Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Do at Least One Thing a Day to Fight Bigotry

Bart, regarding the NYT article:

I also object to free speech rights in curbing speech—even hateful speech.

Women, for example, are routinely denigrated. What's the male equivalent for "whore"? It’s so much a part of the cultural belief that men are superior to women that its reflection in language largely goes unchecked. I did nag about “chairman” at HCC until even dyed-in-the-wool faculty chauvinist would use “chair” or “chairperson” to shut me up. They would even rise across an auditorium full of people to say to me, “See, Lee, I have it right.”

People’s synapses are set, both men’s and women’s. I object to being called “hon” by gas station attendants, but they are too obtuse to understand why. It’s like correcting a big friendly dog. They think they’re showing themselves hospitable.

But a lead article in the NYT says calling the elderly pet names such as “sweetie” negatively affects their health. It’s at the top of the favorite list, so this is an issue that I didn’t even think about. Now I will.

But If we protest everything, we would have no time for regular life, filled with discrimination, disparities, and just downright evil.

I try to protest something every day as Gloria Steinem suggests. But I have moved the concept to other evils in society such as the Hillsborough County school board thuggery. If I protest Elia’s crudities, I count that as a valid one for the day. Then I feel I have done my daily duty so that I can do things like cook and mop the kitchen floor—radical feminist activities.

I have bitten the bullet and bought a new printer. So I will be able to scan in the rest of the Irwin files for Casting Room Couch. Now the Irwin files catalog the evil done within the walls of ROSSAC that turns the stomach to read about it in the dryly businesslike court papers that describe its ugly arc and demise. The ROSSAC people learned nothing. They were surprised that the jury ruled for Erwin and then turned back to acting in the very same way that lasts until today. Lee

From: William Birdsall []
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2008 7:12 AM
To: lee de cesare
Subject: Re: Advertising - A Push to Curb the Casual Use of Ugly Phrases -

I think it is good to teach kids the true meaning behind, "That's so gay!" but it is an uphill battle trying to change how people speak or how language is used. Language sort of has a life of its own. I think trying to curb a phrase can sometimes backfire and give it more strength and make it more powerful.

I have asked students why they say that, and even the most pro-gay students say, "That's so gay" simply meaning "That is so dumb" or "That is so weird." They do not intend to put anyone down, b/c they aren't even thinking of it in that way.

So they are not using it to refer to gay people, BUT the phrase originally comes from being derogatory to gay people. So I think it is good to point it out, but I have to admit that I have some problems with banning words or phrases. I think it depends on the context in which it is used.

Even gay guys say, "You are so gay!" to each other......or if someone is being ultra queeny, we might joke, "You are such a fag!" but we mean it in a loving way. It is similar how blacks can call each other the n word, but whites can't call them that unless the white person is in their inner circle and is using it the same exact way the blacks use it.

You have to laugh at the craziness of it all.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Stand Up for the First Amendment

Media Specialist Bart and author Crutchner

From: Anonymous []

Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2008 8:31 PM


Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on Stand Up for the First Amendment.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Stand Up for the First Amendment":

Dear Lee,

Please tell Mr. Bart Birdsall that through my various email communications with him that I had him pictured as ten feet tall and bullet proof. Quite like yourself.

As it happens you're just absolutely lovely, normal, stunningly handsome, beautiful people with minds I deeply admire.


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Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 5:30 PM

From: Anonymous []

Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 9:34 PM


Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on Stand Up for the First Amendment.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Stand Up for the First Amendment":

Laura, I will send this to Bart. He will be enchanted to be called beautiful. He is as vain as a girl. He's cute, to be sure. But not as cute as he thinks.

He and his partner have recently acquired a dog that they named Hannah for the hurricane. Bart is so besotted with Hannah that he dresses her up in bonnets and drapes a "purse" over her shoulders, takes pictures, and sends them around.

He reminds me of my children when my three girls used to make the cat and our bulldog, when he was a puppy, their dollies. They frilly bonnets on them to trundle up and down the sidewalk as their "babies" with the poor animals peering out from under the bonnets with looks of utter misery on their faces.

Bart's best quality is that there is no act so ridiculous that he will not attempt it. He is blissfully uninhibited. We all need to know at least one person like that to mirror for us the possibilities of life. lee

I've known Bart for years. He is a smart and nice guy, and I am glad to see him getting recognized. Behind the dimples and sugar is a "Don't f@#$ with me" message, if I know him.

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Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 6:33 PM

The following is by Bart Birdsall, the gay friend whom Ms. Elia and Linda Kipley cooked up a case against to scare him into silence. Bart is why I started attending school-board meetings.

I told Bart to fight them. To stand tall. To be brave. To tell them in every way possible to kiss his royal gluteals.

Bullies pick out the weak in the herd to make an example of them so that it will scare others into silence. The trick for the person picked on is not to cooperate with this regime. Fight it. Speak up. Scream. Shout. Stick out your tongue. Misbehave. Don't lie down and let the bullies walk all over you. A person who stands against bullies gains a Teflon shield of courage. They leave him alone as requiring too much energy and move on to find a weak person to pick on. Don't be that person. Refuse.

When I retired from HCC, the adminstration at Gordon Keller dreaded me so that its cowards would not answer my phone call. I could hear them telling their secretaries, "Tell her I am not here." Whereupon I wrote an email and circulated it widely telling them just what was on my mind. I didn't curse. I used big words like they do in Prime Minister's Question Time to insult them. This is where an education puts you in the cat bird seat. You read enough of the great writers, and you will be able to craft some of the most withering invective to come down the pike. Send this product around, and people will repeat its main points in the lunch room and library.

Bart's big issues are free speech and good food in the cafeterias instead of the swill now served. He will rise from his sleep to fight book banning. And he is insane on the subject of how much danger McDonald's is to the country's health, especially that of young people. He writes the board civil but forceful communications such as that below, which puts the case for free speech and no censorship in its best light. He writes the potted plants about food too. Bart can be diplomatic.

I have watched Ms. Elia in several cases that involved discrimination and ignorance. I would evaluate her as deeply conservative--a better word is backward-- in that she does not want the school system to mirror any tolerance that would offend the social conservatives in the fens and the bogs where the county's backward denizens hunker down. She switched on the Muslim holiday when the Yahoos invaded the board room to call the Muslims towel heads. She supported Jennifer the Homewrecker Falliera when this less-than-admirable x-chromosome specimen tried to promote oppression of gay students by making obligatory the schools' duty to inform the parents when their children joined a gay club. She was hoping there would be many scenes of the homophobic parents of these gay children's kicking them out in the streets to fend for themselves. The heterosexual students turned out to oppose this blow against gay students to their everlasting credit. The ACLU and other enlightened elements of the community spoke also for justice at that event--quite an invigorating sight.

I can never figure out Falliera's psychosexual status: she claims to have the sexual values of a born-again but does not observe the one on adultery. I may have to rat her out to her preacher, who is probably romancing the female piano player not to mention a couple of backup flings with choir members.

Elia hemmed and hawed when a parent read an inflammatory passage from a middle-school library book and demanded that it be banned from the school library.
Elia gave no indication that she endorsed free speech.

Elia allegedly has a history degree from a NY college that had grammar and punctuation errors on its Web page when I checked it. I bet she would be like Palin when asked to name Supreme Court decisions with which she disagreed: I would be very surprised were Elia able to name Roth v United States and Alberts v California, recent cases that dealt with the issue of obscenity, which the plaintiffs won. The intellectual heft of the entire ROSSAC administrative crew is minuscule. The ROSSAC lower-quartiles couldn't handle a fire drill with any aplomb.

I am glad I supported Bart. He is like a son to me. I have only one son, who's a NASA engineer; it's nice that I have acquired another one from sharing his fight against Elia and Kipley's attempt to savage him. lee

From: William Birdsall []

Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2008 10:29 PM


Cc:; lee de cesare

Subject: Censorship, books, defending library collections

Dear School Board Members:

I just gave a presentation on "Defending Your Collection" to media specialists across the state in hopes of inspiring and encouraging media specialists to stand up and defend children's freedom to read along with fighting censorship of quality literature for young adults.

Chris Crutcher, an author who is often banned across the nation, attended my presentation. He was a keynote speaker at the conference, and I met him several years ago during the Ronda Storms debacle. He was kind enough to pop into my presentation to support me. His book *Athletic Shorts* was part of the display the commissioners wanted removed from a public library. I read one of his stories out of that book with a megaphone during one of the protests back in summer 2005.

I urge all of you to take banning of books seriously, because it is happening all across the nation in middle schools where parents, who in all honesty mean well, attempt to dictate what other children besides their own may or may not read. It does not occur to them that for every parent like them there are about 50 others who are like my parents, who believe books never harm children. They only make children more intelligent. My parents let me read everything and anything, and I do believe I am intelligent as a result.

At the conference I met a school librarian from Jupiter, Florida (where my parents live), and I told her that I will make sure my parents come to her defense as community members should a major book challenge occur in that town. This is what people do not understand. Parents should tell their child to take a book back and not read it, if they do not think it is appropriate (it is their right as a parent to limit their own child's reading), but they should allow other parents to make the same decision for their own children, not make the decision for them by banning it from all children.

This is an issue that will continue to be a controversy, but I would like to remind you that this is the United States of America, where we have the Constitution with its First Amendment, the ACLU, the foresight of the Founding Fathers, and many court cases that uphold people's (and, yes, children's) right and freedom to read.

Last week was Banned Books Week where librarians across the nation set up displays of books like Huckleberry Finn, Black Boy, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Go Ask Alice, etc. that have been challenged or banned repeatedly.

I ask all of you to uphold our great Constitution (that inconvience to most conservatives), something that teachers must swear to do when renewing their certification (and I am sure you must also swear to uphold when becoming school board members).

Do not let misguided people throw you off guard at school board meetings. Do not listen to someone reading a passage out of context without finding out more about the book, the author, etc. In this current day you can easily contact the author and find out his/her purpose on his/her website. Basically, support your teachers and librarians and your students on this issue. Do not forget the ideals and principles of our Founding Fathers. If you need help when such a case comes before you, call me or email me, and I can give you all the information you need to defend books in your school libraries or classrooms. This is a topic I know a lot about and can argue anyone into the ground concerning it.

Below is a picture of Chris Crutcher and me. He told me, "I get my ideas from my years as a therapist. They are based on actual issues children face. To ban one of my books is to censor a child's life and to tell that child that her/his story is not worth hearing/reading." That is powerful. Please remember that.

Bart Birdsall