Buried in debt, wallowing in multiple bankruptcies, with a trail of ill will across three states:
April 29, 2002 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Buried in debt, wallowing in multiple bankruptcies, with a trail of ill will across three states: this is the state of Anita Bryant twenty five years after her anti-gay campaign in Florida. Perhaps these right-wing Christian groups who have recently been attacking gay and S&M events should take a lesson from this.
posted by dnash (44 comments total)
 
u seem to suggest that the gay community got back at her methodically pinning her to the wall. Interesting.
posted by adnanbwp at 10:00 AM on April 29, 2002


Nothing of the sort. Given her beliefs, one would have to say that God's trying to tell her she was wrong.
posted by dnash at 10:02 AM on April 29, 2002


... or maybe she just can't manage money.
posted by internal at 10:08 AM on April 29, 2002


Given her beliefs, one would have to say that God's trying to tell her she was wrong.

Or at least trying to remind her that He does not do second duty as a financial planner.
posted by thomas j wise at 10:12 AM on April 29, 2002


Hmm. I seem to recall several stories where God allowed the faithful to suffer; I also recall that sometimes He rewarded them.

Does that mean I agree with Anita? No; I'm just pointing out that trying to interpret Anita's fate as a divine sign - of either kind - says more about the interpreter than it does Anita.

I think Thomas Wise was right; "God will provide" is not a terribly viable financial plan.
posted by hadashi at 10:17 AM on April 29, 2002


Maybe He's trying to tell her that it's not always easy to stick up for your beliefs. Ask His son.
posted by the_0ne at 10:19 AM on April 29, 2002


It's interesting. Crusaders and religious fanatics always blame the misfortunes of others on God's will but the same never applies to their own misgivings. Now I do somewhat view this topic as trolling because I fully expect the MeFi crowd to be more than a little sanctimonious about these things, but it's true. Just as September 11 called no faith into question because it couldn't possibly have been that Allah was with the attackers, Anita Bryant can't be punished by God for her deeds. It's Christian magic. Jesus makes you right, always.
posted by shagoth at 10:21 AM on April 29, 2002


Serious Schadenfreude.
posted by mcwetboy at 10:21 AM on April 29, 2002


shit happens. sometimes people's lives work out, and they praise god; sometimes their lives don't work out, and they may trust god knew what he was doing and they may, knowingly, not mention him at all. it seems like random chance to me and it seems like anita just hadn't rolled the right numbers. i suppose she could pull herself out; fatalism is bullshit, after all.
posted by moz at 10:22 AM on April 29, 2002


From the story: Cole gave up on the couple after six months of bounced paychecks and daily promises that God would bring forth new investors.

One of my relatives was conned out of a lot of money by a member of his church who went into business with him. The guy constantly used their shared religious affiliation as an excuse to delay payments, secure more funds, and so on. He even forged my relative's name to contracts for office machines worth thousands of dollars and then took off with them.

I think there's a lot of people who see churchgoers as easy marks for their shady business schemes.
posted by rcade at 10:34 AM on April 29, 2002


Re: Anita Bryant, I like to think this proves that small-minded hate mongering contains the seed of its own undoing.

Maybe He's trying to tell her that it's not always easy to stick up for your beliefs. Ask His son.

Right. Because Jesus stood for persecution and slander. Oddly, that's not what my Christian friends have told me.
posted by Fenriss at 10:41 AM on April 29, 2002


I think there's a lot of people who are right about that. Gullibility tends to be cross-platform.
posted by umberto at 10:42 AM on April 29, 2002


So your biggest defense of a position is that some opponent came upon hard times? That sure sounds rational and worthy of consideration.
posted by HTuttle at 10:43 AM on April 29, 2002


From the story: Former employees of the Music Mansion say some of the male dancers in Bryant's show were gay, but they tolerated working for Bryant to get a paycheck. At parties, the workers said, they mocked her. -Too too rich
posted by BentPenguin at 10:46 AM on April 29, 2002


I'm not a religious man, but this is a classic case of the universe's karma having a remarkable tendency to come around and claim payback for the villainous actions of a scoundrel. And it is important that we REMEMBER the harm that Bryant did to gay rights in the great American heartland. In encouraging an attitude as atavistic as homophobia, Bryant helped to feed some of the worst human impulses within her fans and followers. Because her actions cut such a vast swath across the cultural landscape, because she probably did more damage to the poor closeted guy trying to contend with his sexuality in Topeka, Kansas, and because Ms. Bryant still probably doesn't know the full extent of her gestures, it is absolutely essential that she is remembered for the lifelong legacy she willingly waltzed into.

God won't punish Ms. Bryant. But for the scions of gays harassed, for the innumerable people that Bryant crusaded against, THEY will remember. And they will not allow Ms. Braynt's actions to go unchecked, particularly in a more tolerant 21st century.

To put a spin on the lattest motto making the rounds, with great life decisions comes great responsibility. And the collection of ingots hanging around Bryant's neck, much like Jacob Marley's chains, will take their toll because Bryant stuck with a blunderbuss of animosity.
posted by ed at 10:48 AM on April 29, 2002


*recalls something about 'Judge not lest ye be judged"*
posted by Nauip at 10:50 AM on April 29, 2002


ed, don't forget, Anita Bryant began her crusade in the mid-1970s, at precisely what we now know was the cusp of the oncoming AIDS epidemic. Think how many lives might have been saved if her message had been heeded -- if only for a few years.
posted by Faze at 10:58 AM on April 29, 2002


Just to elaborate on the above, if we take as the ultimate good being the preservation of individual gay lives, it might be said that many hundreds of thousands of gay men would have been better off if they had listened to Anita Bryant than, say, Edmund White, back in those days.
posted by Faze at 11:02 AM on April 29, 2002


How's that again, Faze? So all us gay men were supposed to, what, stay in the closet forever? That's the most screwed up kind of "logic" I've ever read on Metafilter.
posted by dnash at 11:07 AM on April 29, 2002


Right, Faze. If gays get equal protection in housing and employment, and are allowed to adopt unwanted children, they... are more likely to get HIV? Or is that in reverse? Good one. Yay Anita. Yay troll.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 11:18 AM on April 29, 2002


Don't get me wrong, Anita Bryant was morally and ideologically wrong. But functionally, she was right. If, say Rudolph Nureyev had listened to Anita Bryant, gotten religion, and refrained from homosexual acts for -- oh -- only ten years or so, he might still be alive today. Then he could go back to his old lifestyle, only using condoms.
posted by Faze at 11:31 AM on April 29, 2002


Haven't you people read the story of Job?

Just gotta love that ol' Metafilter anti-Christian sentiment :)
posted by aaronshaf at 11:32 AM on April 29, 2002


Faze: I think I see your argument, but she wasn't right. If education about safe sex (homosexual *and* heterosexual) had been encouraged, instead of being fought against, the same thing you're proposing would have happened *without* people being vilified for their sexuality. Maybe if homosexuality hadn't been driven underground, maybe if people viewed homosexuals as "normal people" instead of the dregs of society, people who were sick would have come forward sooner, HIV/AIDS would have been investigated earlier and more lives would have been saved. You don't get HIV from being gay, you're not immune to HIV if you're straight, the branding of HIV/AIDS as "gay-related immune disorder" surely set back its early investigation simply because people thought it only manifested in homosexual men, who were *clearly* only getting what they deserved...etc.
posted by biscotti at 11:39 AM on April 29, 2002


What really amazes me about the WorldNetDaily article is how threatened Right-wing/religious types are by any kind of sexuality that doesn't fall into their own very narrow interpretation of "normal." So what if consenting adults want to wear PVC lingerie and whip each other silly? The leap of logic that leads from bondage to "eventually sex with 'consenting' children" is completely lost on me, clearly an attempt to demonize the S/M crowd even further.

Why do people care about what goes on between consenting adults? Really, I don't just mean that rhetorically, I'm curious if anyone has some insight.
posted by gutenberg at 11:53 AM on April 29, 2002


i had no idea people so despised florida oranges.
posted by quonsar at 12:18 PM on April 29, 2002


Think how many lives might have been saved if her message had been heeded -- if only for a few years.

absolutely, because heterosexual Haitains and Africans were all infected by American homosexuals.
posted by tolkhan at 12:19 PM on April 29, 2002


The story of Job never accounted for (a) the current clime of cultural amnesia that affects America, (b) Santayana's infamous historical observation and (c) the distinct possibility that an imaginary being named "God" was running amuck inside Job's head and that this helped him to cope with his preternatural losses.

And what biscotti and others said.
posted by ed at 12:43 PM on April 29, 2002


Just gotta love that ol' Metafilter anti-Christian sentiment

My sentiments are anti-Anita, not anti-Christian, thankyouverymuch.

There does seem to be a certain strain of Christian who sees their beliefs as being bashed wherever they look. The only theory I can find to explain this strange phenomenon is that these folks define "bashing" as "not enforcing as the One And Only valid perspective."

Missing the days when you could be strung up for refusing Christian doctrine? Sorry I can't share the nostalgia with you, pal.
posted by Fenriss at 12:52 PM on April 29, 2002


It is somewhat difficult to read this article and then argue that Bryant is behaving like Job. Job, who lost everything, went without, but retained his faith in God in the face of all temptations. Bryant hired people without being able to pay them and put some of them into serious financial (and legal) straits. This isn't "faith," this is a total disregard for other people masquerading as Christian belief. Indeed, I think it qualifies as--get ready!--immoral. To suggest that abusing the trust of others, in multiple states, counts as somehow holy strikes me as...stretching it just a trifle.

Incidentally, Cal Thomas' recent essay on Pat Robertson's second career as racehorse owner seems apropos here.
posted by thomas j wise at 12:54 PM on April 29, 2002


What, you can't spell "S&M" out? :)

Sadomasochism



Why didn't you just use the word?
posted by aaronshaf at 12:55 PM on April 29, 2002


This is pretty sad. Sometimes scoundrels go through their entire lives and nothing incredibly bad happens to them. Sometimes they get caught and do their time. Sometimes the person learns their lesson. Sometimes they don't. Existence in this plane of reality is not about reward and punishment. It's about learning something. And that "something" is different for each individual.

Sometimes perfectly sweet and honest souls have the worst fate ever, like a little five year old who gets cancer. Does a little kid dying always deserve his fate? Does a white collar embezzler who doesn't get caught deserve his fate? Let's face it. Take your pick:

1) Karma is fallible.
2) God doesn't keep score.
3) Sometimes the universe just doesn't make sense.

Blaming Bryant's present financial woes and wrong choices as an employer on her homophobia is about as logical as blaming OJ Simpson's aging disgracefully on his early football career. There's no correlation. It's bad that there's people out there wishing evil on Bryant because decades ago she supported what she believed to be the right thing. She was wrong, but that's no reason to wish ill will on her. It doesn't work like that.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:05 PM on April 29, 2002


aaronshaf, "S&M" as a letter/symbol combination has associated meaning that goes beyond the simple definition. It isn't just a matter of being easier to type. Is that para-language or something? Any linguists in the house?
posted by th3ph17 at 1:07 PM on April 29, 2002


What, you can't spell "S&M" out? :)

Sadomasochism


Ooh. Shocking.

Look, why don't you just admit that you're hoping to win support for your position by evoking an emotional reaction in people? "Won't somebody please think of the children!?!"

Like Gutenberg, I'd really like to know why people like Bryant get so bent out of shape about people's sexual practices. It would make sense to me if you could show me statistics proving that homosexuals tend to be, say, predatory toward children. There you'd have a grievance I could grasp. But the fact is that, by and large, it is not homosexuals who are guilty of those crimes. Gay people and fetish people are guilty of performing consenting acts in the privacy of their own homes. Are you really trying to tell me that the far-right, bible-thumping uproar against these guys is exclusively out of Christian love for their souls? You guys sure love yourselves a bunch of leather fags, then.
posted by Fenriss at 1:08 PM on April 29, 2002


This woman and every citizen of the USA has a right to "promote religious views and influence an uninformed populace". If you don't agree with them, tough. If they don't agree with you, tough for them. But tolerate it. "To be tolerant of something or someone doesn’t mean acquiescence, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t speak out in opposition." [See RazorMouth article]

Tolerate them, or hold a double standard.

Part of what Christ did is call things out for what they really are. Fenriss, out of love or not, the rebuke is true to God's law, an ethical law we Christians hold far above what can be extracted from humanism.

Fenriss, I see validity in the particular emotional reaction. I also see an intentional acronym used to hide the real nature of "sadomasochism", what "sadomasochism" is commonly known by anyway.
posted by aaronshaf at 1:27 PM on April 29, 2002


Whatever happens to Bryant is fine by me.

But remember that gay and "S&M" are not equivalents. I'm tired of my primary emotional and sexual orientation being lumped into a category with 'alternate' sexual practices. Homosexuality is not only a physical practice, but as I said, a primary emotional orientation. One can't stop 'doing it' like some here have suggested. What Bryant wanted and what many people who do not have any understanding of the complexities of human emotional, spiritual and sexual being want is not for gay people to 'stop screwing'. What they want is the withering and death of the primary locus of our vitality; they have no understanding (or concern) that to stop being 'gay' is to stop being.

I don't go to clubs and sex parties. I don't use drugs. I don't (thank God) wear leather underpants and prance around at Pride parades. I find most 'gay' social constructs to be as alienating and awful as 'straight' ones. But that's just me. Unlike Bryant, I do not believe my private morality or taste is sanctioned by some divinity, nor do I believe that, since I dislike many of these 'gay' institutions, they should not exist. It is important to remember not to commit the same mistakes as Ms. Bryant: Her actions do not serve as an indictment of Christianity and more than the urban 'party boy's' actions serve as an indictment of gay people.

I don't wish ill upon Ms. Bryant, but I also have no sympathy for her. Perhaps she is now collecting the 'wages of her sins''. I doubt it.
posted by evanizer at 1:30 PM on April 29, 2002


...and more than the urban...

That should read "any more..."
posted by evanizer at 1:32 PM on April 29, 2002


So your biggest defense of a position is that some opponent came upon hard times? That sure sounds rational and worthy of consideration.

if the position is that anti-homosexual rhetoric isn't something american people care to hear about, and support financially then yes, it's very rational. i'm sure dnash didn't think he would have to be arguing that homosexuality isn't evil. you are correct that his argument doesn't support that, but i doubt that was his intention. i don't think the point is that anita was punished by some divine power, just that people don't care to pay to hear hate-speech, and that current christian groups should take note.

if a company sells fish tacos and it goes bankrupt, then another company starts selling fish tacos, jimmy says, "oh no, remember that last company, maybe you should take a lesson" it's not likely jimmy means "...or god will smite you" he probably just wants to remind you that it didn't turn out so well last time someone tried the almost-exact same thing.

ed, don't forget, Anita Bryant began her crusade in the mid-1970s, at precisely what we now know was the cusp of the oncoming AIDS epidemic. Think how many lives might have been saved if her message had been heeded -- if only for a few years.

oh for fucks sake! if a celibacy message has been heeded?! do you honestly think that is acheivable? her message was that homosexuality was evil, the idea spread and helped foster the idea that HIV was a homosexual only disease and it therefore received less funding than it otherwise might have. rather than think of the people she could have "saved" think of the ones that she killed by promoting a climate where HIV research started years late.

this is the dumbest thing i've ever seen on mefi. just think of how peaceful the middle east would be if the crusades converted them all to christianity! or how happy and productive we would all be if we were all mormon! these things wouldn't actually happen, and are as outrageous as your statement. it shows a total lack of sympathy for homosexuals as free-people as well as an incomprehension of what is realistically achievable.
posted by rhyax at 1:33 PM on April 29, 2002


This woman and every citizen of the USA has a right to "promote religious views and influence an uninformed populace". If you don't agree with them, tough. If they don't agree with you, tough for them. But tolerate it. "To be tolerant of something or someone doesn’t mean acquiescence, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t speak out in opposition."

I don't follow. By this very definition, an attack on Ms. Bryant is well within the parameters of "toleration." Nobody has suggested that she be, say, sent to jail for being a homophobe. They have, however, suggested that her behavior is not as transparently moral as some would like to suggest.

And there is no reason to "tolerate" her financial behavior, which affects not only her own livelihood, but that of anyone employed by her. Nothing in my reading of Christian theology would suggest that this constitutes godly behavior.
posted by thomas j wise at 1:44 PM on April 29, 2002


aaronshaf: What is the "real nature" of sadomasochism? (and, BTW, "S&M" stands for "sadism and masochism", not "sadomasochism", even though the terms have become interchangable, there is a difference between a sadist, a masochist and a sadomasochist, look it up).
posted by biscotti at 1:48 PM on April 29, 2002


Now, aaronshaf, let's not confuse contempt with active intolerance. I'd gladly spend my money and my free time fighting against any legislation that would prevent Ms. Bryant from saying her piece (in fact, I do). Or, for that matter, fighting any legislation that would prevent her from living her life in any way she likes, short of interfering with others in a harmful way. She would not extend the same courtesy to me. And I think she's a big jerk.

And you are being disingenuous if you're attempting to present your position as unbiased support for free speech. Furthermore, trying to make your point by eliciting emotion responses to people's (often inaccurate) perceptions of certain practices invalidates your whole argument. Are we talking about civil liberties or are we talking about what some people find "disgusting" for their own personal reasons?

Evanizer, let me make myself clear on the SM/gay issue. I am do not attempt to lump them together. I regret not making that clear. Homosexuality is a natural and common part of the sexual spectrum, and the practices of BDSM are, by contrast, a highly specialized and unusual tendency. I'm not willing to call it "deviant" or "wrong," but it is certainly not comparable to homosexuality, and shouldn't be treated as if it were.
posted by Fenriss at 1:52 PM on April 29, 2002


It was Anita Bryant's gay-bashing that cost her that gig promoting Florida orange juice--and good riddance to that irritating bitchpitchwoman; I was OverJoyed to see those commercials vanish from the tube. It was a sound business decision for the OJ people to cut her loose, and she brought her reversal of fortune upon herself.

I never liked her to begin with, but until I read this thread I never really thought about how much harm she may have wrought.
posted by StOne at 2:06 PM on April 29, 2002


What, you can't spell "S&M" out? :)
Sadomasochism
Why didn't you just use the word?


Why can't you just spell TV out?
TELEVISION.
just say it. What are you so scared of?

using an abbriev. is not indicative of any opinion about the word. If you have a problem with SM, don't get into it. Yay. problem solved.
posted by mdn at 6:28 PM on April 29, 2002


Sometimes perfectly sweet and honest souls have the worst fate ever, like a little five year old who gets cancer. Does a little kid dying always deserve his fate? Does a white collar embezzler who doesn't get caught deserve his fate?

Can we get off the ridiculous fate/god/baby jesus stuff for a minute? I think its fairly obvious that her problems stem from being so severely marginalized now that her 15 minutes of hate speech is over. There's a reason no one wants to go to her show, its because its overly-moralistic. She's had her time in the limelight and she wasted it. Not to mention her career was made on her looks, not her acting or singing. She's a washed up Miss America type who has probably realized a long time ago that when all you've got is looks and hate, time is going to take the former away and a progressing society isn't going to buy the latter anymore.
posted by skallas at 10:45 PM on April 29, 2002


Lastly, why doesn't she get a real job like the rest of us. You know the kind of thing you hate but have to do to make ends meet? Goodbye song and dance routine and hello Walmart greeter.
posted by skallas at 11:00 PM on April 29, 2002


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