Monday, January 19, 2009

Krispy Kreem; Mae West and Wingnuttery

Krispy Kreme to Give Out Inaugural Donuts; Right-Wingers Go Nuts | PEEK | AlterNet

"Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. (NYSE: KKD) is honoring American's sense of pride and freedom of choice on Inauguration Day, by offering a free doughnut of choice to every customer on this historic day, Jan. 20. By doing so, participating Krispy Kreme stores nationwide are making an oath to tasty goodies -- just another reminder of how oh-so-sweet 'free' can be."

Sounds good. A free-donut campaign to coincide with Inauguration Day celebrations seems like a tasty promotional gesture.

But Krispy Kreme used the "c" word, and the American Life League is outraged. "The unfortunate reality of a post-Roe v. Wade America is that 'choice' is synonymous with abortion access, and celebration of 'freedom of choice' is a tacit endorsement of abortion rights on demand," the group's president, Judie Brown said in a statement. ALL added, "President-elect Barack Obama promises to be the most virulently pro-abortion president in history. Millions more children will be endangered by his radical abortion agenda. Celebrating his inauguration with "'Freedom of Choice' doughnuts -- only two days before the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision to decriminalize abortion -- is not only extremely tacky, it's disrespectful and insensitive and makes a mockery of a national tragedy."

There are many things one could say about this reaction. "Bizarre" springs to mind. "Contrived" is one other thought. But then something about the page itself struck me, and I realized it was truly a Mae West moment.

In these days of context-sensitive advertising engines, Mae West's observation about publicity is more true than ever:

"I don't care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right."

Actually, it's a gift from God, as far as I'm concerned - and no doubt to the good people at Krispy Kreem, who may well remember just how Florida Orange Juice (Due to spokescreature Anita Bryant's anti-Gay Crusade) became a touchstone for the Gay community in the 70's and 80's. It no doubt contributed to market share on the west coast. Gay activists credit her for inspiring the political activism of the gay movement today - in the same way as the Dredd Scott decision and various lynchings brought about the Civil Rights Movement in a direct line to Martin Luthor King and Barack Obama.

Well, now, thanks to Winguttia, Krispy Kreme may well be positioned to become an iconic snack of pro-choice voters, thanks to human perversity. But even if that doesn't happen, or is simply a passing ironic social comment, it's still worth noting - as a revelatory "tinky-winky moment."

That is to say, a moment wherein someones belief system - or more usually, their beliefs about someone else's beliefs - leads them to say something so utterly absurd that it provokes disbelief and reconsideration of that person's status as an authority about anything.

There's a precept I was taught long ago that can be summarized like this; "that which you accuse others of doing most frequently is what you are most guilty of yourself."

I think it extremely unlikely that Krispy Kreem would be so foolish to try and market their donuts just to "pro-choice" people. In this case it's pretty clear that the word is intended in the usual, English sense - of celebrating democracy and freedom of choice on inauguration day.

Likewise, I doubt very much they were trying to use "subliminal" or "coded language." That is much more the style of the right wing - who in condemning it as vile and deceptive when they see it in others, name it for the manipulative and dishonest practice that it is. Nonetheless, it's Right Wing - and particularly religious Right Wing people - who give the seminars on the practice. They may see it in the harsh light of day as being a little bit wrong - but not nearly so wrong as permitting the easily led to think for themselves! Nor am I being sarcastic in the slightest.

If you deeply, genuinely fear that people, given a choice, will always make the wrong choice because they are inherently evil, then "choice" is a very bad word indeed, and it makes perfect sense to associate that word with as many things you hold to be depraved as possible - if you believe that choice inherently leads to damnation.

This is, in fact, a fundamental tenant of many of the religions nearby or squarely within the Dominionist camp. All persons are evil, are saved only by coercion and self-denial. All things beautiful and pleasurable, interesting and fun are probably, if not definitely Tools of the Devil, particularly if they contain that most lethal of substances - "Ideas."

Speaking of books that contain ideas, you will not find that doctrine in the Bible. You have to do some pretty bizarre contortions and selective readings to come up with it. But it's accepted as Gospel - heh - within the Right Wing Church.

They believe that people, even children and particularly women are evil. By definition. (The Doctrine of Original Sin)

The only people who may not actually be working evil deliberately are your coreligionists. And of course, one of the greatest proofs of being Not Evil is discipline and Obedience to Proper Authority.

You know, people like Ted Haggard or Jerry Falwell. Nor are they exceptional, or "bad apples." They are both pretty typical examples of their sort - grifters, scam artists and profiteers.

The more that I've looked into it, the more I've come to realize that under the rhetoric, the issue of when life begins is immaterial; a mere tactical convenience that allows for visceral emotional, thought-stopping appeals. If that were actually the driving issue, it would imply certain other beliefs and calls to action which either do not exist at all, or do so with little or no support from the hard core "anti-choice" wing; social supports and mechanisms that would make it far easier for women to bring a pregnancy to term and support a child regardless of their personal circumstances.

Couple that to the same people objecting to the idea of birth control measures - even condoms and sex ed - and we realize what the real "choice" they object to is:

The issue is the right to choose to have sex at all, as opposed to an assumed duty to obey someone who's been issued a "fucking licence" by the dual authorities of Church and Male Parent; even when that obedience requires a sacrifice of one's own self interest and individuality.

The issue here is that people are not supposed to have the unquestioned right to choose. Sexual choice in particular; the early church fathers were obsessed with sex to a degree that would point to clinical disturbance in this day and age - but really, the idea of any individual choice is deemed frightening. Consider the practices of various religious orders that exist to make it possible to go through weeks and months, if not years without ever having to make a single, individual decision.

(Religous orders can be good or bad, of spiritual benefit or a system of brainwashing. Arguably, it's difficult to achieve the one without a degree of the other. But it will always turn out for the worse if the practice is accepted from authority as revealed without examination.)

At most, they may expect to have one or two permissible options, but never without the input of an Authority, for - and this is according to the doctrinal underpinnings of right-wing American Protestantism - people are literally incapable of making correct choices without the benefit of "grace," so, those who do not share that faith are obviously, consciously and clearly "of the devil."

By the way, from a theological standpoint, from any reasonable reading of the texts, it's complete nonsense. But it's terribly convenient nonsense, for it makes an authoritarian structure unquestionably necessary for salvation! Disobedience will, absolutely, lead to hell - if you believe the Authorities, who are more than willing to send you there, lest your arguments seem persuasive. Those who disbelieve are either freethinkers - such as myself - or members of various priesthoods. Which one becomes, after actually reading the Bible and the arguments for such silly doctrines really depends on one's ability to stomach hypocrisy in the name of personal advantage and/or "The Greater Good."

That's why it is so important to question authority, to provoke such authorities into making statements; to see if they actually ARE authoritative or are "just playing an authority on television."

As much as I pelt Augustine and Paul with bitter fruit from fallen trees, they had lots of good stuff to say as well. So long as you realize they were human, the products of their time and philosophical context and therefore limited in their ability to give absolutely correct guidance in all matters.

But first, you have to realize that even if the bible WERE the "Inerrant, Literal Word of God," it would still not support such constructs as Reconstruction Theology, Original Sin, Marionism, Calvinism or Augustine's views on the place of women within the Church.

Once you give up the Magic Fairy Dust Theory of Inspiration, the idea that despite centuries of translation, cultural shifts and linguistic difference, the King James Edition is absolutely and literally true, you find that the Bible is one of the more concentrated sources of wise and human advice known to mankind - and that the King James the most beautifully poetic way of expressing it - in the English Language, of course, and In My Humble Opinion.

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