Homosexuality and Olympic sprinters

I must admit to being taken aback for a split second last week when I saw a sports page headline along the lines of “Gay wins 100m.”  “What's his sexuality got to do with it, I thought, before realizing it was the winner's last name.  With that in mind, I found this quite hillarious:

In addition to blocking traffic
from websites they don?t like, it looks like the web-geniuses behind
the American Family Association?s OneNewsNow site have a few other
tricks up their sleeves, such as automatically replacing any use of the
word ?gay? with the word ?homosexual? in any of the AP stories they run
? leading to instances in which proper names are reformatted to meet
their ridiculous standard, such as this article about sprinter Tyson Gay winning the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in which he is renamed ?Tyson Homosexual?:

Jesse

I've read so much interesting commentary on Jesse Helms in the few days since his death.  Hard to pick my favorites to go with, but I'll try a couple.  First, let's just be clear, however nice he may have been to people he liked, the man was an unrepentant bigot.  Period.  By all accounts he was a pioneer in using race-baiting as a successful political strategy, and to whatever degree he “mellowed” he remained an unrepentant bigot till the end.  It is a stain on my home state of North Carolina that it repeatedly elected him to the Senate.  TNR's Jonathan Chait seems to have the most succinct summation on Helms' legacy and the awfully disturbing praise for him from Republican quarters:

The New York Times obituary of Jesse Helms had the temerity to note that he “opposed civil rights.” National Review's John Miller objects:

He “opposed civil rights”? Uh, no. He opposed a particular vision of them.

Hilzoy has a lot of detail
about Helms' “particular vision” of civil rights. Among other things,
Helms was an avowed believer in black intellectual inferiority, an
hysterical opponent of interracial marriage, called the 1964 Civil
Rights Act “the single most dangerous piece of legislation ever
introduced in the Congress,” and said of civil rights demonstrators,
“The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that's thus
far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere
with other men's rights.” Helms' “vision” of civil rights for
African-Americans was that there should be none.

The mainstream conservative position on civil rights is that the
equal rights of the early civil rights movement were good, but things
started to go wrong with the imposition of affirmative action. It's a
flawed though not illegitimate view. But Helms wasn't a champion of
color-blindness who objected to quotas. He was an out-and-out white
supremacist.

Moreover, it would be one thing if conservatives celebrated the
things they liked about Helms' life while disavowing his bigotry. But
their unalloyed celebration of Helms is a staggering indictment of
movement conservatism's views on race.

As mentioned by Chait, Hilzoy does a phenomenal job cataloging many of Helms' most odious statements and beliefs.  A couple of my favorites:

“Crime rates and irresponsibility among Negroes are a fact of life which must be faced.”

?To rob the Negro of his reputation of thinking through
a problem in his own fashion is about the same as trying to pretend
that he doesn't have a natural instinct for rhythm and for singing and
dancing.?

And, what I think is most disturbing (as Chait mentions) in the response to Helms' death is the unqualified praise Helms is receiving from Republican quarters.  Hilzoy catalogs that as well in the same post.  For example, Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, “Today we lost a Senator whose stature in Congress had few equals.
Senator Jesse Helms was a leading voice and courageous champion for the
many causes he believed in.”  Of course, one of those causes was keeping the Black man down.  It would be nice to see a little more honest reporting in just what these “conservative principles” Helms stood for really were. 

 

Back in the saddle

“Update your blog” demand my readers (okay, just one of them).  Thanks for the push, LS, normal blogging duties to resume imminently.

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