Saturday, August 27, 2005

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Same Sex Parental Court Decision (California)

Same-sex parents' rights expanded
California court says both partners are considered moms

"The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that both members of a lesbian couple who plan for and raise a child born to either of them should be considered the child's mothers even after their relationship ends"...
By Adam Liptak
New York Times News Service
Published August 23, 2005

The decision mentioned here is a giant step forward for Lesbian and Gay parents and also is a step closer to granting gay people the right to marry. Recognition of the end of a relationship by the courts is tantamount to recognition of a divorce and how can a divorce be recognized without the status of marriage being granted down the road. Congrats to the California Supreme Court for making the right decision in the three cases that went before them. I understand that in one of the cases there was dissent from the two women justices who were outvoted by the four male justices. That case involved the signing of a form which gave motherhood status away when the egg from one lesbian in the couple was given to the other. It was obvious the intent was not to give motherhood status away but the two women Justices said a contract is a contract eventhough the couple continued to raise the child together and the intent was as two mothers at least until the two women broke up. The first case ruled upon was a unanimous decision by the high court and the third case was procedural and it was not clear how many voted and on which side. It was a good day for the Gay Rights community, for the children of Gay people and people seeking human justice.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Piano Man: Misrepresented, Blame the Media

 I was disturbed to hear mainstream news specifically I think it was ABC news report that the piano man turned out to be a hoax and it was stated that this person really didn't know how to play the piano only pounded the same note over and over again. Later news reports on the internet (see below) spelled the story out somewhat more clearly. Turns out the guy called the "piano man" finally decided to talk to his caregivers and told them he was the son of a Bavarian farmer, that he (the "piano man") was gay, and that he had been found by the police who had stopped his attempt at suicide on a beach by the English channel. He was found dripping wet. The news media was unsympathetic leaving the suicide attempt and gay part of the story out of the news report and announced there had been similar hoaxes over the years. Other news items also reported the mental health facility where he had been staying could sue him for the expenses he had incurred at the hospital. These reports implied criminal behavior on the part of the "piano man". This was based on the knowledge revealed by the "piano man" that he used to work with mentally ill people and knew how to imitate their behavior.

What was irritating about these stories is that this guy had been built up by them into some sort of romantic version of the person portrayed in a movie about another piano man who was a virtuoso as a young man and who remerges years later. The facts seemed very missing. Did this guy play the piano or not and who said so? Some reports say he played virtuosos performances for the staff and other said he pounded on one key over and over. No one has considered that the young man was frightened to face a homophobic father and/or family back in Germany. The thought of rejection has sent many person who identify as Gay or LGBTI into a psychological panic or psychosis. Even if it didn't there seems to be no sympathy for this person's situation. Of course, the Gay story might also be made up too but it sounds more plausible to me than the other one the media made up and the public grabbed onto with hysterical delight.

If any one should be charged for the expenses this sad individual may have incurred it should be the news channels for their gross neglect and inability to get a story straight and also the stupid bureaucrats at the hospital who never thought to ask some probing questions. Perhaps, I am asking too much of the professionals but it seems they were duped by media into believing something that took on mythic proportions. I admit the "piano man" bears some responsibility for his own behavior but I also think there was something amiss with the poor guy and that if he was motivated by fear that does put a different light on the story which no one has commented on at this point in the story. LGBTI (Lesbian and Gay) organizations should take an interest in this case to make sure the guy gets a fair shake.

See portion of article on the Piano Man from The Guardian newspaper below.

I think I'll speak today, says 'mute' Piano Man before leaving for home in Bavaria

Patrick Barkham and Luke Harding in Berlin
Tuesday August 23, 2005
The Guardian

It was reported that the man told staff at the secure mental health unit at the Little Brook hospital in Dartford that he decided not to speak when he was discovered shortly after attempting suicide on his arrival in Britain from Paris, where he worked as a waiter.

The German embassy in London was contacted on Friday by the hospital after the man's apparent confession, in which he reportedly also said he was gay and had two sisters, and a father who was a farmer in Germany. Provided with travel documents, he flew back to Germany on Saturday.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sad To See Six Feet Under End

Sad to See Six Feet Under HBO Show End

I have been an avid Six Feet Under watcher. Tonight I will see the last episode and no doubt get a hint of what the future holds for all the characters who have seemed so much like real people in my life. I have been thinking about Brenda and how she will deal with the bitter rejections she seems to have received from Nate, her widowhood, and her parenting challenges which most likely will include the continued raising of Lisa's daughter Mya (Nate's first wife) and her own new baby soon to be. Ruth, The Mom, I know will survive as she seems to have discovered a deepening respect for her second husband, George, whom she had written off earlier as too crazy for her. She also seems to learn from life in spite of her dogged ritualistic personality so embedded in the traditional family.

The show has definitely been credited with teaching America how to face the issue of death and dying in our society, although the show unrealistically focuses on sudden death rather than the more ordinary and common death that is associated with old age and chronic illness which does not happen suddenly and without warning. What has drawn me to the show is the fact that the characters were allowed to develop and become fully human with all the faults and strengths and embarrassing experiences that happen, but perhaps not as often hopefully, to us all. I also think each show is handled with artistic integrity of a very high degree, something unusual for television. Each episode is more like a film than a made for television episode. This has been noted on a HBO documentary on the show but deserves further mention.

All the characters are treated with respect and dignity by Creator Alan Ball and the other writers of the show. None is a caricature of a person or stereotype and each one always surprises the viewer at the complexity of the human spirit and layers of emotion that dwell deep within each one of us. I loved the way the character who is the partner of the Fisher’s, (Frederico) Rico Diaz, has been fleshed out and changed as the show goes on. In the documentary Rico is depicted as an artist, the one who makes dead people look good for their relatives and loved ones to see before they are buried. I never thought of him that way before but it is so true. Rico is so intense in his quest for control over what he sees as his rightful domain. He has enlivened the show and forces the various Fisher family members to change and often respond to his constant ambition and concerns which always seem somehow right but not coming at the right time for the Fisher’s. Rico grew on me as time went on and made me rethink who he was many times.

Brenda is more of a mystery to me. She is so intelligent it hurts sometimes as she takes everything in yet emotionally she often seems to float on the surface trying to just stay alive. I think she has it in her to find the strong part of herself and at the same time not disappoint those who need her. The best part of the show to me is the women. Clare too I know will break off on her own as the show has hinted and become stronger too. But the hardest of all to let go of is David, the Gay brother, who has helped the other significant people in his life find happiness like his lover, Keith, and their newly “adopted” children; yet as a result of terrible situations beyond his control David has suffered a breakdown and seems lost to the world of hallucinations, hopefully, a temporary form of psychosis of some sort that he will come out of and transcend.

Yes, it is true the show has many of the characteristics of a traditional soap opera. But the show is so surreal and so inside the character’s heads it transcends the typical faults most soap operas display which make the characters so unidimensional. The dream sequences have added a great quality of realness to the show. We all have dreams and the lines between them and our waking lives is always quite revealing to know. The good part is that often the viewer at first is never exactly sure whether what we are seeing is a dream or the real thing (whatever that is) and that keeps the show fresh and alive.

Now I wait only a few hours before the last show begins hoping I too will find solace in knowing Alan Ball will make these seemingly real people find some peace in their lives; otherwise they will be hopelessly locked in my psyche screaming like ghosts looking for their real homes on earth rather than floating free somewhere in tv dreamland heaven. Last of all, I say to the actors of this show, I salute you and your magnificent portrayals of these people who have inhabited the Six Feet Under set all these years.