Sometimes, people think I am contrary just to be contrary. They think I take an opposing viewpoint just to do so. It’s kind of a shame that this assumption is made.
Once upon a time, Seattle had a real independent thing going on. Some of it is still around, but so very much of it is gone. Publishing in particular. Zines were replaced by blogs, and these days, blogging as an art form has been co-opted by corporate interests. What used to be a way for the little guy to get his opinion out has been reclaimed by professional journalists and wannabe-professional journalists.
Diversity of opinion is a thing of the past, and blogging is now done by consensus. Seattle has no shortage of blogs, but the vast, overwhelming number of them are partnered with corporate media or other mainstream organizations.
If you check out your favorite Seattle blogger these days, you’re likely to find that they have an impressive array of degrees and credentials, and a bio which reads something like this:
“Featured blogger Kaitlynn Prisspot-Honky has a journalism degree from UW, has been published in the Tolerant Times, and has a credit score of 850. In her spare time, she likes rescuing kittens, empowering women, eating healthy, recycling, and living a completely non-controversial lifestyle.”
Gee, I can’t wait to hear what she thinks about global warming. I wonder which side she’ll take? I’m literally on pins and fucking needles. You see, we already know what academia and the mainstream media thinks … about everything. Ask 50 UW journalism majors to write a blog post about the Seattle Slutwalk, and the only way you will be able to tell their posts apart is by their typos.
Everything these days reads like a puff-piece from Yahoo local, and an emphasis on professionalism makes you wonder what the point is sometimes. I mean, is there really a dearth of passive mainstream news reporting that needs to be filled by the alternative media? While you can make the case that The Stranger is still out in left field a bit, for the most part, Independence in publishing is dead. It makes me depressed sometimes.
I know, I know, I’m sure my critique has them sobbing all the way to the bank.
The point I am trying to make is that I am really not contrary for its own sake. It just seems that way because I’m one of a very few bloggers in Seattle, that will openly share my opinions without regard to how popular they are.
My opinions aren’t that rare, bloggers like me just don’t last too terribly long. I mean, who would advertise on a blog that’s going to write honest viewpoints regardless of popular consensus? I wouldn’t. It would be too goddamn risky. I’ll get a way better return on my investment buying ads on the “We Agree with King 5 About Everything” Blog. Hell, King 5 will even kick in a few photos and videos for that blog to use. You scratch our nuts, we’ll scratch yours.
With that being noted, please allow me to fully earn my daily scorn and ostracizing from the faux-indie Seattle blogosphere. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose and all that:
At 8am this morning, the Space Needle hoisted the Gay Pride Flag up its spire. Take a look. It’s pretty isn’t it?
Now, even though the flag is quite handsome and rainbow-y, I wish it wasn’t there. At least not right now.
Is this because I hate gay people?
Is it because the gay pride flag offends me?
Of course not.
The reason that I don’t feel good about it, is because I feel that I just witnessed the Space Needle get strong-armed into doing something it didn’t want to do. You see, in 2010, the Space Needle was asked to fly the Gay Pride Flag, they agreed, and everyone was happy.
In 2011, the Space Needle was again asked to fly the flag, but this time they said “Hey gay folks, we’re not going to fly it again this year because we have other plans, but it’s nothing personal. We still love you, we’re just getting out of the flag-flying business for awhile”. Now, at this point, gay folks should have said “Okay, thanks for considering it, oh, and thanks again for flying it last year. It was really cool of you.” They didn’t, though. Instead, they and the local media made a huge issue out of the Space Needle’s position, to the point of insinuating that Needle ownership was somehow less than politically correct. This was wrong of them to do.
Had the Space Needle simply declined last year, their behavior would have been consistent, but since they agreed … the expectation of gay groups is that it would always fly.
No good deed.
Of course, not wanting to get on the wrong side of the PC police, the Space Needle eventually did an about face. Needle ownership said something about raising $50,000 blah blah blah, then dutifully hoisted the flag.
But, were their actions sincere?
No. Clearly, the Space Needle didn’t WANT to fly the flag, but they caved.
I can’t believe that anyone would feel good about this. I can’t believe that the gay community would feel good about this. If you force someone to do something, why would it make you feel good? After all, the only thing you have done is bullied someone into acquiescence. Isn’t this the exact same thing that all oppressed folks have resisted for decades? To not be bullied and shamed into doing something we don’t want to do, or to be shamed into being something we don’t want to be?
Asking once, maybe twice, if the Needle would fly the flag was appropriate. If they said “no”, we all should have respected their wishes. After all, it’s their building. The Space Needle was good enough to fly the gay pride flag in the past. Instead of punishing them for it and demanding that it become a yearly thing, we all should have said “Thank you for flying it last year. We appreciate it”. Unfortunately, PC groups have become about as diverse as a carton of milk. You’re either with them or you’re against them. There is no middle ground. Either embrace their somewhat narrow views, or be attacked like they ostensibly were in high school.
When the bullied become the bully, however, the moral high ground is ceded. I feel that this is what has happened here. Everyone involved in the flag debacle conducted themselves poorly.
When a group of oppressed people gain political clout, I really wish they would use that power judiciously. I wish they would show that you can be both powerful and benevolent; That you can be strong while still respecting those who don’t see things your way.
A novelty flag is minor. Trivial. Insignificant. Because of this, the hissy fit was completely unwarranted. The Space Needle was never anti-gay. They just had other ideas for their property.
Going forward, the Space Needle will be reticent to fly anyone’s flag for fear of setting a precedent.
Dear Gay Groups … when you ask someone to do something, and they say “no”, shake their hand, smile, and say “okay, thanks for listening”. Do what you’ve been advocating all along.