Alison Steinberg: All-American Homophobic Mouth-Breather

I really do try to see the best in people, but there is literally no reason I can summon to justify why the vile and pestiferous propagandist Alison Steinberg should be granted the privilege of breathing oxygen. There is nothing but evil in her heart. She is a hate-fueled, homophobic, truth-denying jackal who, like many alt-right opportunists, traded in her dubious cerebral powers to propagandize against human rights and inclusive dignity for a job at the One American News Network — which is swiftly dethroning FOX News as the venue to transform a horde of thoughtless and aging cabbages into budding fascists. Steinberg’s latest tirade, which went viral on Twitter on Sunday morning, is truly the mark of an irredeemable monster. For what Steinberg did was completely unacceptable — particularly since her bilious biogtry, directed at a harmless rainbow flag, was aired during Pride Month.

Here is a full transcript of her unhinged diatribe:

…in San Diego. And guess what I came home to be greeted with? This fucking bullshit. [points to Rainbow Pride flag] What the hell is that? Huntington Beach is the town of good old-fashioned hard-working American people, much less human. People who worked all through the COVID lockdown. Yes, that’s right. Huntington Beach never shut down through any of the COVID nonsense fuckery. And now we’re peddling this garbage? What the hell is this? The only flag that should be up there is that American flag. This is a disgrace to our city and it should be taken down immediately. Whoever the hell is running this town needs to be fired. Make America great again. Make Huntington Beach great.

This is unequivocal and unmitigated hate speech. And the timing here, hot on the heels of Justice Clarence Thomas suggesting within the hideous Dobbs opinion that an overturn of Griswold v. Connecticut (the precedent that established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage) could very well happen, is no accident.

What’s disturbing and unforgivable about Steinberg’s rant is the way that she declares any LGBTQ+ person to not be American. She is so blinded by her venomous enmity that she cannot even consider that those who aren’t straight and hetero and cis may very well be just as “hard-working” (and indeed “old-fashioned”) as she professes to be.

This is the textbook definition of bigotry. Steinberg is so hopped up on her rage that she not only wants to dehumanize LGBTQ people, but her “rhetoric” involves discluding them from the American nation. Making them invisible. Much in the way that Pastor Dillan Awes declared only weeks ago that gay people should be executed.

For all of its problems, Huntington Beach ranked highest in Orange County for LGBTQ rights in a 2013 Municipal Equity Index study. Largely because Joe Shaw, an openly gay Councilman, worked tirelessly to create greater acceptance for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Because of Shaw, the city of Huntington Beach became, for a time, a safer place. That is, before the atavistic CHUDs of Huntington Beach voted him out of office, forcing Shaw to flee back to the Midwest.

But for every noble Jon Shaw, there is a bona-fide mouth-breathing motherfucker like Alison Steinberg. If we lived in a condign world, she would out of a job. Banned from all newsrooms.

Unfortunately, we live in the worst timeline. All the progress we have made is in serious jeopardy of being evaporated if we do not push back hard against true evil. We must not stay silent. Alison Steinberg is pure evil. And there is no universe in which her hatred is acceptable.

A Federal Erection Ban

On Friday morning, the Supreme Court issued an opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — effectively overturning the constitutional right that has allowed women to have reproductive rights and bodily autonomy for nearly fifty years. The message from the high court could not be any plainer: women have no agency over their bodies. Even though this decision openly contradicts any number of civil rights laws that have been designed — in theory, at least — to protect women from discrimination, the Supreme Court Justices have decided that past precedents were not settled, despite claiming so during their confirmation hearings.

But if women are not guaranteed a constitutional right to do what they want with their bodies, then the time has come to level the playing field and deny men any and all constitutional rights too. It seems only fair. And it neatly aligns with some recent personal developments that I feel an overwhelming need to shove down your unenlightened throats.

Before I introduce my ideas, I should note that, after many years of being an atheist, I have finally found religion. The Church of Gelding may be a little-practiced faith, but it is, as far as I’m concerned, the only one that matters. It is far more important than all strains of Christianity. Last week, I cut off my own penis with a hacksaw to find a new life of inner peace. There was a bloody mess in my apartment, but the holy ritual of severing my member has secured my position in the afterlife. In addition, my singing range on the high notes has dramatically improved. The Church of Gelding’s priests and archdioceses — operating out of a storage facility in Gatlinburg, Tennessee as we raise funds to build a proper church so that we may properly and hygienically castrate all members of our loyal congregation — have reviewed this essay. They have declared me a visionary for a faith that will soon be sweeping the nation. It’s all part of the new theocracy you haven’t yet heard about.

I propose a national ban on erections at the federal level. And if we’re fated to pull the RU-486 abortion poll from pharmacies, then there also needs to be an FDA ban on Viagra. After all, isn’t it unnatural for older men to have an artificially created erection? Since the pro-lifers insist that it’s “unnatural” for women to have abortions, then we need to ensure that all other unnatural male enhancements are also prohibited. Hair transplants, Botox, and, most importantly, septuagenarian men who foolishly believe that they are still twenty-five years old and who have cultivated the mistaken impression that they have the God-given right to fuck any twentysomething into the middle of next week. This rampant immorality must end today!

Let us establish a Federal Erection Bureau office in every city, giving every American male thirty days to undergo a surgical procedure that will block the corpora cavernosa — the twin chambers running along the length of the penis that are responsible for the bloodflow that causes the penis to grow. Those men who wish to have children with their partners can fill out a detailed 564 page questionnaire, submit this to the FEB (along with a credit report and a list of references), undergo a hearing supervised by a Propagation Consideration Panel, and, upon approval, have a temporary reversal of this surgical procedure. If they copulate with their partners without written consent, then let their treacherous corpses hang from the traffic lights as a warning for all men who do not abide by the new way.

If men were deprived of the testosterone that turns them into abusive and boneheaded idiots, then much of this behavior would stop. We would have fewer conflicts and wars. Women would not be bombarded with unsolicited dick pics. Because men would be too humiliated to photograph their shriveled and useless chorizos, thus finally understanding that the penis is a wildly overrated and fundamentally silly-looking anatomical appendage. I have learned this myself by finding God.

Men who insist on having erections — or who have erections in a speakeasy or through any underground network established to give men an illegal venue with which to have an erection — should be chemically castrated for the greater good. And the most egregious erection offenders should be castrated with a sharp axe. Imagine the diminished problems! Think of the great culture that America will create when more castratos enter opera halls and recording studios! You may not have been able to control yourself when you had a penis. But your new life (and your new voice) will set you on a new path!

If the five paleoconservatives on the Supreme Court seriously believe that women cannot be trusted to do what they deem right for their bodies, then it can be equally argued that men are just as incapable. Hitting any bar on a Saturday night will reveal quite swiftly that men are probably more incapable of not knowing how to control themselves in public. Men are especially clueless when it comes to reading a woman’s intentions, much less actually listening to what a woman has to say. Even when told “no” by a woman, this feeble and wildly overrated gender is hopped up on too much testosterone and has proven time and time again that it cannot comprehend a simple two-letter word.

Remove erections from the equation of life and we would see sexual harassment rates significantly drop. Unwanted advances and catcalls from men would disappear overnight. One source of an unwanted pregnancy would be nipped in the bud. And we would have far stabler families. Children who aren’t forced to live in poverty. And without their precious penises, men would at long last get in touch with their feelings and not be as afraid to cry.

So let the Republicans lead by example. Let Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh drop their pants and proffer their schlongs for castration. Let Justice Amy Coney Barrett be the one holding the knife and carving away at her colleagues’s dicks with the same gusto that she uses to hack away at the Constitution. Let every Republican who truly believes in life step forward and proudly announce that they will no longer be erect. After all, only the permanently wilted can grow a true garden.

Florence Nightingale (Modern Library Nonfiction #74)

(This is the twenty-sixth entry in The Modern Library Nonfiction Challenge, an ambitious project to read and write about the Modern Library Nonfiction books from #100 to #1. There is also The Modern Library Reading Challenge, a fiction-based counterpart to this list. Previous entry: The Great War and Modern Memory.)

Of the four illustrious figures cannonaded in Eminent Victorians, Florence Nightingale somehow evaded the relentless reports of Lytton Strachey’s hard-hitting flintlocks. Strachey, of course, was constitutionally incapable of entirely refraining from his bloodthirsty barbs, yet even he could not find it within himself to stick his dirk into “the delicate maiden of high degree who threw aside the pleasures of a life of ease to succor the afflicted.” Despite this rare backpedaling from an acerbic male tyrant, Nightingale was belittled, demeaned, and vitiated for many decades by do-nothings who lacked her brash initiative and who were dispossessed of the ability to match her bold moves and her indefatigable logistical acumen, which were likely fueled by undiagnosed bipolar disorder.

As someone who has been diagnosed with bipolar, I am inclined to stick up for my fellow aggrieved weirdos. We bipolar types can be quite difficult, but you can’t gainsay our superpowers. A relentlessly productive drive, a magnetism and a magnanimity that bubbles up at our high points, an overwhelming need to help and empathize with others, and a crushing paralysis during depressive spells that often has us fighting the urge to stay in bed. And yet we get up every day anyway, evincing an energy and an eccentric worldview that others sometimes perceive as magical, but that our enemies cherrypick for lulz and fodder — the basis for unfounded character assassin campaigns, if not permanent exile. Hell hath no greater fury than that of aimless and inexplicably heralded mediocrities puffed up on their own prestige and press.

But regular people who aren’t driven by the resentful lilts of petty careerism do get us. And during her life, they got Florence Nightingale. She was flooded with marriage proposals, all of which she rebuffed and not always gently. She was celebrated with great reverence by otherwise foulmouthed soldiers. Yet she also suffered the slings and arrows of bitter schemers who resented her for doing what they could not: obtaining fresh shirts and socks and trays and tables and clocks and soap and any number of now vital items that one can find ubiquitously in any ward, but that were largely invisible in 19th century hospitals and medical military theatres. She had the foresight to study the statistics and the fortitude to work eighteen hour days practicing and demanding reform. And whatever one can say about Nightingale’s mental state, it is nigh impossible to strike at Florence Nightingale without coming across as some hot take vagabond cynically cleaving to some bloodless Weltanschauung that swiftly reveals the superficial mercenary mask of a boorish bargain hunter.

Florence Nightingale nobly and selflessly turned her back from the purse strings of privilege, hearing voices caracoling within her head that urged her to do more. While she was not the only nurse who believed in going to the front lines to improve conditions (the greatly overlooked Mary Seacole, recently portrayed by the wildly gifted and underrated Tina Fabrique in a play, also went to Crimea), it is now pretty much beyond question that she revolutionized nursing and military medicine through her uncommon will and a duty to others in which she sacrificed her own needs (and caused a few early suitors to suffer broken hearts). That she was able to do all this while battling her own demons is a testament to her redoubtable strength. That her allies returned to her, determined to see the best in her even after she was vituperative and difficult, is a tribute to one of humanity’s noblest qualities: putting your ego aside for the greater good.

A century before PowerPoint turned 90% of all meetings into meaningless displays of vacuous egotism, Florence Nightingale was quite possibly the first person to use colorful graphical data at great financial expense (see above — it’s beautiful, ain’t it?) to persuade complacent men in power to care for overlooked underlings wounded in war and dying of septic complications in overcrowded and unhygienic hospitals. She was savvy and charismatic enough to win the advocacy of Lord Sidney Herbert, who, despite being a Conservative MP, had the generosity and the foresight to understand the urgent need for Nightingale’s call for revolution. Herbert secured funds. The two became close confidants. Yet poor Herbert suffered a significant erosion in his health and died at the age of fifty because he could not keep up with Nightingale’s demands.

I suspect that men in power resented such noble sacrifices, which could account for why Nightingale was often portrayed as a freak and a deranged outlier in the years immediately following her death. But biographer Cecil Woodham-Smith saw a different and far more complex woman than the haters. Her terrific and mesmerizing and well-researched 1950 biography on Nightingale greatly helped to turn the tide against one of the most astonishing and inspiring women that medicine has ever known. And Woodham-Smith did so not through preordained hagiography, but by taking the time to carefully and properly sift through her papers (and even a well-preserved lock of her bright chestnut hair, still as robust and as lambent as the lamp Nightingale carried in the dark more than a century later). There is a vital lesson here for today’s social media castigators, especially the testosterone-charged troglodytes who casually smear women, that they will likely ignore.

Next Up: Richard Ellmann’s James Joyce!

Withdrawing

Most of us withdraw money from our checking accounts at least once a week. We do, after all, have to survive in this wildly flawed and ever more hurtful world. Even when the money we withdraw doesn’t mean much. Slips of green paper that have touched several hands before us, used to acquire food and other items that allow us to survive. And with inflation, the value of money increasingly means much less. The quiet joke about money is more apparent these days. A dollar bill and a euro walk into a bar. They both measure their value against each other, which is subject to whims that are beyond their control. The dollar bill says to the euro, “Whose wallet or purse do you think you’ll end up in this week?” The euro replies, “I don’t know. But I’m sure some stranger will slide me across a counter to buy something before I have time to get comfortable.” “It’s a transient life, to be sure.” “A transactional one.” “Same diff.” “When do you think you’ll die?” asks the dollar bill. “I don’t know,” says the euro, “we don’t live as long as dogs. Maybe eight years if we’re lucky. All the wear and tear.” “I know,” says the dollar, “I’m starting to feel my age.” “You’re holding up very well,” says the euro, “let me buy you a beer.” But in the euro’s noble quest to honor the camaraderie that he has just established with the dollar, he has no alternative but to submit himself as the instrument of payment when the bartender arrives. And while the dollar enjoys his beer (only to be scooped up from the barstool after a mere two sips by a bipedal ape-descended life form in great financial need), the euro finds himself spending the next several hours inside the dark boxy abyss of a cash register cage before he is eventually transferred to a safe, which is an even more depressing place to exist than the cash register. Small wonder that currency has no soul. This is no way to live.

Not that money has ever meant all that much to me — except as a means to carry on surviving. The things I enjoy doing and that I am particularly good at are far from lucrative. In fact, I tend to lose time and money when I’m doing these things, although I do not consider that I am withdrawing from anything when I am happily doing these things. I have all the books I could possibly need — even if I cannot stop buying them. It is not so much the money I care about, but the books, which have become increasingly more reliable than people in 2022 and appear to be the foundation for whatever sanity I possess. I have all the things I could possibly need. I don’t need anything more. And the idea of playing the crypto market strikes me as one of the most boring pastimes imaginable. Even more boring than gambling, which I also do not do often. The last time I gambled, it was three years ago and on a whim. I had stopped at Atlantic City after recording with an actor in Virginia. I had a car to return the next morning. And it seemed ridiculous to drive all the way back to Brooklyn, only to drive to Newark to return the car, when I could simply stay in New Jersey and thus delude myself into believing that I was still on a journey. I had not been in Atlantic City before and felt, after living in New York City for more than a decade, that the time had come to finally visit this seedy place — a venue perhaps best memorialized by Joshua Cohen in an essay for a magazine run (in part) by someone I strongly detest and who has proven, as I suspected all along, to be largely in this for the money. Anyway, I was in a casino for less than an hour and won big at the craps table and I walked away with my winnings, which most people do not do. Quit while they’re ahead, that is. I had enough for a hotel room and more. Why give this small fortune back to the casino? Yet while I was waiting for an overworked man with a sad angular face to book me a hotel room, and affording the man great leeway because he looked as if he was having a very bad day, I stepped to the side and played the slots and won another jackpot. And these combined winnings were enough for me to live like a king that night — even though I had no aspirations to royalty. I certainly didn’t have any particular desire to throw money around. I didn’t need to withdraw anything. I still don’t feel any overwhelming need to withdraw money unless I need to buy a sandwich or something. But I will stick up for my worth.

The more noble of us withdraw blood. Often for doctors, who request to see it and study it. More often, in my case, for blood banks. Because people need it. And even though I tend to be squeamish around needles when I donate blood (although not so much when it came to getting vaccinated) — a quality which guarantees that I’ll never attempt heroin as long as I walk this earth — I still do this for the greater good. Whatever displeasure I have when a nurse draws blood from me is worth it. And I can usually disguise or distract myself from my discomfort with a fusillade of jokes that, in turn, helps the nurse to have a better day as she treats largely ungrateful patients. (I know how ungrateful people can be. I once worked in a vaccination center. I still treated everyone like royalty, even when they were rude to me.) But maybe I’m overestimating my squeamishness. Or even the quality of my wit. I recently saw a doctor and sat stoically as great pain flooded throughout my body. And the nurse replied, “You know, most men who go through this cry. You don’t.” And it was true. I am better with my pain threshold these days than I used to be. But I have no idea if this is because of maturity or increased resignation. And the nurse proceeded to flirt with me and asked me why I was still single — this as I was in a largely naked and vulnerable position, this as pain continued to shoot through my corpus. I did my best to be present and not withdraw — even as bits of organic matter were being withdrawn from me. Because the operation needed to happen. There was no way around it. Encounters with doctors become more frequent as you get older. Aging is the body’s ignoble way of announcing that you are inevitably going to die.

The funny thing about the word “withdraw” is that its original meaning involved taking back something. To draw away. A possible variation of retrahere, which is Latin for “retract.” But when we say that we withdraw now, what are we taking back exactly? The money we withdraw from a bank is usually spent on something. The blood that is withdrawn from our bodies doesn’t return to us. But this etymology does provide me with some comfort. Because I find myself withdrawing from people more these days out of self-preservation. People are becoming crueler and more selfish. And it all makes me very sad. The mass shootings. The anti-choicers who want women to suffer and to give up all their autonomy and their identity. The ineptitude of Democrats. The cruelty of Republicans. But I don’t want to have the soul of a lonely euro whimpering in the dark heavy jail of a safe.

And it’s not just political. People who I thought were friends have demonstrated that they do not care about my feelings. They have their reasons. It has nothing to do with me, but that doesn’t stop their egotistical acts from causing hurt. They see the way that I live, which is entirely on my own terms and very much about being there for others, and they resent me for it. While more deranged members of our society would be more inclined to shoot up a school to contend with this imbalance, I’m not a violent man. And my response has been to withdraw from them. I mean, if you’re texting with an ostensible “friend” and pointing out that you’re not feeling all that great these days, and that “friend” replies “lol,” that’s not really someone you want to be friends with, is it? In the last two weeks, I have largely withdrawn from writing — something that I very much enjoy doing — because I am still dealing with the great hurt of busting my ass for someone who claimed to vouch for me and who even called me a “genius” (I’m not) and who fed me to the lions and who betrayed the many hours I put in. This two thousand word essay (or whatever the fuck it is) that I am writing right now is the most writing I have done in one sitting in eight days. And I have enjoyed writing it. And I feel right now a sense of catharsis. And coming to terms with all the flotsam in my head is helping me. And hopefully it will likewise help you — that is, if you’ve read this far. I’m sure that many people will resent me for enjoying the experience of writing this. Certainly someone as bitter as Fran Lebowitz, who I am increasingly believing to be a fraud and who will probably never read this, will see my enjoyment of writing as suspicious, if not worthy of censure. But then Fran Lebowitz likes to complain. It’s her schtick. And it has a limited range and repertoire. It’s enjoyable to some extent, but increasingly less so as I get older. She is not as bad as Ricky Gervais, who is a truly sad and hateful and mediocre man. His most recent transphobic “comedy” special caused me to cancel my Netflix account. Because I don’t need that kind of ugliness in my life. And I don’t want to support that. The world is ugly enough. My schtick is to try not to complain (except in the case of notable injustices, such as various Supreme Court rulings devised by soi-disant “originalists” or income inequality, or to stump on behalf of the many people who seem to trust me with their most vulnerable and heartbreaking stories and whose trust I feel the need to honor and to never betray because I don’t understand why they trust me and see me as a man who they can be open with), but to see and depict quotidian wonder, particularly strange quotidian wonder. And that is the basis for what I do. That’s who I am. I cannot be anybody else but me.

But back to this “friend.” I believed, after all the years we had known each other, that he would have my back. Much as I have always had his back and have taken significant risk to stick up for him because that is the kind of loyalty I have for people in my life. Because loyalty and honesty and good faith matter more to me than how anyone perceives me. But it was not to be. I was forced to withdraw.

So I am withdrawing from certain people. And my choice to withdraw has proven to reveal who certain people truly are and how little my honest passion and my fierce advocacy has truly mattered to them. I am withdrawing to take back something, per the original definition of “withdrawing.” And the hope is that I can find people who understand what I’m talking about here. Who intuitively know the big problem we’re not talking about. Who can read the room and see that a lot of us are scared and that inaction is no way to go about this tricky business known as life. I am withdrawing in order to be more present. To live to fight another day in a long and difficult fight that is increasingly essential to preserve the joy and beauty of the universe and to inspire other people to live their best lives and to accomplish great things. Which now seems like the hardest fucking thing in the world. It used to be simpler. But it has to be done.

Bill Kristol: An Enemy to Women, An Enemy to Human Rights

Yesterday, Bill Kristol — a vile and cowardly neoconservative opportunist who has deluded himself into believing that opposing Trump somehow makes him a more “reasonable” Republican — landed himself in rightful hot water when he tweeted for “civility.” Kristol, a repugnant man who has never known a day without a hot meal, rebuked protesters for protesting outside the homes of statesmen who stand in the way of autonomy, freedom, and a woman’s right to choose. Echoing the bullshit centrist line from Michelle Obama that has singlehandedly positioned Democrats into a wildly gullible and morally culpable party of eternal ineptitude, Kristol also urged protesters not to “intrude on people attending their houses of worship.”

Bill Kristol clearly does not have any significant understanding of human history. He also doesn’t seem to comprehend that his own wildly dangerous party is operating from a crazypants playbook created and practiced by vicious and duplicitous thugs who have openly flouted numerous judicial precedents that ostensibly upheld the liberties and agency of women and that now threaten to create a new form of slavery in which forced childbirth — even in cases of rape, incest, or when a baby that is fated to die — will become the cruel new norm.

In short, the unhinged assault on our democratic republic is very real — arguably one of the greatest perils to liberty in our lifetime — and it requires that we stop playing nice. “Civility” — or, at least, the bullshit bromides that Kristol cleaves to — hasn’t worked. The time has come to make the life of any atavistic scumbag who stands against women’s rights — and thus human rights — incredibly difficult — a living hell that will communicate in pellucid terms that the failure to respect a view that the majority of the American people support now — and even supported in the immediate aftermath of Roe v. Wade — is completely unacceptable in the 21st century.

Is this fool really so naive as to not know about the Haymarket affair? Hundreds bravely fought for workers rights. A bomb was thrown. And the anarchists who adopted an ostensibly “fringe” position were rounded up and falsely criminalized — including people who had not actually attended this 1886 protest in Chicago. One of the falsely accused defendants committed suicide.

Is this wildly irresponsible oaf unfamiliar with the civil rights movement? Also messy. Lamar Smith — a venerated World War I vet — shot in the streets of Brookhaven, Mississippi for urging Blacks to exercise their right to vote in 1955. Or how about Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965 — in which peaceful protesters were brutally attacked by lawmen in Selma, Alabama? Or Jonathan Daniels? Murdered by an unpaid deputy sheriff after picketing whites-only stores.

I could go on, but Google is free.

Did this nitwit truly deposit his fat complacent head into the blissful sands of clueless ignorance when Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves was interviewed by Jake Tapper — on Mother’s Day, no less — and said, with wanton sociopathic glee, that forcing women to carry pregnancies to term in any scenario was just peachy keen? Here are actual sentiments from a pro-lifer just yesterday: “You have no choice. Not your body, not your choice. Your body is mine and you’re having my baby.” If Kristol refuses to recognize the abhorrent tyranny here, the fight that any card-carrying humanist should not sit out, then he has no business opining in any form.

Weak mediocre men like Kristol are very much one of the reasons why we’re here once again, forced to fight even as we remain exhausted for a right that should have been codified decades ago. Pusillanimous fossils like Kristol not only cheapen the difficult choice that any woman faces with abortion, but they belittle the bravery of anyone who remains rigorously committed to human rights.

With all due respect, Bill Kristol, go fuck yourself. And please be sure to let me know your “place of worship” so that I can show up and say this to your face. You see, if there isn’t a safe place for women, then there really shouldn’t be a safe place for you.