Friday, February 10, 2012

The Latest In The Current "Haters" War: JC Penney Causes Breast Cancer, Stern And O'Reilly Become Friends and Wall Street Doesn't Care!

 Ellen - "My haters are my motivators."

Update: One Million Moms fires back at Ellen for referring to them as "haters" and disclosing that they have only 40,000 friends on facebook.

Last Friday, JC Penney stock closed slightly lower than it's 52-week high (down .07 from $42). Of course, the market closed before the big disclosure of the day: JC Penney was keeping Ellen Degeneres as its spokesperson despite the strong request by the American Family Association and its homophobic offspring, One Million Moms to "fire" Degeneres. But it proved that Wall Street was unfazed by the OMM and  AFA threats to the retail giant.

Now, the AFA's ubiquitous fear-mongerer, Bryan Fischer, has countered that in its decision to keep Degeneres, JC Penney will encourage young women to become lesbians and thus, become more susceptible to breast cancer:
"Will America’s young women be just a bit more likely to experiment with lesbianism now that JCPenney is mainstreaming it? Too any objective observer, the answer must be yes. Is this a good thing? To any objective observer, the answer must be no. Research has indicated that lesbians suffer from increased levels of depression, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, breast cancer and vaginal diseases compared to heterosexual women. Thus what JCPenney has done, by increasing, even if ever so slightly, the chances that young women will experiment with this behavior will turn out to be a tragic thing for some. JCPenney will have to share some culpability for that." - American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer. (Via Right Wing Watch)
Twisted logic apparently runs in AFA genes, because on one of AFA's radio shows, hosts Buster Wilson and Fred Jackson had this to say about the controversy:

Wilson: we just don't believe that Ellen DeGeneres is wholesome, family. She is known, she made her name, by being the first real television star to come out in her homosexuality.
Jackson: You kind of mentioned it. What makes Ellen DeGeneres dangerous is that she's a nice person and, I haven't watched her program but apparently she does an interesting kind of funny program.
Ellen Degeneres is nice, therefore, she's dangerous. Makes perfect sense. The following is a list of Degeneres' "niceness put by one blogger:
DeGeneres raised over 10 million dollars for victims of hurricane Katrina. Sheparticipates in The Gentle Barn charity, the Small Change Campaign, Brad Pitt’s Make It Right campaign, food drives, AIDs awareness campaigns, children’s charities, the American Express Member’s Project, Breast Cancer, the Target Giving Competition and more.

Upon the announcement by J.C. Penney that it was sticking to its decision to keep Ellen as a spokesperson, OMM stepped up its campaign by stating that it would begin targeting stores individually, going directly to stores managers. It also had this to say about a supposed "haters":
In today's culture when an individual stasnds up for something they believe in and someone disagrees with them then they are referred to as a hater when in reality it is OMM's opponents who are hating us. Tolerance goes both ways. Apparently, OMM must be doing something right because scripture says that we will be persecuted for our Biblical beliefs (Matthew 5:11)
Monica Cole, Director, One Million

After 5 days of silence on the matter, Degeneres herself addressed the issue in her monologue (after a celebratory nod to the Prop 8 decision): "My haters are my motivators." She also pointed out that One Million Moms has only 40,000 friends on facebook - hardly close to a figure of one million.*

And speaking of facebook, a group called "one million people who support Ellen for JC Penney" has garnered over 60,000 "likes" in 24 hours - more than OMM can seem to scare up.


The controversy has made some unlikely allies: both Howard Stern and Bill O'Reilly of FOX News have come out in support of the JC Penney decision and against OMM. O'Reilly had some particularly "stern" words (sorry, couldn't resist it) for OMM comparing its campaign to McCarthyism and calling it a witch hunt. Degeneres herself thanked O'Reilly for the support.

The CEO of JC Penney, Ron Johnson, addressed the situation quite eloquently when he said that  Ellen stood for the very things JC Penney was founded upon "fairness" and the "Golden Rule." (click on the link - the video was not allowed to be embedded - by CBS).

The Culture War Defined

Although the JC Penney controversy is not a defining moment in the culture wars, it helps to highlight the frustration and the distress the Right is experiencing with other aspects: the recent Prop 8 decision was about equality for a certain part of America more than the subject of same-sex marriage. The phenomena of "It Gets Better" statements/videos is about hope in the face of bullying and religious intolerance more than prevention of teen suicides.

We recently saw the unmitigated and ridiculous statements the Right came out with concerning gays and gay sex (Gerbils, Cell Phones and Bats Up The Butt). The JC Penney controversy simply continues the trend.

* OMM seems to have trouble with numbers and figures: one of it contentions is that only 1.7% of the U.S. population is gay. Apparently all gay people go to at least twenty Pride events each year.

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