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Goldberg's column doesn't make us say 'Whoopi!'

by Jeremy Hooper

Here's the intro to a new piece from conservative writer Jonah Goldberg. Read it and then we'll get back to you:

200812041641Did you catch the political ad in which two Jews ring the doorbell of a nice, working-class family? They barge in and rifle through the wife's purse and then the man's wallet for any cash. Cackling, they smash the daughter's piggy bank and pinch every penny. "We need it for the Wall Street bailout!" they exclaim.

No? Maybe you saw the one with the two swarthy Muslims who knock on the door of a nice Jewish family and then blow themselves up?

No? Well, then surely you saw the TV ad in which two smarmy Mormon missionaries knock on the door of an attractive lesbian couple. "Hi, we're from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!" says the blond one with a toothy smile. "We're here to take away your rights." The Mormon zealots yank the couple's wedding rings from their fingers and then tear up their marriage license.

As the thugs leave, one says to the other, "That was too easy." His smirking comrade replies, "Yeah, what should we ban next?" The voice-over implores viewers: "Say no to a church taking over your government."

Obviously, the first two ads are fictional because no one would dare run such anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim attacks.

The third ad, however, was real. It was broadcast throughout California on election day as part of the effort to rally opposition to Proposition 8, the initiative that successfully repealed the right to same-sex marriage in the state.

An Ugly Attack on Mormons [NRO]

Okay, so it's yet another attempt to spin Prop 8 so that it's victims, rather than its proponents, look "intolerant." These offensive attempts to wash the stench of bias off their hands have become so frequent in the days since the election that we've mostly started ignoring them. However, this one could not go unmentioned for two reasons. (1) It's deeply flawed. (2) It itself reads to us as unintentionally anti-semitic and anti-Muslim.

The flawed part? Well, the Mormon ad was not based on rumor, conjecture, or opinion. The simple fact is that the LDS church contributed a crapload of cash to the Prop 8 effort. Without their bankrolling, it's highly unlikely that the discriminatory measure would've passed. So since the Mormons chose to enter the political arena to the tune of $20+ million dollars, they also signed themselves up for political scrutiny. This ad (which you can view here) was exactly that: A political reaction to a political situation. And you can best believe that if a gay-affirming church had done the same thing on our side, the "yes" side would've attacked early and often, with numerous jabs at how un-Biblical they perceive the liberal sect's views.

As for the unintentional anti-semitic and anti-Muslim undertones in Goldberg's words? Well, he's willfully presenting a crude, stereotypical portrait of both Jews and Muslims just so that he can make his flawed point. And the weird thing is that the setup is not only off-putting -- it's also completely misplaced. The Mormon ad didn't take easy jabs at Mormon stereotypes. There weren't any jokes about polygamy. There weren't any "magic underwear" mentions. The only aspect of Mormon culture that was touched upon was the door to door, white shirt-laden outreach efforts. The only points made in the ad were facts about the Mormon church's donations, which exist in a tangible, demonstrable form on the easily accessible public donor rolls. Yet Goldberg likens the ad to theoretical ones featuring cruel stereotypes about "money-grubbing" Jews and "jihadist" Muslims? Sorry, but that's objectionable.

Look, it's one thing if these conservatives want to defend Prop 8 on its perceived merits. But the idea that Mormons should be able to enter the political arena in such a major way and then just walk way without any scrutiny is offensive to the discourse. Mr. Goldberg's piece only serves to ratchet that offense up a few more notches.

**UPDATE: And of course the "yes on 8" folks are highlighting Goldberg's piece on their site. So desperate for validation, that crew.

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Your thoughts

correct me if I am wrong, but that never actually "aired" as an advertisement. It was an internet ad made by an independent group that got so much interset online that it became a topic for dicsussion on news shows and they showed the ad as part of the "news". Big difference. As an Ex-Mormon, I am getting really tired of the "mormons as victim" thing going around.

Posted by: Jon | Dec 4, 2008 5:39:49 PM

Jon: It aired on TV in the last week.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Dec 4, 2008 5:47:21 PM

This guy is a moron, and his final statement makes it clear:

"My own view is that gay marriage is likely inevitable and won’t be nearly the disaster many of my fellow conservatives fear it will be. But the scorched-earth campaign to victory pushed by gay-marriage advocates may well be disastrous, and “liberals” should be ashamed for countenancing it."

Scorched earth? I wonder how Mr. Goldberg would react to his rights being banned by the masses? He even agrees same sex marriage won't be the disaster some of him idiot compatriots believe it will be. Yet, he looks down on our passionate efforts to lift the jackboot from our throats.

Johan M-O-R-O-N 'Goldberg' should be ashamed of himself.

Posted by: Taylor Siluwé | Dec 4, 2008 6:14:40 PM

Who are bigger pussies than bullies? Brave people, like us LGBT-ers, defend ourselves and fight for our rights. We address the lies and misconceptions, sometimes through quiet conversations, sometimes with protests. We know that the knocks are part of the struggle and we keep our eyes on winning. Pussies, like Goldberg and I would suggest 99% of the religious right, are so insecure that the only thing they can claim is victimhood. AND THEY ARE THE ONES VICTIMIZING! Slapping you, slandering you, and dehumanizing you - and you dare to put your hand up and say "um, hello, that hurts" and suddenly you are drowned in their tears. Poor little pussies. Well, in the immortal words of Paul Young, we're "gonna tear your playhouse down...real soon!!"

p.s. and I use "pussies" in a completely non-female-denigrating sort of way.

Posted by: Sykler | Dec 4, 2008 7:22:58 PM

Poor Doughy Pantload . . . He's good at whining, hyperbole, and missing the point, but his reasoning and logic aren't the best.

Posted by: Marc | Dec 4, 2008 8:58:14 PM

Bullies always whine and cry when their victims defend themselves. These stories always give me nasty school flashbacks.

Posted by: RainbowPhoenix | Dec 4, 2008 9:02:18 PM

Please remember that Jonah Goldberg is generally taken as the type specimen of "stupid." He couldn't construct a decent argument with a blueprint.

He's just parroting the pro-Prop 8 mantra that any attack on them is bigotry and a violation of their religious freedom, except he's not very smart nor nearly as witty as he thinks he is, so it's kind of embarrassing. I feel bad for his mother -- lord knows what it took to get him that job at NRO, even with her connections.

Posted by: Hunter | Dec 5, 2008 7:22:08 AM

My theory is that she had compromising photos of Jonah, and threatened to force the people at NRO to look at them if they didn't hire him.

Posted by: Bill S | Dec 5, 2008 6:25:42 PM

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