Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Saving ...

As noted a couple of days ago, my laptop is misbehaving. As a result, I've spent a lot of time -- writing time -- backing up files in case this is a sickness unto death.
Backing up files reminds me of one of the Platonic dialogues about writing. I don't recall which dialogue -- Phaedrus perhaps -- but the conversation concerns the notion that writing is a secondary and thus lesser form of communication than speech.
Backing up files would come way down the road, then, and the entire internet would as well.
There was a time, not that long ago, when I would happily have gone on at length on this stuff, but I've forgotten most of it and I guess I didn't save the files. Ah well.
Back to backing up.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

One Ton of Fanmail ... or They Just Don't Write Hate Mail Like They Used To

The piece I wrote for People of Faith for Equality Virginia responding to Attorney General Cuccinelli's recent actions ran today as an op-ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. By this evening I've only received two e-mail condemnations, neither of which was particularly interesting or creative.
Times have changed. Ten years ago I was forced to resign a church in Pittsburgh after preaching a sermon on same-sex marriage rights. Five years ago we got threats after Clarendon announced its marriage rights policy.
Today? A couple of lukewarm e-mails that don't even rise to the level of hate mail. I am somewhat disappointed. After all, if we're not getting hate mail we're not doing our jobs, a colleague once reassured me.
On the other hand, the nonresponse is informative on at least two levels.
It could be further evidence of the rapid decline of print media and simply indicate that no one is reading op ed pieces anymore. There is a sad truth to that. It's not sad because of what it says about the failures of the media (which are many and manifold), but rather because increasingly we only find opinion pieces in electronic space that is finely sliced and segmented, and where we seldom encounter voices we do not already agree with. To that extent, the death of the tradition of Sunday op eds saddens me.
The nonresponse could also be evidence of the continued rapid cultural shift that makes speaking out for the rights of GLBT people far less likely to engender angry response than it was just a few years ago. When we did the marriage policy change at Clarendon in 2005 the mail did not stop for weeks and the response included threatening phone calls to church.
The best this round of mail could produce was a bit of pathetic partisanship from someone in Mechanicsville: "Gays don't want equality, they DEMAND superiority; and, 'want to be out there' (pun intended) flaunting on television as often as Obama is...which is way too often!"
Harry Knox, from HRC, preached at Clarendon this morning. He was speaking with a group of us following worship and noted that roughly 90 percent of the American public now supports ending Don't Ask Don't Tell, including a majority of Republicans.
Times are changing ... and you have to work a lot harder to generate good hate mail these days.