First two topics: fundraising and activism. If you get past those, I promise, there are updates about Lost and baking and a TV news crew in a toy store and [things].
Fundraising: Our most recent semi-tally from yesterday is $1904. This is not including donations that were mentioned only in the private poll; I'm going to have to print that list off and check it against the comments (because some people didn't enter their gifts in the poll, and other people are just anonymous/LJ-less and couldn't use the poll at all) and come up with a more accurate total, which will have the benefit of being bigger, if nothing else. At this point, we're going with "anyone who heard about this on FW or any LJ," and anything else I may have said earlier ("only my LJ") is outdated. I'm basically viewing this as a journaling phenomenon, so any donation you made because of posts that have been made by anyone this past week counts.
If you'd like to send something by mail (check, money order, etc.), there's info on the "Help and Donations" page at 4christina.org. ari_o also has a post up about getting a special Christmas present for Jillian (sapphireisle), Christina's daughter who brought all of this to our attention in the first place. I think they're about halfway to their goal at this point.
Speaking of which, Christina has now started her own journal at sapphsmum.
Gay book-banning: In the middle of my whole "Do we draw attention to the problem, or would that make it worse?" dilemma, several of y'all sent me links to an interview in the Guardian (.co.uk--so basically, most of Britain, if not Europe, is aware of what's going on now) with Rep. Allen:
What should we do with US classics like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or The Color Purple? "Dig a hole," Gerald Allen recommends, "and dump them in it." Don't laugh. Gerald Allen's book-burying opinions are not a joke.
Earlier this week, Allen got a call from Washington. He will be meeting with President Bush on Monday. I asked him if this was his first invitation to the White House. "Oh no," he laughs. "It's my fifth meeting with Mr Bush."
Bush is interested in Allen's opinions because Allen is an elected Republican representative in the Alabama state legislature. He is Bush's base. Last week, Bush's base introduced a bill that would ban the use of state funds to purchase any books or other materials that "promote homosexuality". Allen does not want taxpayers' money to support "positive depictions of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle". That's why Tennessee Williams and Alice Walker have got to go.
I ask Allen what prompted this bill. Was one of his children exposed to something in school that he considered inappropriate? Did he see some flamingly gay book displayed prominently at the public library?
No, nothing like that. "It was election day," he explains. Last month, "14 states passed referendums defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman". Exit polls asked people what they considered the most important issue, and "moral values in this country" were "the top of the list".
Traditional family values are under attack," Allen informs me. They've been under attack "for the last 40 years". The enemy, this time, is not al-Qaida. The axis of evil is "Hollywood, the music industry". We have an obligation to "save society from moral destruction". We have to prevent liberal libarians and trendy teachers from "re-engineering society's fabric in the minds of our children". We have to "protect Alabamians".
I ask him, again, for specific examples. Although heterosexuals are apparently an endangered species in Alabama, and although Allen is a local politician who lives a couple miles from my house [Oh, God, I'm so sorry], he can't produce any local examples. "Go on the internet," he recommends. "Some time when you've got a week to spare," he jokes, "just go on the internet. You'll see."
Actually, I go on the internet every day. But I'm obviously searching for different things. [Snerk.] For Allen, the web is just the largest repository in history of urban myths. The internet is even better than the Bible when it comes to spreading unverifiable, unrefutable stories. And urban myths are political realities.
Next March the Alabama Shakespeare festival will be performing a new production of As You Like It, and its famous scene of a man wooing another man. The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is also the State Theatre of Alabama. Would Allen's bill cut off state funding for Shakespeare?
"Well," he begins, after a pause, "the current draft of the bill does not address how that is going to be handled. I expect details like that to be worked out at the committee stage. Literature like Shakespeare and Hammet [sic] could be left alone." Could be. Not "would be".
"Dig a hole," Gerald Allen recommends, "and dump them in it."
Of course, Allen was talking about books. He was just talking about books. He never said anything about pink triangles.
You know, what with the five visits to President Bush, I'm starting to give the whole "We fellow legislators think Allen's an ass and we would never pass this bill" thing I'm hearing a little less weight.
So I have a few more people I'm going to try to email. As far as I know, I'm still going to the HRC meeting next week--I had to make my family reschedule a birthday dinner for it, but now the dinner will be on my actual birthday, so no harm no foul. I haven't tried to rally y'all to a specific effort or campaign yet because we're still in the planning stage, really, but after New Year's, I should have something for us to move forward on as a group, whoever's interested.
My God, it's only 5 pm and already it's pitch black outside.
I just remembered something--on Lost, at the little hospital board meeting/hearing thing, didn't someone address Jack's father as "Christian"? And isn't Jack's last name Shepard/Shepherd however you want to spell it? So Jack's father's name is... Christian Shepherd? Subtle, guys. (IMDB gives his name as "Dr. Shephard.")
I would also like to add that I thought Evangeline Lilly was fab in the Long Distance Losing-of-the-Shit event. That doesn't mean that I don't also, after the fact, see humor in it.
Almost done with the latest batch of icons.
Mom and Sister Girl are downstairs doing the Christmas baking--so far they have two batches of Mom's famous fudge and a countertop's worth of white chocolate haystacks. Unfortunately, they're making the Chex Mix as I "speak," and now's a good a time as ever to mention this, but... I loathe Chex Mix. I like plain Chex cereal. You know,
Anyway. This morning we mailed off Vladimir's Second Present--the [thing]--and a package to Sister Girl's boyfriend in Afghanistan. We were supposed to go out to breakfast, Mom and I, but that didn't so much work out--THAT'S what I wanted to tell you guys! I can't believe I forgot about this, because this is huge. We were going to breakfast by ourselves because my stepfather was having to clean out his office, because he's been really, really unhappy as a glorified paper shredder/"office manager" for about two or three years now, and desperately seeking a new job, and he finally GOT ONE. He used to head up a non-profit organization, but he left that so he could move from Anniston to marry Mom and live down here. The new job seemed good at the time, like they always do, but... well, I knew it was a bad situation by the time I was hearing stories about the drug-dealing IT guy they couldn't fire because he had his fingers in all their technological pies and could screw them over at a moment's notice. Yeah. So now, after almost getting many, many jobs, his health deteriorating under the stress, he's finally found a new position as... the head of a non-profit organization, which is perfect. This is why I say I believe that everything happens for a reason--if he'd gotten one of the previous jobs, he wouldn't have been available for the perfect one. So, after much angst and stress from the entire family, all is well. Whew.
(Mom told me Friday night--they seriously want him to start Monday morning, because they are crazy. Mom and I had given them up for lost at this late date--that he'd finally gotten the call offering the job, and I just blurted out, "That's the best fucking Christmas present ever." And she just grinned and said, "Yeah, I KNOW.")
So. No breakfast, because the weather was turning ugly and Mom didn't want to "waste" time at a restaurant when we could be buying the week's groceries and mailing packages and making fudge. After the post office, we went to Smith's, an awesome little variety store run by (believe it or not) my preschool music teacher. I don't know why, but a Fox 6 news crew had set up camp in the toy section in the back, so I didn't get to go drool over dolls like I usually do. It was crowded as all hell anyway, so we were lucky to get out of there with some cards, a roll of wrapping paper, and our lives. Then we came back home and I went back to sleep. I don't know what's wrong with me, but that exam-paper double whammy two days ago seems to have wiped me out. I think I'm catching up, though.
Am hungry again. Why am I so hungry all the time? Oh, that's right... because I've been sleeping through meals.
Desperately need to work on the book. Did (finally!) think of a good way to do Galadriel's opening speech in FOTR, so that's something.