Over at his Christian LGBT Rights blog, my pal Jerry Maneker is recovering from a terrorist attack! A recent essay he wrote about the over-sexualization of Gay identity drew the ire of a Right Wing blog jihadist who called himself "North Dallas Thirty". This joker car-bombed Jerry's comments section with a stream of ideological rants about Gay activist politics, peppered with random links that he demanded be read and responded to.
Jerry was quite bewildered by the surprise attack. His desire to accommodate open discussion left him vulnerable. He briefly allowed himself to be put on the defensive at his own blogsite. I knew what the jihadist was up to, so at Jerry's invitation, I interjected my own thoughts into the exchange. Once I was able to steer the conversation off the wrong track and back on the right one, Jerry realized that his attacker had little or no interest in what he had written. "North Dallas Thirty" was merely using his comments section as a vehicle for the advancement of a personal anti-Gay agenda!
This is a perpetual danger for bloggers who choose to leave their sites un-moderated. Believe me, propagandists will try to hijack your forum! They'll take advantage of your desire to promote dialogue by posting messages of an incendiary nature, messages they have no intention of seriously debating with you. Their only objective is to shout you down, in much the same manner ultra-Conservative pundits shout down voices of reason on mainstream TV news outlets. They want to hone their Tokyo Rose technique at your expense, perhaps with the goal of becoming the next Right Wing media star. (For those too young to remember, "Tokyo Rose" is a generic name that dates back to World War II. The United States War Department gave the name to a group of female radio personalities operating out of Japan. These women were infamous for broadcasting anti-American propaganda in the South Pacific.)
I don't allow such nonsense at Christ, The Gay Martyr! I nip propaganda in the bud before anybody gets the chance to see it. Commentary is, has been, and will always be moderated! This blog is my personal outlet for expression, and it's going to remain so. I'm not about to surrender my forum! I've said it before, and it's worth saying again: This is not a free speech zone!
Free speech is fine in theory, but far too many people nowadays abuse the privilege. They use it as a weapon to attack, to disrupt, and to insult. They use it to encourage the targeting and persecution of ethnic and social groups. Increasingly, they also use it to express themselves publicly with raw, filthy language! I want to keep Christ, The Gay Martyr a family-friendly blog, and that desire alone justifies my decision to moderate responses. I don't want people to click into my comments section and discover a foul-mouthed chat room there.
What Progressive Christian blogmasters like Jerry must always remember is this: You are the producer, director and moderator of your own talk show! You can control who is allowed to speak, what is said, and how much is said. You can invite guests, and you can un-invite them, too, even after you've let them on the air! You never have to surrender your forum, and you really shouldn't. If you do, you risk seeing your oasis of reason temporarily turned into an island of lost souls, and that’s exactly what propagandists want to do! Don't let Tokyo Rose compromise your ministry for even one second!
I wrote a letter to Jerry in the aftermath of the aforementioned incident, and with his permission, I'll share it with you here:
You've just had a close encounter of the reactionary kind! North Dallas Dingbat is a typical Right Wing neanderthal! I know the type. They get off on getting mad at folks who are different from them. Bigotry goes over big with their crowd. Unfortunately, as you know, there's a thriving industry that caters to their unhealthy lifestyle. They can and do listen to the fascism of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage on the radio, read Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin's newspaper columns like they were Holy Scripture, tune in faithfully to Fox News every night and believe every word they hear, and bask in the reckless rhetoric that emanates from a coterie of regressive politicians. They get lots of positive reinforcement for their bad attitudes, which just encourages them to stink up blogsites like yours and mine with their crap!
More than anything, they love to parrot their favorite Conservative pundits: They can't open their damn mouths without political talking points spilling out! When NDT demanded that we denounce a Lesbian predator, I recognized the tactic as textbook political race baiting; it's the equivalent of Ann Coulter requiring Barack Obama to denounce Louis Farrakhan just because both men are Black. As if one member of an ethnic or social group is responsible for what every other member of that group may say or do! It's perverted logic, something the pundit-ocracy is extremely fond of. Dogged repetition of discredited talking points, frequently veering away from the topic of discussion, peppering arguments with red herrings, and sneaking veiled insults into rejoinders are other examples of political PunditSpeak. NDT tapped into all of them!
Deluded people like him live within the boundaries of their own narrow worlds. God forbid somebody should remind them there's a wider reality on the other side of the dungeon door! Poor besieged crybabies! Beset on all sides by feminists, LGBT activists, environmentalists, pacifists, secularists, agitated racial minorities and all other manner of "Liberals". What else can a fascist pig do but bellow and squeal? You'd think terrorists were after them! For sure, the idea of same-gender marriage is enough to make these porkers wet their pants! Honestly, I think the idea of legalized Gay relationships scares them more than Osama bin Laden and a whole armada of 9/11 jihadists! What's really pathetic is how they cling to prejudice like a drowning man clings to driftwood. NDT's arguments were so desperate, so ludicrous, and so unbelievably ignorant, they were almost quaint!
Only they weren't quaint, Jerry, they were sad. If you read between the lines, you'll see that NDT was all but begging us to validate his delusions. He wouldn't back down until we did, and no amount of reasoning could dissuade him. It's like his very life depended on convincing us that Gay people only care about sex. He didn't dare acknowledge the existence of same-gender love and devotion; he had to strip Lesbians and Gay men of their humanity and liken them to dumb animals, incapable of tenderness and solely motivated by primitive carnal urges. That's what I found most offensive about his frenzied broadsides, and why I refuse to dialogue further with him. He can swap that swill with his fellow bigots, but he ain't gonna swap it with me!
Granted, there are Lesbians and Gay men who do think of themselves strictly in terms of carnality. We both know that. I criticized their mentality in my essay titled "The Pleasure Seekers, Part Three". Fortunately, the proliferation of enlightened attitudes means that the numbers of such people are growing fewer and fewer. They're a dying breed, just like NDT. I can hardly wait for the day when they're all put out of their misery; it really can't come a minute too soon!
Here's something else I've said before: The Rush Limbaughs of America have an embarrassment of media outlets to choose from! From what I've seen, broadcast and cable networks jump at the chance to put reactionary pundits on the air. (I strongly suspect it's because, at the corporate level, these networks share their exclusionary, exploitative politics!) As a result, the public is bombarded with Right Wing talking points, so much so that conventional reporting has been thoroughly corrupted by them. If you doubt what I say, then ask yourself why almost every bit of economic news we hear skews toward corporate interests and ignores the concerns of ordinary working people? Ask yourself, too, why Progressive religious views like those Jerry and I espouse are all but absent from mainstream media?
There are precious few venues from which Progressive voices can be heard. We need to monopolize those venues that are available to us, and that includes our blogs. Don't let greedy blog terrorists sublet your corner of cyberspace! Put the kibosh on their crap by enabling comment moderation! Restrict their trash talk to the outlets that already exist for it. When Tokyo Rose comes calling, send her away! Nancy Reagan said it best: Just say no!
"Don't Listen to Tokyo Rose!" concludes with Part Two.