Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In What Alternate Reality is the National Organization for Marriage Living?

The anti-equality National Organization for [Heterosexual] Marriage (NOM) recently put out a ridiculous "Storm is Gathering" ad portending a frightening homofantastic future of marriage equality. Unfortunately for NOM, their over-the-top ad has not exactly had the desired effect and instead, as Frank Rich from the The New York Times writes, it "has become, unsurprisingly, an Internet camp classic."

While NOM's Maggie Gallagher has recently bragged about the "success" of this ad, she has failed to mention that the vast majority of its reviews on Youtube and Facebook have been negative (it's currently running at 1-star out of over 10,000 reviews!) and that countless parodies of it have been made. I'm sort of reminded of a director who would brag about how many people have seen her B-film whilst not mentioning that the majority of people rent it because, like Showgirls, it's so bad it's good. In what alternate reality is the number of views the only measure of "success" that counts? Anyway, Jeremy over at G-A-Y has been documenting some of the hilarious parodies of the ad.

It really does make me a little embarrassed for NOM and Gallagher, really. I don't think that the National Organization for [Heterosexual] Marriage knows that it's basically a national joke. First, NOM was caught using actors to present first-person testimonial-ish scenarios in its "Storm" ad and then the Human Rights Campaign rebutted, on a case-by-case basis, the broad distortions that comprised the substance of the ad. In her rebuttal to HRC, Gallagher continues her surreal theme by accusing the HRC of calling NOM "liars with no substantiation on particular facts." In the reality-based world, as we saw, one can quickly ascertain that HRC did actually offer a point-by-point substantiation of the NOM ad's precise inaccuracies.

When such statements can be so easily verified, NOM and Gallagher would do better to cut the dramatics and focus on substance. But hey, maybe at this point, dramatics are all these folks have. It all makes me wonder why NOM goes to such lengths to be so over-the-top? Perhaps deep down they know they cannot win on the merits of their substantive arguments alone. Or maybe there's more to it. At least one conservative writer who is distancing himself from the anti-gay crowd has wondered whether NOM's arguments, tidily devoid of Phelpsian hate rhetoric, are "something else in disguise."

What are we to make of those whose attempts to keep gay and lesbian couples from marrying have become so desperate that they don't even realize they discredit themselves with each new campaign? One might think that when someone with as large an audience as Stephen Colbert parodies your ad, it might make you re-consider your theatrics. But nope, not NOM. While NOM has chuckled off the parody and thanked Colbert for publicizing their ad, I have a special note to NOM: People are not laughing with you, they are laughing at you:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

That NOM has tried to laugh this parody off reminds me of the ugly kid who makes fun of himself first, thereby depriving other kids of the ability to do so. It sometimes works, but in the end it's really only self-defeating and pathetic. NOM desperately tries to keep "marriage defense" relevant while other conservatives continue jumping off the sinking ship. It's understandable. These professional "marriage defenders'" livelihoods depend on keeping the issue relevant. Meanwhile, other conservatives are realizing, as Frank Rich writes, that "It is justice, not a storm, that is gathering. Only those who have spread the poisons of bigotry and fear have any reason to be afraid."


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