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09/11/2008

Audio: Wherein Malzberg mauls acceptance

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 1-197Steve Malzberg, a radio host heard in the NYC area and other syndicated markets, has managed to stand out in our mind in two ways. One: He is sometimes quite bad in the way he handles dissenting callers, basically shouting them down when they disagree, and then hanging up on them if the disagreement strays too far for his liking. Two: He seems to have taken on the "issue" of LGBT acceptance in schools as some sort of pet cause, with keeping gay lives and loves away from children's eyes his "righteous" mission. Today we will examine both.

Back in November of last year, in a chat with guest Bill O'Reilly, Steve made his views on this subject of gay acceptance very well known. But yesterday, in an attempt to smear Barack Obama's "radical" ideas that gay people should be folded into the normalcy of society, Mr. Malzberg took his indignation a step further. Listen in:

(click to play audio clip)

Okay, so the first thing we thought when we heard this part is: "Hey -- didn't Rush Limbaugh do almost this exact same rant earlier in the day?" Because seriously, go look at Rush's 9/10 transcript:

OBAMA: I remember him, uh, using this in his campaign against me, saying, "Barack Obama supports teaching sex education to kindergarteners." (laughter) And, you know, which -- I didn't know what to tell him. But it's the right thing to do.

RUSH: But it's the right thing to do. We've got him saying it. Now, there's even more on this. You want some issues, Obama? (laughing) You have come to the right place. Obama has said that this ad you just heard about Obama supporting a law to teach young children about sex education was unfair and misleading, but it's not. I have a summary here of McCain's ad and of Obama's response and then I've got a news article that ran September 27, 2007, on the Fox News website after a Democrat debate. An excerpt from that article reporting on the debate says this: "A fairy tale about two princes falling in love sparked a backlash -- and a lawsuit -- against a teacher and a school last year when it was read to a second-grade class in Massachusetts. But the three front-runners in the Democratic presidential race suggested Wednesday night at their debate in New Hampshire that they'd support reading the controversial book to children as part of a school curriculum. ... Obama agreed with Edwards and revealed that his wife has already spoken to his 6- and 9-year-old daughters about same-sex marriage." This was said by Obama in a debate in New Hampshire last November that a book about two princes falling in love should be read as part of the education curriculum to school kids.

The exact same quotes (cut down in the exact same way) and the exact same outrage were used throughout Rush's 9/10 show.

But uncanny conservative carbon copies aside, let's talk about the real issue itself: The way folks like Steve make every presentation of our lives and love seem "perverted" (the word Steve actually uses to describe the King & King book). Whereas Cinderella is just a happy little fairy tale about love and companionship, tales with a similar gay theme are presented as sex-filled, kid-targeting, "perverted" bits of indoctrination. But of course folks like Steve never admit that they are discomforted by these sorts of tales because they see LGBT people as lesser than beings. No, no -- they mask it all behind some bizarre logic that says kids should be insulated in a cone of silence regarding gay people until their brains can "handle" the reality. And folks like Steve claim to be absolutely against discrimination in all forms -- but they have no problem telling kids who have gay parents, relatives, friends, or loved ones that a book that casually acknowledges same-sex love is "garbage" (another word Steve used to describe King & King). The refusal to own their bias is almost more enraging than the bias itself!!

Steve then goes on to say this:


(If embedded audio doesn't load for you, you can listen to it here)

Hear the way he says "gay marriage"? He spits them out as if the words are a swarm of bees threatening to attack his uvula. And then he asserts that kids don't understand what marriage is? PUH-LEEZE! Kids learn about mommies and daddies from the moment they first open their eyes! Such existences are featured in virtually all of the media that they consume from age zero on up! The only thing standing in kids' way of learning about gay existences are guardians who find those existences to be unpalatable!

Steve then goes on to take some calls. First a like-minded person of outrage who lashes out against both "indoctrination" and adoption equality, and then a dissenting caller who defends nondiscrimination (before being mysteriously cut off):


(If embedded audio doesn't load for you, you can listen to it here)

So if you listened after the second caller was cut off, you will hear Steve engage in the TOTAL STRAW MAN ARGUMENT that gay activists are suggesting that only their nondiscrimination should be taught in schools. This is the same point he tried to make back in November of last year. It was flawed then, and it's flawed now! The LGBT community, perhaps more than any community on the face of the planet, is committed to nondiscrimination of ALL PEOPLE. Books like King & King, when used in teaching, are almost always part of a larger conversation about diversity in general. It's not that gay activists only want positive portrayals of LGBT people instilled into our young friends' heads. What we want are positive portrayals of EVERYONE! It's just that social conservatives like Steve Malzberg only raise a stink when it is LGBT people who are included in the "everyone" picture!

More calls. To Steve's credit, this is another pro-acceptance one. But of course he cuts the caller off when he raises a valid point about sexuality's innateness:


(If embedded audio doesn't load for you, you can listen to it here)

What does being born straight have to do with this conversation, Mr. Malzberg? EVERYTHING! For if you, with such certainty, can say you were born straight, how dare you discredit those of us who feel just as certain that we have always been gay? That has EVERYTHING to do with a conversation about whether or not it is only heterosexual people who should be presented to children as "normal"!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another pro-gay call, another abrupt cut off (with Steve saying he "can't stand" the caller):


(If embedded audio doesn't load for you, you can listen to it here)

Yes Steve, quite a few kids do have gay people in their lives and loves! In this writer's own family, there are three kids (ages 6, 3, and 4 months) who will be part of my same-sex wedding next spring. There is a lesbian couple who have two children, both under seven. There are a whole slew of other young people, varying in age from 0 to 18, who know gay people as non-controversial parts of the family! This is not some fairy tale, Steve. This is REALITY! What we want to teach kids is REALITY. HOW DARE YOU SLIGHT US LIKE THIS SIMPLY BECAUSE WE ARE IN THE POPULATION'S MINORITY?!?!?

And again, notice how he smugly implies that pro-gay parents wouldn't ever cover other aspects of diversity as thoroughly. By what fricking regard?!?!?

Moving on. Next up, a caller who represents Steve's "mainstream" view:


(If embedded audio doesn't load for you, you can listen to it here)

So there's the "mainstream" view -- keeping your kids shielded from AIDS knowledge, complaining about a Nickelodeon cartoon, resisting age-appropriate sex education, and declaring that you "want to be with people who are like-minded." Yet WE are the ones who only want diversity for our own "kind"?! RIII-IIIIGHT.

Next up, another "radical" one who struggles to get a word in edgewise, and then who proceeds to gets shouted down. Notice the nasty little laugh (and odd background cough that seems to have some connection) around the :55 mark over the "despicable" tale of two men falling in love:


(If embedded audio doesn't load for you, you can listen to it here)

And here we also have Steve, the man who earlier asserted with 100% certainty that he was BORN STRAIGHT, completely discredit the idea that folks are born gay, simply because we have yet to nail down one specific gene or combination of genetic factors behind it. Well to that we say, "Well where the hell is your 'straight gene', Steve"? Oh, that's right -- they haven't nailed that one down either!

To hear these social conservatives tell it, genetics is a simple as basic math, and if a "gay gene" existed, we would have pinpointed it decades ago. But of course the truth is much more complex than that. But to call someone "ignorant" for raising the possibility that there is a genetic basis for homosexuality when you yourself have already declared yourself to have been "born straight"? Well that concept is simple: It's a blatant double standard!

Alright, last part:


(If embedded audio doesn't load for you, you can listen to it here)

Okay, for the last damn time: A FAIRY TALE ABOUT SAME-SEX LOVE IS NOT ANY MORE ABOUT SEX THAN IS SLEEPING BEAUTY OR SNOW WHITE!!!!!!! You social conservatives are the ones who are making it about sex. And if you do want to make these sorts of books about sex, then we sincerely look forward to you talking to your kids about what Prince Charming and Cindy do to kick off their first romantic night of happily ever after!

But you know, it's appropriate that Edie Hill uses the words "bully on them" to respond to Barack Obama's children being taught about same-sex commitments. Because you know what? That is exactly what Steve Malzberg is doing in this whole piece: Bullying on those who dare to respect the reality of the world around them! It is shameful!

***FULL EPISODE can be download at the Steve Malzberg Show site:
Steve Malzberg [WOR].

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Your thoughts

Can Rachel Maddow have him on her show??

Posted by: LOrion | Sep 11, 2008 4:39:39 PM

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