I'm kinda pressed for time, so I'll do what I can in 15 minutes.
The other day, I discussed with my students in our Language & Society in the Middle East class under what circumstances do we call someone an asshole (or a bitch, in most cases where the person named is a woman; but that's for a different post). Well, luckily, I got an e-mail today from Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign, which gives us a perfect example of a person worthy of this epithet: one Pat Boone.
In an article written by the country singer, he writes: "Hate is hate, no matter where it erupts. And by its very nature, if it's not held in check, it will escalate into acts vile, violent and destructive." Ironic, isn't it? For he's referring to the alleged hate - and "intolerance" - of protesters of California's Proposition 8. Or as many, including myself, have come to call it, Proposition H8.
This week's Newsweek (and its website even more so) has some great pieces on the absurdity of the claims made, mostly by religious zealots, about homosexuality being prohibited, immoral, what have you. Solmonese warns us that "Boone's rhetoric – painting LGBT people as a threat to society – [...] leads to the very real hate violence directed against LGBT people every day." I don't know for a fact that there is a cause-and-effect relation between hate speech such as Boone's and actual physical hate crimes, but it is not implausible. I hope most people just see Boone as the asshole that he is, and don't take any of his bullshit seriously.
But maybe I'm being naïve.