Welcome to Fuzzy Friday! This is an open thread posted every Friday by yours truly. Ostensibly this is a place for members of the Street Prophets group to relax, sip a beverage, and share a thought-- but the door's open. Seriously, wi-i-i-i-ide open! C'mon in, sorry I didn't have time to decorate the egg.
Last week I threw a poll into the coffee blend hoping for some indication of what I should blither about this week. The two most popular answers to the poll were: "Surprise me." and "Explain what a "Street Prophet" is." So, hop on over the hairball and I'll blither for a bit. And no, you don't have to react to my nonsense.
There's a bit of information about Street Prophets that you can scrounge from my old Daily Kos diaries-- um, here and a bit later on here. Lots of lovely links in those diaries that all redirect back to the Street Prophets Group page because the site that used to be Street Prophets is no more. So now the Prophets wander the great orange desert. We'd rather be wandering a great orange dessert -- at least I would. There's the thing, a Street Prophet is not really a concrete concept. It's me, it's them, it's you-- if you want to be. The original Street Prophets site was founded by Pastor Daniel Schultz who still writes in various corners of the interwebs. It was one of a few sites like Mother Talkers that branched off from Daily Kos several years ago. It was one of the first places on the internet where open and respectful conversations about religion and politics took place regularly. Our squabbles were remarkably few considering the topics we were tackling. I mean, you look around the Great Orange Satan whenever someone brings up a religious topic and most of the time you'll find the comments hijacked with anti-religion zealotry. Pastor Dan and I grew up in the same city-- we both knew the glories of listening to Brother Jed, the street preachin' man!
We all have something to say and we all have a lot to learn. That's what drew me to Street Prophets, I wanted to learn and I had a lot of questions to ask. To discover that 'ol punk rock Dan was posting prayers was in itself intriguing. But I came to the site with a love of philosophy and a curiosity about religion and belief that I wanted to satisfy. I tend to shy away from the label 'atheist' when describing myself. There seem to be too many people sharing that label who don't even remotely seem to believe the same things that I do. There's too much intolerance and ignorance wrapped up in most labels. I went to SP hoping to dispel some of my own ignorance and I think it worked. That delightful little dot com was eventually closed down by Markos Moulitsas to ease the server strains on Daily Kos and many of us wandered over here where things are loud and frantic and rude and we've claimed a little blue corner in the angry orange cesspool for ourselves.
Of course, there are a lot of pools around here and not all of them are angry:
I do love to moisten my ankles in The Kiddie Pool.
Anyway, here we are on a street corner of the jolly internets, where all are welcome to step up on a soap box (careful, they don't make 'em like they used to) and let out a mighty yowp! Or just a wee, friendly yowp; perhaps just a dyspeptic yowp?
As for my own yowping, I tend to avoid anything associated with soap. I don't so much stand on a soapbox as stand about yowping in my litterbox.
Lately I've been yowping about equality. I've been enjoying the oral arguments from the Supreme Court in the US. I'm pretty hopeful about the whole thing. I even made a little graphic based on the pink on red equals sign so many people have been using on Facebook for their profile pictures. A couple of the folks I know both here and there have commented on it and I thought I'd share it with the rest of you.
Smooches for equality!
It may just be because I'm an artsy fartsy type (mostly fartsy these days, Ojibwa-- I'm the guy that has skewed the fart statistics) but I find that much of my work and social life revolves around LGBT folk. I've been rather cynical about Senator Rob Portman's change in attitudes but I should think back to when I was a giggling preteen ignoramus walking past a downtown gay bar on a school field trip to the library. I stopped giggling eventually and I'm not entirely sure when the change came. Perhaps it was just a gradual realization that prejudice and ignorance are just not very useful things to cling to. I grew up in a multiracial family so I guess it was an easy transition. I wasn't aware of which of my friends or relatives were gay. I've always been a bit dense when deciphering that sort of thing. And frankly, I was rather too concerned with the sexuality of the girls around me to be even vaguely interested in what the guys were doing. But truly, I am a bit dense. I was the guy that decided to ask a friend to go out on a date on the day she first wore her "Nobody knows I'm a lesbian" t-shirt. But that was when I was in college, the sexuality of all my friends was pretty much just out there on display. I didn't know that any of my friends at my high school were gay. While dating someone from a different school and meeting some of her friends was when I probably was first aware of someone who was openly gay. And he was Pretty in Pink camp. I suppose in my high school there were still enough people who used slang terms for homosexual men as insults that camp was out of the question. I remember when one of the troglodytes called me a "homo" and I fired back with "hetero"-- which really made him go berserk. Ah, good times! poking the monkeys through the bars of their cages. Sigh, I wonder what that jar-headed jock is like now. I wonder if he ever got over his giggling ignorance. I wonder what he thinks about the fight for equality. It's incredible listening to the right-wing pundits stumbling over their own brains lately. It's all rather hopeful.
I enjoy thinking about my own changing attitudes and opinions and what causes the change. I also enjoy challenging my beliefs. I've enjoyed watching this television show from Britain hosted by the fabulous Stephen Fry-- if you're squeamish about sex be warned, it is a popular subject with Fry:
It's a wonderful program for getting your brain wriggling.
I hope you're all having a great Good Friday. Even though my #2 son is turning into a teenager this weekend I'll be donning my bunny ears and hopping about the garden seeking the best hiding places for egg-shaped bits of chocolate.
I've been informed that I'm too late to cut the willow branches for braiding a pomlázka, which is sort of a whippy crop or switch used to flail a bit of youthful vitality into women in these parts. It's one of the stranger traditions I adopted when I moved to Europe. Oh, those crazy Europeans...
I suspect we'll decorate a few eggs. After moving to Prague I learned how to decorate eggs using wax to block the dyes like the technique for decorating fabric called "batik", I also learned a lovely method of coloring eggs using onion skins. You take white eggs and place little leaves and bits of grasses on them that you then hold in place by tying the egg into a bit of old stocking, gauze or lace. Then you boil the egg with yellow onion skins in water. It makes a lovely brown egg with patterns from the leaves and lace in a delicate yellow.
So 'tis Easter, it's perhaps appropriate that some conservative heads are popping open like eggs filled with delightful, warm, fuzzy fluff. Peep peep! The season of rebirth is perhaps finally bringing change to the Republican party. As they skitter about frantically trying to cling to their old hatreds like cockroaches trying to cross a hotplate, it seems to me that if their indefensible arguments for inequality crumble away completely perhaps some of their other dumb ideas might also be in danger of crumbling. Dumb ideas like imposing dictatorial overlords on whole cities in Michigan. Or how about making the government a dictatorial overlord for every woman in the entire USA... there's a real brain popper for the small government folks to ponder once they give up on trying to justify their defense of discrimination. I will be braiding my pomlázka and encouraging them on their way to enlightenment. A few good mental whomps to make their minds young and vital-- fertile, fecund, positively pregnant with ideas whose time is long overdue.