Monday’s RedEye column got a seriously fierce reaction. Here are the highlights:
1) I did make the same point about this Chik-fil-A nonsense as Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show”:
Dan Cathy is an idiot, but you can't start banning companies and institutions run by people who say stupid stuff. Otherwise, we could never have churches, synagogues or mosques in city limits because those people are telling everyone there's a magic man in the sky making bizarre homophobic rules and looking inside their brains 24 hours a day.
First of all, let me say that Jon Stewart is great for, like, society and civilization and whatnot, but really terrible if you’re a writer of basically the same political persuasion. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to abandon column ideas because I saw the guy make basically the same argument on his show that I had just been plannng to write about. Yesterday’s column, in fact, was originally going to be written entirely about Chik-fil-A, making that same argument about religious institutions, until I watched “The Daily Show” episode that week, and to my dismay, saw him do his segment that essentially rendered any column on the topic redundant.
Actually, I admit that after the Chik-fil-A/ Mayor Rahm kerfuffle broke, basically everyone I follow on Twitter was making similar points, so I probably actually stole it from David Roberts or Olivia Wilde or any of the other 107 sweetass people I follow.
So I reworked the column to make a broader point about how we direct our outrage in the mediasphere and included Tosh because that was the other thing I'd recently rolled my eyes about. I cited Lindy West of Jezebel because I thought she wrote the smartest thing about the incident. She articulated perfectly exactly what I thought about that incident but totally got there way, way first.
With basically everyone on-line, blogging and tweeting 24/7 there really are stunningly few completely original thoughts left, so one of the biggest challenges of column-writing is to find a new way to talk about something that everyone else in the world has already commented on. In this case, I absolutely wanted to restate the incredibly obvious point—a point so obvious you really don’t need a whip-smart satirist like Stewart to point it out—that while people suddenly got extremely riled up about Chik-fil-A’s Dan Cathy, there are preachers, pastors, bishops, mullahs, and rabbis across the country saying stuff just as (or far more) vile and that the homophobia industry is almost entirely the turf of organized religions. Thus, we direct our outrage at pop gaffe trifles while ignoring the institutional underpinnings that should actually make us far more angry.
So apologies if that came off as a blatant crib job, but I thought the point was too generic and obvious to credit one late-night comedian with.
2) Lindy West, who I mentioned in the column tweeted me to say:
"Um, just to be clear, I think "umbrage" is valuable and I would never use the phrase "favorite rape jokes."
Lindy, you're probably correct on that second point (although the title of your post is "How to Make a Rape Joke"), and as I hopefully made clear in the column, it's not that I don't think a good ole round of social shaming isn't appropriate every once in a while, but I'm totally against having to get outraged every time an idiot says something idiotic. I've made this point before in a column asking why should anyone care if Rush Limbaugh apologizes to Sandra Fluke for calling her a slut and a prostitute? Anyway, I was sitting on this all day, and then I got contacted to be on the radio...
3) So then Jesse Menendez had me on his radio show The Music Vox to talk about the column, at which point I embarked upon what felt like an epic Howard Beal-style rant in which I expounded upon my argument (some of which I put down in the above graphs) and where I forgot to take a breath for five minutes. I may sound totally nuts. Either way, I'm still sweating.
4) The appropriately named @ToriHatesYou called me "our own faux Carrie Bradshaw" in a tweet. I mean, damn! C'mon, too mean!