By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, July 11, 2008
Hey, remember the angry evangelicals? The quivering clan of militant Christoholics who propelled Bush into office and seized the national narrative for a few terrifying moments about five years back, ran deep into the woods with it and rubbed it all over their naughty bits in a frenzy of fear and confusion and lust for all things homophobic and saccharine and spiritually denigrating?
Dying. Nearly dead. Gasping their last. Very soon to be a footnote, a caricature, a gag, a punch line, blasted to the dustbin of history like dried housefly limbs after a sneeze. You should know this now.
Yes, you are right; they already were a caricature, a cultural pothole, a nasty rash in the armpit of society. But it wasn't all that long ago that they were, through bizarre series of sociopolitical machinations still being parsed by baffled historians, a powerful rash, hugely newsworthy, as dangerous and unstoppable as they were wrongheaded and sad. Remember?
You were not much younger than you are right now. As the Bush era crested, as the neocons' power reached nuclear levels, when female nipples and f-words and evil gay agendas ruled the news, the evangelical Right -- led by the most virulent, spittle-flecked gaggle of mental throwbacks to ever stain the American newswires, Focus on the Family (Dr. James Dobson's clan) and the American Family Association and its nefarious leader, the Rev. Donald Wildmon -- these groups controlled, for a brief, awful moment, the national dialogue. They were the temporary arbiters of taste, the warped conscience of a freaked-out culture. And lo, it was ugly.
Rejoice, won't you? For their time is over.
Did you know the AFA recently boycotted McDonald's? That's right, this once semi-powerful tub of right-wing brain-caulk recently declared a comestible fatwa against America's foremost purveyor of toxic foodstuffs because, apparently, some high-ranking McD's VP just joined the board of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, which, to the AFA, somehow translates directly into free pink condoms and mind-controlling rainbow flags in every toxic God-fearing Happy Meal.
Did you read about that? No? Of course you didn't. Here is why: No one cared. Well, that's not quite true. McDonald's sort of cared, just enough to write up a nice letter of response to Wildmon stating, in essence, that the AFA is a bunch of troglodytic knuckle-draggers with the sociosexual awareness of a fungal spore, and they should crawl away right now before God spanks them even harder with the 2x4 of total irrelevance.
I might be exaggerating. What they actually said was: Thank you, AFA, for your hateful consideration, but we support our employees' right to join whichever socially responsible and positive groups they like. And thusly did McD's flick the AFA away like a tick from a dog. Isn't that amazing?
Now, you may argue that McDonald's and the other megacorps that the AFA has tried to boycott in the past, including Wal-Mart (for selling "Brokeback Mountain" DVDs to unsuspecting toddlers), the Disney Corporation (for its overall corporate support of the evil gay agenda) and the Ford Motor Company (for advertising in gay magazines), aren't shrugging off Wildmon's wide-eyed cult out of the goodness of their gay-loving hearts. It's not like the majority of McD's honchos actually give a damn about gay rights, or gay marriage, or social justice, or the deeper aspects of love.
Nossir, they do so purely for economic reasons, because it's just good PR, because they are safe in the knowledge that the AFA's rantings have exactly zero effect on their bottom line and lots of their own employees are gay -- and by the way discrimination based on sexual orientation is thoroughly illegal -- and therefore it simply makes more business sense to support tolerance than it does to endorse homophobia and general spiritual stupidity. Isn't that right, Boy Scouts of America? You bet it is.
But wait just a second: Is it still not fascinating in this day and age that our most powerful capitalist companies, those most associated with mainstream, dumbed-down, unhealthy, rather uninformed Republican Americana, even these megacorps are now openly and rather shamelessly supporting gay rights and tolerance?
Is it not, concomitantly, interesting that no one at all cares a whit for what the hell the AFA has to say anymore? Is this not a sign of something interesting and sea-changing and good? I think it is. McD's, Wal-Mart, Ford and Disney utterly ignore the Christian Right? What's next, an articulate black intellectual president? Oh wait.
It is made all the more amusing, more comical and cute, by another recent tidbit, the final evidence you will need that the evangelical Right has returned to its original state of inbred silliness, and therefore it is very likely indeed that you will never have to read anything more about them ever again until Wildmon and Dobson join Jerry Falwell and Jesse Helms in the Great Gay Bath House in the sky.
It is this: The AFA's Web site apparently has (or rather, had, until just recently) an auto-filter installed. So utterly terrified of anything remotely gay are these kindly folk that whenever the word "gay" appeared in any news story on their site, their autobot automatically changed it to "homosexual." True.
Thus did it come to pass that many fine stories about American Olympic track and fieldster Tyson Gay become a whole lotta wacky stories about the epic struggles of some unlucky runner named "Tyson Homosexual" to post some good numbers in the 100-meter dash. Poor guy.
And that about does it. Your final proof that God laughs and snorts and doesn't give a flying McRib sandwich about any particular gaggle of humans, particularly those who profess that they know and love and worship him more violently and blindly than anyone else.
Somewhere in all this, a moral, a lesson. Perhaps a curious anecdote about how, in this country, it seems like every agenda, every stupid idea, every rancid fireball of ignorant religious fanaticism nevertheless gets its moment, its 15 minutes, its desperate shot at guiding the culture, just to see if it can, if there's something of value, if there's something to be learned.
And when it comes to the sad Christian nutballs, well, the lesson appears to be wildly obvious indeed: Avoid the sad Christian nutballs, now and forevermore. Hell, even God could've told you that.
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Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SFGate and in the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle. To get on the e-mail list for this column, please click here and remove one article of clothing.
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