Posted by : Ari | Thursday, May 24, 2012 | Published in
I hate how much people are applauding this interview. I really do. Because it pains me to watch.
People ask “how can people be this stupid?” If you watch her body language and her words she is clearly saying “blah blah blah, Liberal media, I know you’re just twisting my words and don’t care about Jesus or church, you’re not listening to anything I’m saying.”
You know, I have no idea what this woman’s actual views are from this interview, because all it says it me is that she’s defending her church, her pastor, her faith and her community from what she perceives to be a judgmental media person who refuses to listen.
Yes, I think the comments that the pastor made were outrageous and offensive, not to mention nonsensical because it wouldn’t work. As a queer raised in a jewish family (by straight parents, mind you), Pastor Charles Worley's comments are exceptionally infuriating to me. And no, I don’t think a “you’re just taking it out of context” argument is going to be valid regardless of what the whole sermon actually was, but Cooper isn’t engaging her actual argument. Ge’s trying to dissect the words instead when that isn't the basis of her argument at all, which is why she gets upset about people “harping about it” and “taking it out of context” and finally says “I’m not going to keep answering the same question over and over.”
And everybody who is lambasting her for her stammering is just being plain rude-- most people have difficulty doing interviews on the fly, remember your last job interview? Now multiple that by a factor of 100,000,000 due to the fact that it's being broadcast on TV and not just one person in an office. I personally hate public speaking, I suck at interviews. None of that is any indication of how intelligent or articulate I can be.
From what I can tell, her argument is essentially, "Homosexuality is wrong, that's what I got out of the sermon and I agree with that. Of course gays can't reproduce so if you rounded them all up and put them aside somewhere, they would eventually die out. But... Nobody is really going to do that, the government would never do that, so people are just harping on him for saying it." She never really explains how she personally interpreted that particular comment, whether she thought he was being hyperbolic, whether it would be a good idea, or even moral, nor does she ever explain if she thinks that that would actually get rid of homosexuals.
It would have been interesting to ask her if she thought homosexuals were destined to die out since they can't reproduce, even if they weren't segregated away from the rest of society.
I didn’t grow up in these smaller, church communities like this woman is being forced to represent. I grew up outside of DC in suburban middle class wealth. But I became very familiar with the accents and the “rural” defensiveness of southerners in the 6 years I lived in Florida and North Carolina, and the reason this interview pains me so much is that it’s so indicative of the divide that conservative politicians take advantage of. It’s “urban city folk,” it’s “elitist liberals,” it’s “the hostile media,” it’s “got’cha questions,” it’s “attacks on religion,” etc. etc. It’s all right there in less than 5 minutes of conversation, it’s plain in all the shifting and stammering she does, when she rolls her eyes and her voice gets plainly indignant and frustrated.
If Anderson Cooper’s goal was to paint this woman and her church and pastor as uneducated backwater bigots who don’t even understand what they’re saying— he succeeded. Which is a shame, because not only will it do absolutely nothing to protect the gay youth in Maiden, North Carolina from being harassed and abused and possibly even killed for being gay. It will most likely only reinforce already intrenched beliefs about the conservative vs. liberal divide.
Conservative politicians live off of this kind of publicity, you have to understand that. You also have to know that of course the whole town or at least the whole church community is going to be buzzing about this interview for the next several weeks, and think about where the conversation will turn. It's pretty much guaranteed that it's even less likely that anyone in the church community will want to speak out against the pastor's anti-gay comments after the wagon-circling that is bound to happen. This isn't conjecture because I think that people in North Carolina or "the south" are "bad" or "stupid" or that religious people are inherently bigoted. Defensiveness is human nature.
…And then Anderson Cooper goes and kills me by pointing the finger at “places like Iraq and Iran” rather than highlighting the very real violence against LGBT Americans that happen everyday In The U.S. No really, fuck you, Anderson Cooper, for making violence against LGBT folks something that only happens "over there." Fuck you.
Yeah, it’s great for people who want to laugh and point at how “stupid” rural people are. But that’s not my shtick, so basically everything about this interview is just painful and infuriating to me.