GLBT Lobby Day 2005
Originally uploaded by minnesotaliberal.
These are a few snaps from the GLBT rally held today at the Minnesota State Capitol.
These are a few snaps from the GLBT rally held today at the Minnesota State Capitol.
In his transformation from comedian to pundit, Al Franken has maintained the humorlessness that distinguished his show business career after the expiration of the Al Franken decade. In his capacity as a pundit, Franken has added the element of demagogy on a variety of subjects. Now he peddles the party line like a good left-wing apparatchik.I totally agree. And so do millions of other Americans. We agree so much that we put five of his books on the NY Times Bestseller list. And the Grammy's agree too. They agree so much that they gave him a Best Comedy Album of 2005 nomination for his "The O'Franken Factor Factor" CD. I know what you are thinking... "he was only nominated." Well get this, he has been nominated four other times as well. And wouldn't you know it... he was so unfunny that he won... twice! Both "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot" and "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" were awarded Grammies for Best Comedy Album.
Now he peddles the party line like a good left-wing apparatchik.I'm not quite sure if this is a snide snarky attack at Franken or a compliment... considering the source. He couldn't possibly stick to the party line better than the boys at Powerline.
January 11, 2005
Men Vs. Mad Avenue
Miss O'Hara has a post today on a subject I've been noodling about getting back into for quite a while:
I just saw one of the worst spots of 2004, a Chrysler spot. (The fact that I despise DCX does not hurt.)
It shows a rugged, dusty man standing in the desert, his motorcycle broken down along the side of an empty highway. A minivan pulls up, and a sweatpants-wearing, ponytailed woman asks, "Out of gas?" After a nod to the affirmative, the woman opens the back door of her minivan, pushes all of the seats down, puts the motorcycle into the car, straps it down, and they prepare to drive off.
Which is when we get the kicker. In a moment apparently intended to elicit laughs from viewers, our grungy heroine turns to the crumb-cruncher in the backseat and says, with a viciously Hillary-like snidely sneering look and tone, "Daddy just haaaaaad to get a motorcycle - didn't he?"
The subject is Madison Avenue's continual neutering of the American male via advertising - and the Chrysler spot isn't the worst. For that we turn to:
SCENE: Living room. Doughy, sclubby guy in football jersey is sitting watching a football game. Impossibly hot wife approaches.
WIFE: Did you get the car insurance taken care of?
HUSBAND: (Proud, doomed smile): Yep!
WIFE: (Looks at statement) Did you check it against other providers?
HUSBAND: (Crestfallen, shakes head)
WIFE: How about customer service?
TV: "Whoah, he bobbles the ball!"
HUSBAND: (Shakes head, dejected)
WIFE: (With smug, smirky grin, hands phone to husband, walks away. HUSBAND whimpers).
Now, these ads may have a method to their madness; women may make the car and insurance-buying decisions; sucking up to them may be good business.
But what does this tell boys in our society? "This is what you have to look forward to; a life of working away like a good little boy, but having your intelligence and dignity denigrated because of your gender". Combine that with the message boys get in schools - "Boyhood's natural exhuberance and competitiveness and energy are things that, with enough time and medication, we can overcome" - what do you think you'll get?
A situation even worse than the one we have, where boys make up less than half of college students, and where the lag in life expectancy between men and women continues to grow.
The way popular culture, advertising, the media, the law and academia treat men in our society is a subject I've been wanting to find the time to write in vastly more detail about since the election. Much more advertising like this, and I think I'll find a way to make the time.
I shouldn't have to wait long.
Here's a lovely little fact you might want to consider when you get around to that piece. Check the CDC statistics on mortality by gender. In every age group, male deaths by suicide are higher then females. In some age groups, the numbers for men are 3 to 4 times higher.
Combine this with school trends and it appears that males are having a lot more problems than anybody thinks.
Posted by T at January 11, 2005 10:38 AM
The company I work for, MSP Communications, which puts out Minneapolis/St. Paul Monthly Magazine (a bigger bunch of ads, you'll likely never see) consists of, I kid you not, around 85 percent female employees, and the number of female applicants vastly outstrips the number of male applicants. Which makes me suspect that the advertising and mass communication fields may be female-dominated, which may explain some of the advertisement trends you're seeing that basically snip males off at the base of their testicles.
But that's just a theory, based entirely on no real reseach or hard evidence to speak of. Just an observation.
Posted by Ryan at January 11, 2005 10:43 AM
By the way, Mitch, does that public notice about a $1,000 advertising rate for comment section spam actually work? I'd love to dissuade those pricks from polluting my comment section. And, if I could make $1,000 a pop in the process, well, more power to me.
Posted by Ryan at January 11, 2005 11:36 AM
Nah. Doesn't do jack. I did it a while ago, when a rumor was going around that there might be some sort of class-action against spammers, but I've heard nothing.
I'm going to take the thing down one of these days.
Posted by mitch at January 11, 2005 11:42 AM
Ryan- As an advertising/pr major that just finished at the UofM, I would say that the number of students in this field by gender is pretty even. But from my knowledge... agencies tend to be owned or run by males. Women may have high positions or be equally staffed, but men always seem to run the industry.
T- The reason you may be seeing those numbers is that males tend to attempt suicide with more violent measures (shooting themselves, etc). Women tend to use more non-violent means (popping pills). Also... don't forget that there is a significantly high suicide rate among teenage gay males.
Mitch- If you want an accurate idea of advertising... you must first look at the program in which the advertising is being broadcast. If it is a program with high female viewership... they are going to play commercials that cater to females. But if you watch, oh... say the Vikings game on Sunday, you will see quite a different set of advertisements.
I think that the commercials played during the average football game say far more than the Chrysler spot. What do you think hurts male intelligence and dignity more? Beer swigging men dreaming of "the twins" and 4 hour erections thanks to Viagra (quite unrealistic and childish)... or a women being in charge of some major household decisions (quite normal and part of many mature adult relationships).
I know this is kind of an exaggeration... but I think you miss the point of the advertising. It is not a reflection of our reality, but is manipulation of the publics desires or expectations of product performance.
Just look at the money spent on vetting the ads before airplay. An ad doesn't see the light of day until it has been proven to be effective at selling a product or image. If men weren't buying it... they wouldn't be selling it.
I am not saying that men aren't portrayed poorly... they are. But so are women. So are minorities, so are gays, and etc. But still... it is worth exploring (and I hope to read whatever you come up with).
But my point is... the public doesn't want reality... they want this idealized stereotypical dream world. I wish it weren't so... but sadly... it is what sells.
Posted by Carson at January 11, 2005 11:52 AM
It's not just the advertising, it's also the programming. Consider the most popular television programs -- "Friends," "Seinfeld," and everything else from Homer Simpson to the male leads on CSI and Law & Order. On the one hand, all men are useless buffoons or feminized domestics. On the other, they are remote, callow, insensitive one-trick ponies who "don't get it." Meanwhile, you can no longer view television programming without frequent portrayals or at least suggestions of the "normality" of homosexual behavior.
Whether the advertising is driving the programming or vice versa is perhaps an interesting academic exercise, but it is already abundantly clear that traditional male virtues of honor, intelligence, and integrity are routinely undermined and denigrated in favor of feminized male stereotypes. Meanwhile, it is the female leads ("Alias," "Medium," "Cold Case," "NYPD Blue," etc.) that represent the traditional and genetic masculine attributes of strength and power. Apparently, on television, the only good man is the feminized man, especially the homosexual male. The rest are just stupid, fat, lazy morons who must depend on women to take care of them. In the final analysis, the television male is either lewd and obscene, or a feminized domestic.
Meanwhile, in real life, little boys are prescribed Ritalin in grade school to regulate their natural masculine tendencies. If ADD was in fact a manifestation of mental disorder in the pubescent population, you would expect to see a more or less balanced distribution. You do not, of course, because only the natural behavior of little boys is considered "bad," which is the canard we see daily reinforced in popular television programming, which sadly, has become the primary influence in the lives of today's children.
A "good" boy, apparently, is a girl.
Posted by Eracus at January 11, 2005 11:54 AM
Carson makes a valid point. Even at MSP, the ruling elite tends to be men. Then again, those ruling elite don't typically have much say when it comes to editorial content, which is overseen primarily by editors and managing editors which, at least at MSP, are largely women.
It would be interesting to explore this further, and I might just have to do that. You know, when I'm not at work and stuff.
Posted by Ryan at January 11, 2005 12:00 PM
To augment Eracus's statement: I'm relatively certain, like, 97 percent certain that, if my elementary school self were to be in elementary school today, I would be diagnosed with ADD and on a healthy daily dose of Ritalin. I was one of the most unruly little bastards in school.
Posted by Ryan at January 11, 2005 12:07 PM
You know why you frequently see gay characters on television shows? Maybe... just maybe... it is because they appear in normal life.
What would you prefer... everytime a gay character pops up in a tv series they immediatly be accosted for their sinful behavior? Seriously... grow up.
As for your "A 'good' boy, apparently, is a girl" comment... what in the heck are you talking about? Sorry if I missed it... but I thought sports, hunting, and etc were still pretty popular and prevalent in our society and pop culture.
In fact... I am willing to go as far as saying that it is seen as abnormal for a boy to not want to do any of those activities.
But really... what is the harm in a boy not wanting to do any of those things. I don't see how that makes him a girl (even though that is the way you seem to feel).
I would say that our society has become more open to the concept of alternate definitions of how a male (boy or adult) should talk, dress, and act.
But I guess some people will just never accept the fact that there is no one single way to define a group of people.
Posted by Carson at January 11, 2005 12:18 PM
As for the ADD thing-
Most of my friends didn't get diagnosed with it until college... and by that time it was too late to try and fix the mistakes they had made in high school or at earlier ages. Many would get bad grades or wouldn't finish homework. A couple ended up dropping out of college- because their body was producing chemicals that made it nearly impossible to find motivation for working and studying.
Many people have been helped by such drugs, and if they don't work or help... in my experience, they discontinued use of the drug and seeked alternate medical opinions.
Posted by Carson at January 11, 2005 12:24 PM
Have you even watched Law and Order? How are the male leads in those programs not intelligent, powerful, full of honor and integrity, and masculinity? What about them is feminine? I don't get it.
Watch "24" lately? Jack Bauer doesn't seem like a metrosexual to me.
And as for sitcoms... a chubby jolly husband that is dumb and clumsy can still be honorable, full of integrity.
Just because there are some alternate versions of the male gender on television, does not mean that your definition is absent a representative.
Posted by Carson at January 11, 2005 12:34 PM
“Meanwhile, it is the female leads ("Alias," "Medium," "Cold Case," "NYPD Blue," etc.) that represent the traditional and genetic masculine attributes of strength and power.”
I don’t know what you’ve been watching but Andy Sipowitz is clearly the lead character on NYPD Blue and on Alias, Jack Bristowe is a pretty strong male lead character (although Jennifer Garner is the main character).
Also how do shows like CSI, CSI Miami, Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, JAG, Navy NCIS, Andromeda, and Stargate SG-1 fit into this rule?
Also (much as I loath the show) the West Wing is a pretty good example of a show where the male characters are made out to be represent “strength and power” (or at least what passes for it in the mind of a leftist) while it is usually the female characters that are made the butt of the jokes.
Posted by Thorley Winston at January 11, 2005 12:38 PM
BTW: I agree with Mitch’s overall point. There is in many advertisements and situation comedies a general anti-male bias. However in action/drama shows it tends to be a bit more even-handed with strong male and female characters (although there are exceptions).
One possible solution might be to complain (something men are generally not prone to do when it comes to being offended). Companies generally assume that anyone who took the time to make an angry phone call or send an angry letter (even if they never respond) represents a few (or is it a few hundred?) other dissatisfied consumers plus they figure that you are more likely to tell everyone you know that you’re upset.
If more men (and the women who love them *g*) were to tell companies that put out male-bashing ads or sponsor those shows that they will no longer purchase their products and most importantly WHY at some point they’ll have to sit up and take notice.
Rule of thumb – most corporate executives are cowards that are prone cave to public pressure whenever they think it affects the bottom line and the security of their own positions. This isn’t an “ideological” thing for them but only what they think is a smart business practice. When they learn that is no longer the case, they’ll probably change that practice.
Posted by Thorley Winston at January 11, 2005 12:58 PM
Does anybody who works outside the arts actually encounter homosexuals very often? The incidence of homosexuality in the population is supposed to be about 2%, and that pretty much matches my experience. I've known a few homosexuals in my life (like the guy who used to beat me up regularly when I was a kid, who later came out of the closet and died of AIDS, poor s.o.b.), but I can go for months without running into anyone openly homosexual. If television really mirrored society, I suspect we'd see a lot fewer "gay" characters on the shows.
Posted by Lars Walker at January 11, 2005 01:03 PM
I must say, "anti-male" bias??? I dunno. I always get annoyed with this sort of business. Is a commercial that portrays women as as a busy working businesswomen anti-female because she is not at home raising children? Hardly. Is it pro-women. Hardly. It is just an example of a subject used to sell a product.
I guess if someone finds a commercial offensive, fine. Don't buy the product or complain, but is there really some kind of malice involved? I doubt it.
Posted by Thorley Winston at January 11, 2005 01:26 PM
that last comment is mine... it is responding to Thorley Winston's comment. Sorry for the confusion.
Posted by Carson at January 11, 2005 01:28 PM
I don't have a problem with the Chrysler ad; The humor in it isn't really "Look at my idiot husband", the humor is the relief that nothing untoward is going to happen to the woman and daughter for picking up a rather scary looking hitchhiker. It may not play that way in repeats, but the first time I saw it I thought it was a PSA for not picking up hitchhikers.
The progressive "football" add is annoying for all the reasons stated above.
Posted by Chuck C at January 11, 2005 01:36 PM
It all depends. Where do you live? Gays tend to live in major metropolitan areas. Where do you interact with others? Many gays are not out to co-workers because they are afraid it will create a hostile working environment, but they are open outside of work. What are your views regarding homosexuality? Gays are less likely to be open about their sexuality with people they suspect to find it abnormal or wrong.
And the fact is... gays make up less than 1% of leading characters on television shows. They mostly play bit parts... at about the same percentage they appear in real life.
And the fact is... most gays don't run around screaming they are gay. They have normal lives just like heterosexuals. But television is an exaggeration of real life. It would not be very interesting television to have a workplace drama where there was a gay character but none of his co-workers knew because he didn't discuss his partner at work. But because he never mentions his same sex partner... everyone just assumes he is straight. And no one is the wiser.
Posted by Carson at January 11, 2005 01:41 PM
Carson- Do you really believe that the denigration of some particular market segment is effective advertising? Do you really think that the purpose of a multi-million dollar advertising campaign is designed merely to sell some particular product? For example....
Man in truck sees motorcycle for sale. Stops truck, buys motorcycle. Transfers wife's dainty little furniture into full-size cab, puts bike in truckbed. Goes home. Wife, exasperated and indignant (obviously in charge of major household decisions) rushes up to truck, starts to call him an asshole and slams her fist into his gut but suddenly discovers dainty furniture in cab. Suddenly man is "nice guy."
What are they really sellin' here?? Is this a "manipulation" of reality? No, it IS the reality. A female's verbal and physical abuse of the male is today entirely appropriate and acceptable behavior on television, whereas, if the gender roles were reversed and it was the man calling his wife a bitch and punching her in the gut, we'd have an entirely different response, to say the least.
They are not selling product performance; they are selling and reinforcing the notion that if your wife typically calls you an asshole and slaps you around in your own driveway, this is normal, acceptable behavior. But, assuming you buy this truck, you will become a "nice guy" and your wife will approve of you.
To suggest that commerical television reflects the idealized stereotypical dreamworld the consuming public aspires to merely reflects the unbridled narcissism of the industry that produces this crap. They think the audience aspires to it, because THEY aspire to it.
They have an agenda; they are promoting that agenda, and it has nothing at all to do with product performance, but with male performance. Specifically, to portray normal male behavior and masculinity as something to be ashamed of, that must be modified, reduced, and directed to comply with the feminized ideal social order.
If that were not true, we'd still be watching Gunsmoke.
Posted by Eracus at January 11, 2005 02:01 PM
First thing... I have seen the commercial and you are blowing it wayyyyyy out of proportion. Wife gets mad that her husband didn't do what he was supposed to. Big whoop. She never hit him. She got angry. And the commercial is not intended for women... it is intended for men. It is telling them that the truck will have enough room in it to be used for work and play.
If Gunsmoke is what the public wanted... there would still be gunsmoke.
God forbid advertising ever cater to women that dream of a man that is subservient to them. Lord knows that men have had enough advertising that delivers subservient women to them.
And yes... advertising is based purely on what sells. Period. End of story. And women like advertising that puts them in control. It gets them in the mood to spend.
Posted by Carson at January 11, 2005 02:37 PM
Andy Sipowicz is (last time I watched NYPD Blue, anyway) a violent alcoholic "in recovery" whose only emotional attachment at one time was to his tropical fish. Somehow he was rescued by the gorgeous babe from the AG's office who made his life more tolerable. He still has, no doubt, a violent temper which he struggles to keep in check. He is surrounded by gorgeous female detectives, which as everyone knows, is a laughably unrealistic depiction of the typical New York precinct.
Jack McCoy, the Executive ADA of "Law & Order," was physically abused by his policemen father, and is presented as a functioning alcoholic Irishman who once had serial affairs with his female assistants, securing his reputation as a womanizer. He regularly plays fast and loose with the law and has a record with the disciplinary committee. Lennie Briscoe was a drunk cop before he met Bill Wilson.
Gil Grissom, of CSI, is such a dedicated scientist with a fixation on insects that he is regularly upbraided for his insensitivity and lack of awareness by his fellow CSI, the former stripper, Catherine Willows. He doesn't even realize (or does he?) that CSI Sara Sidle is in love with him. He is extremely intelligent, but a social cypher. Warrick Brown is a gambling addict.
Don't misunderstand, I enjoy these characters as much as the next guy -- the more complex, the better. But it seems there is always a dark side lurking in the shadows of male television characters, as if all men are part man and part monster. Yet it explains why all these male characters always seem to be in constant need of some gorgeous female intervention. It makes good TV, but it is not reality. Not every cop or DA is a drunk, not every CSI is socially inept, and so on.
As for gay characters, I've known and worked with a few in real life, in law enforcement and the financial industry, over a career of roughly 25 years. I've lived in several major metropolitan areas. The sexual proclivities of my colleagues or neighbors has never been an issue to me personally or professionally, but I fail to understand why television programming is exploiting the sexual lifestyle of 1-2% of the population if it isn't to promote a socio-political agenda.
That's not entertainment, that's propaganda. To some people, it's just pornography. At any rate, it is not something any self-respecting homosexual I've known would be associated with. Quite the contrary.
Posted by Eracus at January 11, 2005 03:57 PM
Carson, by missing the point, you make my point.
Posted by Eracus at January 11, 2005 04:04 PM
It's comment strings like this that make me feel like my argumentative and analytical skills are woefully inadequate.
Thankfully, I can always fall back on my wealth of fart and toilet humor, but that's probably just because I'm a simple-minded male.
Posted by Ryan at January 11, 2005 04:12 PM
This self-respecting homosexual thinks that programming including homosexual characters is perfectly fine. A sitcom like Will and Grace make me laugh. It is intelligent, goofy, and sometimes even witty. They portray stereotypes. But so does every single television show, movie, book, etc. As long as it isn't hurting anyone... and continues to be entertaining... I will choose it over reality tv anyday.
As for you "exploiting the sexual lifestyle of 1 or 2%" comment... If television can exploit the sexual lifestyles of the large heterosexual population... why is it so wrong to exploit that of gays? Maybe writers finally just ran out of heterosexual sex jokes, and needed something different.
And I wouldn't even call it exploitation. I would call it inclusion. There are millions of homosexuals that want programming that at least includes them. Sometimes they don't like how a gay character is portrayed... but that is life. Not every television show is for everyone. And you know what you do when you don't like a tv show? Don't watch it. If enough people agree with you... it will get canceled.
Has Will and Grace and other such television programs been used as a propaganda tool... serving a socio-political agenda? Of course. And what is wrong with that? If there weren't millions of people that agreed with that message... the show would be off the air. And if you don't agree with that message... there are hundreds of alternate programs that you can watch instead.
I also would ask how old you are? I am 22, and it is far more common for my generation to be out of the closet. Which also means that heterosexuals that are my age are far more used to being around "out" gays. As such, many of the shows that feature gay characters are aiming at younger audiences that see such depictions as being more representative of their reality or the fictional world they wish for.
I guess maybe there just shouldn't be any programming depicting the lives of African-Americans, Latinos or Asian-Americans because that would be exploiting a minority population for a socio-polical agenda. (please note sarcasm)
Posted by Carson at January 11, 2005 04:41 PM
Our society is not just about white, middle-aged, straight, males.
I understand if you don't like programming that does not cater to your specific person.
But complaining about a diversity of programming seems silly and wasteful.
Posted by Carson at January 11, 2005 04:45 PM
That should read "the diversity of programming".
Long comments with little time kill grammer skills.
Posted by Carson at January 11, 2005 04:48 PM
"God forbid advertising ever cater to women that dream of a man that is subservient to them. Lord knows that men have had enough advertising that delivers subservient women to them."
Indeed, this is the equality the feminist movement must have been desiring. Women were portrayed as subservient back then, women get to see men portrayed as subservient now. It is all equal I guess. Interesting way to level things for tomorrow's women and men.
Mitch isn't the only one to notice the shift in portrayals of the sexes in media today. FWIW, the ads with men as doofuses and women as the upright character are seen in waves during sports events as well today. I chalk it up to the general tendency of the vast majority of men to openly mock their own gender, and to also laugh at the jokes when women make then as well. There is a kernal of truth in the joke:
Q: "How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?"
A: "THAT'S NOT FUNNY!"
Posted by Eric Anondson at January 11, 2005 11:51 PM
Reading all these postings, I started to get an unpleasant picture of "Carson"...he not only knows it all, he's quite proud of himself and is breaking his arm to clap himself on the back for all the witty, profound, reasonable opinions he has to share with poor old Erascus and the rest of us. Of course, Erascus just isn't enlightened enough and his opinions are basically crap BECAUSE he's a "regular" old white male (I assume)....and they're fair game to Carson.....who proves the whole damn point of this subject with his "refutations" of the premise that males are laughing-stocks on TV nowadays. He's trying to show how Erascus should be a laughing-stock on Shot in the Dark with his good ol' Neanderthal opinions and observations.
Erascus: You are RIGHT.
Carson: You're a typical prig.
Posted by Colleen at January 12, 2005 02:08 PM
If you disagree with me... may I ask that you try and illustrate such discontent with more than just name calling.
Am I proud of the comments I made? Yes. I believe in what I said, and am glad I have the skills to illustrate my beliefs. Just as I am glad to discuss issues like this with those that disagree with me.
I don't in any way see myself as being more "enlightened" than Eracus, but I do believe that my opinions are just as valid as his are.
But yes, I do believe that males on TV are hardly laughing stocks. No more than they were many years ago. And no more than any other group represented on television.
I am quite obviously a liberal, and disagree with much of what Mitch posts. But I am at least willing to listen to what he has to say, or read what he has to write.
It was my impression that debate is welcome among the comments on Shot in the Dark. If Mitch does not want me leaving comments... I will gladly keep them to myself. But I won't be dissuaded from my beliefs because you have called me a "typical prig."
Posted by Carson at January 12, 2005 03:07 PM
Yes, I'm very sure debate is just what Mitch does want on his site....but, condescension drips off of you no matter how pretty the words or how well utilized your "skills" are. You know damn well that you have popped round just to show the knuckle-draggers what they really should be thinking and how what they think is really not reality. I think it's really quite the opposite. In your world no one looks at things that way so it must not be so....say in the case of TV ads and what they are portraying. There's a whole big world out here on the dirt roads after downtown Minneapolis ends and it really and truly IS NOT the world you would like it to be. It's a wonderful place, but it's not liberal-values utopia and it never will be be because such a place will never exist since the common folk out here are too sensible to let that happen (I hope!). Rampant homosexuality has brought death and disease...it HAS, no matter how you spin it. Liberalism hurts those it purports to help...but that's easy to ignore or ascribe to other factors and as long as you feel good about yourself, what the heck. Elitist libs occupy a mighty high perch. Kerry was Exhibit A of that sort of attitude and we know how far it got him....
Well, in the meantime, I remember reading somewhere about arguing with a liberal...might have been on this site. It's many times a very unrewarding experience. The name calling I engaged in didn't seem all that severe, but since libs are the more sensitive human beings, I suppose I should have kept that in mind so as not to upset you with such a zinger. I think you might know that although you don't "call names" yourself, you infer things and in that way stay above the fray. All boils down to the same thing though.
Posted by Colleen at January 12, 2005 04:31 PM
It is not my intention to "show the knuckle-draggers what they really should be thinking", so much as it is wanting to discuss something I feel really strongly about... especially with those that might disagree and challenge me in my conclusions. I find that I learn a lot discussing these issues with conservatives. But I don't seem to learn a whole lot without some sort of active discussion.
You also said, "There's a whole big world out here on the dirt roads after downtown Minneapolis ends and it really and truly IS NOT the world you would like it to be." Thanks for informing me. I never realized that. Not while growing up on the dirt roads of Brainerd. Not while living in the city of Duluth.
I won't pretend to know what experiences and circumstances have led to your beliefs, if you won't assume to know mine.
I grew up in a small conservative town in the middle of Minnesota. But I don't see how that should change my beliefs, and the desire to work for what I believe is right. Just as I don't expect you to not stick up for what you believe in as well. But you can do it without relying on insults and immature ridicule.
I could really care less if you believe homosexuality is responsible for such "death and disease". There millions of heterosexual Africans that are currently dying of AIDS. That seems like a much greater problem to be concerned with. But I probably won't be hearing you argue that heteros are responsible for death and disease anytime soon. But I guess that doesn't fit with your agenda of trying to ridicule me. And in any case, God never really consulted me when he made me who I am.
And by the way... it seems a bit hypocritical to be critiziing me for seeming condescending when you can only respond with bitterness and namecalling.
Posted by Carson at January 12, 2005 05:14 PM
Although this is probably getting really old for the "others" (if there are any of them still left), I will soldier on for just a bit longer. Can't help myself.
First of all I had to laugh...you couldn't have stepped in it more if you had tried! There's a joke "up here" about how everyone in the Cities think that "northern Minnesota" is Brainerd!! The "sticks" I guess! I'm writing from Warroad...5 miles from the Canadian border on Lake of the Woods. A true hick from a RED county. My in-laws are from Brainerd and it is not what I'd call conservative. It's a beautiful area jam-packed with "lifestyle" and that's it. Yuppie heaven. Not logging country. Not farming country. Not even serious fishing, hunting, and trekking (that would be the Ely area and the rest of the northern tier). And you mentioned Duluth. A college town. Sigh.
So, then we come to the AIDS in Africa bit. I knew you were going to bring that up if you responded. Think about it for a minute. What drives the spread of AIDS there? Ignorance. Superstition. Is that what drives it in advanced societies? It is not spreading here through hetero means unless it's through prostitution and needles. That leaves the vast majority to homosexuals who KNOWINGLY engage in a destructive lifestyle and then expect sympathy, research and treatment money and a spot on top of all other diseases in importance. It's purely PC-driven and it's sickening.
I have no quibbles with who you are or who you think God made you to be. We all err on deciding we know what God thinks. However, I won't swallow your lies and OK your lifestyle. If you saw me on the street you would never know I think it's wrong. I'm a friendly person to all who are likewise and aren't flaunting themselves no matter what it is they have to flaunt. Other than that, keep it to yourself. No one gives a damn what you do but most of you seem determined that we should. I think that's because you figure for every person that approves it knocks your personal misgivings (way down deep) down a notch. That's why the insistence that churches accept the gay lifestyle. IF gays can convince Christians they're righteous in what they do and God sees that "everybody else" thinks it's OK then, well, what the heck, so will He. I imagine He doesn't approve of many things that I do. Some of them I do knowing that and feeling irked about it. But it doesn't make it right just because I'd like it to be.
BTW, I don't think of myself as bitter. Just sick of listening to the blather of the gay crowd. I didn't know at the start of your posts that you were gay. I just saw that you were determined to naysay what other people saw and then it all came out later what formed your opinion. You have a right to it. I have a right to one as well and the whole thing of it is this: Being gay doesn't make you off limits, right, wrong or special.
Posted by Colleen at January 12, 2005 08:14 PM
What gives you the right to speak about your beliefs as they pertain to homosexuality anymore than myself. You tell me to keep it to myself, but you fail to hold yourself to the same standard. And what exactly should I keep to myself? The fact that I have a partner? Why should I? It is no different that you mentioning your husband or boyfriend or whatever.
As for your "KNOWINGLY engage in a destructive lifestyle" comment- I agree that it is stupid to have unprotected sex. But I don't agree that being homosexual is somehow engaging in a destructive lifestyle. Having unprotected sex has nothing to do with ones sexuality. And to characterize millions of people using a disease that only a very small minority are afflicted with is quite stupid. Is AIDS a problem within the gay community... yes. Is racism a problem for many southerners... yes. But it really seems kind of stupid to start saying that South is engaging in a destructive lifestyle.
You then said, "I'm a friendly person to all who are likewise and aren't flaunting themselves no matter what it is they have to flaunt. Other than that, keep it to yourself. No one gives a damn what you do but most of you seem determined that we should." Is Mitch flaunting his heterosexuality when he mentions his kids in his posts??? Is a women flaunting her sexuality by wearing a wedding ring? Are weddings between men and women shoving their sexuality in my homo face? NO. I am who I am. I don't pretend to be anything else.
Eracus veered off his discussion into how he sees homosexuality as wrong. And I challenged him on it. And we discussed it. I am sorry you read that exchange and felt a desperate need to try and put the shameful homosexual in his place... but if, as you said, you really don't care... why on Earth did you feel such a need to respond.
I have never been of the belief that being gay makes my comments off limits, right, wrong, or special... quite the contrary. The reason you didn't know I was gay when you first started reading my comments was because it hadn't become neccessary to my point. When I felt it was neccessary... it was mentioned.
And I am not mad that you criticize what I have said. I wouldn't comment here and not expect that. What does upset me though is that my sexuality and political orientation is what you first criticized. If you disagree with what I wrote... address it. Find a factual error. An error in logic. But that is not what you attempted to do. You have yet to point out, in my debate with Eracus, what I said that was wrong. As opposed to debating my reasoning... you ridiculed my person. It really is the lowest common denominator. And you can do better.
Posted by Carson at January 12, 2005 09:41 PM
And by the way... most of the people who live in Brainerd don't really live in Brainerd. The entire lakes area is referred to as Brainerd, because most people don't know Crosby, Ironton, Merrifield, Nisswa, or the like. I personall grew up in the East Gull Lake area. And while there are lots of resorts around... it is quite a conservative area. There are plenty of farms, and there is certainly soem serious hunting and fishing. There is life outside of the resorts in the area. My nextdoor neighbor has a small lake on his 25 acre property, in which he hunts deer and duck. It is by no means urban. My father teaches Natural Resources (forestry and the like) at the local community college. In other words... he teaches every true hick in the area about trees, camping, and wildlife. Every year we take treks to the Boundary Waters. I know Northern Minnesota pretty well. So enough of the naive cityboy crap.
Posted by Carson at January 12, 2005 10:37 PM
Carson, are you a person or a "gay person"? There's the rub. Quite a few of us just give opinions, just think about other opinions, just LIVE without bringing up our sexual proclivities. That's what is so tiresome about gayness.
And, I thought that Eracus made the points very well. Why should I reiterate them? Concerning what you said in response to Eracus, he had made good statements, you tore them apart and tried to invalidate them and we find out why at some point when the gayness comes up. You prefer that we think the portrayal and treatment of males in pop culture be thought of as no big deal. It's not, no matter how benign it seems to you. And I don't want to be so uncouth as to point out why not!!!
Also, equating gays with blacks or other minority races is an old one and doesn't wash. It's a race, not a sexual deviation. And if you don't think it's a deviation, fine. But it looks to me like things were not set up to work that way...very well....I would not have needed to know you were gay at ANY point in this exchange, but YOU are the one that wants to haul it out to put the poor dumb (less glib, less witty, worse decorator...oops, I'm terrible) in his/her place. You can dismiss what the ads are pushing, so you figure we all must. Imagine poor Eracus looking at it from a masculine viewpoint. If only he looked at it YOUR way he would see that it's all so clearcut and not at all what he thought.
Posted by Colleen at January 12, 2005 10:42 PM
You said, "Concerning what you said in response to Eracus, he had made good statements, you tore them apart and tried to invalidate them and we find out why at some point when the gayness comes up."
First of all... quit whining that the big bad liberal came in here and (oh my god) disagreed with you and your conservative friends. I made many good points that I think you are overlooking because you are WAY too interested in my being gay.
And you know why my being gay came up...
This is what Eracus said,
"At any rate, it is not something any self-respecting homosexual I've known would be associated with."
I felt that it had somehow become important to mention. But I guess you wouldn't understand... because in your dream world... no one dare mention their sexuality (if they are gay). It is horrible and indecent. Don't you ever get sick of feeling such animosity towards a minority?
As for homosexuality compared to race... this may shock you... but it isn't learned. And in fact... it isn't something that can be changed. It is the way a person is. And while a person can choose whether or not to actually have sex... he will always be attracted to members of the same sex. Thats fine if you don't think things were set up to work that way... but that doesn't mean squat. Nature is full of all sorts of interesting deviations from normality. Are all the penquins, rabbits, dogs, and horses that seem to be only attracted to the same sex making some devious unnatural choice?
And Colleen... If I choose to mention my sexuality, who in the heck are you to criticize me for it? It is not pushing anything in your face. I am not having sex on your couch with another guy. I was having a discussion with someone... and you felt that you must make a comment about how mean and stupid I was (without ever substantiating anything I said as being mean or wrong).
And once again... you seem to have some kind of hang up on this idea that I am coming here to "inform the masses that they have done wrong". You still don't get it. I come here to have debate like I did with Eracus... where we actually discuss the merits of an arguement. Not to listen to you whine about how much you can't stand hearing someone say that they are gay.
Whine Whine Whine. Time to grow up Colleen.
Posted by Carson at January 13, 2005 08:34 AM
If you say so, Carson. Glad you've enlightened me. Criminy.
Prig. (See, I just can't seem to grow up...at age 49...)
Oh, BTW, you say you made many good points. Maybe you did. But, did ANYBODY ELSE make any good points? I don't think you want debate as much as you say you do.
Now, let's stop wasting Mitch's bandwidth (or whatever it is!).
Posted by Colleen at January 13, 2005 09:01 AM
Yow. I'd forgotten about this post - I've been sick since I wrote it (no connection).
I'll have to make some comments later.
Posted by mitch at January 13, 2005 09:09 AM
I tell you to grow up because adults can discuss issues without namecalling, so thanks for proving my point.
Yes, others did make good points. But you chose to question mine. So I ask you... what did I say that you question? You continue to dodge the question.
Posted by Carson at January 13, 2005 09:27 AM
I have heard the explanation of violent/non-violent methods before. It holds a small amount of validity. The idea advanced was that women use suicide attempts as a cry for help, while men are generally much more serious about it. Possibly true, and nice as far as it goes, but it doesn't explain a disparity of 3 to 4 times in the actual death rate.
Realistically speaking, what would the suicide rate among gay males, assuming an incidence of 2-5 percent of the population, have to be to drive the overall rate up by 3 to 4 times? I'm trying to figure the math, and I get a unreasonably high amount. If it was that big a factor, I wouldn't expect many gay men to make it through adolescence. More to the point, the numbers for adolescents aren't that dissimilar. Middle age is the big kicker, if I recall correctly. If I can dig up the numbers, I'll post a link.
Arguing about this obscures the larger point. When and why did society become more hostile to males? An article I read early this year had some woman saying it was unimportant that high school graduation rates for males were falling because they got to play football. WTF?
Posted by T at January 13, 2005 10:51 AM
I was just noting some of the adnormalities that have become noticed in suicide rates. It was not an explanation more so than just making sure it is taken into account.
As for the women talking about high school drop out rates... what context was the comment made. I can't tell if it is supposed to be sarcastic, or if she really thinks that the high school dropout rates are unimportant.
My beef is mainly just that I don't see society as any more hostile to males than it is to females. I think there are valid examples that both sides can point out... but to say one is a problem without addressing the other seems pointless.
Posted by Carson at January 13, 2005 11:22 AM
When I was young and foolish, I was young and foolish. But I was never quite so naive as to reference Brainerd as the "entire lakes area" or to suggest it's "quite a conservative area." Really? By what standand? As compared to Minneapolis maybe? Hardly.
Brainerd, like Bemidji, is a socialist wasteland. It has no industry; the State is its largest employer. In fact, the State is Minnesota's largest employer overall, owning 55% of the entire workforce while taxing the rest of us so severely we are unable to invest in places like Brainerd and Bemidji, which, of course, is precisely the intent because it insulates the DFL's socialist wonderland from any outside ideological influences associated with direct capital investment and accountability in government.
That is why, Carson, you have no idea what you are talking about. Everywhere you look you see the same thing, everywhere you go you hear the same thing, and everyone you know believes the same thing. Do you know why? Because, generally speaking, everyone in Minnesota is educated in the same way, by the same people, who for the most part, all happen to be statist descendants of the northern European socialists who immigrated here at the turn of the 20th century. They all get their news from WCCO, MPR, PBS, and the StarTribune and naively assume they're well-informed, meanwhile having absolutely no idea what the rest of the country is up to or that life exists beyond the State. They receive all their news from the same sources, so how would they know of any alternative? The answer is they don't. Consequently, they believe everybody thinks and behaves just like they do, and if they don't, well, they're "wrong," "bad," or just plain stupid. Your comments here, Carson, are a glaring illustration of the problem.
This thread began as a discussion of the way men are depicted on television. Instead of allowing it to proceed democratically, you've monopolized the content by turning it into a discussion of your "right" to your sexual proclivity for your own and other male genitalia. It's all about you now, which only all the more illustrates the point of the original post.
At 22, you, a young homosexual male, are the direct product of precisely that dynamic on television over the course of your lifetime that has ruinously depicted and proscribed male characters as either feminized metrosexual men or knuckle-dragging redneck buffoons. Of course you see nothing wrong with it; it is all you have ever known.
What you don't realize is that what you believe and and the choices you make are all "monkey see, monkey do." And while your writing skills are competent, you have been taught all your life by irresponsible liberals in unaccountable liberal institutions not to think critically, but to think "correctly," and therefore have no concept of the implications of your own arguments or the consequences of your behavior upon those who mean you no harm.
You presume, on the basis of your "education" and sexual preference, that you have a "right" to assert your authority as a media critic to instruct the rest of us that we are wrong or archaic and should just "get over it," that we are wayyyyyyyy off in our perceptions of what is "really" going on in television, without realizing that by doing so you are proving the point of the original post, namely, that men are and have been for decades portrayed on television as either feminized metrosexuals or clueless buffoons and that the danger to society is and has been that, given the omnipresence of television, small boys and girls will naturally grow up adhering to the influences they see most portrayed.
The reality the rest of us see is that of a young man who has recently graduated from a decaying institution with a degree in a dying profession as a member of a dysfunctional community that is dying in droves from epidemic disease. And that he's proud of it. This is the tragedy that only more drives home the point.
What you seem not to understand is that you cannot declare your homosexual identity without describing your behavior, and that it is your behavior that is costing the rest of us, who do not participate in homosexual behavior, literally billions of dollars annually while draining our resources for research and treatment of other infectious and genetic disease.
In other words, your position, to be consistent with your homosexual identity, must be that heterosexuals and their family finances and traditions, for the sake of "equality," are subordinate to your "right" to engage in behavior, whether in private or promoted on television, that has produced a public health disaster, degrades our institutions, and directly threatens the future of our children.
Homosexuals call this "diversity" and those who reject it "intolerant." When in fact what has occurred is this perversion of logic has led to the perversion of civil conduct, where the majority must now spend 90% of its resources on 10% of the problem while thousands of years of social tradition is eroded to the extent that what constitutes marriage and family is now subject to debate.
The irony, of course, is this is not "progress" but de-construction. For if it were otherwise, there would be no need to proclaim "diversity," "inclusion" and "equality" as the basis for this persistent self-destructive behavior and general social disorder. Homosexuality has been around as long as masturbation, but for "must see TV," secular education, and unsupervised impressionable young minds, it's apparently only recently been discovered as an alternative "lifestyle."
Simply put, the gay community wants to dance, but expects the heterosexual community to pay the band. That's not "equality;" that's tyranny, which is antithetical to the premise of "inclusion."
That dog simply will not hunt.
Posted by Eracus at January 13, 2005 01:36 PM
How are you in any better position than myself to judge how conservative Brainerd is? What are YOUR qualifications? Not all who work for the state are liberal. Not all that work in private industry are conservative.
As for the post falling into the gay debate... you are just as much to blame as myself. As is Colleen. I didn't force anyone here to make any comments about the issue.
You said, "are the direct product of precisely that dynamic on television over the course of your lifetime that has ruinously depicted and proscribed male characters as either feminized metrosexual men or knuckle-dragging redneck buffoons". I think there has been quite a diverse range of programming options for the masses to watch. I agree that not every male character on television would fit your quite narrow view of what a male is supposed to be, but how is that any different for any other group represented on television? Not only that... but you aren't forced to watch any of it. No one is.
"Men are and have been for decades portrayed on television as either feminized metrosexuals or clueless buffoons and that the danger to society is and has been that, given the omnipresence of television, small boys and girls will naturally grow up adhering to the influences they see most portrayed." That would make sense if it was true that the only men on television are metrosexual or clueless... but I don't believe that is the case at all.
"The reality the rest of us see is that of a young man who has recently graduated from a decaying institution with a degree in a dying profession as a member of a dysfunctional community that is dying in droves from epidemic disease. And that he's proud of it. This is the tragedy that only more drives home the point." Advertising/PR is hardly a dying profession. If you are referring to the fact that Advertising/PR is part of the Journalism school... I would also disagree... because of the internet... journalism is growing (but yes... it is changing). Homosexuals are hardly anymore dysfunctional that heterosexuals. Check out the divorce rates. The number of children born out of wedlock. The number of teenage pregnancies. The number of women reporting spousal abuse. The number of heteros with STD's. Dysfunction is a human characteristic that people of all sexual preferences suffer from. And your darn right I am proud of who I am. And no jerk, full of anger and bitterness at the world he lives in, is going to make me feel any different.
"What you seem not to understand is that you cannot declare your homosexual identity without describing your behavior, and that it is your behavior that is costing the rest of us, who do not participate in homosexual behavior, literally billions of dollars annually while draining our resources for research and treatment of other infectious and genetic disease." You are right in the sense that the spread of AIDS is bad. And that the small percentage of homosexuals how have spread it engaging in unprotected sex is hurting society... but AIDS does not affect all homosexuals. In fact... it is an very small minority. And while the fact that it is a problem sucks... it somehow hasn't been able to magically make me attracted to women. And it won't. If a large percentage of straight women all of a sudden contracted AIDS... would you suddenly be gay?
"The majority must now spend 90% of its resources on 10% of the problem"- this sort of situation has always been a problem (cancer, fighting drug use, etc) What exactly do you see as a solution? You can either make homosexuality illegal, or work with the population to try and solve the problem through more cooperative means. Calling homosexuals deviants is not going to bring you any sort of solution.
The Nazi's felt very similar feelings toward homosexuals that you seem to hold. Why not take the same steps they did? Or maybe... all the homos like me would change... if only all television programming was more manly and less metrosexual. I know completely agree with your original premise. Give us more masculine programming so that I may be compelled to have sex with women.
Give me a break.
Posted by Carson at January 13, 2005 03:49 PM
The Central Park Zoo in New York City has noticed that some of their penguins are gay: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/02/07/MNG3N4RAV41.DTL
They probably watched too much anti-male programming on television.
Posted by Carson at January 13, 2005 03:56 PM
Oy. There are so many places to start with this comment thread.
Too many, in fact. I'll have to do another post, I think.
I finished re-reading Christina Hoff-Summers' "The War Against Boys" recently, and that sparked a lot of the backstory to this post. This subject goes way beyond the entertainment media for me - although that's the context of this post.
Posted by mitch at January 13, 2005 04:46 PM
Also, I really didn't intend for this thread to become a forum on the pros and cons of homosexuality. Gays, male and female, have undergone perhaps a more extreme swing than straight males; Lesbians have gone from never being mentioned to an artificial epitome of pop-erotic chic (as was so wonderfully sent up by SNL a few years back); gay guys have gone from ostracizing stereotypes to what seems to me to be approval verging on constant applause (case in point: guy on "Road Rules" announces he's gay; the other five Rulers applaud. Which is fine, although speaking as a straight overemployed single parent, I'll applaud someone else's orientation when I have the time and energy to move my own sexuality into the top ten of my personal priority list).
But this post is about married guys (or guys in relationships with women), and the edge in brains, brawn and wisdom that ads give the distaff half of those pairings. (Which makes me wonder - in the gay media, do ads show the "fem" half of a couple as being the wiser, smarter and stronger one?)
Posted by mitch at January 13, 2005 04:55 PM
Oops - in the post above, I meant to say "In the media, gays have..." undergone the big swing.
The post above should be read in the context of media, especially advertising, not necessarily life in general.
Posted by mitch at January 13, 2005 04:57 PM
I have yet to see any advertising that takes that approach towards gay couples. But I also don't think most advertising towards gays has become that nuanced yet. Even within media like Lavender or the Advocate... I would be hard pressed to find examples.
As for married couples (straight)... could this percieved slight be the product of women being the primary shoppers for the household? I know that most of the advertising projects and studies I did almost always focused on women, because consumer spending research and reports show that women make most decisions on how money is spent on things like groceries, household appliances, clothing, and etc. It wasn't about being anti-male... it was research that showed that men really don't care what brand of laudry soap they buy, but women do. It would be my guess that this advertising you are seeing isn't so much about turning men into women, but getting women to shop.
Posted by Carson at January 13, 2005 05:16 PM
Well, sooner or later the Nazis were bound to come up...and gay penguins...well, that cinches it as a viable lifestyle for sure!
Eracus-you described the Brainerd Lakes area to a tee. And MN in general as well. And the problem and reason for the socialism in this state. Well said.
I was done with this and then drove 300 miles in -25 weather to my daughter's in North Dakota...and just thought, hey, I wonder what Carson is still going on about....
NONE of us wanted it to turn into a gay/straight debate...well maybe not all of us...
Posted by Colleen at January 13, 2005 09:58 PM
If you didn't want that, why did you initiate more of it and continue to do so now?
And by the way... you probably knew that I would mention that Nazis because that is exactly the same crap they used to say. Just because it is cliche and overused doesn't mean its not true.
Posted by Colleen at January 13, 2005 10:26 PM
Sorry, that last comment is mine and it should be addressed to Colleen.
Posted by Carson at January 13, 2005 10:32 PM
This is a photo of "Eneman". It is a Christmas ornament made by the company Fleet, maker of everyone's favorite enema.
The guy who came up with this idea is my personal marketing hero.
The citizens of our country deserve the truth from those in power. And in the absence of truth… we are only left with questions and theories. As members of the public it is not only our job to defend explanations of phenomenon that are given by those in power, but to also question explanations… in hopes of upholding truth.
Rumsfeld told the troops that shortages of armor did not stem from a lack of money but were "a matter of physics." The manufacturers of add-on armor are producing it as fast as humanly possible, he said.
Collins, R-Maine, fired off a tough letter Wednesday to Rumsfeld, describing his remarks about the lack of "up-armored" Humvees in war zones as "troubling."
"I am very concerned that it appears the Pentagon failed to do everything in its power to increase production" of the vehicles, Collins wrote.
"The Department of Defense still has been unable to ensure that our troops have the equipment they need to perform their mission as safely as possible."
Collins also complained that the Army requested production of an additional 100 Humvees a month only after a soldier complained about the lack of necessary armor on trucks during a December 9 town hall meeting with Rumsfeld in Kuwait.
"Thus far, the Pentagon has received only 5,910 of the 8,105 of factory-armored Humvees commanders say they need," Collins wrote. "Why was this request not placed earlier to increase fully armored Humvee production from 450 to 550 a month at a time when many of us brought to the Pentagon's attention the shortages relayed to us by our constituent-troops and their families?"