2012-03-07 / Columns
Million Moms on warpath about gay life in Riverdale
I don’t know for sure what I’ll be doing next weekend, but I know one thing I won’t be doing. I won’t be going to Toys “R” Us, because the social activist group One Million Moms wants us to boycott the chain on account of the fact that it’s selling the recent “Archie” comic featuring a gay, interracial marriage in Riverdale, the fictional community where they live.
As a spokesman from OMM explained, children shouldn’t be exposed to issues like gay marriage in a toy store because “this is the last place a parent would expect to be confronted with questions from their children that are too complicated for them to understand.” The sentence is a tad vague in that it doesn’t clarify whether the questions would be too complicated for the children, or the parents answering them, but there you are. This is the same group, by the way, that recently called for a boycott of J.C. Penney because of its association with talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, who is a lesbian and in a same-sex marriage.
So count me in, One Million Moms. I’m not spending a penny at Toys “R” Us until they burn those disgusting comic books in their parking lots and the company CEO submits to a public scourging in the lobby of the corporate headquarters, administered by a particularly muscular member of OMM, while her offended, and apparently confused, children look on.
I’m totally lying about that, by the way. I haven’t been in a Toys “R” Us for years, but that’s because I don’t have any young ’uns to buy toys for. When we buy gifts for the littles in our life, we usually give books. But the next time I find myself in need of a Big Wheel, I’ll make it a point to buy it from Toys “R” Us — not because I support the notion of same-sex marriage (which I do) — but because it will give me pleasure to stick a metaphorical finger in the eye of OMM for manufacturing this ridiculous controversy in a crass attempt to get publicity for their latest vitriolic, homophobic witch hunt.
So far, there’s no word from Toys “R” Us, but I found the statement by Archie Comic Books CEO Jon Goldwater restrained, erudite and utterly damning to those making the protest: “Riverdale is a safe, welcoming place that does not judge anyone,” he said. “It’s an idealized version ofAmerica that will hopefully become reality someday. We’re sorry the American Family Association [with whom OMM is associated] feels so negatively about our product, but they have every right to their opinion, just like we have every right to stand by ours. Kevin Keller [one of the participants in the marriage] will forever be a part of Riverdale, and he will live a happy, long life free of prejudice, hate and narrowminded people.”
I wonder if that’s too complicated for the folks at OMM to understand.
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In New Jersey, and other states wrestling with high unemployment, huge budget shortfalls, deteriorating infrastructures and crippling taxes, we think we’d be happy and feel safer if we could get even a little relief. But would we? Not if we look at my old home state ofWyoming, which has no state income tax, a 5.8 percent unemployment rate, a $1 billion budget surplus in 2011, and more than $14 billion in various trusts and savings accounts that earn it another couple of billion a year in interest — all thanks to mineral severance taxes. If you had all that going for you, you’d have to worry about keeping it — and that’s why the state legislature spent so much time last week talking about doomsday.
On Feb. 24, House Bill 85 passed the Wyoming House of Representatives on first reading by voice vote. As initially proposed, the bill would launch a study about what the state should do in case of a complete economic and political meltdown in the United States. Its sponsor, state Rep. David Miller (R-Riverton), said he didn’t anticipate any immediate cataclysmic collapse, but it doesn’t hurt to be ready. Several other lawmakers agreed.
“I don’t think there’s anyone in this room today that would come up here and say that this country is in good shape, that the world is stable and in good shape — because that is clearly not the case,” state Rep. Lorraine Quarberg (R-Thermopolis) said. “To put your head in the sand and think that nothing bad’s going to happen, and that we have no obligation to the citizens of the state of Wyoming to at least have the discussion, is not healthy.” They agreed so wholeheartedly that, according to the initial stories, they (I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP) added amendments to look into the state issuing its own currency, the conditions under which the state would institute its own military draft, raise an army, purchase some strike aircraft, and obtain an aircraft carrier. Where they’d park an aircraft carrier in a landlocked Rocky Mountain state would be problematic. “If we got an aircraft carrier, we’ll need a bigger lake,” said. Gov. Matt Mead.
It turned out later in the week that the aircraft carrier and strike aircraft amendments had been added as a “poison pill” by representatives who thought the whole thing was stupid, and the bill was narrowly defeated by a 30-27 formal vote.
“I guess a lot of people think if you’re trying to prepare for a disaster, it makes you seem crazy,” co-sponsor Kendell Kroeker said after the defeat. “I was interested in it mainly because I don’t think there’s any harm in being well prepared.”
So that’s it for now, but mark my words: Knowing these folks as I do, it will be back! And eventually, they’re gonna need a place to park that aircraft carrier. Potential revenue opportunity for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey? Magic 8 Ball says YES! I’m thinking a $1.5 billion-a-year dock rental, which would include haulage fees and shrink wrapping at the end of the season.
Gregory Bean is the former executive editor of Greater Media Newspapers. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.