The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.” — Robert Frost

LOOKING FOR THAT SILVER LINING

Reading “The Age of Reagan” by Sean Wilentz right now.

You know, we think we live in such a divisive time but today’s “culture wars” are next to nothing compared to the strife of 30 and 40 years ago.

Think back to 1977 when Anita Bryant temporarily re-emerged from a well-deserved anonymity by anointing herself the spokesnag for the anti-gay movement. How would we react now if some d-lister started bleating lines like this: “As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children”?

Or equated  gay rights with rights for people who like to sleep with St. Bernards.

Anybody reckless enough to say such stupid things would feel compelled to backstep and and issue mea culpas for weeks afterward.

But 35 years ago, Bryant’s barking helped galvanize and energize a far-right movement that eventually took over many of this holy land’s legislative bodies and largely dominates public discourse. The Rev. Jerry Falwell, a previously marginalized segregationist preacher, threw his lot in with her and the next thing we all knew, his Moral Majority was instrumental in getting Ronald Reagan elected president.

At about the same time, the Constitutional amendment calling for equal rights for women was going down to defeat, thanks to those usual suspects, professional gargoyle Phyllis Schlafly, and others.

Phyllis Schlafly

Can you imagine anyone stepping up to a podium and announcing that women do not deserve the full protection of the United States Constitution today?

At least the Tories and antediluvians of our time have the good sense to speak in codes or couch their regressive ideas in moralistic platitudes.

I suppose that’s progress.

ARGUMENTUM AD VERECUNDIAM

I’m a proud and outspoken liberal and progressive, although I’m not a fanatic about things.

For instance, those on my side of the fence, by and large, are up in arms over GMOs.

Genetically Modified Organisms are understood to be new strains of flora and fauna that have been cooked up in laboratories. Chief among the GMO peddlers of the world is Monsanto Company, the reviled St. Louis-based multinational agri-business monolith.

Since Monsanto is Satan incarnate to most of my philosophical brethren and sisteren, anything that outfit puts out must be evil, evil, evil.

Ergo, GMOs are poisons more harmful than arsenic — which, by the way, can be found naturally in trace amounts in pretty much any soil sample gathered on this Earth.

Anyway, humans have been jiggering with genes in their crops ever since the first person threw a seed in the dirt and discovered a plant would result. Take the organic corn you bought this summer at Bloomingfoods or Whole Foods Market. The big old ears that we take for granted in this 21st Century never existed before humans began cross-breeding maize species — in other words, creating primitive GMOs.

Frankenfood!

I bring this up because it occurred to me the other day that the argument my side uses for global warming — a concept I fully subscribe to — is that the vast majority of the world’s climatologists say human-caused climate change is real. In other words, scientists say it’s so. Fair enough.

But when it comes to GMOs, the vast majority of the world’s agricultural biotech scientists seem to agree they’re safe.

In fact, the two ratios are pretty much the same.

So, expert consensus is good enough to buy into global warming but to hell with it when it comes to GMOs. Sometimes my side can be as dopey as the other side. Well, almost.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.


Sunday, October 28th, 2012

CLASS ◗ Dagom Gaden Tensung Ling MonasteryIntroductory course on Buddhism; 10-11am

STUDIO TOUR ◗ Brown County, various locationsThe Backroads of Brown County Studio Tour, free, self-guided tour of 16 local artists’ & craftspersons’ studios; 10am-5pm, through October

HALLOWE’EN ◗ Lake Monroe, Paynetown SRAGhostly Gathering, party, campsite decorating contest, trick or treat, costume contest, “ghost” hunt; Saturday through Sunday at 5pm

FEST ◗ Bloomington Community OrchardCider Fest; 11am

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoBrunch Show: Sam Hoffman; 11pm

HALLOWE’EN ◗ Haunted Hayride and StablesFriendly hayrides; 1-7pm

MUSIC IU Musical Arts Center, Recital HallStudent Recital: Mark Davies, baritone; 1pm

FEST ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesHalloween Family Fun Fest: Day of the Dead; 2-4pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer Hall — Master’s Recital: JunYi Chow, composition; 2pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallSundays in Auer Hall Series: Faculty/Student Chamber Music Recital, Pacifica & Kuttner Quartets, Atar Varad on viola, Jacob Wunsch on cello, Evelyen Brancart on piano; 4pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleDavid Sisson; 5-7pm

MUSIC ◗ St. Thomas Lutheran ChurchIU Organ Department Pipes Spooktacular; 6-7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceMisty Stevens, Old Truck Revival, Avacado Chic, Homebrew Holler; 6-8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallMaster’s Recital: Christine Buras, soprano; 6pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubAndra Faye & Scott Ballantine; 6pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “Anjos do Sol (Angels of the Sun)“; 6:30pm

BENEFIT ◗ Buskirk Chumley TheaterEarthquake Relief Concert For Tabriz Region of Iran, Presented by North American Humanitarian Relief Project & Trained Eye Arts; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopHusband & Wife, Jared Bartman, Dastardly; 7pm

PERFORMANCE ◗ Rachael’s CafeThe Projection, Don’t Call It a Comeback, Lawnmower; 7:30-10pmpm

MUSIC ◗ First United Methodist ChurchIU Voice Faculty Cabaret; 7:30pm

POLITICS & COMEDY ◗ IU AuditoriumBill Maher; 8pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Threads of Love: Baby Carriers from China’s Minority Nationalities“; through December 23rd
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st
  • Embracing Nature,” by Barry Gealt; through December 23rd
  • Pioneers & Exiles: German Expressionism,” through December 23rd

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • Ab-Fab — Extreme Quilting,” by Sandy Hill; October 5th through October 27th
  • Street View — Bloomington Scenes,” by Tom Rhea; October 5th through October 27th
  • From the Heartwoods,” by James Alexander Thom; October 5th through October 27th
  • The Spaces in Between,” by Ellen Starr Lyon; October 5th through October 27th

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit:

  • Buzz Spector: Off the Shelf; through November 16th
  • Small Is Big; Through November 16th

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners;” through December 20th
  • Gender Expressions;” through December 20th

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibit:

  • “CUBAmistad” photos

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit:

  • Outsiders and Others: Arkham House, Weird Fiction, and the Legacy of HP Lovecraft;” through November 1st
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections from the Slocum Puzzle Collection

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Soup’s OnExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Culture: “CUBAmistad photos; through October

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • Bloomington: Then and Now,” presented by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibits:

  • Doctors & Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical Professions
  • What Is Your Quilting Story?
  • Garden Glamour: Floral Fashion Frenzy
  • Bloomington Then & Now
  • World War II Uniforms
  • Limestone Industry in Monroe County

The Ryder & The Electron Pencil. All Bloomington. All the time.

One thought on “The Pencil Today:

  1. bill says:

    Anita Bryant was a spokesmodel for the pupae stage of the modern POG. Her brand of intolerance seems almost quaint today. The sociopaths who funded her “movement” have not changed in form, only in sophistication. Repackaged, reformulated, re-branded hypocrisy and intolerance is still the product being pushed. How is it any more palatable?

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