10 April 2009

Who We're Dealing With

By now lots of you have probably seen that creepy vid from the National Organization for Marriage with the zombies darkly intoning prophecies of civilization's doom and fascistic denial of all kinds of personal freedoms if same-sex marriage continues its progress. We'll ignore for now the fact that all of the horror stories their script referred to were thoroughly debunked during last year's Prop 8 campaign. I wanted to pass on three points of follow-up.

1. Comic Relief

First, thanks to Clark for flagging a hilarious parody that's already been posted by geniuses unknown. Well worth watching.

2. Wickedly Insightful Commentary

Second, some thoughts from columnist Mark Morford (full text here):

"My favorite part has got to be the lightning.

The fake lightning, that is, flashing just off to the side, a cheap 'n' cheesy special effect that momentarily lights up the actors' faces in the most sweetly melodramatic way as they stand there against the dark 'n' stormy backdrop like devout Christian zombies, delivering delightfully weird and wooden lines about being openly terrified of those openly terrifying gay married people.

Yes, it's merely another series of strange, alarmist, deeply homophobic ads from yet another seething anti-gay group you've never heard of (the National Organization for Marriage, or NOM), ads which are running right now in five states in response to two stunning, watershed gay marriage upheavals in Iowa and Vermont, AKA two more states now shamelessly roaring down the highway to hell.

Have you heard? Turns out the married gays are still on the march. No longer merely a coastal phenomenon, undeterred by the economic recession, as yet unsmited by God's redneck fury, these bizarre, relentlessly loving creatures are now invading the heartland. Will the nightmare of love never end?

You just gotta see these strange, hateful little ads (as of this writing, the unintentionally hilarious audition reels of the terrible actors reciting the fake lines have been, alas, taken down).

The ads emphasize how the gays are moving closer to Christian homes, businesses, schools and genitalia, and many terrified citizens with souls the size of marbles clearly don't know what to do or how to protect their children -- or their crotches -- from the onslaught because, oh my God, I think I just saw two men kissing on the mouth! Help me, Jesus!

But something is different. Unlike the comparatively sophisticated Proposition 8 ads funded by huge amounts of Mormon "panic cash" here in California, these low-budget spots reek of something else, something a bit more briny and stale and, yes, ultimately enlightening.

What's most striking, what sets these ads apart from most homophobic campaigns of the past, is the palpable tone of desperation. It's a feeling that these groups are, more and more, clutching at straws, scraping bottom, leaning on the most absurd, least tenable arguments imaginable, each one more shrill and desperate than the last in a losing effort to appeal to an ever-shrinking audience of increasingly indifferent, bored homophobes.

This, to me, is the best news of all. The bizarre inscrutability of these crappy little ads is the surest sign yet that the barricades of intolerance are collapsing, the tone is shifting. Put it this way: hate groups like NOM have lost nearly all political power they enjoyed during the Reign of Bush. It's now clear, given the wonderful events in Iowa and Vermont, they're losing the last of their ideological footing as well. There's still a long way to go, but the walls are crumbling fast."

3. Who We're Dealing With

Third, who are these people? This vid was created by the National Organization for Marriage. The folks who run that organization include the following (thanks to the Green Mountain Daily for this information).

The executive director is Bryan Brown, formerly with the Family Institute of Connecticut. Fundamental Catholic ties.

The Chair of the Board is Robert George, professor at Princeton and fundamental Catholic. Many conservative ties. To quote Andrew Sullivan, "his passionate opposition to the civil equality and freedom of gay people is the core principle of his politics." Ties to American Enterprise Institute, involved in opposition to Prop. 8.

Ken VonKohorn is a board member and chair of the board of Family Institute of CT, which is conservative religious, not just Catholic. He's a money manager in Westport, CT and has written for AEI. Robert George is on this board as well.

And last but certainly not least for this blog's readers, Matt Holland is a board member, former political science professor at BYU, newly named president of Utah Valley University, and--yep, you guessed it--son of Jeffrey Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Once again, Scrum Central scoops the MoHoSphere.

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