They came for the cookies, and I was not a cookie, so I did not speak up …

Slacktivist reports right-wing pundit Rod Dreher is shocked, shocked and appalled that Nabisco has put out an Oreo with rainbow-creme center to celebrate Gay Pride week.
As Slacktivist points out, it’s unlikely Dreher objects to shamrock-green Oreos for St. Patrick’s Day or believes that they’re a political statement. And if the mayor shows up and drinks some green beer, that’s probably okay too. But being Irish isn’t controversial any more (a century ago, the Irish, while better than blacks, were still treated as non-white). Being gay is controversial and objectionable to Dreher, so celebrating gayness is political, and objectionable.
It’s the same way that some people say they’re fine with gay co-workers but not with them bringing up their gayness at work. Of course, people bring up their love lives and partners a lot on the job, so gay workers aren’t doing anything unusual—but “gay” is still controversial enough that it feels like mentioning it is “rubbing my face in it.”
This leads me, sort of, to this blog post, about a 1980s story in which Bruce Banner is spending the night at the YMCA and almost raped by two gays (when they realize he’s the Hulk, they back off). This was the first ever appearance of gay characters at Marvel so understandably it raised a lot of hackles.
Several people in the comments thread argued that well, some gay guys can be rapists, why is that wrong? As others responded, it’s because there’s no positive (or even neutral) portrayals to counterbalance it, and because it taps into one of the fears many guys seem to have about gays (even the idea of being looked on with lust unnerves some men).
Author Jim Shooter’s claim that this was based on a true experience (even if accurate) doesn’t count for much either. If the only Jewish character in Marvel was a greedy, covetous banker who hated Christians, I’d count that as anti-Semitic even if the author claimed it was based on personal experience. The point isn’t whether people exist who fit the stereotype, it’s when that stereotype becomes the dominant or only face we see (as Hathor Legacy points out here). As I’ve noted before, having an evil Asian for the villain isn’t bad, but when every Asian is a Fu Manchu knockoff, that’s another matter.
In other news, General Mills’ staff meet anti-gay protesters with smiles and refreshments.
•Gays are only one of the agents employed by the Satanic Nazi Conspiracy!
•Right-wing activist Jim Garlow insists the Bible depicts one man/one woman marriage as the only acceptable path. Possibly he’s never read the Old Testament.
•Can you deny gays (or anyone) their rights and be “nice” about it? Are people who agree with hatemongers on policy but not on rhetoric entitled to more respect? I’d say sometimes yes—some people are genuinely horrified by the extremists—but a lot of times no (some people are more embarrassed that the hate was vented publicly than anything else).
•A Christian woman recounts her experience with an “ex gay” boyfriend. And wonders how many ministers who advocate that path would really be comfortable if their kid brought home an ex-gay completely-cured fiancee.
•Apparently one good thing about the fight against gay marriage is that it’s profitable for the religious right.

2 Comments

Filed under Politics

2 responses to “They came for the cookies, and I was not a cookie, so I did not speak up …

  1. What great questions, “Can you deny anyone their rights and be ‘nice’ about it?” in particular. The amount of flack Oreos are taking for putting out multicolored cookies (they are just •cookies• after all) suggests that the stand they’re taking is more admirable than I originally gave them credit for. I also love that in handing out refreshments to the protestors, the Minnesota General Mills people said, “It’s the neighborly thing to do.” What a reasonable response to criticism; I wish more “political” issues were dealt with in this way!

    • frasersherman

      Yes, they really handled that well–I’d like to think I’d be as courteous, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

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