For Maggie Gallagher, a boycott of this year’s Thanksgiving blockbuster sci-fi film Ender’s Game is like McCarthyism. Of course, such a nonsensical claim rings completely hollow because of her own sordid love affair with boycotts. She conveniently ignores not only her own organization’s long history of boycotts, but that of her fellow anti-gay activists as well.
You see, she claimed in her post this week on The National Review that a boycott of “Orson Scott Card’s personal views on marriage” is like a “thought crime” punishment and that if people don’t have the “right political opinion” in the creative industry, then it was a form of McCarthyism.
The National Organization for Marriage (or NOM, which Gallagher founded), One Million Moms (a division of the virulently anti-gay SPLC-certified hate group American Family Association), and other anti-gay groups regularly (and often with high hilarity) regularly — and often — boycott companies who support gay rights. Or that they help fund pride parades or festivals. Or that they have gay people on TV shows.
In fairness, I’ll just point to two of NOM’s highly publicized boycott efforts. Especially since OMM is currently the queen of the right wing boycott world (this week, they set their busybody sights on NBC’s Camp tv show).
When Starbucks came out in support of marriage equality, NOM created a worldwide effort called “Dump Starbucks” — where they encouraged people to buy a cup of Starbucks and make a silly scene of “dumping it.” Yeah, that’s right. Their “boycott” was to buy a cup of Starbucks and then dump it. People even made YouTube videos showing that they had bought a cup of Starbucks and then pouring it down whatever drain they could find.
Starbucks’ stock soared.
It’s important to point out that NOM’s “Dump Starbucks” boycott wasn’t over anything AGAINST them. Starbucks just supports marriage equality. Starbucks is not a company that has ties to anti-Christian beliefs. Starbucks does not have ties to anyone who advocates banning heterosexual marriage. They do not have links to anyone who want to imprison Christians just for who they are. They simply supported marriage equality. For the record, they still do.
NOM also made a huge boycott effort against General Mills, a company that makes many of the country’s popular breakfast foods. Since their “Dump Starbucks” was so “successful,” they did the obvious — and called for people to “Dump General Mills.” They collected thousands of signatures of would-be cereal killers. Of course, the phone calls and letters in support of marriage equality far outpaced that of the NOM nuts. In the end, it was an embarrassing failure.
But… when gay people want to boycott a movie based on a book by a man who has advocated prison for gays, sits on the board of NOM — an organization that was CREATED to keep gays from marrying, and a group that regularly distorts facts for their agenda, suddenly boycotts are “McCarthyism.” And her complaint in her National Review post was that mainstream artists were putting pressure on their anti-gay peers:
It seems very strange to me that so many artists and people on the left are supporting the idea that to make art in the mainstream you have to have the right political opinions.
But wait, I thought her views were the mainstream? After all, didn’t she say that since 31 states voted to ban same-sex marriage, that it was obvious that she was in the clear majority? Why, yes, she did say all that.
So here’s a woman intimately familiar with her own organization’s love affair with boycotts. So what happens when pro-gay groups decide to boycott a movie because it’s based on a book written by a guy who sat on NOM’s board of directors? Of course, she instantly says that boycotts are like McCarthyism:
This used to be considered the heart of McCarthyism: loyalty oaths for filmmakers as the condition forworking in the film industry. (These were imposed by the industry, not the government, remember, in response to public pressure).
So let’s review that little point. McCarthyism, if you recall, was the core of the hysterics of the second Red Scare. It led to the blacklisting of people in Hollywood just on the mere possibility that they might support Communism or be a member of the Communist party. Of course, the “Red Scare” had its own twisted little brother, the “Lavender Scare.” Homosexuals were targeted as well. I guess Gallagher forgot all about that part.
The Hollywood blacklist included noted figures like Burgess Meredith (you might remember him as the Penguin in the 1960′s Batman TV series), Sam Jaffe (Professor Reinhardt in the classic film The Day the Earth Stood Still), famed singer Lena Horne, W.E.B. Dubois, composer Leonard Bernstein, Charlie Chaplin, and a pretty smart guy you might have heard of by the name of Albert Einstein.
This blacklist wasn’t because of “personal opinions” as Ms. Gallagher claims. It was because they might have had those personal opinions. Or because they may have made passing references to liberal ideas. Sam Jaffe’s blacklisting was made known during the filming of The Day the Earth Stood Still. Despite this, Robert Wise fought to keep him in the cast and his role was left in the film. It was a critical piece of the film, giving it the big “ah-ha” moment it needed. Alas, Jaffe didn’t work for several years after that.
As for Gallagher’s claim that all the hoopla over Ender’s Game is because of Orson Scott Card’s “personal views on marriage,” there’s more to that as well. Today’s right wing is busy playing the victim because now they’re finding themselves out of vogue with the rest of society, so when we point out their long history of efforts to squelch LGBT equality, they whine about being “discriminated against” merely because they “disagree” with homosexuality or marriage between members of the same sex.
So what are Mr. Card’s personal views? Aside from complaining for decades about the “homosexual agenda” (whatever the hell that is), he was a member of the board of directors for NOM until recently. Salon listed a few of his “personal opinions” in a piece earlier this year. In 1990, he supported sodomy laws. There’s no indication that he has retracted this view. He claimed in 2004 that “most homosexuals are the self-loathing victims of child abuse.” In 2008, he claimed that “gay marriage would mark the end of democracy in America.” Card even advocated “changing governments” over marriage equality. There’s a little bit more information on an AmericaBlog post on the topic.
It’s not that these are “personal views,” they are very, very public views. They are views that he worked actively to support at every turn. He helped to lead an organization that to this day is fighting marriage equality at every turn. Card didn’t just sell the movie rights for Ender’s Game. He’s also listed as a producer of the film.
By the time the dust settles from all of this, everyone will make their decision whether or not to see the movie. I’m a huge fan of Harrison Ford. Lion’s Gate, the studio releasing the film, has promised to have a pro-LGBT event related to Ender’s Game to help out the cause of gay rights. There are hundreds of people who are all definitely not anti-gay who have worked hard on the film. So do we boycott? Or Not?
For me, it boils down to a couple of things. For Maggie Gallagher, her claim that boycotts are like “McCarthyism” should be posted in every office at NOM, with a clear reminder that their own boycotts have failed miserably. And often. For Mr. Card, he should understand that “personal views” are no longer personal when a person has their hands wrapped around another man’s throat.
For the rest of us, we can take solace in knowing that these horrific, bigoted, anti-gay views are finally being recognized as the pure fear and ignorance they really are.
It’s about damn time.
Hat tip: Joe