By Jonathon Van Maren
After Democratic Senator Cory Booker relentlessly grilled then-candidate for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his views of gay marriage, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro mockingly imagined future questions that could be leveled at supporters of traditional marriage: “To verify your tolerance, I now ask that you publicly watch ‘Brokeback Mountain’ without making a face and that you cry at the end, sir!”
I miss the days when parody was parody and didn’t immediately occur in reality after the joke was made.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid, a popular TV host, has come under fire for previous comments on an old blog about gay marriage and people she suspected of being gay, with a number of LGBT activists compiling her worst offences against “the community” and tweeting them out. Those comments included Reid’s musings on the gayness or lack thereof of various public figures, as well as an apparently “transphobic” comment that involved her accusing Ann Coulter of being a man.
And sure enough, one of her crimes was none other than the nearly word-for-word fulfillment of Ben Shapiro’s joke. Reid apparently wrote that, “Most straight people cringe at the sight of two men kissing…Most straight people had a hard time being convinced to watch ‘Broke Back Mountain.’ (I admit that I couldn’t go see the movie either, despite my sister’s ringing endorsement, because I didn’t want to watch the two male characters having sex.) Does that make me homophobic? Probably.”
Reid’s response to this has been threefold: Point out that all of her apparently homophobic comments were a long time ago, apologize profusely (“I’ve not been exempt from being dumb or cruel or hurtful to the very people I want to advocate for”) and, bizarrely, claim that a nefarious hacker managed to go and insert these comments into her old blog, years before she was famous. Her apologies are being accepted oh-so-graciously by members of the LGBT community (well, almost all of them), while her conspiracy theories about hacking are being met with universal suspicion.
The fact is that this game is just getting started. Reid noted in her apology that she grew up in a household that held conservative views on LGBT issues, and she obviously once held those views herself. This should be no surprise—African Americans are actually the constituency least supportive of gay marriage, despite their support for the Democratic Party. But people like Reid who want to rise in the progressive ranks are going to have to repudiate their former selves (“I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things, because they are completely alien to me,” Reid told her viewers) and grovel until they are forgiven, if they are forgiven.
The simple truth is that Joy Reid probably just changed her mind on the issue of same-sex marriage, either for professional purposes or because she genuinely believes that marriage needed to be redefined. But it says something about the iron grip the LGBT community has on the progressive Left when a popular TV host with all the fashionable opinions would be so utterly panicked at the appearance of former opinions that were once boring, if not mainstream, that she would insist that a hacker must have planted them.
For anyone interested, my books: The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, and How To Discuss Assisted Suicide, are available for sale here.