Open Mic: No More Lip!

There has always been one common ground individuals could find salvage in and that is music. Music can single-handedly reveal a person’s mood, culture and inner feelings. The one thing I have always treasured, even more than song quality, is energy. I may not be a fan of a certain group, but as long as they can bring excitement to the stage, then they have earned my respect. But the minute I find out an artist is lip-synching, then my respect for the talent comes into check.

Honestly, is there any reasonable excuse to lip-synch? Pfeiffer University student, Phillip Carter thinks so. “It could be due to having no musical talent and depending if the music industry is just projecting their appearance instead of their vocal skills.” When asked about an artist’s voice going out, Carter said the singer is “shit out of luck.”

Ashlee Simpson is a prime example of being unlucky. On the October 23rd edition of Saturday Night Live, Simpson performed her hit “Pieces of Me.” When she came out for her second performance, “Autobiography,” it was spoiled when a pre-recorded track of her voice (for “Pieces of Me”) began playing. Embarrassed, Simpson did a little dance and walked off stage. Originally, she blamed her band. Her drummer, Chris Fox admitted to miscuing the song. A few days later, Simpson said she was pressured into lip-synching because her disease (chronic gastric disorder) was acting up, causing her to lose her voice. Ironically, before this incident, she was interviewed by Lucky Magazine and the topic of lip-synching came up. She told the magazine, “I’m totally against it and offended by it. I’m going to let my real talent show, not just stand there and dance around. Personally, I’d never lip-synch.” I guess there’s a first time for everything.

What I’m still surprised about is the number of excuses coming out. I could understand her voice going out, but wouldn’t that push someone even more to sing? Two years ago, I went to a concert featuring Trust Company and the lead singer, Kevin Palmer yelled out to the crowd, “I have been sick all week, so sorry if my voice sounds like shit.” His voice was just as week as Simpson’s, but he still gave it his all. Another excuse she came up with was blaming her band, but if you’re the star, the band is a reflection of you. Once again, Simpson is at fault. There is only one reason why she’s making up these excuses and Bruce Snyder (Sports Reporter at FOX Charlotte) summed it up best as he said, “She was flat-out busted and embarrassed, so she tried to cover.”

Simpson may be the latest victim, but the most notorious lip-syncers would be the ungifted pop-group, Milli Vanilli. In the late 80’s, this duo started making a presence with songs like “Girl You It’s True” and “Baby Don’t Forget My Number,” which helped to move 30 million singles. By the time their fifth single, “All or Nothing” was climbing the charts, rapper Charles Shaw leaked the lip-synch secret (he was later paid off to keep quiet). They won a Grammy for Best New Artist and shortly after, Time Magazine interviewed the pop-duo, where they compared themselves to icons like Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney. After this, Frank Farian (their creator and producer) exposed them as frauds. Milli Vanilli was not only dropped by Arista Records, but became the first act to get stripped of their Grammy. Just to imagine, this all was the result of lip-synching.

Another odd thing in the world of music is how bubblegum groups dance and sing at the same time. The microphone isn’t even normal: it is propped in-front of the mouth, so it’s always focused during movement. So, are they faking it? Pfeiffer student, Dana Vlad believes so. “I think they are lip-synching,” she said. “They would be desperate for breath, the way they’re running around and stuff.” Brandon Rudick, a sandwich artist at Subway, agrees. He said, “I think it’s pretty hard for someone to do a dance routine and sing a song at the same time.”

With fishy business going on in the music industry, what singers can be trusted? Whether it’s Ashlee Simpson, Milli Vanilli or any music artist, no one deserves to pay money to view a false act. Elton John said it best: “Anyone who lip-synchs in public on stage when you pay to see them should be shot.”

ReView: Papa Roach – Getting Away With Murder

Papa Roach can add their name to a growing list of bands who have abandoned the rap metal scene. Like others, they have attempted to recreate a new style of music and in their case, they coined the genre “punk metal.” They’re now an eerie punk band with an eerie punk sound. They’re also a band with weird hairstyles and platinum pants. After changing those characteristics, out came Getting Away With Murder, the group’s fourth album.

The title alone suggests Papa Roach has survived the most extraordinary circumstances and are finally telling their story (and in the process, rubbing it in people’s faces). In the opening cut “Blood,” Jacoby Shaddix attempts to persuade people to follow him as he sings, “Y’better join us before you get lost in the shuffle / Y’better rise against the demons that are gonna try and hold you down.” If his message is “listen to me, buy my CD and be the best you can be,” then I rather watch an army recruiting commercial. If you hear “Do or Die,” then you’ll hear the same thing. “Scars,'” one of the few intriguing songs on the album, is about helping out others when they don’t realize they have a problem, which makes me believe Shaddix was a drug addict. Over a mellow rhythm, Shaddix sings, “I tear my heart open, I sew myself shut/My weakness is that I care too much/Our scars remind us the past is real/I tear my heart open, just to feel.” Yea, definitely a drug addict.

Miraculously, the best ballad on the album sounds like their older stuff. The title track, “Getting Away With Murder” is a hard rock tune with tremendous bass pounding. It gets the adrenaline pumping so much, even Mike Tyson could win a boxing match. The chorus speaks for itself: “I feel irrational’ so confrontational/To tell the truth I am getting away with murder/It is impossible to never tell the truth/But the reality is I’m getting away with murder.”

Getting Away With Murder is a new beginning for Papa Roach. Although it’s not necessarily a good beginning, it is a new one. It definitely isn’t a platinum album and if their future efforts sound like this, they may never have another one. But whatever happens, they should ditch the platinum pants.

Papa Roach: Getting Away With Murder
Rating: 2 1/2 Stars
Record Label: Geffen
Official Website: PapaRoach.com

ReView: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

By Isaac Crisp

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the newest installment in the beloved GTA series from video game developer, Rockstar. This time around, the game takes its use of blood and gore, intense violence, strong language, strong sexual content and use of drugs, and wraps them all around an early 90’s West Coast “gangsta life” theme.

GRAPHICS

Over the years, the visuals of the GTA series have undergone some dramatic changes. GTA 1 and 2 offered a “bird’s eye view” of the action. While those were still fun to play, they never really offered much to look at. When GTA 3 was being developed, Rockstar decided to do away with the bird’s eye view and go with a view, which engrossed the player into the environment a bit better. They decided to put the angle of action directly behind the player’s main character. The surroundings were also completely re-done. The city (while still fictitious) would be based off of realistic city environment. This meant realistic artificial intelligence for everything. Things like traffic movement, roadways, stoplights, pedestrians, weather and city events all had to be tweaked and altered. This made the whole GTA series much more ambitious in terms of “eye candy” for the player. San Andreas continues that use of realistic urban and city environment but expands it even further, offering three cities for the player to drool over based on San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. All this aside, there are still small problem areas within the graphics, which any keen eye will surely pick up, such as different characters “blockish” looking hands. This is only due to lack of power put out by the Playstation 2. San Andreas is by far the best looking of the series, even with its minor flaws.

GAME PLAY

San Andreas is where it’s at in terms of game play. There is so much to do in this game, it’s insane. At the game’s core, it is still based around a variety of stylized missions to undertake, but at the same time, Rockstar thought of just about every little game play element it could to put in San Andreas to make game play possibilities between those missions endless. In this installment, the main character’s name is Carl Johnson or CJ. Carl can recruit gang members, go shopping for jewelry or “ice,” steal cars and then take them to a modification garage, grab a bite to eat from the local pizza shack, go to the gym to buff up, play some pool for cash at the bar, place a bet at the horse track, go clubbing, or even take his sweetheart on a date and if things don’t go so good, he can even pick up a prostitute (assuming his car is nice enough). Add all of this and more to that ability to play storyline missions and you’ve got one hell of a good time on your hands, lasting as long as you want it to. The neatest aspect about San Andreas is that Carl will actually change depending on some of the things done in the game. Eat too much? He will get a gut, affecting his ability to run fast and get away from the cops. Work out a lot? Carl will be a “beast.” True, these are simple elements but nonetheless, very cool to be able to do and see.

SOUND

Sound is very well done in San Andreas. Every character within the storyline has a distinct style and voice. Samuel L. Jackson is among the voice talent. Realistic city sounds are all there with car horns, people talking and sometimes cursing, cars zooming past, etc. When driving a car, the radio can be turned on to songs by artists like Tupac, Dr. Dre, Kiss, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Boys II Men, Wrecks-N-Effects, Stone Temple Pilots and Faith No More, just to name a few.

CLOSING COMMENTS

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is one of the most fun games I’ve ever played. It does, in fact, earn every bit of the “Mature” rating slapped on the box. It is definitely not a game you’d want to buy for anyone under the age of 17, although that won’t stop most people from checking it out if they really want to. All said and done, San Andreas is a solid Playstation 2 title that any gamer looking for a good time should pick up.

GRAPHICS: 4/5
GAME PLAY: 5/5
SOUND: 5/5
OVERALL PRESENTATION: 5/5

Stepping off the Donkey-A message to the Democrats

Okay, look. For my entire life, I felt like I was one of you. Like I was in line with your beliefs, because I love animals, and I’ve always heard that Republicans want to destroy nature. The world is my cheif concern, because it contains us all. However, at the end of this election, it was clear that one party was the “Look at us, we love Jesus and War” party, and the other was the “look at them, they love Jesus and War” party. I saw a grown man stare like an idiot into a camera, and another grown man bring a quiet, reserved young woman into the political fray like a steaming cut of pork.

The fact is, you’re both out of touch. The Democrats, moreso.

The leadership of the Democrats has made Republicans out to be Jesus-loving, gay-bashing bible-thumping warmongering tree-chopping theives. And they really aren’t. The war in Iraq was wrong, but hell, how bad has it screwed up your life? I mean, really? People are dying over there, but I doubt President Bush would REALLY go to war on the fly. And as for Social Security Privatization… I’m all for you being the “anti Republican” party, but when they press a VERY NECESSARY IDEA, then there’s no good in pressing back.

The Democrats were everywhere this past election, calling Bush a liar, a coward, a monster, a killer, a moron, and whether any of them were true, it just didn’t work. There’s something stupid about listening to country and waving a flag… but there’s also something noble about it. It’s faith in a leader. And while you shook your heads in disgust back in 1998… I promise you, now they do the same thing. The country is fractured, but it is not the fault of one man. It’s the fault of both parties.

And that includes the Democrats.

Michael Moore, lying about facts in Farenheight 911. John Stewart, screaming like a lunatic at Tucker Carlson. Underground websites comparing Bush to Hitler. I mean, really. Is it wrong to wave a flag and be a Christian? Is it that bad a thing? Some chose to support their leader, some chose to act like pricks. The Republicans chose to do it in 1998, the Democrats are doing it now. Both are justified in a way… but why do they do it?

I’ll tell you why. Because neither side wants what’s “greater” and “nicer”. You think most Democrats want gay marriage? Hell, most are just doing it to get the “trendy young woman” vote and the gay vote. Same as the Republicans supporting the NRA and Big Tobacco. It’s all for money and support, and I see that now.

Shame on you, for trying to sway people like me. Shame on you, for lying to me to get my vote. Democrat? Republican? Long ago, both sides lost what they stood for. They no longer stand for parties, but rallying points for the pacifists and the extremists, the elitists and the ignorant. Both sides talk about understanding, but neither side cares to understand.

If the Democratic leadership does not take stock at how far they’ve wandered out of the realm of the common man, they will never control a house again. A word to the wise: Nobody likes a whiner. That’s why this election was less like 2000 (or 1996, for that matter). You whined. You whined your way right out of the race.

If the Republican leadership does not take stock of how far they’re going toward a religious state, our country will end up just like all others do. You’ve got to reach out to everyone, not just your constituency. Meet with black leaders, even if they don’t vote for you. Ignoring a problem never makes it better. Anybody who’s ever had Clamydia can tell you that.

And Ralph Nader… there comes a point when… Christ, nevermind.

The fact is, I care about the world, and conserving it. If either of these two “parties” will bother to get off their asses and try and work for the good of the planet, then by all means, you’ve got my vote. Until then, you can take your gay marriages and your social security privatization and your tax cuts and just beat off to them for all I care.

I’m an Environmentalist. And from now on, that’s all I am. I’m through being a Jackass.

Rock-It 2004 Spring Edition Report

By Jonathan Brodala

Line Up:
Main Stage: Jet, The Living End, Hilltop Hoods, Spiderbait, Jebediah, 28 Days, Rocket Science, The Casanovas, Dallas Crane.

Small Stage: 67 Special, City Lights, The Cops, Ground Components, In The Grey, Betchadupa, Redsunband.

Another trip for yours truly to the big city to see the bi-annual event known as Rockit which this time around has an all Australian line up as opposed to recent times. But it seemed to matter little to the 25,000 or so people that rolled through the gates at Arena Joondalup to get treated to THE rock and roll event of the year. On a side note however it must be said that the train system in Perth is absolutely brilliant given the effortlessness of a complete stranger to public transport and given that the Rock-It ticket doubled as free public transport all day was also very handy. At $50AU (roughly $4 a band) this is without a doubt the most enjoyable music festival on the calendar.

Anyway onto the show….

There were bands that I wanted to see and there were bands I didn’t care for too greatly so I can’t give you my thoughts on the live performances of every band on the card. First cab off the rank however was Dallas Crane. I couldn’t think of a better opener personally to get the fast-growing crowd into the swing of things. ‘No Through Road’ and ‘Ladybird’ have the greatest airplay on Triple J (Australia’s greatest ever radio station which is dedicated to giving unsigned and independent acts airplay as well as non-commercial overseas artists) and thus got the crowd into their set but a sign of a good rock band is that they didn’t play all of their more popular tracks aiming to perhaps keep the set at a hard and heavy pace throughout. On a whole these guys exceeded my expectations of them and I personally can’t wait to see their set at the Big Day Out in February next year.

The Casanovas didn’t let up in their set either. It featured tracks from their self-titled debut album and in among those was some guitar solos from Tommy Boyce that really needs to be heard to be believed. The guy could have been standing on his head and he wouldn’t have skipped a beat while Dave Campbell on the bass provided some excellent vocals to keep a very energetic mosh area occupied with their no nonsense approach to rock and roll music. ’10 Outta 10′ and ‘Shake It’ remain as highlights for me but try telling that to the circle moshers who were just happy to crash into one another to the hard riffs being doled out by the trio. The only drawback to the Casanova’s set was the fact that it ran into Betchadupa’s set. My first venture into the newly introduced small stage saw the New Zealand exports pumping out their two recent hits ‘Move Over’ and ‘Who’s Coming Through The Window’ to conclude what must have been a crowd pleasing set given the hearty reaction given by the female fans in attendance.

Young emo-punk rockers In the Grey hit the stage after Betchadupa and thundered into their set. The stage clearly wasn’t big enough to contain their exuberance. As if they carefully choreographed their jumps to barely miss one another when they launched into their opening song, they delivered every song with such energy that this writer wished it had rubbed off on the headliners of the event, Jet. For relative unknowns to the WA crowd they received a respectful applause after every track, which no doubt was in tribute to the effort they were giving. ‘Skyward’ closed their set which would have just about been their only recognizable song to most in attendance given it’s regular appearance in the ‘Net 50’ months and months ago.

Next up was the biggest surprise of the afternoon for me. 28 Days played all of their hits as well as some samples from their new album ‘Extremist Makeover’. A deafening chant of ‘Rip It Up’ (their first hit) seemed to have the lead singer totally flabbergasted as the band dropped tools to soak up some of the adulation halfway through their set. They did this twice. Once to stop the crowd from surging and causing massive holes to form into the quickly building mosh area. People couldn’t help but fall over as the heavyweights from the licensed area attempted to push their way into the teenage throng occupying the front of the stage. It was by far the most physically draining mosh in my experience which includes Rammstein, Metallica and Pacifier. When they got the crowd to tell them to ‘fuck off’, they then began to ‘Rip It Up’, as well as inviting members of local favorites Gyroscope on stage for backing vocals in their closing song ‘Hate Now’. They must have also got their lifetime supply of shoes given the amount of crowd surfers losing their Globes and DC’s.

Intermission time was supposed to me next up for me as neither Jebediah nor The Cops were too appealing to me. I watched The Cops’ entire set and marveled at how much effort the band put in once the crowd started arriving. They had a chick bass player and calls for a bass solo were ignored and not surprisingly as they gave a half assed effort for the first part of their set. They picked up and showed all what they were capable of as ‘The Shake’ had the crowd moving and the band began to jam like they had been playing together since birth. Afterward I was out looking for food; meanwhile, Spiderbait seemed to have the crowd totally into their set which sounded pretty ordinary from the food queue I was in. Once out of the queue I saw one of the biggest crowds ever assembled at Rock-It playing into drummer/singer Kram’s hands. A veteran who used his brilliant charisma to involve most of the 25000 people in attendance clapping along to an adequately subdued version of ‘Buy Me A Pony’ and then powering into the most popular rock cover song in Australian history ‘Black Betty’. That was never going to be hard considering the song went to #1 in Western Australia before anywhere else in the country and it showed as around 10000 fans in front of the stage and thousands more behind the gates in the licensed area were into the song from start to finish. As the sun set on the afternoon Spiderbait had set the tone for the evening and it was going to be hard to top. It was easily eclipsed by the next act on the small stage in my opinion.

As much of a spectacle Spiderbait were for crowd involvement, 67 Special delivered the goods and more. They blew up three speakers to start their set yet still had enough power to have me paying attention to the bands every move. They played their most popular track ‘Hey There Bomb’ with so much oomph that the CD version I purchased the next day couldn’t do it justice. They played a ‘pop’ tune in ‘Princess Pie’ that turned into one of the band’s great jams at the conclusion of the song ‘Last Drag’. They seemed to do this with so much accuracy that this writer can’t wait to see it again. Even when the drummer fucked up (made even worse by his reaction) they recovered so well that it could only be laughed off at the end of the show. 67 Special is a MUST SEE BAND for all of those people that appreciate rock and roll music the way it used to be and if you thought Jet were good keep in mind they were only first when 67 Special come to town. My personal pick for MVP of the day but the night wasn’t over and considering The Living End’s reputation the standard wasn’t about to drop.

For a band that I’ve followed since their humble beginnings in ‘Hellbound’ to their latest and greatest collections released on both Double CD and DVD I wasn’t about to be disappointed no matter how drunk or stoned Chris Cheney said he was. That only affected Nic Cester from Jet it seemed. From ‘I Can’t Give You What I Haven’t Got’ to ‘Second Solution’ the crowd were treated to a punkabilly feast that only the Living End can deliver. The fact that I could sing along to most of the set helped me enjoy it more but I could sing along to most of Jet’s too and I couldn’t possibly hold Jet’s effort next to The Living End’s in terms of enjoyment. There was no better way to end a concert than for Living End to belt out their trademark ‘E Boogie’ when Cheney would play slide guitar with a beer bottle of choice and Scotty Owen would show us his balancing act on his upright double bass before powering into their double single that propelled them into Australian music history being ‘Prisoner of Society/Second Solution’. Unfortunately it wasn’t the end…

Jet has become Australia’s biggest success worldwide since Savage Garden selling more than 2.5 million units of their debut album ‘Get Born’. While these men deserve nothing but praise for putting Australian rock music back on the map they surely could have belted out a better performance than the sleepwalking the crowd were treated to. Sure they may have played the same set over and over on tour 200 times this year but I’m also certain that 25000 West Aussies deserved better and not that I condone throwing things onto the stage during a performance I was almost pleased to see lead singer Nic Cester get hit in the head with a shoe…twice. A defiant ‘fuck you’ almost tied in with the start of the chorus to ‘Cold Hard Bitch’ and it seemed to motivate him slightly but it didn’t last and it was clear to me that he was dogging it. The bass player almost seemed ready to knock his block off after a brief altercation almost knowing they weren’t performing to their capabilities. I’ve seen these guys rip up the stage at Big Day Out in a late afternoon set that had people climbing to the top of 20 foot tall trees to get a better look at their rock and roll heroes and this performance didn’t live up to their lofty expectations. However they did have a few tricks up their sleeve to redeem themselves somewhat and it came in the form of a cover of Aussie rock legend Stevie Wright’s ‘Evie’. For this show stealing finale they invited Kram from Spiderbait to provide percussion, Chris Cheney on guitar and Dallas Crane’s bassist leaving Jet to provide vocals and additional percussion. It worked on many levels and it re-energized as the band were seemingly relieved to be doing something different. In any case the crowd left happy as this one song alone nearly erased their dodgy efforts just minutes previous. Nearly, but not quite. Hey don’t get me wrong! I’ll still buy all of their records and any new material on their singles but I have to draw a line somewhere! For a headline band to turn in that kind of performance on a stage as big as Rock-It, it’s nearly unforgivable, and I’d really hate to see Jet let fame go to their heads and repay the fans that shell out their hard earned cash to hear their music with a performance that belongs to a cover band playing smalltime pubs in the outback. Anyhow ‘Evie’ kicked arse and maybe that’s something Jet needs to do to freshen up its seemingly stale set list. But then they’d just be a glorified cover band….which is what they were in the first place and look where they are now.

Concert MVP: 67 Special
Biggest Disappointment: Jet
Biggest Surprise: In The Grey/28 Days
Best Crowd: Spiderbait
Worst Crowd: 28 Days

Wasted Words 33

So here we are, a day after the election. The results are in and Bush will serve another four years as the President of the United States of America. Today was a somber day for me to say the least, and I really didn’t get much accomplished on my day off of work. I did watch Kerry’s concession speech as well as the Bush victory speech. I thought both were good, though I seriously wish Kerry would’ve went the opposite direction with his. He talked of unity, when what he really should’ve talked about was how screwed in the head the majority of American voters are. Do the American people enjoy knowing that we’re the most hated country in the world? People from other countries used to love us because we stood for freedom. Now they hate us because we’re a nation full of assholes, the biggest of which is sitting in the white house as I type this.

I really expected the results to be different from how they turned out, and I truly believed there was no possible way Bush could win. I had put my faith in the American people and assumed they’d had enough bullshit for the past four years. I assumed wrong. Gluttons for punishment, I suppose. It’s safe to say that I’m not exactly happy about the results, but what more can we do at this point. Most people I’ve talked to, ones that were strongly against Bush, seem to have an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude about the whole thing. Everyone is talking about uniting as a country and working together. I’m sorry, but I just can’t feel that way. Obviously, anything to change the election results is out of the question. But side with the enemy? Never. Issues such as war, gay marriage, and abortion will continue to separate us. Our country has been divided in half and I don’t see anything United about our States of America. I doubt any of us will for a long time.

For now, I suppose we’ll sit back for a bit and see what Bush does next. Maybe he’ll do a bit better this time around, though I have my doubts. He doesn’t seem to care much for what the people want, rather what Bush wants. That’s not how a President is supposed to think, and shame on Americans for not realizing that.

While you’re here, you should also give Bryans article a read. It’s a great article and brings up a great issue. Enjoy.

Somewhere a Home

Thank you for reading. Until next time, I’m out.

Somewhere a Home

“The guy who wrote “The Star Spangled Banner” knew what he was doing. He set “freedom” to a note so high, that nobody could reach it.”
-Tony Kutchner (Told you it wasn’t me, Jaz 😉 )

Well, the elections are over, and we’ve chosen a lot of leaders. But one thing really stood out to me that echoed the mindset of this country more than any electoral tally: 11 states voted to prevent Gay Marriage in any form. Is it because homosexuality is considered wrong in these places? Or it makes people uncomfortable? America has spoken, homosexuality has no real home in America. So what I will propose in this column is something rather radical… but something that I think is absolutely necessary.

Israel has become a home to the Jewish race and faith. It is the soul “Jewish” country in the world, albiet one that is always in grave danger from it’s bedfellows. However, it has stood as a bastion of hope and understanding for an entire people.

Liberia became a home to the African Slaves brought over to the United States who managed to get away. They formed their own nation, named “Monrovia” after the president who helped them, and started one of the longest standing nations in Africa. They aren’t perfect, but they stand for the power of one people to unify, and to create a new home, in the face of adversity.

Every race…group… has a home in this world. Puerto Rico, England, Canada, the United States, Liberia… every group has its home in one of these places. American Liberals gather cheifly in the metropolis areas, while Conservatives hold sway in the rural areas. Everyone has a place to call their own, in a sense. Except one group; the homosexuals.

Now, one could say a lot of smart-allecky things at this point. “Don’t they have Massachusetts?” No. They have a country that seems disgusted by them. That denies them the freedoms all other consenting adults can enjoy. That portrays stereotypes of them for comedic effect on Television. That has preachers talk about how they will all burn in hell, and how they disgust God. The Democratic party, after this bloody repulse, will begin to lean farther right, leaving the Gay Rights movement sitting high and dry. So what can these people do? Are they doomed to put on appearances, quell their innermost longings, and try to fit in even if their heads and hearts say no?

Many people have been persecuted throughout history. Jews. Gypsies. Blacks. Indians. But all of them have or have begun to overcome the pressures holding them down, trying to drown them in a sea of hate. All except one.

So what do we do? What can we do for these people?

I say we give them an Israel.

Baja California stretches south of the United States, running parralell to Mexico. The land is made up of warm beaches facing the cool Pacific. I’ve been told it’s a beautiful place, where the sun sets over a sparkling ocean. Much like the Gadsen Purchase of long ago, we could buy up a small stretch of this land. It could be a safe haven… a small nation… for a people with no home.

The location is irrelevant, but the necessity is real. Our country spoke last night, and said that we are not a culture of equality after all. Or we just aren’t ready to be yet. We ask our gay citizens to be A.E. Housman rather than Oscar Wilde. When they hold out their battered arms for comfort, we shower them in Bible verses. When Mathew Sheppard dies tied to a wooden stake, rednecks and football players in high schools cheer. This is not a home for the homosexual populace, any more than Germany was a home for the Jews in 1933. Any more than America was a home for the Souix in the 1860’s. Any more than… well, you get the picture.

I’m not saying we move all of them out. I’m saying we give them the option of a place where they can avoid bigotry… avoid oppression… and feel free to be themselves in a culture that does not harbor hatred for them. We owe them that much.

One day, we might be capable of being the true “Land of the Free”. But until then, we should give citizens who can’t be free here a place where they can be. We did it once before, and we can do it again.

“Everybody needs a place to rest, everybody wants to have a home.”
-Bruce Springsteen

11/02/04 – Judgement Day

Go Vote!

Go vote for peace, vote for our safety, vote for prosperity, vote for our economy, vote for the people outside our communities, vote for our children, vote for our respect, vote for our troops, vote for our future, vote for our jobs, vote for our loved ones, vote for our firemen, vote for our education, vote for our environment, vote for those lost but not forgotten, vote to save democracy, vote to save the bill of rights, vote for sanity, vote for honesty.

Vote to correct a miserable failure.

Please, for yourself, for me, just go vote.

Vote to take back our nation.