an open letter to Tim Tebow and those like him about 'coming out' as a christian

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Hi Tim. How's your day going? Still out of a job, huh? That sucks. So, here's the thing, and feel free to share this with your congregation:

To 'come out' as a Christian in America today, whether you're a pro athlete, politician, school-teacher, or dishwasher, isn't a brave thing. It doesn't take courage. You're not going to face hatred. You're not going to be vilified by the press. You're not going to end up committing suicide as a result of relentless bullying from your peers, online community, religious organizations, political organizations, hate groups, and your parents. 

I'm not even sure that a member of the largest religious majority in the world can, in fact, 'come out'.

Now if you lived in, let's say, the Sudan, or Pakistan, or Mumbai, it might be a little different. But you don't. You live here. In the good ole' Jesus-loving, freedom-injecting, "Pat Robertson says America is a Christian nation and lesbians cause hurricanes" U S of A.

This so-called controversy that's erupted over how you and yours are told to shut up when you talk openly about your faith, but when Jason Collins, another pro athlete, comes out as gay, everyone cheers him on, isn't an actual controversy. You're not touching on a legitimate debate about the role of one's faith or personal identity in sports. You're being giant, bigoted, fucking hypocrites.

No pro athlete has ever come out as gay until now. No one. Not a soul. That's because in addition to being the minority, the atmosphere of pro sports is not particularly welcoming of gays. Imagine, Mr. Tebow, being terrified of just existing as yourself around other people. 

You probably can't. You're a White, Christian, Male. So are your supporters, by and large. As far as support goes, you have almost all of it. So to allow others to imply that your life has somehow been made difficult because the public doesn't like when you profess your faith, is the most arrogant, small-minded, unaware idea you could possibly possess. What the public doesn't like, Tim, is you wearing your evangelism like a Times Square ad. It's on your eye black. It's in your pre-game warmup. It's in your post-game interviews. It's in the commercials you star in, the products you endorse, the books you write, the tweets you tweet. 

Imagine if being a gay pro athlete was not only accepted, but mainstream. Now imagine a quarterback walking from the bus to the stadium in drag, blasting The Spice Girls, doing paddle turns with his arms outspread. Imagine him gabbing with his girlfriends about last night's episode of "Glee" instead of stretching, or giving shout-out after shout-out to Ellen Degeneres while being interviewed about his performance on the field, or giving a blowjob to some lucky fan after scoring a touchdown.

This is how ridiculous you look when you "profess your faith."

It's not about being a Christian, Tim. It turns out that most people are. It's about not being a douchebag and a bigot-- on the field or off.

Posted on May 3, 2013 .
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april 19, old media, and a new chapter

When all of the Boston Marathon Bombing/MIT/Watertown stories are done being written, a great many of them will have dealt with the role of the Internet and social media in how the story broke. Their analyses will no doubt deal with who got what right and when, or how it's impossible to accurately "crowd-source" a story and still muster the kind of results we've all come to expect from top-notch journalism. 

There are excellent discussions to be had there.

But what a great many of these articles will be missing is the documented evidence of just how differently the night transpired for traditional TV news sources, versus what the rest of the world was able to cobble together with a laptop and some iPhones. 

I'd like to present some of that evidence here. It's an (admittedly) incomplete-- although quite revealing-- scrapbook of sorts, which might just give you an inkling of what I'm talking about, and what it all means.

In the early morning hours of Friday, April 19, the Watertown/MIT incidents began to unfold. Information was desperately being sought after, and yet seemed to trickle out incredibly slowly.

Incredibly slowly, that is, if you were watching it on TV. This is what was being reported by the television media, for what was probably a good three hours:

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Pretty much just that. There's an operation in an area near MIT, maybe an explosion, and some guy on the ground. For the record, that guy on the ground was not a suspect. Or a person of interest. But CNN kept footage of him on the screen for longer than I could keep my eyes open. Also note that the search is apparently for a single "gunman."

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This tweet appeared at 4:11 AM, about two hours after news of the MIT shooting, carjacking, and shootout with Massachusetts police began to really pick up. Also finally confirmed by TV news media at 4:11 AM: that the unfolding incident was actually related to the Boston Marathon bombing; that someone may be dead, but no one is sure who; and that there are possibly two people involved. 

Now, here's a look at what Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube could put together on the situation. Everything you see below was gathered by 3:30 AM, and some of it was published as early as 6:00 PM the day before.

Here are transcripts posted to Reddit of some of the (then-live) Boston area police scanners.

Here's a snap of a Google Maps link of the area, posted to the same Reddit thread you see above.

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Here's a YouTube video someone shot outside their window of the shootout in progress.

An image and a tweet of bullet holes from the shootout, lodged in a witness's wall.

To say that the contrast presented here is stark, would be a fairly massive understatement.

I'm not suggesting that the Internet got everything right; it rarely (never) does. I'm not suggesting that all other forms of journalism are dead; on the contrary, the best reporting of the entire situation was done by the Boston Globe, a newspaper that could easily be described as wary of "new media." What I am suggesting, is that by 4:11 AM-- roughly three hours later, and with nothing of real value to report-- the old guard of cable news was failing; failing to gather relevant information, failing to use their (massive) resources keenly and with singular purpose, and failing to accurately report key events and timelines. The Internet, on the other hand, in a matter of a few hours, crafted an incredibly detailed, compelling, and (mostly) accurate account of what was taking place, including a heartrending post that shot to the top of Reddit hours before it was anywhere else:

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If the uprisings in Iran and the Arab Spring whet our appetites for the next evolution in how the news gets reported, the events in Massachusetts on April 19 may well prove to be the main course.

Posted on April 20, 2013 .
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entitled

My generation has many labels. Millennial. Generation Y. The Internet Generation. While not particularly creative or descriptive, these monikers at least fare better than my favorite (worst) sobriquet: 

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The Entitled Generation. 

As if our parents all collectively woke up one day, sipped on their morning mugs of coffee, turned to us and said, 

"Be good at school today, learn as much as you can, and oh, by the way, the world owes you something. Expect it to be bountiful, and handed to you with zero effort on your part."

This fanciful mindset is one we are assumed to embody, by our bosses, co-workers, media owners, war veterans, authors, and most of the South. We're spoiled brats, we're told; lazy, disdainful, and selfish younglings who wouldn't know what an honest day's work looked like if it smacked us in the face. 

This is, of course, absurd. And, attempting to have a sense of humor about it, it strikes me as hilarious. If it's not to you, it should be. It couldn't be further from the truth. Well, most of it couldn't be further from the truth; they did hit the nail square on the head with regard to one thing: We are entitled.

Not in the way that denotes someone who feels they are owed something. Quite the contrary, most of us recognize that we are the ones who owe; we owe the planet, we owe our mentors, and we (quite literally) owe massive amounts of debt. But paying a debt is not deference. It's not blind allegiance. And it doesn't come without questioning and critical thought. 

What we feel entitled to is a better world. And the thing is, we can see it, clearer and with broader scope than anyone before us, because all we know is the entire world, in real time. We can pick up an iPad and look at tweets from a protest in Iran; search Google for the answer to literally any question we can think of, and probably find it; write a book, or a blog, or a song, or shoot a music video, or make a film, or build a business, or create an app, or pen an article about how we're sick of other generations belittling our worth and contributions, and then we can publish it ourselves. Instantly. This has been our life since we were little. It's what we know. We know shortcuts, we know hacks, we know how to ask better questions, run better searches, and how to get to the real root of a problem. And we know the rest of the world can work that way.

We're entitled to that world, the world we deserve, the world everyone deserves, and we know we can make it. We can make it faster, better, more detailed, and with less effort than those before us or above us. And they know it. And it scares the shit out of them. Let it. It forces them to examine how obsolete their methods and thinking have become. That will continue to happen, and one day, very soon, we'll take our place in the captain's chair. And we will manage it better. And with less effort. And with more dignity.

Entitled?

You're goddamn right we are. Thanks for noticing.

Posted on April 13, 2013 .
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sanity

The Democratic party has shifted. It is now the Sane party. It has no real, sane opposition anymore (see: state-sponsored religion) so it's up to them to fill the void and take ALL sane positions now-- not just liberal positions.

It's brilliant, actually.

The Republicans go off the rails for a few years. Disappear into the realm of certifiable insanity and legitimate rape. When they finally "right the ship," so to speak, and return to actual politics, it's to a completely mutated Democratic Party: polarized, squabbling, dying for compromise, for anything really-- anything resembling sane conversation or realistic ideas. 

We're close to resembling this right now. Let's hope Republicans aren't that smart. Or if they are, someone keep that Todd Akin guy in front of a camera as a reminder. 

Posted on April 4, 2013 .
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either_or

You can either be against food stamps and welfare, or against raising the minimum wage. 

You can either be against abortion, or against birth control. 

You can either be against raising taxes on the wealthy, or against federal spending.

You can't be both.

Posted on April 2, 2013 .
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