A new batch of U.S. travel ads should send some leaders packing -- permanently. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. In 236 years, America's never had an international tourism ad. So when Congress passed the Travel Promotion Act, people thought it'd be a great chance to highlight American attractions. What they didn't know is that it would highlight same-sex attractions. That's right. The commercial invites people to America -- not to see the Grand Canyon, but to celebrate homosexuality. In one scene, a gay man is sleeping on his partner's shoulder in a trolley. The actors said they were specifically recruited to add a "homosexual presence" to the commercial. According to Brand USA, the ads were supposed to "open up some minds as to what America really is" -- which, based on this commercial, is a country of radical values and backwards priorities. I suppose this is part of the President's push to "rebrand" America. It's just too bad he used a travel ad to feature so much cultural baggage.This splashy Up With People bouquet of innocuous good cheer is supposed to be an insidious queer recruitment video, "highlight[ing] same-sex attractions" and "celebrat[ing] homosexuality"? On the basis of this ad -- and not, you know, filibustering jobs bills in a time of unprecedented unemployment, or pointlessly downgrading America's credit rating for the first time in history, or stonewalling mandated appointments of completely unobjectionable officials for indispensable posts just for the joy of partisan obstructionism -- Perkins wants voters to run elected officials out of office? Even if it is true that these actors were presumably chosen because some casting director thought they exemplified gay face in some mysterious way, as Perkins frantically insists, did you even see the split second image of a gay man sleeping on his partner's shoulder in a trolly? Quite apart from the fact that even non-gay men will occasionally drift to sleep on trollies without causing anybody any consternation, even a person on whose shoulder a sleeping head comes to rest, in what crazytown universe is this completely commonplace image honestly supposed to be some testament to a "rebranding [of] America" as a land of "radical values and backwards priorities"? What would be a representation of a "forward priority" on these terms, some guy's head drifting in sleep onto the shoulder of the guy next to him, prompting him to get punched in the face and then dragged behind the trolly with his head in a noose until he dies bloody and bruised to the ecstatic strains of "Onward Christian Soldiers!" in the background? Is that the sort of thing Muscular Baby Jesus whispers in Tony Perkins's ear when he see two guys touching on his tee vee? Are even homophobes this homophobic, anymore, honestly? It is easy to see why Perkins pines so earnestly for an image of the Grand Canyon: an apt metaphor for the kind of divide he and his fellow reactionaries are forever trying to create between Americans in their actually existing, perfectly normal, promisingly convivial diversity -- and also, in its vast emptiness not a bad metaphor either for the amount of actual research actually getting done by a know-nothing hate group that put the word "Research" right there in its name.
UPDATE: The reference in an earlier version of this post to "hopmosexuality" was a typo -- now corrected -- and, just so you know, not a shout out to queer kangaroos, contra Eric's snarky mcsnarkerson suggestion upon noticing it.