Daily Archives: February 6, 2011

Gay Civil Rights Hero Living in Poverty

Frank Kameny, gay rights pioneer

Frank Kameny started his career as a Harvard-trained astronomer working for the American government, but was fired for being gay in 1957. He has been fighting back for the last 54 years.

He is responsible for many important advances in gay and lesbian rights. These include the first gay civil rights case, the first public protests for gay and lesbian civil rights, the repeal of sodomy laws in the District of Columbia, the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association, and the first congressional campaign by an openly gay person. He continues his activism to this day.

Frank is also a veteran of the Second World War.

He has worked hard. As Frye writes, “There can be nothing effortless for the powerful imagination bursting its way out of a fallen world.”

His home has been designated a historical landmark, his early protest signs are now in the Smithsonian collection, and his contribution to civil rights history has been recognized by President Obama. But, at 85, having no income beyond a meagre Social Security check, Frank is now unable to pay his bills without help.

You can find out more about Frank here.

You can help him pay his bills by making a donation this month to Helping our Brothers and Sisters, a Washington D.C. micro-charity.

If the advances in civil rights that Frank has made possible have helped you or anyone you love, please give something back.

How Many Groundhog Days?


One Groundhog Day after another

Frye in The Double Vision:

There are two kinds of repetition: one is inorganic, a matter of merely doing the same thing over and over; the other is habit or practice repetition that leads to the acquiring of a skill, like practicing a sport or musical instrument.  Inorganic repetition is precisely what the word “superstition” means: binding oneself to a continuing process that is mere compulsiveness, often accompanied by a vague fear that something will happen if we stop. (CW 4, 208)

For those of you who need to know how many groundhog days Phil Connors must endure before developing a liberating “habit or practice repetition,” here is the breakdown.  The number, whatever you think it might be, is pretty staggering — and it is very ingeniously calculated.

Bob Marley


A gorgeous live version of “No Woman, No Cry” fom the Legend album.  Still gives me chills to hear the audience singing from the opening bar before Bob even gets started.

Today is Bob Marley‘s birthday (1945-1981).  His deeply peaceful instincts, inspired by a full commitment to Rastafari, seemed to match his musical genius:

I don’t have prejudice against meself. My father was a white and my mother was black. Them call me half-caste or whatever. Me don’t dip on nobody’s side. Me don’t dip on the black man’s side nor the white man’s side. Me dip on God’s side, the one who create me and cause me to come from black and white.

Frye on peace and choosing life in conversation with David Cayley:

We’ve gone though history thinking of peace as meaning that the war has stopped, and consequently, a lot of people, when you use a word like “peace,” say, “Well, the world of peace sounds awfully dull.  There’d be nothing to do if there’s nothing to fight about.” What I go for is “Blake’s I will not cease from mental fight / Till we have built Jerusalem.”  God says in Deuteronomy, “I have set before you life and death . . . therefore choose life.” [30:19].  Well, nobody, with all respect to God, could possibly say that that was a logical “therefore.” A lot of people choose life choose it only because they have got into the habit of living.  They find it easier to do that than to break clear of it.  Others will choose life, but when life becomes an act of choice, then there’s the question of what you’re goint to do with it, what direction you’re to go in.  (CW 24, 1001-2)