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SERIOUSLY?

Rob Tisinai

July 18th, 2012

The National Organization for Marriage has alerted us to an egregious bullying case. It’s this:

Seriously.

NOM’s promoting a bizarre screed by one Anne Sorock as if it made sense. Anne writes:

Is it inclusive to introduce a highly politicized debate into a cookie’s branding, thereby opening up the opportunity to alienate a huge–if not majority–portion of your consumers? No, it is selective inclusion, a negation in terms, or as I call it, “Bully Marketing.”

I’m tempted to think this is a poe, an attempt to parody those who too easily accuse others of bullying. Or perhaps it’s a feeble attempt to hijack pro-equality language (as our opponents have tried with “bigotry” and “intolerance” and “hate”) and render it meaningless. But Anne Sorock seems to mean it in full:

…a small, relentless group of leftist activists intimidate large companies into embracing the carefully calculated leftist narrative of inclusiveness and tolerance, which really just means, promote their politics.

…what Kraft and others are doing is making the “facilitating payment” that allows them to continue to operate their storefronts. It’s the money in the envelope that allows them to be left them alone–for now.

And then she directs readers to the US government’s anti-bullying site.  So once again, but this time as a question: Seriously?

I wonder if she imagines a late-night scene in a underground parking lot, with the Kraft Foods CEO cornered by a half a dozen menacing gay activists, all of them chanting, “Make the cookie! Make the cookie! MAKE THE COOKIE!!!” Until the poor CEO weeps a bit, falls to the ground, and gives in.

So listen, all you anti-marriage folk. I know you’re upset that you’re losing in court. You’re demoralized that state legislatures are turning against you. You’re seriously freaked out that voter referendums are no longer an automatic win. I know that your next strategy is set up a legal case that marriage equality threatens your most basic Constitutional liberties. But (last time) seriously, if you want the nation’s great undecided middle to accept your claims of intimidation and persecution, you might want to invoke something more terrifying than a $70 billion company extorted into releasing picture of a cookie.

 

Comments

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Tor
July 18th, 2012 | LINK

Rob, Please rewrite the second-to-last paragraph in more of a Delguadio-style loading dock scene. Hot!!

zyronife
July 18th, 2012 | LINK

Eat the cookie!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W6g9_jupZE

Lindoro Almaviva
July 18th, 2012 | LINK

My main question (and it is somewhat related) is when will NOM start their boycott pof Chick fil-A? In their words, they are asking companies to “remain neutral” or otherwise they will be boycotted. Now that Chick fil-A has broken that neutrality, it is only fair that NOM calls for a boycott; don’t you think?

Lightning Baltimore
July 18th, 2012 | LINK

Anyone wanna place bets on whether my comment, which is currently awaiting moderation, makes it through?

Has the picture of the cookie threatened anyone?
Has the picture of the cookie beaten anyone up?
Has the picture of the cookie killed anyone?

Randy
July 18th, 2012 | LINK

“But (last time) seriously, if you want the nation’s great undecided middle to accept your claims of intimidation and persecution, you might want to invoke something more terrifying than a $70 billion company extorted into releasing picture of a cookie.”

Wait… What? There is something more terrifying than a $70 billion company extorted into making a cookie? And here I thought NOM was getting a little desperate, but apparently they are saving their big guns like bullying cookies.

Timothy Kincaid
July 18th, 2012 | LINK

For years the National Organization for Marriage has insisted that it is not anti-gay, nosiree. It doesn’t oppose civil unions (except when it does) or domestic partnerships (except when it does) and in all times keeps it’s objection only to the definition of marriage (or of relationship or of couples).

But craft isn’t celebrating marriage. It isn’t advocating for civil unions. It hasn’t even stated support for some local community’s domestic partnership registry.

Rather, Kraft is celebrating gay people.

The rainbow symbol doesn’t speak to relationships or politics of partisanship. When Mormons marched in Salt Lake City waving rainbox flags, many weren’t there to support marriage equality; they were there simply to say “I respect you as a person; I value your existence”. The rainbow speaks to no issue at all other than the idea that gay people exist and should not feel shame about that fact.

And it is this fact – the mere existence of gay people – that Sorock finds to be a “highly politicized debate” and it is to the mere existence of gay people that NOM now objects.

I believe that from this moment on, at every appearance that Brian Brown makes to lobby some legislature, we send someone with a picture of this cookie and an explanation of his real agenda: the cessation of the existence of gay people.

Ben In Oakland
July 18th, 2012 | LINK

Rob, great article.

Timothy, great explanation.

It’s ALWAYS the subtext which they hope will neither be caught nor questioned, merely accepted.

james
July 18th, 2012 | LINK

You know, if the NOM types just keep boycotting food companies, they’ll all starve to death. Sounds like a plan to me!

Ben In Oakland
July 18th, 2012 | LINK

I have a few minutes to write now about what Timothy said.

Subtext—hopefully for its genitors remaining subtext and never identified or discussed—is everything.

My friend Sean is a Marie Antoinette fanatic, and he got to write a review of the new movie and interview the director. The latter made some comment about passionate friendships at the time were common, but we would never know whether the friendship was consummated and thus could not call them homosexual.

I told Sean that I have often thought this is the contrapositive corollary (and god knows I hope I have that right) of the Religious Reich assertion that homosexuality is merely a behavior, so if you don’t do it you’re not homosexual. The director was saying “If we can’t know it was sexual, we can’t know it’s homosexual.”

Balderdash. Of course can know, because being gay does not hinge on sexual activity. That’s merely its expression. I’m not gay because I have sex with men– well, one man, my lawfully wedded husband. But theoretically. I have sex with men because I’m gay, and that is the fullest expression of intimacy in my romantic, familial, sexual, and matrimonial orientation towards men.

And most gay people (I think), or at least, most gay people who are relationship oriented, KNOW IT WHEN THEY SEE IT. We recognize it as similar to what we have experienced. If we know enough about Marie’s life to know she had a very, very passionate friendship with another woman, one woman and not to every woman, we probably know enough to guess that she was gay.

The subtext: once again, being gay is reduced to having sex with an unapproved person, something that no heterosexual would ever accept for themselves as a definition of heterosexuality.

As timothy noted, the actual suxtext is the legitimacy of our very existence.

Neil
July 18th, 2012 | LINK

One stormy night I drove to an industrial bakery hidden deep in a nearly deserted stand of warehouses. I’d heard something was up and wanted to see for myself. As I rounded the final turn my eyes nearly popped. Tractor-trailers pulled up to loading docks, cars and vans everywhere and long-haired, earring-pierced men scurrying around running forklifts, rotary molds and huge 300 foot ovens. Trembling with worry I went inside. It was worse than I ever imagined. Row after row of boxes bulging with pro-homosexual cookies stuffed with rainbow cream lined the walls, stacked to the ceiling. My mind reeled as I realized hundreds, maybe thousands, more boxes were already loaded on the tractor-trailers. And still more cookies were flying out the ovens. Suddenly a dark-haired man screeched, “Delgaudio what are you doing here?” Dozens of men began moving toward me. I’d been recognized. As I retreated to my car, the man chortled, “This time Delgaudio we can’t lose.” Driving away, my eyes filled with tears as I realized he might be right. This time the Radical Homosexuals could win with Oreos.

Timothy Kincaid
July 18th, 2012 | LINK

Neil, sorry but you forgot one essential line that Delgaudo never misses:

P.S. Please prayerfully consider chipping in with a donation of $10 or more to help Public Advocate fight against homosexual oreo cookies

Richard Rush
July 18th, 2012 | LINK

Neil, that’s hilarious! At the end of your first sentence, I was already remembering Delgaudio’s priceless original.

Doesn’t it seem that any substantive arguments they ever thought they had against homosexuality have evaporated? And now most of their efforts seem reduced to characterizing us as radical, evil, nasty, threatening, sinister creatures slithering through the darkness seeking to destroy everything that is righteous in their world.

Muscat
July 18th, 2012 | LINK

@Ben in Oakland –

Well, yes and no. I think the point the director was clumsily trying to make is that norms of friendship and perhaps even the structure of sexuality itself can’t be assumed as universals. Therefore, in cultures where passionate friendships were/are the norm, drawing the conclusion that a passionate friendship was “really” just some kind of sexual relationship or indicative of some underlying attraction to the same sex is just that – a drawn conclusion. The issues are similar to those in this example: in the US if we see two men kissing (even as a casual greeting), or if we see two men holding hands in public, in most contexts we can assume those two men are gay or bisexual. However, in other cultures (and in some American subcultures, for that matter), that would generally be an incorrect assumption.

However, I think you rightly object to the specific wording that we “could not call them homosexual” because that is reducing same-sex sexuality to behavior. In most cases it is certainly no less accurate to call them homosexual than to assume they were heterosexual and/or that the relationship was non-sexual. If we don’t have data then we simply don’t have data, which means different people may come to different educated conclusions about the nature of the relationship and/or the people in it, not that we have to assume that they weren’t gay (or that they were). I actually wrote my senior thesis on just this issue – the conceptual gap between homosexuality and homosociality created by a cultural focus on monitoring/ regulating/ otherwise obsessing about (an assumed dichotomous) sexuality, defining homosexuality by behavior, and the related destruction of affectionate behavior between friends (especially male friends). Our culture just doesn’t grok relationships it can’t neatly place into one preconstructed box or the other. No doubt this is also all interconnected with bisexual invisibility/biphobia as well.

Andrew
July 19th, 2012 | LINK

make the cookie
Make the Cookie
Make the COOKIE
MAKE THE COOKIE

Hunter
July 19th, 2012 | LINK

“NOM’s promoting a bizarre screed by one Anne Sorock as if it made sense.”

To NOM’s audience, it does. It sounds like it’s been thought out, so they’ll take it on faith, even though to anyone who actually looks at it, it’s close to word salad. And to anyone who actually thinks about the scenario she paints, it’s laughable.

Gus
July 19th, 2012 | LINK

Yes, they do imagine that scene. It is a scene repeated in a genre of “Christian” films shown on Movie Night in the church basement. The hero has to fight with the devil, demon or sinner wanting them to join in all sorts of sin. It is almost always the scene you describe. Delgaudio and now Ms. Sorock exploit this deeply imbedded cultural meme.

They cannot allow the “sinner” to continue because it is a temptation to others so we are a threat just for moving in down the street or having a job. The must do battle with any deviation from the prescribed behavior. There is no tolerance.

Timothy Kincaid
July 19th, 2012 | LINK

Muscat,

Yes and no. While it is true that we cannot view affection as evidence of attraction in a society as a whole, when it is presented in contrast then the presumption should at least be considered and not be held to some impossible standard of documented intercourse.

If, in the case of a historical figure the affection and its display are so prominent as to stand apart from the social conventions of their peers, then I believe that it is deceptive and dishonest to insist that we ignore it based on a comparison to our culture.

For example, the Lincoln deniers insist that it was not uncommon for men to share a bed – thus establishing a then v. now comparison. To which the response is “true but it was uncommon for men in the White House to share a bed” thus placing the comparison back into cultural context. (I’m not arguing Lincoln was gay – just that some deniers utilize a false comparison).

The question is not whether Marie Antoinette had a more affectionate friendship than might be common now but rather whether it was uncommonly close within the context of her culture and social class.

Leo
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

This web site where this screed appears is “Legal” Insurrection?

Would it be too obvious to point out that Ms. Sorock fails to support her accusations of bullying with any evidence? Were threatening letters sent to Kraft? Were protests staged at Kraft facilities?

She works in the field of market research, but apparently hasn’t encountered any companies that actually, you know, willingly reach out the LGBT community? Only if they’re bullied? Because in the course of her work in market research she’s never encountered marketers, brand managers etc. who were themselves gay?

Seems like a researcher who starts with her conclusions and then works backwards from there.

Muscat
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy,

Hmm, I guess the site ate my earlier post. I think I’m in agreement with you and if my initial post suggested otherwise that’s my own lack of clarity. The example of US culture vs other cultures was just meant to illustrate how our own culture tends to color our views.

DN
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

The comments on the original post are actually laugh-out-loud funny.

“I went into a Border’s 10 years ago and there was a sign FORCING gay pride down my throat and I never went back!!!!”

OK.

Neato – he never went back. That person can claim personal responsibility for the fact that they went out of business. I guess.

Conservatives are a funny bunch. They’re all about personal choice (corporations are people, remember) over collective responsibility (aside from the responsibility from keeping faggots and dykes from being in fulfilled marriages).

Timothy Kincaid
July 21st, 2012 | LINK

Muscat,

Very true. And good conversation.

Billdee
July 25th, 2012 | LINK

I read Sorock’s article in its original web page context, where, be warned, several of the comments in response are unabashedly hateful.

I remember as a kid my grandmother complaining (this was many years ago) about how black people were showing up on TV commercials. That apparently made her feel uncomfortable. Or you could say she didn’t agree with the notion of black people existing on TV.

THOSE TV COMMERCIALS BULLIED MY GRANDMA!!!!

How dare (Coke, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Nabisco or whatever it was) bully her!!!!

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