“Wag the Fag”

 by Perrin Blackman

I didn’t invent the phrase.  But it got your attention!  So before you freak out at the headline, understand that I am exercising my right as a lesbian to speak truth to power.  I support queers.  I’ve campaigned for transgender rights at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.  I’ve screamed at Fred Phelps and reported him for child abuse for forcing his grandkids to hold signs that say “Fags Burn in Hell.” My favorite cartoon as a kid was Underdog!

I gave you a juicy headline because my community is being exploited by corporate America.  Every day there’s another inflammatory story designed to incite anger and generate clicks.  This week it’s: Kansas Restaurant Kicks Gay Man Out, Tells Him “No Gay Eating Here”

Many of these stories are either based on specious facts or completely fabricated, and yet they spread like wildfire.  In this case, it was a poorly written satire piece that people believed.

Meanwhile, the real stories about real queers go unnoticed.  Like this one:

 Amy

 My pal Amy drove all the way from Minnesota with her wife to stand in Topeka’s 15 degree weather to protest the proposed bill 2453 that is so broadly worded that it could allow restaurants and businesses in Kansas to refuse service to gays.

Here’s another unsung hero: Kristie Stremel.

 kristie stremel2

Kristie is a real live Kansan who wrote a beautiful song and illustrated it with pictures of local LGBT couples.  It’s not spit-shined; it’s real.  There is no corporate sponsor.

Sadly, even after asking my 265 Facebook friends to repost Kristie’s video, I got more likes on a picture of some cats in a box.  Why?  Because it isn’t Click Bait.  Not because it isn’t newsworthy. Not because it isn’t good.

You watched the YouTube, now here’s the money shot:  http://kristiestremel.bandcamp.com/track/its-enough

Didja click?  Or do you want to see a picture of some cats in a box? catsinabox

That’s how we vote these days.  But sometimes it all just gets to be a little too much.  How to know what’s legit and what ain’t?  Reality and Truth merge into such a nasty mass of whatthefuckism that I just want to curl up in a fetal position and put a blanket over my head.

Today, a friend posted this question:

cantalope

Actually, according to Ryan Holiday, author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, I already pay for this service.  My pageviews, reposts, likes and comments all fuel the media machine.  I pay for it by allowing myself to be fed a diet of tabloid journalism and stories that are intended to provoke “outrage, self-righteousness, and titillation…”

And yet,

and I’m coming to my main point here….

And yet, I still wasn’t sure for a moment whether the story Kansas Restaurant Kicks Gay Man Out, Tells Him “No Gay Eating Here” was real.

I was pretty sure it wasn’t TRUE, but I couldn’t tell if it was REAL.

Could a journalist really be that stupid? Are news stories really this ungrammatical and poorly researched now?

I dug around a little, but after about 5 minutes, I got lazy and asked for help from one who has a nose for these things.

So here, for your amusement, is an email exchange between Michelle Shocked and Yours Truly.

Hope you enjoy it!

My Initial Email

On Wed, February 26, 2014 4:14 pm, Perrin Blackman wrote:

 Here’s an interesting situation:

 http://topekasnews.com/kansas-restaurant-kicks-gay-man-tells-gay-eating/

 I can’t tell from the story if it’s true or not. I posted a request on my Facebook to see if anyone could identify the diner and see if it’s true. My hunch is that it’s a bunch of crap with a photoshopped image. The reporter only interviewed one person  (the alleged victim).

Michelle’s Response

“Topekas News”?!?

You can’t tell if the story is ‘true’ or not? Mon Dieu!

 

The grammar alone should be your first clue. Can you spot the stupidity in

this sentence: “a place where he and Boltzman had occasionally ate over the past 6 years.”

 

Did you look at the other stories on the page? Putin and Snowden in a hot

tub together? People used to enjoy laughing at the rubes who bought the

Sun and the National Enquirer for being such losers. I guess as long as it

has a rainbow on the lead, it’s good enough for those well-educated

erudite progressives…

 

I double dog DARE them to name the actual diner where this alleged

outrage took place.

 

Here’s the bunny trail:

http://themoderatevoice.com/191769/sullivan-arizona-protects-freedom-to-discriminate/

http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showthread.php?t=281650

http://tribuneofthepeople.com/2014/02/21/kansas-restaurant-kicks-gay-man-out-tells-him-no-gay-eating-here-topekas-news/

http://believervsnonbelievers.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/kansas-restaurant-denies-service-to-gay-couple-until-they-find-god-and-the-bible/

 

And the author, Haywood Bynum III?? Puhleeze!

http://topekasnews.com/author/haywoodbynum/ It says he is “leading the charge of faith at Bible Fellowship Church” but when I searched, all I came up with was

http://www.fbctopeka.com/our-leadership He’s nowhere to

be found unless you want a Pennsylvania congregation: http://www.bfc.org

 

Help us, Jesus… I’m telling you, Karl Rove is behind all of this!

karlrove

So, yeah, it’s a fake, and the comments below the article verify the fact, but this little fake article just got 49,000 LIKES!  People believed it.

Here’s the monetary bunny trail:

  • clicks mean pageviews
  • pageviews mean ads
  • ads mean money

It’s that simple.  Right or wrong, truth or retraction, this kind of exploitation seizes our attention and structures our political debates.  And gets us ready for another election year. wag

I read an article in Harper’s magazine once called “The Numbing of the American Mind” in which the author stated that Americans “refuse to believe that reality has become indistinguishable from fabrication.”

Today, I’m a believer.

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