An Open Letter to Gay Vacationers from a Straight Guy and a Random Ten

As we all know by now, Jim Naugle is a hateful cretin who should be removed from office as quickly as possible. I've described him before as crazy, and stupid, and crupid (a unique combination of crazy and stupid). But I suspect I was wrong-- Naugle has consolidated a great deal of power in recent weeks, exploiting both children and public health concerns in order to promote a hateful agenda through misinformation. There's nothing crazy nor stupid about that, I'm afraid-- you see, I've come to believe that Naugle is positioning himself for a political career after his term ends. Maybe he'll run for Congress; maybe he'll just host a talk radio show. Regardless, Naugle has turned himself into a national figure, and he's rallied a lot of influential bigots to his side.

As a white heterosexual man, I can't claim to know what it's like to be discriminated against. While I certainly share your frustration and anger over Naugle's claims that homosexuals are inherently "unhappy" and fundamentally incapable of controlling their sexual urges, it would be wrong, presumptuous, and downright insulting for me to try to claim I know exactly how the gay community feels about such pronouncements. Likewise, it would be wrong for me to try to tell any gay person what he or she ought to do in the face of such abuse.

Nevertheless, I want to take the opportunity to ask those in the blogosphere and in the gay activist community at large to please, don't boycott Florida in general or Ft. Lauderdale in particular. I've read a lot of calls for the gay community to take their tourism dollars elsewhere, and I understand that motivation. The mayor's a hateful moron, the people of the city elected him, why should any sensible human being-- gay or straight-- support such a city financially?

Again, that's a sensible notion, but I think there's more at stake here then just punishing the mayor and his supporters. You see, I think Naugle was very careful not to tip his hand and reveal how he felt about gay people too early in his tenure as mayor-- it's only now that term limits are about to force him out that he's started calling press conferences to abuse innocent people and coming up with hare-brained schemed to build space-age homophobic toilets. I think I can pretty safely say that most of the population was unaware of Jim Naugle's hateful nature-- or at least how deep and irrational his hate is-- when they voted for him.

More important, though, is the fact that Ft. Lauderdale is just an awesome, beautiful, and traditionally gay-friendly city. And what's more, it's gay people who built it, really. I mean, sure, straight people had a hand in it too, but Ft. Lauderdale's unique character owes a lot to the influence of the gay businesspeople, artists, and tourists who have made the city their own. Jim Naugle and people like him would love to see the "gay element" removed from the city-- they want to turn the place into another bland, "family-friendly," personality-free place-- Orlando South, if you will. They would destroy the beauty and character of an entire city, all in the name of hate. And I'm afraid that a boycott would only serve to facilitate this transformation.

I'll admit, my motives are selfish. I've come to really like places like Ft. Lauderdale and Key West, where it seems that people are just more open-minded and friendly-- a direct result of having such an active and vocal gay community, I think. I like these places, and I don't want to see them changed. As I said before, I can't-- and shouldn't-- try to tell any gay person what he or she should do in response to Jim Naugle's rabid intolerance; it's not my place, and if I've seemed to presume to give orders in this letter, please accept my apologies in advance. But I do hope that those inclined to boycott will think hard on this, and I hope that everyone understands that Jim Naugle speaks only for himself and the small gaggle of rightwing loons who have rallied to his support.

Okay. Now, for something a little less depressing, here's today's Random Ten. Here's the dealio-- open up your iTunes, shuffle your music, and record the first ten. Even if what comes up is deeply humiliating-- like, Andrew Lloyd Webber humiliating-- record it honestly. If you can't trust a blogger, who can you trust?

1) John Cale-- "Turn the Lights On"
2) Squeeze-- "Pulling Mussells (from the Shell)"
3) Tony Basil-- "Mickey (Spanish Version)"
4) Tom Jones-- "It's not Unusual"
5) Talking Heads-- "And She Was"
6) The Rolling Stones-- "Brown Sugar"
7) Reel Big Fish-- "The 90's"
8) Morrissey-- "We Hate it When Our Friends Become Successful"
9) Elvis Costello-- "Lipstick Vogue"
10) The White Stripes-- "The Air Near My Fingers"

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