please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Please Stop Tickling Me, y'all.

For those outside the Portland area, Sam Adams is Portland's first gay mayor. He also is a career politician going back to the entirely-unmissed-by-me Vera Katz administration. Adams always struck me as a second choice at best, and full of attractive bad ideas that were as expensive as they were unworkable. I've voted against him every chance I've had, except I did vote for him for mayor.
Not sure why I did that. Probably because he seemed better than the rest. I don't know.

The shit storm over Sam Adams' (2005) fucking of eighteen-year-old Beau Breedlove, and subsequent covering-up of same, comes as a bit of a surprise since I imagined -like everyone- that though ostensibly gay, Sam really was just asexual and achieved his greatest pleasure through Policy.

As always, the first part is sorta sordid, but still falls under the heading of "private". The second part -The Lie- is what kills ya'. Not only did Sam lie, but he told others to lie. An opportunistic real estate developer/would-be mayoral candidate was made to look like a giant schmuck for bringing it up at all, and Amy Ruiz from The Mercury is said to have gotten a job with Sam for not investigating the story more deeply.

Though I have seen several comforting denials of this, it remains pretty funny-looking. The Oregonian printed the accused parties' denials as if it put paid to any further speculation. Oh. They say they didn't do it. I feel better now...

And uncomfortable questions are raised that since Sam was not just "mentoring" (the original description of their relationship) Beau, he at least waited until they guy was eighteen...Uh, well where do we start trusting his word again? Now you're a pedophile gay pervert horndog, just exactly as the reactionaries around here would have us all believe?

I knew that if I waited long enough, I'd get to see the comment that raises itself above the mere stating of opinion that tends to characterize scandals.
The Comment that Raises Itself Above is a tried and true laugh-getter, in my life. It's what Booty refers to as "the hilarity of shallow depth" writ large. It never fails to tickle me.

And so this appeared on The Mercury's Blogtown PDX:

I cannot pretend for one minute to know, let alone feel indignant, about the private affairs of consenting lovers. This is a play for media storm, and I do believe there are deeper truths at play, whatever the case may be.
(And it's difficult for the rest of us, whoever we may be at this time, to dispute such things. It is a storm for play. We too, must not pretend to know things. There are things we do not know; that is a natural fact.)

It's quite a stretch to say that any of this casts little more than a faint shadow upon a career of political substance. Shall Mayor Adams be perversely vindicated in an apparent anticipation of torches and pitchforks raised against his supposedly corrupting influence as a gay man? The hype is mere stigma.
(No; we disagree! The stigma is mere hype! The shadow that is cast, despite being a career-ending one, is mere simulacra of a shadow. It is what it is, to quote a great man. And we want non-perverted vindication, lest we show that the torches and pitchforks were...Gay man corrupting...Sorry; that sentence holds too many directional changes in subject for me to grasp with my all-too-linear brain.)

Holding politicians accountable is not a matter of dragging representatives off pedestals; nay, it is of calling them to the duty of consistently doing our bidding to the best of their abilities. The election is over; the work of governance is what matters, especially in these tricky times.
(The Comment that Raises Itself Above makes a lot of weighty pronouncements, despite not really saying much in so doing. Nay. It then often follows up with statements that hold up pretty strongly on their own due to their sublime obviousness, albeit stated more gracefully than what we read in The Pamphlets. A comfortable generalization is the capstone of such statements, plus an appeal to that old crowd pleaser, "...these days...")

Scapegoating is the transparent leverage of political distraction. There's no place in government for the moral determinism of churches or weak journalism.
(TEE HEE HEE! STOP! YOU'RE KILLING ME! Wait; what is scapegoating again? And it sort of seems that while you wish there was no place for churches and shitty reportage, both certainly are there, and that's why you composed this vaguely worded rant about Something. I just wish the author -who goes by the unassuming handle of 'B70'- had gone even lower in the sententiousness department: "We are all here now; no one can deny that..." say.)

** ** **
There's a certain esoteric art in working a spotlight, I failed to note in my last post. I have no idea how anyone with even sub-standard eyesight does it. You need to focus a very powerful and bright light at a target far away to illuminate a point that is tiny and ill-defined. Plenty of other lights will be interfering with your ability to see whether or not that's your light wandering around the wings, or someone else's, and being able to aim the damn thing with any accuracy is something approaching the mystical.
I find the best way to do it is orienting my head a bit to the side of the barrel, so as to see the actual beam of light as it leaves the instrument, and continues on through space. If I kept on looking directly ahead as if eye and instrument were One, I'd probably lose my performer and never get them back. By backing away from Me, my aim improves.

How's that like journalism? Well, I hesitate to say. Uh, you need to be a clear light in all the dazzling bullshit? Most of it is ballyhoo (an actual term in lighting, by the way) but it's also about focusing attention on a single point. By focusing the attention, you may either deter folks from looking elsewhere, or bring greater depth of content to the one point, or both.

Uh, should Sam resign? No, I don't think so. It's just kind of disturbing that I can't find many arguments in favor of his staying.



Blogger rich bachelor said...

Credit goes to 'First Amendment Attorney' Charlie Hinkle, who I believe is Breedlove's lawyer and is spending a lot of time shooting his mouth off in public, for funniest sound bites and the 'With friends like This...' award:

"...even if Adams had had sex with 17-year-old Beau Breedlove, it wouldn't be the worst crime in human history."

and something along the lines of
"...journalists can write whatever they choose, but sometimes they shouldn't choose particular subjects..."

Strike Three? No doubt on its way.

To Jeff Taylor, who apparently also ran for mayor, credit for the most unique 'Waahh':

"It is too bad my pro-family, pro-jobs, pro-public-safety and fewer-taxes platform did not get more media traction."

Nah, you still woulda lost, it sounds like. 'Cause deep down you're a whiny bigot, sounds like.

12:56 PM  
Blogger reid said...

Curious. I remember Adams' campaign but I never realized he was gay. Was he the first openly gay mayor of a major city befor or after he took office? It was either him or the Japanese businessman, though I can't remember. It all sounds like a cheap stereotype, I know. 17 is better than 14, just ask Neil. You'd think being mayor or even just a prospective mayor would be enough to nab someone old enough to spell "statutory" or "statute of limitations", but I guess not. But does that mean they can't change the city for the better or push good policies? Albeit lying right out of the gate is slightly off setting. But I'm with you. Let him stay and see if his mayoral skills are up to the task I running a city. I'm unsure if who he chases on his own time has anything to do with whether or not potholes get fixed, people stop getting shot on light rail or vaccinating the growing epidemic of hipster bars.

11:06 PM  
Blogger rich bachelor said...

I'm reexamining my feelings on this one. Like I say, I always thought that Sam was kind of part of the problem -regardless of orientation, obviously. If he were to step down, Randy Leonard would be mayor, and I kinda like that guy.

As it stands, from what I can glean, Portland's about fifty/fifty on this one. I have no idea what's going to happen. As of today, Sam says he won't step down, so there'll probably be a recall...And nothing will be done in the meantime.

11:18 PM  
Blogger reid said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to add that I think having a gay mayor is great. But a politician is just that: a politician. Gay, straight blue or yellow, they all need to lie to function, it all depends on what they're lying about that determines if it's acceptable to the public or not. Makes me wonder what Obama's first real mistake will be and how the American public/media will take it.

11:23 PM  
Blogger rich bachelor said...

Ooh yeah. Me too. I so far have been pleased at how quick Mr. Obama has been about the business of overturning the worst legislation of the last eight years. We'll see though; those people who have been whining about the inherent nobility of the office of President -also in the last eight years- will go right back to doing what they did all through the Nineties, and do their damnedest to burn this guy.

They haven't pulled it off so far though: we'll see, as always...

11:44 PM  
Blogger LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

You sort of hope that this sort of thing happens with the likes of Ted Stevens and Fred Haggard, but now and then it happens with a guy like Adams. (And what was the name of the Spokane mayor who got caught?) I don't know enough about his actual performance to say if he should stay or go.

Well, it's only January and there have been some nice political scandals erupting in Chicago, Portland and elsewhere to keep the tabloids in business and maybe restore the economy.

At a time when California is facing not sending us our tax returns and being bankrupt come Monday, I wish for the golden days of the 1990s and Ken Starr peeking in windows and probing interns.

6:04 PM  
Blogger rich bachelor said...

I forget the name of the Spokane guy, but I believe he was more in the Larry Craig league. Sam's different, in that he's sort of playing exactly into the stereotype already held by those who already hate him.

Also, I've not been a big fan of him anyway...But those who automatically hate him anyway are whiny shits. Hehhh...We'll see.

6:22 PM  

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