Magister Loony

I can’t believe that Monica Hesse snuck this mash note past the editors (via Atrios via MM):

The gay marriage supporters have not met Brian Brown. They should. He might be more worth knowing about.

Brown is the executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, the preeminent organization dedicated to preventing the legalization of same-sex marriage. For two years, Brown has been traveling across the country. He moved his wife and six kids to California, where NOM was instrumental in passing Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment defining marriage as an institution only between a man and a woman. Before that, Connecticut, where his cause was hurt when the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage

It was NOM that Miss USA runner-up Carrie Prejean went to shortly after her infamous “opposite marriage” pageant answer. “Gathering Storm,” the much-YouTubed announcement in which actors discussed how gay marriage would negatively affect their freedom of religion? That was NOM.

[….]

He has a master’s degree from Oxford, and completed course work for a doctorate in history from UCLA. He shoulders the accusations of bigotry; it’s horrible when people say that your life’s mission is actually just prejudice. He tries to help people see that opposing gay marriage does not make them bigots, that the argument should have nothing to do with hate or fear, and everything to do with history and tradition.

The reason Brian Brown is so effective is that he is pleasantly, ruthlessly sane.

I started to write the Post’s ombudsman an angry email, but at this point, I honestly feel sorry for the guy.

How did it come to this? What was the turning point?

63 replies
  1. 1
    CatStaff says:

    There have been so many of them in the last 30 years, it’s hard to pick just one. And they’re coming across the plate pretty quickly these days.

  2. 2
    Kryptik says:

    The WaPo hosts Krauthammer, Gerson, Will, Shalaigh Murray, Kurtz, and the like.

    Their operative definition of ‘sane’ is much, much different from ours, you have to realize.

  3. 3
    Will says:

    He has a master’s degree from Oxford, and completed course work for a doctorate in history from UCLA. He shoulders the accusations of bigotry; it’s horrible when people say that your life’s mission is actually just prejudice. He tries to help people see that supporting slavery does not make them bigots, that the argument should have nothing to do with hate or fear, and everything to do with history and tradition.

    The reason Brian Brown is so effective is that he is pleasantly, ruthlessly sane.

  4. 4
    GambitRF says:

    He tries to help people see that opposing gay marriage does not make them bigots, that the argument should have nothing to do with hate or fear, and everything to do with history and tradition.

    I look forward to Hesse’s next article, “Whatever Happened to the Great Tradition of Slavery?”

  5. 5
    cleek says:

    this country has always been fucked-up.

  6. 6
    Kryptik says:

    Oh, and a bit OT:

    Ted Kennedy’s body is barely cold, and yet they’ve already christened the newest Deal Maker, the man they feel is the best to shoulder that reputation in Kennedy’s wake:

    John McMaverick…er…McCain.

    Better media hacks, please.

  7. 7
    Ann B. Nonymous says:

    What happens when high-profile muckracking becomes part of the establishment? This.

    The checks and balances produced by an adversarial press — and designed to be relied on as part of the political process by the Founders — are neutered, while the tactics previously used to question abuses of power are used to attack the questioners. Meanwhile, its past reputation of muckracking allows conservative, reactionary, and even anti-human ideas to become part of the mainstream within its pages, since it still has a reputation as a valued gatekeeper.

    A classic case of institutional capture in the post-Watergate era. Like local school boards taken over by crazy people, but on a larger scale.

  8. 8
    gbear says:

    1. everyone who reads LOLcats is LOLing about a group calling itself NOM.

    2. “He might be worth knowing about” is really bad writing.

    3. OT. I don’t know if BJ readers are familiar with the seed art exhibit at the MN State Fair, but someone made a seed art version of Obama’s birth certificate. Snark seed art. I love the MN State Fair.

    http://minnesotaindependent.co.....state-fair

  9. 9
    gbear says:

    @gbear:

    “He might be more worth knowing about.”

    Gahhh. I miss edit.

  10. 10
    Chad N Freude says:

    History and Tradition. Yes. Slavery, denying women the vote, colonization of less-developed countries. Yes, history and tradition. It would have been so pleasantly, ruthlessly sane to have kept them.

    DougJ: I think I’ll go play with my glass beads for a while.

  11. 11
    Warren Terra says:

    completed course work for a doctorate in history from UCLA

    Dammit, I thought the point was to learn from history, not just study it, but this gentleman’s commitment to imposing his bigotry on others’ lives suggests otherwise.

    It’s also worth noting that after converting to devout Catholicism in grad school, allegedly because he was inspired by the work they do for the poor and disadvantaged, he:

    worked to prevent the distribution of condoms in schools

    Feel him revel in his continuation of a tradition of social service and aid to the downtrodden!

    If you read on, you will have the delight of seeing him claim that he bases his position on “his understandings of history, not on messages from God” – and then he is quoted making further statements that, taken seriously, would have him supporting legal institution of polygamy and concubinage, but still unwilling to recognize stable homosexual partnerships.

  12. 12
    Halteclere says:

    and completed course work for a doctorate in history from UCLA

    This is no better than getting a degree based on one’s life experiences of watching the History Channel 24-hours a day. I.e. don’t claim it if you haven’t completed it.

  13. 13
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    it’s horrible when people say that your life’s mission is actually just prejudice. He tries to help people see that opposing gay marriage does not make them bigots

    The John Yoo of Gay Marriage.

  14. 14
    Will says:

    As a side note, how many prominent kooks, fuck-ups, losers and failures with degrees from prominent institutions are going to rise to prominence before people realize that “went to the best schools” is essentially meaningless as an indicator of competence, knowledge and sanity?

  15. 15
    Kryptik says:

    @gbear:

    You forgot their quickly abandoned movement title not long after the ‘Gathering Storm’ commercial first aired:

    Two Million for Marriage, or in other words…2M4M.

    These folks are kinda bad about their branding.

  16. 16
    LoveMonkey says:

    “opposing gay marriage does not make them bigots”

    Well, that, of course, is just a bald-faced lie.

    Opposing to gay marriage is nothing but bigotry. It’s the essence of bigotry. It is all about bigotry.

    Until somebody presents actual evidence that any straight marriage has actually been harmed by any gay marriage, I don’t see any rational basis for asserting otherwise.

  17. 17
    Anoniminous says:

    Can’t help you Herr J.

    “OLIGARHY” is still stuck in my brain and I can’t find the goddamn Mental Floss&copy”.

  18. 18
    Rich says:

    Yeah, but is his master’s degree in Science??

  19. 19
    Anoniminous says:

    (Yet Another) good joke dies due to the lack of a “Preview” button.

    And incompetent typing.

  20. 20
    Bulworth says:

    @gbear:

    Yeah, the line about really being worth knowing was as far as bothered to go with this “article”.

  21. 21
    RSA says:

    But no society that he knows of, in the history of the world, has ever condoned same-sex marriage.

    WTF? Brian Brown apparently also believes that the citizens of the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, and Sweden, all countries in which same-sex marriage is legal, do not actually condone same-sex marriage.

  22. 22
    kay says:

    @Kryptik:

    That’s what has me a little surprised. Maybe I’m naive. I’m really surprised at how the media have so clearly taken a side in health care reform.
    They did not bother to outline what a “public option” might be, but they are clearly showing really blatant displeasure at the mere thought that one might pass.
    Ezra Klein aside, can you point me to one columnist or pundit or newsreader who is 1. actually explaining anything, or, 2. refraining from appearing anti-reform?
    I don’t get it. It’s like some kind of weird herd mentality. If I were watching this as a disinterested party I would be thinking “the media are on the payroll of the opposition”. It might not be fair, or accurate, but as a listener I’m constantly amazed at how relentlessly negative the coverage is. They wrote off the public option entirely, and I’m not clear why, or why it’s so disturbingly uniform.

  23. 23
    Scott says:

    Okay, Doug, I wrote the letter to the ombudsman for you. It’s not often I can smash a letter together so fast.

    I know I’m supposed to be polite, but I figured something that spectacularly bad probably deserved a good “What the hell was that crap?!”

  24. 24
    Dave C says:

    @Anoniminous:

    I think “OLIGARHY” should become a new tag.

  25. 25
    ppcli says:

    What an unbelievable article. Credulous and slanted right down to the minor details. Like:

    “Brown is Catholic. He converted at Oxford, where he studied after a BA at Whittier College (he grew up surfing in California). He liked Catholicism’s traditions of social justice and work for the poor…”

    What a noble guy! Social Justice and work for the poor! And that’s why after he “completed his coursework for a PhD.” (i.e. he wasn’t advanced to candidacy) he went out and worked for social justice and the poor, right? Oops:

    ” After UCLA he accepted a position with the Family Institute of Connecticut, and worked to prevent the distribution of condoms in schools.”

    I suppose there were just *so many people* working for social justice and the poor that those jobs were all taken.

  26. 26
    Scott says:

    I don’t get it. It’s like some kind of weird herd mentality. If I were watching this as a disinterested party I would be thinking “the media are on the payroll of the opposition”. It might not be fair, or accurate, but as a listener I’m constantly amazed at how relentlessly negative the coverage is. They wrote off the public option entirely, and I’m not clear why, or why it’s so disturbingly uniform.

    I figure the insurance companies are spreading a little bribe money around in places besides just Congress, ya know?

  27. 27
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    OLIGARHY”

    OLIGARHY HAR HAR HAR!

  28. 28
    Kryptik says:

    @kay:

    Outside of Maddow and Olbermann?

    ….

    I’ll get back to you on that.

  29. 29
    SGEW says:

    @kay: Krugman. Also.

  30. 30
    Robin G. says:

    gbear: I am SO going to see that. And it’s time for my minidonut fix.

  31. 31
    dmsilev says:

    completed course work for a doctorate in history from UCLA

    Let’s rephrase that, shall we?

    Failed to complete his doctorate in history at UCLA

    Since course work is a relatively small fraction of the work necessary to earn an academic doctorate, I think my version is somewhat more accurate. And, of course, it would be irresponsible of us *not* to speculate as to why he failed to earn said degree.

    -dms

  32. 32
    Comrade Darkness says:

    the much-YouTubed announcement in which actors discussed how gay marriage would negatively affect their freedom of religion?

    Having to share a planet with dickwads like Brown negatively affects my freedom of sanity. So he can just suck it up like the rest of us who have to tolerate his existence.

    He liked Catholicism’s traditions of social justice and work for the poor…

    For a man clinging to the excuse of history the man has zero sense of it. The Church taxed the poor to death for centuries and crushed all science that could have improved disease and quality of life. The cardinals and popes lived like kings on the peasants’ labors and kept them illiterate and scared of shadows. Yeah, the Catholics historically loved to help them some poor. *rolls eyes*

  33. 33
    Anne Laurie says:

    @RSA:

    Brian Brown apparently also believes that the citizens of the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, and Sweden, all countries in which same-sex marriage is legal, do not actually condone same-sex marriage.

    Brian Brown’s history of the world ends as of 1953. As long as he refuses to acknowledge anything that happened after that date, he’s sure he can convince people all the radical weirdness of the past 55 years never actually happened. Hey, it works in HIS mind, and he’s completed the coursework for a doctorate! (I’m guessing he also gave the reporter his SAT scores and mentioned his Mensa membership, because credentialism is the opiate of the narrow-minded.)

  34. 34
    DougJ says:

    I know I’m supposed to be polite, but I figured something that spectacularly bad probably deserved a good “What the hell was that crap?!”

    I’ll bet he’s happy to hear that. I know I would be if I were him.

  35. 35
    jacy says:

    You know what’s more horrible than when people say that your life’s mission is actually just prejudice?

    When your life’s mission IS actually just prejudice.

    Take “opposing same-sex marriage” and replace “same-sex” with Jewish, African-American, Catholic, Hindu, Blonde, Left-handed, etcetera.

    I’m sick and tired of people giving anti-homosexual bigots the benefit of the doubt. I’m sorry, but if you are against equal treatment for another group, you are a bigot. There’s no grey areas. At least man up and say, “I’m a bigot.”

    Fucking weasels.

  36. 36
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Comrade Darkness:

    More history and tradition.

    @ppcli:

    worked to prevent the distribution of condoms in schools

    Otherwise the poor would have been unjustly forced to have protected sex.

  37. 37
    BruinKid says:

    Hmm… I’ve “completed course work” for a doctorate in statistics from UCLA. Doesn’t mean I’m that close to actually getting the Ph.D., as I’m trying to do actual research for the all-important thesis.

    I wonder if all he did was take enough graduate level courses, sat in on some seminars, and is actually nowhere near a real Ph.D.

  38. 38
    Egypt Steve says:

    I want to see his motherfucking diplomas. My suspicion is that he has an MA from Bob Jones University and completed the coursework for a doctorate at Liberty University, if he graduated from high school at all.

  39. 39
    Ye Cats says:

    There’s something about the juxtaposition of “ruthlessly” and “sane” that says “nutty as a fruitcake” to me, although that that this supreme douchwizard is in any way sane is an unsupported assertion of the author.

  40. 40
    ppcli says:

    @BruinKid:

    Quite right. In every program I’m familiar with (and that is a lot of programs, in many disciplines) someone who completes all the coursework necessary for a PhD but leaves (or, more often, is asked to leave) before submitting a dissertation is given a “terminal MA” as a consolation prize. If he has, in fact “completed the coursework” but didn’t even get awarded an MA from UCLA suggests that his performance in those courses must have been exceptionally feeble. [I assume such an MA would have been mentioned in this hagiography if it existed.]

    — Of course, this is largely speculation, but it’s the default assumption when you see this particular academic pattern on a resume. A good job interviewer will zoom in on it.

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    Yet another example of why us cradle Catholics despise converts so much. They all seem to be thrilled that they’re actually encouraged to obsess about other people’s sex lives all day long.

  42. 42
    EthylEster says:

    @Rich: Yeah, but is his master’s degree in Science??

    Well, he is talking about “Life” and “Lifestyle”.
    And I bet he thinks “He knows more than you do.”

  43. 43
    Dr.BDH says:

    I feel for his wife: six kids, homeschooling, no friends, has to explain what her husband does for a living, had no negative opinion of same sex marriage until she met Mr. Right. Only Catholicism can hold this marriage together.

  44. 44
    Ed Drone says:

    He tries to help people see that opposing gay marriage does not make them bigots, that the argument should have nothing to do with hate or fear, and everything to do with history and tradition.

    I think Nathan Bedford Forrest was devoted to history and tradition, too. And we recall his contribution to history and tradition all too well.

    Ed

  45. 45
    PurpleGirl says:

    gbear: I know about seed art but I don’t often look for it. That is LOL good. Thanks for linking to it.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    Blue Raven says:

    I realize Boswell’s little book of early Roman Catholic rituals that included same-sex pairs bonding for life has been on shaky ground academically from the get-go. Thing is, when your own religion’s history includes ceremonies that had two people of the same gender standing in front of the congregation and pledging their lives to each other, you’re on such shaky ground when you claim nobody ever accepted that sort of relationship it’d be a good idea to make sure you aren’t standing on the dessert table at a Mormon picnic.

  48. 48
    Deschanel says:

    I’m at least gratified that the comments after the article are unanimously, “WTF”?

    WaPo had it’s glory days , I know. They’re long gone. As a New Yorker, I always had an inherent snobbery toward it as a newspaper, considered it provincial. I spent years trying to get over that early prejudice, not be so narrow. Turns out my younger self was quite right. WaPo is a fucking horrible, provincial right-wing rag, the perfect newsletter for the worst insular catering to the Right in that clusterfuck called the Beltway.

  49. 49

    […] Filled with pity for the buffoon class: via Balloon Juice (via Atrios via MM) […]

  50. 50

    I know this is late, but Hesse is holding a Washington Compost chat next Wednesday. See here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....02407.html

    I wonder if she has the guts to answer questions about this stupid article.

  51. 51

    Oh look, another day, another reason not to buy the Post, even if I really need to wipe my ass.

    He might be more worth knowing about.

    So we know who to kick in the junk.

    Before that, Connecticut, where his cause was hurt when the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage

    Oh boo fucking hoo. Is this shit head honestly trying to make this dildo hoarding fucker into some sort of bold pioneer? In Washington, D.C.?

    He tries to help people see that opposing gay marriage ^integration does not make them bigots, that the argument should have nothing to do with hate or fear, and everything to do with history and tradition.

    Works equally well for women’s suffrage.

    Meanwhile the ad in the left column is making the poor wittle bigots cry.

  52. 52
    zoe kentucky in pittsburgh says:

    I love it when “tradition” is heralded as the best excuse for ongoing prejudice and discrimination. The fact is that every institutional prejudice was defended as “tradition” before it was successfully challenged and changed– slavery, women’s rights, anti-misecengation laws, labor laws and so on. Hell, our country was founded by people who were trying to overturn tradition and try a new experiment.

    My personal favorite bs argument against same-sex marriage is that marriage is always as it is now, totally disregarding our modern definition of marriage and relationships. Meanwhile the Bible is filled with stories about what kind of marriage? Polygamous marriages.

    Whatev. My partner and I have been together for over 10 years. If you had asked me 10 years ago if we’d ever get a chance to legally marry in this country before we’re old and grey I wouldn’t have dared to dream it– but now?

  53. 53
    zoe kentucky in pittsburgh says:

    So we know who to kick in the junk.

    My computer screen is soaked in beer now, thanks a lot.

  54. 54

    Well, I just carried in a whole bunch of firewood, and then ate half a pizza. Now THAT was NOM.

  55. 55

    @zoe kentucky in pittsburgh: A woman?! DRINKING BEER!? A WOMAN? Why, that’s not traditional at all! Summon Witchfinder Brain Brownpants!

  56. 56
    zoe kentucky in pittsburgh says:

    Ppppbbbttt. Am I the only one who is hearing the tradition song from Fiddler on the Roof?

    I’m off to my favorite watering hole that is filled with homosexuals. While it’s traditional that gays and lesbians don’t socialize much with each other, at this bar we do in pretty big numbers. It’s fun to break with tradition.

  57. 57
    Ellid says:

    What slays me is his wife having the nerve to claim that she knows what it’s like to be a (presumably discriminated again) lesbian because she couldn’t keep her own bigotry in check at a party.

    What a clueless dingbat.

  58. 58
    FlipYrWhig says:

    completed course work for a doctorate in history from UCLA

    Actually, you’ll notice it doesn’t say completed _the_ coursework for a doctorate.* The statement is still true if he completed _some_ coursework. It could have been a single class.

    *As others have said, even completing _all_ the coursework wouldn’t leave especially close to a PhD, because there’d still be exams, a hell of a lot of research and writing, and a defense.

  59. 59
    Allan says:

    Wow. I haven’t read prose that suggested the authoress was rubbing one out while staring at photos of her topic since the very sexually frustrated Maggie “Two Weeks” Gallagher rode her Hank Paulson dildo to an angry orgasm, to wit:

    Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson looks like an investment banker. He’s a big guy, whose large hands, broad shoulders and balding head signal he’s got the drive, the cojones, to be an alpha male in the once-intensely competitive world of big money. The owlishly round glasses suggest intellect, and overall, his combination of physicality and IQ remind one of the way Wall Street had become a kind of Roman Circus of nerd gladiators, transforming surging aggression into extraordinary material abundance.

    I need a cigarette. And Maggie needs a husband who doesn’t prefer the company of his male “bridge partner.”

  60. 60

    [he completed] course work for a doctorate in history from UCLA.

    Hey, I took Chem 140-160, Math 124-126 and PHYS 121-123 at the UW all of which were required if you wanted to go to medical school, does this mean that I “completed course work for an M.D. from the University of Washington Medical School”. Fuckin’ A, y’all can start calling me Dr. Wile E. Quixote. Now where’s my prescription pad? Daddy doesn’t have anything planned for the weekend but that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be handy to have some Oxycontin, uppers, Viagra and a medical marijuana prescription on hand just in case.

  61. 61

    @Monica “Fuck me! Fuck me Brian Brown! Do me in the ass like the disgusting, worthless inside-the-Beltway journalistic whore I am and then piss on me and dump me like a plastic baggie full of warm dogcrap” Hesse.

    Brian Brown speaks to these people. He has a master’s degree from Oxford, and completed course work for a doctorate in history from UCLA. He shoulders the accusations of bigotry; it’s horrible when people say that your life’s mission is actually just prejudice. He tries to help people see that opposing gay marriage does not make them bigots, that the argument should have nothing to do with hate or fear, and everything to do with history and tradition.

    My feelings about Catholics such as Brian Brown have nothing to do with hate and fear and everything to do with history and tradition. The Roman Empire had a fine old tradition and long history of feeding Christians to lions, a tradition we should revive so we can continue a long and proud history.

  62. 62

    Shorter Monica Hesse

    He doesn’t sweat much for a bigot.

  63. 63
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    The Roman Empire had a fine old tradition and long history of feeding Christians to lions, a tradition we should revive so we can continue a long and proud history.

    Damn! I wish I’d said that!

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