The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Digest for June 7th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for June 7th from 16:08 to 16:13:

  • Rainbows and gay pride: How the rainbow became a symbol of the GLBT movement. – Slate Magazine

    "Streets around the world will be decked in rainbows this week as the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community celebrates LGBT Pride Month. Why is gay pride represented by rainbows?

    Closeted gay people historically used bright colors to signal their homosexuality to each other. Oscar Wilde was famous for wearing a trademark green carnation on his lapel, and the flower is thought to have been used by him and other Londoners and Parisians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to quietly express their orientation. Novelist Robert Hitchens described the phenomenon in 1894’s The Green Carnation, and the book in part spurred Wilde’s trial for sodomy. Yellow was used for the same purpose in Australia. According to the book Sunshine and Rainbows, a study of gay culture in Queensland, “If you wanted to attract the attention of the same sex, displaying a pair of bright yellow socks often did the trick.” During the Holocaust, gay men were forced to wear pink triangles, and that symbol has since been reclaimed by the gay community. Purple also became a popular symbol of gay pride in the 1960s and 1970s, when San Franciscans tried to make a symbol of “the Purple Hand” and gay Bostonians put up posters emblazoned with a purple rhino."

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  • Bob Cesca: The New Jobs Report and Republican Economic Sabotage

    The jobs slowdown this past month isn't the worst news in the world, despite what you might be reading on various alarmist blogs. The unemployment rate went up by one-tenth of one percent, from 8.1 percent to 8.2 percent. The economy only added 69,000 new private sector jobs. And so we're all doomed, evidently.

    The reality of the jobs report isn't so much that we're backsliding into another recession (we're not), but that, 1) we were almost entirely unprepared for the true depth of the "Great Recession," 2) there are way too many people leaning on the panic button over the deficit and debt instead of robust spending on job creation, and 3) the corrosive nature of our news media (traditional and digital) and our party politics in this era has allowed the Republicans to sabotage the economy with impunity.

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  • Wisconsin was a loss. But the fight for workers must move forward.

    The Wisconsin recall was obviously a blow, a terrible one, to those of us who care about the fate of working people—not just the teachers and librarians and snowplow drivers Scott Walker attacked, but grocery store cashiers and construction workers and accountants and dental hygienists and everyone who has to work for a living. But what does it mean? While one of the big storylines has been that the outcome of the recall would speak to labor's future, we know the story of unions in recent decades. Union density has been declining. That's not new and it's not news. As Josh Eidelson wrote prior to Tuesday's vote, "While resentment toward unions has grown since the 1950s, it’s not because they got too big. It’s because they got too small." When too few people share the benefits of unionization, it's easier for the Scott Walkers of the world to divide and conquer.

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  • How the Gay-Rights Movement Won

    "Fifty years ago, being gay put you beyond the social pale. You could be savagely beaten, kicked out of public spaces and private clubs, arrested, fired, expelled from your family, and scorned as a pariah. Today, lesbians and gay men are all but equal, with full marriage rights in view—supported by President Barack Obama in action and words. How did we win so much so fast?

    It’s a natural question after any major social change, especially for those hoping to apply the lessons elsewhere. How did smoking go from ubiquitous to despised? Why did feminism and black civil rights get so far, while unions gasped? Which made the difference: the low-lying social movement or the high-altitude legal and legislative efforts, the messy masses or the charismatic leaders? Historians can spend decades combing through public and private records before settling on their answers."

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  • A new gay hero – LGBT – Salon.com

    "It’s not the most surprising coming out of all time, but it’s definitely one of the biggest. He’s super. He wears a skintight green leotard and a flashy ring. He’s a powerful part of the Justice Society. And yep, he’s gay.

    Every superhero has a few reboots in him. The nearly 72-year-old Alan Scott — aka the Green Lantern — has already gone through numerous incarnations in his evil-fighting existence. He’s been married. He’s had kids. He’s inhabited an alternate universe. You know, the usual life stuff. But his much-ballyhooed reinvention in DC Comics’ “Earth Two” No. 2 is a milestone in comics history. Because now, the hunky blond is an openly gay man who gets to kiss his boyfriend and propose marriage to him. He’s just your ordinary hero, balancing his private life and the fate of the planet. Hell, yeah."

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  • Michael Tomasky on Obama’s Delusions About the GOP’s Fever Breaking – The Daily Beast

    "Perhaps you heard that the other day Barack Obama expressed the view that if he wins reelection, the Republicans will calm down a bit: “I believe that if we’re successful in this election—when we’re successful in this election— that the fever may break, because there’s a tradition in the Republican Party of more common sense than that. My hope and my expectation is that after the election, now that it turns out the goal of beating Obama doesn’t make much sense because I’m not running again, that we can start getting some cooperation again.” Now, there are any number of reasons he might have felt he had to say that. But I pray that he doesn’t actually believe it, because if he does, then he’s completely delusional—to an extent that will result in very bad policy capitulations. There’s really only one way that the GOP’s fever will break, and it will take years."

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