Brothers and Sisters and Banality
By Robert David Sullivan (escargot555 at yahoo dot com)
Gilbeau was undoubtedly heroic, but I thought a Good Samaritan, by definition, was someone who goes out of his way (or misses church, in the original story) to help a stranger. Here the term just seems confusing, and even euphemistic in a way I can't figure out. Why not just say that the two men were friends or neighbors, or some other vague term that doesn't come from a parable specifically about providing aid to someone one has never met before?
Gilbeau, Bash, and two women had been at a bar in Vergennes before returning to the Hinesburg trailer where Bash and his girlfriend lived. The couples had retired to separate rooms for the night when Gilbeau heard Bash and his girlfriend fighting, according to the affidavit filed by Vermont State Police Detective Sergeant James Whitcomb.
A 6-year-old Brooklyn girl's family was threatened with a $300 fine after a neighbor complained to the city about the girl's blue chalk drawings. The absurd warning from the city Sanitation Department arrived Oct. 5, a few days after Natalie Shea scribbled a blue flower on her parents' 10th St. stoop in Park Slope.
I understand the "broken windows" theory, but if you're worried that a little girl's drawing of a flower can tip your neighborhood into the slum category, you're probably better off in a gated community.
On an unrelated note, I was intrigued by the last pararaph of the story, which is an altered quote from the little girl's mother:
"I'm a good New Yorker. I like to obey the rules," she said. "If it's really illegal for Natalie to use chalk on her own stoop, if that's really upsetting to Mayor [Bloomberg], I will comply."
Why the brackets around "Bloomberg"? Did she really call him "Mayor Jerkwad" or something? Maybe she thought Rudy Giuliani was still mayor, which makes no sense because Rudy would have made a special trip to Brooklyn to see little Natalie put in handcuffs.
Labels: City life
Gay bars: As The Orlando Sentinel noted in a recent article, around the country gay bars have been going out of business as gay men and women have been gaining greater acceptance in society. What used to be a hangout for people who felt unwelcome elsewhere is becoming less necessary. Odds of survival in 10 years: As with many industries, the very best of them will endure; the rest won't.Greater acceptance in society as a whole, particularly among younger generations, is indeed one reason for the drying-up of the gay bar scene. (I'm still mourning Dedo here in Boston, but then I'm old enough to remember the Napoleon Club, the 1270, and Buddy's.) Here are the other nine reasons: 2.) The raising of the drinking age to 21 and the prohibition of happy hours in some states (like Massachusetts) has taught young adults to find other ways to entertain themselves at just the time that they're establishing lifelong habits. And $10 martinis don't help. 3.) Neighborhood groups in Boston, New York, and other large cities are increasingly unlikely to tolerate gay bars in their midst, as they fight against anything that might be noisy or bring "outsiders" to the area. This isn't necessarily a form of homophobia, since gay residents are often the loudest opponents to gay bars. 4.) More gays and lesbians are moving out to the suburbs, both because such communities are becoming gay-friendly and because "livable" large cities are becoming so expensive. 5.) Rents and property values in gentrified cities (often gentrified by gay men) are so high that it doesn't make economic sense to open a business tailored to a narrow demographic group. 6.) Manhunt, craigslist, and other forms of online hooking up. 7.) Gay men and lesbians socializing together more than in the past, and the difficulty of figuring out a bar atmosphere that appeals to both groups but somehow doesn't attract a large straight clientele. 8.) Strippers and porn videos are not such a big draw now that bare skin is so accessible through other means. And they turn off a large segment of the gay clientele anyway (some of whom see go-go boys as an occasional treat rather than a weekly attraction). 9.) Musical tastes among gay men are a lot more splintered than during the disco era. Put three random gay men in a gay bar, and two of them (maybe all three) will flee with their fingers in their ears. 10.) Too many gay bars have aggressive patrons, which can turn off guys who just want to meet friends and aren't interested in going home with anyone. Unfortunately, one busy troll (sorry, I can't think of a euphemism) can make his way through an entire bar and ensure that dozens of guys will never come back.
A scene in TV's Desperate Housewives that used Philippine medical education for a punchline prompted angry calls from viewers, an online petition demanding an apology and criticism from Philippine officials. In the season premiere that aired Sunday on ABC, Teri Hatcher's character, Susan, goes in for a medical checkup and is shocked when the doctor suggests she may be going through menopause. ... "OK, before we go any further, can I check these diplomas? Just to make sure they aren't, like, from some med school in the Philippines?" Susan fires back. Viewers called the network to complain but the number of callers wasn't available, an ABC spokesman said Wednesday. As of Wednesday evening, more than 30,000 names were attached to an online petition seeking a network apology. ... ABC said it was considering editing the episode.If an ill-informed and self-absorbed fictional character isn't allowed to say anything ill-informed and self-absorbed, I don't know why I would waste my time watching the TV show she's on. The chilling effect of ABC's "maybe we'll edit this out" statement scares me away from a series like Dirty Sexy Money, which is ostensibly about badly behaving people with money. I'm afraid it even makes me reluctant to watch Friday Night Lights, given how many story possibilities must be off limits on NBC. (There is, for example, the rule against TV characters choosing to have abortions.) Thank God for even below-par HBO shows.
Labels: Food and drink