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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Christofascists Disrupt Theater Performance in Boston

Not the way to make friends and influence people

Jen here. For those of you not familiar with the work of Mike Daisey, he's a wonderful monologuist and the author of "21 Dog Years: Doing time at" He's also a helluva nice guy and was a tangential but a very welcome part of the New York New Media scene back in the Netslaves days.

This past Thursday, some Christian group decided that they didn't like Mr. Daisey's language and content in his latest piece, Invincible Summer. So, they stormed the stage and destroyed his only working copy of the notes for that night's performace, and walked out without saying a word.

There's no doubt that this was planned--it was a sold out show and over 80 ChristoZombies attended.

Other than thanking these retards for giving him material for his next monologue and book (and no doubt shitloads of free publicity--he's already been on TV a few times (search Mike Daisey on YouTube)--I think he's re-opened the dialogue on the place of religion in public policy discourse in his own way, especially its role in "liberal" cities like Boston.

When it all boils down, a lot of "public policy" on tolerance in the US and on college campuses isn't about keeping angry mobs from burning down the houses of worship of unpopular minorities--it's about allowing a certain degree of intolerance by verbal minorities to be enshrined in public policy. Lip service to creationism, restrictions on sex education and contraception access, and blue laws of all stripes are all sleeping Nosferatus with spikes in their hearts, rumbling in the shallow grave of America's Puritan past.

In the particular case at hand, one of the Nosferatu-infected rats gnawed its way out of the coffin and jumped up into the horrified view onto the dinner table of the genteel academically tolerant who were suddenly forced to see what they were really "defending."

What do I mean like this? Well, after 9/11 and the Danish Cartoon Fiasco I asked where the moderate Muslim groups were; where was the outcry. Now I ask: What does the Harvard Campus Crusade for Christ have to say about this? Local Catholic League? Any on-campus, tuition-and-tax-dollar funded group that in its spare time in between "cleansing souls" is busy bombing clinics, bashing gays, and censoring what we read and see? No? How about the regular Priest/Pastor on the street; the leaders of moderate congregations, the vast majority of churchgoers? Last time I checked, Boston had a few churches of various stripes up there. Will this be on anyone's sermon sheet today?

I don't expect much feedback from these folks. Why not? Because for the fundies and clinic bombers, these six-fingered split-palette drooling raving demented freaks are the MONEYMAKERS, just like the geeks at a travelling carnival. They are the ones who get donations (and the gibbering footsoliders that collect them) that make it back into the "mainstream" sides of religious institutions--you know, the nice polite, scrubbed folks who do polite little canned speeches at Earth Day celebrations, Yom Hashoa memorial services, and so forth.

(Side note: This is why I only donate items or service to my local shul, NOT money. The shul school needs software, I get a list and order it for them. They need a computer set up, I do it. I NEVER give ANY money unless it's for a direct and immediate material thing (ie Seder meal for myself) because I don't believe in sending my money, no questions asked, to Israel or to ANY radical religious group, even my own. I encourage all people who identify with ANY faith to do the same.)

So far, no news on what particular ChristoFascist group was responsible, or if charges can or will be pressed. However, I can't help but wonder what the result would be if 80 performance artists all attended a Church service, and got up in the middle of Mass and destroyed the alter as a sort of performance art.

I encourage everyone to go see Mike's show if you can, and if not, buy his book and/or throw him a few bucks, just by way of moral support.

And to the people who did this: Please take your stupid, inbred, repressed selves the fuck out of any city that has at least one institution of higher learning-the grown-ups are trying to talk.

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