Monday, February 10, 2014

First The Boy Scouts, Then Coke, Now General Motors and Chevy: The Gayification Of America?

The gay rights front in the culture war certainly stepped up in the last year with key brands: the the Boy Scouts, the Girls Scouts, Chick fil-A, Duck Dynasty, the Olympics, Coke.

And now Chevy.

OMG! But look at the subsequent commercial:


Both aired at the opening of the Sochi Olympics. Both have already spurred the ubiquitous sounds of "boycott."

So? With each new revelation of acceptance, the Right - especially the Christian Right - reacts as if it never saw it coming. Oh, some predict the general downfall of civilization and America, but not in terms of the icons of the American landscape.

Duh! Didn't Chevy point the big CR to a trend with this one?

The Trend Of Inclusion and Its Proportion

The trend of inclusion: drawing people into a widening circle for today's marketplace is certainly not new: it's why we have striven to place African-Americans in television and in advertising (hopefully) proportionate to the overall population.

Proportionate to the local/regional population is another matter.

"Restaurateur brags about refusing to serve “freaks,” and “f****ts,” also Muslims, blacks and people with metal in their face."

The above "restauranteur" is in Enid, Oklahoma, a city of 50,000 with only 3% African-American population. The population is predominantly white and Christian (90 churches!). Enid's distinction: having the most grain storage capacity in the U.S. Running into a "freak", "f****t, Muslim, people "with metal on their face" or even blacks would be rare indeed.

Communities like Enid, however, are not rare, and they are the reason many Americans fear what they do not know: if gays were depicted over 5% of the time in the public life, that would be enough for these communities to scream about "gayification." Communities like Enid embody the last stronghold of the Christian Right who claim that "liberalism" and "gay acceptance" is being shoved down the nation's throats. Even in communities with large minority populations, inclusion/acceptance of another minority is threatening, so the Christian Right gathers them together under a common banner of intolerance.

Republicans also have a hand in the intolerance as well: Enid is overwhelmingly Republican and embodies many Republican ideals. Notice that "restauranteur" Gary James refused to serve people "on welfare" and accommodate people with disabilities. 

A Matter of Rhetoric

Gary James may seem extreme in his blanket bigotry and insular view, but the fact remains that elements of his bigotry are still present throughout the country, especially in parts dominated by the Christian Right. If James, in fact, had simply stated that he wouldn't serve gays on religious grounds, for example, he would have gotten a pass. His biggest enemy is his own inclusive rhetoric: he hates everyone who isn't straight, white, able-bodied, without metal on the face ... and working. He has no problem with this because he sees himself in his customers and in Enid all the time. He thinks he knows how to spot a "f****t". 

"F****ts" as family members isn't in James' lexicon. He might not drive a Chevy from now on. 


Probably the most daring strike against the Christian Right the recent ad have are the "redefinition" of  family. We will no doubt hear that Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has "the sadz" over them and that companies like General Motors and Coca Cola have given in to the powerful "homosexual lobby." 

Sorry, Tony, inclusion by American icons of a portion of the populace does not mean that the country is turning "gay." It merely means that more and more Americans are trying to be inclusive in what it means to be American.

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