Shower Curtain Chronicles: June 2007

Shower Curtain Chronicles

Latex painted shower curtains make great, cheap, waterproof banners to display at demonstrations, over freeways or anyplace you want to take it to the anti-gay, anti-Constitution fascists. This blog will feature banners I've made over the years, commentary on the outrages du jour, general observations and accounts of the latest actions by our blog troop as we wield the bathroom accessory cum political billboard.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Caribou Coffee Responds To My Complaint

This is the email I got from Caribou, followed by my response which I CC'd to an attorney.

Dear Mr. Benson,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us and I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.As we recently launched out free WiFi program at Caribou we are still working out some of the bugs, including tweaking the content filters. In order to preserve a family friendly environment we have general filters are some categories, which is what I believe the representative at Wandering WiFi discussed with you. We appreciate when our guests let us know when these filters are blocking material that does not need to be blocked and this is not intentional, and we are happy to address the situation.
So that I can better understand your specific situation, were only the pictures on your blog blocked? Or was the written content blocked as well? Have you had any further contact with Wandering Wifi? Thank you again for contacting us and I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.


Lisa Curski
Customer Relations Specialist
Caribou Coffee Company
Dear Ms. Curski,

Neither your company nor its agents have any business tampering with the contents of my blog. And, I don't care what innocuous-sounding label ("family friendly")you choose to apply to your prejudices employed in defiling my property. You have no excuse for violating my First Amendment rights!
I should point out that my blog is highly political in nature and that political speech is preeminent among all forms of speech with regard to constitutional protection, and has been vigorously defended in the U.S. court system.

Doug Benson


Thursday, June 14, 2007

That's The Spirit

Last night, Bob Shrum, the Democratic political consultant responsible for all the infuriating losing strategies employed by Democratic presidential candidates over the past four decades was stinking up the Daily Show. But, he's not the subject of this post. It's the audience.
Shrum actually iterated something truthful in the midst of annoying everyone with his book promotion - he said, "Al Gore won the 2000 election, he just wasn't inaugurated" and the audience clapped and cheered it's enthusiastic approval of that truth.
Well, yay for you audience, for acknowledging that your government was overthrown six years ago and you're now living under an illegitimate government....yay. Quite a daring display for you. Now, go back to your lattes and American Idol and whatever important sports team you're willing to smash windows and burn cars over.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

It's Not About The Bible

As I was watching the program "Now" on PBS Friday night, listening to a female Episcopal bishop explain the debate over gays in the church, articulately outlining the positions, taking great pains to portray the debate over gays as a scriptural disagreement, and even though she was on our just wasn't working for me. This isn't about a disagreement over what the bible says. It isn't about people resisting change. It's about people hating queers and wanting the bible to enforce their bigotry.
But let's all pretend that the nice church people who rail against programs that help the poor while stuffing their own faces, cheat on their spouses, betray their fellow workers, leer at the neighbor's daughter, hire male prostitutes, support torture and lust after a bigger McMansion, are just objectively concerned that some people are not in compliance with the bible. "It's not about the's about the bible." What a charade.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Caribou Coffee Edits My Blog

Yesterday while online at my local Caribou Coffee, which is a store within the Caribou corporate headquarters building in Brooklyn Center, I had an infuriating experience trying to access Shower Curtain Chronicles. My blog downloaded but without about eight photos that accompanied eight posts. I supspected it was an error by Blogger owing to past poor service, however, when I clicked on one of the blank rectangles where a photo should be I got a page that said something to the effect of, "BLOCKED BY WANDERING WIFI FILTERING." What? Blocked?
I should point out that none of the photos contained anything that could be considered by any sane person to be remotely objectionable. The blocked photos included: publicity photos of politicians, photos of a my picket signs, a photo of an antique car exhibit and a beautiful stock photo of the Minnesota Capitol.
There is a door at this Caribou Coffee that leads into their corporate offices that is used by employees and requires an access card. So, not having a access card, I followed an employee through the door to try and find someone who could explain to me why my blog was being edited by agents of this corporation. The receptionist that I presented my complaint to gave me the phone number of their wireless internet supplier. I thanked her and left (through the front door) to go outside and back into the cafe through its front door.
I immediately called the number of the internet provider, "Wandering Wifi" and got a young man with a southern drawl; the company is located in Atlanta. He said his company contracts with another company that provides them with filtering services and that if I gave him my blog's address, he would get my photo files restored, which he did. He apologized profusely and provided me with a full day's access to wifi at that Caribou Coffee. Like I'm gonna sit there all day...I had already wasted the morning trying to find out what the hell had happened to my blog. This happy blow-off, of course, fixes nothing.
WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE EDITING MY BLOG!? Remember, they didn't block my site, they edited things out of it, without rhyme or reason. Outrage! So my question to the nice young man remained "why." Why were these particular photos blocked and why is this company messing with my blog in the first place?! He simply didn't have an explanation but said that he would submit my site address to what he explained as a small group of people that would review my blog for removal from their blocked list. When I pressed my question again, he read down a list of their criteria for blocking which included: hate, pornography, sex education and a continuing litany of utterly subjective, ludicrously nebulous terms who's meaning no two people would agree on. But this small group of people in Atlanta, Georgia and the geek who runs the filtering software decide what EVERYONE using the wifi at Caribou Coffee cannot see, like pictures and antique cars and the Minnesota Capitol and face shots of politicians. I began to rant about how unAmerican and unconstitutional the whole thing was and hung up.
Censorship is bad enough when some entity totally blocks the intellectual property of others, but to have your work just stupidly and indisciminantly hacked up, even temporarily, the way mine was by Caribou Coffee is just vandalism and it should be prosecuted as such. Not gonna happen.
So you think you have free speech?

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Bigot On The Air

Anti-gay bigot, Governor Tim Pawlenty appeared on Minnesota Public Radio's "Midday" program to flog his agenda today while this sign appeared before the public on the sidewalks outside the MPR building for the duration of the show. I called the station a few minutes before I got there to let them know there would be a picket outside to call attention to the fact that the governor is an anti-gay bigot. I didn't bother telling them it would be ONE picketer.
The moment I got set up, a truck from the Department of Homeland Security crawled by. Then a few minutes later he came by again. Oh please.
There was a lot of support for this message. I'm sure the gay people passing by got it immediately but some people asked what makes the governor a bigot. I would tell them that he uses the power of his office to enforce his personal prejudices against gay people.
One neat-looking, middle aged man in shorts and a golf shirt crossed the street toward me and snorted, "Ya know I hate the governor with a passion, man."
Another man, appearing to me to be a "member of the guild," came up from behind me and voiced an emphatic, "Right on!"
Someone turning the corner yelled from the open window of his aging Cadillac, "You're wrong, he's an idiot!" I replied, "He's both!" The man laughed.
In the midst of a flurry of cars honking their horns, a young man passed by and said, "If I could find a horn, I'd honk it."
Across Cedar Street from me, a well-dressed young man shouted to me, "Is he on the air?" I indicated that he was. Then, the man yelled, "Well, I agree with you!"
There were many honks and thumbs ups (and a couple fingers) throughout the hour that I was there. I left shortly after Noon.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Jungbauer Revised

You may recall that I had a conversation with Senator Jungbauer in his office this session which was prompted by his statement to me on the Senate stairs that a constituent had basically changed his mind about marriage equality. During that conversation in his office, he indicated that he supported official recognition of same-sex relationships and went so far as to try to persuade me that "separate but EQUAL", a concept I reject, was the road to full equality. Unfortunately, the road, like the garden path I was being led down, was paved with bullshit.
The REAL Jungbauer turned around and voted against every bill having to do with providing the smallest measure of equity to same-sex couples in this legislative session. He actually voted twice, against the right of same-sex partners to VISIT EACH OTHER IN THE HOSPITAL!
I sincerely apologize for having so foolishly reported on my meeting with Jungbauer with such naive optimism. I won't be making that mistake again with others of his ilk. And, what I said about "Christian Conservative" not necessarily meaning "closed minded?"...oh please. I should have known better.
I still don't get why he invited me to his office to jack me off for a half hour about equity for same-sex couples when I can't even vote for him. If he thought a favorable right up in this blog would somehow help him with gay voters, he's a bigger fool than I am. I suppose like so many other Christians, he acts out of bigotry and malice toward his neighbor but still demands to be thought of as a good person...even by his victims. They'll keep telling you they "love" you as they're putting a match to the bundle of sticks under your feet.