For the record, I also left this pic up after a different friend posted it on my wall.
(I also posted this, but who's counting?)
First of all, let’s establish this: I’m not anti-gay marriage.
I’m anti-marriage, personally, but if anyone else wants to get married, I don’t give a shit. I will mock them mercilessly, and I may drunkenly cite divorce statistics at the reception afterward in a very loud voice, but I have no reason to stand in their way.
I am fully, 100 percent in support of legalized gay marriage. Like my friend, I too have many, many friends who are gay, and I too abhor homophobia. Here are a few things I have written on the topic, and there are many, many more relevant posts on FB.
Second, the pictures are fucking funny. Aren’t they? I mean, come on. No matter where you stand on this, these are funny. When did liberals become so very humorless about things we support? I thought that was the job of hardcore religious conservatives.
(And Libertarians. Try making a Rand Paul joke on the interwebz sometime. It’s like trashing Elvis while you’re on a Graceland tour. Only instead of fat, southern, octegenarian housewives riding scooters chasing you off, it’s 20-something, half-bright bros clutching “Atlas Shrugged” and firearms. Many, many firearms.)
The point is not to disparage people who support gay marriage or who changed their profile pic, but to suggest that we all take a moment to think about climbing down off that high horse, before it gets so very high we require a helicopter extraction team.
Yes, it’s taking the piss a bit, at a lovely time when the tide towards tolerance seems to be shifting in this country. But I contend that taking the piss is a healthy part of the discussion, even on a day when the national bandwidth is covered in so much “support.”
Maybe especially on a day like that. As Harvey Keitel’s character The Wolf said in “Pulp Fiction,” “Let’s not all start sucking each others’ dicks just yet.”
(Ha ha...irony...insert your own joke here.)
(Ha ha...he said “insert...”)
Anyway, the last time I got into an FB discussion with the first friend, the one who was offended--I don't even remember what we were talking about--but we went back and forth a few times in comments before he announced he was finished with the discussion and taking himself out of the conversation--after posting his last say, of course, haha.
So that’s the reason I’m going to post this here and not bother with going back to his original post; if you don’t want to engage the topic and have a discussion all the way through to wherever it leads, then why begin it?
Which is also kind of my point about these trends on FB: we post these things (remember Stop Kony?) in a mostly closed feedback-loop of self-congratulation and mutual back-patting, assured of 98 percent of our friends' “Solidarity” and “Support” of whatever the topic du jour may be without actually DOING anything more than clicking “change profile pic.” It is my contention that this leads to an unpretty and self-deceptive smugness and sense of “a job well done” while not having actually done anything.
Also, if you’re “taking a stand,” then shouldn’t you be prepared for some dissent? The original friend actually wrote, “...it is really not acceptable...” to post things like these pictures at a time like this. (He used the word “ridicule,” but as I explained above, I don’t think that is the message; I know it definitely isn’t the message I was trying to send, and if any of my friends felt ridiculed by me for changing their profile pic, then I humbly apologize.)
Anyway, my main point here is to make sure that anyone who cares knows without a doubt that I am not anti-gay marriage. Nor am I anti-changing-your-profile-pic-to-show-support-for-gay-marriage.
My second point is that it is okay to laugh at ourselves. I mean, I am a liberal. I am a flaming liberal. I'm practically a socialist, I’m so fucking liberal. But I can be that and still be aware that we’re hilariously self-contradictory, overly earnest, naively idealistic at times and many other things. So what if we’re funny? We’re still right, so I don’t give a shit if anyone laughs at me, and I’m okay with seeing the humor in us as well.
Thirdly, if you are going to “take a stand” on something, then you need to be able to handle a bit of very, very gentle and oblique teasing about it without getting all huffy. You take a stand by clicking a link in your FB profile, then get upset if someone posts something on their own wall that mildly, jokingly rebukes you a tiny bit?
I mean, it’s hardly firehoses and police dogs, now, is it? And to suggest that certain words and pictures and phrases are unacceptable or inappropriate is about as illiberal as you can get.
Stifling dissent? Shit, not even dissent--low-key mockery by someone who is clearly on the same team? Again, that sounds like something the hard right does, not us.
If you want to be part of a national discussion, great, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should expect the online equivalent of a roomful of 500 of your “closest personal friends” all nodding in total agreement and saying, “Yep, you sure are right, Steve.”
How fucking boring would that be?
Plus it's not even like I disagree.
Take care everyone, and again, I pledge my undying support for my LGBT brethren and sistren. Let’s hope those douchebags on the Supreme Court actually do the Right Thing for once instead of the expedient, political thing.
*The picture of the two combative gay gentlemen is from an episode of Seinfeld, so, no, not all that terribly hip, I don’t think. Not for a couple of decades at least. :-)