Sunday Morning Open Thread: Better Watch Out

santa claws
(Keith Knight via — click link for full-size image)
And for something completely different, a sweet story from the NYTimes‘ Frank Bruni:

… But at some point Dad, like America, changed. I don’t mean he grew weepy, huggy. I mean he traveled from what seemed to me a pained acquiescence to a different, happier, better place. He found peace enough with who I am to insist on introducing my partner, Tom, to his friends at the golf club. Peace enough to compliment me on articles of mine that use the same three-letter word that once chased him off. Peace enough to sit down with me over lunch last week and chart his journey, which I’d never summoned the courage to ask him about before.

It’s been an extraordinary year, probably the most extraordinary yet in this country’s expanding, deepening embrace of gays and lesbians as citizens of equal stature, equal worth. For the first time, an American president still in office stated his belief that two men or two women should be able to marry. For the first time, voters themselves — not lawmakers, not courts — made same-sex marriage legal. This happened on Election Day in three states all at once: Maine, Maryland and Washington. A corner was turned.

And over the quarter-century leading up to it, at a succession of newspapers in a succession of cities, I interviewed scores of people about the progress we were making and why. But until last week, I couldn’t bring myself to examine that subject with the person whose progress has meant the most to me: my dad…


Merry Festivus to all, and may your Airing of Grievances be both inventive and brief!

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43 replies
  1. 1
    aangus says:


    Thank you.

  2. 2
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    First proper summer storm of the year is dumping down water on us right now. we had 2 hours of spectacular lightning and thunder but now it’s just water. Off to the beach tomorrow!

  3. 3
    magurakurin says:



  4. 4
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @magurakurin: Indeed. My first southern hemisphere christmas.


  5. 5
    J. Michael Neal says:

    Ugh. Airports. I hate frickin’ airports. Up at 3:30 this morning to get to the first of three for the day to catch a 6am flight.


    Making progress on Chapter 5.

  6. 6
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    You up and about, Raven? How’s the Bohdi this morning?

  7. 7
    Steeplejack (tablet) says:

    I got a lot of problems with you people.

  8. 8
    candideinnc says:

    You remind me how vitally important it was for my deceased parents to welcome my lover into the family, and in doing so, accept me as their gay son. My life never was stable until that point. Yes, we were very fortunate, you and I. It makes me sad that so many parents don’t recognize how much pain they visit on their gay children by witholding their acceptance.

  9. 9

    Great story from Frank Bruni.

    My dad was 50 when I told him I was gay. That was in 1976, and his only concern was that I would have a tough time with discrimination in housing and employment. He never worried a minute about what it said to our friends, and when I had a partner, he welcomed him into the family like any of the other in-laws. And he’s stood up for me in the face of his right-wing gay bashing friends. When he and mom were at a dinner party, the host made a gay joke, except he used the “F” word. Dad quietly said, “My son is gay,” and went back to his salad.

    My mom is in the forefront of LGBT rights, too. (I also think she’s looking out for the perfect man for me.)

    If I’m ever a parent (hey, it could happen; I’m only 60), I want to be just like them.

  10. 10
    c u n d gulag says:

    Instead of any particular grievance(s) on this Festivus morning, I’d instead like to say that I’m thankful to John and the BJ community, and a few other websites, that allow me to air my grievances daily, probably keeping me from being kept overly medicated, in a padded room, wearing a straight-jacket, in some happy home up on a hill.

    Happy Festivus, one and all! ! !

  11. 11
    hep kitty says:

    Oh awesome, former members of Congress will reminisce about how cordial things used to be between both sides but clutch pearls and lament that now “both sides do it” (on CSPAN), including Trent Lott.


  12. 12
    JPL says:

    Bruni’s article was touching and so are the comments on this site. You have to live in a small circle of friends and family not to know someone who is gay.

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’m hope that we hear something soon.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    Punchy says:

    Thread neadz moar Tebow

  15. 15
    geg6 says:

    I still have no idea exactly why in world a food critic has gotten a gig writing for the editorial page of the NYT (though I understand that more than why they have Douchehat writing for them), but that is one of the better efforts from Bruni. A very touching story and one, I hope, that occurs or is occurring more and more in families across America. If this Obama era is going to be remembered for anything over and above the idea that a near guy was elected president, it’s got to be the great strides that have been made by and for gay Americans. It’s the one thing that really gives me hope for this country.

  16. 16
    Eric says:

    Just finishing a family gathering. Or as it is often known : christanukah for my daughter atmy dads hpuse. We fly back home today for the next gift hiving sequemce in christanukah. Girl has it good. Peace amd love amd avceptance to all

  17. 17
    JPL says:

    @Steeplejack (tablet): A friend said the same thing to me recently. She was raised in a Jewish household and can’t understand why folks go over board with shopping and cooking for one day. Her you people didn’t work since my dog has spent the last few days searching for her presents. Now she says you people and your pets.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    magurakurin says:


    cool. The only time I ever visited Australia was over Christmas. Very wonderful. Definitely make sure you eat a bunch of pies while you are there. Those Australian meat pies are killer. Merry Chrissie, mate.

  20. 20
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    My only grievance presently is with this winter cold. Just on schedule it’s migrated to my chest during the night. Now I’m weighing my medication options. Hope I don’t end up with bronchitis again.

    But anyway, Happy Holidays everyone.

  21. 21

    NRA (ala Wayne LaPierre): The Home of Impenetrable Stupidity.

  22. 22

    Oh yeah, remember when Plan B meant Emergency Contraception?

  23. 23
    Schlemizel says:

    I can’t imagine my kids sexual orientation changing my love for them – I just don’t understand that.

    Love the ‘Knight Life’ today. Brewster Rocket has a pretty good one too. The story of Cyber Clause and his 8 tiny netbots who bring gifts to the accounts of good boys and girls and spam to those of bad kids.

  24. 24
    the Conster says:


    From the time they were tiny little girls, I told my kids that my love for them would be boundless and unconditional no matter who they were or what they did, unless they became Jesus freaks or Republicans (because they were WAY too smart for that) and I meant it then and I mean it now, and they never were or did.

  25. 25
    the Conster says:

    Chunky Bobo’s shorter on gun control today: Both sides! Boooth siiiiiides! Booooottthh siiiiiiiiiiiiides!

    The MSM provides so much grievance material it’s hard to know where to start, but he gets my #1.

  26. 26
    Maude says:

    @Steeplejack (tablet):
    Hey, you’ve got a tablet? What kind? And, backatcha.

  27. 27
    Baud says:


    If this Obama era is going to be remembered for anything over and above the idea that a near guy was elected president, it’s got to be the great strides that have been made by and for gay Americans.

    I think he might be remembered for Obamacare also. ;-)

  28. 28
    Lojasmo says:

    one of my right leaning school aquaintances just put up a rant on facebook about how every congresscritter, and obama should have been voted out in November because they stumbled on the fiscal curb.

    The FIRST commenter called Obama “arrogant:” So after laying down the truth about the bill that already passed the senate, i pointed out that anybody who voted for Romney, and is calling this president arrogant is absolutely a racist. Full Stop.

  29. 29
    gogol's wife says:


    He was a political reporter before he was the restaurant critic. He’s responsible for buffing the image of the manly George W.

    @c u n d gulag:

    My sentiments exactly!

    Best thoughts to Mnemosyne and Raven.

  30. 30
    Steeplejack says:


    I got the 32GB Nexus 7. Got an unexpected check and, synchronistically, an e-mail about a really good deal at Micro Center, so I went for it. Sort of the confluence of how much I have used my Nook over the last year (much more than I expected) and how much I read Web stuff on my Droid phone in bed late at night or first thing in the morning.

    I’ve been using it only a couple of days, but I love it so far. Still need to download the Nook app and check that out. And I can download the Kindle app and have a Nook, a Kindle and a Web browser all in one little package.

  31. 31
    WereBear says:

    I’m thinking that “delusional” is probably the right word for these Fox News-shaped, Conservative-Jesus nurtured, Corporate Profit-supported, Paranoid-Bircher germinated whackos which now control the Republican party.

    Because the mentally ill have enough problems; heck, who has not had difficulties with stress and family problems and depression and such? Certainly, many people struggle with these issues like grownups, persevere, and manage to lead upright lives of community and giving, nonetheless. So I have listened to those who object to characterizing a world view of childish petulance as a “mental illness.” They have a good point.

    What, then, to call this particularly American blend of immaturity, unearned privilege, resentment, whining, and violence? Back when Wingnuts got their views from smeary mimeographs, they did not have the gravitas to screw up more than their immediate area, but now they have their own channel, magazines, websites, and online Encyclopedia, they genuinely mistake these well-financed trappings of civilization for, you know, an actual civilization.

    This is all our problem.

  32. 32
    Donut says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    I hope we are at the point where stories like yours and Bruni’s become rarer, but only because I hope that most dads and moms won’t even think twice about what their kids prefer in a partner, so long as they find some happiness and health in their relationships.

    When I was a teenage boy, my mom said to me, “I’ll always love you no matter what, but just don’t be gay! It’s just such a hard life!” I was a teen during the worst of the AIDS crisis of the 80s, so I understood what she meant, on a certain level. But I can only imagine how I would have felt if I was, you know, a gay guy. What kind of pain and confusion might I have internalized all of my life, due to that attitude? Mom has since moderated her views considerably, and at 70 is a broader thinker than she ever was before. If I were to remind her of that statement she would be rightly mortified with herself now. If we are doing the job right as parents and adults, we remember the things our parents and other adults said that we should never repeat to the kids in our lives. That’s all I can do. My six year old knows that her uncle Michael likes boys instead of girls. It had to be explained exactly one time, and she said, “Ok…He always brings me a present or a treat. And he’s funny!” and went about her busines. Sometimes it really is that simple.

  33. 33
    Origuy says:

    Regarding Christmas in Australia, Tim Minchin’s Christmas song, White Wine in the Sun.

  34. 34

    @WereBear: What, then, to call this particularly American blend of immaturity, unearned privilege, resentment, whining, and violence?

    Fall of Empire.

    This is all our problem.

    Yes, it is. Until the famine or the epidemic wipes out a significant number of us, the trendlines are pretty well set. It’s possible that a change of mindset could occur (see King, Jr., Martin Luther), but improbable.

  35. 35
    bemused says:


    One of my favorite holiday songs…beautiful.

  36. 36
    Suzanne says:

    I think his line about his dad “rooting for [his] happiness” rings the most true for me, though I’m not LGBTQI. I know it sometimes feels like that’s all I want from my family now that I’m an adult.

  37. 37
    WaterGirl says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: Nine planes in 10 days, or 10 planes in 9 days, I can barely keep track.

    How could you not get sick? Hope it passes quickly!

  38. 38
    gnomedad says:

    Better Watch Out

    Yes, indeed.

  39. 39
    gnomedad says:

    The NRA has lost the tabloids.
    On the other hand, mission accomplished.

  40. 40
    mandarama says:

    @Donut: My boys are like this, too. They ask about differences in people, process it a little, and then conclude that they love this person because he/she “is so much fun and brings us presents!” I know it sounds like little Ids at work, but it really is just their personal way of assessing grownups: so-and-so is nice, therefore what do we care how different they are in any way? Race, sexual orientation, and physical or mental disabilities don’t faze them.

    This did lead to a hilarious moment reported back to me by my 8-year-old, who was arguing with a classmate before the election. He said that his little friend said, “Well, I’m voting for Mitt Romney!” and my son said, “Ugh! Do you even KNOW what gay marriage is?” Since they’re 3rd graders, the other kid was like, “no…” Oops. Did I mention they’re in parochial school, too? Yeah, we’ll end up being “those” parents.

    What’s sad is watching more conservative parents I know actually -teach- the anxiety, fear, rejection of the Other into their otherwise-sunny-natured children. I just end up hoping that we outnumber them as time goes on.

  41. 41
    Ruckus says:

    My all time favorite xmas song. Says more about what the day is supposed to be about than any other.

  42. 42
    Maude says:

    Woot! I’ve heard nothing but good about them. You can use the NST as a reader. Can’t beat Elink.
    The Kindle app will come in handy.
    I get greasy fingerprints on my NST bevel. I do clean it a lot. Love it.
    I like the tablet to read in bead. Good deal.
    The NC and Nook Tablet are discontinued. I’m staying with the NST for now.
    I got some great free mysteries at Smashwords. Downloaded the Epub and sideloaded into My Files, Books.

  43. 43
    Steeplejack says:


    I love my NST and will keep on using it, because (I think) there is less eyestrain with it, but, as I said, this was a synchronistic confluence of things that pushed me over the edge. I had even gotten to the point of thinking about “rooting” (hacking) my NST to open it up as a (somewhat) “real” Android tablet. But this is way better.

    If asked, I would definitely tell someone to get the Nexus 7 rather than a high-end Nook or a high-end Kindle.

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