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Laurie & Pete vs. Wayne & reasoned outrage

by Jeremy Hooper

You might remember the following West Virginia anti-equality video, since it earned Internet infamy earlier this year for a scene (:57) in which an American family is shown as being in the literal crosshairs of gay activists:

Now, just about everyone who writes about "culture war" issues covered the video when it first came to light, with most expressing complete shock that the "pro-family" side would stoop so low. And it didn't seem to be only gay activists who were annoyed. In fact, the video is so sweepingly unpopular that after 456 ratings on its official YouTube page, the video only has one star:

Picture 7-162

It's seems to be the type of thing that even many right-leaning people recognize as being beyond the pale.

Well, leave it to Peter LaBarbera and the Harriet to his anti-gay Ozzie, Laurie Higgins (of the SPLC-certified hate group the Illinois Family Institute), to go out on a limb to defend the indefensible. In a new post, Peter and Laurie are continuing the bizarre and myopic focus on gay activist Wayne Besen (an obsession we've already touched on this morning), acting (a) as if Wayne is the only person under the sun who found fault with this vid, and (b) like his outrage is really just an indication that he doesn't understand metaphor. Here's a snippet of Laurie's logic:

Wayne Besen, former spokesman for the subversive homosexual activist Human Rights Campaign and founder of the hate organization Truth Wins Out, apparently can’t make a distinction between a domestic terrorist threat and — a metaphor.

Besen has a West Virginia marriage initiative in his sights. He sees in this utterly benign video by The Family Policy Council of West Virginia a nefarious sniper threat. Please watch the video that has so terrorized Besen and that is more like an episode of The Waltons than 24.

His claim is both idiotic and comical. In one frame of this video, we see the nuclear family through the sight of a gun, which is a commonplace metaphor that means that someone or something is taking aim at or opposing something. Is Besen actually claiming that society should prohibit the use of this metaphor? Will society tolerate this kind of intrusive censorship? And is Besen claiming that he and his collaborators don’t have traditional marriage and the natural family in their crosshairs?

So essentially, in Laurie's view, this video is immune from scrutiny because it is merely a symbolic representation. And in her view, social conservatives are seemingly free to make any sort of implication about gay people, just as long as they pass it off as being a mere figure of speech (or video, as it were).

Well we have a metaphor for Laurie: Your reasoning is a big ol' barrel of bullcrappy! For one, there is accountability even in metaphor. Obviously. You can't ascribe any and every metaphorical implication onto a group of people and expect it to be accepted without resistance! The implication in this video is that gays, through their pushes for equality, are going to cause some sort of harm to families in general, and kids in particular. Even if blown-out brains is not the literal claim, it is the metaphorical vehicle that the anti-gay side is using here. And it's disgusting!!!!!!

Another flaw in the Higgins logic? The idea that gay activists have "traditional marriage and the natural family in their crosshairs." That is a notion that exists only within the overactive imaginations of the professionally anti-gay. The vast majority of gay activists see themselves as fitting quite nicely within the spectrums of tradition, nature, and family. And while we will admit that crosshairs are used linguistically on both sides to convey perceived assaults, we can say with 100% honesty that we can't imagine even the most "radical" of gay rights outfits even thinking about putting little children behind visual crosshairs (unless they were mocking the far-right's extremism). It's just not something we do, even though WE ARE THE LONG-PERSECUTED ONES WHO WOULD HAVE FAR MORE REASON TO FEEL UNDER LITERAL ATTACK!

The truth is that the "pro-family" movement, who have enjoyed a mostly consistent gay issue upswing for the past few decades, are now having to answer for the hyperbolic tactics that they have been using against gay people. They have overplayed their hand, and we have worked to connect with the hearts and minds of America. The dual progressions, combined with youth support and Internet transparency, have led to a perfect storm of sorts for those of us who are sick and tired of their long-ignored attacks. More and more people are seeing what they have been saying about us in private for years, and more and more people are disgusted with their operations. And that's exactly why the Petes and Lauries of the world are digging up these lame excuses and trying so hard to flip the tables in terms of who is the "extremist" and who is the victim.

It's not going to work. Or to to put it in metaphorical terms, Laurie: Your side's gravy train is quickly skidding off the tracks.

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Your thoughts

Aye. When they show people in a gun-sight it's a "metaphor". When we produce a video with Jack Black as Jesus telling you exactly what the Bible says it's "Christian Bashing".

Their minds are so twisted.

Posted by: Buffy | Mar 20, 2009 6:46:23 PM

Wasn't Peter just asking for disciplinary action to be taking against Jamie Ensley, President of the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans because he called AFTAH a radical "Christian domestic terrorist group"?

Is irony lost on these people?

Posted by: Alonzo | Mar 20, 2009 7:30:28 PM

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