3.26.2006

"insulted by cretins"

Here's a great column I want to share with you, written by Jon Carroll of the San Francisco Chronicle, which I found through the NOW newsletter that appears in my inbox.

Carroll writes, in part:
Last year the Ford Motor Co. started to buy ads in several publications aimed at gay readers. They did so, one presumes, because they realized that gay people buy automobiles, and Ford has, alas, not been selling many automobiles lately. Then the company got assaulted by the American Family Association, a creation of the Rev. Donald Wildmon, a clever right-wing agitator with a hate-based agenda. So Ford announced that it would stop advertising in gay publications.

But then, whoops, Ford reversed its reversal and said, never mind, it was going to advertise in gay publications after all. So then a representative of the AFA announced that it was reinstating its boycott. "We cannot, and will not, sit by as Ford supports a social agenda aimed at the destruction of the family."

What a vile sentence. What a vile sentiment. What overbusy, underbrained worms these people must be. I am not yelling.

My older daughter is a lesbian. She is also the single mother of an adopted child, working to make and sustain a family with jaw-dropping tenacity. I am a member of that family, but she is the head of it. The idea that any part of her social agenda involves the destruction of the family is insulting and stupid. She adopted a child, which means that a child who would not have had a home now has one. It means that a child who would not have rested safely in a mother's arms now does so. These are real family values, not the poison spouted by these thoughtless, gossip-mongering abominations.

Sure, I feel strongly because it's my daughter who's being smeared, but it ain't just my daughter. All over this nation there are gay and lesbian families working hard to make a life for themselves and their children. I know a few of them. They could have done it the easy way, stayed in the closet and decided not to endure the hassles of having children, but they didn't. They wanted a family. They wanted a lover and companion to share their lives with, and they wanted children to love. And for this they get insulted by cretins.

The gay and lesbian parents I know are too busy to have an agenda, unless the agenda is "1. cook dinner, 2. wash clothes, 3. find frog." They're doing the usual stuff, teaching manners and insisting on homework and keeping doctor's appointments and reading bedtime stories. It's all very conventional and humdrum; families with kids often look pretty boring from the outside. But when you're in such a family, the last thing you are is bored. Tired, maybe. Irritated, occasionally. Bored, no.

The reality is the mirror image of the stereotype. The real keepers of the American flame, the real practitioners of daily love and a life of the spirit, are gay and lesbian parents. They are, gosh darn it, what made this country great. Someone get a damn fife and drum.

The people who hate America are the members of American Family Association and its ideological fellow travelers. They're the ones who do not believe that all people are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these rights are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
Read the column here. It may not say anything you haven't read before, but Carroll does a great job of saying it once more, with feeling.

And here, Carroll writes about reaction to that piece.

12 comments:

Granny said...

I get the Chron on line (for the columns, mostly) but I've fallen behind. As the mom of a gay son and a member of our PFLAG group here, thanks.

I lack the vocabulary to describe what I think of Wildmon and the others out there who are even worse.

We have a Wildmon clone here and he's treated as a joke which I think is a mistake. I'm sure there were folks who laughed at Hitler when he first started out.

Granny said...

P.S. Just stopped what I was doing and emailed Jon. A little late but maybe his in-box isn't so jammed up by now.

L-girl said...

That's great, I'm sure he'll appreciate it.

I lack the vocabulary to describe what I think of Wildmon and the others out there who are even worse.

I share that feeling.

I'm sure there were folks who laughed at Hitler when he first started out.

Oh yeah. Hate has to be taken seriously. We've seen what it leads to.

And not just out-and-out hate - exclusion, double standards, second-class citizenship. The women in the film I just blogged about weren't allowed to join a swim club because of the "Aryan clause". That's how it started.

redsock said...

Granny, I assume you also read the always excellent Mark Morford.

From his latest, headlined "Three Years Of Happyfun War! 1,100 days of brutal violence and death, grinding you down to a numb little nub. Thanks, Dubya!":

"... through it all, through your life for the past 1,100 days like an undercurrent of cold black blood, like an unshakable stench deep in your nostrils, like a disturbing stain you simply cannot get off your shirt, our country has been at war. Endless, raw, insidious, interminable.

Body bags filling up every single day. Death tolls rising. Hundreds of billions of your tax dollars hurled into a gaping sewer of death and destruction. Thousands of dead American kids, many more on the way. Corruption and scandal and gross war profiteering, Halliburton and the Carlyle Group and Lockheed Martin and the insidious dumbing down of military recruitment standards (because we're running out of disposable soldiers) to go along with Donald Rumsfeld's black-eyed sneer. Endless.

Do you remember the sweet little halcyon moment way back when, when America was slightly more globally respected and Iraq seemed like a bad but temporary dream and even the most hawkish Bush-gropin' war proponents were saying, Hey America, don't you worry your confused fear-addled little head, we'll be in Iraq for absolutely positively mark-my-words no more than three months, maximum -- OK, maybe six. Remember when they said that there was simply no way this war could run us more than about $10 bil and maybe cost, at the very most, a couple of dozen U.S. casualties? Wasn't that cute? ...

Where are all the bodies we've burned and blown up from Afghanistan to Baghdad? What sort of legacy is this? Will you simply be reading this column again in exactly one year, at the four-year marker of our ongoing happyfun death march, wondering where the time went?

These might sound like rhetorical questions. Maybe that, after all, is the problem."

teflonjedi said...

From the follow-up article:

The others go something like this: "Funny that you're interested in gay families, and yet you completely IGNORED the ABSOLUTE PROOF I sent you that the World Trade Center was destroyed by large explosive charges planted inside the building. Note the odd buckling of the girder in photograph 5 ..." and so forth. That's not missing the point; that's missing the planet.

Got one of these chaps haunting my blog right now, in fact. I'm hoping I can turn him back towards rational thought, and away from the error of the "appeal to authority". But, I'm also lazy.

Next year, I'm getting married. My wedding photographer (a good friend, former co-worker, fellow physicist) lives in LA with his boyfriend. Some day, I hope to go to his wedding too.

L-girl said...

Got one of these chaps haunting my blog right now, in fact.

Do you mean a 9/11 theorist, or an anti-gay wingnut?

My wedding photographer (a good friend, former co-worker, fellow physicist) lives in LA with his boyfriend. Some day, I hope to go to his wedding too.

That's such a nice thought, tj.

I hope so too. I hope he won't have to leave his country or his state to do it.

teflonjedi said...

Do you mean a 9/11 theorist, or an anti-gay wingnut?

The 9/11 theorist, not the other. We engaged in a brief engineering discussion on the matter. The gist of my recommendations to the chap, which I hope he takes up, is that if he really wants to be sure, he should take up a serious research interest in the engineering involved, rather than taking the word of any one "authority" at face value. I personally believe, based upon the evidence I've reviewed (and I'm not the 9/11 Commission, nor a structural engineer), that the towers came down because airplanes flew into them. The engineering stuff involved in the chain of events between the crashes and the collapses is very challenging to wade through--failure analysis can be very tough. So, a little textbook reading, a little studying of what it takes to design a building of this nature, might be helpful. Or not. Maybe it's just my passion for physical law showing through...? Or a desire for people to know that sometimes answers aren't so easy to come by? I dunno.

L-girl said...

Teflonjedi, you're right that a lot of 9/11 activists seem willing to grasp at a small bit of information, sometimes out of context, and make a huge number of inferences from it.

Allan is very involved in 9/11-related research and we used to get into arguments about this all the time.

I guess that's fairly common in research in any field, especially one where there's been a lot of cover-up, misinformation, disinformation, contradictory reports, etc.

From several years of looking over Allan's shoulder and reading only selected bits of research here and there, I have learned that there's so much more to the 9/11 story than the official version, and much of it (at the very least) implicates people in the US.

At the very least, there's a long list of unanswered questions.

However, it's unpatriotic to ask those questions! We trust Fearless Leader to show us the way!

L-girl said...

Also,

the 9/11 Commission

= cover-up.

That's pretty clear, too. The report is ludicrous in light of the evidence.

teflonjedi said...

Yeah, the "what happened and what motivated it and how is it all interconnected" questions are much trickier. I (unlike the Commission or other big organizations) don't have the resources to go after issues like that. The physical law aspects, those are what I feel comfortable I can at least understand (or at least understand whether I understand) from a cursory look from the data.

The other aspects, being the human aspects, I would not be surprised if there was some level of cover-up. Sadly, it seems like cover-up is a normal human reflex, sometimes.

redsock said...

I personally believe, based upon the evidence I've reviewed (and I'm not the 9/11 Commission, nor a structural engineer), that the towers came down because airplanes flew into them. The engineering stuff involved in the chain of events between the crashes and the collapses is very challenging to wade through

First of all, you probably have looked into it more than the Commission. They didn't bothere with it at all.

When I read stuff about the collapses, both sides make sense in certain ways. I do not know enough to make an informed guess either way. However, I think that discussing how the three buildings in New York collapsed (one of which wasn't hit by a plane or any debris) is a distraction from much more damning information.

Also, just FYI: Neither FEMA nor NTIS nor any other investigative organization has been able with any degree of certainty to state how or why the towers collapsed.

They all sort of sidestep the issue, saying we have no idea how it happened and now all the evidence is gone, so ...

teflonjedi said...

First of all, you probably have looked into it more than the Commission.

Well, don't go over-blowing that, eh?

I think as much of it stems from my career for the last 8-9 years, before I decided to switch jobs and coasts last fall, designing OEM car speakers. How is that related at all? Well, only in this way: designing car parts means designing them to function without failure for 10 years. To prove it, you have to put your car parts through excrutiatingly difficult environmental tests. So, as a result, at my former place of employment, I was the corporation's expert at speaker failure analysis. (It's part of the reason I left...I was being pidgeon-holed away from doing more fun research type things.) So, after reading through the evidence and watching the videotapes we're all familiar with, I've got a good feeling for what likely happened, even for WTC 7, the building which wasn't hit....but it is just a feeling, tempered with some related experience. And not all of it lines up with some of the official inquiry theories, mind you.

Neither FEMA nor NTIS nor any other investigative organization has been able with any degree of certainty to state how or why the towers collapsed.

The funny thing is, if one of my students (when I was teaching student labs) or employees were to make a stronger statement than this, based upon so little work, I'd give them a real hard time. For me, it goes back to the scientific method: examine original data, establish hypothesis, test hypothesis, establish theory or disprove hypothesis. I don't think these guys got past stage 2, really.

Mind you, the types of testing for verification that comes to mind for me, is not necessarily going to be well-received, might be extremely costly, and might take some time.

I think that discussing how the three buildings in New York collapsed [...] is a distraction from much more damning information.

Agreed. This is the much more important topic.