2007 Verve Awards

2006 Verve Awards

Best Arts and Culture Blog 2005 Queer Day Awards

Best Gay Blog Nominee 2004 Weblog Awards

Best Arts and Culture Blog Nominee

Thursday, December 27, 2007


ModFabulous: The Heroes of 2007

2007 was a very difficult year to find bona-fide heroes. This was the year, after all, of spectacular failures: Alberto Gonzales, Iraq, the crashing economy and shrinking dollar, an ineffective Congress, rising gas prices, steroids in baseball, Michael Vick, Larry Craig, lead-filled toys from China. Here are the few bright spots as we saw it, and we'll take them where we can get them.

2007 ModFabulous Heroes Jury
Dean, Blanton and Ashton's
Tim, Pressing The Flesh
Me, Your Humble Servant

What can I say in a couple of sentences that wasn't already said by the Nobel Committee? Gore stepped back from public office after he won the popular vote in the 2000 presidential election and simply, quietly at first but not so quietly later, performed public service. He stayed consistent in championing a cause that was unpopular in the United States and against which powerful forces were aligned, and he did it with humor and decency and a down-to-earth quality that put the lie to all the nasty things that were said of him before and since. Run, Al, run! (Blanton and Ashton's)

2. The Monks of Myanmar
Buddhist monks in Burma took to the street to protest the government's unprovoked decision to raise oil prices 500% overnight. Their peaceful protest brought attention to the troubles of the region, and many of them gave their lives to protest the authoritarian government of Burma. (Pressing The Flesh)

3. Jamie Lee Jones
The victim of a vicious gang-rape by Halliburton/KBR co-workers in Iraq in 2005, she escaped a life-threatening situation and founded the Jamie Leigh Foundation to assist other women who were victimized. She testified about her experiences the other day before Congress and her story is finally becoming known in this country after more than two years. If courage in the face of adversity defines heroism, she's a hero and then some. (Blanton and Ashton's)

4. Brad Pitt and Make It Right
In 2007, the people of New Orleans -- thousands still suffering homelessness and a lack of public amenities -- were slowly forgotten by America's news media. Thankfully, they got a boost of star power from Brad Pitt, who founded a non-profit to build 150 new homes in the ravaged Ninth Ward. Pitt's also put his money where his mouth is, commissioning architects, raising funds, and working on the ground in Louisiana. You can even help the effort here. While some may look skeptically at a movie star's atruism, we say: if American citizens can't depend on the Bush Administration or Congress to make things right, maybe Hollywood A-Listers can. (ModFab)

5. California Firefighters
Be it the Malibu fires in January, the fires in L.A. and Santa Catalina in May, those in Lake Tahoe in June, or the massive fires in southern California in October - the nameless, faceless firefighters of California battled day after day, around the clock to preserve life and property, and averted a disaster that could have rivaled that of Hurricane Katrina. (Pressing The Flesh)

6. Mike McConnell
The Director of National Intelligence is a seemingly-odd choice for this list, but given the method by which the United States was lied to in bringing us to war against Iraq, and the same serial lies being told about Iran, the National Intelligence Estimate was released, almost single-handedly halting the momentum of the war drums against Iran. (Pressing The Flesh)

7. The Citizens of Australia
As 2007 began, Australia's right-leaning government -- led by Prime Minister John Howard -- was often considered a crucial supporter of the Bush Administration and its ethically questionable practices regarding the environment and Iraq. But in the December elections, the country overwhelmingly threw the bums out, electing Labor leader Kevin Rudd who, on his first day on the job, signed the multi-national Kyoto Protocol. Let's hope the United States learns the lesson our Aussie friends are trying to teach us...that change is necessary, and only voters can make that change. (ModFab)

8. J.K. Rowling
So maybe it's easy being a hero when you're rich and successful, but you have to love Rowling for yanking Albus Dumbledore out of the closet and shoving him in the face of the people who have been attacking her for years. With the Harry Potter series constantly under attack from America's religious extremists, she stuck a thumb in their eye by declaring that beloved headmaster Albus Dumbledore is gay, thereby making one of the world's most beloved father-figures a gay man for all to see and appreciate. Maybe it will help a lot of people with their much-needed attitude adjustments. (Blanton and Ashton's)

9. Lee Myung Bak
The South Korean President-elect and Mayor of Seoul is credited with making Seoul one of the world's greenest cities and with implementing activities to make South Korea a world leader for the future. I'd be glad to trade the entire White House for him. (Blanton and Ashton's)

10. Oprah Winfrey
The mega-successful talk show host has long been a polarizing figure, but no one can dispute that in 2007, she handled her biggest personal crisis with class, leadership, and moral strength. When abuse allegations were made at her Leadership Academy For Girls in South Africa, Winfrey moved quickly, decisively and publicly to fix the problem...and put rules in place to ensure it never happens again. Sure, one could say she should have been on top of it before it happens. But people make mistakes...and heroes know how to clean them up honorably. (ModFab)

HM: Three Members of Congress: Russ Feingold, Tammy Baldwin, and Rush Rolt
In 2007, Democrats were given the Majority in both the House and the Senate with a mandate by the voters to change the situation in the White House and in Iraq. They undoubtedly failed, especially the pathetically weak Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (who should be replaced in 2008, the sooner the better). But while most Democrats cower and run for political cover, Russ Feingold continues to stand strong, opposing the Iraq war and leading the fight to censure the President for his mismanagement. We applaud Feingold for maintaining a backbone...along with New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt. Unable to achieve a single legislative goal he's set, Holt is a hero because he keeps voting and fighting for the right things, while serving his constituents by keeping in touch with them to an extent that no other representative matches. Holt doesn't get the big headlines...nor does Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay non-incumbent ever to be elected to the House of Representatives. A champion of progressive issues, she signed on as a co-sponsor to articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney and also against former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. That could prove unpopular, but it's what leadership is all about.

Others That We Felt Made The Cut: Stephen Colbert, Doctors Without Borders, Molly Ivins, Michael Moore, Barack Obama, Keith Olbermann, Ron Paul, The New Jersey Legislature and Gov. Jon Corzine

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Blogger DBK said...

How did I forget the Monks of Myanmar? Shame on me and thanks, Tim, for remembering. I have a feeling they've been forgotten by a lot of people.

12/27/07, 9:18 AM  

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