Friday, March 27, 2009

Class Five: Stephen Colbert on Gay Marriage

The late Tim Russert did a decidedly tongue-in-cheek bit on Meet the Press with Colbert in October 2007 where they briefly discussed gay marriage as part of an interview about Colbert's short-lived presidential campaign.

The Colbert Report did a funny piece on gay marriage in 2006 here.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins came on the show in May of last year. Stephen and Perkins discussed their outrage over the CA Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage. I get the impression that Stephen is not really outraged, don't you? Ah, the power of satire.

After Proposition 8 passed in 2008, Stephen noted the attempt by newscasters to cast their issue as a Blacks vs. Gays conflict. His commentary, Imaginary Gay/Black Warfare: The senseless and escalating imaginary war between blacks and gays is tearing our great nation apart, called to mind the famous quote from William Randolph Hearst discussed in this article from Time Magazine in 1947.

What do you think about the media and their coverage of this issue and others?

A week after the election, Dan Savage, a sex columnist for Seattle's Stranger, appeared on Colbert's show and assessed whether black voters were responsible for the passage of Prop. 8. His conclusions may strike you as deliberately provocative, if not downright offensive. He believes that the major opposition to gay marriage came from "old people." And he proclaimed that the proponents of gay marriage will win in the end because they will "outlive, outlast and outsmart the bigots."

What do you think about what Savage says? Is it acceptable to fight discrimination by exhibiting ageism? Do you think his later remark, in which he replaces "old people" with "bigots" is an attempt to recast the comment and clarify who the true villains are?


Anonymous said...

Hi Holly - Colbert is funny. His satires do hearten the liberals and undoubtedly irritates or outrages the other persuasion. I really don’t understand why conservatives like Tony Perkins appear with Colbert, as they get slaughtered. But I would be happy to learn that the great middle who have only vague prejudices are being convinced of the liberal positions. Let’s get all them graduate students in psychology and sociology on the stick.
As to the “culture war” between blacks and gays, well, I don’t think it’s a trivial matter. I expressed concern in an earlier comment about the impending schism in the Episcopal church, as conservative congregations in the US are looking to Africa for bishops who oppose ordination of gay priests or even offer blessings on gay unions. And my question in an earlier response why blacks seem to be opposing gay unions still remains. Whether such a “cultural war” can be fanned by the media---Well, we have come a long way from WRH; Fox News and Bill Reilly do not constitute the whole media. The conservative position is one, I believe, of schadenfreude. That us old farts are anti-gay marriage has not been demonstrated statistically, not even in Orange County. Think much of the evidence is anecdotal.
Personally, I’m bemused by the whole issue. Somehow the gay community believes that unless the word “marriage” is applicable to same-sex unions, they remain second-class citizens. They may hark back to the “separate but equal” language of the Plessy vs Ferguson decision of the US Supreme Court. Clearly, separate but equal was a farce. But if states legislate that a civil union, or even a common-law union between same sex couples carries the same full rights of heterosexual marriage, wot’s the problema? If gays are insisting that they are entitled to religious marriages, well, then there is a problem. The states or the federal government cannot, nor should, compel churches to perform same-sex marriages or unions.

The Seeker said...

Can I ask you a favour? If you are inclined, would you be so kind as
to pop over to
I just would love if you would vote for your favourite. Better if you vote for me. :)
Thank you
The Seeker

Fantastic Forrest said...

CRT - Glad you enjoyed Colbert. Like you, I do not at all understand why conservatives go on the show. For that matter, even liberals receive a bit of teasing. I've got to think that there are some grad students looking at precisely the question you pose. Maybe I'll go back to school and do my dissertation on that! Ha. It's a tough thing to measure, though, because we are bombarded with messages on this and other issues.
I remember your earlier comment about the impending schism in the Episcopal church, and the question why blacks seem to be opposing gay unions. I'm not so sure conservatives' position is schadenfreude versus a real unease with something that seems to go against what they believe. Unless by conservative you mean conservative pundit. If so, yes, I think you're right on.

The demographics of the Prop 8 vote CNN exit poll were summarized at - it states that 61% if voters 65 and older voted yes. But I didn't see how big the sample was, if it was geographically spread throughout the state, etc. We can probably find a million things wrong with the methodology. And the conclusions note that "African American influence was overestimated..." So who knows?

I don't think the main issue for most people is just the semantic one and I hadn't heard any talk that gays want to force churches to marry them. Maybe I just haven't read enough. I do note that the summary states that domestic partnerships would be unaffected. But I think there is more at stake here than we realize. I don't think Plessy is the case to consider as much as Loving. Note that it says "The nonpartisan League of Women Voters of California opposed Proposition 8 because "no person or group should suffer legal, economic or administrative discrimination." Amnesty International condemned Proposition 8, saying that "states should never withhold rights based on minority status"."

Fantastic Forrest said...

The Seeker - Good luck! I voted in support of you. :-) You might want to switch to my personal blog, Traveling Through Time and Space, to post such announcements. This one is more for a discussion of class topics. Thanks!