Did you see Rachel Maddow interview “ex-gay” huckster Richard Cohen on Tuesday night? Because if you haven’t, you need to:

So many things. First of all: This almost made me wish Richard Cohen was right about being able to Cure the Gays, so I could turn Rachel Maddow straight and MARRY HER!

Sorry, that joke was Very Inappropriate, especially considering how Very Serious this interview was. Because, as summed up perfectly at Videogum-temporarily-Seriousgum, “DOUBLE YIIIIIIKES.”

And even that was an understatement. Because the Ugandan legislators who wrote the sickening Anti-Homosexuality Bill have been touting Richard Cohen’s teachings about curing people of their homosexuality as justification and inspiration for what they’re doing. (Cohen vehemently asserts that he doesn’t “cure” homosexuality, but as Maddow deftly points out, it’s merely a semantic difference, not a substantive one.)

Some of the provisions in that bill after the jump:

  • Life in prison for being gay or having gay sex.
  • Death penalty for having gay sex more than once.
  • Death penalty for being gay with HIV.
  • Death penalty for having sex with a minor.
  • 3 years in prison for knowing someone gay and not snitching on them.
  • “Promotion of homosexuality” prohibited (read: goodbye, HIV/AIDS prevention organizations!).

It proposes the execution of human beings because of who they are.

And by all accounts, Maddow thrashed him for it, easily shattering his phony credibility and slicing through his equivocation and double-talk. Throughout the interview Maddow kept her relative cool and was polite, but incredibly stern.  Her questions had the quietly devastating bite of terrific journalism. At several points in the interview Cohen is visibly shaking. No wonder Dick Cheney won’t let her interview him. She makes David Frost look like…well, he still looks like David Frost. But she is our generation’s David Frost, or something! She is great, is what I’m saying.

Coverage of Maddow’s takedown has been pretty much universally positive in Bloglnad, with the word “eviscerates” popping up more than once. (A happy surprise! “Eviscerate” is one of my favorite words.) I suspect this is mostly because people who wouldn’t like her don’t watch her and don’t care what she does. Also, if this interview is any indication of the kind of opponent she normally is (and having been a fan of the show since its inception, I can attest that it is), Rachel Maddow is not someone you want to be mad at you, even if your livelihood is based on liberals being mad at you. She is too smart and too thorough and too polite to be trifled with.

Now: time for nitpicking. (What else are blogs for, after all?) Not with Maddow’s performance, obvs–she is a prize fighter. Muhammad Ali ain’t got shit on her. My beef is with some of the liberal bloggers dutifully fawning over her and their accidental oopsies that actually reveal many sad truths about how we approach the world today.

Here’s something from Jezebel, a usually great site which I read often and possesses an Official Yetiblog Endorsement, which is meaningless, but hey:

It [the bill] would effectively ban HIV/AIDS prevention education, would imprison those who fail to report homosexual behavior, and, perhaps most disturbing of all, would allow people to be executed for having HIV. [My emphasis]

Why, pray tell, is execution for having HIV more disturbing than execution for having consensual sexual intercourse with another human being of the same sex as yourself?

This is from Gawker, another typically great site with Official Yetiblog Endorsement:

Maddow has been prepping for this fight for days, ever since a proposed Ugandan anti-gay bill that would make homosexuality punishable by death became one of her show’s pet issues. [My emphasis]

Um, PET ISSUE? Listen, Gawker, I know as well as anyone that as a professional blog it becomes second-nature to make jokes about serious matters and flippantly trivialize important things, and the Rachel Maddow Show does have a proclivity for so-called “pet issues,” but um, Gawker? We’re talking about a sovereign nation trying to INSTITUTIONALIZE HATE CRIME. This is not a “pet issue” so much as it is “responsible journalism,” and a “Why the fuck isn’t fucking everybody freaking the fuck out about this?! issue.”

Because let’s all be crystal clear about what this legislation is: INSTITUTIONALIZED HATE CRIME.

OK, nitpicking over. Those relatively little things aside, both articles were good and worth reading.

While we’re on the subject of INSTITUTIONALIZED HATE CRIME, though: amorphous grey blob of pudding CNN‘s article about the legislation actually has the four most chilling lines I’ve read in a news article in a long time (it’s still CNN, so of course they’re buried in the middle, aka The Part That No One Bothers To Read):

The Rev. Esau Omara, a senior church leader, said over the weekend that any lawmaker opposing the bill will pay for it during the next election, according to local newspaper reports.

Ohhhhhh boy. Church leaders vehemently supporting the institutionalized persecution of human beings because of who they are and how they choose to live their own lives? It’s 1478 all over again.

And a leading Muslim cleric, Sheikh Ramathan Shaban Mubajje, has called for gays to be rounded up and banished to an island until they die.

Remember kids, bigotry knows no religion or creed.

Several media outlets also have inflamed sentiments in recent months by publicly pointing out gays and lesbians.

In April, the Observer newspaper published tips to help readers spot homosexuals. And over the summer, the Red Pepper tabloid outed 45 gays and lesbians.

Another round of “DOUBLE YIIIIIIKES” for everyone! Wait, what am I saying? Using the media to target already vulnerable marginalized groups has, historically, always worked out for the best. Nevermind.

At least we have people like Rachel Maddow trying to stop this from happening by holding accountable those who have enabled, aided, and abetted the people who created this situation. When she tells Cohen “you’ve got blood on your hands here,” she’s absolutely right.

[Rachel Maddow Rips Into Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill, American Backers – Jezebel]
[Seriousgum Presents Rachel Maddow’s Interview of Richard Cohen – Videogum]
[Rachel Maddow vs. The Man Who Claims He Can Make Her Straight – Gawker]
[Why is Uganda attacking homosexuality? – CNN]


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