Saturday, August 11, 2007


The great essays and deep conversation about the psychology of the Christian Right just keep on rolling out over at Orcinus . Today Sara Robinson follows up on a report by Dave Neiwert, and I want to quote the entire damned thing, but will settle for just a couple of excerpts:

"The fundamentalists among us have, simply, jumped the track -- and are now heading off in a radically new direction that is, very pointedly, re-defining our historic understanding of the First Amendment. Suddenly, in their minds, 'justice' is no longer defined as merely having exactly the same rights everybody else does. They are claiming that their religious doctrines absolutely require them to harass other people about their beliefs, take over the government, co-opt the military for religious ends, bomb clinics and kill doctors, demonize gays, oppress women, and dismantle the Constitution. It's not hard for the more paranoid among us to imagine a day when they will assert a 'religious freedom' right to commit genocide for God as well. That is, after all, where the heinous logic of all this leads."

"We are now sharing this country with a substantial class of people who not only harbor the fierce belief that they are superior to the rest of us -- yes, a master race, and their rhetoric is starting to work that meme as well -- they also believe that the future of the country is at immediate risk unless the non-believers are restrained and subdued, placed under total control of their betters. Further: they believe that they are justified by God to do this by any means necessary -- within or without the Constitution."

Go read 'em, folks. They're doing really important work for us.

Two points I'd like to follow up on. One is that the Christian Right's war on gays is no longer the sure-fire winner it once was. The majority of Lesbians and gays have refused to go into hiding or buy the crap which conflates same-sex attraction with gender "dysphoria". As recent scandals have shown, the Republican Party is larded with closeted gay white men, and more to the point, the insistence that gays must be hated has torn too many families apart. The fanatics will need a new demon to organize around, and I agree with a lot of observers that it will center on race -- because race hatred is their not-so-secret underbelly, the number one defining characteristic of the Right Wing. Anti-Muslim screeds are really about race, don't be fooled, and their big ticket item right now is anti-Mexican rhetoric. So, I call on everyone I know who is queer or queer-sympathic to be willing to switch your efforts, ALL of it, over to fighting the good fight for our sisters and brothers who will be next in their gunsights. Their methods will become increasingly illegal over the next ten to twenty years. Lives will be on the line. Get ready to speak up No Matter What.

Secondly, educate yourself about what is effective and accurate about progressive ideology. In particular, learn to immediately notice the power flow and name it. Oppression is not necessarily about larger groups excluding smaller ones, for instance. I'd recommend studying the brilliant thinking of Ricky Sherover-Marcuse, especially her Liberation Theory: A Working Framework . Here's a few of her basic definitions:

On Unlearning Racism, Sexism or Classism: "...'to unlearn' is not the opposite of 'to learn.' Thus, for example, the necessity of 'unlearning racism' does not imply that racism is 'learned,' or that racist attitudes are acquired through a 'learning' process. On the contrary, racist 'thinking,' like other forms of mystified consciousness, represents a disturbance of the learning process, a disturbance which itself is the consequence of social oppression and which in turn serves to perpetuate it."

Definition of Oppression: "Oppression is the systematic and pervasive mistreatment of individuals on the basis of their membership in various groups, which are disadvantaged by the institutionalized imbalances in social power in a particular society. Oppression includes both institutionalized or 'normalized' mistreatment as well as instances of violence. It includes the invalidation, denial, or the non-recognition of the complete humanness (the goodness, uniqueness, smartness, powerfulness, etc.) of those who are members of the mistreated group." [Emphasis mine: Oppression must be systematic and pervasive to qualify, and it must be reflected by institutionalized imbalance in social power. We must stop letting them pit those of us in target groups against one another. If your primary grievance and argument is with the members of another target group, I believe it's time for you to rethink your strategy.


On another note, I very much enjoyed watching last week's Celebrity Jeopardy shows because of how much it revealed who is smart and who is NOT. The questions were extremely dumbed down, and aside from the rampant distractability of actors (Alex Trebek simply gave up with folks like Martin Short, who were having too much fun being silly to remember even the basic rules of the game), what emerged was a steady stream of flamers running intellectual circles around their straight celebrity competitors. They were flamboyant AND brilliant. I hooted as Carson Kressley (from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) simply fucking CREAMED the hate-monger Nancy Grace. Mario Cantone also won his episode. Isaac Mizrahi and Neil Patrick Harris were not the big winners on their respective days, but they held their own.

Still, the best occurred on the last day, when NON-queen Michael McKean (Lenny from Laverne and Shirley, award-winning ensemble player from A Mighty Wind and This is Spinal Tap, and memorable Morris Fletcher who swapped bodies with Fox Mulder on The X-Files) racked up 30,000 points over Margaret Spelling, the Bush asslicker and so-called Secretary of Education who brought us such travesties as the "No Child Left Behind" program. I laughed and laughed. He didn't even glance her way as he ran entire categories with ease. Now, that's educational television.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree! Refreshing read, for someone living in the bible belt.