As I reported first via my Twitter feed, the press conference calling for a ballot initiative to remove homosexuals from Utah was fake. At best, the organizers put together improv theater that punked the Utah press corps and maybe got people to think about gay rights for a moment. It's fashionable to make fools of news media folk such as myself, so, touche. But at its worst, it was an offensive attention-grabbing play on Holocaust-like imagery and language that does little to advance the argument for gay rights in Utah.
The phony press conference is a play out of the Yes Men play book. For example, The Yes Men once punked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by announcing a press conference, then posing as representatives of that group while calling for climate change legisation. It was funny, you see, because the Chamber opposes such legislation. Ha. Zinger. Got 'em.
I'm not sure what Ha-Ha we were supposed to get from today's action, but I think the point they must have been trying to make is that it is somewhat believable that Utah could foster such a movement of concerned citizens that would openly and publicly call for Nazi-like solutions to the "homosexual problem?"
And a response from the group who held the "press conference," Patriots for a Moral Utah:
Because of the intense anti-lgbt climate in Utah, and because our voices have been silenced by recent statements and deals made on the hill, we felt a creative solution would be to highlight just how outlandish some of their claims are. It is amazing that Utah has reached a point where even something as crazy as the "Utah Fair Solution" has legitimacy and is believable.
The goal of this political satire was purely a play off of the many groups, legislators, organizations and religions who speak against the LGBT community. As a community we hear constantly from people like Paul Mero of the Sutherland Institute who tell us that our families and love are an illusion, or Senator Chris Buttars who says that we have no morality and are the biggest threat to America.
The point was not to "punk" anybody, but to push people to continue the discussion of LGBT rights, and are thrilled at the conversations and public input that flew when news of the Patriots came out.
We love our community, and hope that our political farce has helped in highlighting what we feel is the ridiculousness and cruelty of some in our legislature and groups like The Eagle Forum, the Patrick Henry Caucus and America Forever. Thank you to all those who caught the big picture of our attempt and who have supported the efforts of all those who made this a reality. Also a very special thank you to each of the protesters who attended at the capitol, who were aware of the satire and helped to make it such a great event. This was another step in our multi-faceted campaign to achieve equality, and we're all in this together.
OK, great. I still don't get it. With Sutherland, Buttars, Ruzika, and America Forever, do we really need parody? After all, the best comedy to come out of Saturday Night Live the last couple of years was Tina Fey repeating Sarah Palin's words.
And, instead of pointing out how ridiculous they are, you made some of us think "hmm, Makes Mero not seem so bad."
Yes, you got people talking. But they are talking about your stunt, not the need for more gay rights.