Knock this bullshit off

As I mentioned recently, I am traveling and thus don’t really have the time to dedicate to particularly thoughtful posts.  (“Why start now?” some of you might ask.)  However, sometimes something pops onto the radar screen that is so patently idiotic that it doesn’t require a lot of effort to comment about it.

Via Andrew Sullivan, I learned that a couple of days ago some moron thought he was making a point by throwing glitter on Mitt Romney.  The point, as I understand it, is “something something gay rights.”  Because apparently nothing says “treat me like a decent and respectable human being” quite like throwing glitter on someone who ostensibly opposes that agenda.  (Yes, America.  There is a gay agenda, and that’s what it is.)

First of all, let’s just get the Romney-specific part of this out of the way.  I’m sure that Romney has said all manner of anti-equality things lately in pursuit of the GOP nomination.  I’m not especially aware of any of them, but let’s assume that such statements are a sine qua non for viable Republican presidential candidates these days.  Fine.  And let us further stipulate that Romney is a human windsock who is already treated with such suspicion by the conservative constituency that he will certainly not touch anything pro-equality with a ten-foot pole should he win the nomination and the presidency.  Fine again.  I certainly wouldn’t vote for the man.  But the same wind-sockery that has won him such suspicion also makes me question whether he really hates gays.  I’m willing to bet that he doesn’t, and anything anti-gay he says is mere rhetoric.  Rick Santorum?  He hates gays.  Romney is just full of shit, like he is on [insert issue here].

But even if Mitt Romney were so homophobic he made Fred Phelps look like Bette Midler, what the holy hell does throwing glitter on someone accomplish?  Who on earth is either impressed or swayed?  I will put cash in your hand, gentle reader, if you can procure one single human being whose mind was changed in a pro-gay direction by this or any similar stunt.  Because to me it seems juvenile and stupid in the extreme, and I’m on the glitter-flinging imbecile’s side!  Not to mention how irksome it is that whoever came up with this craptacular idea in the first place thought that “gay = glitter” was a great meme to reinforce in the first place, as though my life with the Better Half trying to get our son to eat a balanced lunch is somehow one big rave.

Cut.  This.  Shit.  Out.  It’s bad enough that Lady Gaga keeps making videos and thinking they make some kind of point.  We don’t need this.  If the ideas that support the gay rights movement (like, you know, that our basic humanity entitles us to the same dignity and legal protections as everyone else) cannot win on their merits, then puerile stunts like this will hardly make a difference.  I’m embarrassed on behalf of every serious-minded person who has put in genuine effort on behalf of people like me and families like mine.  Whoever did this should be embarrassed too, though somehow I suspect he thought he did something brave and meaningful.  It was neither.

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.


  1. The problem, Russell – which you don’t seem to want to address – is the Republican politicians running for President WON’T knock THEIR bullshit OFF. When are they going to be outlawed from using us like whipping posts when they stump for votes? That’s what has to be stopped, Russell; you seem more concerned with socially niceties than the horror of chronic emotional abuse. That’s what you might want to focus on, rather than worrying about a little glitter flying in the air. Anti-gay politicians harass us emotionally over and over again on television, belittling our lives, inspiring bigots to do physical harm to us, telling us God is against us – and worse, ridiculing gay families which include both gay parents and heterosexual children. How long are we supposed to take this? Gay teens – a frightening new trend – are killing themselves. Psychiatrists are just starting to realize that being able to marry and love someone, openly, contributes vastly to gay people’s health. One of the most sinful things heterosexuals do is to stop people from loving someone. What is God going to say about that, when they go knocking on heaven’s door??

    • Hello, Edward.

      “Glitter bombing” is an absurd response to serious problems. It solves nothing, accomplishes nothing, convinces nobody. It is frivolity masquerading as activism.

      I have addressed, in my real life with my real name, the real political tasks that present themselves in the struggle for equality. In my professional capacity, I have spoken specifically about anti-gay bullying to a number of audiences in a number of settings. I address the problems that present themselves like a grown-up, which is how serious problems are meant to be addressed. Not by flinging bits of sparkly detritus through the air and calling it a victory.

      Gay teenagers committing suicide is not a new phenomenon. Awareness of it is. If you can find one single gay teenager who is helped by dumping glitter on a public figure, I will amend my opinion.

      And finally, I abhor anti-gay rhetoric. Let me direct you to my short little bio, which makes it quite clear that when politicians attacks gays and their families they are attacking me and mine. But we live in a country where people are allowed to say whatever they want, no matter how vile or repulsive. When should anti-gay rhetoric be, as you say, “outlawed”? It shouldn’t be.

  2. Did they make craptacular a word and not tell me about it? Because that would be bullshit.

  3. Russell, I’ll say this gently: get off your high horse. When people are abused in the way some gay people feel horribly abused, they respond in the best way they know how. Glitter is benign. You make it sound like Martha Steward decreed using glitter a hanging offense.

    What else bothers you beside glitter, Russell? Judy Garland? Liza Minnelli? Sequins? Maybe it’s the whole drag thing you don’t like. Myself, I’d rather see a kid throw glitter than take their own life. Look on it as a venting process.

    Lastly, yes I do believe anti-gay rhetoric should be outlawed. Maybe not in a court of law but in a court of common decency. Think of what would have happened if Rick Santorum or the instantly forgettable Michele Bachmann had said the same vile things about African-Americans or Jews during the campaign, to name but a few minorities. Those politicians would be run out of town. In that respect, I’d say we’re doing something wrong: we need to run them out of town.

    And for god’s sake, chill. If this is a battle over civil rights – and it is – be proud of the fact that we use glitter…and not guns, as previous civil rights battles have resorted to, to make a point.


    • I’ll try to say this gently, Edward. Your arguments are facile and ineffective. If tossing glitter at people is the best tactic you can think of, then you and your ilk are doing precious little good. You think that anti-gay rhetoric should have no place in the realm of respectable society? Me, too. Where we appear to disagree is that you seem to think that throwing glitter on people will actually contribute to the process of making that happen, whereas I think it is pointless at best and detrimental at worst. And no, I don’t think it’s a “hanging offense,” I think it is patently idiotic.

      Your references to other aspects of gay camp are irrelevant. If playing “Liza with a Z” really loud would keep Chris Christie from trying to stop marriage equality in New Jersey, I’d be all for it. But it won’t, so what’s the point in bringing it up?

      Please spare me the lectures on how hard it is to be gay, as though you are some expert and I am some rube. I don’t need to prove I’ve lived a sufficiently difficult gay life and thus establish my cred in order to have an opinion. I am gay as a tree full of hummingbirds, amigo, and I happen to think my side has a lot of better ideas than tossing cliches at our enemies.

      And I’ll loop back to my point by concluding thusly — you think Bachmann and Santorum will be defeated by throwing glitter on them? That will convince people to turn them out of town? Because I sure as hell don’t. And it may no longer be acceptable to say vile and violent things about people of color or Jews, but it sure as hell used to be. Do you think that change came about because those minorities employed empty-headed tactics like glitter bombing? Please. We’ll win because of the strength of our ideas and the courage of our convictions, not by acting like self-congratulatory teenagers.

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