The Fool and the Prince

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there lived a fisherman’s son. He was not favored by the girls of the village, for he was neither smart nor good looking. He was such a fool; in fact, that the village folk got much pleasure at his expense, for he in his foolishness had given them many a humorous anecdote. Many of them would reflect that the boy had once, not very long ago, caused a great uproar of laughter when a royal procession had passed through the village. The boy had invited the crown princess to take lunch with him! Not only had the village folk broken out in laughter (many of them injuring themselves by laughing too hard), but the boy had been compelled to flee for his life when two of the royal guards tried to arrest him for his impertinent mouth. Lucky for the foolish boy, he leaped into the harbor before the guards could grab him, and he hid beneath the dock until the guards were ordered to proceed.

It happened one day that when the boy was out fishing on the sea, pulling in his nets, he found a large fish snagged among the few fish that he’d caught. The boy congratulated himself on pulling in such a large catch. There would be plenty of meat for his family, and they’d make a dime or two from selling what they couldn’t eat themselves. “Father will be so proud of me!” he exulted, and the creature spoke. “Please, fair fisherman, show mercy on me and return me to the sea, and I will surely make it worth your while!” The boy laughed “ha! Ha! What do you have that I could use beside your meat and bones?” The creature answered, “Surely you see that I am a magical creature. Has it not occurred to you that I might grant you your dearest wish? Have you not heard of such things?”

“Heard? Heard, yes!” laughed the young fisherman. “I’ve heard it in fairy tales. Surely you have too!”

“Ah but this is no child’s tale,” argued the creature. “I am quite heavy, no? Have you ever known a fairy tale so heavy?”

“Yes, you are quite heavy, and you talk,” but the same is true for my aunt Mathilda. She is even heavier than you, and she chatters on just as you do, but she grants no wishes.”

“That is fair,” conceded the creature, “so I shall have to prove myself.”

“Yes, you shall,” the boy nodded and paused for a moment, the he said “go, you’re such a talker. You tell me my wish!”

“Oh ha-ha!” the creature laughed. “That’s easy! What magical fish in all the sea doesn’t know that your wish is to sit at lunch with the crown princess! But lo, no magical creature could ever grant such an absurd wish. One such as you could never sit at the table of a princess! You are so foul to look upon, and even more foul to smell! The poor princess would not be able to eat. It would be like having a pile of dead fish at the table!”

“’Tis true. ‘Tis true” conceded the fisherman. “There is no hope of it. I shall not be able to spare you.” And the fisherman turned to take up his oars and row back home.

“Wait. Wait!” cried the creature. “There must be a way.” It paused, and then cried out, “yes! I know.”

Just then, a strange feeling came over the boy from his head to his toes, and creature said, “There! Now look overboard into the water, and tell me what you see.”

The boy hesitated, but then he noticed that the soiled and bloodied rags that he’d been wearing had been replaced by clean, embroidered sleeves, and his hands had changed: they were clean and soft. “Look!” the creature cried out, and the boy hesitated no more. He looked overboard into the water to see his reflection, but he did not see himself. He saw a prince! And it was not just any prince that he saw; he saw the prince who had come courting the princess from the land over the sea. The young fisherman was thrilled.

“Now you must cast us all overboard now, or our smell will betray you!”

“Yes,” the boy agreed, and he unloaded the net into the sea. A moment later, the creature arose from the water just enough to speak, and it said, “Ye must act today! The spell wears off at sunset!”

So the boy returned to the land with haste, and upon finding one of the royal guard at the market, he commandeered the guard’s steed and rode, not very gracefully, to the castle, where he was invited in straightaway. “I have come to beg the company of the princess at the noon hour,” he spoke with authority to the captain of the guard. And so it was granted.

The princess gladly admitted the prince to her table at the noon hour, thinking him to be her beloved. When he took his seat she sniffed the air, frowned, and observed, “fair prince, you have been at sea.” Then she remembered to smile.

“Indeed I have, fair princess” he replied. “I must cross that foul pond to gain your sweet presence.”

The prince glanced left and right, as if wondering who it was that had said such noble words. Then he realized that the spell must have affected his mouth with the rest of his face.

And so they dined together that day, and after lunch they went riding across the royal hunting grounds. When the prince noticed that the sun was sinking near the horizon, he begged her leave, rode away, and returned the guard’s steed.

And so it was that the fisherman’s son got his wish, and he was not too wise to brag when the townsfolk would mock, “been to lunch with princess lately, have ye?”

“Indeed, you have heard!” he would reply.

And so this fool happily carried on. He never married, for no village girl would have him, but he could be found out at sea early every morning, casting his nets with noble anticipation.

Honorary Homo

I was terribly nervous the night before election day. I had volunteered to work all day for the No-on-8 campaign. The training had been rather intimidating, and I was afraid that I might misrepresent the campaign. I might get sassy with some evangelical. Being straight and perhaps naive about what prejudice I might encounter, I worried that I might lose my temper.

As it turned out, I had a good time, though the work involved a lot of standing around.

I fondly recall the moment when a man passed by with his daughter. I humbly offered them a “No on 8” card. The little girl took the card and pointed to it, looked up to her dad and said “Obama!”

Now I’m not a the biggest Obama fan, but that was a sweet thing to behold.

The Bear Republic
Republic? Well, not exactly.

I also enjoy the memory of the “mature” lady who shook her index finger at me scoldingly. That wasn’t the only finger that was shaken at me that day. Every finger was a little birdie of liberation. It all felt great.

Then there was the older lady who stopped her car to inform me that my hand was blocking the “8” on my rally placard. Oops!

Late in the day, an equally elderly man stopped his car to cite the Bible and inform me that homosexuality is an “abomination”. I was a little fatigued, so I casually asked whether it was too much to let them decide whether they ought to “abominate” or not. Mainly I was just looking for an excuse to hear myself say “abominate”.

Then I heard the word “Obama-Nation” echo through my head like some demonic forbidden thought. Thankfully I was not the first white boy to think of it.

And all the horns honking and hands waving: I don’t remember ever being so popular with the ladies!

I think my favorite memory is of hearing the word “faggot” screamed from a passing car.

It’s not that such an experience entitles me to claim to know what it’s like to be gay. It’s more about this: when the civil liberties of one of my fellow citizens is systematically attacked, I might as well be the target, because when that person is threatened, we’re all threatened.

Marriage Against the Mob

Don’t let the mob insert discrimination
into the California state constitution!

Vote No on Prop 8

California is a republic! Not an anarchistic mobocracy!
Let’s defend our constitution!

I attended a No on Prop 8 “visibility” activity at San Jose’s Diridon Station this morning, and was very disappointed in the turnout: three people, including me, and I’m not even gay!

I am, however, a California patriot, and I’m afraid I’m about to see the constitution of my state stained by the graffiti of special interest groups.

In a democracy, people get the government they deserve.

—Adlai Stevenson

Who’s Behind Prop 8 (other than the Mormons)

It’s no secret that Mormons are a tremendous force behind funding for the Yes on 8 Campaign. According to Mormons for Proposition 8, 46% of contributions to the campaign (about $10 million) have come from Mormons. But there are other major players.

Of the ten principal contributors to the Prop 8 campaign, two are based in California. Clearly, this battle is not seen as mere California politics by many Americans. There are significant forces who are doing their best to push Prop 8 through, to see to it that government continues to evolve into a Church-of-State. Californians will have to overcome these powers of bigotry and big government to continue the progress of this land of liberty and equal opportunity; this state that has been said to be “America, only moreso.”

Vote No on Proposition 8!

The principal (non-Mormon) contributors to the the Church-of-State Campaign:

  1. National Organization for Marriage, Princeton, NJ: $1441k
  2. Knights of Columbus, New Haven, CT: $1150k
  3. Fieldstead and Co., Irvine, CA: $1095k
  4. Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, Holland, MI: $650k
  5. Former state senator Robert Hurtt & Container Supply Co., Inc, Garden Grove, CA: $527k
  6. American Family Association, Inc., Tupelo, MS: $500k
  7. Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO: $467k
  8. John Templeton Foundation, Bryn Mawr, PA: $450k
  9. Concerned Women for America, Washington, DC: $409k

Some notes on these principal contributors:

The National Organization for Marriage signs its checks as a resident of Santa Ana, CA, but that is only a branch. The headquarters is in New Jersey.

The Knights of Columbus is “the world’s foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society.”

Fieldstead & Company of Irvine, CA has been called the “Paymaster to the political right” by the Orange County Register.

The Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation is funded with money from Prince Automotive. Edgar Prince co-founded the Family Research Council with neoconservative Gary Bauer. The current head of the foundation, Edgar and Elsa’s son Erik, is also the founder and owner of Blackwater USA.

Two separate contributors from reportedly from Garden Grove, CA, Robert Hurtt & Container Supply Co., Inc, appear to be one and the same: the former state senator from Garden Grove is a perennial contributor to conservative causes, and a big fan of James Dobson.

“The American Family Association exists to motivate and equip citizens to change the culture to reflect Biblical truth and traditional family values.”

The Templeton Foundation is noted for its Templeton Prize, which “honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” The founder, John Templeton, was interested in answers to questions such as “How large is God? How are finite beings related to the infinite? What was God’s purpose in creating the universe?” He was also interested in the question “what is the best way to live?” His answer appears to be that the best way to live is for government to dictate to citizens how they must live.

Concerned Women for America is dedicated to bringing “Biblical principles into all levels of public policy.”

Prop 8: Making Government into God

The upcoming election will give Californians an opportunity to declare that we are dedicated to the core American principle of non-intervention of government in personal and spiritual affairs. My fellow Californians, let us not place spiritual vows in the domain of the state. This is not China or Soviet Russia. Strike down Proposition 8.

California Takes the Moral High Ground

Bravo, California! This calls for a party. You can bet that I, my wife, and our kids will celebrate this one.

This moment gives comfort in the face of all the terrible news we’ve been buffeted with of late.

Though I don’t look to the state for moral guidance, I am relieved when the state withdraws its bumbling paws from the personal lives of citizens. For that reason, this is an unquestionable victory for humanity, which is always an uncommon event that we must strive to appreciate.

I’ve become so accustomed to feeling ashamed to be an American since 2003 that the taste of this news is made that much more sweet. It’s a great day to be a Californian.

Reactionaries will doubtless see this as “judicial activism”. I guess that makes it a fight between the judge and the mob. The mob may fight back, and the mob may win, but this is a great day nonetheless.