A Tale of Two Tweets

More. New York Times Memorializes Mormon President Less Charitably Than They Did Fidel Castro.

20 Comments for “A Tale of Two Tweets”

  1. posted by Doug on

    I’m not even sure what point Stephen is trying to make but it strikes me as pretty normal for paranoid right winger living in the Faux News bubble.

    • posted by David Bauer on

      A French documentary about the prison camps aired in the 1980s. The political right loved pointing out the human rights abuses of the Cuban government.

      Yet, the political right generally opposed gay rights. In America, this was certainly the case.

  2. posted by Lori Heine on

    So once again–once again–we have an exchange that consists of a post: “Team Dumbo good, Team Jackass bad,” to be followed by comments consisting of “Team Jackass good, Team Dumbo bad.”

    Yet the bloggers probably wonder why not as many people read IGF anymore.

    I keep coming back in the (apparently vain) hope that the discourse will at least occasionally rise above that level. I continue to be mistaken.

    • posted by Josh on

      No, Lori, all bad views are not equally bad just because you dislike both. The evil of murderous totalitarian communism that made homosexuality a social deviation worthy of the worst state punishment is not relatively the same as promoting a religious view that homosexuality is sinful. Both bad, one much, much worse. Sorry you can’t see this (perhaps you’d feel better if you spouted some more Noam Chomsky).

    • posted by Matthew on

      Once they took the word “gay” out of their URL, that was the moment when they Jumped the Shark.

  3. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    I’m not even sure what point Stephen is trying to make …

    I have no idea what Stephen’s point (“A tale of two New York Times obituaries tweets (one new, one older). Who (with his henchman Che Guevara) actually killed gay people?“) might have been, other than to express anger at the New York Times. But I don’t understand exactly why the two tweets make him so angry.

    For the record, the NYT tweets Stephen pulled from the “neontaster” Twitter feed are condensed versions of the lead sentences of the NYT obituaries of the two leaders:

    NYT Tweet: Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary who defied the U.S., died Friday. He was 90.

    NYT Obituary: Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, died on Friday. He was 90.

    NYT Tweet: Thomas Monson, the president of the Mormon church who rebuffed demands to ordain women as priests and refused to alter church opposition to same-sex marriage, died Tuesday at 90.

    NYT Obituary: Thomas S. Monson, who as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints since 2008 enlarged the ranks of female missionaries, but rebuffed demands to ordain women as priests and refused to alter church opposition to same-sex marriage, died on Tuesday at his home in Salt Lake City. He was 90.

    Of the two leaders, Castro was the more important, as the length of the two obituaries suggests. Castro’s was close to 10,000 words, Monson’s under just over 1,500.

    Within that context, I suspect that Monson’s campaign against marriage equality is a more significant part of his legacy than suppression of gays and lesbians is of Castro’s legacy.

    We can discuss the wisdom of the two obituary leads, I suppose, but what end would be served by that, absent more information from Stephen on the matter?

    As a side note, I can’t find any evidence at all that Castro killed gays, or ordered them killed. The Castro regime’s oppression of gays was ugly and extreme, but Castro regime doesn’t seem to have done any killing. I’m hoping that Stephen will explain more about that, too.

    • posted by David Bauer on

      In Cuba; Prison camps were setup for political dissidents, certain religious members and sexual minorities. i believe that this was after Castro took control, in the 1960s.

      Later, Castro did apologize for these camps. Things for gays began to get better in the mid-1970s, with a backlash in the 1980s.

  4. posted by David Bauer on

    Heck, the Mormon Church pressured State lawmakers to criminalized homosexuality, opposed just about every single gay rights bill and encourages family to shun or attempt to cure the gay . I’m not sure that the church leader actually pulled the trigger, but they certainly did their bit.

    Castro was homophobic, and so was the government he replaced. Cuban homophobia stems from the Catholic Church, machoism gender roles and the fact that homosexuality became linked with prostitution and organized crime.

    The Cuban dictator did develop more liberal attitudes, and the government slowly began to do so as well. Granted, comparing the leader of a church to the leader of a nation isn’t a done lightly.

    Marxist theories about sexuality tended to range from libertarian to the authoritarian. Cuba started to became more libertarian about LGBT rights in the 1970s, with many policy changes happening fairly recently, post Cold War.

    By all means talk about a public figures views and policies. Including their homophobia. Castro wasn’t democratic, but his views and policies with regards to LGBT did get better in substantial ways.

    Mormon theories about sexuality have generally been authoritarian. Whenever the church leaders have had political influence or power, they have almost always fought to keep gay people defined as criminals and pariahs.

  5. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    For what it is worth, Stephen explained himself in a reply to a comment on the IGF Facebook:

    IGF CultureWatch: I thought it would be obvious that I was castigating the NY Times for lambasting Monson (including his views on LGBT issues) while appearing to praise Castro when, in fact, Castro’s murderous regime actually killed gay people.

    Stephen’s reaction seems to have been provoked by appearances, appearances not supported by the underlying reality. Both NYT obituaries were, as NYT obituaries tend to be, measured. Monson’s did not “lambast” him, and Castro’s did not “praise” him.

    Castro’s record of human rights abuse was exposed and excoriated in the NYT obituary, a lengthy examination of his rise to power, misuse/abuse of power, and eventual semi-apologetic reflection in old age. The obituary is long, as befits his role in late 20th Century history and 30-odd year domination of Cuba, and in the context of the entire 10,000 word obituary, Castro’s oppression of gays in particular hardly merits headline status.

    Monson’s record as President of the LDS is much shorter, and most of the work he did as “Prophet, Seer, and Revelator” was necessarily internal rather than external. Of his external work, his central role in thrusting the LDS into the marriage equality battle almost certainly stands as one of the most important aspects of his presidency, if for no other than the reason that of all the things that President Monson did externally, thrusting the LDS into the marriage fight affected millions of non-Mormons.

    Leaving the question of the appropriateness of the NYT handling of Castro’s and Monson’s obituaries, in a sense Stephen’s insta-reaction reflects the difficulties presented by the polarized Twitterverse world in which we live.

    As Lori points out, Americans are currently divided into warring camps (Lori uses a somewhat different and less dark metaphor, that of “teams” and “cheerleaders”, but the effect is similar) divided across political/cultural lines, shouting at each other, doing so in 140-character Twitter bites.

    Rational, measured discussion gets lost in both dimensions. People who are shouting at one another across the divide aren’t discussing differences, and cannot expect resolution or compromise. And measured thought (the good the bad, taking both sides of the coin into consideration) is at odds with 140-character messages.

    Thinking back on TJ III’s comments over the years about the ways in which college-age thinking has been distorted by social media and headline news message length, I suspect that we are stuck with a level of mindlessness in the public forum. I don’t like that, but others seem to thrive in the new messaging environment, so who is to say?

    Reduction of messaging about complex issues into Twitter-size thought bites is one of the reasons that the President sounds like such a moron, a man who reacts to everything but understands next to nothing. Any President trying to reduce complicated issues into Twiiter bites would, because the message length prohibits measured expression, whatever the level of thought process underlying the messaging. I suspect that is one of the reasons why the President’s allies keep urging him to stop Tweeting.

    Taking all that into consideration, Stephen needs a pass in this case. He seems to have emotionally reacted to “neontaster”‘s Tweet, rather than thinking it through, it seems to me. We all do it from time to time. My own, immediate reaction to Stephen’s post (see my initial comment in this thread) is a case in point.

    • posted by Jorge on

      Taking all that into consideration, Stephen needs a pass in this case. He seems to have emotionally reacted to “neontaster”‘s Tweet, rather than thinking it through, it seems to me. We all do it from time to time.

      I’m going to say that his style when doing drive-bys needs work.

      • posted by Matthew on

        It beats Tom’s gasbaggy fellow-traveler word salad any day of the week.

    • posted by MR Bill on

      I will content myself to noting one should actually read an article (such as an obituary) before bloating about it, and not rely on one’s perception ( or epistemic belief,, as is customary for the Right in their perception of the Times)of bias absent a close read..

      • posted by MR Bill on

        “Blovating” was turned to “Bloating”…grrrr

  6. posted by Jorge on

    As a side note, I can’t find any evidence at all that Castro killed gays, or ordered them killed.

    Tom, Tom, that is an awesome segway. Did you not know? Then permit me to share. It’s time for A Tale of Two Blog Posts (one new, one old).

    “A Tale of Two Tweets”
    “Annals of Intersectionality.”

    In which post did Mr. Miller declare, “any issue on the left is now a LGBTQ+ issue. which is part of the ethos of intersectionality that only a racist, sexist, classist, transphobe would dare to object to”?

    So you see, the Cuban Revolution is an LGBTQ+ issue because gay people died as a result. The hidden nature of homosexuality in 1950s Cuba meant that gays weren’t able to take advantage of the sociological benefits of marriage and family among refugees and war civilians. As the late Mr. Castro mentioned, the people in power had no time for social awareness of the plight of the most vulnerable. “[T]here were armed attacks against us, we had too many problems.”

    Thinking in terms of intersectionality comes very easily. The problem I have with it is how easily it seems to breed arrogance.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      I understand the idea that policies of cultural/governmental oppression/repression correlates with higher and earlier death rates among gays and lesbians. There is a lot of reputable data to demonstrate that correlation in any number of contexts.

      Accordingly, I have no doubt at all that the Castro regime’s policies led to higher and earlier death rates among Cuban gays and lesbians, just as I have no doubt that the LDS hard line on gays and lesbians negatively affects the spiritual and mental well being of Mormon teenagers, and almost certainly (if Mormons follow the pattern of other demographic groups in the United States) led to a higher rate of suicide among LGBT Mormon teens than among straight ones.

      But I don’t think that indirect causation/correlation was what Stephen when he wrote “Who (with his henchman Che Guevara) actually killed gay people?” I think that he meant direct killing, either in person or by directive. I found no evidence of that, and I looked reasonably careful. So I’d like Stephen to say more.

  7. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    More. New York Times Memorializes Mormon President Less Charitably Than They Did Fidel Castro.

    The Monson obituary has become the conservative faux outrage of the day, that’s for sure. I just shake my head at the absurdity. I think you’ve all gone barking mad.

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