Several things happened this week in my life that are very far apart, in one sense, and very similar in another, and also very personal in a way, and oddly connected, as I always seem to see a different perspective. Here, let me explain:
Steve Jobs, a man I never met, and a man whose career I followed only in the most cursory offhand manner, and a man I never bought a product from, but who made billions of dollars from various endeavors, and who will now dispose of his wealth as he sees fit, and I don’t care, has died. The tributes and huzzahs and puzzlements will now fill the next few days, and perhaps rightly so – for he was a visionary, a man who altered our society, a man who impacted our social networks, and the way we dealt with family, friends and business. A man who was somebody. I’m not qualified to speak anymore on him, for I know so little of him. And apparently he was a private person, as I read today, well, so I shall not discuss his life, for he wanted it private.
Weirdly, on Wall Street right now there are some thousands of people who are upset with Mr. Jobs for some reason they admittedly can’t define; they’re as fed up with something as Rick Perry is. And they use Jobs’ iPad to spread the news, and his iPhone to conspire amongst themselves, and their iPods to wile away the hours with revolutionary songs, which accusing him of being some ogre in the land out to destroy what they perceive as holy and good; but which they can’t define other than “social justice” or “economic justice.”
Yet it was Mr. Jobs who was the revolutionary. He’s the one who changed society in ways anyone can appreciate, or denigrate if you wish, too. And what have the protestors down in lower Manhattan wrought in their lives? They have done precious little but be upset about something – usually along the lines of “big corporations” controlling the government. They are blind to the fact that most corporations do their utmost to stay away from government – indeed, they accuse Koch Brothers of destroying government control, while lambasting “billionaires” like the, um, Koch Brothers, for controlling the government. Still, to keep it confusing, other corporations seek to be buddy buddy with government so they might curry the right favor and get millions in free money.
For instance, and to my knowledge this is true – Apple, Mr. Jobs’ company, never got federal funding – oh perhaps the feds bought some goodies from it, I guess, I don’t know, probably. I can’t imagine the FBI without a Mac or two. I can’t imagine the creators of the endless logos of government have not had a fine graphics program on their graphics friendly Apple computer. Mr. Jobs probably did his best to insulate Apple from any predations by government bureaucrats, I’m almost sure. But General Electric, well, they jumped into the sugar daddy lap of government and got all sorts of favors. And Solyndra, oh my, that little twit of a company blew through ½ billion bucks in a year or two with nothing to show for it. Mr. Jobs might have made something of Solyndra, and perhaps just folded the thing as pointless or steered it in a totally different direction. One can wonder.
Meanwhile, the president says he appreciates somehow what the protestors are doing – and the protestors are protesting Goldman Sachs, and there’s a revolving door between Goldman Sachs and the Obama administration. So are the protestors upset that Goldman Sachs has too much or too little input in government? They don’t say. Or are they protesting that the Obama Administration is too close or too far from Goldman Sachs? They utter not a word. Or are they arguing that the Obama Administration simply take over Goldman Sachs? They are reticent to declare such a bold move. Or are they arguing that Goldman Sachs should no longer curry favor with the government? That, too, they don’t declare. So we are left with the idea that they are mad at Goldman Sachs, and are supported by the Obama Administration – and they’ll let us know why just as soon as possible.
Then, too, across the street from me their sat an empty house, a foreclosure even, for months, until finally a couple purchased the thing. And then they tore out the kitchen and the floors and the bathrooms and have been installing a brand new set of fixtures and appliances, down to the flooring. I dare say, corporate America, in some guise or another, is getting a healthy dollop of wealth. The strangest thing about the couple who bought the place, is well, after a few weeks observance, I’ve figured out, or surmised, (but have no asked, no,) are a lesbian couple. With an autistic son of some kind on the spectrum.
In a way, their lives are just as unknown to mine as was Steve Jobs, as are the protestors downtown Manhattan, as indeed, is even Obama’s, and of course, anyone at the “values summit” – I don’t know any of these people from Adam or Steve, or Eve either. I wish them well; and long life, and good health Mr. Jobs did not get that; he died at 56. Just three years older than me. Sad. And yet, at the “values summit” Republican candidates will be told that all – yes, all – gay men die 20 years younger than heteros, and now I see that a hetero man died 30 years younger than the average life span for American white wealthy men. Surely 80+ is the norm for Jobs like men, no? Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Burns – all lived long lives, no?
And the new neighbors, they seem to have an autistic son, or something, some sort of boy who is not going to grow up, some sort of boy who will require mollycoddling all his days. There is no escaping that reality. And so we have, for true values – two woman who are taking care of a boy who even when chronologically a man will be a boy. And in some conference center staffed by gay waiters and hotels with gay desk clerks and gay concierges, the NO GAYS! Movement is meeting to declare my new neighbors a dire threat to the nation. And I have maintained that we gay folks are on the autistic spectrum, and that there’s no “praying” this away; we are not going to change; and a leading autism research has sort of agreed that my position has merit.
And down the block a young gay couple who I met once, two fine but distant men I did not in the least find interesting enough to pursue a friendship have spent thousands of dollars in corporate America to renovate their house too – and to landscape their yard into a cold-hardy tropical paradise. And further down the block is another Lesbian couple, whom I spoke to once or twice in a stroll around the block, have been quietly keeping their home for two dozen years – and Tony Perkins is trying to convince Rick Santorum that the greatest threat to the Republic is that Lesbian couple.
Along the way, Bryan Fischer, of the ill named “American Family Association” is trying to convince Republican candidates to outlaw the four gay households on my block. And people wonder why I’m fed up? Rick Perry has no friggin’ clue what “fed up” means, I can tell you. And these creeps at the “values summit” are trying to rile up my own family, my own nation, my own neighborhood, to come and arrest the four gay households on my block – and I don’t even live in a gayborhood, but a typical street in Baton Rouge Louisiana – and haul us off to court and prosecution by a police state, and convict us all of sissy and tomboy smooching, and incarcerate us at the cost of billions of dollars.
And this will rip four families out of the fabric of my street, and destroy our lives – all for these idiots to think they rescued someone from someone else. Tony Perkins, Peter Sprigg, Maggie Gallagher, Bryan Fischer, Brian Brown, Jennifer Morse, Bradlee Dean – and yes, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry and Rick Santorum – are just like those whiny protestors down on Wall Street – they are fighting some image they have convoluted in their own minds. They have concocted a bizarre fantasy and now they aim to tilt at it. Both the “values summiteers” and the “wall street protestors” are of the same ilk – they will make society to their view – instead of letting people be private, like I, my neighbors and Steve Jobs sought, and let people do what they can do.
Both camps are the ruination of the country and the people and the American spirit of individualism, of personal effort – and of the right to be left alone by government. Socialists and theocrats are now arguing over who will get the state power to destroy those they don’t like. And it’s unAmerican, unChristian, unHoly and antithetical to all that this nation stands for.