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Hateful remarks? Who'da thunkit?
July 7, 2003 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Michael Savage fired from MSNBC for hateful remarks I know, I know, newsfilter, newsfilter, but I thought you'd want to know (they don't, yet). Hopefully this will be the fourth and final installment ( 1, 2, 3) in this series.
posted by soyjoy (101 comments total)

 
"get AIDS and die"? I know these guys are supposed to be "extreme" and controversial and shit, but that comment betrays a tremendous lack of judgement about what you can or can not get away with saying, even if you very deeply mean it, and your core audience secretly agrees with you. I'm surprised. I never listened to the bastard, but you gotta figure, if he was professional enough to get a hatemongering job for a major network, he'd have some rough clue where the line was, and when he had crossed over it.
posted by jonson at 2:16 PM on July 7, 2003


Also, completely unrelated, but that "get AIDS" line reminds me of Mark Brazill's "Get Cancer" comment in his emailed flamewar with Judd Apatow, and Apatow's brilliant comeback.
posted by jonson at 2:18 PM on July 7, 2003


"eat a sausage and choke". heh. he's a pioneer, jonson, bravely charting the line for generations of neo-duhbyuh's to come.
posted by quonsar at 2:19 PM on July 7, 2003


Unsurprisingly, GLAAD is, well, glad. You can check the transcript of the segment here or watch it via the link on GLAAD's front page. That said, I would like to know what the [unintelligible] remarks were.
posted by Ufez Jones at 2:25 PM on July 7, 2003


Funny what is considered "beyond the pale" and bad enough to get you fired. I don't think that remark is any more really offensive than all teh other tripe he spews everyday. Thank god. I hope no one else hires him (although I'm sure Fox news is thinking about it!)
posted by aacheson at 2:25 PM on July 7, 2003


OK, then I'll be the first to say "Good riddance, you fucking fuck!" I'd wish AIDS on him, but what kind of jackass would do something so utterly disgusting?
posted by ghastlyfop at 2:28 PM on July 7, 2003


Oh yeah, it's a little late now, but I should've said "(via Romenesko.)" Sorry.
posted by soyjoy at 2:30 PM on July 7, 2003


So Michael Savage was fired for being Michael Savage, then...
posted by xmutex at 2:30 PM on July 7, 2003


So they hire the guy to be hateful and controversial, and then fire him for being...hateful and controversial?!? I don't get it. Not at all.

Are we a nation of hateful fascists or not? I am confused right now.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:31 PM on July 7, 2003


Neat how certain people self-destruct like that.
posted by weston at 2:32 PM on July 7, 2003


Neat how certain people self-destruct like that.

It seems a lot more arbitrary than that. Didn't they bring him in for this sort of shit? Did they expect him to act completely out of character with his entire previous body of work, and if so, what the hell made them want to hire him?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:34 PM on July 7, 2003


yes, Savage's a terrible man
yes, his comments were appalling
yes, MSNBC had it coming, it was just a question of time
yes, shock jocks are _so_1991
yes, GLAAD is glaad about Savage getting fired
yes, Savage's an aasshole
yes, it's a newspost
yes, Savage's a terrible man

rinse
repeat
posted by matteo at 2:34 PM on July 7, 2003


I guess MSNBC showed him the (back)door.
posted by quadog at 2:36 PM on July 7, 2003


So they hire the guy to be hateful and controversial, and then fire him for being...hateful and controversial?!? I don't get it. Not at all.

They hired him to be hateful and controversial and boost ratings. They fired him for not delivering eyeballs. The positive publicity they'll gain by firing the prick is gravy.
posted by jpoulos at 2:40 PM on July 7, 2003


How long did he have the MSNBC gig? Couple weeks?
posted by mathowie at 2:42 PM on July 7, 2003


jpoulos :
Well put. Basically, they hired a raging, irrational homophobe, which should have made them look at the least irresponsible. But now, they get to be heroes after firing him. Congrats, you're more cynical than me (and pretty clever, if I do say so myself).
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:45 PM on July 7, 2003


Matt: the TV show began I believe in the first week of March. The fact that he lasted this long is a testament to MSNBC's deperation to put literally anyone on the air to get ratings.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:48 PM on July 7, 2003


Wow. This is the silliest firing since Bill Maher was fired for being *surprise, surprise* politically incorrect.

Now if only we could stir up enough outrage over that O'Reilly shitbag. Then again, after calling Mexicans wetbacks and joking that an urban youth group were stealing hubcaps and getting away with it, he's gotta be completely idiot-proof.
posted by dogmatic at 2:51 PM on July 7, 2003


Indeed, if anybody holds out the illusion that he would have been fired if his show was a hit, they are sadly mistaken. MSNBC would be all, "That Michael Savage! What will he say next? Tune in next weekend to find out!"
posted by Hildago at 2:52 PM on July 7, 2003


I'm sure someone's said this already, but I wonder if he's just bitter from sharing a name with Dan Savage?
posted by atom128 at 2:53 PM on July 7, 2003


"I wonder if he's just bitter from sharing a name with Dan Savage?

Dan should be the bitter one.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:58 PM on July 7, 2003


Good. 'Effin. Riddance.
posted by dhoyt at 2:58 PM on July 7, 2003


Now if only we could stir up enough outrage over that O'Reilly shitbag. Then again, after calling Mexicans wetbacks and joking that an urban youth group were stealing hubcaps and getting away with it, he's gotta be completely idiot-proof.

That reminds me of my favorite O'Reilly moment ever. He was talking about hip-hop music, and how it is the scourge of humanity, not art, blah, blah, blah. He concluded by saying that this "rap fad" was due to fizzle out in a few months anyhow. Thank goodness that at least these racist idiots are out of touch.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:02 PM on July 7, 2003


Ignatius: well said. I'm not going to give any credit to MSNBC here. Any notion that they took the "bold move" of canning Weiner is ridiculous, as it would imply that when they gave him a TV show six months ago they somehow didn't know that he was a racist, sexist, violent, mentally-unstable sociopath. For five months or so MSNBC has expected the "shock value" of Savage Nation to rub off on the ratings for a network that has established itself as the cable equivalent of the kid in Junior High who would be willing to eat the scent cake out of the bathroom urinal to impress the Senior who just pissed all over it in the belief that it would make him popular. MSNBC doesn't get any praise for axing Weiner until they issue a full apology for having him on the air for nearly half a year.

As for his career, Weiner is still white and angry... which is great for him, since now he just needs to cut a rap album and he'll get right back on his feet and be allowed to make all the misogynist and homophobic comments he wants. [/snark]
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:03 PM on July 7, 2003


Are we a nation of hateful fascists or not? I am confused right now.

I think the word you're looking for that will solve your dilemma is "hypocritical." We want to hate without being called on it. Or admitting it.
posted by rushmc at 3:08 PM on July 7, 2003


Whew. MSNBC is Gay Friendly again! Now I can tune in, and buy all those sponsors' products. Sweet.

Fuckers. I wish there were more of an emphasis on personal accountability for corporate programming/hiring decisions. It's all well and good to protest while these cretins (Dr. Laura, Savage...) are on the air, but the fact that the outrage instantly evaporates once they're gone, leaving morally bankrupt network managers with shit-eating-what-me-worry grins, makes me sick. I want action campaigns that focus on doffing the heads of the decision-makers at corporate HQ, not just the on-air 'talent.'

[stonerose now watches grimly as religious right picks up this idea and runs with it... in the opposite direction.]
posted by stonerose at 3:09 PM on July 7, 2003


(Dr. Laura, Savage...)

I don't like Dr. Laura, but why is she in the same ballpark as Savage?
posted by weston at 3:16 PM on July 7, 2003


I want action campaigns that focus on doffing the heads of the decision-makers at corporate HQ, not just the on-air 'talent.'

why do you hate uhmurkuh so much? are you a commie?
posted by quonsar at 3:23 PM on July 7, 2003


I don't like Dr. Laura, but why is she in the same ballpark as Savage?

Schlessinger had repeatedly called gays and lesbians "biological errors" and deviant... Here is the archived StopDrLaura site (warning: Flash).
posted by stonerose at 3:23 PM on July 7, 2003


Personally, while I wholeheartedly despise Michael Savage's views and cringe whenever I had to sell a copy of his book, I think this is the wrong reason to fire him.

As someone who believes in free speech, I think it's important that we let people like this spew their vitrol in a public forum (albeit, only if it gets ratings) were they can be dissected and countered rather than harbor the same thoughts but only festering in their mind with no debate.

In a way, it's what has happened to the racism discussion in America. Few people make racist comments anymore, but the racism is just as entrenched, with no easy way to address it now.
posted by drezdn at 3:32 PM on July 7, 2003


I hope no one else hires him (although I'm sure Fox news is thinking about it!)

I predict the WSJ editorial page will pick him up.
posted by goethean at 3:33 PM on July 7, 2003


It's about time!!

Here's the exchange:..."So you're one of those sodomists. Are you a sodomite?" Savage asked.
The caller replied: "Yes, I am."
"Oh, you're one of the sodomites," Savage said. "You should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How's that? Why don't you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better than to put me down, you piece of garbage. You have got nothing to do today, go eat a sausage and choke on it."
He asked for another phone caller who "didn't have a nice night in the bathhouse who's angry at me today."
These bums "mean nothing to me," he said.


I'm one of the people who posted about this jerk (#1 in soy's post), and what some people might not know is that Savage has been suing some of his online critics...
The websites savagestupidity.com, michaelsavagesucks.com and takebackthemedia.com face a $500,000 lawsuit.

MSNBC should never have hired this hatemonger, and what was said above about the ratings is absolutely correct--they would have kept him on if his ratings were any good. Watch him play victim now--the poor thing
posted by amberglow at 3:39 PM on July 7, 2003


Triple whoopee. Remember Morton Downey, Jr.?

Throughout the media there are specialists: the inciters, like the local newspaper "sob sister", or certain syndicated columnists; the censors, like the AP refusing to even mention the names of democratic candidates such as Lyndon LaRouche or Al Sharpton in their articles; the neutralizers, such as USA Today, who strive to publish nothing that will offend anyone...

Undoubtedly, after a little market research, Mr Savage will return to his first love in a safe niche market, where he will stay.
posted by kablam at 3:41 PM on July 7, 2003


Watch him play victim now

I could do that all day.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:41 PM on July 7, 2003


Does this mean that Donahue gets his show back?
posted by ed at 3:53 PM on July 7, 2003


So they hire the guy to be hateful and controversial, and then fire him for being...hateful and controversial?!? I don't get it.

I think for those remarks to be "controversial", I'd have to know someone who knows someone who knows someone who might conceivably defend them. Without that, there's no controversy.
Which just leaves "hateful".
posted by uosuaq at 4:29 PM on July 7, 2003


Now if only we could stir up enough outrage over that O'Reilly shitbag.

This shirt may help. As they say on the webpage, "Wear one of these to your local mall and let the party begin!"
posted by Zonker at 4:29 PM on July 7, 2003


uosuaq:
While I am certainly envious at your corpus of acquaintances, there are probably people on MeFi who would defend the statements. Homophobia is hardly a thing of the past.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 4:35 PM on July 7, 2003


Comparing what Bill Maher said to Michael Savage's comments? I mean, that is hardly fair.

Bill Maher gave a stinging personal assessment of the US military complex.

Savage wished death on someone.
posted by benjh at 4:54 PM on July 7, 2003


I'm sure there are Freepers who would defend the idea that gays should "get AIDS and die", but I hope not too many MeFites. But hey, it's a free internet.
Still, if MSNBC is looking for that kind of "controversy", they should give a show to the Time Cube guy.
posted by uosuaq at 4:57 PM on July 7, 2003


Schlessinger had repeatedly called gays and lesbians "biological errors"

She called the formation of homosexual attraction a biological error -- which it probably is (not that it matters).
posted by Tlogmer at 5:16 PM on July 7, 2003


the cable equivalent of the kid in Junior High who would be willing to eat the scent cake out of the bathroom urinal to impress the Senior who just pissed all over it in the belief that it would make him popular

*scratches head*
posted by eddydamascene at 5:17 PM on July 7, 2003


I don't want to derail this, but: Tlogmer, it's important to recognize that categories like 'error' and 'illness' are, to a large extent, socially constructed. Moreover, Schlessinger was clearly using 'biological errors' in a loaded, normative sense, and not as part of a scientifically grounded discussion.
posted by stonerose at 5:24 PM on July 7, 2003


She called the formation of homosexual attraction a biological error -- which it probably is (not that it matters).

Um....it matters to me. Where's the error?
posted by amberglow at 5:26 PM on July 7, 2003


Actually, that's not true, stonerose. She was specifically using it in a scientific sense and in the same breath explictly said that it was not at all a reason to treat homosexual people poorly. She was saying that she doesn't care if you're straight or gay.
posted by wrffr at 5:39 PM on July 7, 2003


If the *biological* purpose of sex is reproduction (a pretty resonable premise, regardless of other values you may or may not imbue sex with), then anything working counter to that purpose (including strict homosexuality) could be fairly characterized as a bug in the system.

That's a very different judgement than one on the social/personal value of someone with a given sexual orientation. Of course, stonerose is probably correct that Dr. Laura used the above as part of a normative argument against homosexuality. But even then, there's even a world of difference between that and a demonization and expressed deathwish for a group of human beings. Savage is clearly in that last class of folks. I don't like Dr. Laura either, but nothing I've seen/heard so far leads me to believe that putting her in the same ballpark as Savage is correct.
posted by weston at 5:43 PM on July 7, 2003


She called the formation of homosexual attraction a biological error -- which it probably is (not that it matters).

except biology doesn't have motivations - we read the purpose of sex; biology just is, just does what it does and if it keeps existing, keeps doing it, and if it dies off, stops doing it. It's not a system; it's an event, it happens...

Anyway, if, eg, biology ended up producing a race of hypertechie lesbians who cloned themselves and morphed their eggs together - maybe three ways? that would be interesting - then even by your standards biology would achieve its goal.

I understand your point, of course, but I still think it's interesting how much we assume when we talk about the purpose of something...

as for savage v. laura, I don't know that nice hate is much better than mean hate, in the end.
posted by mdn at 5:53 PM on July 7, 2003


Go here for a few more damning quotes. And Schlessinger's lack of scientific qualifications to make such statements is well-documented.

Folks here seem to be confusing a 'function' of hetero sex with the 'purpose' of it. Hetero intercourse does have the function of perpetuating the species. Is homosexuality dysfunctional in that narrow sense? Maybe. (Although there are counter-arguments which take a more holistic view of homosexuality and its role in our development as a species.) But to say that the 'function' is the 'purpose' is to presuppose some sort of preordained schema in which any other 'function' of sex (expressing love, feeling good, etc.) is somehow less legitimate. Many such judgements are grounded, at base, in highly dubious 'knowledge' of what a Creator intends us to do.

On preview: mdn has the right idea.
posted by stonerose at 5:55 PM on July 7, 2003


Back on topic:

Wasn't it slanderous, or something, for him to be so egregiously offensive? Does he not realise that people die because of hate that strong?
posted by dash_slot- at 5:59 PM on July 7, 2003


as for savage v. laura, I don't know that nice hate is much better than mean hate, in the end.

This is the conflation that I'm trying to avoid, tho'. I'd argue that it's not accurate to characterize an individual making a moral judgment about homosexuality as "nice hate."

But to say that the 'function' is the 'purpose' is to presuppose some sort of preordained schema in which any other 'function' of sex (expressing love, feeling good, etc.) is somehow less legitimate.

When I say "biological purpose" I'm meaning what you mean when you say "function", I think. However, I also think that when you talk about "purpose", you're talking about what's inherently going to be a moral/value judgment. Dr. Laura's says that homosexuality not good. Someone else says that it is. Someone else says that it's value free. This kind of argument is very different from the kind of argument that says that those who aren't on your side of the fence should die.
posted by weston at 6:05 PM on July 7, 2003


dash_slot, this is in regard to Dr. Laura, but it addresses your point nicely, I think: the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruling that Schlessinger's comments "were abusively discriminatory with respect to gay and lesbian persons on the basis of their sexual orientation, in violation of the human rights provision of the [Canadian Association of Broadcasters] Code of Ethics." Their rationale is interesting to read through.
posted by stonerose at 6:10 PM on July 7, 2003


Here's the home page of the guy who started all the trouble, as well as MP3 and video of the call. He's a fan of the Don and Mike show, hence the remark that got him cut off. Funny that Savage would lose his TV gig over a prank caller.
posted by Gilbert at 6:15 PM on July 7, 2003



I don't like Dr. Laura, but why is she in the same ballpark as Savage?


Screaming at a woman for making love to her terminally ill husband -- because it might lead to a fatherless child -- was all I needed to tune her out and never listen again.

At least Savage's idiocy is relatively banal. Laura's creatively hideous.

--Dan
posted by effugas at 6:24 PM on July 7, 2003


goethean: I predict the WSJ editorial page will pick him up.

I hope this was a joke.

The WSJ Op/Ed pages are the best in the country. I'm sure the left will vehemently disagree with me, but, there are a litany of reasons that the Journal is above hiring Savage.

As far as I can tell, the WSJ is about the only economically conservative paper that routinely prints editorials in favor of, say, drug legalization or prison reform. Further, the paper doesn't serve as a Republican mouthpiece-- it calls the administration to task quite frequently for what it sees as broken promises or ineffective policies. Mary Anastasia O'Grady writes pieces on Latin America that are far, far more insightful than anything I've ever seen elsewhere in fishwrap. Peggy Noonan, whether or not you like her politics, is as eloquent a newspaper writer as anyone. Last, every Thursday, the WSJ gives nearly half a page to Al Hunt, who is as left/green as they come.

Perhaps I've become a bit too riled up over a flip comment, but you ought to read the Journal for a few weeks before you belittle it by suggesting that they would make room for Savage.
posted by trharlan at 7:08 PM on July 7, 2003


Today's OpinionJournal has a column deriding Ann Coulter's new book, so I doubt they're keen on Savage.
posted by homunculus at 7:16 PM on July 7, 2003


I'd argue that it's not accurate to characterize an individual making a moral judgment about homosexuality as "nice hate."

would you say the same about someone making "a moral judgment" about race?
posted by mdn at 7:42 PM on July 7, 2003


Y'know, I wonder if the caller was deliberately baiting Savage. I mean, what openly gay guy is going to call Savage, casually drop a big fat hint about his orientation, then calmly say "yes, I am" when asked if he's a sodomite?

If it was a setup I'd have to say Bravo. But then, if Savage figures it out he's going to claim he was "entrapped". As if that excuses him. (Shades of Marion Berry: "Bitch set me up!")
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:49 PM on July 7, 2003


This is the guy that prank called Savage. I'm not sure what his connection to Don and Mike may be other than that he may be a bababooey-esque flunky.
posted by machaus at 8:11 PM on July 7, 2003


"Don and Mike literally live their lives on the radio. Everything in their lives is talked about on the air, be it family vacations, favorite TV shows, embarrassing moments, traffic violations or daily routines gone awry. But no matter what they talk about, Don and Mike handle everything with humor."

Don and Mike: two grown men that can't get enough of each other.
posted by sharksandwich at 8:26 PM on July 7, 2003


>>As someone who believes in free speech, I think it's important that we let people like this spew their vitrol in a public forum (albeit, only if it gets ratings) were they can be dissected and countered rather than harbor the same thoughts but only festering in their mind with no debate.<<

If he were standing on a public sidewalk ranting, I'd agree with you. If he had put up a web page at his own expense, I'd agree with you. But by paying him, MSNBC was implicitly endorsing his views. They were well within their rights to stop paying him once his views became too repulsive (and/or his ratings too low) for them to tolerate.
posted by kewms at 8:27 PM on July 7, 2003


With a name like that....Savage is just advertising his repressed inclinations.

Come out, Savage, come out!

[ you'll be much happier, and certainly far less vicious ]
posted by troutfishing at 8:40 PM on July 7, 2003


would you say the same about someone making "a moral judgment" about race?

no, but gays look like me, so they must be the same; there can be no differences i can't see.

joking, of course.
posted by rhyax at 9:10 PM on July 7, 2003


Screaming at a woman for making love to her terminally ill husband -- because it might lead to a fatherless child -- was all I needed to tune her out and never listen again.

Damn her for thinking a child might need a father. Screw the child, sex feels good!
posted by Dennis Murphy at 9:17 PM on July 7, 2003


Anybody have a mirror to the MP3 of the call? East Coast Bob's site is overloaded.
posted by RylandDotNet at 9:19 PM on July 7, 2003


Since when does sex automatically lead to a child, Dennis?
posted by amberglow at 9:20 PM on July 7, 2003


(Troutfishing, His real name is Michael Weiner. Heh.)

Anyway, well said, mdn; I agree. Basically, I was trying (too glibly) to put across Weston's view -- that Dr. Laura's bigotry is qualitatively different from Dan Savage's.

would you say the same [that it's not hate] about someone making "a moral judgment" about race?

Yes, actually. It's prejudice, and it's terrible, but it's not [necessarily] hate. Slapping "hate" on everything bad devalues the word.
posted by Tlogmer at 9:23 PM on July 7, 2003


Well, thanks to MichaelSavageSucks, I now know about Rockstar and the Allen Ginsberg letters.


March 8, 1970

Dear Allen:

After speaking to you on the phone about how nice the black-white thing is in mountain villages in Fiji, I walked downstairs to the school courtyard, where a little–known black brother looks at me, takes my hand gently, we do some old–world Lower East Side finger tricks, and he peacefully kisses the back of my hand – I do the same for his hand. I told him about our brief talk, and he says, "I must have felt the vibes."

Michael Weiner
Botany Dept.
University of Hawaii
Honolulu, HI


He sure has changed. hasn't he?
posted by y2karl at 9:32 PM on July 7, 2003


Dennis Murphy writes: Screw the child, sex feels good!

Wow, quoting out of context is really cool! I can see why these O'Reilly's and Coulters and Limbaughs do it so much.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:59 PM on July 7, 2003


On reflection, that was probably way out of line: my apologies.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:00 PM on July 7, 2003


No it wasn't.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:07 PM on July 7, 2003


Poor MSNBC. It just can't get Right right.
posted by boswell at 11:05 PM on July 7, 2003


Damn her for thinking a child might need a father. Screw the child, sex feels good!

Her husband's about to die, dipshit. Is she supposed to make him sleep on the couch? The woman meekly brought up contraception, and was loudly berated by Dr. Laura for even considering the concept.

I'll tell you what. If you can say to me, assuming you were about to die, that you yourself would avoid physical comfort from the woman you married...the woman you loved...well, the world's a better place for not having your child be part of it.

--Dan

P.S. Forgive the bluntness. It is rare...but deserved.
posted by effugas at 1:03 AM on July 8, 2003


would you say the same about someone making "a moral judgment" about race?

Fair warning, some of you won't like what I'm about to say. But please try to understand that my argument here is fairly nuanced, and very specific. It takes no position whatever on the morality of homosexuality. I'm simply pointing out flawed logic.

mdn, your analogy is flawed. Race is a trait, whereas the alleged immorality of homosexuality is hinged on behavior, and therefore choice. Now I know you're going to say that homosexuality is an orientation, and not something that you choose.

But there is, to my knowledge, no credible scientific evidence establishing that homosexuality is genetic. And even if there were, it's clear that genetics would simply provide a tendency or desire (or, if you prefer, orientation) in that direction. That does not make it an immutable characteristic. And if the expression of desire (even genetic desire) lies within the conscious choice of the individual, then it is potentially a moral choice. (By which I mean, a choice with moral implications).

For example: Is it torture for the genetic alcoholic to be forced to abstain from drinking? Probably. Is sexuality materially different from, and far more centrally "human" than, a desire to get sloshed? Certainly. But the point is that, for those who argue that homosexuality is immoral, homosexuality is basically about behavior, not desire. As such, it is at least theoretically open to rational and moral criticism. It is, in this way, very unlike race, which is not within the individual's control and is therefore not a moral choice.
posted by gd779 at 1:54 AM on July 8, 2003


- gd779 your post contained many assertions that both human geneticists and psychologists would not touch with the proverbial bargepole.
posted by johnnyboy at 2:32 AM on July 8, 2003


gd779--

By your logic, there's no credible scientific evidence establishing that heterosexuality is genetic...but it seems that the vast majority of humans suddenly experience this shift, between the ages of 9 and 12, where those people with cooties are suddenly much more interesting.

It would seem that the heterosexual urge is indeed a genetic trait -- one that most, but not all, share.

Unless you yourself remember choosing to like girls, don't assume this cantankerous portion of society made a choice not to go along for the ride.

--Dan
posted by effugas at 4:31 AM on July 8, 2003


Race is a trait

Wrong, race is a social construct intended for oppression. We are all homo sapiens, period.

This invalidates your entire argument. Nothing more need be said.
posted by nofundy at 5:04 AM on July 8, 2003


nofundy--

No, race is a trait, as is height, weight, hair color, or the size of one's tongue. We're all homo sapiens, but we're not clones with one mind and thank God for that. This is plainly obvious.

Any theory of justice that says we all need to treat eachother fairly because we're all absolutely identical and anyone that says otherwise is deluded by social constructs is doomed to failure, because it's built on a visibly false precept. Justice can not depend on deception to make its case!

Besides, race _is_ irrelevant. To outsiders, how foolish are the wars between Irish Protestants and Catholics, Sunni vs. Shiite (a few dozen people just died over a 7th century disagreement!), Northerner vs. Southerner...or, as has been shown among school children, those for whom the coin flipped heads, and those for whom the coin flipped tails?

Race is just more convenient; no coin is required...

--Dan
posted by effugas at 5:18 AM on July 8, 2003


Comparing what Bill Maher said to Michael Savage's comments? I mean, that is hardly fair.

And yet, the disturbing thing is that the networks perceived and responded to the two in the same manner. Think about the ramifications of that for a moment.
posted by rushmc at 5:37 AM on July 8, 2003


Yes, actually. It's prejudice, and it's terrible, but it's not [necessarily] hate. Slapping "hate" on everything bad devalues the word.

well, I called "nice hate" which I still think is pretty appropriate. The word "prejudice" means that you judge someone based on a trait rather than on their individual merits (pre-judge - before you know them) - eg, that you think a person will be stupid because they are black, not because of your assessment of their actual intelligence.

This is not that. This is specifically calling out the blackness itself (or in this case, homosexuality) as the problem, the bad part. You could conceivably not be prone to prejudice and still dislike, eg, blackness in and of itself - the dirty race of cain, etc. You would just be capable of judging other traits of the person based on their own merits.

So I don't think it's appropriate to call this prejudice. Prejudice implies that if you "gave them a chance" you would see that they're "just like you and me". But the point is, they actually do differ in a particular way and if you have a problem with that difference in itself, then your animosity is not the result of ignorance, but is chosen by you.

I realize the use of "hate" is dangerous but it seems to me that the attempt to cut people off from society because of a chemical composition which does no harm to anyone is based on some kind of anger or disgust toward the trait.

gd779, I'm sure you know we've all heard those before, despite your "this is nuanced" intro. How about racial purity? That's certainly a choice, not a trait - that is, people could choose not to intermarry. If someone declared that it was morally right to keep the "races" (whichever set we're dealing with, as effugas so adeptly pointed out) pure, you would have much less an argument for ingrained desires etc. Could we all agree that would be "nice hate"?
posted by mdn at 6:34 AM on July 8, 2003


I ♥ mdn.
posted by jpoulos at 7:06 AM on July 8, 2003


I guess in certain ways I agree with gd779. It is a choice, it's a choice to live your life in a way that makes you either happy and fulfilled or to try to live in a way that society thinks you should.

I got married to a man at the age of 18 and had a son 2yrs later. I stayed in that unhappy union for 5yrs and had a string of unhappy relationships with men after it. I was fat, alcoholic, drug addicted and depressed. Now it is 13 yrs later and I have been with my partner for 7yrs. I'm thin,10yrs clean and sober and life is happy (even happier now that Savage is gone). If I had to, I could chose to be with a man again but it would not be good for me or my son. So I guess in some ways it is a choice and I choose to be happy.
posted by bas67 at 7:26 AM on July 8, 2003


mdn, that's an excellent point about interracial marriage, which torpedoes gd779's otherwise valid distinction between traits and behaviors.

But I agree that "hate" shouldn't be thrown around as a synonym for parochial, right-wing thinking. Dr. Laura was offensive, but seemed to believe her mission really was to help people (and to keep her ratings up, of course), even if her notions of how to help were severely off-base. Savage neither expresses nor exhibits any such illusions: His mission is almost entirely about getting attention, fortifying his "brand," and stirring up very explicit hatred and fear. So there is a significant difference there. Note that I'm not saying Dr. Laura shouldn't have been dumped too - I just want to second that caution about lumping things together in too facile a manner.

Also: There's a nice snarky item about Savage's firing, and the temporary disappearance of his boss, in today's Washington Post.
posted by soyjoy at 7:33 AM on July 8, 2003


How about racial purity? That's certainly a choice, not a trait - that is, people could choose not to intermarry. If someone declared that it was morally right to keep the "races" (whichever set we're dealing with, as effugas so adeptly pointed out) pure, you would have much less an argument for ingrained desires etc. Could we all agree that would be "nice hate"?

Again, this is specious, mdn.

It is clearly true that the choice of who to marry is potentially a moral choice. This includes interracial marriage, and other categories of marriage based on genetics. In order to protect your future children from a high probability of genetic defects, for example, you cannot marry a member of your family. And so, if there were any similarly rational reason to prevent interracial marriage, we could validly claim that interracial marriage was immoral. Of course there is not. But the point is, like homosexual behavior and unlike race, interracial marriage is still a choice and is therefore open to moral criticism.

So would arguing against interracial marriage be "nice hate"? Only if an argument against interracial marriage (a choice) was a subterfuge for hatred against race (the characteristic). Otherwise, no, not in the sense that racism is hate.

For example, say that I believe that driving large, heavily polluting SUV's is stupid and immoral. I can make this moral judgment without hating everyone who drives an SUV, and even if I do hate them all, it's not hatred like racism is hatred. Hitler is hated by millions for his choices - the validity of hatred based on choice is determined only by the validity of the moral judgment applied to the choice.

So you can accuse those who make moral judgments about homosexuality of being wrong. You can certainly accuse them of being excessively religious and irrational. And, of course, a few actually do hate homosexuals the way that racists hate other races. But those are probably far fewer in number than you might believe.

But you cannot accuse them of hating the way that racists hate, simply because they make arguments about the immorality of homosexuality.
posted by gd779 at 9:11 AM on July 8, 2003


If the *biological* purpose of sex is reproduction (a pretty resonable premise, regardless of other values you may or may not imbue sex with), then anything working counter to that purpose (including strict homosexuality) could be fairly characterized as a bug in the system.

That's a glass is half-full analysis if I ever saw one. I could very easily argue (and I'm not a biologist) that nature is so advanced that it *plans* for over population by introducing beings that are less likely to reproduce.
posted by terrapin at 9:11 AM on July 8, 2003


Argh.

Look, race is not, not, not a trait. Ask any biologist what trait race is and they'll back away slowly. Race is a rather arbitrary distinction that we stick on groups of traits. They can include, but are not limited to: skin color, eye color, hair color, height, nose shape, and others. Race also sometimes includes contstructed characteristics in its definition such as language or religion. This in no way makes it a scientific term. Yes there are differences between groups of homo sapiens, duh. But race is just lazy shorthand to dislike people.

As for sexual preference being some kind of choice, rubbish. It's a choice to express your preference, but not to have it. It's usually heterosexuals who define it as a choice, so why don't they go gay for a month just to prove what an inferior 'choice' it is.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:56 AM on July 8, 2003


lumpenprole: Yes, race is basically a constructed distinction that we stick on groups of immutable traits. For purposes of moral analysis, that's a distinction without a difference.

Besides, in the same sense, gender is also a constructed distinction that we stick on groups of immutable traits. (Think hermaphrodites, the effect of gender-related hormones, the gender differences in neurology, etc.) And, just like gender, "race" has certain medical consequences. The existence of twilight does not render useless the practical distinction between night and day.

On the whole, however, I'd like to agree with you. The world would be a far better place if we only saw individuals, not races. Maybe I should stop using the word, for that reason, although I kind of doubt that such an effort will really get those who care about race (either positively or negatively) to change their minds.
posted by gd779 at 10:16 AM on July 8, 2003


If the *biological* purpose of sex is reproduction (a pretty resonable premise, regardless of other values you may or may not imbue sex with), then anything working counter to that purpose (including strict homosexuality) could be fairly characterized as a bug in the system.

I would agree with everything in the sentence except for the second parenthetical comment. There are many instances in nature where something, on its face, seems to work counter to reproduction, but when you look deeper actually promotes the continuation of one's own genes. The classic example: for every one queen bee, thousands of sterile worker bees are born.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:56 AM on July 8, 2003


lumpenprole: Yes, race is basically a constructed distinction that we stick on groups of immutable traits. For purposes of moral analysis, that's a distinction without a difference.

Though I agree with your sentiment, I have to stick to the difference between constructed classifications and discovered ones. For the purposes of moral analysis, I would say that makes all the difference. Making a distinction between something that exists and something we create means that there is purpose behind it's creation. We can assign moral value to something that we (humans) create.

Furthermore, the comparison to gender is a non-starter. Gender is a single trait with very definite genetic markers. The expression of gender (i.e. secondary sexual characteristics) varies across orders, species, and individuals, but gender is pretty recognizable. There is no genetic marker for race, and I'd like to see a definition of it in other primates. I mean, class has definite medical consequences, but that doesn't make it an inherited trait in species.

On another note, there has been more than one discussion here involving the 'purpose' of sex. This is yet another transference of religous thinking onto biology. Sexual procreation is an effect of sexual dimorphism, not the other way around. No one created sex to further the species, it's the result of thousands upon millions of factors, some random, some not, in the development of the species.

In fact the whole 'homosexuality is against procreation' argument always strikes me odd, since there have always been lots of homosexuals around, and there's no shortage of human beings covering the earth. Is the loss of some percentage of human reproductive facility that urgent?
posted by lumpenprole at 11:30 AM on July 8, 2003


Furthermore, the comparison to gender is a non-starter. Gender is a single trait with very definite genetic markers... There is no genetic marker for race, and I'd like to see a definition of it in other primates.

Good point, I probably didn't think that through well enough.
posted by gd779 at 11:59 AM on July 8, 2003


So would arguing against interracial marriage be "nice hate"? Only if an argument against interracial marriage (a choice) was a subterfuge for hatred against race (the characteristic). Otherwise, no, not in the sense that racism is hate.

could you make a reasonable argument against interracial marriage that does not stem from hatred against race?

For example, say that I believe that driving large, heavily polluting SUV's is stupid and immoral. I can make this moral judgment without hating everyone who drives an SUV, and even if I do hate them all, it's not hatred like racism is hatred.

that's because they are polluting the air you breath. They are causing damage to the earth so that they can drive in a little more comfort than the next guy. You can explain what it is that makes it wrong. Can you explain what makes homosexuality wrong? Can you describe the harm gay sex is causing to the earth? How is the air you breath polluted by lesbians?

If there is no reason to be angry toward something, but you feel the anger anyway, we tend to call that anger hatred. Hate is a feeling of disgust or dislike that doesn't need a rational basis. You can hate things you also rationally conclude are wrong, but the two are not intrinsically related.

and thanks jpoulos.

Dr. Laura was offensive, but seemed to believe her mission really was to help people...Savage neither expresses nor exhibits any such illusions: His mission is almost entirely about getting attention, fortifying his "brand," and stirring up very explicit hatred and fear.

I recognize the difference; I think my point was just that laura's version may not be any better. People may take her more seriously, for one. And many people may conclude that it's okay to condescendingly inform people not to express their inner orientations as long as you're nice about it, and don't tell them to go get aids and die, but just to stop that disgusting butt fucking and marry someone you don't love. I'm just not sure that's much of an improvement, you know?
posted by mdn at 12:37 PM on July 8, 2003


:P
I'm having a hard time sorting all this out. Does anyone have any idea what prompted the orignal response on air? How did Mikey know that this guy was a [shudder] sodomite?

simply? Thanks..
posted by hoborg at 1:10 PM on July 8, 2003


Can you explain what makes homosexuality wrong? Can you describe the harm gay sex is causing to the earth?

The thing to keep in mind is, those could be two entirely different questions. Remember, my point here is simply to show that someone can argue (even wrongly) against homosexuality without hating homosexuals as a racist hates other races.

Homosexual behavior, the argument might go, is wrong because it is unnatural, which is to say that God didn't intend it. This argument can be true even if homosexual behavior causes no harm at all. Instead, the argument rests solely on the authority (and existence) of God, which must be shown by the arguer. This argument can be made entirely without hate. Indeed, the arguer could a closeted or nonpracticing homosexual, with significant sympathy towards homosexuality. I assume that Exodus International is an example of this, though I don't know much about the group.

Alternatively, the arguer might forego religious argument altogether, and argue simply that widespread acceptance of homosexual behavior erodes the notion of the traditional family. The traditional family, it would be argued, is necessary for the stability and prosperity of society, and and therefore heterosexuality is socially preferable to homosexuality. (This view more or less presumes a very large element of nurture rather than nature in homosexuality). This is a very difficult case to make in America if you're talking about, say, Sodomy laws. It's easier to make, in principle, if you're talking simply about ideal social mores, but becomes difficult again when you leave the abstract and look at an individual person.

Are these arguments persuasive? I leave that to you. But are they plausible? By which I mean, could someone sincerely make this argument without hatred in their heart? Sure.

many people may conclude that it's okay to condescendingly inform people not to express their inner orientations as long as you're nice about it

Many people have genetic orientations towards gambling, or drinking, or (possibly) sex addiction, or maybe homicidal mental illness. (Before you get mad, remember that before comparing homosexuals to Jeffrey Dahmer I compared SUV drivers to Hitler. I'm just making my point through stark contrast). The thing that makes these genetically-influenced vices different (or not) from a genetic tendency to homosexuality lies solely in your views on the morality of homosexual behavior. So let's not pretend there is some secular view here that is agnostic towards the morality of homosexuality. Each individual must decide for him or herself - either homosexual behavior is moral or it is not - and proceed accordingly.
posted by gd779 at 1:46 PM on July 8, 2003


Each individual must decide for him or herself - either homosexual behavior is moral or it is not - and proceed accordingly.

exactly as each individual must decide for him or herself whether interracial marriage is moral or not, and proceed accordingly.
posted by mdn at 2:06 PM on July 8, 2003


Homosexual behavior, the argument might go, is wrong because it is unnatural, which is to say that God didn't intend it.

Right. But the argument wouldn't go, "SUV driving is wrong because it is unnatural, which is to say that God didn't intend it" (even though it would probably make a more logical case that way). Instead, the anti-SUV argument involves real facts about real harms.

That's what mdn was getting at. Your analogy was bogus. So the fact that you can "make this moral judgment without hating everyone who drives an SUV" is irrelevant to whether one can make such a "moral judgment" about homosexuality without it being considered "hate."

That said, I still think "hate" should be reserved for more forceful expressions than someone's personal judgment, prejudicial, bigoted or whatever else it might be. As someone said many comments ago, we water down this powerful term if we apply it too broadly.
posted by soyjoy at 2:30 PM on July 8, 2003


I don't understand this assumption that either homosexuality or heterosexuality has a moral component. That doesn't seem to be very logical. Isn't the morality the construct here and not the sexuality?

It strikes me as specious to grant such an assumption.
posted by filchyboy at 11:16 PM on July 8, 2003


interesting SF Chron article: He apologizes, says he thought he was off the air, and he believes liberal groups are stifling his first amendment rights.
posted by amberglow at 8:41 AM on July 9, 2003


"They didn't have to make a comment which in any way injured me," Savage said. "They put the leper bells around me. I'm dead in the water on television. "

Delicious, not just for the schadenfreude, but for the irony. Since when can comments 'injure' people, Michael?
posted by soyjoy at 8:56 AM on July 9, 2003


I would like to know what the [unintelligible] remarks were.

"'Don and Mike' should take over your show so you can go to a dentist appointment, because your teeth are really bad."

From the SFChron article amberglow linked. The caller was a well-known radio prankster that's recentlly gone national. I'm glad overall to see Savage go, but the background changes the picture a little.
posted by pzarquon at 11:48 AM on July 9, 2003


I don't understand this assumption that either homosexuality or heterosexuality has a moral component. That doesn't seem to be very logical. Isn't the morality the construct here and not the sexuality?

An interesting statement, filchyboy, which I'd like to hear you explain a bit more so that I know what mean.

What is morality? As near as I can tell, morality must be one of two things: either it is the law handed down by an accepted moral governor (God), or it is the set of rules that we try to persuade one another of, for our mutual protection.

So my basic answer would be no, there is no assumption that sexual behavior has a moral component. Instead, as I've tried to argue, morality flows from choice. If a given choice has unfair negative consequences for other individuals or, alternatively, if it violates the moral laws of God (I assume for the moment the existence and authority of God, for simplicity and because others will), then the choice is clearly immoral. As I've argued, homosexuality plausibly (again, see my definition of plausibility) meets one or both of those criteria. So it is arguably immoral, but almost inarguably a choice with a moral component.

I believe this answers soyjoy's point as well.

And yes, mdn, I agree with you. Assessments of morality can be made wrongly (Not everyone is honest and moral? That's a real shocker, I tell ya) and I've already mentioned that many people use reason as a cloak for hate. But that doesn't undermine my argument at all - many people are, in fact, opposed to the widespread acceptance of homosexual behavior without any hate in their heart at all.
posted by gd779 at 12:26 PM on July 9, 2003


As near as I can tell, morality must be one of two things: either it is the law handed down by an accepted moral governor (God), or it is the set of rules that we try to persuade one another of, for our mutual protection.

gd779, I agree with this rudimentary definition, but you'll note it contains an either/or. Defining how something is or is not moral needs to address the two possibilities separately, since those of us who don't believe in the "moral governor" need an answer that has nothing to do with said governor.

Thus if we take out the God stuff, we're left with homosexuality as immoral because it "has unfair negative consequences for other individuals." This equation I reject. Many activities that are not considered immoral may have such consequences. You'll need to explain how homosexuality inevitably has such consequences. Killing is immoral because it inevitably robs someone of life, not because it might upset someone's relative or stain the carpet. So let's hear about these "unfair negative consequences for other individuals" that are part and parcel of homosexuality.
posted by soyjoy at 12:47 PM on July 9, 2003


So let's hear about these "unfair negative consequences for other individuals" that are part and parcel of homosexuality.

Well, you'll have to talk to somebody else about that. Aside from what I've already said, I'm not really sure what answer you'd get. And besides, not many people can discuss that aspect of the subject unemotionally. (Ha! As if I hadn't already wandered onto a field of emotional landmines).

My point has simply been to show that reasonable, kind, even thoughtful or sympathetic people can be opposed to the widespread acceptance of homosexual behavior without being hateful. It's so easy for us to demonize other groups, especially when we've been hurt in the past.

Also, I wanted to clarify my thinking a bit. Articulating it helps me to do that.
posted by gd779 at 7:53 PM on July 9, 2003


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