When a newspaper reporter compliments you by saying you are, indeed, “sane,” it’s not saying very much.
That’s how Washington Post reporter Monica Hesse described Brian Brown, the Executive Director of the National Organization for Marriage. That’s the group (in)famous for the “Gathering Storm” video and for using the acronym 2M4M to promote their anti-gay marriage initiative, when that acronym already had another NSFW usage…
All that said, Hesse still seemed to be enthralled by Brown:
The nightmares of gay marriage supporters are the Pat Robertsons of the world. The James Dobsons, the John Hagees — the people who specialize in whipping crowds into frothy frenzies, who say things like Katrina was caused by the gays.
The gay marriage supporters have not met Brian Brown. They should. He might be more worth knowing about.
The reason Brian Brown is so effective is that he is pleasantly, ruthlessly sane.
… He is 35, red hair, solidly built, wearing a crisp blue shirt with a white collar. Instantly likable. He’s a thoughtful talker, especially when discussing his “opposition,” such as the HRC. “They were ahead of the curve but… I didn’t see any reason why we couldn’t do the same thing.”
Emily Rutherford at Campus Progress can’t understand how Hesse fell right into this trap:
What is most disappointing — and disturbing — about the Post’s profile of Brown is the degree to which the writer, Monica Hesse, fell hook, line, and sinker for NOM’s marketing in its entirety. Hesse positively fawns over Brown, saying that in contrast to “the people who specialize in whipping crowds into frothy frenzies, who say things like ‘Katrina was caused by the gays,’” Brown speaks to a “country [that] is not made up of people in the far wings, right or left, [but] is made up of a movable middle, reasonable people looking for reasonable arguments to assure them that their feelings have a rational basis.” Hesse seems to have missed that fighting against same-sex marriage becomes a more and more unreasonable position as the public warms to it. The idea that Brown’s cause is rational is just a tactic: it’s exactly what he and other social conservatives want the public to think.
For me, the most interesting part about the Post article was the bit about Brown’s wife. While she supports her husband, she doesn’t seem to be as anti-gay marriage as he is. For her, it’s just something he does and she stands by him. It’s almost refreshing to see.
(Thanks to Tommaso for the link!)