Thursday, December 15, 2005

And Now To Destroy Any Potential Good Will...

This morning NPR aired a story about a boycott of American Girl products by the Pro-Life Action League. The boycott comes as a result of a charitable donation from American Girl to Girl's Inc, which the League claims condones lesbianism and promotes abortion. Normally this story wouldn't have raised an eyebrow with me since it's standard Holiday-time fair - not only is it the season to be jolly (bah! humbug!) but 't'is also the season to be self-righteous. However, a clip from the executive director of the PLAL, one Ann Scheidler, describing her objections to Girl's Inc provoked a slightly more severe reaction than mere eyebrow-raising:

As a friend of mine pointed out, if you baked a batch of brownies with sugar and eggs and all kinds of good stuff and you put just a teaspoon full of dog-poo in there, who's gonna want to eat'em?

"No she didn't," I thought, "she did not just make an analogy between tolerance of lesbianism and dog-poop. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? When are these people going to learn that you don't 'condone' being a lesbian any more than you 'condone' having 5 toes on each foot?" I was about to smash my clock-radio in disgust when I realized she had described exactly how I feel about public discourse when this new crop of busy-body know-nothings participates. For example, visit the Girl's Inc website and you won't easily find anything which either supports abortion our condones (or even mentions) saphic-pleasure-related-program-activities.

In regards to abortion, what you will instead find is a description of a program devoted to preventing adolescent pregnancy. While a component of the program includes both reproductive health services and contraception, neither of these is code for "abortion", unless somehow "making sure you, including your sexual organs, are healthy" has taken on meanings beyond the obvious ones. I'd really like to ask Mrs. Scheidler "where ya getcha information from?" but I don't have to. If you google "girl inc abortion" you discover that this story is paradigmatic of the Wingnut Echo-Chamber: Some wingnut makes the claim, it gets passed around to all the usual wingnut sites, and because the same phony claim is made in so many places wingnuts pretend it's true - and then some good-hearted journalist thinks it's a story. In this case, though, the echo-chamber has one too many feedback loops. The claim which Mrs. Scheidler makes originates with...the Pro-Life Action League.

On the lesbian front, a google search of "girl inc lesbian" will lead you to some of the same wingnut articles, as well as a few porn forums. If you refine the search to "girl's inc. lesbian" you will actually find one document (warning - pdf) on the Girl's Inc. website which is a broad annotated summary of girl's health and sexuality issues and it does contain one small section relating to homosexuality. In that section, they offer statistics which ought to scare anyone. No, not that 80% of all girls are being brainwashed by liberals into becoming lesbians, but that lesbian teenagers are 3 times as likely as their heterosexual peers to be threatened with a weapon at school. The section closes noting that girls who recognize their orientation at an early age have generally high self-esteem. While this could be construed as "condoning lesbianism", it could just as easily be construed as an attempt to provide accurate information to parents so they can make good decisions. Like it or not, some children, maybe even yours, will be born homosexual. Knowing how that effects their upbringing and their lives might just be helpful to you as a parent.

None of this will matter to the Scheidlers of the world. In Wingnut-Land dispassionate dissemination of useful information is just too much dog-poo in their brownies if it doesn't condem something they wish didn't exist. It's the same rhetorical twitch in so many fronts. "You don't condemn something I disagree with, so you must be for it!!!!!" If only life were that simple.

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