By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
There we were at Antonello's for the first fund-raiser for the first political campaign of the Gang of Three's Jim Righeimer(running for our buddy Scott Baugh's Huntington Beach Assembly seat and responsible for mind-bendingly Machiavellian propositions like Proposition 226, which he almost got passed just by beating up on public-school teachers—teachers!) and we were tipping the bartender $1 per refreshing beverage. But on our third glass of water, the lantern-jawed barkeep waved us away, shaking his head almost imperceptibly.
"Thanks for the offer," he said, kindly yet stonily, but we were embarrassed nonetheless. Was it uncouth to suggest that the people in charge would be paying so little he would need tips? Were we putting him in a jam by waving a Washington at him in front of some kind of pit boss? Did we look poor by ordering water, and he felt sorry for us? Were we undertipping, like those sweet, crazy old ladies who parsimoniously hand the paperboy a well-scrubbed nickel? Once, a boyfriend of ours owned a pool hall. He was behind the bar when some drunk kept trying to tip him a buck. Our friend kept telling the drunk (really quite pretentiously, but he was like that), "The owner doesn't take tips" because it was apparently beneath his dignity, but the drunk wasn't paying any attention to him. Were we trying to tip the owner? Just what is the etiquette for tipping when with Republicans?
This is actually a never-ending fascination for us, and we have discovered by querying barkeeps at not one but two separate Republican conventions that (a) young Republicans are the worst tippers in the world, if you don't count Germans, and (b) old, rich Republicans tip third only to Kuwaiti princes and Chris Isaak, who throws Benjies around like they're Monopoly money—as though he were some kind of rock star or something. But that doesn't tell us where the backbone of the party—the not-rich religious Right—falls on the largesse scale. And that's of particular interest to us now because everyone at Jim's fund-raiser—and just so you know, we'll be referring to him as "Jim" instead of "Righeimer" because he's a great guy and we always have a swell time hanging with him; in fact, we're dying for him to win so we'll always have something to write about and hereby offer our services as a decoy candidate—was wearing a Bauer 2000sticker, including Jim's supermodel wife. (No, it's true; he has a supermodel wife.) And "Bauer" stands for "Gary Bauer," longtime president of the Family Research Council, which is only slightly to the left of the Reverend Fred Phelpsand his charming but sadly defunct "God Hates Fags" Web site. The folks at the Family Research Council strive mightily to seem reasonable (and even scientific) while raging against the homo menace; they have mild-mannered-sounding position papers linked to their Web site under the ominous sounding title "CultureWatch." But queer-hating is so central to their identity that the threat of gay marriage comes first in a half-dozen vaguely outlined issues on Bauer's presidential Web site. So, anyway, how do they tip? And what if a waiter's gay?
God hates fags; AIDS kills them. That was the clever message (in versions of varying literacy) posted so often on Matthew Shepard's memorial Web site that the server crashed. But God also doles out his fury on junkies, so don't feel too bad, fags!
Small children with AIDS?
Okay, that's true, and it's too bad. But they better not be going to school with our boy! What? Our boy is our boy because his mother died of AIDS when he was a tiny little baby? Oh.
In memory of Leslie Graves Schoenkopf (1959-1995), we took to the mean streets of Irvine on Sunday for the 13th annual AIDSWalk Orange County. (Just to clear up any confusion, by "we," we mean "I." Most of the people there probably weren't walking in memory of our stepmother, even though as Capitol's beloved Brenda on CBS, she had a lot of fans back in the day.) It was a lovely day, sunny and warm, and though most people opted for the short version (which worked out to something like 5 kilometers), some of us did manage to drag our lardy asses 6 miles and change, which might not actually cure AIDS in and of itself, but it made us healthier. Oh, and it apparently netted more than $660,000 for AIDS work, which is a good thing, especially if Darren Marksfrom Young Americans for Freedomhas his way and gets AIDS funding transferred from groups like Gay Men's Health Crisisto bureaucratically challenged counties (and while he's at it, he'd like to do away with anonymous testing, thank you very much, and require counties to report the names of people who are HIV-positive. But we're sure this has nothing to do with general homophobia, since according to Grand High Looneybird Bob Dornan, there's no such thing as homophobia because it's just "a made-up word"). Damn, those YAFers have a finger in every pie, don't they? Oh, we almost forgot: we saw one at Jim's (really: feel free to call him "Jim"; he's a great guy!) fund-raiser, and when we congratulated him on the masterful hoax perpetrated on the Weekly's Calendar listings, he demurred that YAF was not responsible for the whole Darnel Squadhullabaloo. Jim Bieber, former YAF president, acted alone. We've heard that one before!