Saturday, February 24, 2007

He Hates Gay People - The Banality of Evil

He's honest and he hates gay people. Former NBA great, Tim Hardaway, was as blunt as one can get when interviewed 10 days ago by Dan Le Batard (hear the full audio here).

The reaction around the league and elsewhere has been interesting to follow, some of it no doubt stemming from political correctness and not so much from ethical principles. Hardaway himself, first stood by his remarks, but later apologized when it became readily apparent that he would suffer financial and personal consequences because of his remarks.

What struck me most in listening to him was the casual and direct way that he spoke of his hatred. There was nothing in the tone of his voice to indicate any moral ambiguity at all. He didn't even display any special passion when discussing his hatred. It was all banal. In fact, it was reminiscent of the anti-Semitic language of the fascists of the 1920s and 1930s. "Jews are money grubbing. Jews make me uncomfortable. Jews killed Jesus, you know..." and so on. Before the Final Solution, you would have been hard pressed to find Nazi officials who were particularly vehement and outspoken in their hatred of Jews. After all, it was official policy and every normal person just knew that Jews were inferior to the Aryans.

Is the comparison justified? I think so, or I wouldn't have made it!

After all, homosexuality is the defining moral issue of our times. More than any other issue (it even beats out abortion and evolution on the agenda of the neoconservatives), gay marriage, gay adoption, and homosexual rights are where the lines in the sand get drawn. And I'm used to passionate debate with good friends and family members about the issues. It can get very heated very quickly.

But what I can honestly say distresses me more than anything else surrounding this debate is the banality and unequivocal, matter-of-fact certitude of people like Tim Hardaway. It scares me that there is no hesitation, no second thought, no reticence. Sure, we can satirize Hardaway (as George Takei did hilariously), but he is representative of a very large percentage of the American, and possibly Canadian, public. That group of people frighten me. They do not rant and rave. They don't wave their Bibles in your face. They don't pull you to your knees asking for God's forgiveness. They merely know they're right and you're wrong. They know gays and lesbians are unworthy of equal rights and should be discriminated against. They just know it. What's wrong with you?


Anonymous said...

Why do some people in Canada circulate a disgusting e-mail titled, "Cancel my smart car order!"?. It's actually a rebadging of car crash photos involving someone's Volkswagen Crossfox crushed in a head-on collision with a transport truck. Included in the set of photos is the gruesome aftermath of the car's occupant, now removed from the vehicle, and showing in explicit detail that he was severed in two, right across the middle.

These people, who are forwarding the e-mail, are sometimes aware that they're making a technical mistake in associating the crash photos with a smart car, and will send them anyways for their own amusement. But more importantly is that their sense of editorial took a leave of absence by including the horrifying secondary photos. They send them anyways, not considering that sending this to friends, family, or colleagues is effectively an act of violence and would not comply with most people's or organization's code of conduct.

One doesn't have to be a celebrity to bring to light their hate. They just have to be someone -- anyone -- who doesn't give a damn.

Don Spencer said...

You're right, of course, about the crassness of some people. The example you give is something that I'm particularly sensitive to since one of my close relatives is the proud owner of a Smart Car.

Publishing like that is morally repellent.