Monday, May 16, 2011

A Gay Week (Part 2 of 2)

(Click here for Part 1: )

Last night the NBA ran this PSA during halftime of the Bulls and Heat game:

This comes on the heels of the Pheonix Sun's president Rick Welts revealing he is gay and Kobe Bryant (my favorite player) calling a referee a "fucking faggot" and subsequently being fined 50 thousand dollars and apologizing.  To say that this was nice timing for this commercial would be akin to saying Michael Jordan was pretty good at basketball.  Of course what was a positive feeling for me quickly turned sour when Grant Hill re-tweeted numerous tweets from his followers in which they called him a "fag" for making the commercial.  Some even went so far to imply that they were no longer a fan of his because he had made the PSA.  I quickly realized that although the advertisement was thought provoking and a good PR move, I was left with more questions about whether sports really is moving in the right direction in terms of accepting homosexuality.

No offense to Grant Hill, but this is kind of expected from him (Duke guy, class act), where is LeBron?  Better yet, where is Kobe?  Where are young stars Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant?  While they are ushering in a "new era" into the NBA couldn't they assist in ushering out a history of homophobia that has plagued the NBA?  Why couldn't the Heat's "Big Three" had taken a few minutes out of their day to all film the commercial together?  I'm afraid its simply because they don't want to.  It isn't "cool" yet.  It is cooler to say "pause" (as Dwight Howard did in a presser) or "no homo" after you say anything that could be perceived as homosexual.

I don't mean to imply that any of these stars hate or even dislike homosexuals.  I think it is more a reflection on major sport's and society's views towards homosexuals.  Today's stars don't want to lose twitter followers or jersey sales by speaking out against using derogatory language towards homosexuals. It is easier to say you are "cool with em' " or avoid the topic all together.  No active player in any of the three major sports has ever come out publicly and those who have come out in retirement said they feared resentment from the other coaches and players.  Why is this? Why did Kobe call the ref a "faggot" instead of an "asshole" or a "piece of shit"?  Why is referencing someone as a homosexual on the field or court considered to be the ultimate insult?  Why did I call my opponents "gay" in little league and why didn't the majority of coaches and parents seem to mind?

I certainly don't have these answers.  One thing I do know though is that although the occasional Grant Hill public service announcement is nice, the NBA, NFL and MLB are going to have to make a concerted effort to curb players, coaches and fans feelings towards homosexuality or risk falling behind the times and stopping progress.

A Gay Week (Part 1 of 2)

Today is May 16th 2011.  I wanted to note the date of this entry because I think it will be interesting to look back on it five, maybe ten years down the road.  This is due to the fact that this week I have thought more about homosexuality and its place in modern American society and in my religion than I ever have before.  This past week there were two "events" that I think reflect just exactly how far we have come and how far we still have to go when it comes to the issue of accepting homosexuals and allowing them to be afforded the same comforts and opportunities as heterosexuals.  

Last week the Presbyterian Church U.S.A  voted to allow changes to wording in the definition of who could be ordained as a pastor in the denomination (we are SO political).  What it boils down to is that homosexuals would finally be given the chance to preach the word of the Lord in the Presbyterian church.  I believe my particular congregation was more than accepting of this, and in fact had been advocating for it for quite some time.  Personally, I was glad to hear the news and felt that the church had began to right a long time wrong.  

Unfortunately many congregations are not as open to the new interpretation, citing "biblical proof" that homosexuality is a sin.  Even if this were true (I don't believe it is), aren't all ministers (and everyone else) sinners?  Isn't that the entire point of Christ giving his life for us?  For those that see every word of the Bible as God's exact word, I remind you of one of the boldest and most popular verses in the Bible:

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"
Romans 3:23 NIV

With this in mind I ask those who do not believe homosexuals should not be ministers:  why is what you believe to be their sin worse than anyone else's?  Do you think that Jesus, who dined with prostitutes, tax collectors and lepers, would agree with your decision to not allow homosexuals to preach his word?  How would He, who said the most important commandments were loving God and your neighbor, feel about a church that doesn't even allow gay Christians to worship within it? To me these answers are obvious, which leads me to my next topic...

This is the part of the blog where I get off of my pedestal and take the proverbial "long look in the mirror".  Why is it so easy for me to understand that homosexuals should be allowed to preach and marry but so hard for me to practice treating gay people with respect and decency all the time...even when they "aren't looking"?  It wasn't more than a year or two ago that I called one of my friends (who isn't gay) "gay boy" and another (also not gay) "man time" anytime I wanted a good laugh.  Besides the fact that those "nicknames" aren't funny or creative anyway and that I should have a better sense of humor, what is most important is that what I was saying is offensive.  I, Eric Proctor, Obama voter, couldn't think of anything "funnier" to say than childish homosexuality mockery which assigns a negative connotation to being gay because I was trying to make fun of my friends.  Laura has been telling me that I shouldn't say things like that since she met me and like always, I should have listened.  However, I, like many other American's, can't really grasp a concept unless Grant Hill explains it...(please read "A Gay Week (Part 2 of 2)")

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An Awkward Situation

Last Friday I went to the dentist to have some cavities filled.  Everything seemed to be going as planned until after my "let it numb for five to ten minute" break.  My dentist and the assistant came back to fill the cavities and told me to relax and open wide.  I obliged and began to relax as best I could.  I settled deep into the chair, closed my eyes and tried to picture my post-dentist smoothie.

It was a couple of minutes in when I realized that I may have made myself a little too comfortable:  both of my hands were on my crotch.  Thats right, one hand placed over the other squarely on top of my crotch.  I was shocked and wondered what had overcome my mind and body.  At no point did the dentist tell me to place my hands on my crotch, so why did I do it?  Was it natural?  Does everyone do it?  Was it the Novocaine?

I quickly realized that I need to stop thinking about why I was doing it and focus on moving my damn hands!  Now I know there is some guy reading this who is thinking "you have that thick apron on, whats the big deal?"  Well guy, the big deal is that my hands are on my crotch and it appears that I may be playing with myself underneath the apron.  At this point, I know there are three different plans I can execute to try and get out of this predicament:

Option 1:  Just go with it
In this scenario I just leave my hands as they are and roll with it.  Maybe no one will notice (doubtful) or if they do I can somehow "play it off" by saying I didn't know I was doing it  or that I didn't think there was anything wrong with what I was doing.  I always have my ace in the hole that "even with my dental insurance, I am paying $150 for an hour and a half of torture, so I can put my hands wherever I want."  Two obvious downfalls of this plan are that I may never be allowed to go to the dentist again and there is a chance I end up on the sex offender list.

Option 2:  Slowly remove hands and place them at side
In this scenario I slowly remove my hands and place them at my side.  This is probably the safest move.  If the relocation of hands is subtle enough maybe no one notices what was going on at all.  What some people don't realize is how rough this could be if you are spotted.  Imagine if you were watching someone with an apron on slowly moving their hands around "down there"...

Option 3:  Quickly remove hands and place them at side
In this scenario I quickly remove my hands and place them at my side.  Obviously with this move you run the risk of "creating a scene" and it is more likely you get caught. But is getting caught this way the worst thing in the world?  In a way it says "look, I know I had my hands on my crotch but I am not proud of it and have resolved the situation."  Its also a quick move and leaves less time to be seen.

After contemplating all three options, I ended up going with number three.  I don't believe anyone noticed and if they did they didn't say anything.

 From time to time, you will see Proctor's Type striving to help the public and this is one of those situations.  The best advice I can give is prevention:  you don't have to worry about how (or if) to get your hands off your crotch if you don't put them there in the first place.  I understand this is easier said than done and I hope if this ever happens to you that you at least know your options and can make the decision that is best for your situation.