Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Michael Savage, gays & building the rationale for genocide

By Diane Silver

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I'm gay. When I heard what radio host Michael Savage told his listeners about us, I was chilled to the bone.

No matter what motivation led Savage to say these things on Monday, the result is simple. What he is doing is creating the rationale for the destruction of me and my people.

If his listeners believe him, then at some point shouldn't they consider imprisoning us, or even worse?

Could we call such a thing genocide if it ever happened? I don't know, but I do know that genocides are built on statements just like Savage's.

Media Matters reported Savage's attack.
And I want to tell you something, and I'm going to say it to you loud and clear. The radical homosexual agenda will not stop until religion is outlawed in this country. Make no mistake about it. They're all not nice decorators. You better get it through your head before it's too late. They threaten your very survival. They went after the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is now caving into the homosexual mafia. They will not stop until they force their agenda down your throats. Gay marriage is just the tip of the iceberg. They want full and total subjugation of this society to their agenda. Now, if you want that and if you don't think it's a threat -- believe me, that is what's going to occur in this country.
I have to agree with Andrew Sullivan that the importance of this quote becomes clear if you substitute the word "Jew" for "homosexual."

Savage's words remind me far too much of what I learned in 2000 when I interviewed several social psychologists at the University of Kansas. The story was published in Catalyst Magazine and is long gone from the web. However, I still have a copy.

KU Professor Chris Crandall's studies are the most relevant to Savage's quote. Crandall studied the influence of social norms and leaders on prejudice and people's actions.

"People report almost exactly the amount of prejudice that the culture tells them is OK," Crandall told me.

The role leaders play is crucial, he said. With their actions and rhetoric they can either discourage prejudice or promote it. Ethnic groups in Yugoslavia and Rwanda had not only tolerated one another, but also had lived together peacefully for years until suddenly the norms changed. Leaders began to openly promote intolerance, even encourage discrimination against certain groups.

"When that happened," Crandall said, "the population changed its behavior very quickly."

I can't say how much of a leader Savage is. But if his listeners believe him, what will they do? Will they see themselves in a life and death struggle with me because I threaten their "very survival?"

Yet, all I'm doing is getting up, going to work and going home. I see my son once a week for dinner. I'm planning Thanksgiving and the celebration of my son's 21st birthday. I don't want to hurt anyone. I certainly don't want to take anyone's religion away, but what happens if people believe what Savage says?

5 comments:

Pamela K Taylor said...

This is just outrageous!

Of course, one might expect it from the likes of Michael Savage, but still, the harm that can come from this kind of rant is unimaginable. I could easily see it being the impetus that pushes some one over the line from mere hatred to taking action against a gay person. (As if people needed any incitement for that!)

This kind of inflammatory talk show commentary is something our society needs to come to grips with. Sensationalism sells, but when sensationalism becomes mainstream, we need to start worrying about what is wrong with our standards. Commentary like this shouldn't have millions of people listening along nodding their heads, but rather millions of us calling Mr. Savage and his bosses/advertisers on his program demanding responsible commentary, rather than divisive, emnity creating and reinforing diatribe.

Diane Reem today on her program on NPR was talking about al-jazeera and how comcast may boycott it, and how some subscribers were saying they would drop comcast if they carried it. Diane made a very impassioned case for the need to hear other opinions, to listen to one another, not necessarily to agree, but at least to give the other person the benefit of the doubt and to approach them with the assumption that they may have something worth hearing, rather than tossing aside their opinion a priori as worthless.

I couldn't agree more.

Pamela

PS I suppose it's pretty obvious I think Savage is way off base. I've got lots of gay friends and not one has ever tried to convince me to be gay, or in any way threatened my way of life. Puh-lease!

Diane Silver said...

Pamela,

Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

I don't believe in censorship -- and I don't believe that's what you're suggesting. But short of that, we do have to figure out how to deal with people like Savage.

Chris Crandall's perspective is revealing. What I think it means is that it is more important than we thought for all of us to speak out about the truth. That's why it's so important for people to speak out against fag jokes and to stand up to bullies like Savage and Fred Phelps.

Gary Bachman said...

Driving home from work I'd run into heavy traffic. Seeking a report on the road ahead I flipped over to AM radio and discovered Michael Savage. I'd heard him before but he was in a particular hostile, racist, and imflamatory mood this evening. When the commercial break came on, I pulled out a pad to list and later contact the advertisers. Following a guy selling windows was the Republican candidate for governor for the state of Kansas.

The next day I fired off messages to every e-mail address I could find on the candidates and the state republican partys web site. I never heard from the candidate. The state party chair did contact me and excused the advertising saying "We just buy a lump of air time and they (the radio station) put our adds where ever they want. It's not a big deal" Now isn't THAT the kind of accountability we want representing us?

On the positive side Chuck Ahner the republican candidate for the 3rd district congressional race wrote to say he was equally offended when he learned of this through my e-mail and that he also thought the advertisements placement was inappropriate and would seek to chance the arrrangement.

You can contact advertisers and the FCC to file complaints. Not every uttered word is necessarily appropriate for the public airwaves.

Diane Silver said...

Good strategy, Gary! Well done. That's yet another great way to fight folks like Savage.

Anonymous said...

Subject: Contact Michael Savage, one of the leaders of Hate Radio – January 2007

You may be one of the hundreds of people who’ve called the Savage Nation radio talk show to make a point and been abruptly cut off in mid-conversation. You can continue your thoughts in writing. Contact Michael “Savage” using his real name and address at:

HOME:
Dr. Michael A. Weiner
111 St. Thomas Way
Tiburon, CA 94920

THE SOCIETY HE CREATED AND SPONSORS:
Dr. Michael A. Weiner
c/o The Paul Revere Society
150 Shoreline Hwy, Bldge E
Mill Valley, CA 94941

WORK:
Dr. Michael A. Weiner
c/o KNEW
340 Townsend St.
San Francisco, CA 94107

HIS LAWYER:
Dr. Michael A. Weiner
c/o Ian K. Boyd of Harvey Siskind Jacobs LLP
4 Embarcadero Center, 39th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

HIS FAMILY’S COMPANY:
Dr. Michael A. Weiner
c/o Rockstar, Inc.
101 Convention Center Drive, Suite 777
Las Vegas, NV 89109

HIS FAMILY’S COMPANY:
Dr. Michael A. Weiner
c/o Rockstar, Inc.
P. O. Box 27740
Las Vegas, NV 89126

E-MAIL:
michaelsavage@paulreveresociety.com