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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ian Reisner and the Gaystapo

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In case you missed it amid the feverish coverage of the joke-laden White House Press Conference Dinner Baltimore Riots, hotiller Ian Reisner hosted a dinner with GOP candidate Ted Cruz and then issued what the NRO called a "Craven Apology" as he was innundated with phone calls, emails, and over 8k LIKES on a Facebook posting calling for a boycott.

Here's what Ian Reisner said:
I am shaken to my bones by the e-mails, texts, postings and phone calls of the past few days. I made a terrible mistake. I was ignorant, naive and much too quick in accepting a request to co-host a dinner with Cruz at my home without taking the time to completely understand all of his positions on gay rights. I've spent the past 24 hours reviewing videos of Cruz' statements on gay marriage and I am shocked and angry. I sincerely apologize for hurting the gay community and so many of our friends, family, allies, customers and employees. I will try my best to make up for my poor judgement. Again, I am deeply sorry.
This is from the NRO take on it:
Had Ian Reisner felt like being brave he would have explained that most people have a range of friends, and that it is unrealistic to expect people to socialize and work only with one’s political clones. Instead, he bought heavily into the deeply silly conceit that private events can be “hurtful” to third parties, and thereby loaned some credibility to the mob. ”I sincerely apologize for hurting the gay community and so many of our friends, family, allies, customers and employees,” he said. “I will try my best to make up for my poor judgment.” Again: If this is what Reisner felt that he had to say, so be it. But the rest of us should be clear: Nobody at all was “hurt” by Ted Cruz talking to a couple of gay guys in Manhattan. Not Ted Cruz. Not the couple of gay guys. Not those who read about it in the New York Times. Not anybody.
Neo-Neocon has a dream answer for Ian Riesner. Here it is:
I have a dream. It’s a small one, but it’s mine. I dream that, after reasserting his own pro-gay-marriage position, and describing his support for gays in his business and his personal life, Reisner had stood up for liberty and said something like this:
"But do you understand what you are doing when, instead of just disagreeing with people like Cruz, you demonize them and also demonize and persecute anyone who would give them a forum in which to speak? You are marching down a road that others before you have trod, and it ends in the killing fields where you murder those with whom you disagree. 
You think I exaggerate? Perhaps. But if you study history you will see that most of the movements that end in gulags began in idealism. There are not as many steps along the way from one to the other as you might think. Beware of taking them."
Then, of course, there's Ted Cruz himself. He doesn't support gay marriage, has introduced a bill to make it a state issue, and has called those who would force (or force out of business) people with religious objections to supporting gay marriage fascists.

What About Reisner?
Ian Reisner is a mega-rich gay dude who runs two gay-oriented mega-projects. Out NYC is a straight-friendly hotel that caters to gays and Fire Island Pines which is described as a "gay destination." These are valued together at more than 40 million dollars. The calls for a boycott on them, if sustained, would be of significant business impact.

The NRO notes this--but feels the act of having a fund-raiser in your house should be exempt from the kind of criticism that came down anyway.

What About Hillary Clinton?
Huh? Oh yeah--until, uh, 2013 she also thought gay marriage should be left up to the states. Just like Cruz. And when pressed by NPR to say she didn't really believe that--she was just sayin' it--she stuck to her guns. Shouldn't that disqualify her?

What's Going ON??
What's going on is pretty simple--the fact that people are pretending it's complicated is because various sides are vested in not telling The TruthTM. That's okay: The Omnivore will tell you The Truth. Trust The Omnivore . . . :: swings golden pocket watch :: T-R-UUUU-S-T The Omnivore . . .

The Truth
This is The Truth:
  1. Reisner cares a shitload about Israel. Ted Cruz is pretty damn hard-line on Israel (on the pro-side).
  2. Reisner, although gay, (A) lives in Blue New York where he's not going to run into issues with the law and (B) doesn't seem  to be any too interested in getting married right now anyway.
  3. Reisner runs 40+ million dollars in gay properties. While he lied about not knowing what Ted Cruz thinks of marriage, he did not lie about looking at what a boycott would do to his lifestyle. It's hard to know what he was thinking beyond maybe "No one's paying attention, really."
  4. Hillary may or may not have believed in gay marriage but if she'd told NPR: "Oh, yah--yah. I'm a big-ole liar. I lied with lying when I lied about giving a fuck about gay marriage and states rights--yeah, that was totally a lie" the headline would read: "Hillary Clinton has a lying problem." Hillary may not be a super-genius but she's not stupid and The Atlantic ought to be ashamed of itself. The point is that it doesn't matter what Hillary thought and she knows it: The Democrat's brand can positionally ride the wave of public acceptance of Same-Sex-Marriage while the GOP's brand is capsized by it. For anyone who cares about gay marriage, Hillary is the obvious choice and that her position has "changed" doesn't excuse someone's whose hasn't.
  5. Ted Cruz would flip the fuck out if one of his kids came out as gay. Now, he can say that he'd love-em anyway (and, hey, probably true). He can say any damn thing he wants about his personal inner feelings because until we get an MRI lie-detector working (and that'll be the end of politics and jurisprudence as we know it) no one can argue with him on that. However: Cruz doesn't just "Believe in states rights." No, Cruz is on the record as being anti-Gay-Marriage. It's just that States Rights is the anodyne way to state that today . . . so he's being a brave guy and taking the safe position where all his supporters will know from signaling how he really feels. Unfortunately for Cruz, he's signaling so hard that everyone knows how he really feels which is why if Reisner had met with Jeb Bush it things would have been different. Unfortunately for Reisner, Jeb hasn't pledged to Bomb Iran on day 2 (Day 1 is repealing Obamacare).
  6. But wasn't having a fireside chat with a gay guy a different set of signaling for Cruz? Well, yes, if you believe that some chit-chat has the same impact as being POTUS or passing national laws barring marriage. Then? Yeah--totally symmetrical. Ian Reisner was bein' used: Ian Reisner woulda been part of Cruz's "lot of gay friends."
What else? Oh, yeah: the Gaystapo. So firstly there's little evidence that rich, penthouse living Reisner felt threatened (in fact, while he says he got a lot of flack--and boy did he--he has not said he felt threatened or scared. He didn't even have to, like, move out to his summer home in Acapulco or anything. Reisner isn't immune to bullets--but he's also not the kind of guy you can just scare with a phone call). 

Secondly he, uh . . . he caters explicitly and despite what his Out NYC hotel says on the tin, kinda exclusively to gay people. The idea that marriage rights and all the social-signaling that goes with it might not be a big deal to them is just head-in-the-sand stupidity. 

What about the purges of Stalin? Yeah . . . let's talk about that.

The Gays And Lefties Are Organized!
The Omnivore knows a guy who has said that the Internet Backlash against, say, the Pizza-Family looks like a 'hit job'--and that there's pretty organized-looking battle fronts. Now, under the covers, though, he knows it's the kind of emergent behavior organization rather than actual organization with, like, stated goals and CEOs and project planning. The Internet makes this possible: #GamerGate published--and pushed--some pretty sophisticated instructions for rattling a big company's PR department and they got (temporary) results against Intel.

This is the same backlash that has hit people running hotels that have sued for bad Yelp-reviews and restaurants that stuck their waitresses with 100's of dollars for a dine-and-dash she couldn't prevent. The Internet also raised like 800k+ for the Pizza guys. If you are going to discuss organization, you need to talk about GoFundMe before you get to Gaystapo.

You also shouldn't find #GamerGate a bunch of righteous dudes who have a few bad-apples and pile-on-trolls who are absolutely NOT taking away from their righteous cause--The Omnivore is looking at YOU, Brietbart--if you are going to decry people posting derogatory Yelp reviews. Otherwise you look inconsistent and like you're just fine with the feminist getting it--but scared when it happens to someone you like.

The Omnivore will let you in on a secret: EVERYONE is fine with a 'bully' getting his (or her) comeuppance.

We just all secretly define who we think bullies are based on our own private damage objective science--and then go to town. That's 'Objective Science' in case you think you really DO know who the bullies are.

The Omnivore will also note that The Right likes itself a good boycott from time to time.

The Road To Murder-Drome?
What does lie down the road of eight thousand Facebook likes for a post calling for a boycott on a guy who promoted someone who won't let you get married? Is Neo-Neocon right? That it's killing fields?

Oh come on. Firstly, Reisner and Cruz are not actually friends. Reisner was holding a fund-raiser for him around, it seems Israel. Who you back counts: Neo-Neocon is well aware of the right's own orthodoxy requirements and commitment to ideological purity. Certainly she knows that "crossing the aisle," "bi-partisanship," and "electability" have been dirty-words to her party's base.

Maybe she dreams of answers John Huntsman could have given when he plummeted in the polls. That's a kind of organized boycott, too, isn't it?

The Internet Hate Machine is a bad thing that society needs to grow out of--but this isn't it. Neither was that Mozilla CEO getting "retired" when it turned out he supported anti-SSM people. In both cases the organizations in questions were very progressive businesses with a very progressive (or gay or whatever you want) consumer-base. In both cases the move was objectively bad for business and in both cases the correction was a business decision (these people were not Tweeted off the Internet or driven out of their homes by threats).

This isn't the Purges of Stalin Without Murder--it's not even a purge. There's no Stalin. You need the Slippery Fallacy (wherein no actual "slope" is provided) to get to murder.

Conclusions
The right claims to be upset about this event because it shows a malicious lack of tolerance towards (a) a potential 'ally' who differs from the Gaystapo by maybe 10% (Reagan's standard was 20%) and (b) because Cruz has been unfairly characterized as a fascist (or whatever) when he holds a moderate opinion that perfectly lines up with Hillary's.

The truth is that Reisner fund-raising for Cruz is a pretty big deal for gay people since Cruz is one of the least gay-friendly POTUS candidates running and boycotting a freakin' gay property that caters gaily to gays is like Capitalism 101. People who say (wrongly) that racism will be punished by the invisible hand of capitalism should be fine with this.

The other thing that can't be said out loud is that it used to be okay to be plainly racist. It used to be okay to be loudly anti-gay. Now it's not okay to whisper the N-Word and it isn't okay to be kinda-loudly anti-gay. The fact that this changed--and changed fast--is hard to get one's head around and the fact that to a lot of the world--especially the young-person world--like civil rights is galling for people who are commonly called 'racist,' hate it, and want to, well, discriminate against gays (for, you understand, their life-style choices--which is what the Pizza People said they were doing . . . that is not actually what Jesus advocated doing either, for the record).

The fact that the self-organizing power of the Internet makes it possible to put teeth in this social change has troubled people from conservative Erick Erickson to, well, a whole buncha Middle East dictators who found Twitter and Facebook 'bothersome' during their own social upheavals. They're in good company with the left, though: no one likes self-organizing leaderless structures aligned against them--and that includes Social Justice people who've found themselves on the receiving end.

Maybe Reisner could get a GoFundMe for his forty Million and convert Out NYC into the first Duck Dynasty hotel. Cruz might even stay there then.

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