God, I love Big Hollywood.
Orson Bean, one of those blacklisted conservative actors, has a long and rambling story about how his donation to Prop 8 resulted in the terrors of the New McCarthyism being visited upon him. Warning: harrowing journey ahead!
Now we jump ahead to today. Prop. 8 is on the ballot: marriage should be between a man and a woman. (Jerry Brown had rearranged the wording to confuse the issue, but that’s what it meant.) I agree with that proposition. What’s ideal for kids is to have a loving mom and dad. I know a lot of people don’t think so. They put the rights of the grown-ups first. Or they say two women or two men are just as good. Or a single parent. In New Jersey, judges have ruled that a same-sex couple or a single person applying to adopt must be given the same place in line as a married man and woman. I think that’s bad for kids. This makes me homophobic? I’m in show business. Half the people in my life are gay. I’ve attended two same-sex wedding ceremonies this year, one of them for a cousin. I wish them all the happiness in the world. But the law has to uphold what’s ideal.
Besides the fact that this is the most incoherent defense of anything I’ve ever seen (if the point of law is only to uphold ideals, we’re going to be outlawing virtually everything, which is a wee bit…fascist), it’s also bigoted. Denying someone a right based on a prejudice towards something that you feel is better, with no compelling rationale that would justify the belief, is bad. Bad actor! Bad!
So I sent some dough in to support Prop. 8. It never occurred to me that I was asking for trouble. I was. The L.A, Times outed me on their web site. I received pictures of swastikas and photos of the Ku Klux Klan in the mail. The theater company I belong to was threatened with a boycott so long as I remained a member.
[edited out his calling up a lesbian woman who wrote him a letter]
Other emails did not include a phone number. They told me they’d do their best to see that I was through working in the business. So, here we go again. It isn’t called McCarthyism when it’s done by people on the left to people on the right. But it’s just as vicious as it was in the fifties and sixties. People are being deprived of the right to make a living because they contributed a few bucks to a political cause.
Well, here’s the problem: McCarthyism was government action taken against private citizens who appeared to deviate from an acceptable standard of patriotism. Almost as if various government officials had decided that their role was to “uphold what’s ideal”. McCarthyism is not private citizens taking their money, voluntarily given, away from other private citizens who do or say bigoted things to them. You have no “right” to have people come see your shows or eat at your restaurant, because we live in a free country. McCarthyism was so terrible because the government interfered in the lives of private citizens without cause and punished them in ways that it had no right to do.
If someone doesn’t want to pay to watch you act because you supported the dissolution of their rights, tough shit. You aren’t a victim – you’re an idiot for thinking that you’re entitled to someone else’s money after you told them that you don’t really think they’re people. You don’t shit in your friend’s bed and then demand to sleep on the couch.