so the other night i had to run home on my lunch hour to grab the laptop i'd forgotten--century city to laurel canyon and back; normally 40 minutes, tops--and found myself mired in honking, bumper-to-bumper traffic before i'd even made the transition from beverly hills to west hollywood, tryin to figure out what and why the fuck.
and then it hit me--the supreme court decision knocking down prop 8 had come down today, and i was about to find out once more why santa monica boulevard on a night of gay hysteria was the last place anyone on a timetable wanted to be.
as i inched my way forward through the throngs of screaming LGBTUVWXYZ's of every stripe waving their rainbow flags and tearing their tits off with joy, i reflected once more on how much less i cared about this than about a little story i'd read online that day.
imagine you're a normal guy with a normal job who's gotten involved with the occupy movement after becoming fed up with the bailouts and get-outta-jail-free cards that had been handed out to the big banks after they'd wrecked the economy of the world.
and you've decided to involve yourself in a little mild activism in the form of scrawling anti-bank messages on sidewalks in front of bank of america branches in southern california.
hateful, inflamatory, anti-social, riot-inciting messages such as "shame on bank of america".
and, even worse, "no thanks, big banks".
impermanent, erasable, washable chalk.
on the sidewalk.
and how, as a result of these heinous crimes, and in spite of the fact that not one executive from the bank in question has seen even a day in jail for the consequences of his world-class greed and malfeasance, you now face thirteen years in prison for daring to express your outrage over that fact.
and how--in fact, what had brought the story to light that day--the judge on the case had chosen to interpret your actions not as the simple expression of a citizen's outrage that they clearly were, but as criminal vandalism; and consequently had just ruled that you would not be allowed to invoke the first amendment in your defense.
clear message to the rest of the sheep: you fuck with the banks, you forfeit your rights.
because you're an enemy of the state, you see.
but that little story wasn't enough to make me write this post--i mean, maybe you people think i enjoy being a buzzkill and a Bad Fag, but i really don't. it was the one today, coming right on top of the one the other day (and all the others much like it i've seen lately), that tipped the balance in my head.
imagine you're a kid--a typical dumb, clueless american kid--playing an online video game, and you respond to some facebook comment from an opponent claiming you're crazy with something like the following:
Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head, I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still beating heartsand then you follow up with
jkand then you go on about your business, forget all about your little joke, little knowing that some woman in canada saw it, became alarmed, looked you up, found you lived near an elementary school and alerted the local authorities.
and then next thing you know, you're arrested for making terroristic threats and held in jail for months and months awating trial, facing eight years in prison, while your parents bankrupt themselves in a futile effort to try and get you out.
and your dad goes on television, not to vent his outrage that his son, a citizen of the united states of america, could be arrested and face years in prison for a joke, but to beg and promise that if they'll give you a pass just this once, you'll be a good little sheep from now on, for ever and ever.
but, no dice--not a fuckin' chance.
because you're an enemy of the state, you see.
i remember back when i was a kid, and the plane hijackings started, and the authorities announced that thenceforth, any jokes made about hijackings or bombs in an airport or on board a plane, no matter how light-hearted, would be construed as true threats and treated accordingly, and how uneasy that made everyone at the time, but that this abridgement of our right to free expression was probably necessary to keep us safe.
well, while you were sleeping, that little mandate's been somewhat expanded--by, first, the PATRIOT act, and more recently (and courtesy of the bestest, most gay-friendly president ever), the NDAA, to the point that no one knows what's a crime anymore--under these new laws, it can be whatever they decide it is. and now we know the NSA is listening to and reading every word we utter. so now the whole goddam country is basically one big 747.
and as they continue to dismantle our consitution with one hand, they'll toss us the occasional shiny, distracting bauble with the other, and we'll dance in the streets in response, and wave our rainbow flags and celebrate.
so enjoy your new freedom to marry, but watch what you say, and what you do--and for god's sake, when those kids come along, make sure and teach 'em not to point their fingers at anyone and say 'bang'.
and if you do screw up without even knowing why, console yourself with the knowledge that at least you'll be able to get gay-married in prison.
hell, they might even let you have conjugal visits.