Wednesday, December 04, 2002


So, I'm reading the CNN transcript (via Eschaton) of Barney Frank's dismantling of Jerry Falwell, in which the self-parodying preacher attempts to defend his comments that American brought September 11 on itself by (among other things) tolerating homosexuality.

Falwell cites the following scriptural support for this: "Read the story of Solomon and Mirah (ph), Barney, when you get home in the Old Testament and see what God did... "

The CNN transcriber guesses "Mirah" -- a name that appears nowhere in the Bible. After skimming 1 Kings, 2 Chronicles and Strong's Exhaustive Concordance I still have no idea what Falwell was talking about. Did he just misspeak the reference, or is Jerry just making stuff up now?

N.B. Googling "Jerry Falwell" + "Solomon" found me the following delightful commentary on The Song of Solomon. A sample:

The dodges of the translators in their efforts to clean up the word of God are sometimes hilarious. The man describes an organ of his woman that is closely linked to her thighs as a goblet filled with spiced wine, surrounded by wheat and flowers. Every English translation I can find translates the name of the organ as "navel."

= = = = = = = = = = = =

Go to the Daily Howler. Bookmark the page. Print out a copy and store it in an accesible place. This is the definitive refutation of the malicious "Al Gore said he invented the Internet" lie, and an explanation of how the right-wing lie-machine operates.

I can deal with right-wing true believers -- sincere people dedicated to the truth as they see it. But people who knowingly, intentionally, repeatedly choose to lie deserve contempt.

CAUGHT LYING: Dick Armey, James Sensenbrenner, Jim Nicholson, Trent Lott, William Kristol.

Now, save that Daily Howler bookmark and paste it into the e-mail you will send to anyone you catch furthering the RNC's nasty little slander of Mr. Gore.

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Technically, since he was wearing socks and a T-shirt, he was only partly naked.

But still. And it got down to 21 degrees that night.

posted by Fred Clark 4:28 PM


334 career home runs, a .567 slugging percentage, and, um ...

Well, the Phillies were looking for a big stick to anchor their lineup, so they signed slugger Jim Thome. And according to this site, Thome has the biggest stick in all of baseball.

It's nice to see the Phils finally acting like a big-market team -- even if that team turns out to be the Rangers. In addition to the $85 million they're giving Thome over 6 years, they're also paying $4 million a year to Tim Teufel, I mean David Bell -- the Mariners' former number-9 hitter.

Seriously though, check out that link above to "Outsports." This site -- "For gay sports fans and athletes by sports fans and athletes" -- features some excellent sportswriting, including perspectives and stories you won't find anywhere else.

Here's columnist "Charlie in the Trees" on the Phils' former third baseman, Scott Rolen (before they chased him out of town to re-sign Charlie Hayes):

[Rolen is] the used and abused personal whipping boy of manager Larry Bowa. Enjoy him while you can, Phillie fans, he's won't be playing in your town much longer. He's sexy. He hits a ton, regardless of what Phillie sycophants think, with more than 100 RBI for the year. He's the best fielding third baseman in baseball, maybe as good as prime Mike Schmidt.

Don't know why, but Rolen seems to be getting the Eric Lindros treatment from Philadelphia management. You know, star player abused in the media by 1970's era Phillie jock who went in management with the local club.

Why? First, Scott's not even had his first concussion, let alone his 87th. Sure he's still single, but I don't think Scottie's gotten into any bar fights with figure skaters (or is Lindros's fight with Elvis Stojko just an urban legend?)

That's a combination of insight, accuracy and dish that you won't get from Peter Gammons et. al.

The site features plenty of disheartening stories about the hate confronting gay athletes and fans (see Rittenhouse Review for another recent example). But also some hopeful ones -- like this story about Dug Funnell's anguished letter sent to more than 5,000 baseball players, officials and personalities. Some of them wrote back. (God bless you too, Jerry DiPoto, wherever you are.)


Jim Capozzola points out the hypocrisy of Rice University football coach Ken Hatfield and of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

At issue is Hatfield's citation of the FCA's apparent "sexual purity" policy, which condemns "heterosexual acts outside of marriage [and] any homosexual act" as sexual sins and unacceptable behavior for those involved with the ministry. (This policy speaks only of behavior, not of orientation. Would the FCA accept a celibate gay athlete?)

Coach Hatfield's FCA, like the U.S. military, prohibits sexual acts outside of heterosexual marriage. But coach Hatfield, also like the U.S. military, seems unconcerned about the vast majority of violations of this rule. Like the U.S. military (which passes out condoms to soldiers leaving base), the coach seems to give a winking, boys-will-be-boys acceptance to the horndogging of straight players/soldiers, while reserving his condemnation solely for the actions and private thoughts of gay players/soldiers.

Jim nails this precisely:

Until Coach Hatfield ... starts chastising the Rice football team’s heterosexual players for sleeping with their girlfriends and groupies, and that (the chastisement, I mean) with a fervor even approaching that which [he has] reserved for the team’s gay players -- out or not -- [he has no] moral ground upon which to stand.

Yes. And ditto for the U.S. military.

posted by Fred Clark 4:00 PM

Monday, December 02, 2002


"We've already established that, madam. Now we're just haggling over price ..."
-- G.B. Shaw, or Winston Churchill, or someone else

You wouldn't think this would be a winning advertising slogan. Insulting the honor, morals and reputation of someone's spouse would normally be thought of as fighting words, but the people at Helzberg Diamonds seem to think this is a good way to move their product.

I'm referring, specifically, to their outdoor advertising campaign which has placed billboards along I-95 and other highways that read:


The unsubtle message here is: give a woman a diamond and she will have sex with you.

There's nothing new, of course, with the buy-this-and-get-laid advertising strategy. Many, many companies attempt to sell their products this way -- from the makers of comically over-packaged chewing gum, to the brewers of watery, flavorless American pilsners -- attempt to seel their products in just this way. The publishers of Maxim and other read-this-and-get-laid magazines have gotten rich by providing a forum exclusively for such advertisers.

But Helzberg has added a new wrinkle. Dentyne Ice and Coors Light merely promise their consumers the prospect of fleeting sexual encounters with anonymous attractive strangers in nightclubs. Helzberg is promising to hook you up with your own wife (or mistress).

The statement "Knock her stockings off" relies on several implicit propositions:

1. Your marriage lacks marital relations (or your affair lacks adulterous relations) and you are unable to remedy this situation without the assistance of the Helzberg Diamond company.

2. Your wife is a whore -- which is to say she is the sort of person who would willingly exchange sexual relations for money (perhaps not for cash outright, but at least for gifts in-kind). All women, in fact, are such.

3. The Helzberg Diamond company effectively functions as a procurer of women for its male customers. We are, in fact, your wife's pimp daddy -- and the pimp daddy of all women everywhere. If any man gives us a sufficient sum of cash, we will in turn bestow him with the ability to bed any woman of his choosing. Diamonds are a cad's best friend.

Considering such propositions, any woman who is offered a gift from Helzberg Diamonds this holiday ought to slap the man silly and kick him out of the house.

(This transparently offensive ad campaign is deserving of wider mockery. I'd like to see an SNL spoof ad of one of those diamond commercials, complete with the string quartet, in which the silhouetted figures were engaged in something more R-rated while the announcer intones something like, "She'll say yes, if you buy her off with diamonds.")

posted by
Fred Clark 2:18 PM

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