Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What You Will Never See or Hear

The book you will never read:

Straightened Out: The Scandalous Rejection of My Gay Roots by Daniel Feldman

In the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel and Carolyn Jessop’s Escape, Straightened Out is a captivating story about a young boy determined to live his own life at any cost.

New York City's Greenwich Village community of gays is as mysterious as it is intriguing to outsiders. In this arresting memoir, Daniel Feldman reveals what life is like trapped within a sexual tradition that values silence and suffering over individual freedoms.

The child of a mentally disabled father and a mother who abandoned Daniel while he was still a toddler, Daniel was raised by his strictly homosexual uncle John and John's partner Tim. Along with a rotating cast of gay, lesbian and transgender friends, they enforced customs with a relentless emphasis on rules that governed everything from what Daniel could wear and to whom he could speak, to what he was allowed to read. As he grew from an inquisitive little boy to an independent-minded young man, stolen moments reading about the spiritual characters of the Bible helped him to imagine an alternative way of life. He had no idea how to seize this dream that seemed to beckon to him from the synagogues of Manhattan, but he was determined to find a way. The tension between Daniel's desires and his responsibilities as a good gay boy grew more explosive until, at the age of seventeen, he found herself trapped in a sexually and emotionally dysfunctional marriage to a man he had met in a local ally. As a result, he experienced debilitating anxiety that was exacerbated by the public shame of having failed to immediately consummate his marriage and thus satisfy his partner. But it wasn’t until he was nineteen that Daniel realized that his entire future was at stake, and that, regardless of the obstacles, he would have to forge a path to happiness and freedom.

You will never see this book published by Simon & Schuster or on the New York Times Bestseller list, because bashing Orthodox Jews is perfectly fine while bashing homosexuals is absolutely taboo.

The news story you will never hear:

Tzvi Klein was an eighteen-year-old student at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge on September 22, 2010. His roommate Dharun Ravi and a fellow hallmate, Molly Wei, had viewed Klein donning phylacteries and praying via iChat between a webcam on Ravi's computer and a computer in Wei's dorm room without Klein's knowledge. Ravi later attempted to view Klein's religious practices a second time and drew attention to the event by making Twitter postings to friends. Ravi has been charged with invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, witness tampering, and evidence tampering, while Wei is not being charged in exchange for testifying against Ravi.

You will never see this story broadcast on television. The reason why is because prosecutors would never be concerned about the suicide of an Orthodox Jew, while a homosexual killing himself because someone embarrassed him is a national tragedy.


Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, you're not likely to read news stories about unicorns or ghosts either...

How many Jews committed suicide because someone saw them donning tefillin? What are you smoking?

jewish philosopher said...

Homosexuals undoubtedly suffer from more mental illness than do orthodox Jews.



Unfortunately, however, orthodox Jews are subject to plenty of ridicule and bullying and occasionally there are orthodox suicides. However you'll seldom hear of an orthodox suicide in the press and surely never find a "bully" dragged into court as a result. If a Jew is ridiculed, what's the problem? He should just suck it up.

Anonymous said...

An orthodox jew would never commit suicide, it is strictly prohibited in the Torah, therefore any orthodox jew who commits suicide is obviously an atheist.

jewish philosopher said...

I'm afraid that according to that logic, Tyler Clementi wasn't gay. Gay means "happy" and happy people don't jump off the George Washington Bridge. So he must have been a "sad" not a gay as has been claimed. 

Anonymous said...

Orthodox Jew means a Jewish person who follows halachah. Gay is a pejorative term for homosexuals that was appropriated by Gay people. But you already know this, and are just skirting the issue. Many of you're posts rant against "Covert Atheists" I am merely pointing out that your analogy describes a non-Halachic act that you would label the behavior of a supposed atheist.

jewish philosopher said...

King Solomon taught:

For there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
Ecclesiastes 7:20


In a moment of weakness and temptation, even the righteous man may sin. Foreseeing this, God, in His great mercy, created the possibility of repentance.


However I think it is a good question about "gays". Since they so often seem to kill themselves, wouldn't "sads" be more accurate?  

Ironmistress said...

Let's say each and every religion does have its dark side, and Orthodox Jews are no exception. In fact, Jerusalem is beginning to resemble more and more like Teheran rather than New York day by day. Theocracy is an extremely nasty form of government. Religion is a good servant but a bad master. [If you do not believe, just have a look at Saudi-Arabia].

Yet as long as one's religion is harmless and he or she does not force anyone to conform on its rules, rituals or lifestyle, one has the full freedom and right to worship. That applies also to Tzvi Klein. He had that right too.

He had the full right to pray, wear tefillin and prayer shawl without anyone disturbing him or harassing him. What Ravi and Wei did was nasty at best and downright insultive at worst.

Ravi suggests an Indian name - Hindu? - and Hindus should know it better on what comes to religious tolerance. Likewise, Wei suggests a Chinese name. They really should have known it better.

All in all, a sad and nasty case.

jewish philosopher said...

Theocracy is fantastic! The Lord will rule forever!

By the way, the stories in this post were parodies.

Ironmistress said...

The Agnostic's prayer:

Dear Lord God, please protect me from your followers.

Theocracy isn't cool. I rather would live in a country where legislature is strictly secular and religion a private matter than in a country where legislature is based on holy scripture and mullahs (scribes, clerics, priests, rabbis) rule and religion is forced to all subjects.

I mean, Islamic countries are the absolute dunghills of the world. Yet they are also the most theocratic.

Corruption, tyranny, oppression, fanaticism, intolerance, distrust and clannish mindset are the fruits of theocracy and part and parcel of every theocracy.

Let the Lord come and rule the world if He indeed exists - fine with me. But let not any human being ever think that he or she is the Lord's deputy on Earth and knows his mind and will and rule and reign in His name. It will only lead into catastrophe.

jewish philosopher said...

"Corruption, tyranny, oppression, fanaticism, intolerance, distrust and clannish mindset are the fruits of theocracy and part and parcel of every theocracy."

And every other government.

Ironmistress said...

No. There is a clear trend.

The less theocratic and more secular the government is, the less corrupt, tyrannical, fanatic, intolerant, distrustful and clannish it is.

The Scandinavian countries are the least theocratic in the world and most secular. Their governments also are universally considered the best in the world.

Just compare Iran and Denmark and you'll notice the difference.

jewish philosopher said...

"The less theocratic and more secular the government is, the less corrupt, tyrannical, fanatic, intolerant, distrustful and clannish it is."

Like for example Syria's secular government.

Ironmistress said...

Syria's government is not secular by any means. Especially compared to Scandinavian. The Syrian constitution requires the President to be a Muslim.

It is extremely sad when the only choices are theocracy and military dicatorship.

jewish philosopher said...

The current president of Syria is a socialist and an anti-religious secularist.


This is why Russia, and before that the USSR, were such close friends and this is also why Syrian citizens are now rebelling.

jewish philosopher said...

We really need both: fear of God and fear of the king.


Ironmistress said...

The president of Syria is a Muslim. His regime is an oligarchic military dictatorship and it is about as secular as military dictatorships usually tend to be.

The president of Finland is a Capitalist, lawyer, Agnostic and considers religion as a private matter.

No wonder Finland is one of the best places in the world to live (with the proviso you can stand the Shrieking Sixties) and Syria belongs in the outhouse of the world.

What comes to fear, most Christians tend to stress love rather than fear. An arbitrary and cruel regent, be he secular or celestial, tends to only invoke contempt besides fear, and will conjure a similar atmosphere as Emperor Caligula: "let them hate as long as they fear". Respect based on fear is very weak respect.

jewish philosopher said...

The Syrian leaders are totally secular socialists who are trying to suppress Islam. That's why there's a revolt. Muslim don't take oppression very well. Same story with Ghaddaffi and Mubarak.

For every bad religious government there is a bad secular one.

Ironmistress said...

The Syrian leaders are trying to suppress IslamISM, not Islam.

There is difference between Islam and Islamism, just as there is difference between sex and sexism.

Having Syria turned into another Talibanistan doesn't sound a nice alternative to any sane person. In fact, a Socialist military dictatorship does sound like a lesser evil compared to Talibanistan.

Muslims may not take secular oppression well, but they happily subjugate themselves to far worse clerical oppression, disdaining their own personal interests. And bad religious governments are far worse than bad secular governments.

jewish philosopher said...

No one in the Middle East calls himself an "Islamist". This is a fiction created by non-Muslims.

Ironmistress said...

No one calls oneself sexist either.

Given the choice between highly secular and environmentally hostile and harsh Scandinavia and highly religious and environmentally pleasant Middle East, I choose the former.

jewish philosopher said...

I don't see proof that secular governments are superior however. Hitler and Stalin were very secular.

Ironmistress said...

JP, so were Roosevelt and Churchill. What you insist is known as a straw man, and it is not known as a good discussion technique.

jewish philosopher said...

I guess I'll leave it to you bring the message of Scandenavian enlightenment to the primitive savages of the rest of the world.

Ironmistress said...

It's a crummy job, but someone's gotta do it :-)