Local opinion seems to be that our own con-alternative paper, the Tribune Review, is pretty anti-gay. The fact, however, is that most of their gay coverage has been consistent with mainstream thought on gays — we aren't so bad after all, its not such a big deal, don't we have better things to worry about (usually the libertarian columnists), and an abhorence of violence against gays. Its a benign quasi-tolerance that keeps us fimly in our second-class seats, but protects us (mostly) from being bashed by pipe wielding maniacs. They may not want their sons to be gay, but it would be okay if their daughters have a quirky gay confidante. Who could ask for anything more than that? (I'm being ironic here b/c a 72 year old harmless man was killed by a pipe wielding maniac in spite of the fuzzy Will and Gracism pervading pop culture).
Two Trib columnists have tackled gay stories of late. In an interesting display of better late than never, Matt Sober weighs in on the Tim Hardaway furor. Sober went to Penn State with John Amaechi, the former NBA player who recently came out. Sober recalls Amaechi as a very bright guy who probably appreciates the tough conversations his coming out have inspired throughout the sports world. Then Sober takes an interesting twist:
And the lesson here is that declaring you hate gay people is just as silly as, well, declaring you love gay people.
Either way, the implication is that it's possible to know an individual based on some larger group identification.
Gay. Black. Immigrant.
Saying you hate gay people is silly — that's the teachable moment Sober draws from all this? Huh. Declaring you love gay people is silly? Its unfortunate that Sober opted for a jab at Pitt fans in lieu of actually saying something meaningful about the pervasion of homophobia in the sports world. Its great that he's a fan of John Amaechi, but he trips right over his blase attitude into the treacherous world of “let's pretend there are no difference and see everyone as the same.”
Columnist Tom Purcell uses gay sheep experimentation to underscore the collapse of civilization. Not because of gay sheep, but because of America's obsession with gay sheep and Anna Nicole Smith. Some researchers were exploring the sexuality of sheep. Hue and cry ensued about the ethics of such research, bringing the attention of such entities as PETA and Martina Navritalova. Purcell takes the obligatory “nutty advocacy group” shot at PETA, dismisses any possibility that genetic research on sexual orientation could possibly be used against gays and then wraps up his analysis with this overreaching comparison:
Evil dictators are stifling freedom and torturing millions. Ethnic hatred and genocide are killing millions. Pestilence and disease are killing millions more. But we're more attuned to things that don't matter, such as “American Idol.”
And we're at war. Western civilization is in a battle of wills with fanatics who hope to restore 6th century values. They intend to get their hands on some frighteningly powerful bombs to make us bend to that will.
I'm sorry, Tom, but in a nation that has collectively handed over our welfare to a despotic idiot, I'm feeling pretty good when groups like PETA bring our attention to potential landmines. Especially when I look at your previous columns which don't seem to focus on evil dictators, torture or genocide. But they do feature a lot of italicized words and exclamation points. Its practically the same thing.
So more gay-benign pablum from the Tribune-Review.