Monday, January 09, 2006

Exposing the Exposers

Steve Miller over at Independent Gay Forum posted today about what he terms "the anti-gay right's latest bit of dangerous nonsense"; in this case, the recently-released book by David Kupelian, vice president and managing editor of WorldNetDaily. Kupelian's book, The Marketing of Evil, is supposedly an expose of how various groups have used various media forms and methods of advertising and propaganda to change Americans' perceptions of the "evil" of things from abortion to body-piercing.

In this case, the very first chapter of The Marketing of Evil, in which Kupelian accuses the gay community of following a "master plan" to make homosexuality more publicly acceptable, as outlined in the book After the Ball : How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90's, by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen.

However, as Steve ably points out in his post, this book is hardly the "bible" of the gay movement that Kupelian claims it to be; indeed, at the time it was written, it wasn't widely accepted within the gay community itself. This makes Kupelian's argument akin to those of the anti-Semites claiming that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion outline a Jewish plot to take over the world; it requires a belief that "gays" or "Jews" are some monolithic population base in which everyone behaves the same way and follows the same orders.

Or, in other words, something plausible only to people who think they don't know any gay people.

However, as the saying goes, the most effective of fantasies are those that are grounded in reality, and, to be honest, Kupelian DOES include a lot of reality, including direct quotes from the book, that bring up an uncomfortable truth.....even though we may not have been doing it in an organized fashion, gays HAVE used several PR and propaganda tricks to both play on and manipulate peoples' emotions in our favor. While his views on the motivations of gays to "initiate" children into our "culture of corruption" are WAY out there, the fact remains at the core that many gays WERE molested as children or had dysfunctional relationships with one or both of their parents. Given the loud and public statements of "gay rights" groups condemning Christians and other religious individuals as "superstitious bigots" and "Nazis", it's easy to see how he can make such wild and inaccurate statements about gays being out to destroy Christianity.

All of these would seem to be obvious and simple observations. Yet, as I previously blogged, we're still asking people to realize that "born gay" is at best an oversimplification and at worst deliberately misleading -- and saying that touched off a flurry in the Comments section, although not nearly on the level of some things I've been called for saying the same thing.

What this means to me is that, in an ironic twist, the "gay community" has become a prisoner of its own propaganda. We've been repeating the same things for so long that, regardless of how true they are, we can't act any differently. Worse, as I discussed with fellow blogger The Malcontent over the weekend, this makes us vulnerable; because we believe that we cannot yield an inch, we come off as arrogant and insensitive to peoples' concerns. Kupelian's rhetoric, carefully honed to antagonize gays while appearing sympathetic to them, exacerbates the problem.

The reason that this is important is twofold; it strengthens our enemies' hands against us and it makes us more vulnerable.

To the first, when Steve dismisses Kupelian's claims as "nonsense", Kupelian can return fire with the fact that he is using quotes directly from the aforementioned book and that several of his arguments are based on observable facts -- which puts Steve in the position of defending himself and his arguments while looking like a liar. Instead, what one should focus on is the extrapolations that Kupelian makes from said quotes and from said facts; for instance, the whole "child molestation" thing can be rebutted by the fact that, while some gays were indeed molested as children and went on to molest children themselves, not all gays were, nor does everyone who was molested as a child turn out gay or molest children. Kupelian deliberately frames his argument in that case to push buttons -- obviously, no one wants to be called a child molester or be associated with them -- but in doing so, sets up an absolutist construct that can be easily and quickly refuted. Furthermore, it gives one the opportunity to point out that child abuse is a universal problem, not limited to "gay" or "straight", and that both sides need to work together to stop it.

Concerning the second, our inability to publicly admit our problems that contradict our propaganda precludes our finding a correct solution. As we all know, gay culture is highly sexualized; unfortunately, one of the outgrowths of this is to encourage promiscuous and dangerous behavior, i.e. unprotected sex or sex while high, with the result being a far higher-than-average rate of HIV infection. However, because we cannot publicly deal with or acknowledge for propaganda reasons the real issue, which is that way too many people are having way too much sex while way too drugged while way too few are using protection or sanity, we blame the pharmaceutical companies for tempting us with impotence drugs (hat tip to Steve).

Yeah, THAT'LL fix it.

To summarize, in order to deal with the "new wingnuts" like Kupelian, who have studied the gay community, know our faults and fibs, and know how to push our buttons, we're going to have to develop a new way of doing things based less on absolutism and more on openness and honesty. We must change from our previous stance of positional ("I'm not budging") and transactional ("I win, you lose") argument to an integrative structure, more oriented towards collaboration than conquest, and willing to share and take responsibility for issues.

It's going to require a sea change in attitudes, away from the "I'm a victim, you're always wrong" attitude the "gay community" currently holds; unfortunately, I again question whether the "leadership" of our community, whose entire lives and finances are contingent upon their ability to deliver unquestioning, obedient votes and public support, can make this change for the good of gay rights -- or if they will continue to put their pocketbooks and pimping for cocktail-party invites ahead of those of us outside the Beltway whose "rights" they so eagerly barter away.

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