Wednesday, 8 April 2015


Y'know, I really hate liars.  One of my childhood friends
was an inveterate liar and, years later, in adulthood, I eventually
stopped having anything to do with him because of it.  Liars are evil,
because they rob you of the truth to which you are entitled from your
fellow human beings.  People who lie to you don't respect you, and
people who don't respect you aren't deserving of the courtesy of your
time and attention when they only want to abuse it.  So, the subject
of today's post is liars - which brings me neatly to Mr.

Mr. Isabella has worked for various comic companies such
as DC and MARVEL over the years, and although I've never
considered him to be a 'major' talent, or in the top tier of comicbook
creators, I thought him deserving of some respect for being there in the
'Bronze Age' when comics were more entertaining than they are now.
I accorded him that respect when I joined his blog after discovering a
link to it on another site.  Whenever I visited, I would observe him
indulge in a tirade of vitriol and invective against any poor
commenter who didn't happen to agree with him.

The more I read, the more convinced I became that he
was a thoroughly unpleasant, obnoxious little man with a huge
chip on his shoulder, so I stopped following his site and removed my
avatar from his list of members.  I kept a link to his site in my bloglist
'though, to provide a service to my own readers who might like to read
his more informative posts which didn't involve him insulting people
for no justifiable reason.  I still visited his site myself on occasion
and, I must confess, sometimes wondered whether his abrasive
and aggressive manner was a facade - a part he was playing
for entertainment value.

"Well, hold on a moment, Kid", you may be saying.  "Mr.
Isabella may be no STAN LEE or ARCHIE GOODWIN or
DENNY O'NEIL, but he's made a far bigger splash in the
comicbook biz than you ever did." 

True, but the main difference between us is that I've always
been fully aware of my status as virtual non-entity and been quite
content with it.  Even when I was a full-time working contributor to
comics like 2000 A.D. and being asked for my autograph because of
it, I obliged rather sheepishly because I knew I was bathing in the re-
flected glory of something greater than myself, and that my signature
wasn't being sought on its own merits, but merely for the link it provid-
ed to someone's favourite mag.  As I've said before, had I only been
the 2000 A.D. teaboy, I'd still have been asked for my autograph,
such is the rabid desire of some fans to connect to it in some
way.  (And I'm not knocking that in the slightest.)

One only has to read Mr. Isabella's blog posts to see that
he considers himself to be one of the more important comicbook
writers of his generation.  And there may even be people who agree
with his generous self-assessment.  I'm no expert on his career, admit-
tedly, but adding the word 'Black ' to the names of two minor characters
who never truly made the grade hardly strikes me as an act of creative
genius.  I'm not saying his work was bad, mind, but it was hardly
memorable, or in the same league as the true giants of the
industry.  (And we all know who they are.)

Regular readers will know of the recent disagreement be-
tween myself and Mr. Isabella,  (For those that don't and want
to read the full details, click here.)  Basically, I left some perfectly
innocuous comments on Mr. Isabella's blog and was lambasted for
them.  It didn't help that someone in pursuit of settling a grudge on
behalf of one of his friends jumped in to stir the pot.  I suspect that
he meant to comment anonymously, but in his haste forgot, because
similar comments have previously been left on other blog sites I've
visited.  Yes, it really is true - at least one saddo is on a mission to
malign me whenever he perceives an opportunity to do so,
so obsessed is he with turning internet opinion against
me.  (Hey, as if I need any help with that.)

"But we know all this - you've covered it already"
you cry.  Yes, but here's the latest.  On a recent blog post, in
which Mr. Isabella once again assumes the role of campaigning
crusader in pursuit of crushing all dissent to his 'valorous' view of
things (thereby thrusting himself into the limelight and stealing a
disproportionate share of attention - must have a garage sale
coming up), he makes this obvious reference to me.

"Almost all of the comments I received were supportive
of whatever decision I made.  (That's perhaps having his cake
and eating it.  Some said he should go to the convention he said he
wasn't going to go to, others said he shouldn't.  I'd say that means that
opinion was divided, but what do I know?)  Some of my readers and
Facebook friends gave me a lot to think about.  I was pleased that
only one clearly homophobic reader - and from another country
at that - posted to this bloggy thing with his tired 'you're intoler-
ant because you don't respect my intolerance' crap.  Excuse
me as I pause a moment to roll my eyes at his hate-
fueled idiocy."

Let's deal with that distorted and dishonest representation
of my comments.  First of all, they were not intolerant.  Society
as a whole tolerates homosexuals - but that doesn't mean that those
who are uncomfortable with the gay lifestyle on the basis of religious,
cultural, or an instinctive aversion to it, have to approve, endorse, or
embrace it - or subjugate their opinions or beliefs to those who hold a
different view.  As I was merely trying to suggest that we should all
behave courteously and respectfully to those we disagree with (and
that includes Mr. Isabella), I don't think that my attitude can fairly
be described as either 'intolerant' or 'homophobic'.  (It appears
that only people like Mr. Isabella are allowed to categorise
our concerns, not ourselves.)

Mr. Isabella is fully entitled to express opinions entirely
different to mine or anybody else's.  However, just because he
may not understand a point of view, it doesn't mean that he, in his
ignorant incomprehension, is entitled to to lambast, insult, denigrate
 or be dismissive of  folk merely on the basis that they hold a different
opinion to his.  Not everyone who has reservations over the spread of
gay culture is a 'homophobe' (a ridiculous word, in my opinion, used
only to diminish the opinion of those who have concerns on the sub-
ject), because they don't hate gay people, they just aren't comfort-
able with what they represent.  Do you think they're wrong?
Fine, but they're entitled to their opinion - a traditional
opinion that goes back many years.

Remember, however absurd you may think it is for some
baker to decline to make a cake for a gay wedding, should he
be stopped from not wanting to be involved, even in a small way,
in something which he feels would compromise his beliefs?  If you
wanted a Muslim baker to make a cake with an image of the prophet
Mohammed on it, should he be compelled by law to do so?  Remember,
no-one's advocating that gays should be denied medical aid or hospital
treatment, or police protection, or demanding that they be locked up,
or verbally or physically abused, or any of that nonsense;  all that the
Indiana legislation is designed to do, it seems to me, is protect religi-
ous-minded people from having to compromise their conscience
in the matter of being forced to do things that they don't feel
comfortable with.

  Let's be clear.  Small things, nothing major that would seri-
ously impact on the life of a gay person with a choice of options
(and bakeries).  And as Mr. Isabella is so fond of calling for boy-
cotts of those he sees as 'bigots', why doesn't he simply advocate
that, rather than insist on being served by an alleged 'bigot', the
would-be customer just take his business elsewhere?
It seems to me that a balance needs to be struck to
accommodate people of different persuasions, and however
clumsily it may have been done, that's what the Indiana legislation
was trying to do.  Which doesn't mean that everybody who voted
on it was necessarily singing from the same hymn sheet - some may
well have had different agendas - but it's likely that, on the whole, it
wasn't so much 'anti-gay' as 'pro-straight'.  Some people will think
that the latter automatically translates as the former, but all I mean
is that it was trying to acknowledge that it's not only gay people
who have rights in America.  Could the bill be misused by
those determined to do so?  Sure, but so can any law
until the wrinkles get ironed out.

I don't think I've ever hated anyone simply for thinking
differently to myself.  On this blog, you've seen for yourselves
that I'm perfectly willing not only to allow people to express dis-
senting opinions to my own, but to discuss and explore a topic, and
try to get to the heart of the matter - purely in pursuit of understand-
ing.  People like Mr. Isabella however - angry, bitter, self-opinionated,
hate-filled people who resent anybody thinking differently to them, and
who insult, denigrate, abuse and malign anyone who does - while posing
as the champion of the oppressed and downtrodden in an attempt to in-
crease their public profile, well - we should perhaps feel pity for them.
Mr. Isabella, in willfully misrepresenting my comments and their mo-
tivation (eagerly egged on by those pursuing an obsessive grudge),
has revealed that he is a man bereft of honesty, and worthy of
no respect whatsoever.  At least, not from me, he isn't!

Except, perhaps, for his impressive ability
in the 'art' of shameless self-promotion.


John Pitt said...

I always remember reading a letter somewhere in the bronze age from a black reader who found the 2 characters themselves to be offensive to his colour, because they DID have the word "black" as an adjective! He argued that you don't have WHITE Hawkeye and YELLOW Shang-Chi, etc., so the 2 heroes should have been calledGoliath and Lightning for proper equality and I thought he made a very good point!
So, Tony himself has caused offense of a racist nature!

Kid said...

He seems to cause offence of more than just a racist nature, JP - and on a fairly regular basis, too. Just ask anyone who dares to have a different opinion to him - on anything.

DeadSpiderEye said...

Crikey, this is intense.I have no idea what that legislation is intended to accomplish, I might as well have been trying to decipher the footprints of tribe of ants after they'd stepped in a puddle of ink. So it's fair to assume that Mr. Isabella is acting upon received wisdom, when a group of people do that it often creates an us vs them circumstance, because they're acting through an imperfect conception, and through that issues gets defined through rumour rather actuality. I'm not trying to make excuses for him because he seems to have stereotyped himself as a moral guardian but I do think there is scope for some sympathy, if he's genuine in his concern. Even so, that concern seems to be selective, as I've noted elsewhere, once division takes hold (us vs them) the generality of principles gets thrown out the window.

On a more general note, I have concerns over the way the conception of sexual behaviour and issues relating to it are presented in instances such as this. Defining individuals through sexual habit, is something I sort of disprove of, -sort of- because everyone does it, me included. But defining individuals that way, even if it's through self identification, means attaching labels to people and once you do that you're not thinking of them as people at all, just a member of a group (us vs them again). It also gives people who might not be too sincere, an opportunity to throw labels around, those people do that when their intention is to terminate the discussion by stigmatising others as persona non grata. -Homophobic- is such a label, it doesn't mean anything, there's no such condition as homophobia recognised by reputable physicians. It's a conceit, an indolent solecism that might be convenient for those who aren't concerned with inconvenient the complexities and realities of personal views, which it's why it's a label that gets hurled about with so little thought.

As I've said, I've no idea if his ostensible concern over this legislation is grounded in reality but if he wants to be taken seriously, Mr. Isabella is gonna havta to the work himself. Come through with a some coherent statements that outline his concerns in relation to the principles of personal liberty and rights for -all- those concerned. You can't do that by throwing labels around. That, kinda ended in a bit of rant again, I'm sorry if comes across like that but this is a serious issue and I kinda getting tired of the default nuttyness that gets thrown up.

Kid said...

Part of the trouble, I believe, DSE, is that because some people have spotted (or imagined) ways in which the new legislation can be (mis)used to discriminate against someone on the grounds of their sexuality, they've assumed that's why it has been introduced - to do just that. That's probably led to the current knee-jerk reaction, stirred up by individuals (and groups) eager to demonstrate just how much they're against 'bigotry' and 'discrimination' and 'homophopia', etc. They may well be genuine in their attitudes, but they seem at least as motivated in being recognised for their 'crusading' fervour and their assumed 'moral' superiority, as they do in their 'cause' itself.

As you say, it becomes an 'us and them' mentality, fueled more from creating some kind of identity for themselves and the desire to dismiss those they see as their opponents (which is anybody on the other side of the argument, whatever their reasons or motivation) as morally bankrupt and not worth even listening to.

Anyway, you've summed it up so well, that further comment from me is redundant. All I'll say is that before Mr. Isabella clothes himself in the uniform of righteous crusader against injustice, he should perhaps stop denying the artist who designed the look of his Black Lightning character his share of the credit as co-creator - instead of insinuating that the design sketches which prove it might be fakes. How can you trust a man who thrusts himself into the middle of a publicity storm raging around potential (or imagined) injustices against others, while engaging in a clear act of injustice against one of his former collaborators?

Kid said...

And now a comment from Barry Pearl, who Tony Isabella once described in an interview as "a good buddy and one of my biggest fans". That probably explains Barry's obvious bias in favour of Mr. Isabella, so let's take Barry's comment a paragraph or two at a time in order not to do him a disservice by inadvertently glossing over any of his remarks.


First and foremost, I am friends with Tony Isabella and I strongly object, even resent, the way you have categorized him and minimized his achievements in comics. You may certainly disagree with his view on these issues, and my point of view lines up with his totally, but you and I have discussed this issue and you know where I stand.

But you went after Tony personally. If it wasn’t for Tony, I would have no book, no blog and no guest blogs with you. Tony helped me, in so many ways when I needed it, out of generosity and compassion.

Me: Indeed I do know where you stand, and I even allow you to express your stance on the issue. Unfortunately, in registering your view on one of my earlier posts, you chose to disrespect the previous commenters by not having the courtesy or the decency to even read what they had to say on the matter, or address any of the many pertinent points they made before you commented. This strongly suggests that you're not even remotely interested in examining or considering the other side of the discussion and are as entrenched in your position as Mr. Isabella appears to be. I'm also disappointed to see that you made no attempt to defend me against Mr. Isabella's personal attack, where he implied that I was a homophobic bigot and then published comments from someone pursuing a personal vendetta against me; comments that were not even relevant to the discussion, but merely intended to malign me. When he then dishonestly categorises my comments as "hate-fueled idiocy" and totally misrepresents my reason for commenting in the first place (which was to suggest that there's always two sides to a discussion and that people should be allowed to civilly express themselves without being insulted or abused for it), there's no sign of you saying that you object or resent your pal's categorisation of me, or his minimisation of my point of view. So it's okay for him to do it first because he's your hero and you agree with him, but not for me to defend myself? I see. Where's your ire at Mr. Isabella going after me personally? That obviously doesn't count in your book, Barry, because you're more interested in currying favour with one pal than the other. You then confirm your bias by listing all the reasons why you're such a fan of his. No points for me for all the hours I put in editing your blog posts, correcting grammar, poor punctuation, and clumsy phraseology - for no other reason than to try and help you look good.

As for minimising Mr. Isabella's 'achievements', I have never had much regard for his writing or his so-called achievements, since long before his recent impertinence. However, I was gracious enough to say that it wasn't because I thought his writing was bad, just that I never found it particularly memorable. Nothing I ever read of his writing ever left any kind of impression on me, favourable or otherwise. Of course, I would have been too polite to state this publicly before, but when the man insults me and misrepresents me, as well as publishing hostile remarks from a self-confessed disgruntled individual in order to further diminish my integrity and reputation, then I hardly feel obliged to extend him any consideration in the slightest.

Now, having dealt with that, I'll now address the rest of your points, but I'll have to do it bit by bit for reasons of space.

Kid said...

Barry goes on to say:

But your comic history is wrong here too. Black characters, especially black super-heroes had little or no place in comics before the Black Panther in 1966. This was enforced by the American Comic’s Code, which “vetoed” Judgement Day because it had a black astronaut. Also retailers, in the case of Dell’s Lobo, returned stacks of comics, unopened, because of a black western hero on the cover (They also returned, unopened, all the other Dell titles). So having a black hero took courage then.

Me: Actually, I made no reference to comic history, Barry, all I said was that sticking the word 'Black' in front of two minor characters' names was hardly an act of creative genius. In fact, if you'd taken the time to read the other comments, you'd have seen JP's reference to a black reader's objections to the characters being categorised as 'black' because, essentially, he found it patronising. So there was hardly widespread acceptance of Mr. Isabella's characters even amongst the black comicbook readership of America. And 'though some retailers may have returned comics featuring black characters, that was only in certain states, not all across America. I recently featured a couple of clips of the Nicholas Brothers, two black dancers who were absolutely amazing. (Normally, I wouldn't even mention the fact that they were black; I do so now only because some readers may not know who they are, and therefore might miss the relevance of what I'm about to say.) In some of the movies they appeared in, they didn't interact in scenes with the leading Stars - their scenes were separate, so that they could be cut from the films when screened in certain states. It's that kind of unreasoning attitude that caused the return of certain comicbooks, but it wasn't all across the board.

Barry: There were always zillions of characters named after colors, but before the Black Panther the ones called “Black” were all white. Even now the Black Widow is white, but so was the Black Knight and a dozen others. So to dismiss this as a culture advance is sad and you should (read) Prof. Bill Foster’s “Looking for a Face Like Mine” (Ironically that’s his real name, the same name as Black Goliath).

But ten years AFTER the Panther, after Hero for Hire, Gunslingers and Black Goliath, DC FINALLY decided to have a Black Super-Hero. No, someone did not get up out of bed one morning and say “Let’s do this.” It took Tony Isabella to develop a real character and given him a significant background based in African American culture. He didn’t just add the word “Black” as suggested here. Tony came back a decade later and made the character current and did a great job. And you consider the first African American DC hero minor? Wow!!!! I can’t even address that. And Tony is recognized by many groups as being an innovator for this.


Kid said...

Me: There seems to be a lot of things you can't (or won't) address, Barry. Maybe if you took the time to actually read other people's comments, there'd be fewer instances of things you can't address. Of course he's minor, Barry. Firstly, as he came out 10 years after Marvel had been regularly featuring black characters, it was hardly as groundbreaking as you seek to suggest. (Marvel's Black Goliath ran for a mere 5 issues.) Secondly, BL lasted for only 11 issues (the 12th being published in Cancelled Comics Cavalcade). Every subsequent attempt to revive him only lasted for several issues before being cancelled, and one series was only a 6 issue limited series. Comic readers obviously found him as underwhelming as I did. (I think I have one '70s issue in my collection - can't remember a thing about it.) Minor character? Yes - in a MAJOR way. Being such a fan of his, Barry, you're hardly looking at the matter objectively. And the groups you mention that regard Mr. Isabella as an 'innovator' are vastly outnumbered by those who regard the character as being of no particular significance - and they can't all be racists.


Kid said...

Barry: Tony wrote some of Marvel’s most famous strips and had a long run on the Ghost Rider. Here Tony taught me something, about religion which you keep mentioning. Why, he wanted to know, were there so many demons and devils in comics and nothing “heavenly.” We only saw the evil side. So Tony came up with a great, long story line from Ghost Rider and the editors approved. Sadly, Shooter took over as editor, and at the last minute changed the end of the story arc, replacing God with the Devil. This is just one example of editors lousing up storylines. I loved his Daredevil comics. And when the grandson of Martin Goodman wanted to revive Atlas comics, he hired Tony to initiate a new comic.

Me: I only keep mentioning religion because I'm responding to people's comments about Indiana's 'Religious Freedom Restoration' bill - it's kind of hard not to mention the very thing the post is about. As for Martin Goodman hiring your pal, I think you'll find that he hired quite a few other people - it didn't stop most of their comics from being 3rd-rate rip-offs of Marvel characters. Some less kindly disposed individuals than myself might describe them as sh*te.

Barry: Tony has done comic strips, novel, magazines and a great book, “1,000 Comics You Must Read.” It’s so good a book it has been ripped off a few times. Tony here gives great insight into the industry and it’s storytelling. True, he is not as important to the industry as Stan Lee, but he does take pride in his work. You write: “ I would observe him indulge in a tirade of vitriol and invective against any poor commenter who didn't happen to agree with him.” Well, that's exactly what you are doing to him by diminishing his accomplishments.

Me: I haven't read Mr. Isabella's book, but I don't really need instruction in what comics I should read. And recommending one's own favourite comicbooks hardly requires a top-tier writer to do it - just about any competent writer could. Why, even I could do it, and I'm no Shakespeare. However, your fawning adoration of Mr. Isabella's talents have been noted, and I'm sure he's wrapping up a gift package to send to you as a reward even as I type. As for the difference between Mr. Isabella's tirade of vitriol and invective and what you call my own - well, the answer is simple - mine isn't a tirade of vitriol and invective, it's a restrained-'though-direct response to your pal's insults and misrepresentation of my comments on his blog. Do you see me calling anyone a bigot or an asshole or any other pejorative word. I've implied that he's a liar, but that's true - he is. He described my civil comments on his blog as 'hate-fueled', when that is very far from the case. And the consensus of opinion on this blog in regard to the nature of my comments seems to support me - something you'd have noticed had you bothered to read them.

Barry: The writing of what you called the Bronze Age was much different than the Silver Age. By the Bronze Age, sadly, corporate control of comics had taken over and writers had less control. Tony explains in my book the formula for “group” books, one he had to follow for the Challengers. But it was NOT in affect (sic) for the earlier Fantastic Four, etc.

Me: Well there was always a formula, Barry, although it was undoubtedly modified over time, so it's not much of a point, I'm afraid. The Comics Code which dictated the formula for Silver Age Comics was relaxed in the Bronze Age, allowing greater freedom to write about subject matter they weren't previously allowed to mention. And, although he ignored the code to do it, Stan Lee wrote his drug-themed Spidey issues in the Bronze Age. Those issues hardly suggest that the writers had less control. Perhaps Mr. Isabella had a stricter editorial control because of his penchant for rubbing up editors' noses the wrong way. In fact, that seems to be his major 'talent' as far as I can see.


Kid said...

Barry: Kid, it is difficult to address your views on an American Law you don’t understand and you pull out silly examples to support it. No, kid, discrimination is discrimination and Tony and I have no room for it. And if that law is so “innocent” as you say, why is the Governor trying to fix it once he got caught?

Me: Barry, I've ofttimes wondered if you have comprehension issues, because you seem completely incapable of discerning any depth in any kind of sophisticated point. Name one silly example I've made - just one. What you mean is that you can't address these alleged 'silly examples' without revealing the weaknesses in your argument. There's an important principle being demonstrated in those 'silly examples', and the most interesting one was suggested by someone else before I adopted it. It's funny how, when presented with a flaw in your thinking, you (and your pal) never address it, you merely dismiss it with an accusation of 'bigotry', 'idiocy' or some other pejorative word. Why do you never address the points, Barry? Apart from not reading them, that is.

As for "not understanding American Law", I understand it as well as you Americans do, it seems. There are so many different interpretations of it that it's clear you don't understand it yourself. I've already said that I'm sure some people will try to interpret it to their own ends, but that's what always happens. These things are worked out over time. As for the Governor "trying to fix it once he got caught" - what prejudiced nonsense. He's been forced to clarify some aspects because of an out of proportion, hysterical over-reaction by a group of troublemakers who insist that the law serves their own demands over anyone else's. So one guy declines to bake a cake for a gay wedding - big deal! Get a sense of proportion, Barry, and grow up.

Anyway, Barry, I've published your love letter to Mr.Isabella, and I'm sure he's impressed by your ardour. I've been, in the main, civil in my response to you, and directly addressed every one of your points (at great and unnecessary pains, some of my other readers may well think), which, I'm bound to say, have been found wanting. Now if only you and your pal could treat those with whom you disagree with the same consideration, Blogger-land would be a far better place.

TC said...

AFAIK, no RFRA-type law, in any state in the US, has ever been successfully invoked to allow discrimination. I am sure that some of those laws could be misinterpreted, selectively enforced, or otherwise abused. So could laws against littering, reckless driving, and trespassing.

Admittedly, there are right-wing extremists and religious fanatics who would like to exploit RFRA laws to persecute gay people, but they are a minority. In recent years, there have been a lot of lawsuits and discrimination complaints filed by activists against small businesses (usually, those owned by practicing Christians). And those business owners (bakers, florists, photographers) were not trying to outlaw gay marriage, they were just saying, in effect, "May we please be excused from having to participate in a ceremony that is against our religion?" Is that any worse than conscientious objectors (members of pacifist religions) being exempt from serving in the military?

But if you suggest that religious people have a right to practice their religion (as long as they don't force it on the rest of us), you are a bigot, racist, homophobe, blah blah blah. And, of course, hurling epithets is always easier than addressing the substance of your arguments.

BTW, I would not call Black Lightning ground-breaking or innovative. I believe that BL (like Luke Cage before him) was probably created to jump on the 1970's band wagon for "blaxploitation" movies. (Just as Shang-Chi and Iron Fist were probably attempts to exploit the 1970's fad for martial arts movies.) And Black Lightning was preceded by the John Stewart Green Lantern as well as Marvel's black heroes.

And, speaking of Isabella's dishonesty, it is not true that he received only one dissenting comment, and that from a hate-fueled bigot in another country. I submitted a comment, but it was never published.

Basically: "Your rights are being violated if you can't marry your partner. Your rights are not violated if you have to shop around a little, because some caterers serve gay weddings, and some don't.

"Your rights are being violated if you can't marry. Your rights are not violated if you have to settle for a civil ceremony because some religions don't recognize gay marriage.

"Your rights are being violated if you are denied admission to a hospital, if the utility company refuses to provide the electricity that you pay for, or if the police or fire department refuses to respond when you call them in an emergency. Your rights are not violated if a baker declines to bake a cake for your wedding.

"Your rights are not violated if a baker declines to bake a cake, or if a florist declines to provide a bouquet. Your rights are violated if you own a bakery or a flower shop, and you are driven out of business by death threats."

Guess those comments were too hate-fueled and bigoted, and Isabella could not tolerate my "intolerance." ;)

TC said...

BTW, my rights are not violated if a blog owner declines to publish my comments on his own blog. And I have no intention of filing charges against Isabella or anyone else.

Kid said...

What eminently sensible comments, TC. There's nothing hostile or 'hate-fueled' in what you say, but once some people have made up their minds on a topic, they just don't want to consider that the other side may have a valid point. Your viewpoint, of course, qualifies you as a discriminating bigot in TI's opinion, and not worthy of being listened to.

By the way, why haven't you got a blog? I'd certainly read it.

Phil said...

Dear TC. Your arguments are familiar to me. Those are the same arguments used many decades ago. Please bear with me.
Earl Warren famously went to a hotel in Virginia and found his driver sleeping in the car. This is because his driver couldn't find a hotel room.
Because he was black. Because every hotel in town refused to rent him a room since they were just being allowed to run their businesses as they see fit.
And there in lies the problem. At what point is it out and out discrimination or businesses being allowed to run themselves without government interference?
As a general rule, if you serve the public you can't discriminate against groups which have been discriminated against. Instead of listing each business in each city, the Supreme Court gave a general ruling.

I think we can all agree if you are the only hotel or restaurant in town and are thus a monopoly, it should not be legal to refuse service to minorities because then the customer actually has no options. The problem is should a business basically be allowed to discriminate if it's in a large urban area with plenty of choices? Should there be one law for one horse towns and another for large towns? I don't think that would work. In addition we know there are many towns which are tremendously segregated where you might not get service if you don't look right.

Secondly, is the service being requested part of the regular business? You say the florist I s somehow being forced to participate in the religious service of a gay couple. If they were, then they could refuse service. If they are just making a bouquet then no as that is part of their regular service.

Many argued that they shouldn't be forced to mix with the other, and those minorities can always go somewhere else.

That is not the case in many places in the USA that's why the law has to be applied equally throughout the country. I have travelled to Utah many times it's gorgeous. But it's also mainly Mormons. If businesses could refuse me service, I could literally be hundreds of miles from the nearest restaurant or gas station.

So to wrap up- if you're doing something tou would normally do, then you can't refuse service. If you don't bake gay cakes then bake the cake but tell them they have to buy their own wedding topper, all you carry is men and women. Would that be ok? I think that's reasonable. Make the bouquet and drop it off don't stay for the service.

If on the other hand you are a wedding no planner and you only do straight couples....Oy. You give me a headache.... That's one I haven't thought out.

Kid said...

Phil, I know your comment is addressed to TC, but I trust you won't mind me responding to it as well. First of all, I don't consider being black the same thing as being homosexual, although there are similarities in the circumstances when it comes to discrimination. Being black was never considered illegal or immoral, being homosexual was. Anybody wanting to racially discriminate couldn't resort to any passage in the Bible (if he were religious) to justify his discrimination, but he could to justify his dislike of, suspicion of, or aversion to (and they're not all the same thing) homosexuals.

However, times have changed (rightly or wrongly) and now it seems it's no longer considered illegal or immoral to be gay. So people who still feel the 'old way' are prepared to tolerate gays, but they don't want to be compelled to do something that could be seen as condoning or facilitating something they consider to be wrong. In my book, that doesn't mean not giving a gay person a room in a hotel, but, where the hotelier has strong religious beliefs, he might not be prepared to give a gay couple a double room. However, he would and should offer them a room each for the same (lower) price as a double one. The gay couple should 'respect' the hotelier's beliefs, even if they think they're silly and disagree with him, and not insist that he compromise his conscience and accede to their demands. Compromise is the word.

But let's be real about things here. Business is all about making money, and the amount of people who would refuse to serve gays is minuscule - earning a buck takes priority over 'discrimination' in most cases.

When it comes to baking cakes or making bouquets for gay weddings, some people feel it would be condoning something that they believe to be wrong and unnatural, and acknowledging it as a legitimate form of human behaviour. Their reasoning is this: any form of sexual relationship outside of one between a man and a woman is unnatural. Disagree? And you're allowed to - but should you be allowed to insist that those with another view should see and do things your way? My own view (if you're interested) is that while I'm perfectly prepared to accept the fact that gay couples want to live and love together, and do so without persecution and prosecution, to insist that I (or anyone else) must acknowledge and accept it as the same as a man and wife relationship, is to impose a contrary 'system of belief' on me than my own traditional one. (And I'm not even talking religion here. Not all opposition to gay marriage or adoption springs from religious attitudes - or even 'bigoted' ones.)

Further, while I'd be prepared to accept a gay couple being able to trot along to the local council offices to register themselves as one another's next of kin and rightful heirs, the whole idea of them wanting to 'marry' is more a case of them inisting that everyone acknowledges the validity of their relationship in a sort of 'monkey see, monkey do' travesty of a traditional marriage ceremony. If they want to live together, fine; if they want the tax breaks, fine; but to insist on 'marriage' is to highjack a ceremony that was designed for men and women. And they simply don't have an inherent, automatic 'right' to it. They got tolerance and more, but now they're like kids who dress up in daddy's clothes so that they can make-believe they're adults. But to insist that everybody else must regard them as adults is a step too far.


Kid said...

As you know, Muslims and Jews only eat halal meat, but as far as I know, in Britain, they supply the market for this from amongst themselves. I'm not yet aware of calls for secular supermarkets to stock the product, and I'd resent if they insisted that everyone else must accede to their demands if there were. In like manner, why can't gays just accept that they don't have the right to insist that everyone else must see and do things their way, and, if there's a gap in the market for supplying wedding cakes and flowers for gay weddings, fill it themselves? If a gay shopkeeper didn't want to serve me a Mars Bar (not a euphemism) because he didn't like my views, I'd just go elsewhere - not insist that he should accept my money.

Here's another thing to consider. If Mormon businesses would refuse to serve you in Utah, wouldn't it be smarter not to go? I wouldn't go to a place that didn't want me - and if I HAD to go, I'd make sure I took what I need with me. If Mormons suddenly decided that they weren't going to serve unbelievers (which is highly unlikely), then just don't go.

However, what it boils down to in the end is that, a few isolated examples aside, the anticipated flurry of discrimination against gays (or anyone else) is people worrying over nothing. It's more a case of fearing what COULD go wrong, rather than what WILL go wrong.

And so far, nobody's yet answered the example I stole from another commenter. Would you insist that a Muslim baker bake you a cake with an image of Mohammed on it when imagery of the prophet is considered a sin to them? Should they be compelled by law to accommodate your wishes when it violates one of their chief tenets? If not, what's the difference between that and a Christian being compelled to service a gay wedding in some way? Incidentally, I'm not saying that your local Greggs should be allowed to refuse to serve a homosexual a pie, a pastie, or a pastry, but if the in-house baker feels that baking a wedding cake for a gay marriage would compromise his beliefs in some way, then he should be allowed to politely decline.

TC said...

Well, being an agnostic, I have no concerns about the sanctity of traditional marriage. And I also have no objection to gay marriage.

And if I owned a business, I would serve any paying customer. That would include renting one room with a double bed to a gay couple, or supplying a cake with figurines of two grooms or two brides on top of it.

But I am against bullying, and against people acting like spoiled brats. Which is what a lot of anti-"discrimination" cases have become. The gay rights movement, like the women's rights movement and the civil rights movement, started out with good intentions, but got out of hand and went too far. Sort of like the Inquisition.

I've said before that private businesses should be allowed to discriminate if they (1) do not have a monopoly, and (2) provide non-essential, non-emergency services. Food, clothing, housing, fuel, and medical care are hard to do without. And I admit that you can't prohibit discrimination in some localities while allowing it in others. So I could condone, for example, requiring a hotel to rent rooms to any paying customers, whether the it's the only hotel in Mayberry or one of many in New York City. Or requiring a store to sell groceries to all paying customers.

But, in the relevant cases in Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado, the defendants were bakeries, flower shops, and photographers. A black person in 1950, denied admission to a "whites only" hospital after being injured in a traffic accident, could die as a result of not receiving medical treatment. No one ever died because a bakery refused to bake him a wedding cake. And for activists to compare the latter case to the former is insulting.

Also, most bakeries said that they would sell generic cakes to any customer, but they wanted to draw the line at customized cakes that, in effect, condoned or endorsed the event. That is, a cake with figurines of two grooms, or the words, "Congratulations Wayne and Steven."

Similarly, a caterer or photographer becomes a participant in the event. Maybe a florist could drop off the bouquet and leave before the ceremony, but the clients need the photographer to stay throughout the service. And, presumably, they will want photos of them exchanging vows and kissing. Personally, I would have no objection, but I realize that there are some people who do. And those people have rights, too.

Interestingly, RFRA laws were considered acceptable when they were being invoked to allow Native Americans to use peyote. Such laws only became politically incorrect when Christians started invoking them.

I agree with Kid that "Compromise is the word." Unfortunately, a lot of professional political activists don't want compromise, they want a controversial issue to justify their sinecures.

I realize that distinctions involving "monopolies" and "essential vs. non-essential" services could invite a lot of arguments over how to define those terms for legal purposes. Most of those issues could be settled by applying some common sense. Unfortunately, common sense does not seem to be very common these days.

Kid said...

Extremely well-considered and reasonably-minded answer, TC. Anyone who objects to it is merely doing so on the grounds of their own particular prejudices, I'd say. And you're spot on about the bullying. As for common sense, I don't think there's ever been a time when it was very common, sadly.

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