The Influence of Media

I was on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and a Christmas carol showed up in my news feed. It was Little Drummer Boy as sung by an a capella group named Pentatonix. I loved it and immediately shared it. The next day another song, Carol of the Bells showed up as well. It was just as good. I searched them up on You Tube then bought and downloaded their CD.

Colin acted like he wasn’t interested in the group. You know, it was Mom’s music. But every time the songs came on, he found a reason to wander over to the computer. As I scrolled down the list of videos, one popped up titled SuperFruit. It started with tinny video game music and Colin immediately crouched down beside me. The video consisted of two members of the band chatting about their likes and interests. If the name wasn’t enough of a clue, they both made it very apparent they were gay.

Colin leaned across the keyboard and clicked a button on the side of the screen.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Subscribing,” he replied, still watching the video. “They’re funny.”

The next morning, I headed into my room and found itunes open on my laptop.

“Why do you have itunes open?” I called.

“I’m converting the itunes songs to acc so I can listen to the songs on my DS,” he replied as he wandered in. “Oh good, it’s all ready.”

Minutes later, Carol of the Bells was playing through his DS and he happily showed me how he could set the background to various settings from wavy lines to dirt bike racers, to Mario. I told him the background was neat but I also liked watching the video of the actual singers. He sat beside me and watched along right to the end. Then he laughed and pointed at the screen.

“Gay… and gay,” he announced, grinning widely.

“Yes they are,” I agreed.

A couple of days later a post turned up in my news feed, saying that if people supported Phil Robertson, just to save her some time and unfriend themselves.

“Who?” I wrote back in bewilderment.

“He’s a character off Duck Dynasty,” came the immediate reply.

“Colin? Do you know what Duck Dynasty is?” I asked. We don’t have cable and some days I joke that I feel like I live under a rock. He walked into the living room and shrugged.

I turned back to the computer and started searching. It didn’t take long. Within minutes I discovered it was a TV show claiming to follow the lives of a family making and selling duck whistles. The guy did an interview and spouted off against homosexuality and for racial segregation. I read one of the quotes to Colin.

“The station suspended him?” he asked. I nodded. “Good,” he continued. “They should have expelled him.”

A coworker of mine posted a link to a video of a sermon Phil gave back in 2010. This one was even worse than the GQ interview. In the sermon he says…

…that men who have sex with men, and women who have sex with women, will receive the “due penalty for their perversions.” He goes on to say that they are full of “murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, god-haters. They are heartless. They are faithless. They are senseless. They are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.”

Smiling wryly I turned to Colin. “So what evil have you invented lately?” I asked.

“Mom, I’m not gay,” he replied immediately. “I’m straight.”

“Umm…” I said not so intelligently. “Really?”

He nodded.

“So, do you like girls?”

“No!” came his shocked reply, followed immediately with, “Yes. I mean yes. Of course.”

I was left unsure whether he’d accidentally gave his honest answer or if he figured I’d lead with a “do you like boys?” question and replied accordingly. Either way… I decided to leave it alone.

“Okay. Do you like boys?”

He looked at me then squirmed in his chair.

“I don’t know,” he finally replied.

I watched him with some surprise. “How can you not know?” I asked. He shrugged.

“I try my hardest not to think of boys. That way I don’t know,” he replied.

I sighed (hopefully silently). That was not straight. However I’m not nearly tactless enough to say that. Instead, I said, “Hon. What I want the most is for you to be honest with yourself. Please don’t lie to yourself.”

He shrugged then headed off to his room. Moments later, Carol of the Bells began to play.

Meanwhile the debate began on Facebook. One friend supported Phil, claiming he was standing up for his religious beliefs. I replied back, giving my opinion. The debate stayed friendly and polite.

The next friend had his wife show up in the thread, belligerently talking about “minority groups” and asking why it’s okay for them to shove their opinions and way of life down people’s throats and how they want to be special and not equal. The friend liked her replies. I immediately deleted him.

I didn’t even bother replying to the next two friends who posted their support. Both were quietly unfriended. I no longer had the interest or energy to try and share my point of view.

I get it. To them, they were arguing in the abstract about a faceless group of people. They weren’t thinking about friends or family members. They were thinking about some vast amorphous entity called “The Gays”.

Meanwhile, I was thinking of my son, who might be gay or who might be bisexual, but who desperately wants to be straight. Desperately wants people not to hate him.

What I want is for people to forget the word games. Forget the smarmy “I’m against homosexuality but I’m not a bully” bullshit. I want them to try taking a look into someone’s eyes and saying, “You know what? You’re a great person just the way you are” and mean it. Give it a try. You might just make a difference.

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