Late Night Surfing: Allergic to…Penis?

At 2:34 in the morning the last thing any of us needs to be doing is perusing conservative/religious right websites. It is certainly the last thing I ought to be doing…or ought only to be doing with a glass of tennessee mash on the rocks to accompany me. Sadly, there’s no No.7 in my apartment and I’m surfing with only the aide of some yummy cupcakes JPR baked.

I’m trying to remember how I even arrived at these pages. Oh yes, it all started with an attempt to put a new profile on my oft-neglected-in-favor-of-facebook myspace page. Somehow I was looking through my friends and saw the “We’re Not Backing Down” photo on NARAL’s page. From there, I googled the WNBD campaign run by NARAL to see what the latest was, and then I found the following disturbing sites. Actually, no, I found MANY disturbing sites, but I’ll highlight two because it’s about all I can handle.

First things first. I have a handful of conservative friends (shocker!) that I love dearly. I have no beefs with conservatism or religiosity when they are arrived at in an intellectual manner. What I have a major problem with is parroting — as in people just mouthing off in totally ignorant ways.

Second things second. As a background note, the WNBD campaign was begun as a “photo petition” led by NARAL-Pro-Choice America as a response to the lack of support in Congress for a bill that would repeal the Global Gag Rule. More info on that will follow, but I know that right now you want the juicy stuff.

1) Exhibit A: Liberals are Fugly (and we’re so smart that’s the only argument we can come up with)

When googling for the WNBD campaign I came across a number of sites criticizing the campaign and NARAL in general. But one, in particular, piqued my interest. It offered viewers a chance to provide captions to some of the WNBD photos. The approximately 145 submitted photos can be viewed publicly on Flickr, but these individuals downloaded the photos and offered them up to their readers to provide such witty captions as:

“They look like they’re allergic to penis”

“Is this an advert for NARAL or the local dog show? (Nah, dogs are MUCH better looking)”

“They look like thay can’t back anywhere…without the reverse warning signal (beep, beep, beep) going off.”

“Maybe it’s just my opinion, but as ugly as most of them are, I’m surprised they can find a guy to sleep with them in the first place.”

“Most of them are probably man hating lesbians.”

Wow. If I had a nickel for every time a woman making an argument, or hell, just a woman existing, was debased because of her appearance. What an original tactic! And SO smart! But what really gets me going is that these captions are in response to the campaign, which is aimed at raising awareness about the GGR. So, one of the commentators, who actually feigns intelligence, comments that NARAL supports genocide and that women supporting this (I assume, I can’t really follow the logic) are supporting genocide across the world.

Sidebar, your honor? The GGR is essentially a rule that pulls ALL US aid from foreign NGOs that provide family planning services across the world if they use any of their funding to provide abortions, provide information about places to get abortions, or lobby to make abortion illegal for cases other than rape/incest/health of the mother. The kicker is that let’s say an NGO receives 25% of their funding for family planning services (including such basic services as annual exams, pap smears, and birth control) from the US and the other 75% from private foundations. If they allocate ANY of the money to educate about or provide abortions (perhaps a portion of the 75% that doesn’t come from the US) then they lose ALL US funding. In a nutshell, the gag rule (so named for its power over limiting free speech) does far more to HURT women than it does to help them. There’s a very useful website documenting the impact of the rule here.

So, these captioneers missed the point. Completely. It’s not about abortion, it’s an argument about moral relativism and whether the US (i.e. the Bush administration) has the right to pull funding for a clinic that provides a wide variety of necessary and essential services for providing or even educating about abortion.

But, believe it or not, it gets worse.

2) Exhibit B: The KKK was bad but…

I’m seriously getting repulsed even writing about this. One of the commentators on the aforementioned captioning site offered up this *fascinating* website through the oh-so-creative segue abortions-kill-more-americans-than-terrorists line of argument: www.religionofpeace.com. Sounds like an ok site, right? Turns out, this site is masquerading as an anti-terrorist site (which is all well and good) but turns out breeding far more hate and ignorance than anything I’ve seen in quite some time. While perusing the “about this site” in order to try and figure out what the hell was going on on that webpage I came across this gem in the description: “For Westerners and others who ask, “Who are Muslims and why do they want to kill me?” we hope to provide answers. “

The site also provides a “Jihad Tracker” that actively tallies people killed in the name of Islam. The entire thing is beyond disturbing. They also draw comparisons to the number of people killed by the KKK and the Spanish Inquisition as if to say, yeah, that was bad, but THIS is really bad.

Apparently, relativism is the running theme for both of these sites. “What we do might be bad, but what you do is way worse.”

Oh, I’m left with nothing to do but tug at my hair and lay my head down from sheer exasperation. Ignorance may be bliss, but what do we do when ignorance is lethal?


3 Responses to “Late Night Surfing: Allergic to…Penis?”

  1. January 20, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    VALERIE! I heat you, sista and heart you, too. We just have to be persistent and have the most awesome sense of humor! You know who you can come to when you need to rant ;). At least the anger will keep you warm the winter.


  2. January 20, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    By “heat you,” I meant “hear you” …

  3. 3 Danielle
    January 27, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    I’m sorry. Can we just focus on the most important issue… I’m talking about viagra here. All this pregnancy/birth control stuff is really irrelevant. I think we all know that the most important thing is that the penis works properly… I mean, I’ve never heard anyone argue against viagra. Actually, I think they give it out free these days.

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