One Million Moms overreaches again

The hate group goes after the new Ryan Murphy show without even having seen it. Time to cut them down to size

Topics: TV, Television, Ryan Murphy, Glee, The New Normal, One Million Moms,

One Million Moms overreaches againThe cast of "The New Normal"

That tiny, fictional dog had the right idea. Dorothy Gale’s canine friend Toto knew what we all sometimes need to be reminded of: Right behind the big, scary bully there’s often a single, self-aggrandizing blowhard. Or 48,637 of them.

This week, those tireless warriors against “the filth … the entertainment media are throwing at our children,” a misleadingly named group called One Million Moms, did precisely the expected thing: They issued a scathing indictment of a new TV show their organization has not even seen. But the mere premise of the upcoming NBC comedy “The New Normal,” about a gay couple and the surrogate who’s having their baby, was enough to send them into paroxysms about the “openly gay Ryan Murphy’s” latest venture. (Murphy also created “Glee” and “American Horror Show.”)

“NBC is using public airwaves to continue to subject families to the decay of morals and values, and the sanctity of marriage in attempting to redefine marriage,” they declared. “These things are harmful to our society, and this program is damaging to our culture … NBC’s ‘The New Normal’ is attempting to desensitize America and our children. It is the opposite of how families are designed and created. You cannot recreate the biological wheel.”

I’m not even going to waste time arguing with the inanity of every word of that statement, and the bottomless stupidity it takes to make that kind of declaration about how families “are made and created.” I will, however, note that Ryan Murphy tactfully stated Tuesday that “I find it to be interesting that they would take a position before they’ve seen it. If they watch the show, I actually think they would love it. For the first time they will be represented! Ellen Barkin’s character is a member of the Million Moms! She will protest people and events and I think it will be great fodder for Brian and David’s characters to talk about.” He added, “In many ways this show is about tolerance and the discussion of the tolerance and it’s delivered with sensitivity with a certain amount of veracity.”



Speaking of veracity, I never get tired of pointing out that the great and powerful One Million Moms have a Facebook membership of under 50,000. This pack of homophobes who unfailingly go into outrage overdrive at the very acknowledgment of gays and lesbians in our culture are in reality an itty-bitty, worthless speck. They can call themselves whatever they want, but as Ellen DeGeneres noted when they went gunning for her last spring, “They’re rounding to the nearest million.”

But give the ladies credit — they are way, way ahead of the notoriously grotesque Westboro Baptist Church. The hate group famed for showing up at funerals to defile the honest expression of grief most recently grabbed headlines again for its vow to “superpicket” the vigil for the victims of the Aurora massacre last week. A counter protest was launched, and the WBC failed to show. Here’s what you need to remember about the WBC. This is a group that claims to have mounted 48,499 protests and has a paltry 868 Twitter followers and, by its own admission, has 40 members. FORTY. I actually once stumbled upon a Westboro Baptist Church protest. It was outside of Lincoln Center, because I guess GOD HATES MAHLER. The assembly consisted of roughly fewer than 10 morons with big, brightly colored signs. I’m not saying I’d want these jackasses anywhere near the memorial of someone I cared for, or frankly anywhere near my breathing zone in general, but I would like to make a plea that we keep these beasts right-sized. Forty members? I could start a church dedicated to worshiping the mole on Aaron Neville’s eyebrow that could get more than 40 members.

In the same vein, consider the Catholic League, that hoary entity devoted to pitching a fit whenever someone trash-talks the pope. It’s led by its president and frequent Fox News guest William Donohue. The League likes to take out big splashy ads when its knickers get in a twist, and Donohue gets lots of free publicity for his confrontational stances against lesbians or those who help and defend kids who’ve been molested. Or, as Donohue likes to call them, “a pitiful bunch of malcontents.” The League claims to have 350,000 members, yet you almost never hear of a single one except Donohue.

One Million Moms, Westboro Baptist Church, the Catholic League and their ilk make for colorful press. They say outrageous things and some members do some truly terrible ones. They’re inexhaustible and it often feels like they are fueled on hatred. Sadly, they reflect the twisted values of more people than just their professed membership. But ultimately, they are twerpy little creeps whose greatest skill is puffing themselves up to look bigger than they appear. They are not America. They are not us. Remember that the next time you see any of these clowns on the evening news. They’re not just petty. They’re really, really small.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
    This is a weird one, but in the nervy surreal way that word-playful novels like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ulysses" are weird. The main character, a teenage schoolboy named Scarper Lee, lives in a world where it rains knives and people make their own parents, contraptions that can be anything from a tiny figurine stashable in a pocket to biomorphic boiler-like entities that seem to have escaped from Dr. Seuss' nightmares. Their homes are crammed with gadgets they call gods and instead of TV they watch a hulu-hoop-size wheel of repeating images that changes with the day of the week. They also know their own "death day," and Scarper's is coming up fast. Maybe that's why he runs off with the new girl at school, a real troublemaker, and the obscurely dysfunctional Castro, whose mother is a cageful of talking parakeets. A solid towline of teenage angst holds this manically inventive vision together, and proves that some graphic novels can rival the text-only kind at their own game.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
    For each issue, the anthology magazine put out by this adventurous U.K.-based publisher of independent graphic design, illustration and comics gives 45 artists a four-color palette and a theme. In the ninth issue, the theme is silence, and the results are magnificent and full of surprises. The comics, each told in images only, range from atmospheric to trippy to jokey to melancholy to epic to creepy. But the two-page illustrations are even more powerful, even if it's not always easy to see how they pertain to the overall concept of silence. Well, except perhaps for the fact that so many of them left me utterly dumbstruck with visual delight.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
    Corinna Park, former English major, works, unhappily, in a Toronto advertising agency. When the dissatisfaction of the past five years begins to oppress her, she lets off steam by pilfering magazines from a local convenience store. Cho's moody character study is as much about city life as it is about Corinna. He depicts her falling asleep in front of the TV in her condo, brooding on the subway, roaming the crowded streets after a budding romance goes awry. Like a great short story, this is a simple tale of a young woman figuring out how to get her life back, but if feels as if it contains so much of contemporary existence -- its comforts, its loneliness, its self-deceptions -- suspended in wintery amber.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
    This collection of archetypal horror, fairy and ghost stories, all about young girls, comes lushly decked in Carroll's inky black, snowy white and blood-scarlet art. A young bride hears her predecessor's bones singing from under the floorboards, two friends make the mistake of pretending to summon the spirits of the dead, a family of orphaned siblings disappears one by one into the winter nights. Carroll's color-saturated images can be jagged, ornate and gruesome, but she also knows how to chill with absence, shadows and a single staring eye. Literary readers who cherish the work of Kelly Link or the late Angela Carter's collection, "The Bloody Chamber," will adore the violent beauty on these pages.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>