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Video: Does The Message™ speak to you?

by Jeremy Hooper

Equality California is gearing up for this Thursday's Prop 8 hearing by firing this commercial off onto California airwaves:

Hmm. It's certainly relevant, with the attempt to capture the Milk zeitgeist. And it's certainly -- cool. But does it capture what you are feeling? Does it lay bare the extent of the gaping wound that's been on your heart since November? Is it perhaps too heavy-handed in its reliance on the "God Hates Fags" sign? Or is it the right tone for this moment in history?

What do you think?

**Andy Towle asks:

"'For every Jerry Falwell, there's a Harvey Milk'


I hate to sound like a 'debbie downer' because the images and issues here could not be more serious, but would Harvey Milk have approved the soporific, feel-good elevator music and the groovy stoned sounding narrator that accompanies this ad? Where's the anger?"

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Your thoughts

At least they did include images of gay people in this one! Sounds like it is less of a PSA, and more of an importunate plea for LGBTs to overlook the recent past in an attempt to woo back some lost supporters.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Mar 3, 2009 12:05:03 PM

Honestly, Dick, I'm not sure what I think of the ad. I'm trying to step outside of myself and watch it objectively, seeing how it would resonate with me if I were one who needed to be moved. As it stands, I just kinda go, "Oh. So that's that ad."

The reason why I posed this as a question is because I'm hearing lots of complaints about it.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 3, 2009 12:16:23 PM

are they really going to air this POC?

It's about as effective as a windows media-maker slideshow can be I suppose, but the electronically altered (lowered)voiceover is even worse. Why they tried to make the guy sound like James Earl Jones is beyond insipid.

What a waste of money to air this.

Posted by: Jon | Mar 3, 2009 12:41:51 PM

Yea, Jon. Here's the page where they're seeking donation to keep it running:


Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 3, 2009 12:51:45 PM

Not one more penny.

Posted by: Jon | Mar 3, 2009 1:02:59 PM

And they STILL can't bring themselves to utter the words "gay" or "lesbian".

Posted by: Alex | Mar 3, 2009 1:08:53 PM

It's awful... so typical of EQ CA. I don't know what century they are in but it is not the 21st.
Why not a 'Why Do You Hate my Family picture?' I will send you one from the November 15th JTI Sac rally? Why not something positive about how happy we will be if Prop H8 is overturned. It is a judicial fight now. EQ CA just wants to make more $$ for themselves.

Here is http link to pic: maybe you can get it up from this.

Posted by: LOrion | Mar 3, 2009 2:07:32 PM

also sending Desert Sun editorial which includes:
"The state Supreme Court will hear arguments challenging Proposition 8 this week.
While we realize the voters have spoken, we've never had a situation in which one minority group had to go to the ballot box to get the same rights as everyone else. If that were the rationale we always followed, interracial couples wouldn't have been granted the right to marry, schools would not have been segregated, women wouldn't have the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, and they certainly wouldn't have been allowed to vote. Major issues like abolishing slavery could have been repealed at the ballot box."

"We understand that change is difficult, but we don't believe same-sex marriage diminishes marriage between heterosexuals.
We don't have true civil rights if some of us aren't entitled to them.
Therefore, it is our sincere hope that the court will invalidate Proposition 8 once and for all and that same-sex marriage in California will stand."

There that's better, much better.

Posted by: LOrion | Mar 3, 2009 2:14:35 PM

LOrion. . . good post, but I think you mean to say "desegrigation".

Posted by: Jon | Mar 3, 2009 2:28:44 PM

oh hell . .never mind . .I can't spell either.


Posted by: Jon | Mar 3, 2009 2:36:05 PM

Here is my perspective on the issue:


Posted by: Zack Ford | Mar 3, 2009 3:39:50 PM

I wish I could say this surprised me, but seeing as how EQCA has already demonstrated how incompetent they are...
Is there any way to get some people from EQUT down to help out in California? They seem to know what they're doing.

Posted by: RainbowPhoenix | Mar 3, 2009 3:46:38 PM

Michael Petrelis has a response roundup:


Posted by: ++ | Mar 3, 2009 8:45:46 PM

Perhaps this is petty, but why do they use the word 'beaten' and not 'murdered'? Are they afraid of offending people outside the lgbt community? Shepherd wasn't merely beaten, but he was murdered.

Posted by: Rhea | Mar 3, 2009 10:57:12 PM

I'd love to see a nationally run commercial, consisting of a slideshow of as many of the 18,000 LEGALLY MARRIED HAPPY COUPLES as could be found (preferably on their wedding day), but the practicality of that- the cost- the run time- never happen, I guess.

Or- could it? HRC, GLAD- anyone wanna grab this one and organize the concept?

The discussion HAS to be in every livingroom in America and beyond, not just in California.

If President Obama could buy time during the pre-election cycle to address the voters, we should be able to do similar.

Posted by: Louise | Mar 4, 2009 6:00:55 AM

I agree with Rhea - murdered is the more accurate word. We are not just splitting hairs here.

That said, I know the lgbt community is angry. I am angry, too. But I've seen what anger does. It fuels the other side to proclaim, "We are the victims - not the gays." Any anger expressed by me to a self-righteous Christian jerk gets them to dig their heels in. It accomplishes nothing for our side.

You must understand - the people who voted yes on 8 are afraid of you already. That's what prejudice is.

Posted by: Bonnie_Half-Elven | Mar 4, 2009 1:08:17 PM

How badly this ad sucks depends on where it is aired. And as much as I love to hate EQCA, this is a good ad for my hometown to see (Fresno, CA) -- now whether it is used wisely is another matter.

What this ad reminded me of was a quote of Bayard Rustin's:

"[T]he job of the gay community is not to deal with extremists who would castigate us or put us on an island and drop an H-bomb on us. The fact of the matter is that there is a small percentage of people in America who understand the true nature of the homosexual community. There is another small percentage who will never understand us. Our job is not to get those people who dislike us to love us. Nor was our aim in the civil rights movement to get prejudiced white people to love us. Our aim was to try to create the kind of America, legislatively, morally, and psychologically, such that even though some whites continued to hate us, they could not openly manifest that hate. That's our job today: to control the extent to which people can publicly manifest antigay sentiment."
--Bayard Rustin; From Montgomery to Stonewall (1986)

I think that this ad is an effective, because it makes very clear -- I think -- to people who oppose LGBT equality, just which side of history they are on. We know that we are on the side of right, on the side of justice, on the side of truth and we know that the arc of history is bending (albeit erratically and at a snails pace) toward the validation of our dignity as human beings. John Q. Public needs to understand that the era of being able to hide behind religion and "tradition" as justification for his own intellectual laziness and moral bigotry is drawing to a close and this ad is a step in that direction.

I agree with Rustin, our job is not to make people love us, our job is to create an environment where open hostility to our equality is scorned, regarded with contempt, and where the individuals behind it are deemed unworthy of of our attention or respect.

If this ad only airs in West Hollywood and San Francisco, then you all are right, it is a self-loathing piece of crap and EQCA should be ashamed of itself. If they actually have the balls to air it where it should be seen (that is, everywhere between Modesto and Bakersfield), then it has value and should be supported.

...that said, until I see it run at least twenty times in the Central Valley netherworld of California, I will continue to refuse any kind of support to EQCA.

Posted by: JR | Mar 5, 2009 4:00:43 PM

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