Oh, Lighten Up Already!


A son comes clean with his father in a new Infiniti ad. | INFINITI

A son comes clean with his father in a new Infiniti ad. | INFINITI

There’s a new Infiniti ad — um — out.

From LGBTQ Nation: “A young man sheepishly talks to his visibly displeased father. ‘Look, this isn’t easy for me, either,’ the young man says, with knitted brow. ‘I’m sorry if you don’t like it, but it just feels right.’ ‘We didn’t raise you this way,’ his father snaps. ‘You must have known I was a little different,’ the son pleads. ‘Not this different,’ responds his father, voice heavy with displeasure. It’s a familiar tableaux [sic] — but it’s not what you think. We first learned of this new commercial through Joe My God, whose readership seems to think the ad ‘trivializes’ the coming out experience. Do you agree? Or do you think it’s all in good fun? (Or do you think it’s really just sort of lame?)”

Whoa! Not so fast! If you’re going to quote a commercial, then quote it accurately (and spell tableau correctly). The father says, “This isn’t how we raised you,” not “We didn’t raise you this way.” After Dad says, “Not this different,” the son says with a trace of a smile, “You never wanted to try it?” The father is horrified. “Enough!” he says, raising his hand in a stop gesture. The son doesn’t “plead.” No, he’s confident and secure. And are those the only choices we’re given in terms of our responses? It’s more than “in good fun.” It’s the most gay-friendly ad I’ve ever seen.

Turning to Joe My God itself, we find, “JMG reader John feels that the commercial trivializes or mocks coming out.”

Media Circus

My, my, aren’t we sensitive? A major car company, Infiniti (not “Infinity” as LGBTQ Nation misspells it) uses coming out as a metaphor for bucking family tradition and striking out on one’s own, and we’re complaining about it? That’s absurd!

This is exactly the kind of advertising we should promote — thoughtful, wry, and effective. In fact, maybe the metaphor works the other way around; maybe the trope is the car and handsome guy’s coming out is the real subject of the ad. Its powerful engine vrooming as the car hurtles forward, the Infiniti then becomes the metaphor for breaking traditional family constructs by coming out. Hey, why not? Why do we always have to see the worst in everything? It’s morbid.

Upstate Democratic Representative Sean Patrick Maloney.

Upstate Democratic Representative Sean Patrick Maloney.

Congressional (in)action can be dreadfully difficult to describe without putting one’s readers to sleep or confusing them to the point of nausea. The endless maneuvering, the votes on whether or not to vote on a provision that requires a separate vote — it’s mind numbing.

Case in point: “During debate on a military spending bill, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) offered an amendment to nullify a provision in a separate bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, that the House passed late Wednesday,” writes Jennifer Bendery of Huffpost Politics. “The provision opens the door to government contractors citing religious liberty as grounds for firing or harassing employees who are LGBT. Democrats, and some Republicans, unsuccessfully tried to keep the language out of the NDAA bill. So Maloney, who is openly gay, put up his amendment Thursday to try again on a different bill. As the votes came in, it became clear Maloney had the support to pass his amendment. The clock ran out and the tally was 217-206. Some lawmakers cheered.”

I don’t blame Bendery, but what the hell actually happened here? Maloney responded to one bill by proposing an amendment to a second bill, and it — the amendment, not the second bill — passed. That’s when the cheering began. But wait — it ain’t over: “But the vote isn’t official until the gavel comes down, and the Republican lawmaker in the speaker’s chair held the vote open for several more minutes — a sign that GOP leaders were working on flipping some of their members from yes to no. That’s when the booing began. Lawmakers began chanting, ‘Shame! Shame! Shame!’ and ‘regular order!’ — meaning the gavel should come down since the clock ran out. In the meantime, the vote tally began to shift. A handful of Republicans slowly changed their votes from yes to no. By the end, the vote was 212-213 and the gavel came down to loud boos.”

So the amendment passed, but then it didn’t. A few Republicans changed their votes after the clock ran out, but the clock didn’t matter. What mattered is that the gavel hadn’t clacked the proceedings to a close. By the time it did, the amendment hadn’t passed.

[Editor's note: Subsequent to print publication, Maloney succeeded in getting House approval for the very same amendment, this time attached to an energy and water spending bill. The vote tally on May 25 was 223-195, with all seven Republicans who switched their vote from yes to no last week switching back to yes, and seven other GOP House members switching a firm no last week to a yes.

Even that, however, was not the end of the story. When the bill itself came up for a vote, it was defeated 305-112, when conservative Republicans turned on the measure, which did not have Democratic support to begin with. According to the New York Times, only six Democrats voted for the spending bill.]

We turn to the Hill for further explication. One of the vote changers “denied in a statement that he had been pressured by GOP leaders to change his vote. He maintained that he supports the language in the defense authorization that offers religious exemptions. ‘I am outraged that political opponents or members of the press would claim or insinuate that I cast a vote due to pressure or party politics. No one controls my vote,’ [he] said in a statement, adding that ‘I abhor discrimination in any form and at any place.’”

Except when it comes to gay people. And that whole “pressure or party politics” thing? Nothing to see here, folks — move along.

The Hill’s Cristina Marcos continues: “Maloney was able to offer the amendment because the spending bill was brought to the floor under a procedure that allows lawmakers to offer unlimited numbers of amendments without any advance notice. Because the amendment was offered right before the vote series began, some Republicans said they weren’t even briefed on the issue.”

Marcos elaborated on the Republicans not being prepared.

“‘We didn’t know what was happening until we were walking to the floor,’ another GOP lawmaker said of the LGBT measure,” she wrote. “‘From my personal experience, my staff and I had no idea that amendment would be run. I wasn’t briefed on that amendment.’”

Interestingly, Republicans weren’t caught off guard on all amendment efforts.

“By contrast, GOP leaders were prepared for another Democratic amendment that restricted the display of the Confederate flag in national cemeteries,” Marcos wrote. “That measure, offered by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), was unveiled shortly after midnight early on Thursday morning and passed later that morning.”

So the GOP lawmakers were prepared to vote on an amendment that bans the Civil War losers’ flag from national cemeteries — “Not Even the Dead Can Have Confederate Flags” the extreme right-wing Daily Caller moaned — but a good share of Republicans were unwilling to stand with that cause.

Still, the GOP continues to whittle away LGBT civil rights in the name of “religious liberty” — a measure that allows you to discriminate as long as you’re a bona fide bigot. Makes perfect sense.

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