Billy Graham launches campaign to smear Billy Graham

During the previous civil rights era, those seeking moral guidance were far better served by turning to Harry Belafonte than by turning to the Rev. Billy Graham.

For those seeking moral guidance today, Billy Graham remains a disappointment. You’re better off turning to Bob Mould and Jeff Tweedy (or to Laurelyn Dossettt or to whoever all these folks are).

Billy Graham is 93 and has been in poor health. If someone else came along to do something this nasty to his legacy, I’d fight to defend him. If someone else came along and accused Graham of being an irrelevant relic, a mere fossil on the side of injustice, I’d try to shout them down.

But this is Billy doing this to himself:

The Rev. Billy Graham, the world’s best-known evangelist, has endorsed a ballot initiative to constitutionally ban gay marriage in his home state of North Carolina, a rare move for a preacher who has typically avoided political fights.

… North Carolina already bans same-sex marriages. The amendment would effectively ban civil unions and domestic partnerships, too.

Graham is taking out full-page ads in 14 North Carolina newspapers touting his support for the measure. His website he encourages churches to download a poster that bears his image and the message “Vote for Marriage May 8th.”

“Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern,” [Graham] said in a statement on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website.

You know what causes me great concern? Watching the moral decline of Billy Graham.

The problem with doing something this cruelly wrong when you’re 93 is that you probably won’t have time to atone for it in this life. I like to think that if Johnny and June were still alive, they’d have kept Graham from repeating the same mistake he made 50 years ago.

And it is the same mistake. Just ask Jodie Brunstetter, wife of North Carolina state Sen. Peter Brunstetter.

* * * * * * * * *

So it seems “Pastor” Sean Harris of the independent Baptist church in Fayetteville — the guy who Sunday told his congregation to beat the gay out of their children — offered a not-pology and a muddy “clarification.”

“I apologize to anyone I have unintentionally offended,” Harris says. “However, I do not apologize for the manner in which the Word of God articulates sexual immorality, including homosexuality and effeminacy, as a behavior that is an abomination to God.”

Alise Wright reminds us of the deeper horror of that sermon: the children of that congregation heard what Harris said about them. Those children now know that their pastor and their parents view them as intrinsically abominable.

Alise writes to them:

I’m so sorry that you are enduring abuse at the hands of people who have been entrusted with the position of caring for you. You are a treasure and a gift and should be treated as such. …

I’m sorry that this is a lesson that you’re being taught at church. In a place where you should be loved, you are taught that you are unlovable. In a place where your unique gifts and abilities should be celebrated, you are taught that you must fall within certain parameters to receive praise. In a place where you should never have to earn love, you are taught that receiving love depends on your behavior.

Read the whole thing.

It would be nice if someone read it to Billy Graham, too.

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  • Invisible Neutrino

    …Nance paraphrased the remarks, as told to him by those who were present: “During
    the conversation, Ms. Brunstetter said her husband was the architect of
    Amendment 1, and one of the reasons he wrote it was to protect the
    Caucasian race. She said Caucasians or whites created this country. We
    wrote the Constitution. This is about protecting the Constitution. There
    already is a law on the books against same-sex marriage, but this
    protects the Constitution from activist judges.”

    What is absolutely stunningly appalling about this is that some prominent people feel free to use this kind of nativist, racist, exclusivist in 2012.

    In a time when we have seen the election of legislators who are people of color, and even a President who is a person of color, in a time when we have accepted, at least some of us have, the idea that elevating one skin color above another is immoral and wrong.

    What does it matter that a group of white guys were the ones who sat down and developed the Constitution? By any reasonable theory of governance, all those who live within a country are subject to its laws and are entitled to take part in their creation and enforcement. In short, as much as Ms Brunstetter wants to pretend to herself that only whites mean anything, the fact is that people of color have just as much say and just as much of a right to make a more perfect Union.

    This is not altogether different from the veneration of CEOs when the legions of workers who toil in their factories and warehouses and stores are those who actually generate the wealth that keeps the CEO rolling in money.

  • Chris Algoo

    It’s an age-old struggle – you get old, your memory isn’t as good as it used to be, and you start to oppress minorities. I’m really not sure why he feels he has to do this – surely he has enough Heaven points saved up from his years of work. I almost feel sorry for him.

  • glendanowakowsk

    It’s an age-old struggle – you get old, your memory isn’t as good as it used to be, and you start to oppress minorities.

    Not true.  Old people who aren’t bigots don’t do that.  He’s been a bigot all his life. Unfortunately, now his good friends Judgement and Common Sense, after many long years of hard work, have retired to go do some fishing, and left him alone with his son Franklin.  Not the best thing. 

  • Tonio

     Excellent point. Graham was recorded in the Nixon tapes as expressing anti-Semitism. Despite his record of bigoted views, I had understood him to be less of a demagogue than his colleagues Falwell and Robertson. At least I don’t remember him endorsing “You made this happen” after 9/11.

  • Chris Algoo

    The last bit was a joke! There are many quite fantastic old people who definitely do not oppress minorities.

  • Tonio

    When I first read about Sean Harris, I didn’t realize that his repulsive tirade was part of a sermon. I had assumed he was a small-time broadcaster or video blogger.

    Part of what makes Harris so vile is that he falsely assumes that sexual orientation has some automatic connection to the
    degree of conformance to gender norms. As if a limp wrist is only a first step toward the bathhouse. Being gay and being effeminate
    are not the same thing, and neither are being lesbian and being butch. My theory about Harris’ type of hatred is that those beliefs about gender norms are the basis for the homophobia instead of being a variation of it. With
    girls in particular, he sounds as if he’s training them to be sex
    objects for men. At the least, he seems to assume that gender norms are
    inherent and rejects the possibility that at least some of them are
    social constructs.

  • friendly reader

    That struck me immediately too. His rant isn’t just against homosexuals. Any boy who isn’t out “digging a ditch” (i.e. showing off masculinity by strength and physicality) is being “effeminate” and in danger of becoming a homosexual. So any little boy who’d rather be into arts and music and fashion, even if he’s straight, is going to get punished for it. If your little boy wants to play with a baby doll and practice nurturing (which frequently happens if he’s an older brother), slap that out of his hands! Boys can’t be nurturing, that’s a woman’s role!

    And look how much more freedom he gives girls: A girl can play sports (a masculine role), she just sometimes has to “be beautiful,” which can only be achieved by walking “like a girl” and talking “like a girl” ans smelling “like a girl.” First, are men never allowed to be beautiful? To make themselves attractive? And if we’re talking about smell, must they never bathe or wear cologne? How much do you wanna bet Mr. Harris (who looks awfully coiffed to me in photos) doesn’t follow that advice?

    And what does it mean to “walk like a girl”? Mince? Wear high heels? Sway your hips seductively? Or talking like a girl – does he mean using “like” three times in every sentence or giggling or what? Smell like a girl, that could mean wearing perfume or just bathing. But at the end of the day, whaddya wanna bet that women who actually do make themselves attractive and act “like a girl” get labeled by this guy as sluts? Aren’t women supposed to “dress themselves […] with good works” and not “gold, pearls, or expensive clothing”? (1 Tim. 2:9-10). Yeah, I hate that whole passage because it’s another “women should submit” bit from the T-texts (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, written by the same person who was not Paul), but I imagine he loves those verses, so why is he ignoring them? Women should wear “suitable” clothing, and that pretty frequently means jeans and flannel shirts.

    Or to summarize: men, be the stereotype of hyper-masculine manly-men all the time by being super physical because being feminine is shaming (literally, he recommends humiliating boys who act girly by putting video on youtube); girls, you can be boyish sometimes but you also have to be the stereotype of a feminine girly-gal by being beautiful and attractive (but not too attractive! then you’re a whore!). Once more, being feminine and masculine is okay for females, but being feminine is inappropriate for men. Being being female is bad. Complementarian my ass…

    This hit me especially bad right now because I just had to pick out a dress for my brother’s upcoming wedding (proud big sister!) and it is so hard finding a dress that matches me, both in size (33-26-38) and in style. I don’t look good in really feminine styles; ruffles, frills, lace, they don’t suit me, especially with my short haircut. But at the same time, I do occasionally like wearing skirts and dresses (they’re very comfortable in warm weather), and I wanted to get a nice one for my brother’s wedding. I felt awkward “confessing” my whole “I hate super girly stuff” to my mom until she pointed out I’ve always been like this. I had an aversion to pink as a child because it was too girly and always preferred Legos and hacked my hair short because I wanted it to be more like my dad’s in old photos (he had virtually the same haircut as me back in the 70s). She also reminded me how her mother hid a frilly dress under her bed and claimed she’d lost it so that she could keep wearing her suitable for rough-and-tumble outfits to school. I didn’t mention it to her, but I remember in 5th grade being told by someone that I was “a cross between a tomboy and a girly-girl” (i.e. not a real tomboy because I stunk at physical stuff because of my clumsiness).I think he may have meant it as an insult, by I felt really pleased.

    It’s moments of contrast like this that really make me glad I had the parents I had.. If they’d forced me to be more feminine, I sometimes wonder if I wouldn’t have wound up being really uncomfortable with myself as I got older. As it is, I’ve grown up to reject the baggage that goes with being female. I go to a gynecologist, but that doesn’t define who I am. That doesn’t make me lesbian (I’m straight) or transgender (at least I don’t think; I have a hard time grasping the idea of gender as opposed to sex), it just makes me me.

    Good heavens, this became a wall of text! Sorry for the rant. >_<

  • Lliira

    I’ve always loved lace and silk and such. And pink. And body washes. (Not perfume as much, because people tend to wear way too much of it.) And dresses. And My Little Ponies and other cute little toys. I like an awful lot of feminine things, and I love romance stories. (Good ones, obviously.)

    I also played with boys a lot growing up, and could more than keep pace with most of them. I cheer for heroes and heroines who kick the bad guy’s ass. I was good at school, including in math and science, which girls are so often told we suck at. Except for about a 2-year “boys are grody” period, I’ve always had as many male as female friends. I enjoy cooking, embroidering, and video games. We’ve put a pink lightbulb in our bedroom, and I love it. 

    There is nothing wrong with femininity at all. The problems come when 1) it’s forced on people 2) when it’s treated as either-or, and 3) when it’s devalued, treated as something lesser that only airheaded weak people could possibly enjoy. “Girly” should not be an insult.

  • friendly reader

    I didn’t mean to imply that “girly” was a bad thing, just that it doesn’t match me and my physical style and personality. As a kid, I also didn’t like the automatic assumption that being a girl meant you liked “girly” things, since I didn’t. I mentioned liking Legos; look up the Belleville set and witness the first target of my furious childhood wrath against sexist stereotype.

    And am I the only straight female who never went through a “boys are grody” phase? All my friends had that, then a “liking Hanson” phase, and I never had either. I went from “boys are friends” to “boys are friends and potential romantic interests” without really any transition.

  • Patrick McGraw

    I mentioned liking Legos; look up the Belleville set and witness the
    first target of my furious childhood wrath against sexist stereotype.

    Lego’s new “Friends” theme (nothing to do with the sitcom of that name) infuriates me for the same reason. The sets would make for a very nice addition to the perennially successful “Lego Town” theme. (And will likely do well among adult fans of Lego because they introduce a lot of elements that have never been produced in pastels before.)

    The problem is that the figures in the “Friends” line are not minifigs (traditional “Lego people”), but are slightly larger and asthetically distinct. The effect of this is to render the sets incompatible with the “Town” line.

    It also sends a clear message to the girls the line is aimed at: “Since these are the sets for you, the sets they are incompatible with are NOT for you. You can’t have your Friends characters volunteer at the hospital, or drive a rescue truck, or pilot a Jedi starfighter.”

  • Tonio


    You can’t have your Friends characters volunteer at the hospital, or drive a rescue truck, or pilot a Jedi starfighter.

    Yuck. But I suppose you can have your characters be stay-at-home moms or trophy wives.

  • Lliira

    I never had a Hanson period, though at my age, it would have been a New Kids On the Block period. I could never understand why anyone cared about them. I won’t say I never liked boy bands, because I liked Boyz II Men a lot — I just thought New Kids On the Block had zero talent. 

    My “boys are grody” phase was mostly inspired by boys being grody towards me. The boys I interacted with at school were complete jerks to me, from “normal” bullying to sexual harassment, every time they interacted me, not excluding when they interacted with me in front of teachers. I lived in a wealthy school district with a hellish culture at that age, and I do not use the word “hellish” lightly.  Maybe if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had that phase. It ended as soon as my family moved to a lower-middle class neighborhood with non-asshole boys.

  • guest

    THis sort of physicalist masculinity presumably precludes intellectual pursuits as well.

  • flat

    countdown to some serious merchandising to land rover in a rapture novel:

    16 days

  • Magic_Cracker

    An old timey preacher called Billy Graham,
    Wanted to prove he don’t give a damn,
    About the hungry or poor,
    Lined up at his door,
    So he spent a fuck-ton of money on newspaper spam.


    So when you bash me,
    My fist goes POP!


    Shall I compare thee to the Cauc’soid “race,”
    And redefined you when occasion suits,
    So filthy Micks now wear a lily face,
    And wops sit on th’Bench — not shining boots?
    Shall I wonder, “Caucusus? What the fuck,
    Has that to do with any fucking thing?
    That your ancestors had the blind, dumb luck,
    Chinese gunpowder to these shores to bring?
    Shall I take pride in the stone cold fact,
    That some Nordic rapists to Calabr’a came,
    Menfolk killed, weeping women on their backs,
    Now my hair and eyes are those rapists’ same?
    Instead I’ll cop to history’s bloody mess:
    Pride in being “white” only makes me less.

  • seniorcit

    Sean Harris makes me glad that I’m no longer a Baptist.

    I suspect son Franklin is behind the Billy Ad.  Love Wins, Billy!

  • Tricksterson

    Yeah me too.  He’s old and sick and who knows how much of his mind is still there.  I’m not saying he didn’t do this of sound mind, just raising the possibility.  And Franklin, from what I know of him is enough of a shit sack to take advantage.

  • LouisDoench

    Tell you what, if I make it to 93, I’ll probably indulge in being a giant jackass as well. I feel like there must be some benefit to it I’ve been missing all these years. 

  • Tonio

    I get it now. If same-sex marriage becomes legal, then millions of straight whites will turn gay and stop procreating, thus leading to the white race dying out. It all makes twisted sense.

    Seriously, it’s also possible that the Brunstetters don’t emotionally grasp the distinction between SSM and interracial marriage, because they interpret both as undermining their social privilege based on personal characteristics. Similar to how many Obama-bashers use “Muslim” as a euphemism for his ethnicity or his “otherness.”

  • AnonymousSam

    Once upon a time, respected doctors published papers demonstrating that educated women had a marked tendency not to procreate, and so the education of all women nationwide would lead to a mass-extinction of the human race.

    Some of the people legislating today are old enough to be those doctors.

  • JonathanPelikan

    Reminds me a little bit, although in a much less monstrous sense, of that Newsweek cover I saw recently with the blindfolded model. “Women work outside the home, but really, they just want to submit to men~”

    I didn’t pick it up to read what was past that cover.

  • Nequam

    They were probably yapping about that Twilight fanfic that got slightly rewritten and published as 50 Shades of Grey.

    (I’m not kidding about the fanfic part, either.)

  • Mau de Katt

     > > (Newsweek cover)

    > They were probably yapping about that Twilight fanfic that got slightly
    > rewritten and published as 50 Shades of Grey.

    Yes, that’s what it was about.  And that book is really horrible SM fiction as well; it’s getting the same “respect” in the BDSM scene that Twilight holds among horror and vampire afficionados.

  • Matri

    They were probably yapping about that Twilight fanfic that got slightly rewritten and published as 50 Shades of Grey. picked up on it last month and thoroughly deconstructed it.

  • ShifterCat

    There’s an analysis/takedown of that article here.

  • Ursula L

    He’s running ads that say “Vote for Marriage”?

    Why, yes, if I was there, I would vote for marriage.  I’d vote for marriage to  be a legal institution available to freely consenting adults, to be something that helps support people who wish to live cooperatively with those they love.  Given the economic and political benefits that come with marriage, there should be as few restrictions as possible preventing people from enjoying these rights if they wish. While I’d appreciate (and personally benefit from) a system that didn’t discriminate against people who are single, for whatever reason, I don’t think the solution is to have a standard that actively discriminates in who is offered the benefits that come with being married.  

    If he thinks that “vote for marriage” means voting against letting people marry, then he seems to be in a far more severe intellectual decline than has been suspected.  The poor man can’t tell the difference between encouraging someone to do something and forbidding them from doing the same thing.  

    Has anyone called adult protective services?  

    Really, should this person’s loved ones, those who bear the obligation to care for him should the time come when he can’t care for himself, be allowing him to speak and act publicly, when he does so in this way?  The next-of-kin seem to be failing in their duty to protect him when he cannot function independently in a coherent way.  

    It is a difficult thing, to recognize when a loved one is in decline, and unable to safely and responsibly care for themself.  But that difficulty is not a justification for neglecting a loved one in decline, and allowing them to publicly humiliate themselves by displaying such a break in intellectual function. 

  • runsinbackground

    Sadly, I think if you’re a queer kid in the congregation of Sean  Harris you already know the score.

  • Lliira

    Or a girl who doesn’t want to exist as a consumable object.

    It’s weird how the most popular right-wing religions in the U.S. seem to have done a 180 on women as sex objects in the past century. They used to rant from the pulpits that women should not wear makeup and give themselves over to physical vanity, as their souls were what was important. There was plenty of misogyny in there too (how dare women be sexual, those sluts!), but there was a kernel of truth: women are human, they have value as themselves, they do not exist to be consumed sexually by men.

    Now, well. Preachers like Sean Harris have turned their backs on anything good that religion could bring to anyone. Literally anyone — even rich masculine heterosexual white men are hurt by this gender policing. Sex is a lot better with someone who values herself.

  • aklab

    That’s a really interesting point.  That’s never occurred to me but your absolutely right.  

  • aklab

    PS: Wrong form of “you’re.”  This is why I lurk, y’all.  

  • FearlessSon

    Sex is a lot better with someone who values herself.

    Most definately.  I have always seen sex as a celebration of one’s partner, and it is difficult to celebrate with someone who feels little joy over the idea of such celebration. 

  • Michael Pullmann

    Is it really a moral decline if he was against civil rights 50 years ago, and remains against them today?

  • Xulon

    I agree that probably Franklin is behind this. It seems to me, Rev Graham recognized how badly he was burned by chumming up to Nixon and  that is why he stayed out of the Religious Right when it formed in the 70s (in response to which, the Religious Right questioned his Salvation). Whatever Rev Graham’s political stands, except for the Nixon event, he largely kept them to himself.

    On the other hand, Franklin has been crassly fighting the culture wars. He flew Sarah Palin around on her book tour in his ministry jet. He arranged a meeting between her and his father and video’ed her speaking about LEADERSHIP (not something she has experience with, like walking away from leadership responsibilities to be a celebrity).

  • Ross

    Now, before anyone gets up in arms, I think there’s a perfectly rational, non-racist reason that Brumsteader said that the bill was for the purpose of “preserving the caucasian race”.  They simply made a clerical error and missed a page when they were adapting their anti-miscegenation scripts to be anti-marriage-equality.

    Now, that whole anti-miscegenation stuff? *That* was racist. That’s why they tried so hard to scrub off all the serial numbers before they put the same old scripts back out there.

  • Magic_Cracker

    No amount
    of scrubbing can clean
    racist taint.

  • EDB

    The firmly applied toe
    Of my pointy boot can scrub
    The most racist taint.

  • Ross

    Every time you say
    The word “taint” it makes me laugh
    Deep down I am twelve.

  • friendly reader

    The most racist taint
    The pointed toe of my boot —
    The stain is now scrubbed

    Most people forget that a haiku isn’t just 5-7-5; a good haiku will pose two contrasting items in the first two lines, with the third showing what happens during the collision. Hence why Basho’s “A old silent pond/then a leaping frog jumps in/the sound of water*” is considered the perfect model of a haiku.

    Ideally you should also have a nature reference in there. Let me give it a try:

    Racism, like dog poo,
    Though washed by the hose of time,
    The stench still remains.

    Apologies for the pedantry, I don’t get to use my East Asian Studies degree that frequently, and writing haiku is fun. :)

    * 古池や/蛙飛込む/水の音 furuike ya / kaeru tobikomu / mizu no oto

  • LouisDoench

     Now that’s not fair… there’s no way to tell if his taint is racist.

  • pharoute

    Alise, that “church” is the perfect place for them to learn church isn’t a sign on the lawn or a cross behind the alter or a dubious tax free status; the kids in the pews will learn, just like the man in a ditch, church is where you least expect it.

  • Viola

    I dreamed last night of being beaten into femininity. I woke up heart-racing and dry-mouthed from having the fear of Sean Harris put into me.
    I’m in my twenties. I’ve never been struck for being trans or queer, in part because I keep those facts from those I don’t trust. But I had nightmares last night from reading that sermon.

  • JonathanPelikan

    I’m so sorry to hear that. I wish we lived in the sort of world where this stuff just didn’t happen. I know we’ll always have problems as long as we have people, but one day, we’re going to leave these fundamentalist fucks in the garbage bin as our society evolves right on past them.

  • cyllan

     I wish you better dreams tonight, and I”m sorry that people can be such jerks so as to cause you nightmares.

  • James Probis

    Anyone who has heard Graham’s vile spewing of bigotry on the Nixon tapes knows he had no reputation to smear. It’s hardly a surprise to anyone paying attention that Billy Graham is a small-minded bigot.

  • arcseconds

    This  Brumsteader bit is just great — it corroborates my view that a tumultuous confusion of fear, outrage and notions unhindered by anything resembling rational thought prevails in the minds of some of the reactionary right.   It seems there are normally filters in place that allow them to sound quasi-rational — at least to the point of having some kind of viewpoint that can be articulated and argued for/rationalized, however badly.   The filters also have some success in preventing them from uttering completely outrageous and damning things.

    But every so often the filters slip and let us glimpse the naked fear-outrage-randomnotions beneath, which goes something like

    “ZOMG the communist feminnazi messianic-complex cryptoislamic Obamanista Democrat secularist gay north-eastern elitist hateful anti-American global warming global conspiracy is secretly yet openly ATTACKING and CORRUPTING and SUBVERTING our herterosexual fantastic Motherhood rosy AMERICAN cadillac milk bars and picket fence nuclear family previous bodily fluids White Man society Constitution children Founders neighbourhoods




    which is why a lot of the time they don’t make any sense at all.

    You don’t get all of that, of course, it just comes out as “Obama is convinced every White american hates him racially so he’s going to install a Black Elite to rule over us all forevermore”


    “Liberals are full of hatred and want to introduce death-panels because they Hate America”

    or (in this case)

    “gay marriage will mean the death of Caucasian civilization”

    (incidentally, that implies of course that there aren’t any gay Black people (or Hispanic or Jewish or whomever is supposed to be outbreeding White America – or at least proportionally much fewer.  Do you suppose Brumsteader thought of that? No of course she didn’t.)

    But now Brumsteader’s filters have been reconditioned and refitted and they’re working so well that she can’t recall ever saying ‘Caucasian’. 

    And if she did, she didn’t mean it ‘racially’.

    (Obviously it was just a geographic reference to ‘of or concerning the Caucasus’.  Or maybe she like cocktails with vodka, cream, and Kahlúa?)

  • MaryKaye

    If you have some bigotry in you–as my grandmother did, due to upbringing and milieu–as you lose your faculties you will behave worse.  For one thing, she learned to be less of a bigot late in life–to her credit–but in her final year recent memories had gotten very shaky, and she reverted to how she would have behaved decades earlier.  It really sucks when you work hard to become a better person and then brain decline goes and undoes your work.

    This is one of many reasons I find the doctrine of your soul’s fate depending on your state when you die to be untenable.  My grandmother tried to be a better person, but then she had micro-strokes damaging her recall and judgment.  She said some pretty hurtful things to my non-white spouse.  Then she got worse and forgot who he was entirely.  And this was not good, none of it–I wish she’d had a better upbringing, I wish she hadn’t had brain damage, I wish she’d been able to erase her early programming and fully replace it with what she learned later.  But none of that was her fault.

    I think if I had a bunch of micro-strokes those around me might discover all kinds of hurtful shit *I* picked up early and haven’t managed to completely lose.  A lot of internalized body-hatred to start with, and probably some racism, and a whole bunch of classism.  I don’t know that there’s anything I can do about that.

    I have no idea if this is what’s happening with Billy Graham, of course.  If it is, that’s a damn shame.

  • Shay Guy

    “I apologize to anyone I have unintentionally offended,” Harris says. “However, I do not apologize to those I have intentionally offended.”

  • Invisible Neutrino

    And yet, accidental offense happens alarmingly often in some peoples’ cases. Harris should have decided to remain silent and be thought a fool rather than prove the fact to all concerned.

  • HitchsApprentice

    Question:  Billy Graham, how tall are you?  6′ 1”………………  I didn’t know they could stack shit that high!!!!

  • Mary Kaye

    The runaway success of the recent _My Little Pony_ series with men gives me hope for our future, it really does.

    I was very bookish and non-physical as a child (I finally got interested in athletics rather late in life, and hope to have a black belt by the time I’m 50).  But the books I liked were pretty stereotypically masculine, and I was a chess and roleplaying fanatic, so except for one close friend I was around boys more than girls.  Chess was *such* a good thing for me.  I truly believe it made my rather rotten teenage years bearable.  No teams and thus no “we don’t want you on our team,” no judgments, a hard cold number to tell everyone exactly how good you were; and after some years of work I was good at it, and got the respect I badly needed.  I thank my feminist mother for giving me the confidence to ignore people who didn’t think girls should play chess.  My approach to such people was to try to beat them; it was very motivating….

    When I lived in Berkeley I loved to wear an outfit consisting of a foamy white and purple gauze skirt and a soft black shirt with skulls on it.  A friend called it the “cognitive dissonance outfit” because the net effect was very feminine–except for the skulls. 

    Heh.  I just realized that now I own a pretty blue backpack with small white patterns on it.  Most people assume they are flowers, but they are skulls.  In Seattle people who do notice are amused.  In Fort Collins I had two different people suddenly blanch and back away–apparently the cognitive dissonance was strong enough to be alarming.  Old ladies don’t carry skulls, even pretty flowery ones!  I guess I haven’t changed that much since college.  Gender roles are goofy; might as well play with them.

  • Jenora Feuer

     A friend of mine summed up how he saw the male interest in MLP very simply:

    Young, socially awkward book nerd moves to new town far away from few previous friends.  The person in question picks up new friends who, while different, accept them as they are and proceed to teach new things about life.

    You have what could be considered a basic fantasy for a whole lot of bookish children who had to move from one town to another and found themselves locked out of all the already-existing friendship cliques…

  • Michael Pullmann

    Sadly, the male fandom f0r the My Little Pony show seems hell-bent on declaring the show to be ONLY for them, and not for the little girls it was originally aimed at. This is why we can’t have nice things.

  • Lliira

    Yep. The male My Little Pony fandom is hugely misogynistic and ableist. Yes, there are men who like My Little Pony who are neither of those things, but they are not extremely vocal online. A ton of “bronies” spend their time trying to drive girls out of fandom, and calling women sexist slurs if women won’t bend over backwards to be their “friend” no matter what. 

    There was a whole “brony” thing about how My Little Pony toys should not have brushable hair. They don’t want to be able to enjoy something made for girls — they want it made for them, like nearly everything else in the world already is. And the show fired the female creator of this hugely successful show after one season and replaced her with a man. 

  • Patrick McGraw

     I strongly feel that the “brony” adult male fans do not speak for the majority of the adult male fanbase, which in my experience consists largely of the fathers of young girls who like to watch it with their daughters.

    The misogynistic, ableist bronies mostly come from 4Chan, which is… 4Chan. They’ll be misogynistic, homophobic, ableist assholes no matter what they’re fans of.

    As an adult male fan of the show, my complaint about the toys is not that they have brushable hair, but that they are largely not show-accurate. The toy of Princess Celestia has a friggin’ pink coat instead of white. This was because Hasbro execs insisted that “little girls prefer pink.” From the parents I’ve talked to, little girls prefer show-accurate toys. Funny how they’re exactly like little boys that way.

  • hf

     WTF? In my limited exposure to Memebase’s pony page I may have missed a lot. (Wait, have you been reading comments? Never read the comments.)

    I do remember complaint(s) about the toys, but nothing at all about brush-able hair. And I’m a little disturbed about Lauren Faust’s change of position, though I see she still has a Consulting Producer title.

  • Jenora Feuer

    Yes, I expect that to be explainable by two basic principles:

    First, the exact sort of person in my friend’s description of the fandom is more likely to be a bit socially awkward to start with.  (And I have no idea how to phrase this without it sounding a touch ableist.)

    Second, as with so many other things, the calm ones know when to not open their mouths while the entitled idiots don’t know when to shut up.  End result is that the ones most heard are also the ones that end up ruining things for the rest.

  • Lori

    I wonder why Billy Graham would jump into the anti-gay crusade now, given that it’s pretty much over.  Being against gay marriage is so 2003.  You’d think any smart evangelical, at this point, would realize that public opinion–even within their ranks–is rapidly turning against them, and they’d just stop it already.  It’s not even, at this point, that you’ll look like a bigot and idiot in 20 years or 10 years for what you said: you look like a bigot and idiot right now.

  • Nequam

    It’s not quite THAT hideous, Tonio, given that one of the Friends sets includes an invention lab.

    There’s still kind of the unfortunate vibe that Lego may not so much care if girls buy the main sets so much as they hope it’ll siphon sales off the Polly Pocket toyline.

  • Tonio

    It occurred to me that the incompatibility may be intentional. Lego might fear that their male customers have a He-Man Woman Haters Club mentality and won’t play with the Town sets if girls can join in with the Friends sets.

  • ReverendRef

     Nah . . . I don’t think the incompatibility issue is based on male/female differences or “He-Man Woman Haters Club mentality.”  I think it comes down to simple marketing and corporate greed.

    “If this new set is slightly different, then people will have to buy MORE things in order to create whatever imaginative universe they like.  More sets being purchased means more profit for us.”

    It’s sort of like that scene in “The Santa Clause” where the one marketing guy comes up with the Santa Panzer Tank that has all the breakable pieces on it.  “When the tank breaks, they’ll have to buy another one — more sales are good.”

  • Mau de Katt

    Watching “Pastor” Sean Harris go apehsh*t and reading his words, that truism strikes me once again — it amazes me how much their God hates the same things that they hate.

  • Frank

    Keep up the good work Rev. Graham!