Wednesday, August 29, 2012

KSL And "The New Normal"

Facebook gets me in trouble sometimes.  Jonah is always warning me to be careful what I say on Facebook because sometimes it creates some drama between friends.  Actually, one of the the things I like least about Facebook is that you find out that some of the people you know, love, and respect have opinions about political and social affairs that sometimes make you respect them a little less.  I never unfriend anyone for their beliefs.  I think keeping people around who espouse all sorts of points-of-view keeps me well-rounded and informed.  I also think it reinforces what I already believe.  And I may not agree with what you say, but I wholehearted support your right to say it.

I tend to allow myself to get caught up in discussions (which sometimes, unfortunately, become arguments) about political and social affairs, and that's where I sometimes get into the trouble that Jonah warns me about.  Yet, I also feel it is necessary to discuss things that are important to me.  I do want people to know how I feel about certain issues.  The political climate has gotten so heated and confrontational lately, though, that I've resolved to try harder to stay out of political conversations (especially ones that are not generated by me in the first place).  Especially during this very tense and polarizing election season, I just feel I need to stay out of the arguments, especially when they are between people who have no hope of swaying one another to their points-of-view.

The other day I did make a comment about a new TV sitcom that NBC has picked up called "The New Normal."  It's a show created by Ryan Murphy, the producer of such shows as "Glee" and "American Horror Story."  Evidently, NBC's affiliate here in Utah, KSL (which is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has made the choice not to air it because, as Bonneville International CEO Jeff Simpson says, "For our brand, this program feels inappropriate on several dimensions, especially during family viewing time."  You can read the full story here and here as well as a comment by a reader applauding the decision.

Anyway, I posted a comment on my status that read as thus: "I haven't seen 'The New Normal' and have no idea if it's any good, but I do find it a bit hypocritical that KSL feels a show like 'Law and Order: SVU,' which has aired for years and deals with violence and sex crimes, fits their brand, but that a show about two gay men in a loving relationship wanting to raise a child together is 'inappropriate.' The show may suck, and I suppose KSL has every right to not air it, but it seems such a double standard to me."

This caused some conservative and liberal friends to start arguing this issue and also involved one unfortunate attack on the Mormon Church that I felt crossed a line (my friend later apologized for the remark).

One conservative friend said, "This is not the first time KSL has chosen not to air a show with gay issues. Another channel like KJZZ usually does instead. If every public channel was choosing not to air the program, then I could understand the argument. There are plenty of channels airing programs that I view as 'inappropriate', but I simply choose not to watch those channels instead of creating a thread of fruitless argument on fb. SO WHAT if those who support a more conservative view choose not to air a certain show, its the shoe-on-the-other-foot concept!"

It is true that this is not the first time KSL has chosen not to air a TV program.  Just last year they chose not to air the eventually canceled "The Playboy Club," and they haven't aired "Saturday Night Live" for years.  They also wouldn't air "Coupling" or "God, the Devil, and Bob" (both canceled as well).  So, yeah, they have a track record of not airing things they find to be objectionable.  But as I told my friend, that's really not my issue.

I said,  "I guess my point is not so much whether KSL chooses to air it or not. They can air whatever they choose to air. As a gay person, though, it bothers me that people are more offended by a gay couple wanting to raise a child together than they seem to be by violent sex crimes or people eating pig scrotums as part of a competition ('Fear Factor'). And while it may seem 'fruitless' to discuss such issues, they are issues that are important to me.

"Yeah, a conservative station can choose not to air a show that goes against its image, and yeah, someone else will likely pick it up. [KJZZ probably will.] That's their prerogative. I guess I'm just bothered by what the conservative affiliate chooses to be offended by. It reminds me when Larry H. Miller declined to show Brokeback Mountain because it was offensive, but didn't seem to have any issue with Hostel which was basically torture porn. Again, it was fully within Mr. Miller's rights to do. I'm not arguing that. I just find it interesting what people find offensive. I guess torture, violence, heterosexual sex, and pig scrotums are fine, but heaven forbid what will happen if we show a gay couple wanting to raise a baby together."

My brother-in-law and another friend also made similar comments about shows like "Two and a Half Men" (the long-running CBS show) and "Mike and Molly" (also CBS).  About "Two and a Half Men" my brother-in-law said, "I saw a commercial for it that made my blood boil. It promoted that show had 'new family values' then cut to a scene with Jon Cryer surrounded by scantily clad women, himself wearing just whipped cream stating how sexy he felt!"

My other friend said, "It's the beauty of America where 'Two and a Half Men' and 'Mike and Molly,' which are filled with misogynistic jokes as were as other questionable humor, are deemed ok, but 2 gay guys are 'not appropriate.' One question, does KSL carry ads for JCPenny? Now that would be hypocrisy."

Never having seen "Mike and Molly" or "Two and a Half Men," I can't judge the content of those shows, but I think my the points my brother-in-law and friend have stated are valid as far as what is deemed to be offensive.

And this is an argument I have in general.  People get all up in arms about Kate Winslet's nude scene in Titanic, but no one is the least bothered by the violent deaths suffered by those who were killed in that disaster.  People freak out when Janet Jackson's nipple accidentally makes an appearance during a Super Bowl halftime show, but no one seems offended by some of the misogynistic or homophobic ads I've seen aired during the Superbowl.  Again, my issue is not really with what any affiliate chooses to air, but with what they deem offensive.

And I think it boils down to what one commenter said in response to the Deseret News letter I linked above:

"To those on here who are using 'Law & Order:SVU' as a tool to justify 'The New Normal': Yeah, 'L&O:SVU' is a bad show in my opinion, I agree. But that doesn't in any way justify 'The New Normal' as a harmless show.

"And there's a critical difference between the two shows: while 'L&O:SVU' may portray a lot of brutal crimes on the screen (which I don't like), they are at least also shown to be evil and are prosecuted as crimes. 'The New Normal', while maybe not as directly explicit as 'L&O', portrays something far more damaging in the long run: it will show gay marriage and homosexuality in general as harmless, normal and morally acceptable. That's likely where KSL's judgment call came from. Yes, showing explicit violence isn't good, but describing harmful and deadly behavior as harmless and normal is far worse even if you don't actually show it."

So that's what it really boils down to, I guess: "Law and Order: SVU" is okay because the sex crimes and violence are portrayed as bad.  "Fear Factor" must be okay because people eating testicles and cow bile and bobbing for chickens' feet is just all in good fun.  "Two and a Half Men" is okay because the sexual exploits and promiscuous activity  of the two leads is heterosexual.  But because a loving and monogamous relationship between two people of the same sex is seen as sinful and evil, but is being portrayed as normal and acceptable, that somehow makes it more inappropriate.  

If KSL really wants to adhere to the family values they supposedly espouse, they shouldn't air half the stuff they air.  I've seen enough adultery and off-color jokes on KSL to write a book.  Just admit it: it's a double standard, and KSL certainly isn't the only entity in the world guilty of it.

All this having been said, I had a chance to preview the pilot episode of "The New Normal" this morning, and I found it more offensive for its stereotypes and lack of good humor than I did for anything else.  There were a few touching moments, but I found the show "meh."  I'm not sure why gay people are so often portrayed as snarky and catty.  (Well, I take that back: I know a lot of gay people who are exactly that, but it doesn't represent me.)  I also found one joke about abortion kind of unnecessary.  I felt it made light of the subject a little too much, but that's just my opinion.

The jury's still out, but while there were a couple of moments I liked, overall the show didn't impress me much.  It was only the pilot, though.  Maybe it will get better.  But currently it's not a show I would go out of my way to watch - not because it portrays a gay couple in a positive light, but because I just didn't find it all that entertaining or funny. 

Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha make a cute couple, though.

Monday, August 20, 2012

This Anti-Gay Culture Has To Stop!

Sorry I haven't written in a while.  I've been busy with acting projects and some freelance writing I've been doing for an online marketing company.  I guess that's a good thing that I am busy and working, but I just have been too exhausted to blog.

My current acting gig ends in three weeks (and, yes, I am counting the days) which means I will soon get too weeks with Jonah, after which I have another six week gig.  It's great to be working, but I sure miss my husband, which is why I actually decided not to audition for any Christmas shows so that I can actually spend the holidays with Jonah for a change.  We'll both be unemployed, but I really feel it's what I need to do, and I'm keeping faith that we'll be covered financially

What I really want to talk about today is this culture that leads people to believe it's wrong or a bad thing to be gay and the damage that it does.  This week I found out something about a friend of mine that I went to high school with.  When we went to school together and I was deeply, so very deeply, in the closet, I always thought my friend seemed gay.

We lost touch after high school, and years later when I worked as a substitute teacher I reconnected with him when I substitute taught for him.  He was, by all accounts, a very popular and well-loved teacher.  He still seemed very gay to me, so I was kind of (sad?) to discover a photo of him and his wife and kids.  He'd followed the traditional Mormon path, and I wondered if he was happy and fulfilled, but I shrugged it off.

This week I discovered that after 12 years of teaching at the same school, he'd resigned a few months ago after the police questioned him about some inappropriate texts he'd exchanged to a male student soliciting sex.  The police also discovered pornography unrelated to the texts on his school computer.  The pornography in and of itself was not illegal, but because it was on school property, it was.

I have little doubt my friend is guilty of the charges.  Interestingly enough, I also have a friend who's in my current show who was once my other friend's student, and he said he, himself, after he had graduated, was a recipient of an inappropriate text from the teacher asking my friend to perform a sex act on him.

My actor friend, who's straight, but who liked and admired my teacher friend very much, was not offended by the text, but was concerned that my teacher friend was acting out in an unhealthy and potentially damaging way, and when he text back telling my teacher friend that he should talk to somebody about his sexual inclinations, my teacher friend wrote back and tried to dismiss the whole thing as a joke or a misunderstanding.

My actor friend also said he was not surprised by the allegations concerning my teacher friend, saying that my teacher friend had always been maybe a little too chummy with some of his male students.

That being said, I don't think my teacher friend has ever crossed the line beyond innuendo or inappropriate communications with his students.  I mean to say that, as far as I know, he's never had a sexual relationship with any of his students.  Still, as a teacher, he should have known better than to even send inappropriate messages to any of his students.

But I guess my point is that it makes me sad that my friend has risked his career, his reputation, and his family because of his actions, and I wonder if being gay was considered a normal, acceptable life in LDS culture if my friend would have felt the need to marry his wife at all or to seek out ways of satisfying his same-sex cravings.

This week I also came across a fellow gay Mormon blogger who wrote of possibly committing suicide, and a day later another gay friend of mine who grew up Mormon posted similar thoughts on his Facebook status.  At this time, I don't know how either of them are or if they are alive and well.  And I am worried. 

Jonah was worried enough about the blogger that he felt inspired to write Josh Weed, who I have talked about before, and Josh wrote a very heartfelt plea to the blogger and many of Josh's readers have sent words of encouragement as well.  Hopefully, our blogger friend is okay and will find the help he needs.

My Facebook friend has had a history of drug problems and has had a difficult relationship with his mother and, like I said, I don't even know if he's still alive.  I wonder if all these issues could be avoided if there wasn't such a stigma in LDS culture (as well as other religious cultures) over being gay or acting on gay feelings.

Another dear friend of mine was telling me a story the other day about a gay friend of hers who went to Seven Peaks water park with some friends simply to have a good time.  Instead they were bullied by some homophobic guys who called them names and physically threatened them.  My friend was so upset by this, and while she wasn't blaming the LDS Church for what these homophobic guys did, the incident did make her tired of being so passive about defending gay rights and made her second-guess her membership in a church culture that creates antagonism against gay people.

My friend hasn't been active in some time, and gay rights issues has been a large reason why, but now she is considering formally resigning from the Church, and I feel sad that the Church loses a lot of good people because of this issue.  My friend even expressed anger that the Church had excommunicated someone like me.  She said, "You're somebody who actually makes Mormonism look good to me still, and yet they kicked you out, and that pisses me off."  I know Jonah feels the same way.

I have another friend who's family kicked him out because he was gay.  He now doesn't even seem to believe in God.  And he's no exception.  I know many friends raised in the Mormon Church who have antagonistic feelings toward their families, religion, and God because of the way they have been treated with regard to the issue of homosexuality.

I have another friend who's active in the Church, but losing faith in it largely because of the homosexual issue.  She's really struggling between wanting to remain an active member and how she feels about gay rights issues.  She is also bothered that her tithing is going towards an organization that actively fights against gay marriage.  Will the Church lose her, too?

Because of this issue, too many good people are losing faith in God and faith in religion.  Too many families are being torn apart.  Too many young people are homeless or taking their own lives.  Too many people are acting out in inappropriate ways - doing drugs, engaging in dangerous or promiscuous sex, drinking too much, viewing pornography, hooking up behind their spouses' backs, etc.  Too many people are entering into marriages hoping it will fix their problems, and then so many of those marriages are left in heartache and destruction.

It has to stop!  I've seen more problems than good result from the Church's stand on this issue, and I fail to understand the "sin" in monogamous gay relationships.  I really don't see it.  Heaven knows every gay person I know, including myself, feels that being gay was never a choice, and that trying to not be gay caused more problems and damage than coming out of the closet and embracing their homosexuality has.  Unfortunately, what has happened is that their experiences within the Church have left the residual consequences of damaged self-esteem, a lack of belief in (and sometimes a hate) for religion and God, depression, family estrangement, and acting out in unhealthy and destructive ways.  Anti-gay people sometimes put the blame on being gay, but I think a lot of it comes from how the gay person's religion and culture has treated them and what they've taken away from it.

I've been lucky in many ways.  I had very good and compassionate religious leaders and a supportive and loving family, but many of my friends have not been so lucky, and while many are happy, religion has left a bad taste in some of their mouths, and I think it's sad that the very people and organization that are supposed to be loving and nurturing them have left them feeling empty and unloved.  And I, too, have certainly had my years of depression, self-loathing, angst, and feelings of suicide.

There is nothing wrong with being gay or two people of the same sex loving one another.  I fail to see the sin.  I don't see how mutual love can be wrong or wicked, and as I've stated many times in my blog, I am much happier where I am now than I was when I was trying to fight against my sexuality.

The sooner we stop believing homosexuality is wrong or evil, I think the healthier gay people and their families and relationships with God and religion will be.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

How 'Bout A Side Of Civility With That Chikin?

I've pretty much had it with this whole Chick-fil-A brouhaha.  Hordes of people lining up for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.  Gay people holding kiss-ins.  Employees, both gay and straight, caught in the middle of it all.  Vitriol and name-calling from both sides.  It's gotten ridiculous.

Oh, and then there's this douchebag, whose supposedly on my side, harassing this poor employee who's just trying to do a good job and support herself in this crappy economy and who shows far more dignity and grace than this self-righteous blowhard:

 As a gay man who is very much in support of same-sex marriage, I am enormously offended by this ignoramus and his actions.  Harassing this employee does more harm to our cause than good and just makes gay-rights activists look like a bunch of insensitive jerks.  I can assure you that this particular man does not represent or defend who I feel I am as a gay individual (nor do the graffiti artists who vandalized a Chick-fil-A in Torrance, California with a picture of a cow scrawling the words, "Tastes like hate").  I believe in mutual respect and civility, and Adam Smith and the vandals in Torrance showed neither, in my opinion.

While I strongly disagree with Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy's views on gay marriage, I also believe he has as much right to voice, share, and own his own views on the issue as I do.  I also think he must take responsibility for the consequences of those views, whether positive or negative.  I also believe that those who don't wish to give their money to Chick-fil-A have every right to boycott them and those that do want to give their money to Chick-fil-A have every right to patronize that business if they so desire.  Some of my fellow gay brothers and sisters may disagree with me on this, but I also think if somebody wants to buy a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A, it doesn't necessarily mean that they hate gay people.  It might mean that they like chicken.  However, If they do love gay people and thoroughly know and understand the anti-gay causes to which Chick-fil-A donates money, perhaps it will make them think twice about giving their money to that business.  But if they do want to continue to eat at Chick-fil-A, I'm not going to unfriend them on Facebook or in real life as some of my other friends have chosen to do.  I hardly think I'll be building any bridges of understanding that way.

I do think the name-calling and disrespect and generalized misunderstandings and assumptions and stereotypes on both sides of the issue need to stop.  They are counterproductive.  I think people can disagree on issues without being disagreeable, disrespectful, or rude.  I don't think you can ever sway someone to your side of the argument if you treat them in an uncivil and unkind manner.

Believe it or not, not all Christians hate gay people.  I'm a Christian and gay, and I like myself very much.  Not all people who disagree with same-sex marriage are homophobes or hate gay people.  I have many friends who don't support same-sex marriage (a couple of them who, in fact, are gay themselves), and I still very much feel their love for me even if we disagree on this issue.  Not all gay activists are intolerant (although some certainly are as intolerant as the people they're railing against) nor are all those who are troubled by the idea of same-sex marriage intolerant.  And not all people who eat a chicken sandwich or work for a company that produces chicken sandwiches are "haters".

I know this is an emotional issue that causes feelings of anger and resentment on both sides, but I don't feel we will ever make progress in understanding each other's views if we resort to name-calling, stereotyping, and vitriol rather than healthy dialogue and showing more love and compassion towards one another, even when we disagree (especially when we disagree).  Allowing emotions to override reasonable discourse will never be successful at swaying someone to your side.  It is admittedly challenging, but I think when we get so locked into our own mindset that we fail to try and see things from another's point of view, we do ourselves a great disservice and progress between opposing factions is stifled.  Before we ask what the other side needs to do to change, we should ask ourselves what we can do personally to foster an atmosphere that will be more conducive to progress.  We can and will disagree, but even in doing so I think we can at least try to be more understanding and compassionate.

Just my opinion.

On the lighter side, here's Jon Stewart's take on the debate:

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
ast Feud Nation - Chik-fil-A Appreciation Day
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I love his last quote: "Take solace in this.  Gay marriage is happening.  Like many drive-through window lanes, it ain't going backwards, and your bonus is this: You get gay marriage, and all your political opponents are going to get is type-two diabetes."

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

I Don't Suppose Mr. Lamont Ever Asked To Be On That Pedestal

I had this teacher in junior high.  He was actually one of my favorite teachers in junior high and, really, in my scholastic life.  We'll call him Mr. Lamont.  Mr. Lamont made learning fun, but also made us work hard.  He cultivated creativity and rewarded excellence.  He did not put up with mediocrity.

You have to know that in junior high, I was kind of a weird kid and very much a nerd and an introvert (all of which are probably still true).  Mr. Lamont was my first period of the day, and I would show up easily a half hour before class even started and just hang out in Mr. Lamont's room.  He would let me read his Far Side books and is actually the person who introduced me to the genius that is Gary Larson and The Far Side.  Sometimes Mr. Lamont would listen to his short wave radio.  I really liked him and am always grateful that he reached out to a somewhat socially awkward kid like myself.

Besides the Far Side and the shortwave radio, I have some very distinct memories of Mr. Lamont.  I remember his class was social studies, and we learned a lot of geography in his class, and actually his class gave me a great interest in geography and geopolitical affairs.  I remember he would ask us various questions about topics we were studying, and if we answered correctly, he would throw us candy (or one day it was oranges (Cuties, I guess they were - the small ones)).

I remember an assignment we were given to create a commercial for something, and I did one on cereal that I was so proud of and which also was kind of brown-nosy, and he was unimpressed and said it was a typical commercial and that there wasn't much in it that was different from regular advertising.  At the time, I was kind of crushed by his assessment, but the truth is, he was absolutely right, and it taught me to be more creative and visionary.

I remember he was a super BYU football fan, something in which I had little interest.  But I remember some teachers who were Utah fans "kidnapping" a BYU teddy bear he kept in his closet, and he was not amused.

I remember my brother had gotten illegal cable from a friend of his, and I happened to mention this to Mr. Lamont, and he got pretty serious about the legal ramifications of it, and I was so afraid I had gotten my brother in trouble.  Mr. Lamont didn't do anything about it, but it did teach me about the importance of ethics and following the law.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Lamont's class, and I still consider him one of my favorite teachers and felt he was very effective and influential in my education.

I was kind of excited when I came across him about three years ago on Facebook and messaged him to let him know just how much he had influenced me and what a great teacher I felt he had been to me.  I was pleasantly surprised when he messaged me back and was even more surprised that he remembered very well who I was.  In his words, I was "kind of an odd, but likeable kid."  True, that.

We became Facebook friends, and I discovered that we couldn't be on more opposite sides as far as our political ideologies and personal interests.  That's fine.  I have plenty of friends on both sides of the political spectrum as well as in between, and I try not to get too wrapped up in letting it affect our friendships.

Well, I guess the other day he said some things that caused some of his more liberal friends to attack him.  I have no idea what was said, but I do get the impression it was in relation to this business with Chick-fil-A's CEO's comments against gay marriage.  I really haven't gotten involved in the Chick-fil-A brouhaha.  I don't eat there anyway, and the owners and runners of Chick-fil-A can believe what they want, and the people who don't want to support them can do that, too.  It's no skin off my nose either way.  I have bigger battles to wage than whether one ought to boycott Chick-fil-A or not.

But in response to his liberal friends' attacks, Mr. Lamont's posted a rant in which he said the following:


Let's recap, shall we?

1. Chick-fil-A president says he supports the Biblical version of marriage (a man and a woman) and that he does not view "same-sex 'unions'" as marriage.

2. Every idiot in the US with nothing to do except get their views from Bill Maher and Louis Farrakhan immediately screams, "HATER!"

3. My point remains the same: why is it that when someone that is NOT black, or hispanic, or homosexual, or violently liberal, or transgender,or an albino mutant lesbian with webbed feet, states their VIEWPOINT, their OPINION (in other words, exercises their constitutional right to FREE SPEECH): why is it that when someone like me, that really understands what tolerance means, when we express our opinion, and it doesn't EXACTLY "toe the Party line", why are we "haters"? When you cretins on the Left side of the aisle told me, on a daily basis, how stupid George Bush was, or when you tell us in the media, on a daily basis, that white Americans are racist and intolerant and homophobic (another laughable term), why are we not allowed to disagree? Yet if I say that Obama was (and is) too inexperienced to be President, I am instantly branded a racist. When I say that I do not agree with the idea of same-sex anything, I'm called a homophobe. (Parenthetically, what could I possibly be afraid of? That I would get nailed with a man-purse?)

When labels ("Hater!" "Racist!" "Homophobe!" "Right-winger!" and so on) because the only answer you have for someone else's viewpoint, you have lost the ability, no, the WILL to reason and think on your own. You have now entered the world of animals: yeah, some of you are as cute as the dickens, but you're not any smarter than the dog next door. I love dogs, but I learned a long time ago that the conversations with them are fairly one-sided. (See Exhibit A, below).

If you wish to communicate or get in touch, please, by all means, use my personal email...But don't look for me on Facebook. To quote Howard Beale (Network, 1976): "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore."

Now I don't care if he's against same-sex marriage or if he supports the Chick-fil-A CEO's right to disagree with same-sex marriage.  Truth be told, I think the CEO has a right to believe whatever he wants to believe and that the company has a right to support whatever causes they want to support.  It's a free country.

Nor do I disagree with Mr. Lamont's right to exercise his freedom of speech or in his right to believe that Barack Obama is too inexperienced to be an effective president.  I also agree with his perspective that when people disagree with each other, they often toss off unfair labels or generalizations or cause their arguments to become ineffective due to their name-calling or regurgitating someone else's talking points as their own.

All of that is fine.  No, what bothers me about Mr. Lamont's post (which, admittedly, was written in a fit of annoyance or anger) is his assertion that he is somehow more tolerant than the people he is railing against.  His argument loses credibility when he tosses out the same generalizations and stereotypes he is supposedly railing against.  But I guess it's okay for him to do it since he is defending his own side.

So those who disagree with him are "idiots?"  Those who have a different viewpoint than him only got there because they're getting their information from the likes of "Bill Maher and Louis Farrakhan?"  And while I think the terms "racist" or "homophobic" are thrown around too much in situations that probably do not warrant them (just because someone disagrees with same-sex unions or makes a politically incorrect observation about race doesn't necessarily make them racist or homophobic (although they may well be)), at the very least my former teacher has shown a great deal of insensitivity to race and homosexuality and liberalism in his post.  I don't think terms such as "violently liberal" or "albino mutant lesbian with webbed feet" or "cretins on the Left side of the aisle"  or calling the term "homophobic" "laughable" or the use of such a cheap stereotype of a joke as "what could I possibly be afraid of? That I would get nailed with a man-purse?" (I cringe re-reading it) or accusing those who disagree with him because they throw out such labels as "Hater," "Racist," "Homophobe," and "Right-winger" as having the intelligence of the lower animals of the world help buoy my former teacher's credibility.  

How does his doing exactly what he is accusing the same people on the liberal side of doing helping his argument?  It isn't.  He's no better than the people he's railing against because he's doing exactly the same sort of name-calling as those he's upset with.  He's sunk to the same level.

Again, I don't care that Mr. Lamont believes what he believes.  I don't care that his viewpoints are diametrically opposed to my own.  I don't argue his right to disagree with me or his other liberal friends.  I don't even disagree with his assertion that the attacks and name-calling from his liberal friends are counterproductive.  No, what disappoints me is that he sunk to the same level as them in doing the same thing, and therefore his rant has just as little weight as the very attacks he is decrying.

At the very least, he comes off as insensitive and intolerant; at the most he perhaps does betray feelings of racism and homophobia.  I don't know that Mr. Lamont is either racist or homophobic, but this rant doesn't do anything to defend the accusations that he might be.  

His own nephew wrote in response to his rant: 

I am completely shocked and somewhat speechless. Tolerant?? You have insulted SO MANY minority groups with this post, including the one I belong to. That is NOT tolerance. You believe that I, your sister's son, do not deserve the same rights as my friends and family who identify as straight? That is fine and dandy, you are entitled. But don't call people who disagree with you Idiots, and don't say that we lack the ability and will to think on our own. I don't think I've ever been as disappointed with anyone on my mother's side of the family as I am right now. 

I kind of echo the sentiment.  Mr. Lamont still remains one of my very favorite teachers and I will always be grateful for the influence he had on my education.  I never wanted to lose respect for him.  But I have.  I once had such admiration for this man.  Now I just feel disappointment - not because of his political or social views; not because we disagree on certain issues; not because he believes different things than I do - no, I am disappointed in his hypocrisy and in his being the very intolerant and name-calling type of individual he is lambasting in his post.

"Hey, Kettle.  Pot called.  You're black."