You can choose compassion

Blogger/podcaster Brett McKay has invented a small empire in the Art of Manliness, a faux-rustic compendium of what it means to be a man today. Based on the comments of mine that he censors, being a man today always involves eating meat and hunting animals.

  • Another panegyric to Chris Duffin, an army of one whom neither you nor anyone you know nor anyone else will ever duplicate:

    And again we have one-in-10-million specimen Chris Duffin instructing men to be emotionally strong and simply prioritize going to the gym at a powerlifting level.

    The Art of Manliness: Where mental illness is an excuse and where the lessons of women “having it all” go unlearned.

  • Men need packs or tribes, but do they have to be packs of gun-nut carnivores? (In other words, of Republicans?) Ask the Athlete Vanguard. Or don’t, because McKay will delete your questions.

    • “Odd men out” are implicitly not welcome at the Art of Manliness either, are they, Brett?

    • You seriously want to teach your boys how to assault other men with weapons (ostensibly in “self-defence”) and kill, skin, and gut animals?

      In the 21st century?

      These are the men you want your boys to become?

    • Is the Art of Manliness willing to ever countenance any conception of manliness that does not involve guns, knives, weapons, and animal abuse? (Take a wild guess.)

      Someday, you American gun nuts with your lightly-rebranded survivalist training weekends will come to the realization that harming animals is in no way, shape, or form part and parcel of “manliness.”

  • “Don’t just read the Art of Manliness. Shoot the Art of Manliness’ pets!

    You seem to have equated cessation with action here (stopping smoking pot and “hanging out with girls”). What I don’t see included are ethical choices made long ago which a man does not intend to change. Just as examples: not hunting, not eating meat, not wearing fur, not hurting animals, not playing with guns ’n’ ammo, not pretending “MMA” is a “sport,” not beating the shit out of men, women, children, dogs, cats, ferrets, or blog editors, and at root not signing on to barely-warmed-over 19th-century-frontiersman conceptions of “manliness” that involve weapons, suffering, domination, and death.

    Try Instagramming that.

When asked a couple of times via E-mail why he censors such comments, McKay did not answer. I presume it is because, as a Mormon, he believes Man has dominion over the creatures of the Earth. (And that individual men will have dominion over their own post-Rapture homeworlds.) Advocates of manliness, as distinct from men’s-rights advocates, are difficult to like.

Here’s a shocker, though: McKay let one comment of mine stand.

A gentleman has the ability… to ride roughshod over your interests, muscle you aside, and manipulate you… but, he has instead voluntarily chosen to restrain himself to follow a more moral course

Including a “moral course” like refusing to hunt or refusing to eat meat? The Art of Manliness’ position is that men should do the former and must do the latter.

Here, by the way, is McKay’s photo of himself in his how-to-stand-with-good-posture-as-a-man “De-Quasimodo Yourself” posting.

Man in plaid shirt hunched over desk working on a MacBook on a stand

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.07.25 12:01. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

I caused Steve Dorner some embarrassment when I sent along a link to Gruber, who dutifully notified every single potentate in the Macintosh demimonde that Dorner had cancer. Steve Dorner created, wrote, designed, programmed, was Eudora, the E‑mail software used by only the smartest people.

I have a choice now to document why Eudora was better than anything you’ve ever seen and also publish my interview with Steve, or just tell you that you are stuck with almost the worst E‑mail software the world has ever known, your habits are appalling, and you have no idea at all what you’re missing. You simply cannot imagine how powerful electronic mail was when at the controls of Eudora.

My mental image has your mental image of E‑mail as a list in Gmail, with you top-posting like a fucking moron. You don’t know what’s possible; you don’t know what you’re missing. And if you top-post, yes, you are a fucking moron. Lots of them out there.

You have no idea. What you’re using is appalling. Your habits are terrible. One of those three facts applies to Eudora users now too, since we’re stuck using the same software you are. After 23 years online, it hurts. You guys don’t feel a thing.

If you don’t understand the value of Option-clicking or holding down the Shift and sometimes also the Option keys when issuing a command, you further prove my point. (Implication: Eudora really did not work for two-finger typists.)

We’re all missing Eudora. It hasn’t worked on Macs since OS X 10.7 and never will again. You can still kind of run it on Windows – a platform where Eudora was hobbled by the availability of one fewer modifier key, but still vastly superior to everything else.

What’s Steve Dorner up to now?

He and I talked on the phone back in February. I’ve been sitting on this ever since. Because it hurts, and I’m not exaggerating. [continue with “Steve Dorner: Still undead” →]

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.07.04 10:29. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

I actually kept thinking about Otōto no otto long after the enjoyable visit by Gengoroh Tagame. I then watched Eastern Boys via the library. [continue with “Accidental gay dads” →]

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.06.14 13:00. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

My November 2014 electronic mail to longtime correspondent John Gruber (links added; mildly edited):

Checking my Eudora archive, I see I have been feeding you links and otherwise corresponding with you for ten full years. I am kept at a careful distance that passes for respect most of the time. But all the while, I have not been Your Kind of People, namely fellow-traveller technology bloggers and podcasters whom you host on your own podcast to recapitulate every point we easily could have read in our RSS feeds or heard on their podcasts. Guests and topics on your podcast are interchangeable for the simple reason that the podcast exists for its three sponsor breaks, not because you have any restrictions anywhere on what you can express that only a podcast can redress.

So let’s stipulate for a moment that you are in fact committing journalism on Daring Fireball. (Not just “writing.”) It’s advocacy journalism mixed with opinion, but journalism nonetheless. If you ever pretended to respect me before, you need to really do so now.

You don’t need to be a Daring Fireball RSS sponsor to figure out what my topic is. Obviously it’s your aiding and abetting the closet by never ever talking about Tim Cook’s being gay. After I sent its URL along, you were happy to link to the Australian marriage-equality PSA, which stands as proof of nothing more than a public attestation of your liberal bonafides. You guys in the computer press are so liberal you put Tim Cook back in the closet. I know you read that posting when it came out or at some point before a week and a half ago, yet you did nothing.

Your Kind of People have been culpable to varying degrees in this conspiracy of silence – Glenn Fleishman most of all, Jason Snell least. Marco Arment and the Macalope stand by their previous coverage. Three of those four are your good pals. You are not as bad as Fleishman, but today as we sit here you are worse than Snell.

It was even more disingenuous of you to link to Kara Swisher. Here’s how we expect her to behave:

“I essentially called him a pig, with my name attached,” Swisher says. “You have to stand up and not be embarrassed or victimized.” When she subsequently saw McLaughlin at a party, she says, he told her, “ ‘Most people in this town stab you in the back, but you stabbed me in the front, and I appreciate that.’ I said ‘Anytime, you son of a bitch.’ ”

How did this lesbian actually handle her unique access to Tim Cook? She too aided and abetted the closet. She can boast the most beautiful artisanal, hand-sewn, small-batch excuses for doing so of any technology writer, but that’s all they are – excuses.

Swisher had access, but you are the richest and most powerful Apple journalist. You have by definition the least to lose by taking a stand. Here, “taking a stand” means accurately reporting that Tim Cook was and is gay all along. Your previous statement is a dodge and you know it:

I thought [Snell’s attitude] was more like my “If he’s not going to say it, I’m not going to write about it” position.

That’s an enunciation of the closet. The closet benefits no one but straight people. I’ve explained this before, too.

“I’m not going to state that the most powerful CEO in the world is gay” when he is gay is no different from lying about him. Nobody likes a double standard, except of course heterosexualists. Being gay is not “private” or a secret. You have a fraction of the public profile of Cook, yet you talk about your missus and son all the time. When will you stop shoving your heterosexuality down our throats?

What if I drew a comparison with Anita Sarkeesian? She too was at Xoxo, but not in a position of congratulating a victor, as you were.

One of the most radical things you can do is to actually believe women when they talk about their experiences[.]

When a gay journalist tells you for years that your coverage is not just false and misleading by omission but actively so, the most radical thing you can do is believe him.

The next-most-radical thing you can do is put him on your podcast, as he had suggested twice before. It would be the first and only John Gruber podcast that ever actually talked about anything important. And you know I have cause to say that, being, as you are, the kind of person who gets upset over Arial and neutral-apostrophe usage. I know what’s consequential and what isn’t.

To put everything in a nice cohesive package: You caused material harm for years and knowingly misled your readers. I was right all along, no matter how much it hurts to acknowledge that, and now I’m right too. Do you run an advertorial operation or are you a journalist? Will you dodge my demand for accountability?

Why have we been correspondents for ten years if you hold all the cards, John? Truth and reconciliation have to be pursued at some point. This would be that point.

The male Apple technology press has proven it resides merely at a different point on the autism spectrum than other males in technology. It pretends to be liberal, which manifests itself as pretending not to care that Tim Cook is and always was gay. Pretending not to care means pretending it doesn’t matter. Gay men disagree with that opinion, in part because it is a political action that renders us invisible. Being gay matters a shitload to us and you need to listen to us for a change.

Marco Arment heaps praise on Gruber for manœuvring Phil Schiller onstage. Marco thinks he and I are at odds somehow, but, even after I gave him a chance to do so, he did not retract one of his bits of nastiness about me on Twitter, the natural home of cyberbullying. Pace Jason Snell, it would have cost Marco nothing to be generous for once.

Gruber’s Talk Show, Episode 100, with the disingenuous title “People Are Gay All the Time” (≈2:08:00), could not be bothered to address Gruber’s own choice to maintain the closet. But Gruber did take time to do what heterosexualist journalists love to do – set up a list of prerequisites before those hacks will report a public figure is gay. (Then, when you tick each box on that list of prerequisites, they hand you another list.)

If he had been out for 15 years, like, and had been, you know, had like, a, a longtime partner, you know, since before there was even legal gay marriage in California, who accompanied him to events, and therefore, you know, had been out while he was COO, not CEO, it certainly would have been his right and nobody right-minded would have complained about it, but it wouldn’t have been as big a deal, I don’t think, you know?

Single gay men are still gay even without a trophy husbear to show off, and Tim Cook was out all that time. Gruber acts like coverage of the actual facts happened somewhere else and he wrote none of it. We get this a lot. (The Times has done this for generations.)

I fail to see the counterargument

If male technology journalists, chief among them John Gruber, feel authorized to congratulate Cook on having “come out” despite his not actually having been in the closet, and further if they feel empowered to discuss the “context,” as on Marco et al.’s Accidental Tech Podcast (Episode 89), then it falls on those writers to accept responsibility for having hushed up the facts. Given that it derives from years of their own dishonesty, their freedom to congratulate and mull over is ill-gained.

Since last year – the discrete historical moment, according to the technology press, when Tim Cook “came out” – I have stopped feeding Gruber links. Only I noticed. A one-man, single-sided boycott is not even a boycott.

I also sat on this posting for all that time. Telling gays it doesn’t matter we’re gay is at best an insult and  – as in this case – a deliberate program of invisibility. The underlying issue seemed to me like another example of the ongoing cultural extinction of gay. You should listen to that, too.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.06.12 11:53. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

The Mormons who run Typophile shut it down for a reboot on its 15th anniversary. How do you fix it? You probably don’t.

I’ve been here before: I spent months back in 2010 compiling bugs (full list). There was no way to report those bugs, least of all by a MetaTalk-like forum. So I posted them individually all on the same day, which caused old men on the site to lose their shit. (They thought I had banged them out all in one go.) Some bugs were fixed.

Last year, the Mormons who run Typophile banned me from the site. (I’d long since been blocked on Twitter.) I was accused of having contributed nothing to typography – despite my publication history, my lectures, my status as the canonical source about TTC and caption/subtitle typography, my actual paid research, and 30 years in the field. The fact that I’m gay and curse like a sailor of course had nothing to do with these religious fundamentalists’ carefully considered, not-at-all-rash action.

Hrant H. Papazian, the most hated man in typography, was never banned from Typophile (or Typo‑L or any other forum). So give me a break that I have contributed nothing. At least I don’t wear magic fucking underwear.


  • No Mormons or prudes. A discussion forum cannot be run by religious fundamentalists or prudes. Mormons are both.

  • Document who owns and runs the site. No cute catchphrases like “Typophile is a Punchcut gig.” On a page with an easily predicted URL (, list in plain words who runs the site and how to contact them. Ideally that won’t be Joe Pemberton or any member of the LDS Church. Nor will it be the trigger-happy Stephen Coles, who has his fingers in too many pies as it is. (And for saying that, he’ll ban me from Typedrawers.)

  • Run a bug forum and run something like MetaTalk. This is another way of saying “Stop doing what is known not to work.”

  • Fix the codebase and character encoding.

  • And finally, discontinue Typophile. Every Mormon dog has its day (and, posthumously, its own world to rule over like a lord). Keep the archives online in perpetuity. In fact, donate them to the Internet Archive and elsewhere.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.06.06 11:25. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

An incongruously dressed John Waters equally incongruously delivered the commencement address for the Rhode Island School of Design’s graduating class of 2015 (video). I helpfully transcribed it.

All right. [Chuckles] Welcome and good afternoon, President Somerson, Chairman Spalter, honoured guests, parents, faculty, staff, and – mostly! – the 183 graduates and 486 undergraduates here today.

I should say right off that I am really qualified to be your commencement speaker. I was suspended from high school, then kicked out of college in the first marijuana scandal ever on a university campus. I’ve been arrested several times. I’ve been known to dress in ludicrous fashions. I’ve also built a career out of negative reviews, and have been called “the prince of puke” by the press. And most recently a title I’m really proud of: “the people’s pervert.” I am honoured to be here today with my people.

OK, I’m supposed to inspire you. How’s this? Somehow I’ve been able to make a living doing what I love best for 50 years without ever having to get a real job. “But how can you be so disciplined?” friends always ask when I tell them my job is to get up every day at 6 A.M. Monday to Friday and think up insane stuff. Easy! If I didn’t work this hard for myself, I’d have to go work for somebody else. Plus I can go to my office one room away from my bedroom in my own house dressed in my underpants if I want to.

You’re lucky. When I went to school, my teachers discouraged every dream I ever had. I wanted to be the filthiest person alive, but no school would let me. I bet RISD would’ve. You could possibly even make a snuff movie here and get an A+. Hopefully you have been taught never to fear rejection in the workplace. Remember, a no is free. Ask for the world and pay no mind if you are initially turned down. A career in the arts is like a hitchhiking trip: All you need is one person to say “Get in” and off you go. And then the confidence begins.

Of course, play is equally as important to your education as work. And in the fine arts, play is work, isn’t it? What other field allows you to deduct as business expenses from your taxes gangsta rap, Gaspar Noé’s movies, even vintage porn as long as you use it for research? Remember: You must participate in the creative world you want to become part of. So what if you have talent? Then what? You have to figure out how to work your way inside. Keep up with what’s causing chaos in your own field.

  • If you’re a visual artist, go see the shows in the galleries that are frantically competing to find the one bad neighbourhood left in Manhattan to open up in.

  • Watch every movie that gets a negative review in the New York Times and figure out what the director did wrong.

  • Read, read, read!

  • Watch people on the streets. Spy, be nosy, eavesdrop.

And, as you get older, you’ll need youth spies that will keep you abreast of new music that nobody has heard of yet or body-piercing mutilations that are becoming all the rage – even budding sexually transmitted disease you should go to any length to avoid.

Never be like some of my generation who say “We had more fun in the ’60s.” No, we didn’t! The kids today who still live with their parents who haven’t seen them in months but leave food outside their bedroom doors are having just as much fun shutting down the government of foreign countries on their computer as we did banning the bomb.

Today may be the end of your juvenile delinquency, but it should also be the first day of your new adult disobedience. These days, everybody wants to be an outsider, politically correct to a fault. That’s good. I hope you are working to end racism, sexism, ageism, fatism. But is that enough? Isn’t being an outsider sooo 2014? I mean, maybe it’s time to throw caution to the wind, really shake things up, and reinvent yourself as a new version of your most dreaded enemy – the insider. Like I am.

Ha! The final irony: A creatively crazy person who finally gets power. Think about it: I didn’t change. Society did. Who would have ever thought a top college like RISD would invite a filth elder like myself to set an example to its students‽ See? There’s hope for everybody.

You need to prepare sneak attacks on society. Hairspray is the only really devious movie I ever made. The musical based on it is now being performed in practically every high school in America – and nobody seems to notice it’s a show with two men singing a love song to each other that also encourages white teen girls to date black guys. Pink Flamingos was preaching to the converted. But Hairspray is a Trojan horse: It snuck into Middle America and never got caught. You can do the same thing.

Listen to your political enemies, especially the smart ones, and then figure out a way to make them laugh. Nobody likes a bore on a soapbox. Humour is always the best defence and weapon. If you can make an idiot laugh, they’ll at least pause and listen before they do something stupid – to you.

Refuse to isolate yourself. Separatism is for losers. Gay is not enough anymore. It’s a good start, but I don’t want my memoirs to be in the gay section near true crime at the back of the bookstore next to the bathrooms. No! I want it up front with the best-sellers. And don’t heterosexual kids actually receive more prejudice in art schools today than the gay ones? Things are a-changing. It’s a confusing time.

This might be time for a trigger warning. Uh, the amazing concept I’ve heard about is where you’re supposed to warn students if you’re gonna talk about something that challenges their values? I thought that’s why you went to college. My whole life has been a trigger warning. But you have been warned. So the trigger warning is [in] effect, and now back to the prepared speech.

Uh, don’t hate all rich people. They’re not all awful. Believe me, I know some evil poor people, too. We need some rich people: Who else is going to back our movies or buy our art? I’m rich! I don’t mean money-wise. I mean that I have figured out how to never be around assholes at any time in my personal and professional life. That’s rich. And not being around assholes should be the goal of every graduate here today.

It’s OK to hate the poor, too, but only the poor of spirit, not wealth. A poor person to me can have a big bank balance but is stupid by choice – uncurious, judgemental, isolated and unavailable to change.

I’m also sorry to report there’s no such thing as karma. So many of my talented great friends are dead and so many of the fools I’ve met and loathed are still alive. It’s not fair, and it never will be.

Parents, now it’s time to talk to you. God, these kids can be brats, can’t they? Entitled little bastards. Do they think you’re made of money? Can’t they give you a second to adjust to such social changes as sexual reassignment surgery, horn implants, and the political rights of the adult-baby community? And, young adults, maybe today is the day you stop blaming your parents for every problem you’ve ever had. Yes, it’s a drag you were kept locked in a cardboard box under their bed and daily whipped with a car ærial, but it’s time to move on. We’ve all been dealt a hand. Deal with it! Whining is never appealing in a college graduate.

And, parents, vice-versa: You don’t get to order up your kids, either. Maybe your daughter did tattoo her entire face. Well, work with that you got! Think positively: Maybe she’ll open a fancy tattoo parlour in Paris.

I’m touched to sometimes see distraught parents bringing their angry and defiant teenage children with them to see my spoken-word show in a last-ditch effort to bond. At least both sides are trying. The truce of maturity will come to families if every member is patient. I often look back in wonder at how understanding my parents were. Dr. Spock didn’t have a chapter in his child-rearing book on how to handle you son if all he wanted to do as a child was play Car Accident. Yet my mom took me to junkyards as a toddler and let me wander around fantasizing ghoulishly.

My dad even lent me the money to make Pink Flamingos, and I paid him back in full – with interest. But, looking back, did I really expect him to be thrilled that I had made one of the “most stupid, vile, repulsive films ever made,” as Variety called it?

My parents made me feel safe, and that’s why I’m up here today. That’s what you should try to do to your children too – no matter where you get your children these days.

Contemporary art’s job is to wreck what came before. Is there a better job description than that to aspire to? Here’s another trigger warning, and pardon [me] for [swearing]: Go out in the world and fuck it up beautifully.

  • Design clothes so hideous that they can’t be worn ironically.

  • Horrify us with new ideas.

  • Outrage outdated critics. Use technology for transgression, not lazy social living.

  • Make me nervous!

And finally, count your blessings. You got through college. You didn’t commit suicide, O.D., or have a nervous breakdown, and let’s remember the ones who did. It’s time to get busy. It’s your turn to cause trouble – but this time in the real world, and this time from the inside.

Thank you very much.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.05.31 15:28. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

It’s easier to just subscribe to my Pinboard, which merely collects items I +like on Instapaper (also posted to my Tumblère).

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.05.31 13:30. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

The Mark Leduc Archive is online.

Ginger-haired Mark Leduc, in Team Canada jacket, holds up right fist

I want the one-of-a-kind strawberry-blond gay Olympic silver medallist to be remembered, not forgotten. I also want the circumstances of his death accurately reported.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.05.28 13:39. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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