Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Dead Air: Alice's Restaurant

What kind of hippie am I, that I didn't post this last year?

Happy Thanksgiving, and if you have 20 minutes, have a listen. (Remember, it's all true!) I apologize for Arlo's rather impersonal use of the word "faggots"--which might be why I didn't use it last year. This was recorded in 1967, two years before Stonewall. In the newer version, Arlo quit saying it. I am offering the original here, for historical accuracy.

See you when I get back from Atlanta, where I am taking myself and my clunky leg cast. It's healing VERY slowly, which is undoubtedly due to the fact that it wasn't properly set for 5 days. Argh. But I know if I don't go, I'll feel worse than if I do!

PS: LEAVE THE TURKEYS ALONE, they are innocent and didn't do anything to you!


Alice's Restaurant, part 1 - Arlo Guthrie

Alice's Restaurant, part 2

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Homeschooling parents apply for political asylum

Not sure what I think of this. Since when is homeschooling a partisan political position, worthy of protections? Hmmm.

This is hitting several of the right wing blogs, including World Net Daily. These are the kinds of immigrants they approve of!

Christian News Wire reports:

HSLDA Files Political Asylum Case

Contact: Ian Slatter, Home School Legal Defense Association, 540-338-8663

PURCELLVILLE, Virginia, Nov. 18 /Christian Newswire/ -- A homeschooling family who recently fled Germany has filed for political asylum in the United States. "The persecution of homeschoolers in Germany has dramatically intensified," said HSLDA staff attorney Michael P. Donnelly. "They are regularly fined thousands of dollars, sent to prison, or have the custody of their children taken away simply because they choose to home educate."

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike formerly of Bissingen, Germany along with their five children made it to the United States in August of this year. The family has settled in Eastern Tennessee where they have been warmly welcomed by local homeschool supporters and are being assisted by HSLDA.

Uwe Romeike, a music teacher, and his wife Hannelore, are grateful for the support they have received from HSLDA and American homeschoolers.

"The freedom we have to homeschool our children in Tennessee is wonderful. We don't have to worry about looking over our shoulder anymore wondering when the youth welfare officials will come or how much money we have to pay in fines," said Mrs. Romeike.

"We have received so much love and support," said Mr. Romeike. "Our children are no longer homesick. They are so happy to be homeschooled here. We left family members, our home, and a wonderful community in Germany, but the well-being of our children made it necessary."

"By supporting a political asylum application we will be able to shine the light of truth on this real and ongoing problem. A successful application will provide a path to safety for German homeschool families escaping persecution," said Donnelly.

HSLDA, with support from the Alliance Defense Fund, has hired immigration attorney Will Humble of Houston, Texas to handle this groundbreaking case.

For more information about Germany's persecution of homeschoolers, visit
Why is homeschooling more worthy of asylum than trying to get a decent job in the USA? Is this dad employed? (Of course, with all his new right wing droogs, he will likely get a pretty good gig.)

I am continually amazed by which immigrants get the green light and have their causes championed, and which don't.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Van Robert Ault 1956-1996

Photo of Van from Our Faerie Ancestors, used with tremendous gratitude!


One thing I loved about the TV show SIX FEET UNDER, was Nate's continuous apparitions of his father.

When you know someone very well, you know what they would say. You just know. Other times, you are dying to know.

I remember wishing Van a happy belated birthday, the same week as the People's Temple disaster. (He had attended the church a couple of times, pronouncing it "odd.") "Oh honey, those poor people! I can't bear it!" And those words echo, as I watch the TV shows chronicling the horrific events of 30 years ago. And I miss him, the one who couldn't bear it.

Missing my friend, one of the touchstones of my life, is almost impossible to write about. I have tried several times. What can you say about the sort of individual who is simply LARGER than life? An amazing, dynamic, theatrical personality who was a fountain of love, ferocious wit and unending generosity? I can say: he took me in when I had nowhere to go, fresh off a Greyhound bus from the midwest. He shared his home with me. He gave me the beginner's course in San Francisco 101, what to watch out for, who to trust, who not to trust. I couldn't have functioned there without him; my guide, my mentor for the city.

He was my best friend.

But I find I can't describe him accurately. He was just too big for words. His eyes were bright green, like a cat's. (If you dared ask him if they were contacts, he would mimic slapping you; they weren't.) He was 6'4" and struggled with keeping weight on his whole life. I met him when we were both 15 and he was already full-grown but weighed only 135 lbs. People gaped at him; the word gaunt barely covers it. He took me to the Chattanooga Choo-Choo restaurant in Tennessee and Glide Memorial Church and the I-Beam in San Francisco. He took me to gay bars and introduced me to the first drag queens I had ever seen in person. We danced late, late into the night at discos. He showed me porn and than ran it backward: "Watch how THIS looks!" and then hooted and squealed.

He was either the president or vice president of the official Supremes fan club. He would be mad at me for not remembering which. I have a photo of him with Mary Wilson, and on the back, his trademark scribble: "Don't I look like I'm coming?!" Yes, he did.

In short, I adored him. And I can barely write this. One of the major losses of my life, this beautiful person.


"What are THESE?" said the naive girl from the midwest, leafing through Van's wallet. There were several colorful, plastic membership cards to the popular San Francisco bath houses. "Do you take baths there?" asks naive, unaware Daisy.

"Well I suppose you could!" he winked at me. "But I don't know anyone who does!" I asked about the sexual protocol of the bath houses, and he told me everything.


Left: Van wrote several new-age books in the 80s, and was on the staff of MAGICAL BLEND magazine. (I'm not sure if it is still publishing or not, but can't locate a decent web page.)

By the 90s, I had moved to the south, the same place he had escaped from. He tried to talk me out of it. "It's changed, Van, really," I said on the phone.

"Not nearly enough," he sniffed at me. He called it "Baptistland" and would sing made-up lyrics to the tune of Bruce Springsteen's "Jungleland"--down in BAP-TIST-LAAAAAND! Always, always, making me laugh.

I attempted to tactfully approach the subject of the bath houses, the MATH, the sheer MATH. Mathematical probabilities. I got sick when I thought of it, got a headache.

I couldn't tell him that, so I just asked: "Are you worried? Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," he said. And then he sent me a sparkly pagan greeting card assuring me that he was okay, while also informing me that he was HIV positive. "Constant changes," he added, signing his name.

Constant changes?

I wept, but composed myself before calling. "You calling to see if I'm still here?" he asked, acidly.

I shot back, "Maybe I am, what's wrong with that?"

"Don't lose that sass, sister-woman!" he ordered, laughing.

I've tried not to.


An actor (as well as writer), he liked to make phone calls 'in character'--invariably pretending to be other people. For my phone calls, it was Baptist preachers. In his best televangelist voice (which was remarkably authentic), he would shout into the phone at me: "I'm calling from Bloody Jesus Baptist Church, and would like to ask you to ATTEND THIS SUNDAY. Are you SAVED?" He changed the name of the church each time, and on at least two occasions, actually faked me out. He would chuckle, then gloriously guffaw, if he had actually fooled you. He did it to everybody. I heard him call a friend on the phone and pretend to be Laurence Olivier.

"He won't call me back, but betcha he calls LARRY!" he said to me, after hanging up.


(deep sigh) I love you, dearest Van. I missed your Scorpio birthday, because it has taken me since November 11th to write this coherently. Last year, could not manage it at all. I promised myself, this year. This year, I will write it.

Van's apparition says to me, "Don't take that stuff too seriously!" then muses, "If I'd had the internet, honey? I'd put it to some excellent uses!"

And the apparition adds, "Try not to waste your time, okay? Just don't waste it."

I won't. I promise, I won't.


When I left the Bay Area, he made me a mix tape. "This will make you think of me, and you can take it everywhere you go and think of---(((here he sang a deep baritone C)))---MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!"

And I did.

This was the last song on it.

Lena Horne - Believe in yourself (from "The Wiz")

Believe in yourself, as I believe in you.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bob Jones University issues apology about ‘racially hurtful’ policies of the past

Left: Bob Jones III announces an end to the unpopular ban on interracial dating on CNN's The Larry King Show, March 2000.


The local news this morning is all about Pope Bubba issuing an official apology, just like the "big churches" have. Not to be outdone, he is issuing his own Papal bull, as well!

Although from the looks of it, this is not the doing of BJ3 or son Stephen Jones, current president of BJU. (As stated in my previous piece, Bob Jones VI was not considered morally fit to be University president and the gig therefore went to little brother.) This comes directly from the students and alumni! DEMOCRACY at BJU? I admit, I'm impressed. (Could be a dangerous precedent, letting people express themselves!)

Maybe someday, the apology for arresting gay people who dare to step foot on school property (see link above), will also be issued.

Bob Jones University issues apology about ‘racially hurtful’ policies of the past

By Ron Barnett • STAFF WRITER • November 22, 2008
Greenville News

Bob Jones University has posted a statement on its Web site apologizing for its "racially hurtful" policies of the past, after hundreds of alumni and students signed a petition calling for an apology.

The fundamentalist Christian school on Wade Hampton Boulevard didn’t admit black students before 1971 and didn’t allow interracial dating until 2000.

"In so doing, we failed to accurately represent the Lord and to fulfill the commandment to love others as ourselves," the statement says. "For these failures we are profoundly sorry."

The statement traces the 81-year-old institution’s policies to the segregationist culture of the past rather than any theological reasons.

"Though no known antagonism toward minorities or expressions of racism on a personal level have ever been tolerated on our campus, we allowed institutional policies to remain in place that were racially hurtful," the statement says.

The university, which is not affiliated with any denomination, has students from all 50 states and nearly 50 countries, and solicits financial support for two scholarships for minority applicants, the statement says.

BJU President Stephen Jones, great-grandson of the school’s founder, is out of the country, and his father, Bob Jones III, the chancellor and past president, could not be reached for comment.

A university vice president would not comment, saying the statement speaks for the institution’s position. He did not mention the petition when asked what precipitated the apology.

The school fought a long court battle with the federal government when the IRS revoked its tax-exempt status because of its racially discriminatory policies.

A 1983 Supreme Court decision upholding the revocation notes that, "The sponsors of the university genuinely believe that the Bible forbids interracial dating and marriage." But the apology makes no mention of a biblical basis for the policies.

Instead, it says: "For almost two centuries American Christianity, including BJU in its early stages, was characterized by the segregationist ethos of American culture. Consequently, for far too long, we allowed institutional policies regarding race to be shaped more directly by that ethos than by the principals and precepts of the Scriptures.

"We conformed to the culture rather than provide a clear Christian counterpoint to it."

More than 500 students and alumni signed an online letter that was delivered to BJU’s president, board of trustees and administration on Wednesday, according to a Web site set up by the group.

"The school is widely known as segregationist, bigoted, and racist. Some of us were not aware of this reputation while we attended the university and were baffled when we encountered negative perceptions from others after we graduated," the letter, posted on the Web site, says.

"We see it in people’s faces and hear it in their comments and reactions upon learning where we went to school. Sometimes we encounter it in job interviews — troubling times to be confronted about racial prejudice. For some of us, employees suspect our motives as employers.

"Those of us who are ministers and spiritual leaders must explain our association with the university to minority congregants."

The apology met with skepticism from Greenville County Councilwoman Lottie Gibson, who recalls a "frightening experience" on campus in the early 1950s when she had gone to deliver food to a student and was told that "Negroes were not welcome here."

"Where I am with the Lord I want to forgive them," she said, when told of the apology. "It is just very difficult for me to give a clear forgiveness. I’m going to have to watch and see how this comes out."

County Auditor Scott Case, a white BJU graduate, said the interracial dating ban was "a non-issue" during his years at the school, 1983-87.

"I do not remember as a student ever having heard it discussed or talked about," he said.
Let me tell you, former (Republican) Councilman Scott Case couldn't find his butt with both hands, so this fact isn't surprising.

I share Councilwoman Gibson's skepticism. We'll see.

It's interesting that BJU always seems to be a generation behind. They are finally getting with the program about race, but still offer no apologies for their open homophobia, and are in fact proud of it. As they were once quite proud of their racial policies.

Reading the statement, it sounds like an association with Bob Jones University has cost graduates a few jobs, hasn't it? On the Please Reconcile website, above, is this quote:
Dr. Bob Jones Jr. once wrote, “I try to avoid any statement for which I might have to apologize. If my enemies try to use against me something I have said, I reply, ‘I said it, I meant it, and I will now reemphasize it’” (Cornbread and Caviar, 84). He said it, he meant it, and he spends a number of pages in that chapter of Cornbread and Caviar illustrating his devotion to this dictum.

What is truly unfortunate is that this statement applied not only to actual enemies, but also to Christian brothers. Friends who advised against certain statements and positions unwittingly became enemies. It was supposed that they were resisting the authority of the administrative family, even if the rebuke was carried out in private and with the intent of brotherly correction. Few issues brought as much contention as the issue of race, and exhortations to change positions met with a thunderous defense.
And the same is happening right now, with the issue of homophobia. Bob Jones University does not allow openly GLBT students to attend, period.

Back in August, I got in an argument with one of their employees about this. They obviously don't want to be called what they are: BIGOTS.

When they renounce ALL hate, I might pay attention to them and take them seriously. As it is now, they finally renounce their racism, only when a black man is about to be sworn in as President of the USA.

Better late than never, I suppose.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Bike race

Happy Wordless Wednesday... and thanks to everyone who sent me a sympathetic email about my broken bone. YALL ARE THE BEST AND I LOVE YOU!!! (((snifff)))

Below, the St Francis Hospital bike race at Fall for Greenville, last month. As I said in that post, took me three laps before I understood that these fellas are as fast as The Flash, and I had to start clicking before the first one passes. As it was, I kept getting only the bikers at the end... the second picture is the last three bikers!

This doesn't bode well for a future in sports photography, don't think.

If you are here for Wordless Wednesday, hope you will hang around, enjoy yourself and come back!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Links and whining for your Tuesday

Sign reads: Local peaches on right! (Only a dullard could resist.)


Still recovering at home, against my will. I have assorted documentation and will therefore get paid anyway, so that is something. No thanks to anti-labor Republicans!

I have debated blogging over my current disaster. But the fact is, it's embarrassing. I'll let you all guess: What is the first sign of getting old? What happens to old ladies, like clockwork? If you guess right, I'll fess up. Pretty shoddy of me, since I like to think I am Big Disability Rights Advocate Womyn!!! Ha, well, I guess not when it's ME, and some rather predictable old-lady thing. But that's how it works, yes? You don't get to choose these things yourself.

Onward, with the linkage, and your required reading/listening.

Aunt B writes some awesomeness about country music. Pertinent quote:

My contention is and has always been that country music and urban music are the fun-house mirror reflections of each other–both share many of the same themes: deep pride in where one is from cut through with a strain of shame and anger about the circumstances one came from; a definition of manliness based in sexual prowess; a fascination with violence and guns; deep pride and anger about being outside of the mainstream; a definition of womanhood that is either based on very traditional notions of femininity or on being able to out-man the men; a love of vehicles; drinking; honoring tradition; and Mama.

And it’s no surprise to see them dancing around each other while very rarely crossing over. You can count the successful, respected white rappers on one hand, and use the other hand to count the successful, black country singers.

I bring all this up because I want to make a point about what country music means in terms of its racial focus and make-up. Country music is not usually “white” music. It’s traditionally specifically for white people who are outside of the mainstream, but who believe themselves to be some kind of bearer of Truth, some authentic experience unavailable to most folks, who are not “regular” folks.

In other words, it’s music of “regular” white people, but white folks who, in claiming regularity are claiming that in opposition to what most white folks have.
This kind of writing is why I am now addicted to Aunt B's blog!

Smirking Chimp reminds us: Think U.S. is moving far left? That terrain's not even close. And he explains why, too, which is the really depressing part.

Speaking of disability activism, check out Crip Chick's post on Sins Invalid, particularly the attractive and riveting Rodney Bell (first clip). Oh my!

When such people exist, why do they give reality TV shows to increasingly uninteresting, boring clones? I ask you: Where is Rodney's show????

The death of trans woman Duanna Johnson is being discussed by many bloggers, and will certainly be part of The International Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20th.

If there is no event in your city, you could start your own. Here in the most conservative county in the USA, folks usually just meet over coffee and talk about books, blogs, and community--but that is something.

And it means, as always, passing the important knowledge on. And on.

Jill at Feministe points us to a fantastic article in THE ECONOMIST, about the dumbing down of the Republican party:
Many conservatives—particularly lower-income ones—are consumed with elemental fury about everything from immigration to liberal do-gooders. They take their opinions from talk-radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and the deeply unsubtle Sean Hannity. And they regard Mrs Palin’s apparent ignorance not as a problem but as a badge of honour.

Another reason is the degeneracy of the conservative intelligentsia itself, a modern-day version of the 1970s liberals it arose to do battle with: trapped in an ideological cocoon, defined by its outer fringes, ruled by dynasties and incapable of adjusting to a changed world. The movement has little to say about today’s pressing problems, such as global warming and the debacle in Iraq, and expends too much of its energy on xenophobia, homophobia and opposing stem-cell research.

Conservative intellectuals are also engaged in their own version of what Julian Benda dubbed la trahison des clercs, the treason of the learned. They have fallen into constructing cartoon images of “real Americans”, with their “volkish” wisdom and charming habit of dropping their “g”s. Mrs Palin was invented as a national political force by Beltway journalists from the Weekly Standard and the National Review who met her when they were on luxury cruises around Alaska, and then noisily championed her cause.
I wondered where they got her from. CRUISES! Well, this explains plenty.

And finally, POP FEMINIST gives a 70-minute interview about what it's like to grow up with a pornographer mother!

Hmph! Just when you think your childhood was the weirdest of em all, someone comes along and OUTDOES you.


During my endless convalescence, my (never that solid) sanity has been saved by streaming the wonderful RadioIO. (Although hearing the late Porter Wagoner's "The Rubber Room" was a rather bizarre experience.) I was inordinately pleased to hear Robin Trower's "Too Rolling Stoned" after about 30 years. If you are up for over 7 minutes of psychedelic gee-tar, blowing your little mind (and certainly, I have nowhere else to go, dunno about yourself!)--please check it out... if you can't dig the first minute, as Queen Emily might say, you are rubbish! :P

And if you rock out to the whole thing? Go, my child, and sin no more. You've been redeemed!

Robin Trower - Too Rolling Stoned

Monday, November 17, 2008


At left, my favorite Lana Turner expression: stricken, freaked-out, NOOOOOOoooooOOOOO!!!!!--with scenery-chewing aplenty. Even though it's Annie's death scene, Lana takes over the screen with her melodramatic blondness. (She always looked utterly fabulous.)

While Mr Daisy read a high-minded historical biography of Andrew Jackson, I sat there watching, yes, IMITATION OF LIFE, probably for the 100th time. I find it impossible to stop once I have started. I was one of those fan-girls who yelped with joy when John Travolta ordered the "Douglas Sirk steak" at Jack Rabbit Slim's in PULP FICTION. Douglas Sirk!

He was born Hans Detlef Sierck, which if you think about it, wouldn't sound nearly as good on the menu at Jack Rabbit Slim's:

Sirk's melodramas of the 1950s, while highly commercially successful, were generally very poorly received by reviewers. His films were considered unimportant (because they revolve around female and domestic issues), banal (because of their focus on larger-than-life feelings) and unrealistic (because of their conspicuous style).
You can see the similarity to feminist blogging, she winked!

This dismissal of Sirk's films changed drastically in the 1970s when his work was re-examined by British and French critics. From around 1970 there was a considerable interest among academic film scholars for Sirk's work - especially his American melodramas. Often centering on the formerly criticized style, his films were now seen as masterpieces of irony. The plots of the films were no longer taken at face value, and the analyses instead found that the films really criticized American society underneath the banal surface plot. The criticism of the 1970s and early 1980s was dominated by an ideological take on Sirk's work, gradually changing from being Marxist-inspired in the early 1970s to being focused on gender and sexuality in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Well, I didn't need no European snobs to tell me that this is some great stuff. I was eagerly watching these movies as a kid, with the same unbridled abandon I used to read Harold Robbins novels or R. Crumb comic books, always thinking: I'm not supposed to be doing this, for some reason.

IMITATION OF LIFE has the fascinating distinction of having been based on the 1933 novel written by Fannie Hurst:

Hurst, a white woman, was deeply involved in the Harlem Renaissance, and for a time lived with Zora Neale Hurston. Both Hurston and Langston Hughes claimed to like Imitation of Life, though both revoked their opinion after Sterling Allen Brown lambasted both the book and the first film in a review titled Imitation of Life: Once a Pancake, a reference to a line in the first film. The novel Imitation of Life continues to be highly controversial, as some read it as heavy-handed stereotyping, while others see it as a more subtle and subversive satire of and commentary on race, sex, and class in early 20th century America. Both text and films have remained deeply embedded in American consciousness, for better or worse, as evidenced by Toni Morrison's use of a character named "Pecola" in her 1970 novel The Bluest Eye.
Left: Mahalia Jackson, sings at Annie's funeral in the overwrought finale.

The first version, directed by John M. Stahl in 1934, didn't move me much, and has too many side-plots weighing the movie down. As in Hurst's original novel, the story of the racially-passing child is just too incendiary, and simply couldn't be the entire focus of a 30s movie. It was far too early and scary for racial honesty from Hollywood, and too early and scary for the (intended white) audience to absorb. By 1959, everything racial in the US was dangerously teetering and ready to go BOOM, and in Sirk's second version of the story, he goes whole hog and everything suitably bursts wide open, technicolor, bammo, in your face. (It's my opinion that only a foreign director could go this far in the 50s, having had no "direct involvement" in the ongoing American Racial Drama.) For instance, teen idol Troy Donahue (!!) [1] beats up the biracial Sarah-Jane when he discovers that she is passing, to the shock of the slack-jawed 50s audience. At the end, Mahalia Jackson sings Trouble of the World, and holy God, not a dry eye in the house.

And I should fess up. I love Lana Turner. She is almost in the same category as my Goddess Elizabeth. Unfortunately, Lana wasn't quite an actress, as was Liz, who had that uncanny born-in-cinema ability to make you believe anything. With Lana, you are periodically thinking, Oh come ON (with the steamy exception of THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE). Lana's life was movie-material itself. Her daughter, Cheryl Crane, went on trial for the murder of Lana's mobster lover, Johnny Stompanato. My mother, who knew everything, told me Lana really did it. (Thus, I grew up staring at Lana in abject wonder; I figured any woman who gets away with stabbing a mobster and pinning it on her daughter must be some kind of evil genius.) [2]

The parellel tracks of Lora and Susie (Sandra Dee) [3] in the film, and Lana and Cheryl in real life, are incredible to think about, since Lora portrays an actress in the film, as well. "Oh mama, STOP ACTING!" Susie begs her at one point, and Lora looks genuinely annoyed...did she hit a nerve? (Did Cheryl ever tell Lana that, in real life?) And this is a standard narrative (unhappy daughters) in Hollywood's "women pictures"--as it was in MILDRED PIERCE. From Stephen Handzo's article at Bright Lights Film Journal:
If the working-class male was the presumed audience for the gangster film, one supposes the hypothetical patron of the woman's picture to have been a housewife rather than the aggressive career woman the films depicted. As in Mildred Pierce, the first half of Imitation of Life allows the housewife to experience vicariously the excitement of a career — and a glamorous one. Turner wears $1,000,000 worth of jewels in the film and a $78,000 Jean Louis wardrobe — 34 costume changes at an average cost of $2,214.13 each. (Even the film's main title is superimposed over cascading jewels that eventually clog the screen.) Although she is supposed to be a great actress, Turner is utilized to conform to her negative critical reputation as a "clothes horse."

The second half of the classic woman's picture demonstrates that money does not buy happiness, which can only come from being successful in love, thereby reassuring the spectator that she was actually better off than the woman she has been encouraged to envy and enabling her to leave the film reconciled to returning to the domestic situation.
Even with the predictable chick flick baggage, IMITATION OF LIFE delivers on the big front, it's daring address of race in the 50s. Juanita Moore is prevailed upon to act like a saint in her role as Annie, which doesn't leave much room for interpretation. Perhaps if she'd been more human, 50s audiences would not have identified with her? She had to be "perfect"--but the 50s idea of perfect. Now, all of her "Miss Lora's" are like bludgeons to our (supposedly) advanced race-relations sensibilities. In my lifetime, I have gone from believing that Annie was completely honest with Lora, to realizing how careful she was in what she allowed her to see. There is a great exchange in which Lora believes Annie doesn't have any friends of her own, and Annie corrects her. She goes to the Baptist church, she tells her, and she knows lots of people. Lora says, "Annie, I never knew."

"Miss Lora," Annie says, "You never asked."

Susan Kohner, the Jewish-Mexican woman who plays angry Sarah Jane, strikes just the right notes in her performance. The scene in which she dances in her bedroom after making her decision to pass as white, is almost scary in its solipsism, as she kicks over a stuffed lamb for emphasis. She is fabulous in the role, but I think it's interesting that a racially-mixed African-American actress (such as Dorothy Dandridge or Lena Horne) [4] wasn't cast, although either would have been equally wonderful. I think the fact that nobody knew for sure WHAT Kohner was (she played a lot of Native Americans in Hollywood) worked well in the role. Everyone "knew" Dandridge and Horne were black. But the mystery of Kohner's ethnicity played well for the story, and added to the plot in a personal way. In several scenes, you can almost hear the 50s audience marveling that she could have fooled anyone! Which is the whole idea.

Handzo comments:

Annie is the self-sacrificing mother dear to tearjerkers but to little purpose. Sara Jane wants something that even Mildred Pierce's money couldn't buy: white skin.

Where it is a common fault of both liberal problem pictures and soap operas to talk their issues to death, Imitation of Life excels in explicit directness. When Kohner's boyfriend (Troy Donahue) discovers that she has been passing for white, he beats her mercilessly. Instead of underplaying the melodramatic scene in the name of "good taste," Sirk intensifies it.

Kohner's escape from her racial identity takes the form of dancing in nightclubs; although the chorus lines are all white, this is a form of show business traditionally open to blacks as opposed to the "legitimate" theater of Turner's career. (Nevertheless, Lana Turner provides an indirect role model for Kohner just as Juanita Moore functions as a mother substitute to Dee.) In further contrast to the subdued colors of Turner's world, the nightclubs are a garish wonderland of reds and purples and all the gaudiness stereotypically associated with blacks merchandised to sensation-seeking whites.

Moore chases Kohner to Hollywood, where she finally agrees never to embarrass her daughter again by being seen with her.
The scene in which Annie follows Sarah-Jane to her new apartment, is famous. Three-hanky alert! Make sure you have plenty of kleenex first, before watching:


It is only with Annie's death that Sara Jane again acknowledges her mother. For the funeral scene, Sirk pulls out all the stops, even to Mahalia Jackson singing "Trouble of the World." Yet all the brilliant hues of the stained-glass windows and floral arrangements serve to throw into relief the most potent visual elements in this color film about color that are black and white: the white hearse requested by Annie, the white casket upon which Sara Jane flings herself hysterically when she finally realizes the emotional cost of this posthumous whiteness. As a final inversion, the white women, Turner and Dee, and Kohner, who wanted to be white, are reunited in Turner's black Chrysler limousine, temporarily equalized by the black of mourning.
This elaborate, overdone, melodramatic and beautiful soap-opera has a rock-hard truth at its core, which is what keeps some of us coming back to it again and again. What an interesting movie to show so soon after our recent election!

It's a new day, and let's hope our Sarah Janes never feel they must make such choices, ever again.


[1] During commercials, I was flipping back and forth from IMITATION OF LIFE to the GODFATHER movies, wherein Troy Donahue plays Connie Corleone's would-be husband, Merle, immortalized thusly: "Now, I don't know this Merle--I don't know what he does--I don't know what he lives on." (A shared catchphrase between me and Mr Daisy, regarding those interesting people who have no visible means of support.) Donahue's real name, in fact, was Merle Johnson. How amazing to see the arrogant teen idol morph into a middle-aged gigolo right before my eyes!

Cover of Cheryl Crane's memoir, DETOUR.

[2] Obviously, nobody but Cheryl Crane, Lana Turner, and the deceased Johnny Stompanato, will ever know what really happened. But the standard Hollywood gossip and movie-magazine narrative was that Lana killed Johnny, and underage Cheryl took the fall for it, because she wouldn't get an adult sentence. Speaking of Harold Robbins, this was also the brazenly-stolen plot of his novel and subsequent movie Where Love Has Gone (1964), starring Susan Hayward as the Lana character (named Valerie) and Joey Heatherton as the Cheryl character (named Danielle). Heatherton, Stanley Kubrick's smoldering first choice for the role of LOLITA (Joey's dad said no), is perfect as an early-60s, juvenile delinquent-temptress, while Susan Hayward delivers one of those trademark threatening-to-boil-over performances of hers. (She's no Lana, but Joey is worth the movie.) In Cheryl Crane's biography DETOUR (yes, I just happen to have a copy of the book right HERE, she said, embarrassed), Cheryl dutifully repeats the legal version of events and I don't believe it for a minute. But the photos in the book are GREAT!

[3] Sandra Dee's delicate, wispy frame, once lauded in the coveted role of GIDGET, now causes me to wince, since I know (from reading DREAM LOVERS) that she had a harsh, world-class, Hollywood-style eating disorder. Her stage-mother had her injected with all manner of bizarre shit. (As I stated in my comments on this thread, I have long refused to watch the biopic of Bobby Darren, BEYOND THE SEA, because I heard it trashed his devoted wife Sandra Dee. And besides: KATE BOSWORTH?!? Not hardly.)

[4] Both had been considered for Elia Kazan's PINKY (1949), also about a biracial woman passing as white, but studios went with (decidedly lukewarm) Jeanne Crain, for box-office appeal. In the first IMITATION OF LIFE, Kohner's character was played by African-American actress Fredi Washington.

[5] The entire bang-up finale of IMITATION OF LIFE; Annie's death, Mahalia Jackson, the grand, over-the-top funeral, Sarah-Jane throwing herself on the casket in hysterics, is available on YouTube.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My priest advises penance for Obama vote

Father Jay Scott Newman


Possible secondary subtitle: What should Daisy do?

Italics in article below is mine.

Priest advises penance for Obama vote

Parishioners shouldn't take Communion until they do because of president-elect's abortion view, he says

By Ben Szobody • STAFF WRITER • November 13, 2008

The priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in downtown Greenville has told parishioners that those who voted for Barack Obama placed themselves under divine judgment because of his stance on abortion and shouldn't receive Holy Communion until they've done penance.

The Rev. Jay Scott Newman told The Greenville News on Wednesday that church teaching doesn't allow him to refuse Holy Communion to anyone based on political choices, but that he'll continue to deliver the church's strong teaching on the "intrinsic and grave evil of abortion" as a hidden form of murder.

Both Obama and Joe Biden, the vice president-elect, support legal abortions. Obama has called it a "divisive issue" with a "moral dimension," and has pledged to make women's rights under Roe v. Wade a "priority" as president. He opposes a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court decision.

At issue for the church locally and nationwide are exit polls showing 54 percent of self-described Catholics voted for Obama, as well as a growing rift in the lifestyle and voting patterns between practicing and non-practicing Catholics.

In a letter posted on St. Mary's Web site, Newman wrote that "voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."

Catholics who did so should be reconciled to God through penance before receiving communion, "lest they eat and drink their own condemnation," Newman wrote, echoing a I Corinthians admonition for anyone who partakes "without recognizing the body of the Lord."

The response from parishioners has been supportive by a margin of 9 to 1, Newman said. He also cited Scripture in urging parishioners to pray for Obama and cooperate with him wherever conscience permits.

Bishops in Baltimore for their annual meeting this week are wrestling with how to explain church teaching on abortion in light of voters' choice of Obama, who is Protestant, and Biden, who is Catholic, according to The Associated Press.

Francis Cardinal George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told colleagues that "the common good can never be adequately incarnated in any society when those waiting to be born can be legally killed."

Bishops have more vocally spoken about abortion this election season, though the issue hasn't generated as much public debate as the decision in 2004 to deny then-presidential candidate John Kerry communion because of his abortion views.

Stephen Gajdosik, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, told The News that calling parishioners who voted for a candidate who supports legalized abortions to penance is a question of how best to deepen a flock's relationship to God and a move left up to local priests. He said such a move is appropriate and in line with church teaching.

In an e-mail interview, Newman cited a survey earlier this year by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that showed fewer than 25 percent of the 65 million Americans who call themselves Catholic attend Mass each Sunday, a "disturbing fact of life" that he said shows the vast majority of those baptized into the church "do not live as disciples of Jesus Christ in any observable way."

Mass-attending Catholics, he said, "vote overwhelmingly" for candidates who oppose legalized abortion.

The Catholic dilemma coincides with a split in Protestant circles between those who consider abortion as a non-negotiable moral concern when voting, and emerging groups such as Sojourners who call for candidates to be evaluated on a "consistent ethic of life," abortion and the Iraq war included.

Newman calls abortion the "chief battleground" in the so-called culture wars, and different from "prudential" matters such as health care, education or the war on terror. A Catholic who gets an abortion, encourages one or assists in the procedure is automatically excommunicated from the church, Newman said, a penalty he said doesn't apply to other forms of killing.

"The reason is that abortion is usually murder in secret and it lays axe to human life at its root," he said. With nearly 50 million abortions since Roe v. Wade, Newman said Obama would seek to make "hidden murder" a legally protected right, and anyone who voted to give him such power "will be complicit in the legal holocaust which will follow."

Asked about the moral weight of abortion, Gajdosik said that if only three abortions per year took place in the United States, while an objectively immoral war took thousands of innocent lives, then the war might outweigh abortion as a moral concern.

As it is, he said, the weight of large numbers of innocents "slaughtered" should be the overwhelming issue of concern to Catholics.

Gajdosik said that for someone to be guilty of cooperating with evil, a person would have to know what's at stake and purposefully vote anyway for the candidate who supports legalized abortion.

Newman said, "An uninformed vote is an irresponsible vote," and that no informed voter this year could have mistaken the candidates' abortion positions.

No matter the intention of the voter, Newman said a vote for Obama is "material cooperation" with his goal of extending the use of lethal violence against unborn children.

Asked if he would actively deny the sacraments to Obama voters, Newman said he won't because the church teaches that no one is denied communion unless it would cause "grave scandal," such as in the case of a notorious public sinner.

However, he said he'll continue to teach the necessity of being in "full, visible communion" with the church before receiving the sacraments.
Yes, this directly affects me this time. This is my church, although my attendance is scattershot and I also go to Masses at various other parishes in the upstate. St Mary's is the oldest parish in the region and fairly stunning. (The beautiful stained glass art I have featured on my blog, is all from St Mary's.)

St Mary's members are pretty affluent and old-south. After years of attempting to fit in socially, I simply gave up and moved on, for the most part.

South Carolina is a death penalty state, as I have written before many times, and in the past, I organized prayer vigils for prisoners condemned to death. In fairness, Father Newman graciously allowed me use of the church and church facilities for these events, but notably did not himself attend.

I have to ask: Why doesn't this abortion-logic apply to other issues? Anyone who voted for 100 more years of war, as well as the continuance of capital punishment and the denial of universal health care (leads to DEATH, you know), should also confess and ask for penance, in my ever-humble opinion.

And failing that, why can't we simply call it a wash? Why is abortion the sole litmus test?

If I were as plucky as I once was, I'd make a point of attending daily Mass at St Mary's, but alas, Father Newman CANCELED daily Noon* Masses a couple of years ago. This made it impossible for many of us who work on weekends to attend at all. As it is now, my health issues have basically confined me to my home for a few more weeks anyway.

My last physically-demanding task was standing in line for an hour and a half to vote.


*EDITED TO ADD: As Anonymous pointed out to me, St Mary's offers very early (7am) daily Masses. I referred to the 12 Noon daily Mass being canceled, and was not specific. My deepest apologies. I am dimly aware of Masses at such ungodly hours, but mostly, have only heard of them by legend and yes, in the church bulletin. (((shame))) Sorry, I did not actually check the website before linking.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Shakey!

Neil Young is 63 today! Decided to celebrate!

I love this song so much, words can't express it. When I stopped drinking (1982), this tune stopped being merely descriptive and passed into my personal mythology. It became a hymn.

There is ambivalence and regret embedded in every line of this song, and the singer initially sounds bereft. But by the end, he makes a decision, and he is strong. It is somehow all the more moving from such a shaky voice. He is unsure, confused and searching for his way. And in the telling, he finds it.

I didn't fully understand the song until I started telling my story, and then I found my way, too.

Just a masterpiece. I save it for days I need it, like now. :)

Happy birthday, Neil, we love you.


Neil Young - Thrasher

[via FoxyTunes / Neil Young]

For you gung-ho metal-head kidz who sneer at acoustic music, here is some electric Neil, with Crazy Horse.

Like certain other favorites of mine (notably FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN and SUNSET BOULEVARD), Powderfinger is narrated by a dead man. HOW do they do this, you wonder? I once asked this question in Film Studies class: How could William Holden, floating face down in a pool, narrate Sunset Boulevard? I was answered: poetic license. (And I was a huge fan of poetic license forever after!)

At the end of the song, we realize the narrator is gone, and speaks for so many other young men who die before their time:

Shelter me from the powder and the finger
Cover me with the thought that pulled the trigger
Think of me as one you'd never figured
Would fade away so young
With so much left undone
Remember me to my love,
I know I'll miss her.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Powderfinger

[via FoxyTunes / Neil Young]

Why I love Wordless Wednesday (and more Jones Gap photos)

I am congenitally incapable of NOT commenting on adorable animal and child photos. And every other photo in the world, it would seem. I used to surf blogs and just comment at random... in the process, I learned that some folks don't really want stranger-comments on their blogs. To some (not me, certainly) it is like barging into their house. And so, I was thrilled to learn of Wordless Wednesday through Daisy the Curly Cat. I would compare it to a cozy room everyone (all over the world!) can enter, displaying photos to like-minded souls we know will be interested and appreciative. I imagine sharing a nice cup of coffee, sitting at a friendly kitchen table, as the terrific photos of adorable children, dogs, cats, vacations, art, nature, everyday life, are arranged on the table-top... and we inspect them; sharing, talking, wishing each other well.

So it's wordless, but not really. A picture is worth a thousand words, and the photos tell us what people truly treasure, what they choose to share with us. I am happy to enter the room, waving hello, showing my pretty pics.

Speaking of which, here are a few more photos from my All Saints Day visit to Jones Gap State Park. They are among the best photos I have ever taken, so I'm very proud! (More photos at my Flickr page, updated yesterday.) Jones Gap is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, on the border of North and South Carolina.

If you are here for Wordless Wednesday, welcome!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Odds and Sods: One damn thing after another edition

My health has taken an unexpected dive, and I find I do not want to blog about this, for a bloody change. This is partly a desire for privacy, and partly a fear that my (seemingly endless) aging problems are just getting boring. (I mean, you know, they bore ME after awhile too.) And chronic illnesses/injuries are part of aging, most assuredly.

As Harry Truman famously said, "The problem with history is that it's just one damn thing after another." Ohhhh, how true that is. And aging is part of history, or IS the process of history, as manifested in each individual.

I am home from work, drinking Kombucha to boost my immune system, wasting time arguing on Feminist Critics, in which I unexpectedly had to defend The Holy Trinity (who'd a thunk it?), downloading purty photos, such as the one above (since I have lots of Flickr space left!), and watching my new fave-rave NeNe on The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

The REAL HOUSEWIVES are exactly the women some of the Feminist Critics posters really HATE: unemployed, fluttering about, spending money, madly lunching before storming every boutique in Buckhead, all while chattering entertainingly for the rest of us. I regard them as an exclusive subculture out of a Jacqueline Susann novel, certainly nothing like the majority of housewives in any locality. Which is why people watch the show, after all. But several of the FC crowd seem to believe this type of rich, spoiled, bon-bon eating housewife represents the majority of American wives.

Not hardly. If so, we wouldn't be watching them as if they are an exotic species, would we?


My heart's on fire, for Elvira. Also my new profile pic, for now!

(Note: I simply could not start a story about Emmy without a kitty picture. This was just not possible to do.)

I realized after writing my Proposition 8 piece yesterday, that I had not been specific enough about why I think gay marriage is a crucial civil right, but simply took that knowledge for granted on the part of the reader. And then, I came upon Zan's entry, below, which brings the issue into sharp relief in a very up-close-and-personal way. At her blog, Butterfly Cauldron, Zan misses her partner, Emmy, and wishes she could stay in the country longer:

If our immigration laws were decent, if they let citizens sponsor same-sex partners, if we had a visa for people who were looking for work and had willing sponsors, if if if. But we don't. There's no way for people in same-sex relationships to bring their partners into the country legally. And, when Emmy finds work here and gets a work visa, she'll only be able to stay in the country legally as long as her job lasts.

There is a chance, because she is trans and still legally male, that we can get her here on a fiance visa. A chance. But when it comes out that she is trans, it's likely that the visa would be denied. We could just get married and hope for the best, but it's the same situation. The visa would likely be denied, because it is the policy of the US Government to deny transgendered people the right to immigrate on a spousal visa. So, even if we got married legally (which we could in Louisiana, because Louisiana does not legally recognize transgendered people as their true gender until SSR has been preformed), we would still not be allowed to live together full-time in this country.

How is this fair? How is this even the slightest bit right? And it's so very easy to remedy. Legalize same-sex marriage at the federal level. Extend to all couples, regardless of gender, the legal right to marry. Immigration rights, insurance rights, visitation rights, adoption rights, full and complete equality under the law. If the genders of the people marry did not marry, Emmy and I could apply for a fiance visa and be certain it would be granted. We could know that our separation was not only temporary, it had a definate end date. It wouldn't keep me from crying, but it would help me to know when I could hold her again.
(((weeepsss like old hippie grandma)))))

This is the reason for marriage, people. Love made possible and given a chance, not impeded and made explicitly difficult at every turn. Souls brought together, not kept apart.
Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Fluor Field at the West End, baseball stadium sign, home of Greenville (SC) Drive baseball team.


Does anyone know why YouTube sometimes says "embedding disabled by request"? Must be a pretty important person's request, I figure.

Also, why does it sometimes say "I'm sorry, this video no longer available" when you try to play certain previously-embedded videos? Obviously they don't care about the bloggers and the highfalutin social commentary we are providing to go with the videos, illuminating the far-out corners of Western Civ. Who is going to look up old 70s hit songs and explain the Freudian meanings, if not your humble bloggers? Harumph.

Anyway... the following video has gone through these permutations... I'd save it for a few days, then poof, it wouldn't play and would have vanished from the YouTube archives as well. It's been very hard to find the song, so I was thrilled to find it today. (I wish I'd had it at Halloween, so I could play it alongside HUMAN FLY.)

This is from waaaay back (1971) when songs were forced by radio censors to use oodles of euphemism. Virtually every line of this song has double, even triple meanings, and you just wonder how they got away with a line like "Evil grows in cracks and holes" without the record getting banned. No doubt, it's because of the presentation, which at first listen, sounds very bubblegum. Gotcha! Critic Kim Cooper writes: "The Partridge Family + The Manson Family = The Poppy Family"... even the name of the band wasn't what it seemed at first. They looked hippie-wholesome as the very dickens... yes, the same wholesome kids who took various strange acidhead detours in the late 60s/early 70s... wholesome, Canadian, fun-and-funky kids gone... well, if not exactly WRONG... then, you know, off. Yes, just off.

Some time later, the author of this song recorded one of the worst pop songs of all time, truly the fate of the damned. (Terry Jacks: Seasons in the Sun) But you know, we don't remember all of those bad Partridge Family songs they tortured us with, do we? No, we remember SEASONS IN THE SUN, it's badness is of a truly legendary nature. It's that touch of Manson that makes it morbid and weird.

And without further ado, WHERE EVIL GROWS - the Poppy Family

Monday, November 10, 2008

On Proposition 8, the Mormons, and more...

The Mormons were successfully forced into accepting the government's domestic rules for their religion. I have always thought this was wrong. If they wanted polygamy, that was their business. I find it shameful that a government founded on the separation of Church and State, would actively interfere with the establishment of (any) church belief.

Isn't it ironic that a US president who was himself likely gay, James Buchanan, is the one who sent the army into the Utah Territory (known to Mormons as "the State of Deseret") in 1857. At this time in history, polygamy was an important matter of doctrine in the Church of Latter Day Saints:

The doctrine of the church basically believed that there were countless number of souls waiting to begin an earthly life. The human soul was united with the body at birth which grew and matured, and eventually created new families which led to more births and more souls beginning an earthly existence. Procreation was therefore a very important part of the Mormon religious doctrine because spiritual souls could be granted earthly bodies. Polygamy or the system of “plural marriages” first appeared in the church in 1841 and by 1870 there were an increasing number of plural marriage families in the Utah Territory.
And after federal intervention, Utah was under the heel of Uncle Sam, much like the Native Americans in that same area of the country. By 1890, the Mormons got with the program and renounced polygamy as LDS doctrine. (Of course, as we know, some people never did.)

Thus, the Mormons have now morphed into the oppressor, and seek to bring the power of the government into other people's domestic choices. Apparently, they were the primary financial sponsors behind California's PROPOSITION 8, which passed.

They didn't learn. (((sigh)))

Actually, some did.

Prop 8: California gay marriage fight divides LDS faithful

The church's effort against gay marriage is its most vigorous since 1970s
By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune
The thought of going to church in her southern California LDS ward makes Carol Oldham cry. She can't face one more sermon against same-sex marriage. She can't tolerate the glares at the rainbow pin on her lapel.

Oldham, a lifelong Mormon, is troubled by her church's zeal in supporting a California ballot initiative that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. She feels the church is bringing politics into her sanctuary.

It has tainted everything for me," Oldham said, choking up during a telephone interview. "I am afraid to go there and hear people say mean things about gay people. I am in mourning. I don't know how long I can last."

The LDS Church's campaign to pass Proposition 8 represents its most vigorous and widespread political involvement since the late 1970s, when it helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. It even departs from earlier efforts on behalf of traditional marriage, in which members felt more free to decide their level of involvement.

This time, LDS leaders have tapped every resource, including the church's built-in phone trees, e-mail lists and members' willingness to volunteer and donate money. Many California members consider it a directive from God and have pressured others to participate. Some leaders and members see it as a test of faith and loyalty.

Those who disagree with the campaign say they feel unwelcome in wards that have divided along political lines. Some are avoiding services until after the election; others have reluctantly resigned. Even some who favor the ballot measure are troubled by their church's zeal in the matter.

"I do expect the church to face a high cost - both externally and internally - for its prominent part in the campaign," said LDS sociologist and Proposition 8 supporter Armand Mauss of Irvine, Calif. He believes church leaders feel a "prophetic imperative" to speak out against gay marriage.

"The internal cost will consist of ruptured relationships between and among LDS members of opposing positions, sometimes by friends of long standing and equally strong records of church activity," Mauss said. "In some cases, it will result in disaffection and disaffiliation from the church because of the ways in which their dissent has been handled by local leaders."

Robert Rees, a former LDS bishop in California, says he has not witnessed this much divisiveness in the church over a political issue in the last 50 years.

Whatever the vote's outcome, Rees says, "it will take considerable humility, charity and forgiveness to heal the wounds caused by this initiative."
Talk about prophecy! Now that the Proposition has passed, outlawing gay marriage, the heat is ON.

Prop. 8 Protests Head To Salt Lake City
Demonstrations Planned At Mormon Headquarters Over Church's Funding Of Gay Marriage Ban
(CBS/ AP) A group of protesters plans to rally in front of the headquarters of the Mormon church over the faith's support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in California.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encouraged its members to work to pass Proposition 8 by volunteering their time and money for the campaign. California voters approved the measure Tuesday.

The Friday evening protest comes a day after people demonstrated outside a Mormon temple in Los Angeles. About 1,000 gay-marriage supporters waved signs and brought afternoon traffic to a halt.

On Thursday, outside the gates of a Mormon temple his father helped build, Kai Cross joined more than 2,000 gay-rights advocates in a chorus of criticism of the church's role in the likely passage of a statewide ban on same-sex marriage.

Once a devout Mormon who graduated from Brigham Young University, the 41-year-old Cross was disowned by his family and his church after he was outed as a gay man in 2001.

"They are on the losing side of history," Cross said Thursday of the church's opposition to gay marriage. Cross and other protesters blame leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for encouraging Mormons to funnel millions of dollars into television ads and mailings in favor of Proposition 8.

The ballot measure was sponsored by a coalition of religious and social conservative groups, would amend the California Constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual act. It would override a state Supreme Court ruling that briefly gave same-sex couples the right to wed.

According to the CBS News Election and Survey unit’s analysis, black voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of Prop. 8 - by a 70 percent to 30 percent margin. Hispanic voters overall favored the measure as well but only by a 53 percent to 47 percent margin. White voters were slightly on the side of approving it, 51 percent to 49 percent.

There is disappointment that the African-American community, which just saw the election of the first black president, voted overwhelmingly against same-sex marriage, reports CBS Early Show correspondent Hattie Kauffman.

The protest came amid questions about whether attempts to overturn the prohibition can succeed and whether the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed in California over the past four months are in any danger.

For Cody Krebs, 27, four months was not enough time to fulfill his "intense hope" to marry one day; he and his boyfriend have been together for little more than a year, so they aren't ready to wed.

On Thursday, Krebs dodged eggs hurled at protesters from an apartment building. He said he'd seen worse growing up in Salt Lake City.

"It's important to come out like this because it gets the gay community into the public eye," Krebs said. "I feel like this has started a lot of conversations that had to get started."

The demonstration began outside the temple in the Westwood section of Los Angeles and noisily spilled through the western side of the city, with chants of "Separate church and state" and "What do we want? Equal rights." Some protesters waved signs saying "No on H8" or "I didn't vote against your marriage," and many equated the issue with the civil rights struggle.

Two people were arrested after a confrontation between the crowd and an occupant of a pickup truck that had a banner supporting Proposition 8. One demonstrator ended up with a bloody nose in the fracas. Seven arrests occurred during Los Angeles-area street marches late Wednesday.

The temple protest was organized by the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. Its chief executive, Lorri Jean, announced a Web-based effort dubbed to raise money to fight the constitutional amendment.

Gay-marriage proponents filed three court challenges Wednesday against the ban. The lawsuits raise a rare legal argument: that the ballot measure was actually a dramatic revision of the California Constitution rather than a simple amendment. A constitutional revision must first pass the Legislature before going to the voters.

Andrew Pugno, attorney for the groups that sponsored the amendment, called the lawsuits "frivolous and regrettable."

"It is time that the opponents of traditional marriage respect the voters' decision," he said.

The high court has not said when it will act. State officials said the ban on gay marriage took effect the morning after the election.

"We don't consider it a `Hail Mary' at all," said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. "You simply can't so something like this - take away a fundamental right at the ballot."

With many gay newlyweds worried about what the amendment does to their vows, California Attorney General Jerry Brown said he believes those marriages are still valid. But he is also preparing to defend that position in court.

The amendment does not explicitly say whether it applies to those already married. Legal experts said unless there is explicit language, laws are not normally applied retroactively.

"Otherwise a Pandora's Box of chaos is opened," said Stanford University law school professor Jane Schacter. Still, Schacter cautioned that the question of retroactivity "is not a slam dunk."

An employer, for instance, could deny medical benefits to an employee's same-sex spouse. The worker could then sue the employer, giving rise to a case that could determine the validity of the 18,000 marriages.

Supporters of the ban said they will not seek to invalidate the marriages already performed and will leave any legal challenges to others.

A 2003 California law already gives gays registered as domestic partners nearly all the state rights and responsibilities of married couples when it comes to such things as taxes, estate planning and medical decisions. That law is still in effect.

Regarding the statement that "a majority of blacks voted for Prop 8"--that particular proclamation isn't going over too well in various parts of Blogdonia.

For more on that, and other excellent fulminating on the topic, please check out:

Prop 8: The Rush to blame the Brown People (excellent collection of links at Alas, a blog)

Mark Oshiro: Protesting Proposition 8, Now You Need Your Allies (Womanist Musings)

Okay, the "Black people cost gay people the right to marry in CA ZOMG" meme needs to stop, NOW. (Fetch Me My Axe)

And Rick Warren is being singled out for ire, at long last! Yes, demonstrations in front of Saddleback Church! (CBS News account)

And on the subject of generalized sexual hysteria and Victorian bullshit, Proposition K in San Francisco also failed. Lea Brown described the measure in the SF Bay Guardian:
Prop. K would allow sex workers to organize for their rights and safety. It would enable them to report abuse in the industry without fear of prosecution. It would improve their chances of maintaining their health by lessening the stigma that prevents many from seeking the health care services they need. And it would do all this while still allowing law enforcement officials to investigate and prosecute human traffickers.
My favorite sex-worker blogger, Renegade Evolution, shares her strong feelings about Prop K's failure. (And as usual, a very lively comments section!)

And along these lines, don't forget to have a peep at the 11th Feminist Carnival for Sexual Freedom and Autonomy!

EDITED TO ADD: Join the Impact - Protest Prop 8 on November 15th. Thanks to The Jaded Hippy for the link.