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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Andy at Eleventh Avenue South on Al Franken's Joke About the Murder of a Gay Man


Conservative bloggers are trying to make the case that Al Franken is at the very least a hypocrite riding the coattails of the GLBT community, and at most, a gay-bashing bigot. The GLBT community should embrace those rare and special moments that a Republican or conservative blogger is concerned about GLBT rights and shares thoughtful policy ideas on ending violence against GLBT folks. Is those one of those cases? Sadly, no.

These compassionate conservatives are more interested in Franken-bashing than the welfare of our community. Why else would they feign concern over a 30-year-old joke, while supporting anti-gay marriage amendments, and, in at least one case, be on the payroll of the campaign of a woman who called gay people "like Satan?" If labelling an entire population as intrinsically evil and aligned with the Prince of Darkness doesn't invite derision of the GLBT community, I don't know what does.

But, besides hypocrites calling Franken a hypocrite, what of the joke? It leaves me feeling very uncomfortable. Even with the strides America's made in curbing violence aganst GLBT people, it still happens. It's happened to me, and it's happened to my friends. This joke is a reminder of a time when authorities didn't take this type of violence seriously; back then you could be fined and jailed for being 'homosexual.' Just admitting the nature of the crime opened you up for criminal prosecution. The joke was hurtful, and members of the GLBT community are right in calling for an explanation, although the obviously satirical nature of the joke, coupled with the passing of more than 30 years make a response unlikely.

I'd like to hear Al Franken explain the satire.