM
Subject: Humor: HillBilly Vasectomy

This was sent to me by a friend in Georgia,I trust there will be no flack from our southern contributors...

Hillbilly Vasectomy After having their 11th child, a West Virginia couple decided that was enough, as they could not afford a larger bed. So the husband went to his doctor/veterinarian and told him that he and his wife/cousin didn't want any more children. The doctor told him that there was a procedure called a vasectomy that could fix the problem but that it was expensive. A less costly alternative, said the doctor, was to go home, get a cherry bomb, light it, put it in a beer can, then hold the can up to his ear and count to 10. The Hillbilly said to the doctor, "I ain't a genius, but I don't see how putting a cherry bomb in a beer can next to my ear is going to help me." "Trust me," said the doctor. So the man went home, lit a cherry bomb and put it in a beer can. He held the can up to his ear and began to count: "1,2,3,4,5," at which point he ran otta fingers, placed the beer can between his legs in his lap, and resumed counting on the other hand.

This procedure also works in Tennessee, South and North Carolina, Mississippi, Kentucky and Arkansas.
Subject: Humor: " finish?"

This Israeli stud is out picking up chicks in Tel Aviv one night. While at his favorite bar, he manages to attract a blonde hottie.

So they're back at his place, and sure enough, they go at it. Proud of his rugged background and years in the IDF, he forces himself to last as long as possible. He climaxes loudly. Then he rolls over, lights up a cigarette and asks her, "So.... you finish?"

After a slight pause she replies, "No."

Surprised, but pleasantly, he puts out his cigarette, rolls back on top of her, and has his way with her again, this time lasting even longer than the last ... and this time completing the deed with even louder shouts.

Again he rolls over, lights a cigarette, and asks, "So .... you finish?"

And again, after a short pause, she simply says, "No."

Stunned, but still acting reflexively on his macho pride, he once again puts out the cigarette, and mounts his companion du jour.

This time, with all the strength he can muster, he barely manages to end the task, but he does, after quite some time and energy are spent.

Barely able to roll over, he reaches for his cigarette ... lights it again, and then asks, "So... you finish?"

To which her pleasured reply is, "No. I'm Swedish."

Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.
-- Nick Diamos
From: "Ben Boxer"
Subject: Quote of the Day

"Everyone has a sense of humor until the joke is on them, and then they don't."
-- Bill Maher, host of "Politically Incorrect"

End of silverfoxesclub-digest V1 #203