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This is my Viagra Amendment, ladies
April 13, 2005 11:55 AM   Subscribe

"Now members. Let me firm up my position..." --from part of a speech in the Texas Legislature, by the unfortunately named Gene Seaman. Practice What You Preach will be airing this ad (with commentary) in Texas, trying to stop the proposed Anti-Gay-Marriage Amendment. (embedded WMP)
Practice What You Preach believes that the institution of marriage is under assault in Texas from the twin epidemics of divorce and domestic violence. We are not a gay-rights group. We are mainstream, straight Texans who want the legislative leadership to stop making cheap political points by ignoring real problems.
posted by amberglow (39 comments total)

 
"This is my Viagra Argument, ladies" ought to be in an action movie.

(Maybe I'll have a substantive comment after I RTFA.)
posted by kenko at 12:01 PM on April 13, 2005


If you stay on Metafilter long enough you'll finally find a post that doesn't make you want to kill yourself. I wish them the best (I'm Canadian - the last thing these folks need is for someone to find out Canadians have been donating). Thanks, amberglow.
posted by theinsectsarewaiting at 12:04 PM on April 13, 2005


...want the legislative leadership to stop making cheap political points by ignoring real problems.

Imagine if you woke up one morning and found that this had actually happened.
posted by futureproof at 12:06 PM on April 13, 2005


Texas also has this group--Take Back Texas, working towards getting normal people elected instead the crazed, harmful, and corrupt DeLayish ones currently in control.
posted by amberglow at 12:13 PM on April 13, 2005


I actually planned to forward that link to some conservative family members until I heard the lame audio.
posted by dhoyt at 12:19 PM on April 13, 2005


Practice What You Preach believes that the institution of marriage is under assault in Texas from the twin epidemics of divorce and domestic violence

But, wait, wouldn't this action affect Baptists?
In Texas?
Heh.
Abandon hypocrisy?
By these haters?
In Texas?
Heh.
posted by nofundy at 12:21 PM on April 13, 2005


Great site, great idea, but the ad would be much more effective without the Beavis and Butthead commentary. Start with the "Mature Content" rating, but then let Rep. Seaman own his own idiocy, without getting into the act.
posted by PlusDistance at 12:22 PM on April 13, 2005


^More to the point.

I hate to see PAC groups shoot themselves in the foot.



Constantly.
posted by dhoyt at 12:25 PM on April 13, 2005


to some conservative family members

as in, you're the liberal one?
comedy gold
posted by matteo at 12:29 PM on April 13, 2005


matteo, leave him alone for once, will ya?
posted by jonmc at 12:32 PM on April 13, 2005


^More to the point.

I hate to see PAC groups shoot themselves in the foot.

Constantly.


Political discourse in America leaves something to be desired (by myself, and clearly by others). However, it remains to be seen whether elevated political discourse would be welcomed by the American public; I like to hope that it would, but I'm really not sure about that. Setting aside political allegiances for a second, the reaction to John Kerry by many as a know-it-all intellectual and George Bush as the good guy you'd like to have a few beers with suggests that perhaps they don't know. In hindsight, knowing that Kerry would have lost anyway, it would be nice if the at-times-inept Kerry campaign had just gone full throttle with the "he's smarter than you and he's been training his whole life for this" route instead of the "golly, gee, I look awkward in flannel and I like huntin' stuff" approach. At least then we might have a better answer about what Americans are interested in.

Not that it's much better up here, mind you, but it's certainly a bit better.
posted by The God Complex at 12:40 PM on April 13, 2005


what TGC said. The Beavis and Butthead commentary perfectly fits the ridiculousness of that Legislator, and is clear and easy to grasp.
posted by amberglow at 12:42 PM on April 13, 2005


While I applued this group's efforts, how does Seaman acting like a dick have anything to do with any kind of marriage?
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:15 PM on April 13, 2005


At least then we might have a better answer about what Americans are interested in.

Americans are interested in whatever they're interested in. Everybody's different. That's why the political process is oriented to find (or create) fiercely divisive issues that can be exploited to harness mankind's natural tendency to take sides once those sides have been defined.

For what it's worth, actual representation of Americans would take a whole lot more than two parties and two positions on everything. The easiest route, then, is to find two positive things and present them as being in direct conflict even if they're not. That way, everyone can get on board, and nobody has to take the "I'm for the really bad thing" side, nobody has to be the villian (except to the other side).

That's why so many partisan issues seem to be based on non-opposite premises (pro-life versus pro-choice instead of pro-life versus pro-death or pro-choice versus pro-dowhatwesay, for instance).

So at the end of the day, I think Americans just want to feel like they're on the winning side of whatever battle is being fought at the moment.
posted by davejay at 1:27 PM on April 13, 2005


Oh, and this American just wants some lunch.
posted by davejay at 1:28 PM on April 13, 2005


...How does Seaman acting like a dick have anything to do with any kind of marriage?

Austin Chronicle-- Dirty old men: Charles Bukowski, Benny Hill : Rep. Gene Seaman? When not voting for vengeful legislation like SB 7, the 78th session's ban on gay marriage, the Corpus Christi Republican performs penile impersonations more odorous than the beach at low tide. In an amendment to 2003's HB 541, a ribald number relating to contingent payment clauses, the senior shimmied and bandied about in an innuendo-filled speech with no small amount of creepiness. To highlight the hypocrisy of a Viagra-addled Republican in staunch "defense of marriage," advocacy group Practice What You Preach has crafted a 60-second spot capturing Seaman's performance.
posted by amberglow at 1:29 PM on April 13, 2005


and he's a co-author.
posted by amberglow at 1:32 PM on April 13, 2005


Texas being the second largest state when counting gay couples don’t see it happening if the people of the state voted on it.
I was just invited to campaign party for Dallas city council candidate that will most like win the seat who was once a man. Then with the recently elected Sheriff, don't see the city fully supporting the legislation as this Candidate and Sheriff do not fit into this this type of a law here.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:32 PM on April 13, 2005


You know, I posted that whole thing above and left out the thing that ties it a bit tighter to this thread: that the issue is being presented as pro-minority rights versus pro-marriage sanctity, which aren't actually in direct conflict. Are the rights of spouses what make the marriage special? Nah. Is being married necessary to grant homosexual couples the same rights as straight married couples? Nah. It's just the attempt to achieve an efficient goal through compromise that provides the conflict: homosexuals (and others) think that since marriage comes with all the ready-made legal trappings they're looking for, it's the most efficient route -- and one that makes them a part of mainstream society to boot -- whereas the SoM folks think that allowing homosexuals to marry somehow degrades their own marriages in some fashion that divorce, domestic abuse and adultery do not. Or something like that. Frankly, I'm a little hazy on their side of the argument.

It's all a mess of motivations, really. Hell, after writing that paragraph, even -I- want it to be a simple black and white issue I can take a side on...
posted by davejay at 1:40 PM on April 13, 2005


Frankly, I'm a little hazy on their side of the argument.

Indeed. I really haven't heard an intellectually cogent argument against gay marriage yet. The implied argument seems to be that gay marriage would somehow "cheapen the currency" of marriage, but I really haven't heard anyone explain how that's supposed to work, especially in a society which, as davejay mentioned, seems rife with adultery and divorce.
posted by clevershark at 2:19 PM on April 13, 2005



Americans are interested in whatever they're interested in. Everybody's different. That's why the political process is oriented to find (or create) fiercely divisive issues that can be exploited to harness mankind's natural tendency to take sides once those sides have been defined.


Yes, but I was speaking in generalities (obviously) about what kind of discourse they like, not where they stand on issues. My point was simply that although the Beavis and Butthead type commentary may or dhoyt's cup of tea, it may in fact be the only effective form of communication in the American political sphere, at least inasfar as general eleections and popular movements are concerned. In the same sense, there's a pretty good reason political campaigns turn nasty: it works. Your points are good ones, I just thought I'd clear up what I was talking about, since we seemed to be talking around each other a bit.

You know, I posted that whole thing above and left out the thing that ties it a bit tighter to this thread: that the issue is being presented as pro-minority rights versus pro-marriage sanctity, which aren't actually in direct conflict. Are the rights of spouses what make the marriage special? Nah. Is being married necessary to grant homosexual couples the same rights as straight married couples? Nah. It's just the attempt to achieve an efficient goal through compromise that provides the conflict: homosexuals (and others) think that since marriage comes with all the ready-made legal trappings they're looking for, it's the most efficient route -- and one that makes them a part of mainstream society to boot -- whereas the SoM folks think that allowing homosexuals to marry somehow degrades their own marriages in some fashion that divorce, domestic abuse and adultery do not. Or something like that. Frankly, I'm a little hazy on their side of the argument.

For sure. As I've stated before, I (as a heterosexual, so my opinion might not carry as much weight) would be perfectly happy with some kind of legal equivalent open to homosexuals, be it a "union" or whathaveyou. Personally, unless I meet a nice religious girl and compromise to make her happy, I'd much rather be married by a justice of the peace and not in a church. But, again, I'm not in the oppressed group, so I can't say how they feel about being excluded.
posted by The God Complex at 2:23 PM on April 13, 2005


Indeed. I really haven't heard an intellectually cogent argument against gay marriage yet. The implied argument seems to be that gay marriage would somehow "cheapen the currency" of marriage, but I really haven't heard anyone explain how that's supposed to work, especially in a society which, as davejay mentioned, seems rife with adultery and divorce.

I think the adultery and divorce is a red herring, much like bringing up automobile deaths when talking about gun control. Either they can make a cogent argument supporting the position that it cheapens marriage or they can't, but adultery and domestic abuse really have no logical place arguing against their position (I don't mean this as an insult, only as an observation by someone who enjoys studying logic). But, frankly, as you mentioned, it doesn't really matter: as far as I know, there is no logical argument against gay marriage, only an irrational one based off of religious faith; that's not an argument though--it's a belief. And it's why this argument won't cease until the slow crowd of American opinion shifts towards acceptance.
posted by The God Complex at 2:27 PM on April 13, 2005


I disagree there. I think that adultery and divorce ARE relevant if the argument is really about "protecting marriage", which most anti-gay-marriage people claim it is.

Of course whether this whole "protecting marriage" boilerplate is actually valid or a cheap hypocritical lie of convenience is something else entirely. In the latter case then indeed adultery and divorce are irrelevant, because the real argument there is that gay people should remain "ghettoized" in their relationships.

It reminds me a little of the canard that was "state rights" in the 50s, when it was an argument used to fight school integration.
posted by clevershark at 2:52 PM on April 13, 2005


Mind you, I am in favor of gay marriage when I write this...

The threat that gay marriage offers to the concept of marriage is that it forces us to ask questions about our society. Questions like, "What is marriage? What function does it serve in our society?"

I put it to you that marriages have a larger function than just uniting one private couple. Historically, for example, marriages were a way of making some money (through a dowry), of cementing business and political relationships, and of economic survival (among other things).

In America, who can marry who has long served as a way of dividing up "us and them." I am not just referring to the concept of miscegenation, but also of class, religion and politics. By preventing certain marriages from happening, the status quo is protected. For example, my great grandmother was disowned by her Mayflower descendent family for marrying an the poor son of an Irish immigrant.

Of course, society didn't fall apart as a result of her marrying him, but it was a huge threat to the Mayflower status quo for her to somehow be polluting the blood of the original settlers with Irish blood. The threat of change to the status quo, though, is frightening to many people. When you do something different - whether it something minor like trying a different kind of potato chip or something major like allowing gay marriage - you don't know what is going to happen.

Of course, a new brand of potato chip is still going to taste like a potato chip. Allowing gays to marry is going to have no more negative impact on society than allowing immigrant Irish to marry wealthy New Englanders. Indeed, they will not likely be procreating with each other, so there isn't even the fear of the family bloodline being polluted.

Anyhow, IMO, there is no logical argument against gay marriage because it is rooted in classic human fear of change. Fear of change is often irrational, as it is in this case - don't open the closet because there might be a monster in there and such

When Massachusetts made gay marriage legal, I believe that it started the inevitable shift in society to making this legal everywhere. Once it becomes clear that society isn't collapsing as a result, the majority of the nation will gradually come around. It won't be so scary anymore, but it is going to take some time.

Other people have said all that better than I have said it, but now I have said it to.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:53 PM on April 13, 2005


well said, Joey. It's already being shown that gay marriage doesn't cause anything at all to change for the worse.
posted by amberglow at 3:37 PM on April 13, 2005


The commercial is lame. Hope they go back to the drawing board and spend some $$ on production and get a better VO guy.
posted by BobFrapples at 3:42 PM on April 13, 2005


davejay >>> Is being married necessary to grant homosexual couples the same rights as straight married couples?

Separate but equal is not equal. End of story.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:22 PM on April 13, 2005


allowing immigrant Irish to marry

WHOA! We allow immigrant irish to MARRY!? That's going too damn far!
posted by tkchrist at 5:15 PM on April 13, 2005


I think the debate was well on the way to being lost by simply the left calling it "Gay" marriage. It should have been labeled "marriage RIGHTS." Betty and Bob Sixpack just cannot get their minds around it with out envisioning two hairy dudes in leather bustiers skipping down the aisle of their local church.

I have had this argument with my brother-in-law so many times now. He is a fairly progressive guy but he lives in Utah. His argument was that Gay's DO have the same right to marry as straights. To marry a member of the opposite sex. Or he would enter the "slippery slope" argument that if it was ok for a man to marry a man, would it then be ok for him to marry his own brother? These are tricky arguments to counter (I'll take suggestions).

Basically the only reasonable argument back I came up with was this: Why the fuck is it the governments business who anybody marries? Seriously. WHY? How did THAT happen?

I told him nobody is saying your private religious institution has to recognize the gay union or perform them. But what is the governments interest in involving itself in this the most fundamental RIGHTS of human beings to choose any consensual adult mate they want?

The government may have a compelling right and need to regulate Divorce. So it does without question. If the government has an interest in shoring up what it believes to be a failing fundamental institution then THAT is where it should put it legislative efforts because that is where marriage ENDS. People would not get married in haste if they knew it very very hard to annul.
posted by tkchrist at 5:41 PM on April 13, 2005


by simply the left calling it "Gay" marriage. It should have been labeled "marriage RIGHTS."
We didn't call it "gay marriage". We've always called it part of our fight for equality and ending discrimination. The media and the rightwing made "gay marriage" the standard term.
posted by amberglow at 6:01 PM on April 13, 2005


But everybody here is calling it "gay marriage?" See what I mean? Let's (re-)christen the term, from here on out, "marriage rights."
posted by tkchrist at 6:24 PM on April 13, 2005


Good idea, tkchrist. Marriage rights it is!
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:29 PM on April 13, 2005



I disagree there. I think that adultery and divorce ARE relevant if the argument is really about "protecting marriage", which most anti-gay-marriage people claim it is.


They may be relevant in the broader scope of things, but in relation to gay marriage "weakening" marriage, they're simply not relevant in any logical way. For example, if someone says "A is weakening B!" You can't logically respond with, "Yeah, well, so are C, D, and E--what are you doing about them?!" I'm not sure if there's evidence to support that anyone against gay marriage is for C, D, and E (divorce, domestic abuse, or adultery); and that's really the only feasible logical connection I can see making where C, D, and E become relevant. Otherwise, as I said, you're making the old automobiles-at-a-gun-talk fallacy (someone talks about gun control and you mention the number of automobile-related deaths and wonder why they're not regulating automobiles, which is completely irrelevant).

That's all I was trying to say.
posted by The God Complex at 9:57 PM on April 13, 2005


TGC-
It seems the response to "A is weakening B" is not "So are C, D, & E" but rather "No it isn't, C, D, and E are, and if you really cared about B, you'd do something about C, D and E."

and 7 ate 9.
posted by papakwanz at 12:02 AM on April 14, 2005


God Complex- It's making a priorities argument, not a non sequitor. I agree with you to some extent, but the objections to mentioning adultery and domestic violence can be swept away by saying "Yeah, sure, we'll deal with that later. What's really important now is..."
posted by klangklangston at 8:06 AM on April 14, 2005


I'm joining. Thanks for the link.
posted by Doohickie at 11:56 AM on April 14, 2005


there's got to be a better way to use Seaman's idiot rant at the lecturn than what they've done so far.
and starting the ad with a "joke" about the dude's last name is the fastest way to alienate people. he gives them plenty of rope to hang him with, use that.
posted by Al_Truist at 8:36 PM on April 14, 2005


Marriage rights? What's wrong with "gay marriage?"

I'm not sure that marriage is a right.
posted by rush at 1:35 PM on April 15, 2005


papakwanz, I got smacked around a bit for pointing out logical fallacies the other day, but I agree. The video is an Ad Hominem and an Appeal to Ridicule. The group's message is a classic Red Herring.

I'm not sure what the point is.
posted by rush at 1:41 PM on April 15, 2005


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