Jason Collins Is No Hero; Mark Bingham Was

 

Last night, I got “virtually” smacked in the face by one of my loyal Twitter followers. He’s also a gay conservative, but he was much more excited by the “coming out” of Jason Collins than I was.

My Tweep asked, in no uncertain terms, why was I so negative when “good things” happened to gay people. I was taken aback at first and thought about it a bit.

I responded that maybe it is an “age thing.” You see, I’m old enough to know black people who weren’t allowed to eat in the same places I did. And if they tried, they’d see the hurtful end of a water hose and German Shepard.

I just can’t get excited about Collins’ news. Big deal. He had nothing on the line. His “coming out” benefits no one but himself. If a ton of endorsements were in jeopardy, or if his spot on a team were in doubt and he came out anyway … well, then that would be impressive.

Let’s be honest: Collins is an uber-wealthy and talented super athlete in our celebrity-obsessed society. I doubt he has much to worry about outside of his bubble. So I’m sorry if I can’t get worked up about this.

But my friends’ words haunted me all day. Was I always rejecting gay heroes? Perhaps the problem is who the gay community chooses to hold up for praise: Barney Frank, Dan Savage, Rosie O’Donnell. These people aren’t heroic, they are attractive meme-advancers. All three are quite mean human beings, I might add.

Are there no gay heroes that I can be proud of? Yes, there is one that immediately comes to mind.

One man sat in the back of an airplane and risked his life so that hundreds or thousands more might live. No one knew he was gay until he had helped bring down Flight 93 over Pennsylvania.

Today, most young people think Lady Gaga is an important gay icon and political influencer, yet hardly any have ever heard of Mark Bingham.

I don’t begrudge Jason Collins; I loathe our news media for making the important irrelevant and the ridiculous praiseworthy.

There are 86 comments.

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  1. kylez Member

    Lavaux: 15% unemployment, 105% debt to GDP ratio, an out-of-control political class pillaging the benighted few who actually pay federal taxes, an incoherent foreign policy endangering or estranging allies while encouraging enemies… and you’re enraptured by gay athlete openly discussing his sexuality. Drudge reports that 42% of Americans polled by ABC about Obamacare don’t know it’s law, but I bet this 42% know about Collins, and I bet most of them voted for Obama (assuming they know who he is, what voting is, and how to do it).

    Since America seems to mean nothing to so many of you, what’s the point of going on?

    Depressingly correct, but isn’t this a really fitting comment for a liberal site? I can’t imagine most Americans are enraptured by some previously unheard of gay athlete. But the cultural elites are. America seems to mean nothing to so many of them. 

    • #1
    • May 1, 2013, at 2:07 AM PDT
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  2. Cato Rand Reagan

    Well said.

    • #2
    • May 1, 2013, at 2:38 AM PDT
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  3. Profile Photo Member

    Hear, Hear!

    • #3
    • May 1, 2013, at 2:46 AM PDT
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  4. Augustine Inactive

    Bruce (and anyone else who cares to chime in),

    Who do you think is braver, Jason Collins or Chris Broussard? Serious question.

    • #4
    • May 1, 2013, at 2:49 AM PDT
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  5. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Cattle King: Bruce (and anyone else who cares to chime in),

    Who do you think is braver, Jason Collins or Chris Broussard? Serious question.

    Whose job is in greater jeopardy?

    • #5
    • May 1, 2013, at 2:51 AM PDT
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  6. Cato Rand Reagan

    Chris Broussard’s job is in greater jeopardy. I don’t think either is particularly brave, but if I had to pick one, it would be Jason Collins. (What some will call “bravery” from Broussard I have a different word for.)

    • #6
    • May 1, 2013, at 3:01 AM PDT
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  7. Knotwise the Poet Member
     

    Bruce Carroll: Perhaps the problem is who the gay community chooses to hold up for praise: Barney Frank, Dan Savage, Rosie O’Donnell. These people aren’t heroic, they are attractive [italic s mine] meme-advancers. All three are quite mean human beings, I might add.

    · 27 minutes

    Good post, but I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that any sense of the word “attractive” can be applied to Barney Frank or Rosie O’Donnell.

    • #7
    • May 1, 2013, at 3:04 AM PDT
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  8. Mollie Hemingway Contributor

    I don’t want to downplay the importance of a professional athlete coming out as gay but I do bristle at how casually we throw around the word “hero.”

    And I’m downright ashamed that I’d forgotten Mark Bingham’s name. His story and bravery is inspirational and I wish we’d remember to honor his memory more.

    • #8
    • May 1, 2013, at 3:08 AM PDT
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  9. Leslie Watkins Member

    I could not agree with you more Bruce. Cheap grace is what I’d call all this attention to this fellow, who clearly seems to be eying a comfy next career.

    • #9
    • May 1, 2013, at 3:18 AM PDT
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  10. Fricosis Guy Listener

    Funny how Mark Bingham dropped into the memory hole. Lots of talk about he’d change the image of LGBT…then I guess war heroes got unpopular.

    I’ll never forget the four patrons of United high-milers. You don’t want to mess with us…we’ve been tested by the worst torments that United Airlines and the Death Star Alliance can throw at us.

    • #10
    • May 1, 2013, at 3:23 AM PDT
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  11. DrewInWisconsin, Thought Leader Member
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: I don’t want to downplay the importance of a professional athlete coming out as gay . . . .

    I do. Why is it important?

    • #11
    • May 1, 2013, at 3:29 AM PDT
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  12. Knotwise the Poet Member

     

    DrewInWisconsin
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: I don’t want to downplay the importance of a professional athlete coming out as gay . . . .

    I do. Why is it important? · 0 minutes ago

    I think athletics is one of the last frontiers for the GLBTQ community to completely conquer. Along with rap/hip-hop (and country as well, I guess), it’s a segement of our popular culture that hasn’t overtly sung the praises of the rainbow yet.

    • #12
    • May 1, 2013, at 3:35 AM PDT
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  13. Solon Inactive

    I liked it more when Anderson Cooper came out of the closet because a) no one really cared (at least in my world), and b) everyone kind of knew already. 

    One of my heroes is my gay friend who wrote this book: http://www.amazon.com/blush-unbelievably-absurd-beauty-junkie/dp/1477508813

    My other heroes are conservatives that ‘come out’. That takes real courage. 

    • #13
    • May 1, 2013, at 3:38 AM PDT
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  14. Augustine Inactive
    GayFreedomLover: Chris Broussard’s job is in greater jeopardy. I don’t think either is particularly brave, but if I had to pick one, it would be Jason Collins. (What some will call “bravery” from Broussard I have a different word for.) · 29 minutes ago

    So why is Jason Collins braver? Society isn’t just moving in his direction, it is sprinting. Meanwhile, ESPN feels the need to distance itself from the opinion voiced by Broussard. Your own reaction is telling. It will not be long until the basic Biblical teaching about homosexuality will bring about persecution. My wife and I are already having conversations about whether I will someday be fired from from job because my views on sexuality will be deemed hateful and against public policy (I teach at a public university). Meanwhile, as South Park anticipated, being gay will be cool.

    BTW, not to totally dismiss Jason Collins, I do think that when a really good male athlete in a team sport comes out as gay, that will have some element of bravery to it. The macho culture of sports will have difficulty with male homosexuality. 

    • #14
    • May 1, 2013, at 3:41 AM PDT
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  15. BrentB67 Inactive
    Knotwise the Poet:
    DrewInWisconsin
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: I don’t want to downplay the importance of a professional athlete coming out as gay . . . .

    I do. Why is it important? · 0 minutes ago

    I think athletics is one of the last frontiers for the GLBTQ community to completely conquer. Along with rap/hip-hop (and country as well, I guess), it’s a segement of our popular culture that hasn’t overtly sung the praises of the rainbow yet. · 13 minutes ago

    And this matters why? 

    I thought we were a nation of ideas and freedom, not singing the praises of over the rainbow to a small group of citizens based on their perceived injustice and oppression.

    • #15
    • May 1, 2013, at 3:51 AM PDT
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  16. BrentB67 Inactive
    DrewInWisconsin
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: I don’t want to downplay the importance of a professional athlete coming out as gay . . . .

    I do. Why is it important? · 21 minutes ago

    I second the motion of the gentleman from Wisconsin.

    • #16
    • May 1, 2013, at 3:51 AM PDT
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  17. Herbert defender of the Realm,… Inactive

    Whose job is in greater jeopardy? ….

    Probably Broussard, using religion to support his anti gay viewpoint is liable to offend some.

    • #17
    • May 1, 2013, at 3:55 AM PDT
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  18. Crow's Nest Inactive
    GayFreedomLover: Oops, got time warped. Can’t they fix that?

    It’s just a jump to the left. And a step to the right.

    Bruce Carroll: Today, most young people think Lady Gaga is an important gay icon and political influencer, yet hardly any have ever heard of Mark Bingham.

    Couldn’t agree more, Bruce.

    I suspect the reason that Bingham gets forgotten is because his homosexuality wasn’t what defined him. His courage was. He was a courageous man who happened to be gay. And that’s simply not acceptable among some wings of the gay Left wherein one’s whole identity is supposed to be wrapped up/subsumed by one’s erotic inclinations.

    • #18
    • May 1, 2013, at 3:56 AM PDT
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  19. Aaron Miller Member

    Don’t forget Rob Halford. Man, I didn’t see that one coming!

    • #19
    • May 1, 2013, at 4:15 AM PDT
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  20. Barbara Duran Member

    As a friend of mine exclaimed earlier today: “The President of the United States of America publicly congratulating a citizen for revealing his sex life!” What have we come to?

    • #20
    • May 1, 2013, at 4:30 AM PDT
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  21. Rawls Inactive

    Insofar as Jason Collins’ coming out encourages LGBT youth to be more comfortable with who they are and not kill themselves (their rates are many times that of their straight peers), I think the objective definition of hero applies.

    • #21
    • May 1, 2013, at 4:36 AM PDT
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  22. Profile Photo Member

    Blame the culture. If it’s true that Jason Collins is gay, then it’s true. It’s the culture that makes a big deal about it, though it is at least noteworthy considering the paucity of known gay male athletes in the major sporting leagues. (Why noteworthy? Because you don’t see it everyday.)

    If you don’t like the story, don’t follow it. It’s a free country. Until a few days ago, I barely remembered that people paid money to watch basketball games.

    At the end of the day, the only thing that is going to matter is whether gay athletes help their teams win games. This is tempest in a teapot and we all soon get on with our lives.

    And if the term “hero” is thrown around too much, it has almost always been thrown around too much. I don’t even like the term “tragic hero” since most of those characters aren’t really heroic. I suspect that boat sailed several centuries ago.

    • #22
    • May 1, 2013, at 4:39 AM PDT
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  23. Fake John/Jane Galt Thatcher

    I have many heroes. Some are or maybe gay. I have never considered sexuality an aspect of bravery or for that matter a person. Some of these heros may have brown hair. Should I celebrate that?

    • #23
    • May 1, 2013, at 4:40 AM PDT
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  24. Scott Abel Member

    The whole gay marriage question, IMO, is a war lost.

    I got clued in a couple months ago, when an American gay, a very cool guy that I respect highly, working on HIV (a terrible problem unique to the Baltic States because of factors that aren’t relevant to this post), told me he had been married. MARRIED. You might have hit me with a chuck of wood when that tumbled out.

    He got married to a women, who apparently is bisexual in grad school. They did so to share the financial burden of health care. They divorced after 7 years when filing 2 different tax forms became burdensome.

    He also told me of stories of U.S. military people that get married to appear straight, and get the benefits. I blinked heavily.

    • #24
    • May 1, 2013, at 4:44 AM PDT
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  25. Barbara Duran Member

    I’m a Mollie admirer too, so I’m also eager to hear why she thinks it important when a professional athlete declares he is gay. To me it should be wholly unimportant to all but his family and friends, particularly in a culture where homosexuality is rather enthusiastically approved by the media, the entertainment industry and our lawmakers. He risked very little.

    I suppose it would have been courageous 50 years ago, but most individuals then had the dignity not to discuss their sexual orientation in public.

    • #25
    • May 1, 2013, at 4:51 AM PDT
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  26. Foxman Inactive

    It has been said, by a black gay man, that being gay is tougher than being black because you don’t have to tell your mother you’re black.

    • #26
    • May 1, 2013, at 4:52 AM PDT
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  27. Xennady Inactive

    Well said, Bruce Carroll.

    I’ve never heard of Jason Collins until today and I expect I will forget I had ever heard of him by this time tomorrow.

    He did nothing heroic at all, as I figure he had every reason to expect the reaction he actually got.

    That said, and not having any particular interest in the private sex lives of other people, if I wanted to come up with a few gay heroes I’d pick people like Tammy Bruce, Cynthia Yockey, and the guy writing as GayPatriot.

    It takes guts to come out as gay and conservative, not much just to come out as gay.

    • #27
    • May 1, 2013, at 4:53 AM PDT
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  28. Cato Rand Reagan
    Cattle King
    GayFreedomLover: Chris Broussard’s job is in greater jeopardy. I don’t think either is particularly brave, but if I had to pick one, it would be Jason Collins. (What some will call “bravery” from Broussard I have a different word for.) · 29 minutes ago

    So why is Jason Collins braver? Society isn’t just moving in his direction, it is sprinting. Meanwhile, ESPN feels the need to distance itself from the opinion voiced by Broussard. Your own reaction is telling. It will not be long until the basic Biblical teaching about homosexuality will bring about persecution. My wife and I are already having conversations about whether I will someday be fired from by job because my views on sexuality will deemed hateful and against public policy (I teach at a public university). Meanwhile, as South Park anticipated, being gay will be cool.

    I think you understood me correctly. It’s not that I think Jason Collins is brave. Like many here, I suspect it was a considered career move for him. It’s that I find what Broussard said obnoxious, which is just not a characteristic that sits side by side with “brave” very well.

    • #28
    • May 1, 2013, at 5:04 AM PDT
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  29. Cato Rand Reagan
    Barbara Duran: I’m a Mollie admirer too, so I’m also eager to hear why she thinks it important when a professional athlete declares he is gay. To me it should be wholly unimportant to all but his family and friends, particularly in a culture where homosexuality is rather enthusiastically approved by the media, the entertainment industry and our lawmakers. He risked very little.

    I suppose it would have been courageous 50 years ago, but most individuals then had the dignity not to discuss their sexual orientation in public. · 18 minutes ago

    50 years ago he would likely have been arrested.

    • #29
    • May 1, 2013, at 5:08 AM PDT
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  30. Cato Rand Reagan
    Xennady: Well said, Bruce Carroll.

    I’ve never heard of Jason Collins until today and I expect I will forget I hadeverheard of him by this time tomorrow.

    He did nothing heroic at all, as I figure he had every reason to expect the reaction he actually got.

    That said, and not having any particular interest in the private sex lives of other people, if I wanted to come up with a few gay heroes I’d pick people like Tammy Bruce, Cynthia Yockey, and the guy writing as GayPatriot.

    It takes guts to come out as gayandconservative, not much just to come out as gay.

    · 15 minutes ago

    Love GayPatriot. And if you’re gay and come out as conservative, you DO lose friends, I assure you.

    • #30
    • May 1, 2013, at 5:10 AM PDT
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