Wednesday, September 26, 2012

more on a humanistic level

NY Times: "...“The Normal Heart” resonated with him on a few levels: Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship, and working with an ensemble again onstage was like nourishment, he said. As the production was ending last summer, he heard that the Roundabout Theater Company was considering a revival of “Harvey” — initially with John C. Reilly under consideration for Elwood — and last November the play’s director, Scott Ellis, asked him and Ms. Hecht to do a private reading of the work in Los Angeles. “Jim was solid in ‘The Normal Heart,’ ” Mr. Ellis said, “but his character didn’t really change in the journey of that play, so I wanted to see if Jim could take on a challenge and float a couple of feet off the ground, so to speak, in that magical way Elwood has. And in the reading he was just smart, smart, smart.” In rehearsals Mr. Parsons focused particularly on his relationship with Harvey — a character who is not there. He chose spots in the Studio 54 theater to fix his gaze, at the exact height where Harvey’s face would be, and developed a series of hand gestures when Elwood was speaking to or making way for the rabbit. If the show has plenty of the laugh lines that Mr. Parsons finds familiar from television, he said he was more aware of the differences between Elwood and Sheldon — and was savoring them. “Elwood has such warmth, and wants nothing more than to connect with other people, whereas my nine-month-a-year job is a character who says things like, ‘If you don’t mind, I’d like to stop listening to you and talk now,’ ” Mr. Parsons said. “The jump-out-of-bed happiness I feel transcends any nerves about taking on a history-laden role..." - Patrick Healy (READ MORE)

NPR: "..."I was a very shy child. I remember being in a kindergarten open house with my mother and children saying 'Hi' to me and I still remember feeling this way — but I don't know why — but I wouldn't even say 'Hi' back. I was that shy. I remember her gripping my hand and saying, 'You say hi.' ... I was probably 5 or 6 at the most. Nothing had happened that would have caused me to be that way. It was just in my DNA. This was just who I was. I think there is something I understand about [Sheldon's] lack of understanding about what is it that other people want to hear. What is it that they want me to answer? ... I think for Sheldon, it's different. He's more obtuse than I. He's not even thinking that far into like 'Oh dear, I don't want to hurt their feelings.' In fact that's one of the keys to him as a character. He says things all the time that could hurt someone's feelings. He doesn't check it through a filter and go, 'Oh, they'll be fine with this.' He skips that barrier completely. He just says it..." (READ MORE)

Time: "...I haven’t. But what’s funny is that not only am I approached by people who know people like Sheldon, but my mother is a schoolteacher and she’s had countless people that have given her stories of kids who are very Sheldon-esque. Not even Sheldon-esque, just dead on. From the beginning I was asked if Sheldon has Asperger’s and I went to the writers and they said, “Nope. He doesn’t.” I didn’t know a lot about Asperger’s back then, and I’ve since read some, enough to know more about the behavior of Asperger’s, and there’s Sheldon all over the place in that. I think it was very smart of the writers to borrow a lot of those behaviors without nailing us down with some extra social responsibility to get this story right. It’s more of a celebration of these kinds of characteristics and the fun, colorful side they offer. It’s been such a joyful experience to behave as somebody that I don’t know and talk to people in such a way that I don’t. In the end, it’s probably some kind of weird therapy...I was very average in the social label scale going through school. I was neither the coolest person in school, nor did I suffer the slings and arrows of being made fun of to such a degree that I couldn’t get through the day. I had some trouble and I had some great moments. It was very in between. I don’t feel like I’m bringing much of anything when it comes to personal experience with him. For one, he doesn’t talk about anything that I have second nature of. Not only do I not have my own language for science, but for comic books, graphic novels, most science fiction, after Star Wars. I think this has been to my benefit and allowed me to connect with him more on a humanistic level because I don’t really get what he’s talking about 90% of the time..." - Allie Townsend (READ MORE)

James Joseph "Jim" Parsons (born March 24, 1973) is an American television and film actor. He is best known for playing Sheldon Cooper on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, with his performance often cited as a significant reason for the program's success. He has received several awards for his performance, including the Television Critics Association award for the highest individual achievements in comedy, the National Association of Broadcasters Television Chairman's Award for a significant breakthrough in a specific art discipline, two consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy...On May 18 2012, Parsons began appearing on Broadway as Elwood P. Dowd in a revival of Harvey. Parsons lives in Los Angeles. In 2012 he revealed that he is gay and has been in a relationship for ten years. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)
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Monday, September 24, 2012

stick to who you are

Pink News: "...When I read about suicides and gay teenagers it’s so tragic. I don’t think teenagers realise that it actually does get better. The minute you’re done with high school your life gets better. If I’m the go-to for new gays, and if I can be someone that gay teenagers can look at as someone who’s happy and who has made a good life for himself, then that’s great. I had people like that for me when I was growing up, and it was very important. The Scissor Sisters front man added: My advice would be to just stick to who you are. There are sacrifices you have to make, there are crosses that you have to bear. You’re always going to be portrayed in a certain way, you’re always going to be pigeon-holed. That’s the price that you’re going to pay. But it’s a price that’s worth it. It’s a responsibility. So that would be my advice - remain exactly who you are..." (READ MORE)

Pink Paper: "...When asked about life as an openly gay celebrity figure, Jake speaks out: "If you’re going to be a closet-case then just lie and say you’re straight. It bugs me when they say “why are you asking me if I’m gay? It doesn’t matter.” Well it matters a lot to the fifteen year-old at home who’s going through it. It’s a highly offensive statement and it makes me angry. On being labelled as just a gay band, he continues: "We’re still thought of as a gay group a little, but we hope we’re growing out of it. After living in New York where being gay was fine, the idea of going back into the closet to sell records was wrong. It wasn’t an option for us. I don’t know if that gay band label will ever go away, but that’s okay because at least we’re thought of as something." .." - Stu Hurford (READ MORE)

Examiner: "...Shears is poignant in his video admitting to the difficulties and hardships he experienced coming out. I was harassed, I was followed, I was threatened," Shears says in his video. "Kids wanted to kill me. I couldn’t go from class to class without being accosted. Kids would throw desks and chairs at me in class. I thought about killing myself a few times during this period in my life and I’m so glad that I didn’t because I’m living the dreams now that I created when I was fifteen. It’s such a rewarding life that I’ve gotten to lead. If I'm the go-to for new gays, and if I can be someone that gay teenagers can look at as someone who's happy and who has made a good life for himself, then that's great. My advice would be to just stick to who you are. There are sacrifices you have to make, there are crosses that you have to bear. You're always going to be portrayed in a certain way, you're always going to be pigeonholed. That's the price that you're going to pay. But it's a price that's worth it. Remain exactly who you are..." - Robyn Chelsea-Seifert (READ MORE)

Jake Shears (born Jason F. Sellards, October 3, 1978, Mesa, Arizona is the lead male vocalist for the American music group Scissor Sisters...Shears is known for provocative dancing, flamboyant outfits, and near-nudity. (During his early years while he was struggling to make it in New York, he would often earn extra money as a Go-go dancer and male erotic dancer at gay-oriented strip clubs.[7]) His musical influences include ABBA, Blondie, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Roxy Music, The New York Dolls, Queen, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Pet Shop Boys, The Beatles, and Dolly Parton. .[8] The Scissor Sisters video for Filthy/Gorgeous was directed by John Cameron Mitchell after Shears met him at a gathering of the Radical Faeries... - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

the complex issue of bullying

We Got This Covered: "...Maybe I’ve been a little hard on South Park recently, but I think it’s justified to expect constant hilarity from two creators that so regularly have weaved smart satire with obscure toilet-humor. Is it so wrong to want a solid reason for the Kony 2012 director reference time and time again? Sure it’s contemporary. But if that’s the only requirement for a critical joke here, then Stan might as well have just been having dinner with Rick Santorum at the end of this episode. It feels like the writers are losing their grip on Butters’ character. Two weeks ago he sat in a classroom the whole ep with a gun in his mouth, and now he’s beating up talk show hosts and standing up to his grandma for this weeks resolute. Sure characters require a certain amount of personal growth throughout the years, but Butters’ humor relies on his brave ignorance that’s just short of being overt. If last weeks episode was the tip of their funny bone, we are all in for a boring season. The writing room needs a little more energy, it’s obvious. Maybe Matt and Trey should hire some strippers for the office, or blow lines off their dry erase boards. I doubt they do that stuff anymore though. Either way, I hope they can at least pretend to enjoy making this show after 16 seasons. Although, they have an additional 3 season contract since last November. They might not have to care..." - Ryan Levee (READ MORE)

Wired: "...I am not saying I am for bullying either. I don’t like bullying, and can’t imagine anyone does, even the bullies themselves. Bullying is the recourse of the weak and insecure, usually coming from children that have some sort of family, personal, or social situation they don’t know how to deal with. Many bullies come from broken homes or are abused. Many (and most of mine) were simply privileged children with a chip on their shoulder and an imaginary social standing they felt they had to reinforce. I don’t hold a grudge. I’m doing fantastic while many of them are working part time at a car wash. This past week on South Park in the episode titled “Butterballs” the gang tackled the complex issue of bullying by bullying each other into a political stance on bullying. Stan created a video speaking out against bullying, saying that it should kill itself. The video Stan makes is actually called “Make Bullying Kill Itself.” There are multiple references to the movie Bully as well as a “jack it in San Diego” reference, which is a direct dig on Kony 2012 creator Jason Russell. Once again South Park was able to take a complex social issue and break it down in a 22 minute chunk of hilarity that we all should take a lesson from. Why is it that the most obvious lessons in life tend to come from cartoons? Because they are able to cross the lines that we are afraid to cross, and say the things that we can only think without fear of retribution. While I anticipate the backlash to this article will be hefty, it’s worth it because of the end message..." - Curtis Silver (READ MORE)

South Park is an American animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central television network. Intended for mature audiences, the show has become famous for its crude language and dark, surreal humor that lampoons a wide range of topics. The ongoing narrative revolves around four boys—Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick—and their bizarre adventures in and around the titular Colorado town. Parker and Stone, who met at college, developed the show from two animated shorts they created in 1992 and 1995. The latter became one of the first Internet viral videos, which ultimately led to its production as a series. South Park debuted in August 1997 with great success, consistently earning the highest ratings of any basic cable program. Subsequent ratings have varied but it remains one of Comedy Central's highest rated shows. It is Comedy Central's longest running program; a total of 226 episodes have aired, and the series is slated to run through at least 2016.

Each episode bar the very first one, which was produced by cutout animation, is created with software that emulates the cutout technique. Each episode is typically written and produced during the week preceding its broadcast. Parker and Stone continue to perform most of the voice acting, and Parker is the primary writer and director. The series has received numerous accolades, including four Primetime Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and a #3 ranking in the Channel 4 2004 documentary The 100 Greatest Cartoons. The series' almost instant popularity resulted in a feature-length theatrical film, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut which was released in June 1999, less than two years after the show's premiere, and became a box office success. Almost all episodes of the series feature a TV-MA rating, however, in syndication and in reruns on Comedy Central before 8:00 PM the episodes are altered to be TV-14. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Speak Up

Babble - Strollerderby: "...Hirsch gives a lot of credit to East Middle School in Sioux City, Iowa, where the documentary was shot: “It took a lot of courage for them to allow us to make this film. It was very brave. Most schools wouldn’t have done it. This is a district, a superintendent wanting to be better. Even Alex’s own parents were unaware that he was being bullied like this. They knew only that “something” was wrong: their son was not the same child he had been. He was unhappy and withdrawn. “If you have ever searched for an answer to a problem and were unable to find it, and felt completely defeated … only to find that the answer was the worst answer in the world — that’s how we felt,” explains Jackie Libby, Alex’s mom. But though Alex is now at a different school and has many friends, she insists he hasn’t changed. What she sees is who he used to be. “It is incredible,” she says. “My family and I discussed it: there is no greater gift than getting your child back. The Longs don’t get that option, so we want to pay it forward. We want this for more families.” Hirsch describes Alex as a “joy to watch,” and Alex himself now offers advice to kids experiencing the same struggles he did. “Tell someone about it,” he says. “Being alone makes you feel worse. Speak up. If you see it happening to someone else, tell a friend..." - Danielle Smith (READ MORE)

The Daily Beast: "...Hirsch said he would love for children and teens to understand the power they have to stop bullying the next time they see or hear it happening. There are so many ways for kids to be change-makers, he said. Some kids have the comfort level to stop bullying directly, while others have different strategies that include sending a note or finding the victim later and saying, “Come sit with me,” or “Let’s talk to someone together.” His final advice: simply be creative with ways to become an upstander..." - Emily Anne Rigal (READ MORE)

National Post: "...Hirsch, 39, says the censors wanted him to clean up the language, but, he says, “Unfortunately, bullying is about language. It’s about how people are insulted. It’s about what’s said. And to clean all that up, our movie would look like the poster, which is PG-approved, which has words like ‘loser’ and ‘dork.’ That’s not how kids are bullied. They’re bullied with profanity. There’s not a student in Canada or anywhere else that doesn’t hear these words a thousand times a day.” Coincidentally, Bully comes out at the same time as the PG-rated film, The Hunger Games, set in a dystopian future when teenagers kill one another. “The release of Hunger Games in the same breath as Bully has really helped people to realize the hypocrisy of the MPAA,” Hirsch says. The real shocks in Bully, though, come in its depiction of bullying itself, especially in the case of Alex. The filmmakers were embedded in classrooms, in school halls and on the buses, capturing endless scenes of abuse on their small, unobtrusive camera. The boldness of the bullies is a surprise, especially in the presence of adults. Hirsch says he was transparent with school officials, faculty and students about what he was doing, but he quickly started to “blend in with the walls..." - Jay Stone (READ MORE)

Lee Hirsch (born 1972) is a documentary filmmaker. Hirsch is a graduate of The Putney School in Vermont, and a graduate of Hampshire College, in Amherst, Massachusetts. He wrote and directed the documentary Amandla!: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony...His film Bully premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. Bully follows several families from across ethnic, cultural and geographic boundaries as they grapple with the tragedy their family has faced as a result of bullying. Several of the families profiled in the film had lost a child because he or she became fed up with the mostly mental and sometimes physical abuse they experienced on a daily, even hourly basis at school, on the school bus, and in their communities. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

living your life

Sports Illustrated: "...Phelps remains an ordinary kid suddenly leading an extraordinary life, and he works hard to maintain some balance. His agents always ensure that there is security on hand to help him navigate big public appearances, but otherwise Phelps likes to travel unencumbered; that morning he had taken a train up from Baltimore by himself, only partially disguised by a droopy, Spitzian mustache that he was overly proud of (and later would be crestfallen to have to shave off to look presentable for the awards show). Phelps sat undisturbed in a commuter car as he fiddled around on a laptop with a Wi-Fi card, and upon arriving in New York he made his way through Penn Station and flagged down a yellow cab on the street without a single autograph request, a 21st-century Mr. Smith arriving in his Washington, with iPod. "You can't stop living your life," he says..." (Sportsman of the Year: Michael Phelps)

Michael Fred Phelps (born June 30, 1985) is an American swimmer who has, overall, won 16 Olympic medals—six gold and two bronze at Athens in 2004, and eight gold at Beijing in 2008, becoming the most successful athlete at both of these Olympic Games editions. In doing so he has twice equaled the record eight medals of any type at a single Olympics achieved by Soviet gymnast Alexander Dityatin at the 1980 Moscow Summer Games. His five golds in individual events tied the single Games record set by Eric Heiden in the 1980 Winter Olympics and equaled by Vitaly Scherbo at the 1992 Summer Games. Phelps holds the record for the most gold medals won in a single Olympics, his eight at the 2008 Beijing Games surpassed American swimmer Mark Spitz's seven-gold performance at Munich in 1972. Phelps' Olympic medal total is second only to the 18 Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina won over three Olympics, including nine gold. Furthermore, he holds the all-time record for most individual gold Olympic medals, at nine. Phelps's international titles and record breaking performances have earned him the World Swimmer of the Year Award six times and American Swimmer of the Year Award eight times. He has won a total of fifty-nine medals in major international competition, fifty gold, seven silver, and two bronze spanning the Olympics, the World, and the Pan Pacific Championships. His unprecedented Olympic success in 2008 earned Phelps Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year award. After the 2008 Summer Olympics, Phelps started the Michael Phelps Foundation, which focuses on growing the sport of swimming and promoting healthier lifestyles. As a participant in the US Anti-Doping Agency's "Project Believe" program, Phelps is regularly tested to ensure that his system is clean of performance-enhancing drugs (Wikipedia).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

ensure "equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation"

Advocate: "...Players James Van Riemsdyk, Mark Fayne, Frans Nielsen, Tyler Bozak, George Parros, Brandon Prust, David Steckel, Andy Greene, RJ Umberger, and Brian Boyle make appearances in the project's recently released video, according to "My brother Brendan fought for tolerance, equality, and gay rights in sports," Patrick Burke, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers, says in the PSA. Brendan was a student manager for his college hockey team and came out as gay shortly before his death in a car accident. Brendan and Patrick's father, Brian Burke, is president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs..." - Josh Hinkle (READ MORE)

Ottawa Citizen "...In an online video posted Monday on the organization’s website,, the 19-year-old University of Ottawa student predicts the organization’s new campaign will save the lives of gay teens dealing with their sexual orientation, especially in the macho world of sport. While playing hockey, football, basketball and softball, Heggart says, he was witness to constant gay slurs from teammates who didn’t know he was gay. This not only kept him in the closet, but made him loathe himself — or at least his sexual orientation. “When I was 13 and thinking about killing myself, this campaign would have made a world of difference,” he says in the video. “I love hockey … For me to have been able to watch as my heroes looked into a camera and said that it’s OK, it’s fine, and that they would treat me the way they would treat anyone else … I don’t know if I would have ever thought about suicide. I would have had a much easier time accepting myself,” he says. He adds, “This campaign is going to be a big reason why lives are changed, and why lives are saved..." - Shelley Page (READ MORE)

Huffington Post: "...Brendan Burke was killed in a February 2010 car crash at age 21, leaving the family to carry on his legacy. Brian Burke has been active in gay rights initiatives around Toronto and marches annually in the city's gay pride parade, while Patrick founded the "You Can Play" project along with Brian Kitts and Glenn Witman, who run a Denver-based gay hockey team called GForce. In its mission statement, the "You Can Play" project says it aims to ensure "equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation." That ideal comes directly from conversations Patrick Burke had with his late brother. "When Brendan came out it didn't change anything between me and him," said Patrick. "It turned into a great moment for us, a great bonding moment for our family because when something like that happens when you're not expecting it, you have to evaluate: 'What do I look for in a brother? What do I look for in a friend?' "We had a very open relationship where I asked him a lot of questions because I didn't know anything. ... And hearing some of the stories that young LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) athletes face really touched me and made we want to do something in Brendan's honour to help those kids..." - The Canadian Press (READ MORE)

You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success. You Can Play seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit. - Official Web-site (READ MORE)

Brendan Gilmore Burke (December 8, 1988 – February 5, 2010) was an athlete and student manager at Miami University for the RedHawks men's ice hockey team. The younger son of Brian Burke, general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and of the US Olympic hockey team, in November 2009, he made international headlines for coming out, advocating for tolerance and speaking out against homophobia in professional sports. Burke's coming out was widely praised and supported by sports news outlets and fans, generating multiple discussions about homophobia in sports, and in hockey in particular. He was viewed as a pioneer in advocacy against homophobia in hockey, described as "the closest person to the NHL ever to come out publicly and say that he is gay." Burke was killed in a car crash on February 5, 2010. Following his death, Burke's memory and contribution to LGBT awareness in hockey was honored by several hockey teams. The "Brendan Burke Internship" was later established in his honor by USA Hockey for his work in hockey management and a documentary entitled The Legacy of Brendan Burke aired on CBC Television in November 2010. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

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Friday, September 14, 2012

so untimely and unfortunate

stuff: "...She spent most days at home writing, a friend told People magazine. Amy had been working on her eagerly anticipated third album, a follow up to 2006's Back to Black, recently. It was due to be released earlier this year, but that never transpired. It's understood Amy had told her record company she wanted to work on some of the lyrics as she felt they were too concerned with her ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil. Meanwhile, Cee Lo Green has spoken of his sadness following the star's passing. Despite rumours earlier this year claiming Amy and Cee Lo had recorded a track together, Cee Lo has revealed they never made it to the studio but they had been keen to collaborate. "We were discussing working together. We have a mutual friend, [producer] Salaam Remi. "There was a rumour that we had already recorded together. It wasn't true and I don't know where that came from. But we did grow fond of each other and thought we could work together," he told E! Online. "I could listen to her and she registered to me as the real thing ... It's so untimely and unfortunate. What a loss. Music has lost a daughter..." (Winehouse 'spent last days writing')

Reuters: "...Winehouse’s breakthrough “Back to Black” album, released in America in 2007, sold 37,000 copies for the sales period -- virtually all of that between Saturday morning, when her death was announced, and Sunday night, when the SoundScan sales week closed...Her numbers could be as big or bigger on next week’s chart, which will reflect a full week's worth of posthumous interest in the tragic star. Her far lesser known debut album, “Frank” -- which was only issued in America after “Back to Black” became a smash -- also reentered the chart, at No. 57, after selling 7,600 copies over the weekend. According to Nielsen SoundScan, more than 95 percent of Winehouse’s album sales were digital downloads, which is not surprising, given how most music retailers shy away from carrying catalog nowadays and might have had one CD, at most, in stock..." (Music Charts: Amy Winehouse's 'Back to Black' Back in Billboard's Top 10)

Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer-songwriter known for her powerful deep contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres including R&B, soul and jazz. Winehouse's 2003 debut album, Frank, was critically successful in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, led to six Grammy Award nominations and five wins, tying the then record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made Winehouse the first British female to win five Grammys, including three of the "Big Four": Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. On 14 February 2007, she won a BRIT Award for Best British Female Artist; she had also been nominated for Best British Album. She won the Ivor Novello Award three times, one in 2004 for Best Contemporary Song (musically and lyrically) for "Stronger Than Me", one in 2007 for Best Contemporary Song for "Rehab", and one in 2008 for Best Song Musically and Lyrically for "Love Is a Losing Game", among other distinctions. The album was the third biggest seller of the 2000s in the United Kingdom. Winehouse is credited as an influence in the rise in popularity of female musicians and soul music, and also for revitalising British music. Winehouse's distinctive style made her a muse for fashion designers such as Karl Lagerfeld. Winehouse's problems with drug and alcohol abuse, violence, and her self-destructive behaviours were regular tabloid news from 2007 until her death. She and her former husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, were plagued by legal troubles that left him serving prison time. In 2008, Winehouse faced a series of health complications that threatened both her career and her life. Winehouse died at the age of 27 on 23 July 2011, at her home in London; police have said that the cause of her death is "as yet unexplained". Winehouse's family and friends attended her funeral on 26 July 2011. She was later cremated at Golders Green Crematorium (Wikipedia).

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Victory for Chris

Do - "...This past fall, students at the University of Michigan faced a disappointing reality. Sometimes the big bullies who shout names down the hallway or write hateful, hurtful comments on their victims’ Facebook walls don’t grow out of it—they only grow up to become even bigger bullies, making attacks from their corner offices. Chris Armstrong, the first openly gay student body president of the University of Michigan, was the victim of aggressive online attacks from Andrew Shrivell, the Assistant Attorney General of the state of Michigan last fall. In addition to repeatedly protesting Chris’s presidency in various locations around Ann Arbor, Shrivell made a website called “Chris Armstrong Watch” in which he accused Chris of maintaining a “radical homosexual agenda.” In his first post, he wrote “RESIGN” on a photo-shopped picture of Chris’s face next to a rainbow flag with a swastika in the center. In the first student government meeting after the attacks peaked, Chris addressed the bullying publicly. He said, “I will not back down. I will not flinch. I will not falter. I will not succumb to any unwarranted attacks. What I will do is I will carry on with the utmost pride and vindication.” Despite Chris’s strength in the face of a grown up bully, Shrivell continued his attacks on Chris for months—both online and in person. And since Michigan is one of only five states without anti-bullying laws, he was within his rights to free speech. Ultimately the website was shut down and Shrivell resigned from his position as Assistant Attorney General. This past Friday, Chris filed a lawsuit against Shrivell for stalking, invasion of privacy, and defamation. ..." (READ MORE)

ABC News: - "...The "Chris Armstrong Watch" blog, created by former Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell, 32, accused openly gay University of Michigan ex-student body president Christopher Armstrong of enticing minors with alcohol and recruiting people to become homosexual. The U.S. District Court jury Thursday awarded a $4.5 million civil settlement to Armstrong, 22, who said he suffered distress as a result of Shirvell's actions. "I'm just incredibly humbled by what happened today," Armstrong said Thursday. "This is truly a victory, not just for myself, but for a lot of other kids out there." Michigan alum Shirvell blogged that Armstrong, who graduated in 2011, was "a radical homosexual activist, racist, elitist and liar..." - Kevin Dolak (READ MORE)

Michigan Daily: - "...Elected in a landslide victory last Friday, LGBT Commission Chair Chris Armstrong of MForward is now the first openly gay MSA president — a fact he said he hopes will have large implications not only for the LGBT community on campus, but also for the greater University community. Armstrong said he hopes that being gay and holding a position as assembly president will demonstrate that any University student can represent the “spirit of Michigan.” In an interview with The Michigan Daily yesterday, Armstrong recalled how he did not expect to ever be elected MSA president, after hiding his identity throughout high school and staying out of the public eye. He admitted that he only came out to a few friends and his parents by the end of his senior year in high school. Elected at the end of his freshman year to be a MSA representative, Armstrong said he was “impressed” by the other representatives and the atmosphere of the MSA Chambers, but never thought he was capable of holding such a leadership position as a gay man. Over the past three months of campaigning and forming MForward, Armstrong said he became even more sure of himself that he was ready to fulfill the role as president, despite his sexual identity....His work in bringing the Midwest LGBT Conference to campus next year came from his work with the Victory Fund - a national political action committee that trains LGBT leaders to hold political positions in the government and across the country. Victory Fund also helped Armstrong - who interned with the committee last summer - in his MSA campaign, he said. Armstrong cited that Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh, another openly gay politician, also worked with Victory Fund. Armstrong said Pugh's political success inspired him and proved that he could lead a similar role. ...Javier said Armstrong is a great role model for every student who is struggling to find his or her identity. “It’s really great to have a role model like Chris out there who can show that it’s possible to be a student leader and be out and be successful as a gay person,” he said..." - Elyanna Twiggs (READ MORE)

Related Reading:
  • Chris Armstrong Wins $4.5 Million In Lawsuit Against Cyberbully Andrew Shirvell
  • Shirvell testifies about Armstrong's 'radical homosexual agenda' as U-M case goes to jury
  • Homophobic stalker Andrew Shirvell ordered to pay Chris Armstrong $4.5 million
  • Michigan’s Gay-Bashing Former Assistant AG Andrew Shirvell Testifies ‘No Hatred’ In His Heart
  • Gay Student Leader Takes Harassing State Attorney to Court
  • AC360 - Chris Armstrong On Attacks By Mich. Asst. AG Andrew Shirvell (Video)
  • Ann Arbor Police Raid Chris Armstrong's 'Gay Rush' Welcome Week Party, 9-5-10
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    Bullying is an abusive treatment, the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when habitual and involving an imbalance of power. It may involve verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed persistently towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "targeted individual" (Wikipedia).