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Letter to Councilman LaBonge
Real People as Fictional Characters
Female Actors, Part Two
One Culture Hero Award
Adelante Gay Pride Gala
Best Work of Fiction?
Tom of Finland: Sexual Liberator or Enslaver
Lying Writers
Review of The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson
Promiscuous Thoughts
A Crime of the Heart
A Letter to Michael Silverblatt
"Have you no decency, sir?"
Political Incorrectness: Female Actors and Trojans
He Hugged Moms and Dads
What is a Girly Man?
Review of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
From Sunset Boulevard to Mulholland Drive
The Gay Mammies
A Writer Protests
Review of Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramon Novarro
A Spirit Preserved in 'Amber'
The Supreme Court Case
Review of "Live from Golgotha: The Gospel According to Gore Vidal"
Review of "Lost Years: A Memoir 1945-1951" by Christopher Isherwood
Review of "Out For Good"
Review of "Hoyt Street: an Autobiography"
Review of "Sergei Eisenstein: A Life in Conflict"
Review of "Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation"
Review of "Whores for Gloria"
Muscles and Mascara
Review of "Blonde"
Brother Paul, Sister Jan, Brother Hinn, God and the Folks
Advice to the Next Generation
Sins of the Fathers
Beatin' Around the Bush

Cruise Not Gay! The Judge Has Spoken

The Horror, The Horror
LA--a Cliché?
Dominick, Mark & Orenthal
Holy Drag!
Ms. Hill & Mr. Tom
George, Jr.
Mrs. guy Ritchie 
Supreme Court 
Tom Cruise 
New Times Article 


"The son of Sister Jan and Brother Paul (Brother Son?) said God had timed the raid on the Towers and the Pentagon to correspond with the release of a dingy apocalyptic movie he produced. "

The Horror, The Horror
Thoughts on the aftermath of September 11


"The horror, the horror." So says Colonel Kurtz in Joseph Conrad's "The Heart of Darkness" about the spectrum of atrocities that war creates. Those words express the reaction of all civilized people to the murder of more than 4000 men and women, and the wounding of as many others, in the homicidal attacks by Osama Bin Laden terrorists on the World Trade Towers in New York and on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. 

     So vast is the multiplying horror--more anticipated terrorist strikes, intimations of germ warfare and nuclear attacks, the protracted bombing of Afghanistan--that new events occur each day like stark projected images quickly supplanted by others, resulting at times in surreal juxtapositions, many assuming clarity only in retrospect.

     "I think it's the end of the age of irony," Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter proclaimed: Whatever that vague statement meant exactly, irony was not dead; it abounded on the surrealistic landscape carved by the terrifying events of that branded day.

     While those still alive dealt with the bloody aftermath of the assault on the Towers, ex-Governor Bush of Texas (appointed as their own president by a partisan Supreme Court) and Dick Cheney fled into hiding, the ex-Governor emerging to echo Franklin Roosevelt's: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." While the imminent threat of anthrax to mostly minority postal employees was ignored, a similar threat on congressional representatives sent them scurrying away--after they sang "God Bless America." With glittery lapel pins depicting the American flag, Wall Street investors panicked, sinking the economy further.

     In a speech announced as being about terrorist threats to the nation, ex-Governor Bush instructed the country to give a boost to his brother, Florida Governor Jeb: "Go about your business, fly, go to Disneyland in Florida." Ostensibly to speak once again about the anthrax crisis and the looming bombing of Afghanistan, the ex-Governor pushed at businessmen his "stimulus package" that amounts to war-profiteering, allowing large corporations huge gains derived from the current quagmire.

     In turning the undeclared war against Afghanistan into a "Crusade against evil," he became a strutty Western sheriff in a B-movie. He wanted Bin Laden "Dead or Alive." He continued to pepper his speeches with Bushisms: "We will fail," he said, meaning--perhaps, "We will prevail." He warned that this is not "an instant gratification war," and reminded: "I'm a lovin' kinda guy." In an attempt at folksy camaraderie at the site of Ground Zero with cameras attending, he leaned so heavily on an old veteran fireman that the man threatened to topple over.

     Swamped with millions of dollars in contributions for the victims of the September 11 bombings, the Red Cross floundered about how and to whom to distribute the donated amount, while the survivors and the families of the victims--now that the tributes and ceremonies for the dead were over--were left to face not only the sorrow of their loss but a future snarled in red tape. Criticized, the charitable organization offered to return donations to angered donors, then retracted.

     Flags proliferated in an ocean of patriotism. But patriotism was not under assault, was it? Why not a new flag expressing unique sorrow over this disaster, and a sense hope for the future, like the yellow ribbons that anticipated the return of veterans? The relevant question, How dare they do this? was reduced to: How dare they do this to us? Artifacts from the Cold War resurged: "America Luv it Or Leave it."

     Amid the wash of patriotism, the question recurred: Why do they hate us so much? Nothing condones the murderous assault of September 11; yet it is not a slight on the tragedy to state that much of the hatred of America is self-induced. Despite the increasing calamity of our own homeless people and the poverty and hunger of millions, there is a world-wide perception of opulence in America. Consider only these minor current manifestations: An ad for baubles from Tiffany that appears almost daily in the Los Angeles Times, located beside a page-two condensation of world events, offered a diamond necklace for just under a million dollars; juxtaposed with the ad were news photographs of tattered Afghans fleeing the bombings. An Associated Press item was headlined: "How to Accessorize the Perfectly Pampered Pet." 


Original material by John Rechy appears frequently on these pages.

© John Rechy, 1999-2006. All rights reserved.
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