In this post, Matt Walsh is upset by all the attention Michael Sam is getting. Now, while I myself am no fan of gratuitous use of the word "hero" and I generally don't believe professional sports is worthy of all the attention it receives, I would like to once again point out how Matt Walsh displays his total ignorance of The Gay Agenda (sorry, couldn't resist).
One of Matt's main points is that, if gay rights activists' mantra is that their sexuality is "nobody's business" then they should not be allowed to publicly discuss any matters pertaining to the LGBT community. Now, as it turns out, I am not aware of any such mantra. Maybe a couple decades ago, back in the era of Don't Ask Don't Tell, when the most pressing concerning of many gay individuals was to avoid punishment for their sexual orientation (where the existence of anti-sodomy laws could very well be met with cries of, "stay out of my bedroom!"). However, with many of these more immediate threats removed, the gay rights movement has come to focus primarily on its long-term goal of achieving equal rights under the law. Equal rights. That is the "gay agenda" (and the "black agenda" and the "female agenda").
(And by the way, since the wounds from the DADT/Anti-Sodomy/Free-to-Discriminate period are still very fresh, that might make it more understandable why people find some reason to celebrate when gay women and men break new barriers.)
So no, supporters of gay rights are not saying "stay out of my business." That is what Matt would like them to want (the Don't Ask Don't Tell era was probably very convenient and comfortable for people like Matt). What gay rights advocates are clearly asking for now is the ability to be treated equally under the law; to have normal relationships without facing any sort of discrimination or harassment. So demanding, I know.
Part of what a normal relationship entails, in addition to certain legal rights (to marry, to adopt, etc.), is that you do not have to hide your relationship from the public. Straight couples clearly do not feel the need to keep their own relationships private. Matt Walsh loves blogging about his wife. Spouses of politicians are pretty much required to appear in front of the camera and be a significant part of the whole PR apparatus. Nothing about American culture holds relationships as a private matter.
Now, of course, part of the problem is that Matt Walsh seems to conflate "relationship" with "sex" when it comes to same-gender couples. Can he not conceive of the possibility of two people of the same gender having a relationship that is based on something more than sex? Yes, it is true, we (well, most of us, hopefully) don't want to hear about the sex life of Michael Sam or any other gay person - as much as we don't need to hear about straight couple's sex lives - but that doesn't mean we have a problem with the visibility of their relationships.
As to the assertions about Sam's qualifications and how other matters (e.g. Tebow) have been handled, I cannot make any comments owing to my complete ignorance about football. Yet, Matt does make one other primary claim that I can address. In fact, he seems obsessed with this idea and has blogged about it before. He thinks that the gay rights movement is trying to control speech and has somehow commandeered the media and Hollywood any other institution that might aid in that goal. He feels like homophobic (or, in Matt's point of view, "traditional" or "orthodox") Christians are not able to freely expressed their views. They are bullied into silence.
I will just remind Matt that, despite all the public outcry against Phil Robertson's homophobic remarks, the show remained on the air, it remained popular, its merchandise remained in stores, the family still appears on the covers of magazines, and they recently made an appearance at the White House Correspondents Dinner. So much for being "under attack"!
And of course, Matt is still free to write blog posts that are not supportive of gay rights, and he gets many page views and many adulatory comments. He doesn't seem to feel "threatened" enough to curtail his own speech.
And then, as Matt notes himself in a post a few days ago, you have the wildly popular conservative media like Fox News and talk radio shows (which are certainly not getting all excited and celebratory about Michael Sam). I wonder how Matt is able to reconcile these conflicting thoughts: a) that liberals control the media and stifle the free speech of conservatives; and b) conservative media are so much more popular than liberal media, as reflective of the views of the general American population.
But I have another question for Matt. Surely, after all that he has written, he is just as aware as I am that the amount of media attention a given story receives is not in any proportion to its importance? Where are the stories about the conflict in the Central African Republic, the violence spilling into Lebanon from Syria, the potential consequences of the Trans-Pacific Partnership? (This is not, of course, to say that discussions about race, gender, and sexual orientation are unimportant, but these topics are woefully mishandled by the media in a way that generally does not lend itself to thoughtful reflection.) I do not sit around getting upset when particular stories receive a lot of attention. I do not whine and rant, like Matt does. I expect it, and then I supplement my news intake with other sources of information. I just do not understand Matt's outrage when the media focuses on a particular story that he deems to be trivial. Shouldn't his ire be directed at the corporations that run the media and make profit (and therefore superficial entertainment) the driving force of its content? Or would that conflict too much with his extreme (though certainly at times conflicted) laissez faire ideology?
Is it just easier for him, in order to maintain some semblance of ideological consistency, to blame the all-powerful gay rights activists?
Matt Walsh writes:
Let’s just cut to the chase. We’ve all read this script before.
If you do anything less than fall to your knees weeping tears of jubilation that a man who is sexually attracted to men was picked to play a game for a living — you’re a homophobe.
It doesn’t really matter why you aren’t joining in the celebration, or why you aren’t using words like ‘historic’ and ‘revolutionary’ to describe a scenario where a homosexual fellow plays a sport with some other fellows, and is paid handsomely and applauded loudly for doing so.
It doesn’t matter what reasoning you provide, or what sort of logic you employ, when attempting to explain why Michael Sam’s likeness shouldn’t necessarily be etched into Mount Rushmore just because he took it upon himself to alert the media of his sexual habits a few months before being selected in the 7th round of the NFL Draft.
It doesn’t matter what you say when trying to articulate why the President of the United States of America probably doesn’t need to release an official White House statement to congratulate someone for being gay and athletic.
It doesn’t matter. None of it matters. Nothing is acceptable but complete and total adherence to the prevailing cultural dogma. You are only allowed to think a certain way about these kinds of things. Any thought, or statement, or phrase, or utterance that deviates from the zeitgeist by even the slightest degree will earn you the label of homophobic bigot, and that’s just all there is to it.
So, while I’m not a bigot, and while I’m not ‘homophobic,’ and while I generally carry about my day very much unconcerned with the sexual proclivities of football players from Missouri, I nonetheless feel the need to be a voice of reason amidst this whole spectacularly ridiculous charade. Therefore, I will be called a bigot, because that’s how America has been trained to react to anyone who questions popular opinion.
So be it.
I don’t care.
I really don’t.
I’m not celebrating Michael Sam, I don’t think anything historic occurred at any point during the NFL Draft (besides the fact that the Raiders actually made a few good decisions), I find this spectacle to be rather embarrassing, I question the motivations of everyone involved, including Michael Sam, and I’ll give you several reasons why:
1) You don’t get to have it both ways. You can tell me that your sexuality is nobody’s business — what you do in your bedroom is between you and whoever you do it with — and I’ll agree. I’ve never taken it upon myself to approach a group of strangers and survey them about their carnal propensities. In my life, I’ve probably had thousands of conversations with thousands of different people. Of those thousands, I can safely say that not once have I begun the exchange by saying, “Hello, my name is Matt. Do you sleep with people of the same gender?”
Seriously, that’s never happened. OK, maybe I can’t say never, but rarely. The point is, I usually don’t grab strangers by their shirt collars and demand that they paint me a vivid portrait of their erotic activities.
Your sexuality is none of my business, right? Yes. Fine. Sounds good to me.
But this “none of my business” shtick is a two way street, friend. What exactly does it mean for a thing to be “none of my business” when you’re holding a press conference and proclaiming it to the entire world?
“Hey, this is personal, man. That’s why I’m throwing a parade, alerting the media, issuing a press release, having t-shirts printed, and booking an interview on 20/20.”
Personal business. You keep using that phrase. I don’t think it means what you think it means.
Michael Sam, apparently, ‘came out’ to his teammates a year ago. By all accounts, they took it well, nobody really cared, and everything continued on as normal. Sam wasn’t hiding in fear and he wasn’t being forced to suppress or disguise anything. But then, mere months before the draft, he decided to declare himself to ESPN and the New York Times.
I remember seeing this headline back in February: “Michael Sam Announces He’s Gay”
My first thought: OK, was anybody asking?
The man pursued national media outlets and, without being provoked or solicited, ‘announced’ his sexual desires to the nation. Why? Because it’s none of our business? Because we should feel nothing and have no opinion on the matter?
No, of course not. We are supposed to feel something, and we are supposed to have an opinion, but they must be the right feelings and the right opinions.
That’s the point here.
If you simply wish to be accepted, perhaps you’d discuss these private details with those closest to you. If you wish to be celebrated, you throw yourself a party and call the press.
Michael Sam chose the latter.
2) I don’t know Michael Sam. I know more about Michael Sam than I need to, but I don’t know him as a man. He might be brave, for all I know. Maybe he’s rescued kittens from burning buildings, maybe he’s jumped in front of bullets. I’m not saying that he’s not a hero, but I am saying that telling the world about his sex life sure doesn’t make him one. Ellen Page, Jason Collins, Michael Sam — all of these people were greeted by applause and adulation from all across the country. They were hoisted up and canonized by pop culture, most of mainstream society, most major corporations, most of the media, most of academia, most of our politicians, and the President of the United States of America. Their ‘announcements’ instantly ensured them a protected status and, particularly in the case of Collins and Sam, a fame and cultural relevance they would not have otherwise achieved. The criticisms will come from the fringes, and those critics will be drowned out and beaten back by a shouting, venomous mob of dogmatic progressive zealots.
Liberal blogs made much ado about the few random Tweets they could find from people expressing disgust about Sam kissing his boyfriend. What these instigators won’t mention is that, in order to get to the ‘bad people,’ they had to wade through thousands of Twitter users falling over themselves in a competition to see who could use the most glowing adjectives to describe watching two men smooch on Sportscenter.
There’s nothing brave about any of this. You can’t measure a man’s bravery by his ability to endure high-fives and congratulations from millions of fawning fans.
To call this heroic is to obliterate the meaning of the word. I’m sure Sam will hear some taunts and jeers, but the people taunting and jeering will be swiftly and immediately punished. He also won’t encounter anywhere near the level of accepted mockery and derision that another well known football player faced, which brings us to…
3) Plenty of people have already said it, but it’s true that many of the Michael Sam cheerleaders are hypocrites of the lowest sort. Say what you will about Tim Tebow; one thing you can’t deny is that the dude was told loudly, harshly, and frequently, to ‘keep his religion to himself.’ Football isn’t a place for religion, they said.
But football is a place for sexual identity discussions?
Other NFL players, like Jake Plummer, said they wished Tebow would “shut up” with the Jesus talk. To my knowledge, Plummer was never fined or even chastised for making those statements. Most people just nodded their head in agreement.
Will players who tell Sam to “shut up” with the gay talk be treated as leniently? I guess that question has already been answered. One Miami Dolphin sent out a two word disparaging Tweet when ESPN spent 26 hours airing footage of the now famous same-sex kiss. The offender has since been fined and banned from the team until he undergoes ‘educational training.’ Ex-NFLer Derrick Ward expressed his view that ESPN shouldn’t have aired the kiss, and now people are threatening to kill him because of it.
The double standard is so obvious, so inevitable, and so common that I’m bored with pointing it out. Tell Tebow to stop praising his Lord and Savior, and the country will laugh and cheer along, but tell Sam to stop trying to turn his sex life into international headlines, and you’ll be bound, gagged, and tossed into a river.
4) Media hacks have already begun conjuring up a controversy over the fact that it ‘took so long’ for Sam to be drafted.
They’re furrowing their brows and inquiring as to why Saint Michael Sam didn’t get taken off the board until the very end of the last round. Could it be homophobia, they wonder?
Perhaps, or could it be that Sam is a small, slow, middling prospect who might not be good enough to even make the squad? Could it be that he’s exactly the type of player who often goes undrafted every single year? Could it be that he’s a below average talent?
With that said, it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if some teams were scared away by the media circus that follows him. That’s a funny thing about football teams — they’re worried about winning football games, not becoming champions for liberal social change. Michael Sam chose to call attention to his sex life. He chose to whip up a media frenzy. That choice guaranteed him a spot on a roster, if only for political reasons. But it also guaranteed that he would be a distraction to whatever team he ultimately joined.
This is all a joke, only it’s not even funny anymore.
As I type this, I see that Michael Sam has already started starring in ads, making him, I’m assuming, the first 7th round pick to ever get an endorsement deal before training camp even starts.
In the Visa spot, Sam insists that he only wants to be judged for what he does on the field.
A fine sentiment, but one that would have been easily accomplished had he not gone to great lengths to be applauded for what he does in the bedroom.