Thursday, April 06, 2006

GayProf, The Coward

Dear readers, it turns out that GayProf still has his moments of cowardice. “No, GayProf! That can’t be true,” I can hear you saying, “Surely you are being hard on yourself. We all turn to you as a beacon of hope and freedom shining through the darkness of our lives. Lead us, GayProf, into the light.” Okay, maybe you aren’t saying that last bit – at this exact moment.

Still, it’s true. I totally chickened out from a planned moment of exercising my free speech.

Not so long ago, my campus entertained Senator John McCain. You all know McCain, right? The man currently competing with Tony Blair to be crowned Bush’s poodle.

A sassy friend of mine and I decided we would attend McCain’s little talk and heckle him. We had big plans, too. Given that McCain promised to discuss immigration reform, we thought we would shout out, “THOUGH YOUR PROPOSALS SEEM SLIGHTLY MORE REASONABLE THAN YOUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES' IDEAS, WE FEEL YOU SERIOUSLY UNDERESTIMATE THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS THAT MOTIVATE MIGRATION ACROSS AN IMAGINARY INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY AND YOU REJECT THE IMPORTANCE OF A MULTI-CULTURE, MULTI-LINGUAL NATION.”

Upon reflection, we decided that the above might be a bit wordy. Instead, we shortened it to “SELL OUT!” We also planned an ending with “QUEER RIGHTS NOW!” given McCain’s recent decision to lick Jerry Falwell’s boots speak at Jerry Fallwell’s Liberty University.



Our grande plans, though, quickly came unraveled as our nerve evaporated. McCain drew a robust audience of adamant supporters from this campus. Arriving late on the scene, ushers relegated us to the furthest balcony of the auditorium. Shouting, we quickly deduced, would require some serious lung power. More importantly (and something that does not speak well for our character), we became cowed by the sheer giddiness of the people who surrounded us.

A young student look earnestly at me with Bambi eyes, exclaiming, “Isn’t this exciting? We get to see Senator McCain!”

“Um,” said I.

“He is a real American Hero,” the student gushed with, I imagine, a slight erection.

“Well, I appreciate his service,” I tried to offer as an olive branch, “but as a gay man, I am angry that he has done nothing to defend my rights and seems to be getting into bed with religious extremists.”

“Uh – Oh,” the student said looking a bit like I had eaten his piece of birthday cake. He immediately forgot about me, though, as he turned away and started fumbling with his phone’s camera settings.

McCain’s time on the stage elicited a quasi-rapture from the audience. People applauded when McCain commended Bush’s handling of the war. People applauded when McCain gave homage to the “young men and women currently defending freedom.” People applauded when McCain made balloon animals out of condoms. Okay, he didn’t actually do that last bit.

My point, though, is that the audience was an applauding machine. He received questions from the audience along the lines of, “Gee, Senator McCain, how did you get to be so smart?” or “Senator McCain, do Democrats really eat kittens?” Our balcony section, for mysterious reasons, did not have a microphone or any other means to ask questions.

My sassy friend and I tried to muster our shouty voices during several instances, but each time chickened out. True, we gave a running commentary to each other throughout the speech. This annoyed everyone around us, including Bambi-student. Our only moderate success was to start a feeble chain of applause when McCain noted the Senate’s approval rating was 25 percent at the moment. We applauded loudly and, proving that people are sheep, many others followed our lead. McCain looked a bit baffled and actually said, “Please don’t applaud that.”

What did I learn from my attendance? Regretting not doing an act of civil disobedience is a bitch. I could have at least tossed my golden tiara at him.

Starting tomorrow, I am going to work on building my internal courage in the face of massive crowds of zealous right-wingers. Well, maybe not tomorrow. I want to focus my energy on regrowing my goatee tomorrow. The day after that, though, I will build up my intestinal fortitude – after happy hour.

12 comments:

Elizabeth McClung said...

From personal experience there is something worse than chickening out a civic disobediance yelling protest - which is getting half-way through your yelling, notice everyone looking at you not so friend, hear your mothers voice in your head about "getting along" and have your voice trail out as you slump down in your seat and try to disappear. So yes, I recommend either a crowd or liquor.

Congrats on your applause campaign - I laughed out loud just thinking about the crowd applauding 25% approval rating - woo hoo! Getting people to cheer while chanting the name of someone who looks similar is also fun.

Adam said...

I can feel my primordial yalp billowing inside of me right now. I was known in high school gor being able to fill the auditorium with my voice when I sang. I wish I were there with you, I would have yelled "Sell Out" with you.

Thos of us that live in the red states need to be more vocal, they need to know that we are among their base.

tornwordo said...

I'm impressed that you went and did the applause thing. I wish I were so brave.

Roger Owen Green said...

And you wonder why I don't live in Texas.

One of the great things about being here is that it isn't that hard to find likeminded people, or even people to the left of me.

Don't be too hard on yourself.

Brian said...

Harry Taylor probably went to GWB's speech alone!

chiron said...

You did wonderfully. I'm proud of your courage...your honest reply to that boy with the embarrassing erection...and your applause at that golden moment were awesome.

GayProf said...

Brian:: Good Point! He didn't even have a sassy friend!

Man, I wish I had said that...

Helen the Felon said...

"Please don't applaud that!" HA!

Thing is, hecklers are usually dismissed as nutjobs, especially in a crowd like that one, where you were in the minority. The applause thing, though...subtle, and yet highly effective.

Awesome. I'm proud of you.

Earl Cootie said...

You saw what you had to work with and you adapted and you succeeded. You're still my hero.

MEK the Bear said...

((applauds GayProf))

Congrats on handling a tough situation so well.

It would have been easier for you to be more forceful if their had been a larger group of you.

With just the two of you though, the applause at the key moment, leading the sheep who weren't even paying attention to what they were applauding for, genious!

dr. dave said...

McCain is giving the commencement speech at my University this year. I'm hoping the student body rasies some fuss! At least it will liven up the ceremony.

Paul the Spud said...

Hey, the applause was great! Too bad you didn't snag him in your golden lariat; he would have been sputtering "I admit I've sold out every semi-humane ideal I've ever had in order to suck up to George Bush, the man that smeared me in a national advertising campaign, in my lust to make a feeble grasp at the Presidency! I am McCain, and I have no shame! Aieee!"