Saturday, October 11, 2008

The face of hatred

It is a deceptively mild and soft-spoken face, this face of hate that knocks on my door. He is accompanied by a hatchet-faced woman with a dour look, and they have an agenda to sell. Their agenda is Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative to amend the California Constitution with a constitutional amendment to eliminate the right for gays to marry. After ascertaining that they do in fact live in this apartment complex so I can't simply call the cops and have them hauled off for trespassing, I politely tell them that I do not talk to bigots and that the guy ought to get counseling to deal with his suppressed homosexuality, and close the door on them.

It is all too common to believe that the face of evil is one that is foam-flecked with gleaming eyes and a scowling expression. But that is not it at all. I grew up in the American South as the walls of segregation were tumbling down. I grew up in an environment where a great-uncle was a KKK member and where the Klan still regularly held cross-burnings in clearings way back in the woods (they were illegal in our state -- cross-burnings, that is, there was a law outlawing the desecration of religious symbols that was used to prosecute people who participated in cross-burnings -- but the law was rarely enforced, especially when several of the people under the hoods were Sheriff's deputies). I grew up in an environment where cops joked in my father's barber shop about going "nigger-knocking" down in "nigger-town", where the word "nigger" was as common as the word "Coke" (used for any carbonated soda drink, this was long before cocaine came to town), where people talked in all seriousness about "those goddamned niggers don't know their place anymore, they want to take away all our jobs."

What I'm saying is that I know what hatred and bigotry looks like, and it looks like... well, my neighbor. Just another person. The phrase "the banality of evil" first applied to Eichmann applies equally to those who today would exterminate gays the same way their forefathers would have exterminated Jews, if only they could get away with it. Because they cannot, because they are on the losing side of a culture war that has decided that hate is, like, a bummer, man, they instead dress their evil in code words and cloak it in normality. But whether you hate "kikes" or "niggers" or "faggots", it's all the same. It's all hatred, it's all bigotry, and it's all evil. And the fact that this evil comes with the face of a mild-mannered man who looks about as dangerous as a puppy dog lessens that evil not one bit.

-- Badtux the not-Evil Penguin


  1. I politely tell them that I do not talk to bigots and that the guy ought to get counseling to deal with his suppressed homosexuality

    You told him that? Man, you have more guts than I do...

  2. Have I told you lately that you fucking ROCK? No? Well, consider yourself told.

  3. That is why I read your site . For the True Snark !

  4. And also: "hey, fattie!"
    Bigotry is the bludgeon of choice for everything we fear?

  5. Thet was a great response. I loved it.

    I liked this so much, I posted it

    Gender Auditors: No on Prop 8

    The story of my relatives will either make you laugh or cry :)

  6. Jim, I would have been been more afraid of the man's wife than of the man. He looked thoroughly henpecked and mild and meek. My suspicion is that the man's wife has decided that the reason her guy has trouble getting it up is because of all those evil homos and, exercising the finest in Wingnut logic, decided the answer was to outlaw gay marriage. So it goes.

    PC. Thanks. (Blush!).

    W3: I was polite. I used the same sort of voice that I would have used to say "I'm sorry, but I'm not interested in buying any magazines today. Thank you!" (shut door in their face). I didn't yell at them or curse them or anything. Hey, what do you think I am, a tighty rightie?!

    ML: Not sure what you're saying. Are you saying that calling a bigot a bigot is a bludgeon? Or are you saying that bigotry itself used against everything we fear is a bludgeon? Color this penguin puzzled.

    Nuns: Thanks for the link to the video. This penguin was amused :-).

    - Badtux the Blogging Penguin

  7. It would be far easier to combat bigots and hateful sorts if they looked as ugly and fearsome on the outside; but alas, they look all soft and reasonably harmless. Which is why I think bigots not only despicable, but pathetic: their hate all launches from fear.

  8. I agree with your other commenters that your response was quite excellent. It burns me when I think of the many people so against gays. What harm is it doing them if gay people get married? Really. HOW does it harm that couple?

    Yes, bigotry is alive and thriving. People like that have way too much time on their hands.

  9. We are all 'bigoted', about something. I don't like looking at fat people, and I'm not the only one.

    But I don't beat them up, I just avoid them.

  10. I'm against gay marriage.

    I'm no bigot.
    Mark Lewis baptized my nephews. I like the man. I wish him well.

    It's just that I don't consider marriage as a right to anyone.
    Not any more so than I would consider that I have a right to a blowjob from Scarlet Johannsen.
    Some things simply are not rights.

  11. The clause in the California Constitution that is under attack, PT, is the Equal Protection clause, which states that if the government gives a privilege to one group of people (straight people), it must also give that same privilege to another group of people (gay people). That is, from a Constitutional point of view there is a right for gays to marry in California only because there is a right for straights to marry in California.

    So there you are. If you advocate that straights can marry the person of their choice but say that gays can't, you are a bigot. The government simply cannot morally, ethically, or legally treat one group of people different from another for reasons unrelated to the purpose of government, which is to a) protect us from those who would harm us, and b) provide fundamental services such as roads, fire, etc. that private enterprise is unable or unwilling to provide in an economical manner. Gays don't harm me when they get married, and marriage is apparently one of those services that we the people have decided government provides (at least for the formal registration of such at the courthouse), so... there you are.

    - Badtux the Equal Protection Penguin

  12. Gay people marry.
    They marry all the time.
    Still don't see where marrying a person of the same sex is a right.

    btw, not that it matters, but your reasoning there (the a&b thing) is a hasty generalization and a strawman argument.

  13. Wondering if you're proposing polygamy for bisexual people.
    Inter-species marriage for people into beastiality.
    And for people into 9-yr old chicks, well of course.
    And the communists that are into capitalist swine.

    I don't see who is being denied anything other than the crybabies that think they're at Burger King.

  14. Once again, it's an equal protection clause issue under the California Constitution. Gays are a protected group under California law, so any law which grants a right under law (i.e. privilege) to straight people must grant the same right to gay people. In short, it is an equal protection right, not a marriage right, that is covered by the California Supreme Court ruling. The California Supreme Court did not say that an affirmative right to marriage is a Constitutional right. It merely stated that if you granted it to one group via law, you had to grant it to all other groups via law.

    In short, it's an equal protection issue. If you state that the State should not be in the business of registering marriages at the courthouse in the first place i.e. you bar both gay AND straight marriages, that's the only way the California Constitution allows barring gay marriage under the Equal Protection clause of the California Constitution. But the moment the State will register the marriage of straight couples, it has to extend that same right to gay couples under the Equal Protection clause. That's just how the California Constitution works.

    - Badtux the Equal Protection Penguin

  15. BTW, the nonsense about polygamy, gay marrying dogs, sex with 9 year olds, and all that is nonsense. It's illegal for straight people to do that, and it's illegal for gay people to do that. No Equal Protection Clause issues involved because no difference in treatment of protected classes is involved.

    I just don't get it. What is it about the notion of "consenting adults" do some folks not get?


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