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What infuriates us the most about our friends is often the flip side of what makes us admire them.

Rob Tisinai

April 10th, 2014

I love Box Turtle Bulletin. I owe Box Turtle Bulletin.

Long before I was a contributor here, I had (and still have) my own personal blog. My work there prompted a “Christian” blogger called Heteroseparatist to write a post tying homosexuality and pedophilia, calling it The Tisinai Formula. The rarity of my last name made this seem all the more despicable, more personal than if my surname were Williams or Smith.

I used the sordid happening as a chance to make a video, one that debunked the alleged connection in as much depth as I could manage in a youtube timeframe. It’s not my most-viewed video, but it’s the one I’m proudest of. People wrote to say they’d made their parents watch it, that it had calmed their parents’ fears and made it easier to have frank conversations with them. Of all the things I may have accomplished a blogger, that has to be the best, and if I sound a bit prideful about it, that’s why.

Two things made that video possible.

  1. Heteroseparatist had laid out his case in detail.
  2. Jim Burroway, the founder of Box Turtle Bulletin, had already written a long, footnoted (!) post debunking the supposed gay/pedophile correlation.

Both of those elements had to be in place for me to make the video. No, it’s not good that so many people believe these slanderous claims, but since they do believe them, it’s very good when they’re stated publicly and clearly, so that people like Jim Burroway can demolish them piece by piece. This is all in accord with Jim’s stated mission for the blog, which is to engage our opponents’ arguments and provide reasoned responses supported by evidence.

That’s not universally valued. When the Regnerus study came out, for instance, I did my best to expose its flaws, an effort that another blog dismissed as “blah-blah-blah,” and as having fallen into the “trap” of discussing the details of what the study actually says. That stunned me. I respect the work done at that blog, but it wouldn’t be a good home for me. That’s why I’ve been so happy to have Jim welcome me here.

I really do believe it’s a very good thing when our opponents make their position clear, and that’s occasionally gotten me into trouble. I baffled (infuriated?) some readers not long ago when I chastised Stanford for defunding an event featuring anti-gay speakers, one of whom was cited in a Supreme Court Windsor dissent. In particular I mocked a student, Brianne Huntsman, for saying the event should be cancelled to keep the university a “safe space” for gay and lesbian students (more on that mockery a bit further down).

Since then, another school has issued a statement that’s quite relevant and that I wish I had written:

To target funding for a particular program because it doesn’t align with certain beliefs and judging it in terms of specific content instead of the discussions the content promotes is perhaps a bit shortsighted. Indeed, controversial issues are essential in creating levels of discussion and student engagement that cannot be generated otherwise. We see such engagement as essential to the educational process.

That wasn’t in response to anti-gay speakers, though. That was the University of South Carolina reacting to State Representative Garry Smith (R), who wanted to withhold $17,142 in university funding because the school had assigned first-year students an LGBT-friendly book without balancing it with — I don’t know — an LGBT-unfriendly book.

One key difference between the Stanford and USC cases is that Stanford didn’t involve a First Amendment violation. That only occurs when the government takes action, which is precisely the situation with USC. It’s all the more striking, then, that USC didn’t invoke the First Amendment in its defense. It appealed to more demanding standards: academic freedom and the mission of the university.

Yes, I called those more demanding standards. I revere the First Amendment, but we should never forget: The First Amendment is a minimum requirement.

People sometimes defend the private stifling of speech by pointing out that no First Amendment rights were violated, and while they’re correct, that doesn’t mean all is well. USC reminds us that other standards exist, standards that go beyond what the government can do, standards that guide our own non-government actions. Academic freedom is one is one such standard, but there are others.

This means we can have a huge debate — among people who are otherwise allies — about the appropriate response to legal speech that we find offensive or appalling. This happened over my Stanford post and again the other day, when Jim expressed misgivings over the resignation of Brendan Eich. As everyone here knows, these debates can be heated, even rancorous. I hate that, because though I may go trolling on anti-gay sites, I have a childish hope (need?) that everything I write here be received with great joy and admiration. Now that ain’t gonna happen, and that’s a whole growth opportunity for me. But when the criticism comes down like a hammer, that same need eventually forces me to take it seriously, even if I don’t end up changing my mind. So I’ve been thinking a lot about the debates over Duck Dynasty and Stanford and Brendan Eich — actually not so much about those cases per se, but about the issues underlying them.

Here is what I’d like critics of Jim and Timothy and me to keep in mind — and just as importantly, what we need to keep in mind in return:

Quite often, the most infuriating aspects of another person are simply the flip side of the things you most admire.

In recent days, we’ve seen two admirable sets of values collide. First,

A free and open society works best when all positions are argued clearly and explicitly, along with their rebuttals. This climate of open debate, whatever its bumps and pitfalls, is the best way to try and secure a culture free of ignorance and superstition. It’s important to do as little as possible to discourage such debate because when an orthodoxy is imposed through legal or social pressure, it opens the door to tyranny and corrodes the human spirit.

But also,

A free and open society can only work when it recognizes the humanity, the dignity, and the equality of all its citizens. Movements that stigmatize entire swaths of the population, that declare them to be inferior, that try to rob them of their rights, have no place in such a society. They open the door to oppression and tyranny, and corrode the human spirit.

It’s hard, for me at least, to oppose either of those positions. Gay people have suffered in the past when either one was discarded. They overlap, they reinforce each other, but they can also contradict each other. And when that happens, long-time allies flare at each other and demand to know, How can someone I’ve respected hold such a view?

For instance, some people react to Jim (or me, or Timothy) by wondering, How can you be a defender of, and an apologist for, such anti-gay bigots? But that’s not his intent at all. He’s defending a legal and cultural climate of open and unchilled dialog for everyone, even our most vitriolic opponents. And his critics here, if they’ve ever found this blog valuable, must understand that Jim’s commitment to that ideal is what made the blog possible. It inspires him to devote hour after hour to smacking down the flawed arguments and outright lies of the other side. And the most baffling aspects of what you see in him now are simply the flip side of what you admire most.

On the other hand, I can look at someone like, say, StraightGrandmother — whom I respect and admire — and wonder, How can you subvert the ideals of a free society by deliberately chilling speech? But that’s not her intent at all. She’s defending the humanity, dignity, and equality of an oppressed group of real human beings, a group that she herself doesn’t even belong to! And I have to understand that her commitment to that ideal is what I so respect and admire. It inspires her to devote hour after hour to smacking down the flawed arguments and outright lies of the other side. And the most baffling aspects of what I see in her now are simply the flip side of what I admire most.

This debate isn’t going away anytime soon. It will only intensify. But keeping these things in mind will make that debate more productive. I’m not just talking about tolerance for each other’s views, or an attitude of Can’t we all just get along? No, I’m hoping we can remember that when we hurl contempt and derision at each other in this debate, we unintentionally spatter the very things we respect about each other.

That’s a lot to ask. I know this, because I’ve failed at it.

When I consider my Stanford post, I have to say I stand by my position but I regret the way I mocked Brianne Huntsman. USC has shown there are far better ways to make the same point, and mocking her won’t persuade her or her supporters to change their minds. It can only polarize the debate further. As I read some of the comments to that piece, with their condescending psychologizing and often outright scorn, the little kid in me wondered, Why y’all got to be so mean? Then the adult in me recalled my own mockery and realized, Oh, well, yeah. I committed a major violation of the Golden Rule right there.

But that still leaves open the question of how to respond to legal, offensive speech and to political activity that we fiercely oppose.

This hit home few days ago when I expressed concern on Facebook about the Brendan Eich controversy. A friend asked me, But what would you have done differently? The short answer might be: Nothing, because it’s possible we didn’t do anything. Yes, there was a petition with 70,000+ signatures calling for his resignation, but some have convincingly argued that he had to go because many of the Mozilla’s employees weren’t willing to accept his leadership, and that makes a sound business case for his departure.

But what if this had happened at the company I work for?

I can’t argue that a person’s private beliefs are irrelevant to their work. I remember collaborating with a tenured University of Chicago professor to create an online course, and one day he confided in me that he got a pit in his stomach every time a black student walked into his clasroom because, “I know they just won’t get it.” And I thought, You have no business being a teacher.

Even so, I wouldn’t have called for Brendan Eich’s resignation, partly because I don’t think opposition to same-sex marriage (as opposed to, say, membership in the KKK) is proof positive of hatred and bigotry. I have too much direct experience to the contrary to make that assumption. Still: based on the ideals set forth above, what would I do?

I’d push to open a dialog with the CEO.

I don’t just mean an hour-long chat with a photo opp at the end. If we’re strong enough to achieve the CEO’s resignation, then we’re strong enough to win an extended, well-publicized public conversation. This would be my homosexual agenda for that dialog:

  • We’d make it clear how many of the company’s employees are LGBT.
  • We’d bring the CEO into our homes to meet our families and see how we live — see that we live.
  • With the CEO having dinner with our families, we’d detail the harm that banning same-sex marriage does to gays and lesbians, to our children, even to straight kids in opposite-sex homes as they struggle through the fears and insecurities of adolescence.
  • We’d listen to the CEO’s objections to marriage equality and address them point by point. We know we can do this.
  • We’d discover the CEO’s core values, some of which likely involve dignity and fairness, and show how marriage equality fulfills them.

In short, we’d engage the CEO through both reason and emotion, by making a logical case and by expanding the CEO’s personal experience with gays and lesbians and our families. I see two possible outcomes, and ultimately we would win no matter which prevailed.

We change the CEO’s mind. Can you imagine how powerful it would have been for Brendan Eich to announce: After meeting with Mozilla’s gay and lesbian staff and getting to know their families, I’ve come to recognize that they deserve all the rights and dignity traditionally afforded to opposite-sex couples, and I now voice my support same-sex marriage. This could happen.

We don’t change the CEO’s mind. We still win. We’re helped by any public conversation that focuses on gay people as actual human beings and undercuts the terrible stereotypes we’re subjected to. And in this scenario, the conversation would be about us and our families instead of what’s happening to Eich. There would be little question among the general public — and especially the undecided middle — about which side is the champion of freedom and dignity.

Many of you, obviously, will disagree with me. And as I said, this debate isn’t going away. But we can make much better progress if we remember that it’s not a debate between apologists of anti-gay bigotry and tyrannical haters of liberty, but between two noble, often complementary sets of values that occasionally collide.

Comments

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Timothy Kincaid
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Brilliant, as usual

William Barker
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Outstanding article provoking insight and self-reflection. Inspiring! Thank you.

ascanius
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

very naive and counter-productive.

labeling the anti-gays as haters and bigots has been extremely effective. especially when coupled with a reasoned explanation of why they are wrong.

we still do not hesitate to call those working against blacks and latinos the racists they are. does al sharpton hesitate to call out the gop’s attempts to limit minority voting as racist? but we are supposed to stop calling the anti-gay bigots bigots?

why the double standard?

the appeal to emotions is an important tool.

do you really think that most people are going to have the patience (or interest) to go through the fallacies of robby george’s natural law arguments?

what anti-gay bigots like goerge count on is that their academic, highly abstract attack on gays can give the air of intellectual respectability to the bigotry of folks who are not equipped to deal with the arguments intellectually themselves.

the recent rise of the gay collaborationists, who help fuel the professional anti-gays’ meme of martyrdom by the gay mafia, and even, like sullivan, furnish them their soundbites and talking points to be used against us, is truly troubling.

stop pissing on your own community.

esurience
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

This was a terrific post, and I’m glad you addressed the commenters here with respect.

My response:

I don’t see why these approaches can’t co-exist. Different approaches work on different people, and some people can only be reached by a combination of approaches. Those approaches are, as I see them, rational, emotional, and social pressure/punishment.

When we vote on policies that directly effect, or potentially directly effect, 100% of people, we have to consider the cost to ourselves. The problem with voting on minority rights — a minority you aren’t a part of — is that the cost to you is nothing.

I think that adding a cost to holding certain views would make people more likely to consider whether those views should actually be held by them. Just like if I pointed out to you that a law would directly impact you, you might re-consider your position on that law, and look into the issue more deeply.

Now, if the cost is too high, then even people who are strongly against marriage equality won’t express their view, for fear of social punishment, and then we lose the opportunity to engage and dialogue with them and possibly change their mind. In a country with only a slim majority favoring marriage equality, that’s decidedly a bad thing. (Counterpoint: In the 18-29 year old range the numbers are much more in our favor, there’s not that much persuasion left to do that in that group).

If the cost of publicly opposing marriage equality is that you can’t be CEO of a Silicon Valley company, an industry where only 17% of employees donated for Proposition 8 – is that really too high of a cost?

I think the proper context to evaluate whether Eich’s position is a fringe one is within the group he most closely represents, people of Silicon Valley, as opposed to the general population of the US. And as pointed out, if that’s the context, it is most definitely a fringe position.

I don’t think the costs we are attempting to impose for anti-gay positions are too high, and especially not in the Eich case.

And now, for a minor nitpick:

Even so, I wouldn’t have called for Brendan Eich’s resignation, partly because I don’t think opposition to same-sex marriage (as opposed to, say, membership in the KKK) is proof positive of hatred and bigotry.

I don’t see why it’s necessary to see “hatred and bigotry” here, however one wants to define those terms. The problem here is with the action he took. It doesn’t matter whether the person whose boot is on your head has love in their hearts or hatred, they’ve still got their boot on your head.

When it comes to terms like “hatred” and “bigotry” I don’t use them to try and characterize the emotional state of the hater or the bigot – I couldn’t care less about that – I use them to characterize the position.

John
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

I am glad that you recognize that your mockery of Brianne Huntsman was cruel and uncalled for, but it does not change the fact that your mockery of her was simply part of your rushing to the aid of our enemies, including nut jobs like Robert Oscar Lopez and other bigots.

If I wanted to hear defenses of Eich et al. I would go to Andrew Sullivan’s Dish and the shriekings of poor persecuted Christians.

I come to BTB because I have in the past appreciated some real investigative journalism. Had I been on a Pulitzer Prize nominating committee, I would have gladly nominated the series on the Sissy Boy studies for a Pulitzer Prize. That was a meaningful contribution to understanding our past and how it continues to affect us.

While I have sometimes disagreed with particular posts, I never felt that I was being subjected to a conservative ideological indoctrination.

But with these recent posts, I have lost faith in the enterprise. Not only did you feel free to mock a lesbian student, but Burroway was happy to mock the majority of commenters here about his original defense of Eich. We are apparently the pitchfork-bearing McCarthyites who are frothing at the mouth to deprive billionaire tech leaders of their rightful place as CEOs.

Larry
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Proactive ideas and a positive tone make all the difference, great post. Had this been the texture of the original post or the followup regarding Brendan Eich, I don’t think there would have been as much negative reaction.

That said, the ideas you put forth are ones that need to be coordinated by the national gay orgs. I hope they’re reading because I see a lot of value in handling things this way. Your every day LGBT person can’t really do much of this on their own, however. It’s a helpless feeling, and then we log on to BTB and get scolded. That was part of the issue.

Jay
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

I have re-read Jim Burroway’s mission statement. I like its emphasis on civility and rationality. I especially like the fact that the mission of Box Turtle Bulletin is to provide well documented and accurate information and to refute misinformation.

I see nothing in the mission statement that includes attacking the gay community or defending the enemies of equal rights.

In reading Rob Tisanai’s post above, I am perplexed about the contrast made between his attack on Stanford for refusing to fund bigots and his citation of the University of South Carolina’s rebuke to a state senator who successfully defunded the university because it required its students to read a lesbian book. At best, this is yet another false equivalency between a row about the use of student fees and a legislature that has no respect for academic freedom. At worst, it is to equate students who object to the funding of hate speech with legislators who use the government to penalize a university for promoting diversity. The differences between the situations should be obvious to anyone, but again Tisinai seems to saying yet again that gay and lesbian students at Stanford are just as bad as the bigoted legislators in South Carolina.

The default position here seems to be to blame the gays.

Ryan
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

You make a lot of good points, and I’m eager to check out your video you linked to. I’ve gone back and forth on the Mozilla thing myself. But man, I just absolutely cannot get on board with your decision to criticize Stanford for not funding a group that included unrepentant and virulently gay-hating Robert Lopez. If colleges can’t make a bare minimum “decent human being” requirement to the speakers they fund, then they might as well literally invite the Westboro Church as well. That’s not even hyperbole. There’s very little difference between Lopez’s rhetoric and the Phelps’. And then to equate that with defunding a school for having pro-LGBT books is pretty beyond the pale.

esurience
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Jay,

Yeah, that’s something that really irritates me about this whole dust-up. Sometimes it’s not even a false equivalence. Some of the people on “our side” will hurl terrible names and allegations at the gay people who wanted Eich gone, far worse than what they’d hurl at Eich himself.

Even if someone believes that pressuring Mozilla to remove Eich was wrong, is their argument really that it’s more wrong than Proposition 8 was? Because that seems to be what a lot of them are saying.

I think Ezra Klein put this impulse best when he was responding to criticism about his hire of Brandon Ambrosino (although I do not agree at all with that hiring):

https://www.facebook.com/ezraklein/posts/10152347488818410

People felt Brandon had made his name writing sloppy pieces that were empathetic towards homophobes but relentlessly critical of the gay community.

This kind of reaction seems to happen a lot. When some are arguing against Eich’s removal, they are being very empathetic towards Eich (he voted the same way 52% of Californians did! — he supports inclusive policies at Mozilla!), and relentlessly harsh of the people calling for his ouster (“They’re totalitarians, no respect for freedom of speech! It’s a witch hunt! McCarthyism!”)

It shouldn’t need to be said, but let’s say it clearly: Supporting a campaign to vilify gay people as a threat to children, to deny them equality under the law and equal dignity of their love, is a much worse thing than calling for a particular person who holds those deplorable views to be fired from a job where they are out-of-step with the values of most of the people they’ll be leading.

If Rob, Timothy, or Jim disagree with that, I’d really like to hear them say so explicitly. And I’d like to hear them try to justify it.

Rob Tisinai
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Supporting a campaign to vilify gay people as a threat to children, to deny them equality under the law and equal dignity of their love, is a much worse thing than calling for a particular person who holds those deplorable views to be fired from a job where they are out-of-step with the values of most of the people they’ll be leading.

I agree with you. Can you point to anything I’ve said that indicates otherwise?

esurience
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

I agree with you. Can you point to anything I’ve said that indicates otherwise?

I’m very glad to hear that you agree. No, I don’t think you’ve explicitly indicated otherwise. But I think it’s important to be clear and not leave that up to question.

People like Andrew Sullivan are saying “we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.”

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/04/03/the-hounding-of-brendan-eich/

I know you’re not Andrew Sullivan, but he’s part of the context of this discussion. And BTB was mentioned alongside Andrew Sullivan in this article:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/04/after-eich-firing-conservatives-slam-mozilla-and-call-for-boycott/

If it’s not your intention to create blowback for the gay community over Eich’s firing, as seems to be Sullivan’s intention, then it would be best to clear about who the real bad guy in this story is. It’s Eich.

Rob Tisinai
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Jay, saying that two things are both wrong is most definitely not the same as saying they are morally equivalent.

StraightGrandmother
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

The pitchfork headline was over the top mocking those who did not agree with the previous article.

I knew when I wrote that I sure as hell want to CHILL, anti gay speech, I knew that would send Jim & Tim over the edge. I knew it when I wrote it, but I wrote it anyway because that is what I believe. I never took anything personal, and I hope nobody took anything I wrote personal, I always strive to write to a topic/concept, not to a person.

Maybe if GLAAD would have gotten involved they could have saved us from this mess. They are very good working off line, one on one. They have brought more than a few people around.

There is no one *Great Gay Leader* which mostly means we are throwing spaghetti against a wall with many different hands, and we hope something sticks. There is no one *Great Gay Leader* to lead the column and we all follow behind, therefore an issue will be attacked from many different angles/approaches. The onus was NOT on us to stop what we were doing, the onus was on EICH to address what was happening and he couldn’t handle it.

Eich himself could have reached out to GLAAD, he didn’t. As far as we know he did not reach out to any Gay Rights Org for help/guidance. Why didn’t he do that? I am going to presume an answer here, he didn’t do it because he does NOT regret donating, and would probably do it again today.

Does anybody want to make any bets what Eich’s next act will be? Will he be appearing at Heritage Foundation Conferences crying about the Gay Mafia? His next act will be informative.

Ben
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

As others have said, if either Jim or Tim’s original article (or yours Rob back mocking the university students) had been this even-handed, I seriously doubt the blowback would have been so harsh.

It honestly reminds me of Uncle Tom. Gays wanting so badly to be taken seriously by the heteronormative power holders, that even the slightest deviation by others will get far harsher condemnation than actual bigotry.

As pointed out, even the worst, most slanderous and hateful anti-Eich comments (none of which I saw on BTB) pale like a candle to the sun the hurt and hate that Prop8 stood for. Where was that outrage? Because I only saw it directed at BTB readers themselves.

Ben
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

You are also pre supposing that, “A free and open society works best when all positions are argued clearly and explicitly, along with their rebuttals.”
is a universal truth that every reader out there will agree with and if they don’t, they are objectively wrong.

Plenty of people disagree, especially in a country that allows wealth to accumulate to the point the wealthy can alter popular opinion and break democracy. (I won’t provide a link because I know it will hold up my post, but the Washington Post just published an article titled “rich people rule” and the findings are that – if a policy has very broad popular support, but elites are apathetic to it the policy has at best a 30% chance of happening. If a policy has elite support and is opposed by broad popular support it still has a 50% chance of happening.)

I have no problem with a society that stifles hate speech through shame, rather than a slow erosion of their respect through polite debate, because I know this is not a system that always results in the cream (in this case human rights) rising to the top given enough time.

Rob Tisinai
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Ben, I’ve spent more than 5 years and literally thousands of hours expressing outrage at Prop 8 and other laws like it.

As for “wanting so badly to be taken seriously by the heteronormative power holders,” that’s just completely off. But because it’s a statement about my psychology, I can’t offer direct evidence against it any more than you can offer direct evidence for it. BTW, it’s also ad hominem.

Rob Tisinai
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

You are also pre supposing that, “A free and open society works best when all positions are argued clearly and explicitly, along with their rebuttals.” is a universal truth that every reader out there will agree with and if they don’t, they are objectively wrong.

No, I’m not. It’s something I believe but not something I can prove. I’m well aware that many people disagree with it, and while I do think they are wrong (just as they think I am) I make no claims to having any sort of objective proof.

I do have to wonder, though: Given your belief in the power of the elites (which I share), what makes you think that hate speech is the speech that will be stifled, as opposed to your own? It took centuries for LGBT-positive speech even to begin to throw off its stifling.

TampaZeke
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Most of us who took exception to Jim’s post on Eich did so not because of his position on Eich but because he repeated a number of fallacies to make his case. Eich was not fired. There was no coordinated effort in the gay community to get Eich fired or to boycott Mozilla. Eich did more than simply have an anti-gay opinion. Then to add insult to injury he came out with the “pitchforks” follow-up. That was a slap in the face to many of us, particularly since the vast majority of the arguments that were made against his original post were civil and thoughtful. Reasonable questions were asked and Jim chose to ignore them and throw gasoline on the fire instead. It may not bother Andrew Sullivan or Jim that people who call us the “gaystapo” and “Nazis” are sharing their posts and pointing to them as making their case that gay people are bullies and terrorist but it should at the very least make them think about how their commentaries are being received not only by allies but also by radical enemies of the gay community.

Ben
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

“I do have to wonder, though: Given your belief in the power of the elites (which I share), what makes you think that hate speech is the speech that will be stifled, as opposed to your own?”

The fact that not a single tweet, petition, or call for Eich’s resignation was a Koch funded astroturf effort of a rich person? It was very obviously an effort by a discriminated group and their allies who grew a spine.

Until you can provide an example that it was lead, instigated, or related in any way to the wealthy, your point falls flat.

As to whether my mere observation is an ad-hominem, (and specifically I meant many posts by all 3 moderators, not just this one from you) after the last few posts about pitchforks and gaystapo and Tim’s comments mocking the even-handed explation of why Yagen VS Eich was different, it’s obvious BTB isn’t taking that comment policy seriously.

TampaZeke
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Ari Ezra Waldman at Towleroad posted a response to Andrew Sullivan that also happens to address some of the arguments that Burroway made. Like Sullivan, Burroway based much of his argument on misinformation (which is what I and many others took exception to). Ari covers them one by one. I encourage everyone, including Rob, Jim and Timothy to check it out.

http://www.towleroad.com/2014/04/the-fall-of-brendan-eich-happened-without-us.html

TampaZeke
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

@Ben, hear, hear!

Jay
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Rob wrote: “Jay, saying that two things are both wrong is most definitely not the same as saying they are morally equivalent.”

Perhaps. But your post is so opaque I am not at all sure exactly what you mean.

The two examples are not equivalent in any way. One had to do with student funding of a hate group. The other had to do with academic freedom. The two issues are quite different as well as not morally equivalent.

There was no issue of academic freedom or of freedom of speech involved in the Stanford dispute. The hate group conference was going to take place regardless of whether student fees were going to be used to fund them. Students at Stanford are not obligated to fund hate fests.

In South Carolina, the state legislature was violating the academic freedom of the state’s flagship university, attempting to censor a reading assignment for incoming freshman.

There is no equivalence other than your belief that gay people are for some reason equivalent to (though perhaps not quite as morally objectionable) as redneck anti-gay legislators.

But I have no desire to debate such issues. I just think that posts like that on this site squanders a great resource and betrays the mission statement that you yourself cited.

Rob Tisinai
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Hi, Ben,

Until you can provide an example that it was lead, instigated, or related in any way to the wealthy, your point falls flat.

I wasn’t referring just to this case, but was asking about who has more power in general to stifle speech they don’t like.

Rob Tisinai
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Thanks for the link, TampaZeke.

Jim Burroway
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

It shouldn’t need to be said, but let’s say it clearly: Supporting a campaign to vilify gay people as a threat to children, to deny them equality under the law and equal dignity of their love, is a much worse thing than calling for a particular person who holds those deplorable views to be fired from a job where they are out-of-step with the values of most of the people they’ll be leading.

I do not disagree with that.

Where I take issue is the implication, without evidence, that Eich would be “out-of-step with the values of most of the people (he’d) be leading.” Eich made it clear that as part of his job he committed to “Work() with LGBT communities and allies, to listen and learn what does and doesn’t make Mozilla supportive and welcoming.” He also reiterated his commitment “to our Community Participation Guidelines, our inclusive health benefits, our anti-discrimination policies, and the spirit that underlies all of these.”

In other words, as the CEO of Mozilla, he had committed to leading the organization in a way that would not be out-of-step with the values of most of the people he’d be leading. And so I see no grounds for calling for his firing.

Rob Tisinai
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Jay, the thing that links USC and Stanford is that this applies to both cases:

To target funding for a particular program because it doesn’t align with certain beliefs and judging it in terms of specific content instead of the discussions the content promotes is perhaps a bit shortsighted.

Now, of course, I believe that the LGBT-friendly messages are superior to the the LGBT-hostile messages, but from the University’s point of view, my preference or yours or theirs is not the key issue. Rather the role of the university as a place to debate and justify those preferences is the key point.

Mark F.
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Well said, Rob.

Jay
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Rob, you seem incapable of understanding the difference between student funding of a hate group conference and a legislature attempting to deny a university academic freedom.

There was no academic program at Stanford that was targeted. A student group wanted money to fund a conference sponsored by NOM. The student government committee felt that it was inappropriate to fund that conference with student fees. They no doubt denied funding to lots of requests. The conference was not forbidden or otherwise impeded.

The state legislature used the brute power of government to bully the university and thereby dictate academic decisions.

If you can’t see the difference, then I think you are pretty hopeless.

But beyond that I agree with the comments above by esuriance and Ben that the energy of the site recently has been to bash gay people rather than our oppressors.

I think the question of tactics is certainly one worth debating, but the shaming tone directed toward gay people versus the empathetic tone extended to Eich et al. is really irritating and unproductive. It is not helpful to call your readers McCartyites, membesr of a pitchfork-bearing lynch mob, totalitarians who understand nothing about freedom of speech or liberal education, etc.

Jay
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

My last post here on this subject. Jim Burroway writes above in reference to Eich: “And so I see no grounds for calling for his firing.”

If you had simply written that in the first place, no one would have been incensed. People may have agreed or disagreed, but they would not have questioned the whole purpose of this blog.

Instead, you evoked the spectre of a blood thirsty mob wanting to fire everyone who voted for Prop 8. You called anyone who protested Eich’s promotion to CEO at Mozilla intolerant. You said that in effect we don’t deserve protection from discrimination in employment since we don’t extend that to Eich.

I am not going to rehearse all the fallacies and in your original post on this issue or in the incendiary headline of the post about Yagen. But I think you need to think carefully about the tone you take when you dismiss your readers in such a way.

It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable. But the tone is set by the bloggers here, and that tone has lately been contemptuous of your readers.

John30013
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Hi, Jim–

I think the issue is that many of Eich’s detractors simply did not believe the statements you quoted. His subsequent statements to both The Guardian and C|Net further eroded our faith that Eich would stand by those commitments. He did have supporters within Mozilla who backed up Eich’s statements, and I respect that (although it wasn’t up to me…). But apparently that wasn’t enough for the Mozillians and others who objected to Eich as CEO.

As StraightGrandmother mentioned, Eich had other avenues to burnish his fairness credentials (reaching out to GLAAD or another similar organization, for example). Many of us were also looking for some kind of statement from Eich that acknowledged the harmful effects of Prop 8, rather than a vague statement of regret over the “pain” his donation had caused. Eich conspicuously did not do any of these things. I can only guess at his motives. (My personal opinion isnthatnhe didn’t consider his actions wrong, and he was standing on his principles—which I can admire even as I vehemently disagree with them.)

Those failures, along with his inability to defuse the subsequent crisis, were enough to make the Mozilla board of directors reconsider their decision. Eich quit (yes, I believe he was “encouraged” by the board to make that decision, but ultimately it was his choice to make—and it reinforces my belief about his motivations). The subsequent information about his other past political donations to Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul were the straw that broke the camel’s back.

You’re certainly entitled to your belief that Eich shouldn’t have lost his position over his donation supporting Prop 8; others disagree. But the ultimate deciders were the Mozilla board of directors, and I think the actual donation played a very small part in their final decision.

Ray
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

I don’t know why so many didn’t pay attention to Eich’s stated commitment to make sure Mozilla was a welcoming place. When I saw that, I thought it would be a great opportunity for our community to not just hold his feet to the fire, but likely see a CEO do an about face.

Jim, Timothy, Rob and, yes, Andrew Sullivan won the day in my view. I have banged heads with so many conservatives right in the heart of their own territory and I’ve seen the lights come on and watched them turn around and support our humanity. I had to win, I repeat, I had to WIN those arguments and I had to do it while being piled on by hundreds of dissenting and moronic voices. But I knew I’d have to endure that going in.

One tap at a time. You state your argument and just keep tapping away. We can’t lose. It’s how we got where we are now.

John30013
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Hi, Rob–
Interesting post. I was conflicted about the calls for Eich to step down at first, and how I do wish that we could have taken the time to engage him, as you suggested: having him meet our families, discuss the real harms of Prop 8, and all the rest. However, Eich has had ime to do all those things. It’s been several years since his donation (and a few years since it became public knowledge). I would think that if Eich were interested in learning about our view of Prop 8, he’d have availed himself of any number of opportunities to do so before now. His own stsements and the statements of others indicated that he has known and worked with LGBT people. Even if not in his direct circle of close work associates, surely in the area he lives in he knew of some LGBT couples and families…. The fact that he affirmatively avoided any such outreach tells me (and I expect I’m not alone in this opinion) that deep down in his heart of hearts, Eich was comfortable with his donation and that he felt it was justified given his view of LGBT people.

The Anglo Saxons had a saying: “The word must be cousin to the deed”. Today we say “walk the talk”. Eich, by all appearances, couldn’t bring himself to do so.

Rob Tisinai
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Jay,

Rob, you seem incapable of understanding the difference between student funding of a hate group conference and a legislature attempting to deny a university academic freedom.

No, I was quite explicit about that difference, made a point of calling it out, and used it in my argument.

It is not helpful to call your readers McCartyites, membesr of a pitchfork-bearing lynch mob, totalitarians…

I haven’t done a search for lynch mob or totalitarian, but neither Jim nor Timothy nor I have called anyone McCarthyite. Please be as careful with your accusations as you wish us to be.

But the tone is set by the bloggers here, and that tone has lately been contemptuous of your readers.

There is nothing — nothing at all — contemptuous of BTB readers in this post, but quite a bit of contempt expressed in your reaction to it.

The Lauderdale
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

I really like Rob’s post. I also like that he and Jim are taking part more in the comments. I think that would have helped more in the response to the original Eich post, not just because it would (probably? possibly?) have calmed folks down earlier, but because I was genuinely interested in hearing more of their thoughts about the whole thing. Glad to be able to read them now, at any rate.

The Lauderdale
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

On somewhat of a tangent, is there a problem with posting comments via cell phones at BBT? Maybe this has always been the case and people already know about it, but I just got a new phone the other day and every time I try to post a comment with it I get this message:

“There was an error posting your comment.
Maybe it was too short?”

I did supply name and email as usual.

vergil arma
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

the rise of the collaborationists and bigot enablers in the wake of the eich incident is astounding.

they seem to think the war has been won and it’s ok to fire on their allies and write the scripts for the professional gay bashers.

soon nom will be inviting sullivan, tisani, burroway, and corvino as key-note speakers to their hate march in june when they can assure the haters that it’s ok to be anti-gay because you’re still a good person and yes, as victims of the gay mafia, you are to be pitied but don’t worry because we have your back.

this lack of political discipline is precisely why the left tends to be easily out foxed by the right,who understand that politics is more a game of emotions than of ideas and, boy, do they know how to play to the emotions.

newt gingrich was successful in making “liberal” a dirty word which democrats ran away from for 30 years. in fact, they still run away from it, though now they’ve started using “progressive” instead.

our strategy of labeling anti-gay attitudes as bigotry and hate has also been hugely successful in changing attitudes. but now these collabos want us to back off and tolerate intolerance.

they seem to forget that this is a culture war. and the war is not over.

when we have full equality, then we can start showing some pity. but not now. this is not the time for the bigot enablers to be undermining our momentum.

they chose to fire on the gays first instead of getting the real facts out about the eich incident. they’ve shown their true colors.

Tim Lusk
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

I have been following this blog for one reason: substance. I appreciate the hard work that goes into many of the articles. That being said, often in my opinion, the writers are too quick to support views that lean in a conservative direction. You all have a right to do that, but if this blog is to stay relevant, then people like me are going to challenge and sometimes pointing out what we see are a personal bias. I may not be right when I make that assumption, but trying to make me feel guilty for bringing it up stifles the very dialogue you are trying to foster. Before I came out I knew several GLBT persons that I thought were too angry, they made me uncomfortable. I am now one of those angry gays. I am at a much better place now that I am out, but the price I have paid has meant broken relationships with close family and friends because their bigotry dressed up in religion means they care more about their beliefs than their relationship with me. I am anger about that. People who support antigay marriage are bigots…those of us who are angry will be pointing that out. There is a place in the conversation in our GLBT community for that more moderate voice, but don’t try to shut the more angry of us out….it is that angry that has gotten us along this far.

Jim Burroway
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

I really have to address this.

Most of us who took exception to Jim’s post on Eich did so not because of his position on Eich but because he repeated a number of fallacies to make his case. Eich was not fired.

The headline says he resigned, in pretty big hard-to-miss type. The text said he resigned. I never said he was fired. Not once. I did say that a lot of people were calling for it, but he resigned. I was clear. And for those who were calling for his removal, I doubt very much that if it came about because he was fired or resigned would have made even a tiny smidgen of a difference.

There was no coordinated effort in the gay community to get Eich fired or to boycott Mozilla.

I didn’t say there was. Never. Not once. There were however quite a few calls from a very large number of people in the gay community and from among our allies. I don’t see how anyone can deny that.

Eich did more than simply have an anti-gay opinion.

Right. He contributed $1000 to the Yes on 8 campaign. I said that. There was nothing false there. I didn’t hide it.

Then to add insult to injury he came out with the “pitchforks” follow-up.

That was intemperate of me, but I’m not yet prepared to apologize for it because, well, the pitchforks were out. I was accused of likening Eich’s removal to “McCarthyism” (I didn’t. I didn’t even come close). I was accused of being a hypocrite. I was accused of “pinkwashing” (whatever that’s supposed to mean). I’m “self-loathing” (as if!). I was accused of being half a step away from defending racists and anti-semites (Puhleese!). And now, the latest — “collaborationists and bigot enablers.”

Which is okay. I can take it. I didn’t lose any sleep. I know that when you step out of the comfort zone, things get, well, uncomfortable. The “pitchforks” line was a tweak, and probably should have been accompanied with some context. But seriously, the pitchforks really were out.

It may not bother Andrew Sullivan or Jim that people who call us the “gaystapo” and “Nazis” are sharing their posts and pointing to them as making their case that gay people are bullies and terrorist but it should at the very least make them think about how their commentaries are being received not only by allies but also by radical enemies of the gay community.

I think having a frank, free and open exchange is always healthy. How other people want to misrepresent our posts — people who have raised misrepresentation to a high art — isn’t something I can control or do much to head off. I’ve learned a long time ago that radical enemies will use whatever they can find. If they can find it, they’ll use it. If they find something they can misrepresent, they’ll do that (as they even did it with the Kirk Murphy story). And if they can’t find anything at all, they’ll just make it up.

////

For those who were frustrated because I wasn’t diving into the comments, it’s because, as I said, I think having a frank, free and open exchange of ideas is always healthy. It’s why I typically refrain from diving into comments. That’s your forum, not mine so much. But given the intensity of the discussion here, I’ll try to make more time to engage the comments more often on this topic.

Jim Burroway
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

That being said, often in my opinion, the writers are too quick to support views that lean in a conservative direction.

Actually, most people are more conservative than I am. I am an Obamacare-loving, Immigrant-supporting, tax-the-rich/raise-the-minumum-wage lib’ral. I am passionate about diversity and tolerance, and I strongly believe that even those who are intollerant do not forfeit their freedoms to be profoundly wrong.

I believe that this is too important to be just a liberal or a conservative position. I think, at heart, it is an American one, a position that speaks to our highest aspirations.

What worries me is that too many are reacting out of their worst pain and fears. I certainly get that. It’s only natural. It’s only human.

But at the core of it all, to me, is that what we have been fighting for for all of these decades is the expansion of freedoms, and not merely the displacement of freedoms from one advantaged group to another. And even a bigot is entitled to all of the same freedoms that I am demanding for myself. Even if he is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

Merv
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

Thank you for acknowledging the KKK argument. I felt like it was being avoided or dismissed before.

Until this incident, I don’t think a lot of people (including me) realized how many people felt that contributions to Prop 8 organizations were simply beyond the pale, like KKK or neo-Nazi contributions. This is especially the case among young people and tech workers, two demographics that often overlap (95% of Google/Apple/Microsoft contributions in 2008 were anti-Prop 8). I’ll admit that my personal assessment was closer to yours in that we haven’t reached that point yet and engagement can still be fruitful, but I felt a lot more strongly that we shouldn’t dismiss those who felt otherwise. Their feelings are legitimate, and they shouldn’t be characterized as unreasonable and vindictive.

Neil
April 10th, 2014 | LINK

None of the authors on this blog accused critics of Eich’s appointment as McCarthyist. That was Brian Brown. Jim Burroway preferred the caricature of idiot villagers with pitchforks. Pitchforks, McCarthyites; McCarthyites, pitchforks: let’s call the whole thing off.

I suppose if my CEO gave all the right assurances about company policy on diversity and inclusion, even though he wouldn’t rule out donating to oppose diversity and inclusion at a political level outside the company, I could live with it. But I’d still think, if I had my druthers, that I’d rather have a less prejudiced CEO.

The fact is, when asked directly, Eich wouldn’t rule out donating to anti-gay causes in the future. I can see why people who would’ve had to deal with him as Mozilla’s CEO, his staff and other software developers in Silicon Valley, would express their discomfort over his appointment. One of the board members resigned specifically on this issue.

I’m a little dubious that this could’ve turned into a teachable moment for Eich, had he remained. He had been CTO of Mozilla for some years. Surely he’d met same sex couples before and should’ve had the opportunity to understand how their feelings and affect was essentially the same as opposite sex couples.

Let’s look at the context here. His appointment as CEO to Mozilla (LGBT friendly) proved to be a bit in your face. If he was heading up World Vision, where firing gays is business as usual, he’d fit right in.

Pitchforks? People expressed opinions on the matter, like they did with Duck Dynasty. A&E felt they could weather it. Mozilla’s board decided not to. Likewise, the board of World Vision decided not to. Different folks for different constituencies, it seems.

The difference with World Vision is that they’re acceding to an anti-gay animus. With Mozilla, they’re fostering a gay inclusive ethos. We used to be the unpopular minority vulnerable to mob prejudice, and the decision by World Vision shows that we still can be.

So, I suppose it makes some of us uncomfortable when we see opinion against someone like Eich prove effective. Suddenly we appear to have power and Eich looks like the victim. And then we, the LGBT folk who appear to benefit, are collectively the bullies. It feels awkward because we’d prefer a nice middle class settling of affairs without conflict.

But that can’t be. If we promote tolerance, we must necessarily take a position counter to intolerance. There will be conflict, and the Brian Browns will try to make the absurd claim that opposition to intolerance is somehow hypocritical.

Let’s not buy into that. Marriage equality is a signature issue because it is the inevitable conclusion of the long struggle from illegality to acceptance. Eich let it be known that he’d still consider donating to oppose that acceptance. Not enough to lose a job over (and he didn’t, having been with the company for years). Highly questionable as CEO of Mozilla. The position of CEO is not just any job.

Timothy Kincaid
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Jim:

“Actually, most people are more conservative than I am. I am an Obamacare-loving, Immigrant-supporting, tax-the-rich/raise-the-minumum-wage lib’ral.”

Hey, kids. I’m the token “right-wing radical extremist nutcase conservative shilling for old white Republican billionaires” here, and don’t y’all forget it.

I hold my slightly-to-the-right-side-of-centrist position with pride and I’ll not be having people thinking that Jim’s the conservative!

Timothy Kincaid
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Lauderdale:

I’ve not seen that issue before. I haven’t a solution. I’m sorry.

Ben
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

It’s interesting how back in 2010, we had Timothy posting anti immigrant comments left and right in the “We are all Mexicans” post, against an actual disenfranchised group, but then when it comes to a single, solitary, wealthy white straight male executive (hardly a disenfranchises minority), the site will spend not one post, but three separate posts by all three moderators defending the poor victim. America has actual discriminated minorities, underpaid females, people of color, immigrants, muslims; the absolute last group that needs a boo-hoo fest is straight white male connected executives. Don’t worry, he will land on his feet, and maybe with a lesson learned ala Dan Cathy (keep your mouth shut and your purse closed when it comes to your own bigoted beliefs).

And Rob, in your question, “I wasn’t referring just to this case, but was asking about who has more power in general to stifle speech they don’t like.” If I am worried that the GLBT and allies who objected to Eich are going to turn their speech stifling on me? Nope. Much more worried about those who toe the conservative, capitalist-class worshiping free market adherents doing that. No matter what system we have, educated human rights advocates are going to have to make their voices heard. No system will protect the weak inherently, so I am never worried about those same people’s actions being turned on me.

Hyhybt
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

On the article: very well-put and reasonable. As is usual for BTB articles, from all of you.

Richard Rush
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Some things deserve to be repeated. Jim Burroway said:

I’ve learned a long time ago that radical enemies will use whatever they can find. If they can find it, they’ll use it. If they find something they can misrepresent, they’ll do that. And if they can’t find anything at all, they’ll just make it up.

Rob Tisinai
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Ben,

If I am worried that the GLBT and allies who objected to Eich are going to turn their speech stifling on me? Nope.

Still not what I was getting at. You had written:

I have no problem with a society that stifles hate speech through shame

You weren’t referring to “GLBT and their allies” there but to society in general. Which is what made me respond:

Given your belief in the power of the elites (which I share), what makes you think that hate speech is the speech that will be stifled, as opposed to your own? It took centuries for LGBT-positive speech even to begin to throw off its stifling.

In other words, if you don’t oppose the principle of stifling speech, what makes you think the LGBT community will usually be the stiflers rather than the stifled?

Again, as I said above, I’m asking about “who has more power in general [not just in the gay community] to stifle speech they don’t like.”

John
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

This rambling and largely incoherent post–and the discussion afterward–has succeeded in making me actively dislike bloggers that I had previously admired. The notion that there is anything remotely equivalent between a student government declining to support a NOM-sponsored event at Stanford and the South Carolina legislature vindictively punishing the University of South Carolina for assigning a book by Alison Bechdel is ludicrous.

I guess I am supposed to be pacified to learn that Jim Burroway did not actually mean to compare those of us who did not defend Eich with a blood-thirsty mob, and that his reference to “pitch-forks” was just a rhetorical excess and that he is really a good liberal. Yet there is absolutely nothing different between what he wrote and what Charles Krauthammer is spouting. Indeed, Krauthammer may be plagiarizing Burroway when he writes in precisely the same tone used on this site: “…why stop with Brenden Eich….,Six million Californians joined Eich in the crime of ‘privileging’ traditional marriage. So did Barack Obama…. In that same year, he declared that his Christian beliefs made him oppose gay marriage… the man whom the left so ecstatically carried to the White House in 2008 was equally a bigot.” (http://www.towleroad.com/#ixzz2yaOgdKau

I just read that Peter LaBarbera was detained at the Canadian border as a possible “hate propagandist.” I suppose we can expect yet another posting here by Kinkaid, Tisanai, or Burroway oozing with empathy for LaBarbera and lambasting those of us who think it would be absolutely appropriate for Canada to refuse to allow this bigot into their country.

Ben
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

“In other words, if you don’t oppose the principle of stifling speech, what makes you think the LGBT community will usually be the stiflers rather than the stifled?”

My speech is already stifled by the wealthy as I pointed out. This supposed “free and healthy society” is anything but. That is why I am all for the nuance of saying “bigot shaming” = good, while acknowledging that same system at one point used the exact same system to deny me my rights. No issue-blind system is going to result in defacto positive movement, which was your (and Tim and Jim’s) entire argument behind rigorously defending the rights of homophobes to spout off homophobic rhetoric.

I have to work toward the system I want to live in, through relationships and society. A law is never going to grant me that, as it’s just a construct that can easily be perverted by those who have been allowed to accumulate wealth/power. Gay rights have turned the corner, but the elites will surely figure out something new to turn the working poor against each other, be it immigrants, muslims, a continuation of the ongoing racism ever-present in America, or something else.

And when/as that happens, I will again rely on the same people who decried Eich, not some magical first amendment to make everything better when it has been piss-poor at doing that in the past.

Stephen
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

You people clearly do not write for a living. This is a really childish post. The kind of thing David Blankenorn would write. You have some very intelligent people commenting here. We don’t like to be sneered at. Not so much by the original post. I thought it uninformed but was interested to read it. I learned more about what Mozilla is from jeff, a commenter, who was much more informed than Mr. Burroway. Fine. We can’t know everything about everything. I’m often irritated by the silly pieces on the theatre. Fine. I also value much of what I read here and have gone to some trouble to make that clear.

Since YOU bring it up, your own mockery of Brianne was entirely childish, sexist, and based on class snobbery. None of us are perfect. Much more to the point was the censoring of some very thoughtful and well-expressed comments regarding Thomas Peters when he injured himself. Where was your higher standard then?

If you don’t like being criticized – and the overly defensive reactions of the three of you created this silly fuss – then don’t post writings in public. Those of us who write for a living face this ALL THE TIME. So let’s all grow up and move on.

I look forward to reading what next you write that isn’t about how mean we are to make Jimmy cry.

Timothy Kincaid
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Stephen,

A few points:

* I think you failed to note that this post was not written by “Jimmy”, whomever that may be, but by Rob Tisinai.

* I’m not sure what you mean by “silly pieces on the theatre”. I don’t think we have ever written about the theatre here or, if so, rarely. Perhaps you are referring to another site.

* I was the one who edited most of the “thoughtful and well-expressed comments” about Thomas Peters, as I had informed readers in advance that those with ill intent or an unkind attitude would be deleted. (We really are all different people and not interchangeable)

* You are correct that none of us write for a living – or, at least, none of us are journalists, though writing is a strong component of some of our daily jobs. BTB is a volunteer effort, something we do because we enjoy it and because we believe that we each have viewpoints that are not always prominent in other gay reporting venues.

Timothy Kincaid
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Ben, etc.

I’ve not written a post about Eich.

I likely will, but you might wish to wait until it’s written to decry it.

Ben
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

My apologies, I confused Jim’s first one with something you wrote.

John
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Tim Kinkaid may not have written about Eich lately, but he has led the cheerleading on the posts re Eich and Stanford. “Brilliant, as usual,” I think he called this actually very poorly written post. And since he is the self-described real conservative among the trio of bloggers, I think we can safely assume that he aligns himself with Charles Krauthammer, Andrew Sullivan, and Jim Burroway on the Eich controversy.

Lord_Byron
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Kind of tangential, but it’s weird to see Rob or Jim accused of being conservatives. As Tim points out that’s him.

As for the stifling of free speech that has happened for a long time and especially now when money=speech it is easy for the majority of the nation to be stifled by the 1% with like 60% of the wealth. While I don’t like this I am apathetic towards the fear of specifically lgbt speech being stifled since many of the really rich care more about their money than social issues. Many of them don’t care about what the lower class does as long as they have a workforce that they can hire for as cheap as possible. I am more worried about the stifling of speech by those calling for sensible regulation and those who want to raise the minimal wage.

chiMaxx
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

My objection to Jim’s original post was its assertion in the opening paragraph that anyone who thought Eich’s donation to Prop 8 made him an inappropriate choice for CEO for Mozilla also necessarily supported the notion that all people anywhere who supported Prop 8 should be threatened with or even at risk of being fired.

I supported the Mozilla employees and contributors who didn’t want him representing them as their public figurehead and making policy decisions for the company. I didn’t hear about the small ruckus raised when his donation was first discovered, but I would have been against any efforts to oust him as CTO.

CEO is different. It is not just any employee. What he does–and what he has done in the past–becomes part of the story of that organization and what it and all of its employees stand for. If the John Templeton Foundation discovered that their CFO had made a donation in the fight against Prop 8, I would hope they would let him keep the position, but if he were considered for CEO, I would expect that donation to scuttle his chances of getting that job. Same thing at Mozilla.

Jim Burroway
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

John,

I guess I am supposed to be pacified to learn that Jim Burroway did not actually mean to compare those of us who did not defend Eich with a blood-thirsty mob, and that his reference to “pitch-forks” was just a rhetorical excess and that he is really a good liberal.

My use of the pitchforks analogy has nothing to do with whether I’m a good or bad lib’ral. Frankly, I had no intention to passify anyone. I already addressed the pitchforks analogy, and stand by it. The pitchforks really were out. Don’t get mad at me for noticing.

I have also never used the Obama-had-the-same-position canaard simply because it was never true. As for Krauthammer, I’m not responsible for what he writes. To try to say otherwise shows a poverty in your ability to critique what I actually wrote since you seem intent on putting other people’s words, as well as your own, in my mouth.

And I utterly fail to see any connection whatseover with LaBarbara and calling on someone to be fired from their job. That’s a classic red herring argument, which I won’t even begin to address.

Jim Burroway
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

CEO is different. It is not just any employee. What he does–and what he has done in the past–becomes part of the story of that organization and what it and all of its employees stand for. If the John Templeton Foundation discovered that their CFO had made a donation in the fight against Prop 8, I would hope they would let him keep the position, but if he were considered for CEO, I would expect that donation to scuttle his chances of getting that job. Same thing at Mozilla.

I agree with you, to a point. Once Eich got the job — and the controversy didn’t break out until AFTER he got the job — he committed to upholding Mozilla’s policies and the culture that underlies it.

Now Mozilla can make whatever decision they want to make in their hiring practices, although they are constrained by law in firings. No one has a right to obtain any job anywhere in any organization. Hiring decisions themselves can be made on any number of factors.

But once hired, we need to be really careful about whether we should demand that someone be fired (or otherwise forcibly removed) from their job, because that’s a move that can (and has) been used against quite a number of us. Pam Spaulding is but one example of finding her employer being pressured to get rid of her becasue of what she wrote outside of work. Once a principle is established, who knows where it will lead.

Chris McCoy
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Because it is a distortion of being more fully human, sooner or later being less human leads the oppressed to struggle against those who made them so. In order for this struggle to have meaning, the oppressed must not, in seeking to regain their humanity (which is a way to create it), become in turn oppressors of the oppressors, but rather restorers of the humanity of both.

– Paulo Freire in Pedagogy of the Oppressed

John
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

The red herring here is your refusal to take responsibility for what you write. The pitchfork analogy is to call your audience a thoughtless, blood-lustful mob out to get a poor defenseless Eich, first, and then Yagen.

I am amazed that you think it is a good strategy to alienate your readers, including people like me who have been reading this blog for a long time.

I am also amazed that you didn’t see a difference between Eich and Yagen; most people who had their “pitchforks” out for Eich (or as I would phrase it, thought that Eich should not be made CEO of a company whose values he does not share) had no interest in any campaign against Yagen. After all, he did not donate to Prop 8 or otherwise demean gay people. But perhaps you just think that a blood-thirsty mob like gay activists are unable to make any distinction between people, like Eich, who actively campaign against gay rights and those, like Yagen, who donated to a candidate and then came to regret doing so and apologized for it.

chiMaxx
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Hey, Timothy:

If you’re the “right-wing radical extremist nutcase conservative shilling for old white Republican billionaires,” it must pain you no end that IFI’s Laurie Higgins lumps you in together with Joe Jervis and Michael Signorile.

http://barbwire.com/2014/04/11/american-christian-held-canadian-brig-thought-crimes/

Rob Tisinai
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Thanks, Chris.

Timothy Kincaid
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Well, at least she spelled my name right

:)

Jim Burroway
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

John,

First, look up red herring.

And I did take full responsibilty for what I wrote. You just don’t like the outcome.

chiMaxx
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

“Once a principle is established, who knows where it will lead.”

And if same-sex couples are allowed to marry, then people will marry donkeys and children and dead people and have multiple spouses.

The slippery slope is slippery.

I don’t buy it. I didn’t buy the totalizing argument in your initial article and I don’t buy it now. People are able to make subtler distinctions on issues than you give them credit for there or here.

Rob Tisinai
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Jim, thanks for that information on Pam Spaulding; I didn’t know that.

This highlights why I’m troubled by an attitude I sometimes (not always!) see when it comes to chilling the speech of one’s opponents: “It’s okay when we do it, because our speech/ideals/morality are better than theirs.”

But of course, both sides believe that about themselves. So when both sides adopt that attitude, instead of a free exchange of ideas, we get a battle over which side can impose its orthodoxy on the other.

Now, I think Ben makes some good points about how the free exchange of ideas can be naively idealized, but I believe even a flawed, imperfect system is better than battle over which orthodoxy should be imposed.

John
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

P.S. the “red herring” about Porno Pete LaBarbera was really intended for Rob Tisanai’s great concern for freedom of expression. Surely, if the thinks it was a terrible miscarriage of justice for the Stanford student government to decline to fund a NOM event featuring Robert Lopez–an event that went on even without funding from student fees–then he must be really pained that Porno Pete was detained by Canadian customs for his hate speech. He may or may not be allowed to spew his hatred at a conference this afternoon. At the risk of offending the sensibilities of those so concerned about the speech rights of LaBarbera and Lopez and Ryan Anderson, I am very happy that Canada has hate speech laws and apparently actually enforces them.

chiMaxx
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

John:

I disagree.

I think it’s terrible that Canada has detained him.

I would oppose it if a corporation I hired promoted LaBarbera to CEO, but I would defend his right to hold any other position, as long as he upheld company policies.

I would protest my student funds being used to bring LaBarbera to campus to speak unopposed (though I would support it if he were part of a debate) or if my school was going to give him an honorary degree, but if a campus group used their own funds to bring him to speak, I would oppose anyone who tried to stop the event from happening. I would probably write furious letters opposing and mocking every word he uttered, but I would would furiously act against anyone who tried to prevent him from saying them.

Hate speech laws and codes are a terrible idea anywhere they are enacted.

John
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

chiMaxx, yes Canada, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, et al. are really horrible places. Those people have no free speech at all.

Sorry, I think hate speech laws are an excellent idea. Canada is a lot freer place than the U.S.

But then I’m a homofascist with pitchforks out to deny good Christian billionaires the jobs to which they are entitled.

Richard Rush
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

I agree with chiMaxx.

. . . I would have been against any efforts to oust him as CTO.

CEO is different. It is not just any employee. What he does–and what he has done in the past–becomes part of the story of that organization and what it and all of its employees stand for. If the John Templeton Foundation discovered that their CFO had made a donation in the fight against Prop 8, I would hope they would let him keep the position, but if he were considered for CEO, I would expect that donation to scuttle his chances of getting that job. Same thing at Mozilla.

Perhaps Mozilla’s board of directors is largely responsible. Prior to naming Eich CEO, were they unaware of the viewpoints of employees and other closely associated people? Were they aware, but just insensitive? Or were they indifferent? In any event, they apparently didn’t do their homework, and moved forward prematurely.

There are a multiplicity of reasons/factors for why a person may NOT be a good choice/fit for CEO in any particular company. So, why is this one (the Prop8 donation) singled out as a reason/factor that is uniquely out of bounds for consideration? The donation was a statement that he views gays as so inferior as to be unfit and unworthy of some major benefits in life that he is privileged to enjoy. And he refused to provide any indication that he has evolved since then.

Rob Tisinai
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

John, if you’re going to condemn people for mockingly caricaturing someone else’s statement (something which I’ve acknowledged and for which I’ve expressed regret), then your moral outrage would carry greater weight if you didn’t subject chiMaxx to that same treatment.

TampaZeke
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Jim, it’s true that the title of your post said that Eich was fired. What you failed to mention however was that the first sentence of your post cleverly said:

“What is the statute of limitations for donating to support Prop 8 before that individual can no longer be FIRED from his job? I’m asking because this might be important information for those who employ some 101,894 people who did just that. WE NOW KNOW THAT THE OFFENSE IS STILL PROSECUTABLE AFTER SIX YEARS.” [emphasis mine]

The inference was very clear, even if not intended.

You also clearly inferred that there was a coordinated effort in the gay community to do harm to Eich and Mozilla. There were certainly individuals on comment boards calling for all sorts of responses but there was no coordinated effort. If Eich was run out of his job it was through the efforts of those within his company; the board of directors and thousands of employees that had lost faith in him.

I don’t necessarily disagree with your overall point I just take great umbrage with the misinformation campaign, both intentional (by our enemies) and unintentional and sometimes only inferred by our allies. Sullivan has completely lost all of my respect for his FUBAR coverage of this story. I’ll concede that much of my angst with your post may have been transference from Sullivan, but to be fair the first couple of sentences of your post were very Sullivanesque and set the tone for the rest. The “pitchfork” post didn’t help to assuage the concerns.

Jim Burroway
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

TampaZeke.

I inferred no such thing. The first paragraph was a set of hypotheticals based on the calls that Eich be removed by whatever means available. And I never even came close to inferign that there was a “coordinated effort.”

I can’t help that you choose to read into something that I didn’t write.

StraightGrandmother
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

I have to agree with TampaZeke. You said more or less that mob action, that the out of control gay mob could go after anybody who donated. It is not just anybody, it is CEO, and you didn’t make that distinction.

I have been trying to put my finger on it, trying to come up with the right words and I think I am there. Here is what bothers be about Tim/Jim/Rob’s response that there is no off line activity that anyone can do, that knocks them out of being qualified to be the CEO.

You guys seem like pacifists to me. That is the word I came up with, pacifist. It is hard for me to wrap my head around that because I am an Activist. To get things done takes action and you guys seem to be contented to just put your views out there and then let bygones be bygones, that words are enough.

Here tell me if I am wrong. In your world you would let the company know that you are concerned and ask for assurances. And you will be satisfied if the person promises to uphold the rules and spirit of the company. And you will be satified that his off work hours activities of the CEO, not like Pam Spaulding who is NOT the CEO, but the off work hours of activities of the CEO are untouchable. Do I have that right?

So as soon as the CEO says my private life is my private life, you passively back off (again I am deliberately using the derivative of pacifist).

I would not have joined in if he was promoted to CTO or CFO, but I did because it was CEO. Joe in accounting has a boss. Joe in accounting (like Pam Spaulding) does not set company policy or is the final abrogator of company policy.

It is really your pacifism I think that bothers me, that you would simply take a promise and accept that nothing else in that CEO’s life is pertinent and move on. It’s kind of funny how you appear to me to be a pacifist when it came to Eich, but for we activists you threw out the pitchfork headline, you were not pacifist to the activists, LOL! From where I sit it seems like you were nicer to Eich than to me (but not personal).

I will only speak for myself, I do not take any of this personal, for my side I am having a discussion of ideas.

*Pinkwashing* isn’t that a great word? I made it up, I hope it catches on. I think pinkwashing is *kind of like* whitewashing something but it is about sexual minorities.

To whitewash is a metaphor meaning to gloss over or cover up vices, crimes or scandals or to exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data.[1] It is especially used in the context of corporations, governments or other organizations

On a gay issue it means (in my mind) to diminish the issue, to gloss over it as no big deal. Like trying to diminish a GAY (Pink) Civil Rights issue and gloss it over as not really being a Civil Rights issue but merely a Political Issue. You know, like Let The People Vote. It is pinkwashing the Civil Right, the Constitutional Right of a Civil Marriage demoting it to merely a Plitical issue that can be voted on.

Or if somebody was fired for being gay, they pinkwashed it and said he had poor work performance, here a more direct correlation to whitewashing. Cover it up, but the basis was sexual orientation.

Timothy Kincaid
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

SG,

“Pinkwashing” has been around for a while, now. It means pointing out an individual’s (or company’s or country’s) gay rights position so as to distract from other civil rights abuses.

For example:

Fred: “Nowherestan was the first in the region to have full rights for gay people.”

Mertyl: “Fred, you’re pinkwashing to cover up that Nowherestan cracks down on free speech rights for political dissidents.”

Rob Tisinai
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

StraightGrandmother, I have never said that “there is no off line activity that anyone can do, that knocks them out of being qualified to be the CEO.”

Quite the opposite. I wrote, “I can’t argue that a person’s private beliefs are irrelevant to their work.” And I backed that up with my example of the University of Chicago professor.

Please don’t misrepresent me like that.

On top of that, I have been active in the way you’re defining it. I’ve marched in rallies — hell, in the wake of Prop 8 I organized one of the most successful rallies in Los Angeles.

I’ve gone door to door canvasing for equality, and if you look closely you can still see the dog bite scar on my arm, a scar I wear with pride.

What pains me the most, though, is that when you asked me for help with Dr. Sirota, I leapt into action. I was there for you. And for her. And she’s grateful to me, just as I was grateful to you giving me that opportunity.

My focus has been on words because that’s what I’m good at, and because it’s important, but it’s not all that I’ve done. And even if that were all I’ve done, you acknowledge in your comment that one can be an activist with words.

I’ve put in thousands of hours working for this cause. Don’t dismiss me as a pacifist because of a difference of opinion over how we should deal with Eich. My history of work — and my history with you — should be enough to show I deserve better than that.

[addendum: “organized” is underlined because it’s a link to a video of the demonstration]

Stephen
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

My dear Timothy,

I understand that you are amateurs donating your time. As I’m sure we all all do here we value your efforts and applaud what you do.

Let me just say that I value your contributions. As I do Rob’s. And Jimmy’s. (Has he stopped crying yet? Do we need an intervention?)

In my opinion, you three founders should be proud that your work stirs up dissension, insult, and contumely. And praise. And a daily following. And a place to come to be informed. (What’s with the gay bar thing? Huh?) But like many, I come here first in the morning with my first cup of coffee. I would only beg you, don’t be defensive: we (aka I) value your work here.

Oh no wait, the studio car is outside, gotta go…

Love you guys.

Dustin Fibres
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

I posted this on the wrong article earlier, but i would still like to see a rebut of Tim Lusk and Neil…avoided so far.

Rob Tisinai
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Hey Dustin, can you be more specific? In my article I link to a post where I explain why I don’t think opposition to marriage equality is proof positive of bigotry. And I agree with Tim Lusk that anger is a useful source of strength and action. [edited for clarity — so many Tims!]

Jim Burroway
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

It is not just anybody, it is CEO, and you didn’t make that distinction.

That’s right. I didnt’ make that distinction because I do not believe it is a legitmate distinction to make.

Look, I work in a very conservative environment. I have worked for managers and higherups who disagree with same-sex marriage. I’ve had some great working relationships, and I’ve had some not so great working relationships. Each one is different, because each manager is different. Some cannot leave their politics in the car when they come in the front door. But some can. I know this, because I know the performance reviews/raises/assignmewnts that I have gotten from those managers. And so, yes, if a manager or even CEO were to say that they can separate their personal life from their professional life, and they follow through on that commitment, then that is all I ask.

In the words of one famous politico, trust but verify. That’s hardly accepting someone’s word and “moving on,” as you put it.

When you are gunning for someone’s lifelihood — whether it’s a CEO, manager, worker bee or security guard — for something that has nothing to do with the job they were hired to do, then that simply crosses a line that I cannot support.

If Eich had made any indication that he would perform poorly on the job he already had when this whole thing started, then yes, can his ass. But he was pressued out for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with job performance. He wasn’t given the opportunity to demonstrate he could do the job he was hired to do. And his commitment to meet with LGBT employees to understand better what does and does not to make Mozilla a more welcoming environment was met with pitchforks. Oops — did I say it again?

Now, if you’re asking me whether he should have been hired in the first place to be CEO, that’s an entirely different question altogether. If the board decided that his past political activity was a disqualification for the job, that would be their call. No one has a right to be CEO, just as no one has a right to be a particular manager, worker bee, or security guard. But once hired, they have the right to expect to be able to prove themselves for the job they were hired to do.

And to think I’m dimminishing any issue, you have me so wrong I hardly know where to begin. The issue, for me, that is the meta issue from which all other issues flow, is what I said in another comment above:

But at the core of it all, to me, is that what we have been fighting for for all of these decades is the expansion of freedoms, and not merely the displacement of freedoms from one advantaged group to another. And even a bigot is entitled to all of the same freedoms that I am demanding for myself. Even if he is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

And if you think that makes me a “pacifist” (according to your definition), then hooo-boy, you really underestimate what it takes to go against the grain like this.

Jim Burroway
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

That “passivism” remark (I think that’s a better spelling given the definition you gave) is way off base.

I led the Southern Arizona fight against Prop 102. My name was on the signs, bumper stickers and radio commercials as group chair. I fundraised and I made more phonebank calls and had more people hang up on me than you will ever know. In addition to the long hours, I also gave over $1,000 to the cause — it’s in the state’s public records — and I can guarantee you that that $1,000+ was much more dear to me than Eich’s $1,000 was to him. I’ll not take a back seat to anyone when it comes to the fight for marriage equality.

StraightGrandmother
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

You burst my bubble Tim! I must have absorbed the work pinkwashing from somewhere else and drew out out from the deep depths of my memory. I really don’t know how I could do that since sometimes O walk into a room and I forget what I was going in there for.

StraightGrandmother
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Okay Rob, I see your point. In no way did I want to imply that *overall* you are a gay rights pacifist. Ha ha, I am laughing even writing those words, Gay Rights Pacifist, because they don’t really go together, and it is making me laugh. I was not insinuating nor do I believe, any of you 3 guys are *overall* pacifists, just the way you approached only this Eich thing, as I explained above, it seems kind of pacifist *Only this eich thing* and Rob you have done years, years more work than I have so h/t on that.

Rob Tisinai
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Thanks, SGM. You know how much I respect and admire you.

StraightGrandmother
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Jim got me best almost, he understood I was not saying that overall he is a pacifist, far far far from that. Just that he thinks the proper response on the Eich issue is a passive response, a wait and see, give the guy a chance.

Was Eich obligated to answer his critics about the donation which was anti gay, and what his personal feelings on Civil Marriage for Sexual Minorities are now?

Sure of course he is going to say I Will up hold the company values blah blah blah, of course he will say that.That wasn’t what people wanted to know about. Was he obligated to talk about his present views on Civil Marriage for Sexual Minorities today? And if we were in court I would say that is a yes or a no question?

Jim Burroway
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

No.

His freedom also extends to the freedom not to say anything.

Chris McCoy
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

I agree with Jim and Rob here. I don’t think Eich being CEO is a valid distinction. Either all people have civil rights, or they don’t. CEOs are not any “more equal” or “less equal” than Janitors when it comes to their civil rights.

One of those rights is the Right to Petition, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment (“[…] or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”) Eich exercised his Right to Petition.

If we want civil rights for ourselves, we have to respect and value those same rights for our oppressors. To do otherwise is to undermine our own arguments for why those same rights should necessarily be extended to us.

To suggest that Eich should suffer harm (even financial harm) for exercising his First Amendment rights is awful. In the words of Professor Farnsworth, “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.”

All of you suggesting that public shaming is ever acceptable, go back and re-read the LGBT histories Jim has so expertly cataloged here, and say to yourself “But they deserved their public shaming because their homosexuality was against the moral character of the time.” That’s your argument.

Jim Burroway
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

I would also add that while there may be every reason to suspect that his personal views might color his work, there is no grounds to declare that he is incapable of separating his politics from his work when there is no evidence to the contrary.

Timothy Kincaid
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

SG,

Since the other guys have weighed in on the ‘pacifist’ comment, I’ll do the same.

I joined my first gay rights group in – if I recall correctly – 1990. I’ve lobbied legislators on the state and federal level, I’ve walked precincts, raised funds, marched, driven up and down the state, and done a lot of grunt work keeping groups organized and going. As far as ‘activist’ goes, I’ve earned the title. It’s been a fascinating journey and I don’t regret the work.

Stephen
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

Can we stop? Can we agree you’re the good guys?

Rob Tisinai
April 11th, 2014 | LINK

I hope so Stephen. But in the past 24 hours I’ve been called an incoherent, naïve, gay-bashing, rambling, hopeless, childish, bigot-enabling, collaborationist Uncle Tom. So while I appreciate your kind words, others may take exception to them.

But thanks for that. :)

(oh, god, i used an emoticon.)

StraightGrandmother
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

With Jim’s last response I revert back to Name & Shame. For I do feel that a CEO is a higher standard than anybody simply because the Buck Stops with the CEO.

Contrary to Jim, I deeply believe the CEO *owes* an explanation of his current opinion on the Civil Rights of Sexual Minorities.

When the CEO declined to do that I participated, and I believe in the Name & Shame method of Social Pressure.

I do not believe and will not accord as Jim et al will, the right of a CEO to to dodge questions about the Civil Rights of Sexual Minorities. Jim et al believes this to be a private matter not appropriate to discuss in the Board Room and employee meetings. I differ. My mind is NOT changed anybody who is opposed to the Equal Civil Rights, Constitutional Rights of Sexual Minorities is NOT fit for the office of CEO. If a CEO won’t talk about this that means s/he has something to hide.

Whereas Jim et al are willing to let a Bigot ascend to the office of CEO, I.Am.Not. I demand an ideology of Equality and they do not. So be it.

I want not ONE Bigot leading any public company and I will name and shame them to get my way. I want to drive them ALL to the margins, unlike Sullivan/Burroway et al who will tolerate them.Iwon’t tolerate them and will continue to do my best to drive them away of positions of authority. §

Once, WHEN we have EQUAL CIVIL RIGHTS under that Law and our Government STOPS Discriminating against Sexual Minorities, I will be more tolerant, not before. Not one day before. I’ll not grant Amnesty while on the Battle Field fighting the haters. Amnesty is only Granted AFTER we become Victors.

With all due respect gentleman I disagree. I do not believe your strategy is THE winning strategy. Name and Shame and drive them from positions of respect an authority is the way to go. Then we will have virtually EVERY Big Business behind us. Put Bigots in the Corporate Suite and they will equivocate.

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

That is a losing strategy for changing hearts and minds. I have never, not once, not once EVER, have seen anybody change their minds as a result of active shaming. I have seen people modify some of their behavior in order to hide what it was they were being shamed for. I have seen people take their beliefs and go underground to avoid the shaming. But I have NEVER seen a mind changed through active shaming.

Sure, people might feel ashamed of themselves after their minds have been changed, but the process of changing minds is the process of speaking with them, dialoguing with them, addressing whatever unfounded fears they may have, correcting whatever misinformation they may have, challenging whatever assumptions they may have, and, yes, confronting whatever sincerely held beliefs they may have.

I spent the early part of my life being shamed by other people for being gay. Obviously, their attempts to shame me never worked, but it did succeed in driving me underground. Not into changing my mind, but in changing what I was willing to reveal to other people. It also didn’t work when others tried to shame me for being in the closet. It was only when I dealt my own fears, misinformation, assumptions and beliefs, with the help of those who walked beside me while also challenging me but never shaming me, that I was able to change my own mind.

Shaming never works. It goes against everything we know about human nature. That is not just a waste of time and energy, but actively counterproductive. It does feel good to do it though. But if it really were the only strategy we were to deploy, as you suggest, then it would be a recipe for failure.

Claude
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Jim, it seems to me that you have been doing a lot of shaming of gay people recently. Pitchforks, indeed!

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

And you can see how well that worked.

Claude
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

May I take that as a commitment to abandon the shaming of fellow activists and commenters? I hope so. This is far too significant a blog for the participants (bloggers and commenters alike) to fall into self-indulgent, even childish behavior.

At one point, if I recall correctly, you said that you would be participating more in the comments. For what it is worth (which may not be much), I think that is a mistake. I think the blogs should stand on their own and the commenters should just be commenters, agreeing, disagreeing, whatever. In my opinion, the bloggers should participate in the comments section only in a limited way–perhaps answering questions or clarifying a point, but not extending the debate or attacking commenters.

I would hope that the posts would be more thoughtful than they have been lately, but in any event I don’t think anything is gained by having the bloggers attack the commenters or react with the kind of defensive posture that has been the case the past couple of weeks.

As to whether it is appropriate to shame people for anti-gay activities (I lean closer to StraightGrandmother than to you), that is open to debate, but surely we can all agree that that it is not a tactic to be used on gay people who have made an effort to participate in a discussion. (Which of course does not mean that one cannot express disagreement with gay people or groups.)

My 2-cents.

Timothy Kincaid
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Shaming comes from a reflection of one’s own values. There is no use in attempting to shame someone using your own value system rather than their own.

If a person does not believe that their views or behavior are shameful, all the “shaming” in the world will only result in them ignoring you.

And it does come across as a bit moralistic.

Chris McCoy
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

StraightGrandmother wrote:

Name and Shame and drive them from positions of respect an authority is the way to go.

Jim Burroway wrote:

I have never, not once, not once EVER, have seen anybody change their minds as a result of active shaming. I have seen people modify some of their behavior in order to hide what it was they were being shamed for. I have seen people take their beliefs and go underground to avoid the shaming. But I have NEVER seen a mind changed through active shaming.

“The scarlet letter had not done its office.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Chapter 13, 1850

Ben
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

“I have never, not once, not once EVER, have seen anybody change their minds as a result of active shaming. I have seen people modify some of their behavior in order to hide what it was they were being shamed for. I have seen people take their beliefs and go underground to avoid the shaming. But I have NEVER seen a mind changed through active shaming.”

Ok, and? Plenty of us agree, but we think them hiding their disgusting opinion is a victory. I don’t give two shakes what a CEO, principle, pastor, or any other position of authority thinks about any minority group, but when they act or speak on it, it affects those groups. They SHOULD be too ashamed to say the N or F or T word aloud, and they should be too ashamed to ever give money to a political group. The end result is a furthering of minority rights until they die.

I, and others, understand full well that there are a fringe group that will never ever change their mind, what we want is for them to understand speaking aloud their mind will have them shunned, and disassociated with by polite society, and that is indeed alright, in fact preferable, by me.

Scott Rose
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Why are you talking about Eich instead of creating pressure for Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act?

StraightGrandmother
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

I am curious to know Jim/Rob/Tim what was your position on Orson Card and that movie. I disagree with the person who said bloggers should stay out of the comments. Strongly.I like it when they comment and answer questions about what they wrote.

I am curious about their stance on Orson Card & that movie.

Rob Tisinai
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

SGM, I wasn’t passionate about a boycott but I wasn’t interested in contributing to a man who wanted to see me thrown in prison or who thought the passage of same-sex marriage was an occasion for treason. And then I heard the movie wasn’t that good, so it was a moot point.

I thought it was a good story for us to work though, because Card’s inflammatory statements are the sort of thing that draw people to our side, so I spent most of my energy on that debunking the lie that he was being persecuted “simply for supporting traditional marriage.”

Jim Burroway
April 12th, 2014 | LINK

Since Card made anti-gay activism, and a particularly vile form of anti-gay activism, an important part of his life’s work, going so far as the sit on NOM’s board of directors, he is an entirely different kettle of fish. To me, that puts him in the place of an activist not an ordinary citizen who, as Rob put it, was supposedly “simply supporting traditional marriage.”

As for the boycott and the movie, I was actually a bit ambivalent. I’m not a sci-fi fan, so it was a piece of cake for me to decide not to see the movie. That said, if he had written the book for a movie that I did want to see — if he had written Moonstruck or Moulin Rouge, to pick two of my favorites (and by the way, how gay are they?) — I wouldn’t put my money into his pocket.

I know a lot of gay people who were huge fans of Enders Game, and they were split on whether to see the movie or not. (I can’t guess whether most decided to go or most decided to stay away.) So generally, while I would have made the personal decision not to support Card’s movie, I also wasn’t climbing onto the boycott bandwagon.

You can see my ambivalent post about Enders Game here. The tag for all of the Orson Scott Card posts is here.

StraightGrandmother
April 13th, 2014 | LINK

Ahhh, here is a harder one for you Jim, how about this one. Man gets fired from school for posting on Huffington Post that President Obama is a N*gger, from his private computer, on his own time.

http://freakoutnation.com/2014/04/11/texas-school-secretary-challenges-firing-over-run-nier-run-obama-post-on-facebook/

Does calling someone a n*gger = supporting the suppression of Civil Rights of sexual minorities? Is there a difference between one being a slur which clearly demonstrates hatred, or giving money which contributes to societal hatred of a minority group?

Hyhybt
April 13th, 2014 | LINK

I think I’ve got it now. Being nice was only to get enough people on our side that we didn’t have to anymore; now that stomping even marginal opponents into the ground seems possible, that’s the preferable route to take.

No thanks.

Jim Burroway
April 14th, 2014 | LINK

I’m hesitant to comment much on a piece that I’m reading from a web site called “Freak Out Nation.” That’s not something that invites confidence in the web site’s credibility or nuance. If I were to trust this web site’s honesty, then it does’t look to me that the secretary’s firing was one that was the result of an investigation that followed established procedures or policies. Many school districts have policies on the personal use of social media for their employees. Does this one?

It looks like that he wasn’t fired, someone complained and threatened to go to the press, and then he was fired. It’s unclear whether other disciplinary measures were considered as part of the process. That actually may argue somewhat in the secretary’s favor in this particular lawsuit, but again, the story’s from “Freak Out Nation,” so that’s hard to know.

On the other hand, there are two other notable differences here. First, there has always been what you might call “heightened scrutiny,” to borrow a phrase, when it comes to schools, day care centers, and other programs, institutions, etc., that involve contact with minors. Second, the school district is public, supported by tax dollars, which places the school district in a position similar to any other governmental agency in terms of its accountability.

Mantronikk
April 19th, 2014 | LINK

http://heteroseparatist.blogspot.com/search/label/Rob%20Tish%20challenge

Max-1
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Yet, no rush to file a complaint letter filled with a bevy of names supporting Crystal Moore, former Police Chief of Latta, S.C.

How so?

She was run out of her long held position.

Max-1
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

Sure, boycott Mozilla…
… And what halts the boycott?

Forcing Mr. Eich back into a position he wilfully resigned from? Get real, people.

Silly is as silly does…
… Never thinks it through to the end.

Michael Bussee
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

“Even so, I wouldn’t have called for Brendan Eich’s resignation, partly because I don’t think opposition to same-sex marriage (as opposed to, say, membership in the KKK) is proof positive of hatred and bigotry.”

No? What is it then? In my mind, opposing equal treatment under law is indeed “proof positive” of bigotry — whether it’s based on race, gender, ethnicity, gender identity or orientation. Why would you create a separate category or exception for anti-LGBT prejudice?

Michael Bussee
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

I would also like to know your response to StraightGrandmother’s question:

“Is there a difference between one being a slur which clearly demonstrates hatred, or giving money which contributes to societal hatred of a minority group?

Or giving money to in support of denying equal treatment under law? If so, what’s the distinction?

Michael Bussee
April 24th, 2014 | LINK

I don’t understand why anti-LGBT prejudice (or efforts to deny LGBT persons equal treatment under law) should be treated any differently than other types of bigotry. Really, if the guy had donated to anti-Jewish causes or anti-black legislation, wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect public outcry? And wouldn’t we expect that the company might decide that they would rather not have him as a representative of their business and values?

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