When Parents Disagree...
February 18, 2005

There is an interesting conversation going on in the comments section at Booker Rising on the duties of a parent. The conversation began when Maya Marcel-Keyes, the daughter of well-known "Conservative Christian" Alan Keyes (who's been consistently outspoken against the homosexual community), "came out" publicly against her parents wishes. I don't really think the focus should be on Maya as she's only 19-years-old and it is certain that the vampires will exploit her faster than we can blink. The real discussion here seems to be about the role of parents, the definition of love, and the appropriateness of support of a disagreeable lifestyle.

A Washington Post article titled "When Sexuality Undercuts A Family's Ties," Marc Fisher writes:

Maya Keyes loves her father and mother. She put off college and moved from the family home in Darnestown to Chicago to be with her dad on a grand adventure. Even though she disagrees with him on "almost everything" political, she worked hard for his quixotic and losing campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Now Maya Keyes -- liberal, lesbian and a little lost -- finds herself out on her own. She says her parents -- conservative commentator and perennial candidate Alan Keyes and his wife, Jocelyn -- threw her out of their house, refused to pay her college tuition and stopped speaking to her.

Maya, 19, says her parents cut her off because of who she is -- "a liberal queer." Tomorrow, she will take her private dispute with her dad into the open. She is scheduled to make her debut as a political animal, speaking at a rally in Annapolis sponsored by Equality Maryland, the state's gay rights lobby.

She plans to talk about "what it was like for me growing up as a liberal queer in a very conservative household. I've known so many other people in a position like mine, where their families really don't want much to do with them. Maybe I can help by talking about it.

Since making her activism public, as well as living a lifestyle with which they disagree, Maya's parents have reportedly "cut her off," asking her to leave the apartment they paid for, and forgoing payment for her tuition at Brown University. But don't cry for her Argentina, the "good" news is, not only has the gay community mastered victimization, they also stick together. Maya's already been granted a scholarship and housing via a big LGBT nonprofit. Now let's clock how long it will take before "The Advocate" tries to make her their poster child. Anybody got an egg timer?

This whole situation hurts my heart. As I state in The ROI of a Kid, I know what it's like to be at odds with your parents for making decisions of which they disapprove. The difference? I dropped out of college indefinitely. Maya, however, made a lifestyle choice. My sympathy ends there.

Should Alan Keyes have cut off his daughter? I've heard both sides, and personally, I think that's his business. He's the one that has to given an account for the state of his family, not I. A commenter at Booker Rising asserts:

"It may be cold and harsh, but the fact is that she decided to come out publicly, and she decided to become an activist. It isn't as if she was forced into that situation, and at the very least should have weighed the consequences for doing so."
Indeed. Another chimes in:
"Just why is Alan Keyes or any parent for that matter obligated to pay college expenses for a child he disagrees with? And since when is a parent supposed to "accept" a lifestyle like homosexuality that is morally and religiously repugnant to them? If one's daughter comes home a prostitute is one supposed to "accept" it and "take them in" in the name of "love"? What a cowardly approach.
Above all else, one thing is clear: liberals do not like the fact that Keyes is remaining consistent in principle. There's something we don't see too frequently in politics. And with that whole reparations nonsense last year, Keyes may be gaining some respect back.

Posted by Ambra at February 18, 2005 3:27 AM in Life
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Here's an interesting article that lines up with this topic over at tektonics.org. J.P. Holding doesn't necessarily espouse all of the same beliefs as I do, but he is generally on-point with things such as this:

"Agape is not an exchange on a personal level and 'will have little to do with feelings of affection, sentiments of fondness, and warm, glowing affinity.' It is a gift that puts the group first and is most closely paralleled to another known concept of today -- not love, but tough love. The best example of this known in popular culture is the New Jersey high school principal Joe Clark who cleaned out his high school and made it a safe place for those who wanted to learn. Clark valued what was best for his students as a whole versus what the individual wanted.

Clark of course did not have Refrons or Amalekites or Canaanites to deal with. But the principle we wish to illustrate is that he did not see 'love' as requiring him to coddle obstinate persons who would continue to be threats to the greater body of people. Someone could easily (as a non-objective or selfish parent of an expelled student might) say: 'Mr. Clark is not exemplifying a loving spirit.' He is, under the Biblical definition of love, even if not our modern one. But if inaction, or a different action -- leaving the Canaanites alone; moving the Amalekites to Southeast Asia -- had ended up in the historical view making matters worse, then we would sit here in hindsight accusing God of being immoral for allowing the worse things to happen..."

I wonder if Maya wants her parents to pay the entrance fee for the local club as well.

Maya Keyes- the Candace Gingrich of the new millenium. Around a decade ago, the half-sister of Newt had her 13.75 minutes of fame- look, the House Speaker's relative is a lesbian! How embarrassing! When, to my knowledge, Newt has never expressed a negative statement about her in public. Alan's one of our looser cannons- based on how he made screwy comments in the Illinois Senate race, a few months ago. But he's not likely to humiliate his daughter in public. End of cause- even the '....and she's black....' angle. Just another confused kid. Not that her new friends will do much to un-confuse her....
(Love the German phrase for Maya and others like her- 'Faschioden,' or 'useful idiot.' Far more accurate in this case.)

I love how you continue to assert that homosexuality is a "lifestyle choice." Give me one person who called out to the heavens and demanded to be gay. One person.

This is not something one chooses. Religion may tell you it is...unfortunately science actually has some basis in facts.

I think Miss Keyes' bravery should be commended. That idiot father of her's is a political travesty. Go Obama!

Maya, however, made a lifestyle choice.

I hope you're not claiming that being homosexual is a lifestyle choice.

Tell me, did you choose to be heterosexual?

Geah, people choose to engage in heterosexual behavior just like gays choose to live a homosexual lifestyle. Both lifestyles are a choice.


If homosexuality is a choice, why would people "choose" a lifestyle that would subject them to discrmination. Had they a choice, wouldn't they opt to be accepted and blend in?

"...why would people "choose" a lifestyle that would subject them to discrmination..."
A good question. They choose a lifestyle that allows multiple sex partners without the inconvenience of pregnancy. Having so opted, they build a wall of rationalization to obsure their original rationale.

Bijan: not always, especially not at 19 years old when doing what your parents want is the last thing on earth you would ever do, no matter what it is. Rebellion is the only way some kids know how to define themselves.

When I was that age (fewer eons ago than you might imagine), I had a seven or eight housemates (some of each gender) who were gay. All of them are now married and have kids.

Did they sell out their true nature? It doesn't matter. Back then, they chose to be homosexual. Now, they choose to be hetero. They all seem happy, but you can never know if they're leading double lives or suffering some inner torment, right?

I'll go with Occam's Razor. Most people choose the lifestyle that makes them happy. It wouldn't surprise me at all if 20 years now from now sees Maya quite embarassed about this period of her life... and in 30 years, struggling to explain it to her teenage kids so they don't laugh at their mom.

Yeah, I think it is getting to be pretty barbaric that people are still referring to homosexuality as a lifestyle choice or a preference. Is one's sexuality the sole defining attribute of a human being? Are one's relationships/unions/marriages SOLEY based on sex? Last year when San Francisco issued marriage licenses to gays, I saw a lesbian couple who'd been together for 50 years. Somehow I cannot fathom that they were together 50 years because of 'sexual choices.' Most certainly that isn't what hold's heterosexual couples - you know the ones that we praise for long lasting unions - together for decades.

When Maya's story first broke last fall after someone found her blog, I found the writings of an immensely coherent and intelligent young woman who still retains strong Catholic beliefs, faith and convictions. She has sane pro-life arguments that are strikingly similar to my pro-choice arguments. She was the only of the Keyes children to sacrifice her plans to move to Chicago to work for her father's ill-fated campaign and supported him despite his vicious depictions of people born with her "sin."

The funny thing, and probably the thing he should be most proud of, is that she is as brilliant as he is and, as she pursues her life as an activist, will be just as resolute in standing up for what she belives in. He should be beaming that he raised her so well.

[an] intelligent young woman who still retains strong Catholic beliefs, faith and convictions

Sorry: No, she doesn't. She may say she does, but that doesn't make it so. If she held onto Catholic beliefs, she'd be celibate (as all unmarried people should be), and she wouldn't be trumpeting a homosexual lifestyle.

I am sick to death of people claiming to be Catholic when they are publicly flaunting Catholic doctrine. (John Kerry, are you listening?)

Before anyone hops all over me asking me, who am I to judge? No, I'm not the Pope or the Bishop or some high-falutin' cleric. I don't need to be. We are all called to witness, aren't we? We have to stop ignoring this kind of behavior.

"No, she doesn't. She may say she does, but that doesn't make it so. If she held onto Catholic beliefs, she'd be celibate (as all unmarried people should be), and she wouldn't be trumpeting a homosexual lifestyle."

How can one assume she isn't celibate? Are all heterosexuals celibate (most Catholics - or Christians in general - aren't/weren't prior to marriage)? Why is homosexuality always reduced to sex? From her blog, she has an emotional relationship with a girl. Never saw anything about sex. To assume otherwise is a stretch and more a reflection of one's own sinful mind.

Well said, Qusan.

I think it is rather sad that an young adult's sexuality would enrage a parent to the point of cutting them off and jeopardizing their future. I applaude Ms. Keyes for being bold and presenting her self as who she is rather than allowing herself to be silenced and to live a lie to please her family. As most young adults who make the decision to not only come out to their parents but actually live life as a gay or lesbian person, I'm sure she knew the risk of doing so.

While this is definitely a "high profile" situation, I have several friends whose parents financially and/or emotionally cut them off from because of their sexuality. They weren't embraced by some non-profit organization; some found found themselves homeless and forced to support themselves at 17, others had do deal with being alienated by the very people who are supposed to have your back, no matter what.

When you look at the rates of suicide, depression, alchoholism, drug abuse, and other destructive behaviors among GLBT youth and young adults, much of it is due to the alienation they faced from family and loved ones. While parents who are faced with the reality that their child is gay or lesbian may think they are doing a good thing by showing their child some "tough love", they are actually causing more harm than good.

Purity begins in the heart, not just by actions Qusan.

Mike M. wrote: "I love how you continue to assert that homosexuality is a "lifestyle choice."

Good. Becuase I will continue to assert it. But as I've stated in the past, I'm not going to let this become a debate on whether or not homosexuality is a choice. That's a rabbit trail and not the topic of this post.

Also, just an FYI, I don't subscribe to "religion."

being perverted is a lifestyle choice just like prostituting, polygamy, and other sexually deviant activities. gay people are not discriminated against. I am sick of hearing that. if you're talking about marriage its not a right its an institution. not just "religious" peoole oppose the perveted lifestyle. was it all the "religous right" who passed constitutional ad. to define marrige as a man and a woman, no. the first male couple to get marriage lisences in mass. said taht they were having an open marriage that it was not limited to two people. so the marriage is a man and a woman who can have children and who don't invite other people in. i will continue to say this and I am not homophobic that is an "irrational fear of gays" I am not sscared of ggays I am just sick of seeing their sick and perverted ways glorified on tv and by cnn

Lesson for Ambra:

(1) Being homosexual (that is, physical/sexual attraction to the same sex): NOT a choice
(2a) Accepting one's homosexuality and embracing it: CHOICE
(2b) Denying/suppressing one's homosexuality: CHOICE,
(2c) Acknowledging one's homosexuality, but choosing to remain celibate because of personal moral conviction: CHOICE

I have Christian friends who are homosexual, but believe that ACTING on it would be sin, so they CHOOSE to remain celibate. I obviously disagree... but I respect them immensely...

I see nothing wrong with parents cutting off the funding on a child that chooses not to follow the parent's lifestyle anymore.

In the Bible, we are commanded to cut off fellowship with members of our churches who continue in sin despite a set escalating level of discipline warning the person not to continue in what they are doing.

If Maya is a member of her parents' church, calling herself Christian -- and openly calling herself homosexual. (When you are ready to call yourself that, it really sounds like you are the least seeking out same-sex partners even if not with one currently. Just like a "hetrosexual" who went around saying boldly "I don't see any problem with 'trying out sex' before marriage" should be disciplined by the church even if they are not DOING it. The fact that they are advocating sin is okay is a problem if they will not shut up. If she has "feelings for people of the same sex" and doesn't act on them and works to keep them in control just like the rest of us are called to, then I don't think this would be at the place it is at. (Or at the least I'd be more willing to criticize the parents.) And they have gone through this process, that alone would demand her parents cut off fellowship with her.

We simply don't have enough information.

But frankly, even if she wasn't self-proclaimed homosexual, I would have no problems with her parents NOT paying for her tuition, her rent, etc once she is 19. I know one friend (completely non-sexual that I can see.) who didn't really stand on her own two feet until her parents threw her out and told her she couldn't live at home or on their dime anymore. Then she went out and found her own job, etc.

Sometimes, for love of their child, parents have to practice "tough love"

That was pretty funny....
I could actually feel the fear oozing out of your writing...
I imagine your fingers were just stumbling over the keyboard keys to get that out the same way the victim always stumbles with car keys when the psychopath is rght behind them...
Ever think of going into writing horror novels?

Bijan, people make odd choices every day that leads to making life difficult. Ask any alcoholic,drug addict or adulterer. You still have to make a choice on whether or not you will engage in whatever behavior. It is just sad that in our culture nobody is responsible for their actions. I was born this way is the new battle cry. Absolutely PATHETIC. And Bijan,at the pace the "Gay movement" is moving, Gays don't have to blend in,they are forcing us to take them in.

Ambra said: "Also, just an FYI, I don't subscribe to "religion."

I reply: Well, that's something upon which we can both agree.

Qusan said:

How can one assume she isn't celibate? Are all heterosexuals celibate (most Catholics - or Christians in general - aren't/weren't prior to marriage)? Why is homosexuality always reduced to sex? From her blog, she has an emotional relationship with a girl. Never saw anything about sex. To assume otherwise is a stretch and more a reflection of one's own sinful mind.

Let's take this piece-by-piece.
How can we assume she isn't celibate? By the fact that her parents kicked her out.

Are heterosexuals celibate? No, but we're not talking about everyone else, we're talking about Maya. And for the record, many societal problems would be ameliorated if all single people were celibate.

Why is homosexuality always reduced to sex? Because homosexuals define themselves that way. Argue against it all you want, but the reality is, a group that chooses to label itself based on its sexual practices has reduced itself to sex. It is what it is.

From her blog, she has an emotional relationship with a girl. Never saw anything about sex. To assume otherwise is a stretch and more a reflection of one's own sinful mind.
On my blog, I talk about my loving relationship with my husband. You will never see anything about sex. I do not think it is a stretch of anyone's mind to assume that my husband and I have sex. I do not think it is a stretch or a reflection of (my) own "sinful mind" to assume that Maya and her lover have a sexual relationship, since she has gone out of her way to leave her parent's home and protection for this lover. She has turned away from her parents and stood up publicly in defense of her homosexual lifestyle. To assume she is living in a chaste relationship in these circumstances, one would have to be nearly fatally naive.

So how about those parents?
Was that the topic...I thought I read that in the the blog somewhere.
I have two kids (one of each gender by traditional standards) and I have told them directly what my role is as a parent. I am to provide them with enough information and guidence to make the "right" choices in life. Will they always make the "right" choices? No. Then it is my job to comfort, support, admonish, or in some cases let them fail. The RIGHT choices are based upon my judgement. What happens when they don't agree with me? Then we have something to TALK about. That's a pretty cool thing to do with your kids and I hope I can do that forever.
If one of them came to me and told me they were gay, then we have a point of debate and discussion. If they came and got in my face with an "I'm gay, get over it!" I'd have a problem with that.
Am I wrong because I would have a bigger problem with them being rude than I would with them being gay?

Let us not forget that the practice of homosexuality is a sin, but so is the practice of heterosexual sex outside of marriage, adultery, lying, theft, gluttony, murder, and hatred. As a christian, I firmly believe that being able to love a person while at the same time disliking their sin is a hard thing to do.

That being said, I personally believe that if you are grown enough to decide the kind of lifestyle you want to have, you should be old enough to deal with the consequences of your actions. Ms. Keys knew about her parents beliefs before she "came out," and she should of had some knowledge of how her parents were going to react. I'm not saying that I agree with what Mr. and Mrs. Keys did to her, but she really should have seen it coming. Gays don't have to hide their lifestyle, but if they are waiting for everyone to agree with them and accept homosexuality with open arms, they are going to be waiting for some time.

Revolutionist wrote: "So how about those parents?

Was that the topic...I thought I read that in the the blog somewhere."

thank you...

The parents' action in this case may seem extreme to some, but that's because we don't have the "inside scoop". We don't know what transpired in that household. Was Maya disrespectful and rebellious in her attitude? As I said, we don't know.
I don't have kids, but if I did, and she was engaged in activity I deemed inappropriate or harmful, and if she was living under my roof(and that includes my subsidizing her room and board), and she refused to stop said behavior, I would be inclined to let her out "on her own". That would not mean I had ceased to love her, anymore than my parents ceased to love me when I did something (as a child or an adult) of which they disapproved. If I did something egregious to affront my father (from whom I rent my apt) he may very well insist I find a home elsewhere. That is his right as my landlord and as my father.

If my kids live I life I don't approve of at the age of 18 or beyond, their on their own. Period. Why should I pay for the lifestyle of an adult when I disagree vehemently with that lifestyle? It isn't like she's 13 years old. You make your choices and accept the consequences.

I think he's wrong to cut her off, but if he wants to do so, fine.

I think he's wrong not to speak to his daughter. That. Is. Just. Foul.

Name a preacher/pastor worth his salt who would refuse to speak to a sinner.

Not only that, but keyes didn't mind when his daughter campaigned for him.

He's a chump.

Why are parents mean for not paying college tuition? My parents did not pay mine. I'm a lawyer now. They encouraged me to work hard in high school to qualify for scholarships, choose an economical university, and minimize student loans. My mom did subsidize my education some by letting me live with her part of the time (although not as much as she would have liked - I needed my independence), but I basically got both degrees without significant cash help from either parent. If we're going to talk about lifestyle choices, expensive colleges are definitely a lifestyle choice! As I consider the rising costs of a university education, I think I will encourage my children to obtain some vocational schooling before college so that they can work their way through whatever college they decide to attend (online or offline, private or state). Then if they get a liberal arts degree, they'll still be employable, as well as have reaped the benefits of a humanities education.

My point Eric, is that nature is recognized for wide variance. People like sugary tastes or sour/salty tastes, but also everything between those ranges. People range from taciturn to chatty, coal-black to pale (and even albino), giant to dwarf, exteremely heterosexual to ambigenic, with homogenic in between.

No one would wake up and say, "I'm going to select a preference that other kids are gonna tease me about..." or "...lemme pick this lifestyle that my father abhors..." or "...I'm immune to teen peer pressure, I'll hang with the gay kids..." Nature has created a range such that men are born w/ nipples, and some people are hermaphrodites. Sexual preference isn't a disease, or a birth defect, like asthma or juvenile diabetes (would someone decide to have a pancreas that doesn't create enough insulin, or a harelip?)

We don't know the details of every conversation in the Keyes family over this topic, and I won't say "Oh he's right" or "Oh she's wrong" definitively in this situation. I do however know and believe that there are times when the best way to love somebody is to let them go. Even if it hurts. Some lessons have to be learned in the dark. Don't think that this is easy for any parent.

Hmmmmm... right now Woodrow Kroll is talking about how love sometimes means turning someone over to their own desires.

The example? Homosexuality. With reference from scipture.


DarkStar - But what Alan Keyes is dealing with is not just a sinner. His daughter actually believes that the lifestyle she lives is reconcilable with what is taught in the gospel, and by 'coming out' is teaching false doctrine and propigating something that is in direct opposition to her family unit. She is in opposition to the very people who cover her and keep her lights on! By coming out she shows that she has less respect for that covering than the people who birthed and raised her.

It'd be like me skipping a family gathering in the truck that my parents bought me to go hang out with friends to drink heavily and party (note: never drink, moderate party-goer). Why would my parents want to facilitate foolishness such as that with their money? I'd have that vehicle stripped from me, and they'd probably place walking shoes in my parking spot in jest.

There is a command for a Christian to walk in love, but a brother/sister in Christ must be rebuked/admonished when they get out of line. Peter was called Satan when he suggested that Jesus veer from the purpose the Father had set, the same rebuke is due to Ms. Maya Keyes.

As a side note, I'd guess that this situation has been going on for longer than we know. Of course, it'd be typical of the accuser to stay away from the details and present a clear cut case for victimization.

Sort of like how Elvis died from 'heart failure'. Yeah, everyone's heart fails when they die! Let's get to the root of the issue.

Some posters have written about Ms. Keyes as if she can "help" who she is, or as if she made herself. The sexual range of human personality transcends the sexual act. I work with children, and have friends and relatives with children, none of whom are sexually 'active' yet. Yet some have sensibilities far more predictive of becoming hairstylists, figure skaters, gospel keyboardists, fashion designers, or interior decorators than others (and some little girls will be good athletes, is that "male"?). Believe it not, everyone is not attracted to the "opposite" sex, any more than everyone is attracted to deep voices, rich people, soap operas, or spicy foods. Nature has countless forms- be they along lines of pigmentation, orientation, height, hearing ability, and learning types. Were it physically impossible to be ambigenic, no one on earth would be attracted to their own gender, or even possess sensibilities across the spectrum. And rarity is not indicitive of abhorrence- double-jointedness and blue eyes are also rare traits among humankind.

Darkstar: We don't know that Keyes isn't talking to his daughter. Like M. La Roi said, there's probably a lot that we don't know.


Actually, the article you linked to specifically stated that Maya said her father refuses to speak to her anymore.

"By coming out she shows that she has less respect for that covering than the people who birthed and raised her."

Wrong. By coming out, she shows that she wants to live a life of integrity... and isn't that a trait that is often ascribed to Alan Keyes?

and since when do we trust anything the media has to say...especially when it comes to trumpeting the rainbow brigade agenda?

for Gerard E.:

Umm, I don't know what your source is/was for the German word (ahem) 'Faschioden' as you implemented it...

"Love the German phrase for Maya and others like her- 'Faschioden,' or 'useful idiot.' Far more accurate in this case."

...but, the only usages I've ever encountered of a similar word or words are 'faschio' (which is pure, derogatory slang) and 'faschistoid' (which is purely descriptive), both of which imply an affinity to fascism.

Perhaps the word you mentioned is some sorta slanged-up, regional colloquialism (Austrian/Swiss German)? A Fasching reference, perhaps, or a neologism that you coined just for this occasion?

(I apologise for the sidetrack. It just seems to me that one should strive for accuracy, even when -especially when- deriding another. I shall recommence lurking now.)

By coming out, she shows that she wants to live a life of integrity...

What does 'coming out' have to do with integrity? I don't need to buy a billboard to let everyone know I like women.

I call that attention whoring. How much more pretentious can one be?

But what Alan Keyes is dealing with is not just a sinner. His daughter actually believes that the lifestyle she lives is reconcilable with what is taught in the gospel, and by 'coming out' is teaching false doctrine and propigating something that is in direct opposition to her family unit.

True, but is that enough reason to cease talking to her?

And why keep her around when she supported his campaign?

Don't be biting my quotes, shawdy.

Whatchu talkin' 'bout Expertise?

Commenting on a two day old thread is like leftover guacamole, but this story affected me. Since I've become serious about living a chaste life as a Catholic male at the age of 28, I've started to wish my parents had been more insistent about pushing their own morality when I was younger. My parents both 'waited' until they were married, and they are still happily married 36 years later.
I myself recently met the woman of my dreams, and I'm certain it's because God wanted us to wait until both of us were spiritually ready. But it makes me wish I hadn't frittered away my virginity and so much time on stupid, immature, dissolute living and pointless relationships. Maybe we would have met earlier, and so much unhappiness could have been avoided. I think my parents were maybe too shy of their timeless own beliefs in the face of modern culture. tant pis.
Good for parents that want to show their kids the right way. And for any who seeks to mislead a child, it is better than he had never been born.

(1) Being a sinner: NOT a choice
(2a) Accepting one's sinfulness and embracing it: CHOICE
(2b) Denying/suppressing one's sinfulness: CHOICE,
(2c) Acknowledging one's sinfulness, but choosing to do what is right because of personal moral conviction: CHOICE

Now, will someone please explain to me why (2a) is worthy of praise?

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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Why I'm Not a Republican Parts I, II, III, IV
Reflections on the Ill-Read Society
The ROI of a Kid
The Double-Minded Haters
Hip-Hop in Education: Do You Wanna Revolution?
Oh parent Where Art Thou?
Requisite Monthly Rant: the State of the Nation
College Curriculum Gone Wild
Walmart Chronicles
An Open Letter to American Idol
Gonorrhea and the City