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Laureen of the Deep is startled.
July 11th, 1999

Great Special Effects
Ah, yes the prayers of reporters and cartoonists everywhere are answered on a news day devoid of oral sex or mass extermination. It isn't clear what the Mormon church is thinking with this campaign, but it is clear how the issues will be drawn for news consumption here in San Francisco and the world at large. Plenty to get upset about, plenty of lip smacking material for cartoonists and talking heads alike. And I'm OK with that, look what I've used for my banner illustration.

I have no issue with gay marriage or domestic partnership (The story Big Hairy Queen. that got my dander up in the paper today had to do with a genetically engineered potato, classified in the U.S. as a pesticide and therefor regulated by the EPA instead of the FDA. Mashed pesticides and gravy, a real hit with the kids.). There are economic as well as cosmic issues about gay marriage, I suppose, but I doubt they'll be discussed. My company provides domestic partner benefits, has for the five years I've been with them anyway, benefits available to "significant others", male or female, reptilian or mammalian, chicken or duck, egg or omelette. That's good, I think. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about working in Oakland, having a Moonbeam for a mayor in an office across the street.

I know little about the Mormon church, but I've had direct experience with Mormons as individuals and they've been good. Mormon Leader Hinkley. One, a client over the course of many years, took a big chance on doing business with me when I was just starting out and we've remained friends. One was a bishop in his local church and the example he set impressed me both for his lack of proselytizing (come on Prop, see the light) and his empathy for his employees, their families, the community around him and one lone computer geek. I don't believe he or his brother had more than one wife, although they could have had some salted away in Sonoma or Vallejo and he just never bothered to mention the fact, what with local attitudes on the subject. I will say I'd rather have him at my back in a time of trouble than many another good citizen I've met.

Another is a fellow worker and although he's weird (Star Wars fanatic, Dilbert freak, hardware fetishist), he fits right into our group of agnostic techie malcontents, so most of what I know about the Mormon church comes from them: one on one, eye to eye, no complaints.

The problem is this "thou shalt not" shit. Makes people crazy. The gay Nation's Jello Supply Depleted. community here is pretty strong, most of them having fled places where gay will get you tied to the back of a truck and dragged down the street until you're dead. Or doused with gasoline when you were really looking for a loaf of bread at a 7 - 11 store and just happened to meet the local cleanup committee on a deserted street. None of it funny to recollect whenever the call goes out to "convert to god" funded by, in this case, the Mormon church, but with other churches to follow, of course, as this initiative gets closer to the ballot. Plenty of fodder for cartoonists and political wits.

How wonderful has it been for Mormons in this century and the last, driven into the desert for, um, amongst other things, their attitudes about marriage? I mean, shit, what do they smoke out there by the Great Salt Lake? Were there any Mormons in Germany during the Third Reich? If there were, are there any left? Do their bones mix in mass graves with gays and Jews and crazies and the politically inconsistent? Liberals? Democrats? New Age Republicans who got off the track? Or are they buried off by themselves with the more morally correct?

OK, enough. I see the cartoon in the Examiner this morning over 4 Out Of 5 Hinkley Housewives Prefer Colgate. breakfast and get a chuckle so I come home and go on a "don't torch gays in the town square no more" routine when I really wanted to write something a little lighter to go with my mood. I wind up writing a sermon. Depressing. My button when I was younger was burning books, generally because they were nasty and could corrupt your neighbor's kids, who, unlike your own, actually read. Books. Like the Internet. Like the local school system, from what I've been reading. Maybe the solution is to stop reading, certainly my solution for today is to stop writing. About it.

Well, my mood has changed altogether and I'm thinking it would have been better to write something about gene spliced potatoes now registered as pesticides with the federal government and therefor regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instead of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In Europe they call it "Frankenfood". I'll wait for the movie. Should have great special effects.

The banner cartoon by Don Asmussen was scanned from the Chronicle - Examiner Sunday edition today without thought of copyright ownership, although I suspect they're not too concerned. What the fuck, read the Examiner, it ran a column by Hunter Thompson back in my Napa days when I was still buying the Chronicle and I've read it ever since.