Of Boomerangs and Roosting Chickens...
Well, despite my worst fears, I find that the Staten Island Advance actually went ahead an printed my Letter to the Editor concerning a whining crybaby upset that he could not see Brokeback Mountain in local theatres.
What was even more shocking was the vitriolic response by someone who signed his letter "Jim Smith", in which I was described as a "hater" and a "self-loathing, closet-homosexual" (How he arrived at this conclusion is beyond me; according to a gay guy, I guess, anyone who disagrees with a gay is simply fighting a losing battle against his own gay impulses. Go figure!). Simply because I disagreed with him.
Isn't that wonderful?
Lesson learned: reasonable discourse in America is dead. It has been since the 1970's and only now are we realizing it. Write a letter to the editor pointing out that local theatres are under no obligation to show a film that they either find unprofitable or not worth the trouble of showing (because of the controversy and because they run counter to community standards) and get tarred with the epithet "hater".
I find it amazing that the Advance, in the same week that I wrote my letter, wrote a story on just why local theatres did not show this film. The short answer (which occupied half a page of newsprint): we can't make a dime on it. So, I was vindicated.
However, there are those of us out there in the great unwashed public who will cling to our preconcieved notions now matter how ridiculous and infantile. "Mr. Smith" and others of his ilk, just can't believe it. They believe that since a movie has been graced with the Golden Globe or mentioned in Academy Award blurbs, that such distinctions should override common sense. If I was a theatre owner and a movie that had been nominated for either of these awards still managed to make less money than your typical panhandler, I'd start to wonder whether or not such awards acually reflect public acclaim. I'd start to wonder if they were merely the rantings of a closed segment of society who live in a different dimension than regular folks.
So, "Mr. Smith", you can call me all the names you wish. You can castigate me in the most vile language in your limited, politically-correct vocabulary, and I will not care. You can impugn anti-homosexual conspiracies to the most mundane of everyday situations, and still, I wouldn't give a tinker's cuss. Because at the end of the day, I know that I'm right, and that you're just a pathetic, sick individual.
But what's more important tham Me and Mr. Smith is the premise that disagreement doesn't have to descend into the sewer. Unfortunately those who claim to practice "tolerance" and "fairness", and who claim to be "intellectuals" have very little idea of what those words mean.
It becomes apparent after you logically, and civally, rebuke their arguments. Instead of conceding the point or perhaps acknowledging that they were wrong, they instead launch into a stream of invective. Invective that is usually delivered in a spittle-flying, foaming-at-the-nouth, inteded-to-be-as-viscious-as I-can-hurt-you-on-a-personal-level vitriol. Once you crack the thin veneer of their civility and even thinner crust of their intelligence, they have no weapons left in the arsenal except name-calling and stereotyping.
And the phenomenon has permeated every level of American society. It exists in politics, academia, business, athletics, media, and if you stuck around long enough to listen for it, probably in your grandmother's nursing home.
In the case of "Mr. Smith" and his ilk, there's hope; they engage in behavior which will not result in procreation. That's a small blessing. For the rest of it, it will require a concentrated effort by those civally0minded to let our politicians, newspaper editors, teachers, et. al., that such behavior is not acceptible, nor will we continue to pay for it.