I was the conservative columnist for a newspaper that, according to the New York Times, has had double digit growth each year for the past decade while the rest of the newspaper industry is gasping for last breaths. Why is the triCityNews so successful? The paper aggressively ignores putting any content on the web.
I bring that up to explain to you why I can’t link to a column I wrote there last week. I have to reprint it below.
I wrote a column that I perceived was about public decorum and humility. The hate mail about me the paper printed this week called me a homophobe. Ow.
Now that might come as a surprise to some of the folks at Ricochet, since I’m building a reputation here as one of those conservo-libertarians who argues for marriage equality (my main point being there should be no government involvement, but if there is, it should be the same for all). It’s surprising then that I would be called a homophobe. Not that those who oppose gay marriage are homophobes – they certainly are not – but at least I appear to be more on the side of gays than the rest of America.
I’m asking you folks at Ricochet to read below and tell me if what I wrote is homophobic. There is a paragraph that references transvestites, but as I understand it, not all transvestites are gay (the root word being “vest” as in clothing).
I thought I was referencing a choice of behavior (what clothes to wear), not an innate quality. Seeing gay men doesn’t bother me, but I have to admit it – seeing guys in dresses gives me the willies. Tell Lady Gaga I was born this way.
There are lots of public behaviors I think lack humility and decorum. I don’t like scantily clad women in churches and restaurants, but I’m not commenting on their sexual orientations when I object. Other public behaviors I detest are acts of obnoxiousness, vulgarity, foolishness and atheism, but that doesn’t make me a bigot. I’m commenting on chosen behavior.
I understand some men are naturally effeminate. If it’s natural it doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t mean they are gay, either. They could just be European for all I know.
But “acting” bothers me. When a man acts effeminate on purpose, I think it is fair to comment on his attention-seeking performance. He’s being too “proud,” which is a sin after all.
The focus of my column wasn’t even on this subject – it was about public displays of vulgar art (if you can call it art) in Asbury Park. This one line about transvestites seems to be the focus of the criticism.
Being self-critical is hard. It often requires the help of a friend. So tell me Ricochet, after reading below, am I a homophobe?
Here’s the column:
If There Is Nude Art On Cookman Avenue, Then Ernesto Cullari Needs To Be Fired
When I was the Justified Right columnist in triCityNews for 8 years, I made sure that Asbury Park was a family values town. Cookman Avenue was once so puritanical in couture that men who worked at Steinbach’s Department Store were required to wear suits and women weren’t allowed to wear pants (as it should be).
When I turned Justified Right over to Ernesto Cullari, I also handed him a City where parents could shop with their children. Bawdy and salacious weirdness was kept hidden in places like The Empress Hotel after 2 a.m. and Rainbow Room columnist Steven Froias’ bedroom.
So last weekend I thought it would be nice to take the wife down to the monthly First Saturday celebration on Cookman Avenue to enjoy a lemonade and an old fashioned leisurely shopping stroll.
It completely slipped my mind that President Teleprompter had declared June a gay celebration month, which I guess means “Gaypril” on college campuses is no longer enough for them. That also meant there was a Gay Pride parade in Asbury Park the next day (isn’t “Pride” one of the 7 deadly sins?). I guess that’s why there were so many guys wearing women’s dresses and wigs Downtown. At least they were formally attired.
But when we walked into a Cookman Avenue museum, that’s when my suburban sensibilities were offended. After moving quickly past all the nude pictures, I was then assaulted by macramé penises and bejeweled vaginas that jettisoned from the walls. I need to go to confession just for writing those words. They made Asbury Park look like Caligula’s bedroom or Anthony Weiner’s twitter account.
That museum should thank Providence I didn’t have my daughter with me. I would have wrecked the joint like Jesus turning over the moneychangers’ tables in the temple.
This is Ernesto Cullari’s fault. Justified Right is not supposed to be just the bully pulpit of Asbury Park conservatism, it’s also conservatism’s nightstick.
This never would have happened on my watch. When I was stewarding family values in Asbury Park as the Justified Right columnist, I made sure breasts, penises and vaginas stayed covered as God intended since the fall of Eve. Children were welcomed in Asbury Park when I was here. If I were still here, there would have been a padlock on that museum door before First Saturday, a ceremonious burning of their literature and their space re-leased to a Christian reading room.
Clearly the latest influx of pervert “artists” to Asbury Park needs some Bible reading on humility. Try Psalm 147-6: “The LORD sustains the humble and casts the wicked to the ground.”
And if the LORD isn’t in the mood to cast the wicked to the ground, Justified Right is supposed to do it.
What’s with the juvenile fascination “artists” have with nakedness and sex anyway? Is it really such a mystery to them? True art is beautiful because it moves the soul and mind to places fresh, unique and unclaimed. Why show us our own body parts and functions that 6.5 billion people already see every day? That’s not art – it’s voyeuristic pornography. It doesn’t belong in a mile square city that boasts 40 churches. Which reminds me – why aren’t the 40 churches boycotting this smut? Do I have to do everything?
Now I have to bring back my proposed city ordinance that Asbury Park businesses be required to hang a placard on their door with movie ratings like G, PG, R and NC-17. Or in the case of that museum, “Closed.”
So Ernesto – I’m coming back 4th of July weekend, and as usual I’ll be surrounded by a bunch of kids, who Asbury Park was made for. Make sure the only nuts we see are the salted variety sold by Mr. Peanut.