The day before yesterday I received an e-mail from Marc Shaiman, a composer and musical director, whose main claim to fame is as the composer of "Hairspray," for which he and his partner won the Tony. OK, Marc didn't send it to me, it was forwarded.
Shaiman was writing to inform the world of how the artistic director of the California Musical Theater company in Sacramento (I knew it as "Music Circus" and saw several performances there) had donated $1000 to the Yes on 8 campaign. Shaiman, rightfully incensed that a man who leads the creative process in a world where gay men make up a huge percentage of the creative talent both on and behind stage would so callously work against their interests, called for a boycott of CMT.
He got more than that. After a firestorm of e-mails and publicity, with many other theater professionals vowing to join the boycott, the artistic direction (Scott Eckern) resigned this morning. This is despite his issuing an apology yesterday and promising to donate an equivalent amount to the Human Rights Campaign.
As you can imagine, this has raised hackles on both sides of the issue. Those who support Eckern argue that he is entitled to express his personal opinion and that this has nothing to do with his job. Of course, those who were offended by Eckern's actions are also free to express their opinions by refusing to support his work.
My personal view would normally be that Eckern paid too high a price. He did apologize and match his donation, after all. Unfortunately, I think he deserves to lose his job -- not for his political opinion, but for sheer stupidity. Andrew Sullivan labeled him "Dumbest Man Alive" in a posting yesterday. I mean, really, you work every day with gay actors, writers, dancers, set designers, etc. and then you actively contribute to a law that would enshrine them in the Constitution as second-class citizens? It's not just stupid, it's thoughtless and cruel.
But wait, it gets worse. It turns out Eckern's sister is gay! That's right, he donated $1000 to help ensure that his sister and her partner could never enjoy the benefits of marriage. A man that displays that level of insensitive idiocy needs to find another job. Perhaps at a meat processing plant or a recycling yard or a toxic waste dump.
That said, let's move on to some more over-reactions to the Prop 8 vote. Apparently an activist group called "Bash Back" disrupted Sunday services at a church in Delta Township in Michigan. You can read the story here. You're not helping the cause, fellas. Hate can't be defeated with more hate. The only cure for hate and intolerance is love and understanding. Same thing is true for the morons who ripped a giant foam cross from the hands of an old woman who'd shown up at rally in Palm Springs protesting the passage of Prop 8. These idiots surrounded the woman, shouting at her and crushing the cross under their feet.
I wish I'd been there. We need to meet intolerance with understanding and hate with love and more love. We must counter stupidity with wisdom and fear-mongering with rationality.
We need to come together, not tear each other apart.