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02/23/2009

OMG -- Let 'After the Ball' go!

by Jeremy Hooper

We would be willing to bet that most gay activists under 35 have never read After The Ball. After-the-ballWe'd be even more willing to bet that most Hollywood movie stars of any age have failed to read the twenty-year-old gay rights tome. However, that doesn't stop our organized opposition from acting as if anyone left-of-center had the book implanted in their brains on their 18th birthdays. To hear them tell it, this is the one and only playbook that we all use in our fights against bias.

Latest case in point? This blurb about Sean Penn's Oscar acceptance speech:

Focus on the Family research analyst Caleb Price said Penn took a page from the gay-activist playbook “After the Ball,” which was written in the late '80s.

"It's all about making people feel shame for not thinking, feeling or acting like one of the pack," Price said. "And this is exactly what Sean Penn did in his Oscar acceptance speech."

Oscar Winner Says Marriage Advocates Should Feel Shame [Citizenlink]

Yes, you know, because if not for this book, none of us would have ever figured out that using personal religious beliefs to discriminate against a minority is a wrong-headed concept. And if not for the book, we'd never know how to feel sympathy/empathy for those who have been hurt by the biased pushes. And if not for the book, we wouldn't know how to look at the Prop 8 donor rolls and see that organizations like Focus on the Family gave a crapload of cash to the hurtful cause. And if not for the book, we wouldn't know how to speak from the heart.

You have our number, Caleb Price. This book is our leftist god, and we its mere disciples. In fact, I'm running low on reasoned rage -- better head to the library and take another hit from our movement's literary crack pipe!

*EARLIER: Hey 'pro-fams: We're WAAAAAY 'After The Ball', please move on[G-A-Y]

*****

*NOTE: Because of a particularly nasty comment, we feel a need to clarify some things about this post. The point of it is not AT ALL to say that After the Ball, by virtue of either its own merits or the passage of time, is irrelevant. The point is just that it is not a book that's currently making the rounds among gay activists in the ways that the social conservatives suggest. That is not to negate the book, its importance, or the inspiration it has provided/currently provides anyone. It's just to say that the book is not a modern cultural phenomenon except among the social conservatives.

Also, we didn't make the under 35 mention because we see this group in any different light. The only reason that distinction was drawn is because most in the under 35 set weren't active in late 80's/early 90's activism, and therefore were not exposed to the book when it was released.

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Your thoughts

AGAIN? That has to be the fourth time this year that book has been cited by the religious right. Time to update my other blog.

Posted by: a. mcewen | Feb 23, 2009 6:58:13 PM

What's funny is I never even heard of this book until 2 years ago - from the AFTAH Peter's anti-gay website of all places.

Posted by: Alonzo | Feb 23, 2009 7:39:52 PM

Alonzo: It's certainly not on the tips of young activists' tongues. Whether it ever was is not for me to answer. But the anti-gay side's obsession with the book is beyond odd.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Feb 23, 2009 7:53:22 PM

Caleb Price of FOTF said: "It's all about making people feel shame for not thinking, feeling or acting like one of the pack..."

Isn't that what religion is largely all about? We can always count on these people for massive "projection."

Posted by: Richard Rush | Feb 23, 2009 8:20:28 PM

How terribly sad for one to think simply because you are under 35 and a book was written in the late '80's that it is irrelevant. Your writings are mean-spirited and filled with cynicism. You sound like an old and jaded bitter queen who sits at home having an all day pity party. If this is the new voice of the younger gay generation, I will stick with the Stonewall crowd. Gays today have it so much better than children of the '60's, 70's and '80's. Please stop whining and find a real job that contributes some good to the world.

Posted by: M Beyer | Feb 24, 2009 11:57:55 AM

M Beyer: Huh?!? What an odd an unfair thing to draw from this post. And what a mean-spirited and untrue take on my work. Wow.

The point is not AT ALL to say that After the Ball is irrelevant -- the point is just that it is not a book that's currently making its rounds around gay activists in the ways that the social conservatives suggest. That is not to negate the book, its importance, or the inspiration it has provided/currently provides anyone. It's just to say that the book is not a modern cultural phenomenon except among the social conservatives.

And I didn't make the under 35 mention because I see this group in any different light. The reason that distinction is drawn is because most in the under 35 set weren't active in late 80's/early 90's activism, and therefore were not exposed to the book when it was released.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Feb 24, 2009 12:27:47 PM

On the CARM* discussion forums there's a poster called christdependent who I'll swear is on commission from the publishers of that book. She's obsessed with it.

A thoroughly nasty piece of work she is too.

TRiG.

* Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.

Posted by: Timothy (TRiG) | Feb 24, 2009 1:14:37 PM

I am (alas) well over 35 and I DID read After the Ball. I thought it made some very good points and I did hope that it influenced some of our leaders.

At the time of publishing, leaders did tend to say some pretty outlandish things. It was only natural - we were a very young community still finding our footing. And a lot of After the Ball is about doing just that.

But I don't recall anything in that book that stood out and I can say with absolute certainty that no one at all took the book as some kind of manual. It was mostly common sense stuff and with the maturity of our community, the change in language and presentation was bound to happen anyway.

Now the Peter and Caleb Price know that this book (which is out of print and was a best seller) has never been some kind of manual for our community. But they don't care.

They will say ANYTHING, no matter how untruthful they know they are being, to win their Culture War. I would REALLY hate to be them when they finally meet their God.

Posted by: Timothy | Feb 24, 2009 1:21:05 PM

Ugh... "..and never was a best seller..."

Posted by: Timothy | Feb 24, 2009 1:22:05 PM

The Christian Right are better gay activists than we'll ever be.

Although let's pray to Yassir Arafat that these kids keep themselves entertained with pointless political crusades, lest they unleash their repressions all over some guy named Jim in an airport stall.

Posted by: Chris | Feb 24, 2009 3:04:19 PM

I 'just' turned 35 (yay,me!) and read it about 2 years ago after hearing how it was m playbook, or some such nonsense like that. Read it and it was good (if not a bit dated, but that happens to just about any book like that). Not as much reactionary/revolutionary stuff as I hoped, so I went back to Mao's Little Red Book. :)

Posted by: EdgyB | Feb 24, 2009 4:06:05 PM

I didn't hear about this book until I was watching Speechless: Silencing the Christians. I'm 21 whichs puts me at the age of 1 when this book was published and I don't feel anytype of way about it. I guess I'll go pick it up to see what all the fuss is about. Your right though, this book hasn't had any affect on how I feel we should be treated...its a common sense thing, basic human rights not the end result of some secret agenda spelled out by a book that I just heard about...I find that accusation offensive.

Posted by: Jordan | Feb 26, 2009 12:54:11 PM

christdependant from CARM makes Fred Phelps look plesant by comparison. She is rabidly anti-gay and has one of the most unpleasant personalities that I have ever encountered, anywhere.

Posted by: Mo | Mar 2, 2009 11:21:17 PM

This whole article is missing the point though. You weren't around when your parents met. But If they didn't meet, you wouldn't even be here. Or a better example; you intuitively know how to read all of the letter combinations. In fact, you were trained in them. But, unless you are a linguist, you have never studied the many of the rules of the letter combinations. You didn't have to read the book for it to have had a dramatic impact on your way of seeing the situation. And you didn't have to read the book in order for you to be trained in its ways. That is the point of the book in the first place, to train the American public to think and act in such a way as to support th political agenda of homosexual militant politics. IT HAS OBVIOUSLY WORKED WONDERS!

Posted by: Jen | Apr 19, 2009 6:28:32 PM

No Jen, the article is not "missing the point." We are rejecting the point. There is a big difference.

As Timothy states a few comments above: The book NEVER had a major, best-selling impact on the community. That's not to denounce the work or negate is merits. It's simply to say that this was only a BOOK, and not the game-changing cultural phenom that our opposition wants it to be. Even those who love it, and likely even those involved in its production, would surely say the same.

The truth is that the anti-gay movement needs their handy reference points, and After The Ball is just another one in a long line of these. They (and apparently you) need to believe that we have "manuals" that control what is really just plain common sense! They do this as a way of negating the truth, which is that pro-gay progress is actually borne out of simple concepts like decency, fairness, truth, education, etc.

The anti-gay movement needs to boil it down to a simple case of a book, sort of like a gay bible, that controls all thought and progress, because they don't want to admit that free, open minds ALWAYS bend towards acceptance!!

Posted by: G-A-Y | Apr 19, 2009 6:40:59 PM

I didn't read "After the Ball". I don't think I need to. It seems like it was a prediction of how homosexuality would most likely made acceptable by the national community. And whether or not anyone read it is pretty much irrelevant, the gay agenda has been pushed so that much of America feels it is acceptable. I don't believe that homosexuality is right. Its a sin, as much as drukenness, or any heterosexual immorality. You may be born with the predisposition to want to do these things but they are not moral nor good for the community.
Everyone sins, its a fact of life. The sad part is that we are telling our youth that these sins are ok. It is not only the Christian movement that believes this either. There are many cultures that know this to be unnatural. Some would say, "but there are species of animals that perform homosexual acts." But this is usually dominance behavior or performed under stress, as in bonobo apes. All in all homosexuality as a lifestyle is not natural. Even if you are an evolutionist you would surmise that a species that turns to homosexuality would eventually go extinct. I myself don't believe that we are animals, nor do I want to behave as one. I'm not condemning anyone who is homosexual. I think that it would take a lot to face what must be like battling an addiction. Very hard to overcome, but definitely conquerable.

Posted by: Sadie | Apr 30, 2009 8:50:32 PM

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