You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.
14 December 2006

Things may change soon

The server that Harvard law blogs uses for the older Manila blogs is creaky, prone to spam, and a variety of other problems. I’ve liked it and stayed with it mostly because it allows me to do more work under the hood than the new server does (using a version of WordPress that doesn’t allow the end user to do as much tinkering with code).

So I’ll be making decisions soon about what to do with my blog, whether to transfer to a new server here at Harvard Law or whether to get a bit of server space somewhere and go it on my own….

Regardless, you can always reach me, no matter what changes I make, by using as the address you type in here. For those two of you who might use RSS to keep up with me, we’ll figure out some way of making that less painless than it might be.

Posted in Tech on 14 December 2006 at 12:36 am by Nate
13 December 2006

Well, it’s been a while

More than a month, to be relatively precise.

But I have an “80 percent” draft of a chapter done, some more datasets conglomerated, and a few things still to do before the break in 6 days.

But this was so patently crazy, I had to share:

Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That’s why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today’s rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products. (Most babies are bottle-fed during some part of their infancy, and one-fourth of them are getting soy milk!) Homosexuals often argue that their homosexuality is inborn because “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t homosexual.” No, homosexuality is always deviant. But now many of them can truthfully say that they can’t remember a time when excess estrogen wasn’t influencing them.

Yep, that explains it all.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Posted in Day2Day on 13 December 2006 at 9:27 am by Nate
6 November 2006

Radio Open Source guest

So let’s update the previous post. I’m going to be on the show. Here’s the e-mail I sent to a few friends.

So perhaps you’ve been following the news about the powerful evangelical pastor in Colorado who was recently outed, in response to his position on a ballot question dealing with gay marriage. It’s quite interesting, to say the least.

As most of you know, I have this “sideline” interest in religion and politics. And as a result of that (and things I’ve said in public about the matter), I’ve been invited to appear on Radio Open Source ( this evening, to offer a few comments about the matter, and to talk about evangelical matters (in which I apparently have some expertise). They tell me I’ll be on in the last third of the show. (They’re taping in advance this afternoon.)

The show’s on WGBH, 89.7 in the Boston area, from 7 to 8 PM EST. You can also listen on, or you can subscribe to Open Source’s podcast and download the show tomorrow.

So take a listen and eagerly await to see if and when I stick my foot in my mouth!

Posted in Rayleejun on 6 November 2006 at 4:17 pm by Nate

Haggard, etc.

Responding to a thread over at Radio Open Source this morning, on the whole Ted Haggard event. The post started with an excerpt from Jeff Sharlet’s article on conservative Christian reactions to sexuality.

The oversexed female as public enemy has been replaced by the oversexed male; and in the worst case scenario, he is gay…”The gay man” is the new seductress sent by Satan to tempt the men of Christendom. He takes what he wants and loves whom he will and his life, in the imagination of Christian men’s groups, is an endless succession of orgasms, interrupted only by jocular episodes of male bonhomie. The gay man promises a guilt-free existence, the garden before Eve. He is thought to exist in the purest state of “manhood,” which is boyhood, before there were girls…

[Christian conservatives] love the gay man because he is a siren, and his song is alluring; and because they believe that the siren is nonetheless stranded at sea, singing in desperation from a slippery perch on a jagged outcrop of stone. The gay man, they imagine, is calling to them; and they believe they are calling back — as if all of human sexuality was a grand and tragic game of Marco Polo.

Jeff Sharlet, Sex as a Weapon, Nerve, 2005

And I noted the following:

Back to Ted Haggard. I have to say that I feel both pity and a sense of relief at the news. (Although when he immediately resigned his positions even while denying the allegations, I figured that he’d change his story eventually.) I feel pity for him because the closet is a frightening, god-awful place; if there is a hell, it will be like the closet, where you feel isolated, alone, cut off from God and other people by your unbearable secret. And I feel pity because I hate to see another human and another Christian in so much obvious pain.

And yet I feel relief and perhaps even some vindication, because a man who’s persecuted many people — as a means of wiping out his own perceived immorality — cannot do that anymore.

One thing that’s funny about the conservative Christian man, as Jeff Sharlet begins to touch on in the excerpt above, is how he keeps trying to sail closer and closer to that siren song. Groups like the Promisekeepers, the church “men’s group”, male-only prayer breakfast groups, and such all encourage character that many often consider “gay.” Men are supposed to open up, discuss their feelings, to bond deeply and emotionally with other men in the group, to encourage “intimacy” (of a non-sexual sort, of course) among the members, and to create that sort of bonhomie we’ve been talking about. Funnily enough, the men involved recognize the “gayness” of what they’re engaging in, and so they concurrently go deeper while still (sometimes) mocking the lack of manliness they are part of. And for gay men involved in these sorts of churches and parachurch activites, this must be like putting a sumptuous feast in front of someone who’s known nothing but rice and water for his whole life.

Conservative Christians, I think, believe that they are rescuing the sirens from their lonely outcrops, where gay men are stranded and cut off from their own humanity. But the reality seems to be that these Christians are rescuing themselves, coming closer to siren gays so that they may complete their own humanity. In some sense, it is these Christians who are stuck on the lonely outcrops of rock in the middle of an ocean, finding some redemption in that which they often resist.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Posted in Rayleejun on 6 November 2006 at 9:36 am by Nate
4 November 2006

Whoa! State of the Union made awesome!

This site takes all major presidential addresses, and it makes a tag cloud out of them.

So awesome!

Technorati Tags: , ,

Posted in Politicks on 4 November 2006 at 10:01 am by Nate
3 November 2006

Well, this is interesting….

if it’s true.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 — The Rev. Ted Haggard, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals and one of the nation’s most influential Christian leaders, resigned on Thursday, one day after a former male prostitute in Denver said in television and radio interviews that he had had a three-year sexual relationship with Mr. Haggard.

Ted Haggard, some contend, is more than your garden-variety evangelical; he’s the leader of a somewhat Dominionist congregation in the Vatican of American evangelicalism, Colorado Springs.

Who knows if it’s true or not? But it’s bad news for a political force that many contend has peaked and can only plateau or fall from here on out.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Posted in Politicks on 3 November 2006 at 9:41 am by Nate
21 October 2006

Tangerine and iTunes (Mac people)

Hey, this is pretty cool.

I have a ton of tracks in my iTunes library. 3763, to be quite exact. Which iTunes tells me is 10.5 days of music.

I often set my iPod on random when I go to the gym, and mark the peppy gym tracks so that I can use them to keep moving on the elliptical or whatever I’m doing.

Tangerine is a great little app that analyzes your library (really fast), sees how many beats per minute your tracks have, how intense those beats are, and then lets you make up a playlist based on that info. Totally cool.

I’m so gonna go to the gym, after my little nap…. At least I have a playlist. And I can make one for naptime, too.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Posted in OnTheWeb on 21 October 2006 at 1:40 pm by Nate
5 October 2006

Esther Neumann

Apologies for very little writing of late.

My grandmother (mom’s mom) died last week, and I had to fly to California for the funeral on Monday. We were somewhat closer in the past than in recent years. Her death was not unexpected, and it’s somewhat surprising that she lasted as long as she did these last couple of years. It’s sad, but I’m not broken up right now. I just wish some parts of her life could have been happier.

I delivered the eulogy at the graveside, but I’m never sure about crossing the line of private and public in this forum, so I may or may not post it here.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Posted in Day2Day on 5 October 2006 at 10:15 am by Nate

I have little sympathy for Mark Foley

Or Jim McGreevey, for that matter.

Here’s how a letter writer to the Globe put it today:

AS A gay man living for more than two decades in Boston, I have known many gay men raised in strict Catholic homes, two of whom were molested by their priests. Not one of them grew up to be a closeted Republican who worked to criminalize his own behavior.

Foley should have sought professional help, as many of my friends did, long before he mixed alcohol, his own apparent homophobia, congressional pages, and the Internet, and brought himself to this ignominious place.

If he had taken personal responsibility for his mental health earlier, it would not be thrust upon him now by events he set in motion by his very failure to do so.



Here’s how I put it to a friend, a few weeks back, regarding McGreevey’s book tour:

[McGreevey] seemed to manipulate his coming out into extending the power of his corrupt administration for another three months. I’m not a big fan of McGreevy, as the coming out seemed less courageous and more calculated than anything else. Besides, I highly doubt that this was too much of a secret, as statehouses are extremely prolific gossip mills.

I’d add that he’s a sad example of anything. He used his sexuality and self as a means of crass retention. He did not care for himself or his loved ones sufficiently to see himself as an end in himself but rather as a means toward something new, something more. For Foley and McGreevey, being gay provides the excuse for the sickness in their souls; their personhood is used to justify the very warping of their self that they have engaged in.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Posted in Politicks on 5 October 2006 at 10:09 am by Nate
22 September 2006

Which is what he wanted

The Times hasn’t come yet this morning, so I read the Crimson (which I’ve done more this week than in the previous four years). For once the ed page had something insightful and intelligent.

I think the Baptized Pagan was right. Benedict was up to something here, and although he may have not considered the implications of his words, he’s highlighted a problem at the heart of another religion.

As a letter to the Times put it earlier this week,

“Media coverage of Pope Benedict XVI’s speech has underreported two facts: The Roman Catholic Church openly opposed the American-led war in Iraq, and the church has generally opposed the Israeli presence in the occupied territories.
Muslim leaders, take note: On the two most inflammatory issues in the world today, the Catholic Church is on your side. “

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Posted in Politicks on 22 September 2006 at 9:54 am by Nate