Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Warning labels
Over the top suggestions are a classic way to draw attention and rally the faithful. Left, right, political, and non-political, we all do it. It is an almost indispensible tool for those who operate in the twilight area between the acceptable far end of the political spectrum and the unacceptable reaches of the extremist fringe. By casting themselves as "refreshingly honest" or loveably "outrageous," these operatives work as transmission belts to rehabilitate unacceptable ideas and introduce them into the mainstream. David Neiwert writes frequently and eloquently on this subject.

It helps if the ideas have a whit of sense.
The leader of a conservative Christian lobby group appears to suggest that gays should be required to wear warning labels, although he denies that was his intention.

"We put warning labels on cigarette packs because we know that smoking takes one to two years off the average life span, yet we 'celebrate' a lifestyle that we know spreads every kind of sexually transmitted disease and takes at least 20 years off the average life span according to the 2005 issue of the revered scientific journal Psychological Reports," Rev. Bill Banuchi, executive director of the New York Christian Coalition told the Mid Hudson News.

The journal regularly publishes articles described by many mainstream psychologists as misleading and faulty. The homosexuality morbidity study was conducted by the conservative anti-gay Family Research Institute.

Exactly what purpose would such labels serve? To protect me from catching a sexually transmitted disease from a gay man? I'm a happily and faithfully married heterosexual man. If I'm ever drunk enough to be having sex with another man, I'll be far too drunk to read the warning labels on him.

Of course, Banuchi denies that he was actually making that suggestion, he was just trying to make an incoherent and mean-spitied point.
Despite using the analogy of cigarette labels, Banuchi tells 365Gay.com that he is not advocating gays specifically be labeled.

Banuchi also alleges that he has received hate mail since his remarks were published.

The issue of labels is particularly sensitive to gays. In Nazi Germany they were forced to wear the pink triangle to differentiate them from other internees at concentration camps.

As a memeber of the extremist right, Banuchi isn't suggesting that we should duplicate Nazi social programs for real. He's only making the suggestion that we should duplicate Nazi social programs in order to make a point. He doesn't think anyone will take him seriously when he's being refreshingly honest and loveably outrageous like this.

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