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I visited John Aravosis’s fine blog (Americablog) earlier today (linked from one of his tweets) to read a letter he wrote to Amnesty International regarding a statement by Noel Kututwa, according to the letter, Amnesty International’s director for South Africa. Director Kututwa made a statement (quoted in Aravosis’s blog posting) condemning Ugandan ‘policy’ regarding gays, in which he apparently referred to sexual orientation as ‘a question of the right of an individual to choose how they want to live their lives.'

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Aravosis took exception to the statement as being dangerous, since it referred to something no one ‘chooses’ as a choice. I do agree, without reservation. I do not believe that Director Kututwa intended to be so ‘off’ with his comments. I view them as ignorant more than malicious, not to excuse or dismiss them. I believe Amnesty International cares a great deal about the specific anti-gay human rights injustices happening in Uganda. But describing sexual orientation as a ‘choice’ isn’t helpful.

What Aravosis did not address is why it is so dangerous and damaging. What do the world-wide forces arrayed against gays try to do with this ‘choice’ argument? In order to ‘blame’ gays for being gay, it’s necessary to ‘believe’ that a choice is involved, a circumstance of culpability. You can’t play the politics of blame unless you have some proficiency in the management of relative culpability. Similarly, the idea that gays ‘choose’ their sexual orientation means that heteros can be credited, in relative terms, for their 'choice.' Bullshit, indeed! But it’s out there, and it’s a fight every minute of every day.

On some level, they MUST know (mustn’t they?!) that they themselves did not CHOOSE to be hetero? I know I never made a choice. It is what it is. I know just as clearly that I deserve no ‘credit’ for a choice I never made. I think they HAVE to believe it.

Many years ago I read of that concept in one of Carlos Castaneda’s books on Don Juan (It was in Tales of Power, appearing first page of first chapter of Part Two, the chapter entitled: Having to Believe, p.105 of my copy). I think it is why they have such a tenuous relationship with science, as well, and with so many political concepts. They HAVE to believe Obama is the boogeyman. That tax breaks for the wealthy create jobs. That polls are wrong. That there is a liberal bias in the media. I feel sorry for them about this, but it sure would be easier if the practice didn’t cause so much harm, to so many. And, yes, for me, culpability does attach to that. Very egregious culpability indeed.

On to tonight's comments, brilliantly formatted and compiled by brillig! (Please tip and applaud!)

Brillig's ObDisclaimer: The decision to publish each nomination lies with the evening's Diarist and/or Comment Formatter. My evenings at the helm, I try reeeeallllyy hard to publish everything without regard to content. I really do, even when I disagree personally with any given nomination. "TopCommentness" lies in the eyes of the nominator and of you, the reader - I leave the decision to you. I do not publish self-nominations (ie your own comments) and if I ruled the world, we'd all build community, supporting and uplifting instead of tearing our fellow Kossacks down.
From Dave in Northridge:
Burned distills the meaning of Wendy Wink's wonderful diary about simplifying Christmas and smacks Fox News in the face in the process.

Richard Myers' diary about the latest racist activities of right wing radio produced this gem from detroitmechworks and this excellent graphic from JekyllnHyde.

From Samer:
Warning: drink coffee or other beverages while reading this post by homo neurotic at your own risk.  
From Chrislove:
In my diary about the Ruth Institute's concern about gays taking over college dorms, Vita Brevis made me LOL with this comment, in which the Ruth Institute's worst fears are confirmed. Snowmen and ornaments and snowflakes, ERMAHGERD!
From Diana in NoVa:
Priceless, most seasonal comment from lotac!
From semiot:
Nominating this comment from MargaretPOA as a Top Comment! (Ed. note: That entire thread is full of great comments!)
From BeninSC:
There are never enough pootie comments on Daily Kos! But swampyankee is on the case!

Top Mojo for yesterday, November 23rd, first comments and tip jars excluded. Thank you mik for the mojo magic!
  1) Scary stuff by davidkc — 144
  2) I took a look at their website. It is interesting by blue jersey mom — 138
  3) Even the concept of a trained geologist by ER Doc — 137
  4) On unionizing by Fleet — 100
  5) Agreed. My oldest son works on ancient DNA. by blue jersey mom — 94
  6) I love your reports. How exciting to see OLB by Lorikeet — 93
  7) Around eight years ago by tethys — 89
  8) I guess I better not admit to not having been by jpmassar — 89
  9) It's not naivete.  It's jealous reactionism by Troubadour — 83
10) What a beautiful story! by chantedor — 82
11) Unexpected as well... we "open sourced" the by noise of rain — 78
12) This is precisely the reason to donate to by Kansas Born — 77
13) stuff is sometimes better than $ by marzook — 77
14) What was he thinking? by joanneleon — 70
15) Taliban cadre. Elections not really their plan. by cskendrick — 66
16) Please Tavis and West were silent under Clinton. by LaurenMonica — 64
17) Patrick Henry must be spinning in his grave by Shockwave — 61
18) They teach the Grand Canyon was created by by dopper0189 — 59
19) It's more the rhetoric I dont like by jj32 — 59
20) I'm sure it's just that I'm tired and still by Jack K — 58
21) They can't ignore us forever by Giles Goat Boy — 57
22) They are con men if they know they are lying by Louise — 57
23) Reminds me of three days ago by Vetwife — 55
24) That is a pretty martial response to you, by noise of rain — 52
25) Copts and Journalist Union by whizdom — 51
26) I know that. I just find it interesting that by blue jersey mom — 50
27) ditto by SingerInTheChoir — 50
28) Ironic since geology actually was first "natural by OHdog — 48
29) Thanks, teacherken by navajo — 47
30) Their counter-arguments by RockyMtnLib — 47
31) My patience for emoprogressives by Mark Mywurtz — 47

Top Pictures for yesterday, November 23rd.  Click any image to be taken to the full comment. Thank you jotter for the image magic!
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