How do I know this? Because every time something happens in this community that Barbara Curtis doesn’t like, she fires off a post explaining that we did it.
She has compiled a whole list of naughty things we have supposedly done, from “co-opting” the Leesburg Independence Day Parade, to posting a link to her public blog on…another public blog. This last one generated a personal email from Barbara, in which she accused me of “stalking” her.
In another memorable post, Barbara decided that Mainstream Loudoun (another civic group she dislikes and often confuses us with) had somehow caused her posts to disappear from Google. It’s just such a strange piece of work I have to share it:
Mainstream Loudoun – who fought valiantly to remove Internet filters from Loudoun County’s public libraries – does have one thing they like to censor: any public criticism of Mainstream Loudoun.
Evidently someone keeps a sharp eye out for any negative press about Mainstream Loudoun and then sees to having it done away with. Whenever I publish anything about Mainstream Loudoun, the post shows up on Google and then mysteriously disappears.
Indeed, if you google Mainstream Loudoun, you’ll find only page upon page of neutral or flattering results – with the one exception of a column by Linda Chavez, who is a prominent enough columnist that I assume they can’t target her stuff, and it wasn’t really all that bad.
This is typical leftist strategy: silence all opposition. And ironically, they represent themselves as being anti-censorship.
What I think is this: if your ideas are strong, they will rise to the top. Note to Mainstream Loudoun: quit the cowardly tactics and live up to your own hype about First Amendment Rights.
And know that I’m documenting these disappearance for bigger fish in the pond. [Emphases added]
I mean, seriously – “and then sees to having it done away with?” I can only hope that Barbara wishes she could see to having this embarrassing post done away with.
But no, this was not an aberration. The latest affront is that Barbara was let go from her column-writing gig at the Loudoun Times-Mirror. And – I swear I am not making this up – she thinks that “GLBT activists and supporters” are somehow responsible for this:
The Loudoun Times-Mirror has dropped my column
After four years of publishing a regular column for the Loudoun Times-Mirror, I have received my walking papers.
My guess is that the GLBT activists and supporters – like sharks who’ve tasted blood after their penguin victory – were demanding “Off with Her Head!” Because I disagreed with them politically, they thought I had no right to be published.
Such are the double standards of the constantly-crying-foul-and-yammering-about-censorship crowd. They want all views represented – as long as they are their views.
So like Animal Farm: All animals equal. Some animals more equal than others. [Emphases added]
As a writer myself, I can easily recognize Barbara’s rhetorical devices. I especially like the way that “my guess” quickly becomes, in the next line and thereafter, an assertion of fact. It could well be that this sort of disreputable writing style is what prompted the Times-Mirror to have second thoughts about continuing the relationship. I haven’t read one of Barbara’s LTM columns in a very long time, but I hope that if they were anything like this that the editors would have disassociated themselves from her long ago. This – and the other episodes of paranoia – strikes me as dangerously close to the edge.
We’ve tried politely correcting Barbara’s misrepresentations about us before, but she almost always censors the comments on her blog to make it appear that everyone agrees with her. David Hazard, a well known Evangelical author and long time Loudoun resident, has tried to engage Barbara in dialogue about her mistreatment of the GLBT community, and she used it as an opportunity to belittle him (she obviously didn’t realize who he was, and silently edited her blog once it was pointed out to her – the comment correcting her mistake, of course, never appeared).
David has shared with me a comment he submitted to her post earlier today. I doubt that it will appear anywhere but here – but I could be proven wrong:
I’m compelled to write to in response to your claim that somehow the gay community in Loudoun pressured the Loudoun Times-Mirror to cancel your column. You don’t know that, as you suggested in your first paragraph – but by your second paragraph state it as an assertion of truth. In fact, no one “got you” kicked out of the paper.
I’m challenging you on this assertion, because one of the Ten Commandments is: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Like it or not, we gay men, women, and teenagers of Loudoun County are your neighbors. And this is not the first time you’ve borne false witness against us.
Last summer, we were invited by the Town of Leesburg to have a float and represent ourselves in the town 4th of July parade. Your remarks about our participation were so far from the truth. You planted ugly suggestions. We were “penetrating” the community. We were there to “sexualize children.” Had you witnessed the parade — which you didn’t, so I’m not sure why you felt you had the right to comment — you would have seen how under-stated we were. (People came up to us afterwards and had to ask, “Who ARE you guys? What’s ‘Equality Loudoun’ all about?”)
You bore false witness then, and you’re doing it now. You need to repent. The means do not justify the ends, even if you imagine — which you seem to — that you’re representing the true Jesus Christ in this.
But let’s go back to your loss of the column. You’re hurt and a bit miffed, and you’re doing a very human thing, which is to “kick the dog.” Have you considered there might be other reasons your column was cancelled? As a former associate publisher, a former columnist, and as a writer, let me suggest some:
1) maybe your column had run its course and the material was no longer fresh; 2) maybe the writing was only just okay, not compelling (hard possibility to entertain as a writer ); 3) maybe they wanted the space for more ads…
My guess is, L T-M was not pleased with you purporting to be writing a column for mothers – while focusing only on the concerns of rightwing conservative Christian mothers, and not the majority of women in Loudoun County, who have more centrist leanings and who don’t consider themselves a “professional mother” in the way you seem to. L T-M may have gotten tired of watching you say you were writing about motherhood and parenting – while you were REALLY there to push a conservative social / political agenda.
Or maybe they felt uncomfortable publishing the link to your blog, where you regularly take people apart.
My concern for you personally, as a Christian, is that you seem to like to wear badges. I wish you would do what Paul suggested, and “put on Christ” instead. What “badges” do I mean:
Badge #1: I was a lesbian who lived a wild lifestyle — and therefore I can speak as an authority about all gay people and how they live.
Even though you ( and Focus ) position yourself as something of an authority, based on your experience – that is completely ludicrous. You are only an authority about YOU. You have no basis of study or knowledge from which to speak about the gay community — which is as diverse in itself as Christians are diverse.
But you insist on speaking as if anyone who is gay is destined to have a bad experience because — well, just because if you’re gay you WILL have a bad life. Gay life = bad. Barbara, isn’t it at least possible that your “bad experience” resulted from the fact that you were also, at the time, an alcoholic?
Please do not presume to speak “authoritatively” about gay people any longer. For those of us who are gay, and settled, and professional, and living stable, loving, contributing, ethical lives, your bohemian life of alcoholism in San Francisco is alien to us.
Badge #2: My column was cancelled — and now I’m a martyr for the cause of Christ.
Barbara, you will be tempted to get a lot of sympathy-mileage out of that. If you take that very low path you will not be pleasing Jesus Christ. Do not fall for the temptation to create drama where there is none, to make yourself look more important than you are.
Relatedly, there is this fact: At times, you make fun of the gay community in Loudoun, saying, “There’s so few of you anyway. You don’t have any power.” But when it’s to your advantage, like now, you make it sound as though vast numbers are arrayed against you.
We may be small in number, but as Americans we do have the right to work for the same rights, protections that the majority has.
Badge #3: I represent a community of good, decent, God-fearing people, whose way of life is being threatened by “the gay agenda.”
In online parlance — OMG! — who is pushing their agenda onto a community, if not the right-wing Christians of Loudoun County? Whose right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is being threatened if not the gay community’s?
The vast majority of public schools have churches meeting in them every Sunday. The public libraries, and even school libraries have Christian books — both fiction and non-fiction — on their shelves – and NO ONE from the gay community, or the community at-large, is “opposing” or “oppressing” you.
Please drop the absolute falsehood that you are a community whose right to live exactly as you please is being threatened. You’re everywhere! And, this being America, go for it, girl!
But YOU are the ones trying to make monsters out of us, and trying to thwart and crush us out. That stands as a witness before God, not for you, as you suppose, but against you.
I left the Evangelical community when I realized how far off-course the movement had gone. I left when I witnessed big ministries and broadcasters and publishers create fears to plant in the minds of American Christians in an effort (sadly successful) to pump up fundraising and votes. The Evangelicalism you see now is NOT the movement I became part of in 1970. It is a bastardized version of Christianity.
I hope you will take this appeal, and these thoughts, seriously.
If it’s hard to wake up and realize that you live in a community where the majority of people don’t believe the line you’re pushing — well, that’s a tough one. My educated guess is, that’s why your column got cancelled. Not because we, who are “evil” in your sight if not in God’s sight, moved against you.
My sense is that this episode – which should probably result in an intervention of some kind – will instead be misrepresented by Barbara on her blog and her speaking circuit as more “evidence” of her saintly victimhood. I hope that there are some friends and/or family members in her life who can see this more clearly.
I have known about those powers for quite a while…that’s why I always keep some purple kryptonite handy. Those “GLIBBETS” can do me no harm in the presence of purple kryptonite!
A very wise move on your part. We Are Everywhere.
Seriously, I’m reading about the methods used by anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family and CWA, and their primary mode of misrepresentation about the gay community is to take a small sample from some subculture, say young men who are drug users, and generalize to the entire community whatever the trait or characteristic is that they want to huff and puff about. Their typical audience members can’t be expected to understand the methods of social science research, so to them these silly assertions may sound reasonable.
This is exactly the same error Barbara makes, only she does it from the standpoint of her personal experience. She claims to know all about the gay community – “I know that world from the inside,” she says – because in the early 70’s she was an active alcoholic and lived and partied with some gay men in San Francisco. I don’t know whether she actually believes her own story or not, but either way it’s lunacy to claim that a single narrow circle of drug-using gay men in one neighborhood in San Francisco during a discrete period of time in the “Free Love” 70’s is representative of anything other than itself. As David H. says in his comment, the world she describes is alien to me, and probably to virtually all of the other GLBT people in Loudoun as well.
Barbara’s confusion about our community – if she actually believes half of what she says – is so severe as to evoke sympathy.
Dude, run with it. If Carter had taken credit for all those earthquakes in Iran, we would have had the hostages back a lot sooner!
I believe that Barbara has super powers too. I just went to the tortoise SVN site to download some open source software and the Amazon advertisement that popped up was for “The Mommy Manual” by Barbara Curtis. I could have picked it up for $5.00. Weird!
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